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In the Player's Basic Rules, it says

Interacting with objects around you: Here are a few examples of the sorts of thing you can do in tandem with your movement and action:

...

withdraw a potion from you backpack [and as a sepearate item] drink all the ale in a flagon

It's pretty clear that you can do a minor action such as the above examples and still use an action to attack, dash, or what-have-you, but it's a little unclear as to whether both of these things together would necessarily constitute an action in its own right.

I'm wondering specifically about the rogue in my game who wanted to run over to an unconscious character, withdraw a potion from their pack, feed it to them, and then wanted to attack. This sounded like too much to happen in a short 6 seconds. Complicating my time-counting was that the rogue has a bonus action in which she can use the Use Object action.

Can a player withdraw a potion from a pack AND drink it without using their action? Would having a bonus action to "Use Object" affect this scenario?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Basic rules are available for free: dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Hutton Oct 21 '14 at 3:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, mistakenly said PHB pdf. There are the basic rules available at the wizards site, but was mixed up between all the pdfs and books I had open. \$\endgroup\$ – Besty Oct 21 '14 at 5:13
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No.

Drinking a potion is explicitly an action.

Healing Potion:.... Drinking or administering a potion takes an action (PHB 153)

You can draw the potion as a part of the action that you use to drink it, but you cannot drink it as a free action.

However, it takes an action and cannot be used with the Rogue's Fast Hands ability per the DMG(p141):

If an item requires an action to activate, that action isn't a function of the Use an Item action, so a feature such as rogue's Fast Hands can't be used to activate the item.

Thus you don't have 2 instances of interact with object going on, you have 1 interact with object (drawing the potion), and a second action that is specific to the magic item in question. This is quite different from two instances of interact with object.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Apparently the DMG is going to clarify that using magic items is specifically not part of Use an Object. So using a potion is not covered by the thief ability Fast Hands. The thief can still drop caltrops or marbles with fast hands, but that's about it. \$\endgroup\$ – Eric Oct 23 '14 at 16:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Or, sleight of hand a potion into a flask of ale, and unexpectedly drink both as a free action? \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Oct 24 '14 at 2:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @YogoZuno Um...probably not at my table :) \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Oct 24 '14 at 2:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Indeed, the DMG now states (p. 141), "If an item requires an action to activate, that action isn't a function of the Use an Item action, so a feature such as rogue's Fast Hands can't be used to activate the item." (It might be worth updating the answer now that the DMG is out?) \$\endgroup\$ – PurpleVermont Apr 25 '15 at 2:13
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Assuming the player has not used their free object interaction that turn they can fish a potion out, then drink it with the Use an Object action. If a thief does this they can do it as a bonus action.

The reason for this is because none of the gear in the equipment section refers to Use an Object. However, the Use an Object action in the combat section says, "When an object requires your action for its use, you take the Use an Object action."

As an example.

A character that has not used their free object interaction to stow or draw a weapon that turn may use that interaction to retrieve a potion from their backpack. With the potion in hand they can use their action to Use an Object, drinking the potion.

A thief can Use an Object as a bonus action, allowing them to both drink a potion and attack on the same turn, provided they started the turn with a weapon in their non-potion hand.

edit Apparently the DMG is going to clarify that using magic items is specifically not part of Use an Object. So using a potion is not covered by the thief ability Fast Hands.

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