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The Mage Hand spell states that

You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it.

The Rogue Archetype Arcane Trickster gets Versatile trickster at 13th level, and it says

You gain the ability to distract targets with your mage hand. As a bonus action on your turn, you can designate a creature within 5 feet of the spectral hand created by the spell. Doing so gives you advantage on attack rolls against that creature until the end of the turn.

If I have Versatile Trickster, can I move the hand up to 30 feet and then use it to gain advantage against a creature 5 feet away from it with the same bonus action?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This looks like your first post here, so Welcome to the RPG Stack Exchange! If you haven't already, please take a look at this nifty tour so you can see how stuff works. If it's alright, I'm going to tidy up your question a little bit so it can be answered better, okay? \$\endgroup\$ – Javelin Jan 26 '16 at 22:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ If none of the answers are satisfying can you please clarify what your question is. \$\endgroup\$ – name moniker Mar 19 '16 at 20:24
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NO

Explanation:
Here are the two definitions and an explanation below:

Mage Hand (PHB pg. 256)

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet

The hand vanishes if it is ever more than 30 feet away from you or if you cast this spell again. You can use your action to control the hand. You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it.

Versatile Trickster (PHB pg. 98)

As a bonus action on your turn, you can designate a creature within 5 feet of the spectral hand. Doing so gives you advantage on attack rolls against that creature until the end of the turn.

While the casting of the spell takes an action, and would normally take an action to use/move around, with Versatile Trickster, you can instead move the spectral, floating hand around an enemy as a bonus action that is within five feet of the floating hand already. The bonus action only ever allows you to distract your target, not to move it a whole 30 feet away. However, you can still use your action to move it 30 feet and THEN use your bonus action to distract the opponent.


So then you might ask, "Then how do I get a hit off before the end of the turn." Well, you just have to position the hand before-... beforehand... And then on the next turn, assuming that the target doesn't move away and you haven't attacked, you can just use the bonus action to distract and your action to attack. If you need to run up to your target, you still have your movement to move up and away.

Mage Hand Legerdemain (PHB pg. 98)

Starting at 3rd level, when you cast mage hand, you can make the spectral hand invisible, and you can perform the following additional tasks with it:
• You can stow one object the hand is holding in a container worn or carried by another creature.
• You can retrieve an object in a container worn or carried by another creature.
• You can use thieves’ tools to pick locks and disarm traps at range.
You can perform one o f these tasks without being noticed by a creature if you succeed on a Dexterity (Sleight o f Hand) check contested by the creature’s Wisdom (Perception) check. In addition, you can use the bonus action granted by your Cunning Action to control the hand.

Cunning Action (PHB pg. 96)

Starting at 2nd level, your quick thinking and agility allow you to move and act quickly. You can take a bonus action on each of your turns in combat. This action can be used only to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.

Bonus Actions (PHB pg. 189)

Various class features, spells, and other abilities let you take an additional action on your turn called a bonus action. The Cunning Action feature, for example, allows a rogue to take a bonus action. You can take a bonus action only when a special ability, spell, or other feature of the game states that you can do something as a bonus action. You otherwise don’t have a bonus action to take. You can take only one bonus action on your turn, so you must choose which bonus action to use when you have more than one available. You choose when to take a bonus action during your turn, unless the bonus action’s timing is specified, and anything that deprives you of your ability to take actions also prevents you from taking a bonus action.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 28 '16 at 13:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ This primary argument for no should be at the top: It takes a bonus action to use the hand (move it into position), and a bonus action to designate the target. Done and Done. \$\endgroup\$ – ohmusama Jan 28 '16 at 21:55
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Yes

According to the wording of the spell (PHB 256)and the rogue ability Mage hand legerdemain (PHB 98), which allows the rogue to use cunning action to turn using the Mage hand into a bonus action (last line of MHL refers to CA which is on page 96), as long as the hand is within 30 feet of the PC and the AT uses the hands abilities listed in Mage hand, Mage hand legerdemain, or Versatile Trickster the hand may be moved up to 30 feet as part of what ever action or bonus action is moving it (i.e. it is equivalent to attempting to lock pick with the hand that is 15 feet away from a lock: you are allowed to move the hand 15 feet towards the lock perform a bonus action and then use the remaining 15 feet of movement to bring your lock picks back to you). For how to perform movement please refer to pages 190 and 191

