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When affected by the Slow spell:

An affected target’s speed is halved, it takes a -2 penalty to AC and Dexterity saving throws, and it can’t use reactions. On its turn, it can use either an action or a bonus action, not both. Regardless of the creature’s abilities or magic items, it can’t make more than one melee or ranged attack during its turn.

A fighter is affected by Slow. Can they use Action Surge for two actions (attacks) in a turn?

Action Surge - Starting at 2nd level, you can push yourself beyond your normal limits for a moment. On your turn, you can take one additional action.

Edited for clarity and expanding upon a comment. The text of the Slow spell is unclear. Of course there is a literal reading, but that is complicated by the principle of "Specific beats General".

The Slow spell refers to Action or Bonus action in the singular. Normally each turn creatures get one action and one bonus action. Slow limits this to choosing just one. Many creatures have multiattack which Slow limits to a single attack. In general there is just one action. The specific feature Action Surge grants an extra action and it seems reasonable that an Action Surging fighter gets a second attack (but not a multiattack) with the extra action.

Is this a reasonable interpretation? If not, why would the general Slow spell beat the specific Action Surge?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Seems obvious that they can't. You could use Action Surge to do something else, though, like Dash or Cast a Spell. Then it gets interesting: I think you'd be limited to spells that don't involve an attack roll, because that would still be a melee or ranged (spell) attack, and Slow wouldn't let you make one if you've already done one (weapon, spell or unarmed) this turn. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2021 at 22:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @petercordes If it seems obvious - great! Write an answer explaining why - given that the person asking the question is doing so because it wasn't obvious to them then here is your chance to explain your wisdom. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 29, 2021 at 10:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LioElbammalf: The current top-voted answer starts out with "The quoted text explains very clearly what happens...". I don't have anything to add to that, which is why I commented about something else. Probably I should have just left out the first sentence in my comment, but it's just there to introduce the thing I wanted to talk about, that I thought would have been a more interesting question. (Which would be inappropriate to post an answer to under this question which doesn't ask that, and I didn't really want to write a separate self-answered Q&A.) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 29, 2021 at 10:57

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Simply put, No

The quoted text explains very clearly what happens as per the description of Slow. It states that a creature affected by slow can not make more than a melee or ranged attack that turn. This is regardless of abilities or magic items the creature has that could grant it additional attacks (e.g. Action Surge or Scimitar of Speed).

So a Fighter could Action Surge. However, because of the rules of the spell, they could not use the Attack Action to make an extra attack since it is still inside their turn and they (assumedly) have already made an attack that round.

The only way for the Action Surge to give an attack for the attack action would be if the fighter at hand used their normal action for the Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Hide action.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps worth addressing is that slow states "On its turn, it can use either an action or a bonus action, not both." We have a question on a related interaction where you can see people interpret "an action" it different ways. I think linking to that question to support your interpretation would help improve this answer \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2021 at 10:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think it is worth addressing because the other question runs off different parts of the Slow effects. Even if you had a bonus action attack (e.g. from the Cavalier's mark special attack) you couldn't use an action nor action surge to attack because "regardless of abilities/magic items you can only make an attack that turn". Spells have casting times of 1 Action, 1 Bonus Action, etc. and their rules follow in the effects of slow which gives them that out. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2021 at 22:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Slow spell refers to Action or Bonus action in the singular. In general there is just one action. The specific feature Action Surge grants an extra action. So on the principle of "Specific beats General", can you explain why the general Slow spell beats the specific Action Surge? \$\endgroup\$
    – CWallach
    Oct 28, 2021 at 5:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel like that would indirectly answer or provide partial answer to the related question and as such it doesn't belong in this question nor comment section. But as stated, at least for this particular interaction, it doesn't matter that Action Surge grants an extra action. Slow simply states that you only get 1 attack per turn while it's active. The other question will provide a more comprehensive reasoning as to why spells with Action/Bonus Action casting times are different. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 28, 2021 at 15:24
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You might not even be able to use Action Surge while under the effects of slow

The slow spell states (emphasis mine):

On its turn, it can use either an action or a bonus action, not both.

We actually have a question related to this:

One of the answers there actually argues that because slow says "an action" (singular) you cannot, in fact, take multiple actions from something like haste or Action Surge. I agree with this interpretation from a literal-reading standpoint, but I also doubt most features of the game were written with interactions with haste and Action Surge in mind. To me, a GM can certainly rule either way on whether Action Surge can be used while under the effects of slow; so let's address the case where you can use Action Surge.

If you can use Action Surge, you still could not make two attacks

The slow spell states:

[...] it can’t make more than one melee or ranged attack during its turn. [...]

So even if you can use Action Surge, the rule above would mean you can't make multiple attacks such as with Extra Attack or by taking the Attack action twice.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Specific beats General. In this case, the general is that you can take one action and one bonus action on your turn. Then slow modifies this to either an action or a bonus action. Then action surge modifies this again to be an action or bonus action and another action. But I agree that the creature can not make more than one attack during this turn. \$\endgroup\$
    – Toddleson
    Oct 27, 2021 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Toddleson People will disagree on that, as the link I provided shows. Somebody could say Action Surge lets you take two actions and then slow limits it to only one \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2021 at 19:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Toddleson: Taking two Actions with Action Surge isn't explicitly ruled out by Slow, so agreed you could do that (and e.g. attack + cast a spell, or cast two spells.) Only maybe implicitly by the use of a singular "an Action". But taking a Bonus Action and an Action is ruled out, so you could argue that you can't use Action Surge to do that. Specific Beats General doesn't really apply because neither one refers to the other rule as one that it's modifying, they're both modifying the same general rule in different ways. So it comes down to DM ruling of whether a Fighter can push themselves \$\endgroup\$ Oct 29, 2021 at 10:58

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