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I seem to have misunderstood the mounted combat rules. Reading them again it seems that the mount and rider are treated as separate entities but share initiative (this assumes a controlled mount, not an independent one).

So the question is: Can a mounted character move using the mount's movement, then the mounted character attacks, then the mount uses a dash action to move away?

(Note: I previously assumed that the mounted character would have to use his action to use the dash or dodge feature if the mount.)

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Yes, you can, and with even more versatility than you thought.

Unlike previous editions or some other games, movement is not a type of action in D&D 5e. It is a resource that you use, almost like a currency that you spend. At the beginning of your turn, you have movement to use equal to your speed. Think of this as a deposit into your account. You can use (spend) movement at any time during your turn, in any amount you have left, any number of times. In between using (spending) movement, you can do anything that your character is capable of, including making attacks, using bonus actions, etc. If you don't have any movement left (account balance of 0), you can't move any more. After the end of your turn, any remaining movement is gone (the account is zeroed).

Using the Dash action increases the amount of movement available that turn by an amount equal to your speed. It's as if another deposit has been made. Therefore, you don't use your Dash to move, you just are able to move more because you Dashed. You can do this at the beginning of your turn, after using some of your movement, or after using all of it.

Now, how does this apply to mounts? Your mount gets a deposit equal to its speed at the beginning of your turn, and you get to direct it how, where, and when to spend that movement, as if it were your own. You can also direct the mount to use the Dash action (no action required on your part), which makes an additional deposit into its movement account. As long as the mount's movement account has movement in it, you can direct it to move as you wish, as many times as you wish, doing anything that your character is capable of in between each movement.

Note: this answer has been contradicted by a Crawford tweet since written.

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No, the mount acts on its own turn

Controlled mount

The PHB describes the rules for mounted combat. In them it describes that a controlled mount has an initiative that is the same as the rider's:

The initiative of a controlled mount changes to match yours when you mount it.

However, this does not mean that they act on the same turn. The mount gets its own turn but the rules make it so that it acts on the same initiative count as you.

Jeremy Crawford has clarified and agreed with this here:

A controlled mount has its own turn, but that turn takes place on the same initiative count as the rider’s turn.

and here:

A rider and a controlled mount have separate turns, but they have the same initiative, which means you decide which one goes first.

(see this answer for more on this)

That means that, on the mount's turn, it can take the actions that are allowed it by the rules:

It moves as you direct it, and it has only three action options: Dash, Disengage, and Dodge. A controlled mount can move and act even on the turn that you mount it.

However, because it has its own turn, it would be impossible for the mount to move then have the mounted character attack then have the mount dash away (unless the rider readies an action to do so off of some trigger on the mount's turn). This would require the mount to have a turn to move, then have the mounted character take a turn to attack, then have the mount have another turn to dash away after.1

Independent mount

The same rulings and logic above applies to an independent mount.

An independent mount retains its place in the initiative order.

So the mount still has its own turns. The only difference is that the independent mount is not restricted in what actions it could take.

Bearing a rider puts no restrictions on the actions the mount can take, and it moves and acts as it wishes. It might flee from combat, rush to attack and devour a badly injured foe, or otherwise act against your wishes.

Actually there is one other major difference: the DM technically controls the mount if it is acting independently. Per Jeremy Crawford:

If your character's mount acts independently, the DM decides whether you control the mount or the DM does. The main things about an independent mount are that (a) it gets a full turn on its own initiative and (b) it might act unexpectedly.


1 - It is also worth noting that dash just increases the movement that is available and is does not actually move the mount anywhere without spending that movement.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thoroughly researched and correct answer. The one thing I'd add is that it is possible for a rider to attack during the mount's turn, if the rider used a ready action during his/her turn, and declared the trigger for the attack to be when an enemy was in range. But this would stop you from using Extra Attack (which only works on your turn), and also cost your Reaction. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Mar 11 '18 at 22:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Gandalfmeansme: Good point. I had only considered the mount taking the ready action (which they can't do while controlled) and not the other way around. I've added it. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 12 '18 at 13:27
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My reading of the mounted combat rules (for a Controlled Mount) is that the mount has its normal movement, and can take one of 3 actions. Dash, Disengage, or Dodge.

The mount can be moved, the character can attack, and the mount can dash away. However, you will provoke an opportunity attack if you do not use disengage (and the creature can target you or the mount.)

See PHB pg. 198

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The find steed spell allows you to summon an intelligent mount. Everyone is trying to use their character's readied action to attack; why not flip the script?

A trained steed or a Intelligent steed, acting on its own turn, can ready an action. Ready Actions use up your action, but you still get movement.

The steed can move you into range, and ready its action triggered to dash away after your turn. (Ready action is either a single action or movement.) Utilizing a reach weapon (I.E. Lance, bardiche, etc.), the horse can effectively do "drive-by attacks", pushing you into range, allowing your attacks / bonus attacks / action surges - and at the end of your turn it moves away.

If the horse is trained, it can be trained to keep a 5-foot gap between it and the enemy, then continue in a straight line beyond the target after its rider completes its attack (Jousting). Or it takes the defensive action in the event of a melee brawl. If it is an intelligent mount, the mount can choose the best course of action.