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What makes you think that the text "You can use your action to control the hand. You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it" means that you get an additional 30 feet as part of the action that moves it? You get an action, on your turn, to move it 30 feet. You do so. Then you use the ability to distract your target. That's your bonus action for that turn. Now, with what action are you making your attack on this turn? You've already used your regular action to move the hand and your bonus action to trigger Versatile Trickster. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Jan 27 '16 at 19:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LegendaryDude the Arcane trickster third level ability turns all actions that you would perform with the Mage hand into bonus actions (PHB page 98) and based on the dictionary definition of a "Clause" (you can search online for it yourself if you want) the second sentence that you provided is distinct from first and therefor any "use" of the Hand to perform an action (or a bonus action if one has the third level AT ability Mage hand legerdemain which a 13th lv AT does have) they are allowed to also perform "movement" (as defined on pages 190-1 of the PHB) with the hand. \$\endgroup\$ – name moniker Jan 27 '16 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not seeing the text that allows for "the Arcane trickster third level ability turns all actions that you would perform with the Mage hand into bonus actions." And even if that is the case, there is still the issue of only one bonus action per turn (PHB pg. 189). Additionally, if that specific text is required to support your answer, you should include it in your answer. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Jan 27 '16 at 21:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ VT does not need to specifically expand upon MHL because it expands MH directly. This is easily resolved by just one question. "Are you using the Mage Hand when you use Versatile Trickster"? If yes, then you can move the Hand as part of this use. If not, then you run into the question of how does VT do what it does without using the Hand. \$\endgroup\$ – Pitzy Jan 28 '16 at 7:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note: Quoting short sections of D&D rules is OK. Just keep it to the specifically necessary elements for your point, don't mass-post whole sections. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 28 '16 at 13:12
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Yes, you can move Mage Hand via Versatile Trickster.

Versatile Trickster expands upon Mage Hand, providing the Arcane Trickster with a new way to use the Hand. It basically allows you a very specific use of the Hand as a bonus action. Anybody that argues against this would run into the wall that reads "If Versatile Trickster is not a use of Mage Hand, then how does Versatile Trickster relate to Mage Hand?".

The real question, I think, is how useful will this be to you. This now is open to some interpretation, and here are the possibilities that I'm seeing right now (I personally go by No. 2):

  1. The caster decides whether to move the Hand before or after the use.
  2. The caster can decide to use the Hand at any point during its move.
  3. Move first, use after.
  4. Use first, move after.

Interpretations 1, 2, and 3 are in your favor, as it allows you to move the Hand to your target. Interpretation 4 will suck hard as it will require that the Hand already be adjacent to the target for it to be useful to you.


To expand on how I figure this out in my head:

  1. Was the Trickster in control of the Mage Hand? Yes, she cast it.
  2. Did the Trickster use the Mage Hand? Yes, via Versatile Trickster.
  3. Was it a rules-legal use of the Mage Hand? Yes, the ability writes so.
  4. Can the Mage Hand be moved when it is used? Yes, the spell writes so.
  5. What is the order of the use and the movement? It is unclear, but since the wording of Mage Hand implies causality, it is probably use first, move later.
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NO

Mage Hand

Let's first look at mage hand (PHB 256). This is a spell which, when active, allows you to:

You can use your action to control the hand. You can use the hand to manipulate an object, open an unlocked door or container, stow or retrieve an item from an open container, or pour the contents out of a vial. You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it.

So, here is my reading. This is granting an action called "control the hand", same as any other action. When you choose this action, you can "use" the hand to perform one of a variety of tasks. Additionally, as part of the same paragraph granting this action, when "using" the hand it may be moved up to 30 feet. By being in the same paragraph and echoing the same verb "use" as the previous sentence, this movement should be read as a direct effect of the action, and not as a triggered effect.

Mage Hand Legerdemain

Let's now examine Mage Hand Legerdemain (MHL, PHB 98). This is important, because this ability is worded in order to specifically enhance mage hand:

... you can perform the following additional tasks with [the hand]:

Additionally, it also modifies Cunning Action (CA):

In addition, you can use the bonus action granted by your Cunning Action to control the hand.

So why is MHL important to this question? Because it provides evidence of a very specific language that is used when the authors wish to modify an existent action. MHL grants "additional tasks" with the hand, not "additional actions". And when it modifies CA, it specifically calls the action "control the hand", which is the exact language used in mage hand to label the same action.

So, at this point, you have a single action, "control the hand". Due to MHL, this "control the hand" action may be used as a bonus action under CA. There are a variety of tasks which can be performed when you use this action, some granted by mage hand and some by MHL. Additionally, when you use the "control the hand" action, you can move the hand 30 feet.

