When the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger. (PHB, Ch9, Actions in Combat)

Does that mean that by ignoring the trigger you don't take reaction, and therefore can take it the next time the trigger occurs? Or is your readied action wasted?

E.g. a mage is ready to blast any enemy charging through the door, but it's just a lowly xvart. Can she skip to the next one?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Please take the tour when you get a chance. This should really be split into two separate questions; while both are about the triggering of readied actions, they're still not very related. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Feb 19 '16 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome! Yes, we have a one-post, one-question site. Posting two different questions about the same subject is great, but they do need to be in separate posts so we can keep each of their sets of answers clear and on-topic. I've removed the second question from this post, but I encourage you to post it as a new question—if you want to copy and paste the text for a new question post, you can see the removed text in the edit history in that link, or by clicking “edited [time] ago” under this post. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 19 '16 at 16:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage, SevenSidedDie Thanks for the warm welcome! Sorry, I'll try to conform better next time. \$\endgroup\$ – Nerdrage Feb 20 '16 at 19:41

If the you ignore a trigger, you don't have to ignore subsequent triggers.

In the example in the question, the mage can opt not to blast any of the triggering enemies without restricting her ability to blast other triggering enemies later in the round.

Looking at the rules, there's nothing that says a character can't react to a trigger after ignoring an earlier trigger. The rule cited in the question applies every time a triggering event occurs, and as long as the character still has not taken a reaction, they can choose to use it or ignore the trigger.

The character is bound by the circumstance they chose to trigger their reaction, however. If the mage declared she would "blast the first thing that comes through the door", then that's the limit of what will trigger her reaction.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So do you think the freedom to skip should be counterbalanced by asking for very specific triggers? \$\endgroup\$ – Nerdrage Feb 20 '16 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the circumstances a player gives for triggering readied actions should be simple, but not necessarily specific. Ultimately this is up to the DM; if the players are getting tricky with Ready triggers in ways that seem abusive, they can put whatever limits in place they feel are necessary. And, of course, the monsters and NPCs the players are fighting with can use the same tactics against the players. \$\endgroup\$ – Marq Feb 20 '16 at 20:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Its not really possible to make this abusive. You burn an action and reaction for something that might happen. A player can be as specific as they want so long as they have a trigger condition that is metc nothing the in the phb restricts the ready action from being creative or advantageous. Example, i use ready actions on casters to force concentration checks due to damage. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Feb 23 '16 at 22:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer should be marked correct. Reading the rules literally should make it clear: "When the trigger occurs" is all it says. Did the trigger occur? Then you can react to it or ignore it. Did it occur again? Then you can react to it or ignore it again. When the trigger occurs, you can take your reaction or ignore it. \$\endgroup\$ – Xavier Lebec Nov 19 '17 at 23:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @XavierLebec You're reading rules that aren't there. There is nothing about "did it occur again?" — just choose a triggering and a straightforward either act or ignore when it happens. If you ignore, there are no rules providing for acting again. \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Apr 3 at 17:04

It means that you can take the readied action as a reaction after the trigger occurs, or not. If you ignore the trigger, you then forgo your readied action. You can ready again on your next turn. The language seems weird, but it's intent is to specify that when the trigger occurs, you don't HAVE to take your readied action. If circumstances have changed, you can choose to not take your readied action after all.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ This seems to be a reasonable interpretation, but so does the opposite answer seem a reasonable interpretation. Do you think you could add anything to this answer that would explicitly argue for this interpretation being better/more true/officially intended/more correct/etc. than the alternative? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 19 '16 at 16:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Offering the opportunity to "ignore the trigger" is all the rules have to say on the matter. Any disagreement about what that means will be up to the DM to adjudicate. In the example provided by the OP above, it would really depend on the trigger explained by the player, and the adjudication of what that means by the DM. If the player said, for example, "I ready a fire bolt to blast the first enemy that comes through the door," then I wouldn't allow the player to "hold" their readied action if the first enemy doesn't happen to be one that they want to attack. \$\endgroup\$ – Red Wullf Feb 19 '16 at 16:38
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Just a thought on the matter, after pondering it for a bit: The rules say you can take your reaction or ignore the trigger. By offering no additional information, this strongly implies that you can't take another trigger, or change your trigger if you choose to ignore the first one. I think the rules would say so, if that were the case. The player is given two options when the trigger occurs, and that's it. \$\endgroup\$ – Red Wullf Feb 19 '16 at 18:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you have further thoughts, they're just going to be lost if they're left in comments. If any of that is useful as part of your answer, please use the edit button to revise it to include your full reasoning! (But FYI: avoid edit markers in the text; we have a history feature to handle that and text markers just adds noise to posts.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 19 '16 at 18:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RedWullf I didn't sense this strong implication, that's why I asked. Don't you think that if you had only one chance the rules would warn you? \$\endgroup\$ – Nerdrage Feb 20 '16 at 19:56

I'm leaning towards there is only one trigger camp

When the trigger occurs, ... or ignore the trigger

Which you can contrast with:

When a trigger occurs, ... or ignore that trigger

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ That wording contrast would only be used if the Ready action could have multiple different triggers defined. "A" is always grammatically incorrect for one trigger, whether it checks once or multiple times. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 20 '16 at 18:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.