Cavalry mounts were trained to be steered and controlled using nothing more than spurs and weight shifts of the knight utilizing them. Which means the mount does not have to necessarily understand a language to receive commands about what it is supposed to do on it's turn. Whether or not it follows those commands depends on the handler and the conditioning of the horse. So, assuming the rider chooses to go 2nd, he can use his knees and spurs to give commands to the horse about what it supposed to do on it's next turn (which, if you want to force some kind of action, the knight has to use his movement to appropriately wiggle his knees and spurs against his horse to relay said info).

Onto which goes first...

The initiative of a controlled mount changes to match yours when you mount it.

This means that on your turn you "Control" and "Release" the mount to reset its initiative. And then you let your mount act first (yielding initiative to your mount since your initiatives take place at the same time).

If a tie occurs, the DM decides the order among tied DM-controlled creatures, and the players decide the order among their tied characters. The DM can decide the order if the tie is between a monster and a player character. Optionally, the DM can have the tied characters and monsters each roll a d20 to determine the order, highest roll going first.

So it's up to the DM to determine if it will be the mount, or you, using their reaction. Is the mount considered a player-tiered character or monster...

Just food for thought. Basically it comes down to the rider micromanaging the mount or giving general instructions for the mount to act on it's own accord. A Draft horse would likely run away or get spooked if it got too close to hostile creatures if left to it's own devices, which is a reason for there to be a distinction between a draft horse and a war horse.

So long as an intelligent mount has been trained, initiatives can be matched.

Alternatively, you can have your druid Wild Shape to be your mount... whistles innocently


Resetting the initiative on intelligent mounts:

RAW says, under Controlling a Mount (from PHB, pg. 198):

You can control a mount only if it has been trained to accept a rider.

Which means that if you are using an intelligent mount that HAS NOT been specifically trained to act as a mount, it will act on it's own initiative. But if you and the intelligent mount train together, you can achieve "Mount Control", thus allowing you to reset the initiative. Find steed has this built in - but using something like a Dragon, does not (unless you and the DM work it in).

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Pretty much, however, there are some nuances that you haven't considered.

A controlled mount gets 3 things it can do with its action Dash, Disengage or Dodge and it has a movement allowance; let's use a concrete example - a riding horse has a speed of 60 feet.

The mount can move up to 60 feet and at any time during that movement you can take your action/bonus action and it can take its. For example, if you are a fighter with extra attack (say for 2 attacks) and using two-weapon fighting; you could have the mount move 10 feet, attack, move 20 feet, attack, move 10 feet, two-weapon fighting attack and move the remaining 20 feet.

If the mount took the Disengage action then this movement would not provoke opportunity attacks. If it instead took Dash, you or it would be subject to opportunity attacks but could move another 60 feet. If it took Dodge again, you or it would be subject to opportunity attacks but those against the mount would have disadvantage.

Note that an intelligent mount (whatever that means at your table) can never be controlled. It always acts on its turn and has the full range of action options available to it. It does mean that you can't do the cool cavalry charge thing described above because the mount doesn't move on your turn. Creative use of Ready actions aside.

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Jeremy Crawford continues to confuse me. :)

He tweeted in early 2017:

A rider and a controlled mount have separate turns, but they have the same initiative, which means you decide which one goes first.

But in Dragon Talk interview with him in February 2018 about mounted combat (the relevant portion starts at 19:10), he says:

If you control the mount, the creature's initiative changes to your initiative. You're now acting as a unit. It still has a turn, but its turn basically overlaps with yours. It gets its move. And [...] it's moving on your turn, so then far easier for your character to coordinate with the mount. Its movement is taking place on your turn, and its action options are limited [...] its only actions are Dash, Disengage and Dodge. And so that means it's not attacking [...] The fact that it can Disengage means it can move without triggering opportunity attacks, and the beauty of it acting on your turn, [...] its turn overlapping with yours, is that then also your movement is still free to use on your turn and all your actions are still available.

So the mount almost becomes a movement and action extension for the rider. So that's a really powerful advantage. Even though the mount is giving up things like attacking and whatnot, you're gaining on your turn all this potential extra movement, and also basically a free - for the mount, at least - Disengage, Dodge, or Dash, and Dash means even more movement.

This contradicts his earlier tweet, and goes further than the PHB.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Since January 30 of 2019, Jeremy's tweets no longer count as official rulings. \$\endgroup\$ – Kuerten Jun 24 at 23:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ A shame Kuerten, as mounted combat or find steed aren't even mentioned in the sage compendium. I trust this is the only source of errata? With that, we've only access to the PHB: "The initiative of a controlled mount changes to match yours when you mount it. It moves as you direct it" Which is kinda open to interpretation, which I detest. \$\endgroup\$ – Belfast Biker Jun 24 at 23:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Errata and the SAC are different. Errata are changes to the rules (or other text from the books) themselves, whereas the Sage Advice Compendium is a set of "official" rulings - i.e. interpretations of the rules and how they interact, not rules themselves. Anyway, the overall "thesis" of your answer seems somewhat unclear; are you arguing that they do share a turn, that they don't share a turn, or (presumably) that the rules are unclear about this? It would help to add a header stating your point, and to expand the answer by citing the rules rather than just Crawford's POV. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 25 at 2:05

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