Versatile Trickster

Finally, let's examine Versatile Trickster (VT, PHB 98). This ability reads completely differently from MHL, which is on the very same page. Specifically, it grants a new bonus action, which is unrelated to the "control the hand" action and Cunning Action. Why do I know this? Because MHL shows the language they use to modify the "control the hand" action, and VT does not use that language. It does use the same language used to grant a new action to a player.

So, what does this new action do? It allows you to:

designate a creature within 5 feet of the spectral hand created by the spell. Doing so gives you advantage on attack rolls against that creature until the end of the turn.

Well, that doesn't sound like a new "task" for the "control the hand" action, does it? It sounds like a targeted ability. What happens when we select this target? We gain advantage. Interesting; no mention of the "control the hand" action nor of Cunning Action in relation to this action. (Remember, it's CA that allows you to use the "control the hand" action as a bonus action.)

Thus, my reading is that VT is granting a new bonus action that is separate and distinct from the "control the hand" action. And, since moving the hand is directly tied to the "control the hand" action, this separate action granted by VT does not allow you to move the hand.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! If you haven't, you can go ahead and check out the tour. You do seem to have the idea down, though. Great first answer! \$\endgroup\$ – Lost_in_Hyrule Jan 29 '16 at 14:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ this has been pointed out elsewhere, but the interpretation that "it" in the last sentence of Mage Hand (PHB page 256) is the "action" is not grammatically correct as it would read: "You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use "to use the Mage Hand"." instead it must be read: "You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use "the Mage Hand"." \$\endgroup\$ – name moniker Jan 29 '16 at 22:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @namemoniker Nonesense. "You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use the action". Regardless, I did not mention that in this answer, so I'm not quite sure why you're commenting on this answer with it. \$\endgroup\$ – jdmichal Jan 29 '16 at 22:34
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The Mage Hand spell explicitly says that "you can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it" (PHB p.256). Versatile Trickster is certainly a usage of Mage Hand, and therefore it comes with 30 feet of movement.

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Yes, but it is pointless.

Because you can't make any attacks against the creature this turn.

It takes an Action to move the hand and a Bonus Action to distract the target. You only have one Action per turn and you've used it to move the hand, so you can't attack.

You could use your Bonus Action to move the hand (from the Mage Hand Legerdemain feature) and use your Action to attack, but then you don't get Advantage from Versatile Trickster (which is what the questioner is asking for).

However...

If your character is a multiclassed fighter then you can do this using Action Surge. On one round: cast mage hand. On a subsequent round: use Action Surge then move the hand (Action) and distract the target (Bonus Action) and attack with advantage (Action).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Arcane Tricksters can utilize mage hand as a bonus action. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Stucki Jan 27 '16 at 1:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Derek Stuki, true, but you can't do that in this situation because you need the Bonus Action for Versatile Trickster. If you used your Bonus Action to move the hand you could then use your Action to Attack but you wouldn't get Advantage on the attack. \$\endgroup\$ – Greenstone Walker Jan 27 '16 at 3:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, the Versatile Trickster feature does not allow you to move the hand. The target must be within 5 ft of the hand. \$\endgroup\$ – Greenstone Walker Jan 27 '16 at 3:15
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Yes.

You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it.

I don't see why Versatile Trickster would not qualify as a use of the Mage Hand. If Versatile Trickster was an exception to this rule, the PHB would have to (and probably would) explicitly mention this. The "within 5 feet of the spectral hand" has been added to clarify that you can use it against someone 35 feet away (because it vanishes if ever more than 30 feet away from you).

Assuming Mage Hand is already cast and in the same square as you are, as an Arcane Trickster you can, with your bonus action, move the hand 30 feet in front of the target AND use VT, then yourself move 30 feet (if your speed allows) and attack it with advantage.

So yes, essentially, VT allows the AT to make one attack with advantage every turn.

I think that this 13th level ability is designed to allow an Arcane Trickster to use the Rogue's most important ability, sneak attack, in normal combat (i.e. without being hidden or other ways to get advantage) even when no team mate is available to grant him use of sneak attack. Also note that only the Arcane Trickster gets the advantage from VT, and nobody else.

Although not official, Sage Advice agrees: https://www.sageadvice.eu/sage-advice-answer/comment-page-48/

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    \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't your last sentence mean that your answer to the question “can I move the hand up to 30 feet and then use it to gain advantage against a creature 5 feet away from it with the same bonus action” is no, not yes? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 10 '16 at 0:36
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