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One of my players, a monk, decided to ready an action as an earth elemental was about to attack. The trigger was the elemental moving within five feet of him. When this occurred he took his attack action, and then proceeded to take the extra attack as well. I was unsure at the time whether or not the extra attack would also happen and I haven't had much luck figuring it out.

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No

The 'Extra Attack' feature is worded so you only benefit from it when you attack in your turn.

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn

Reacting to something is not in your turn, it's in the turn of the triggering creature.

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No

Extra attack, page 79 for monks says (emphasis mine)

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

The Ready action lets you take the Attack action on someone else's turn, and thus extra attack does not apply.

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I would say, strictly by the rules...it's a shady area. The Monk in question has opted to forgo acting on this round to ready an action on the onset of a trigger. Technically speaking, this would then be their action, but is it their turn? This is really the question. Keep in mind, 5e DnD does not have the same concept of turns as previous versions.

If you look at PHB 189, it says that a round is about 6 seconds, and each participate in battle takes a turn in that round. Since the player has opted to ready an action, but not take their turn, then when the trigger occurs, it becomes their turn. Otherwise, if the trigger does not happen during that round, they forfeit their turn.

So the crux comes down to this: Do you think it would be FUN for your players to be able to use their extra attack during a readied attack, or do you think it would make the game less FUN.

Remember, they are there to have fun. If you think it's too OP, and so do your players, then NO they can't. If the players think it's not OP, but you do, then it comes down to DM's choice. Personally, I want the players to have FUN. You can always fudge the numbers on your end if the bad guys are losing too quickly.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There seems to be a few misconceptions here unless I'm misunderstanding something. The Extra Attack class feature doesn't use a Bonus Action and Bonus Actions can only be taken on your turn. Also Readying an action doesn't work like Delay did in 4e, you don't entirely forgo acting until the trigger, you can still move or use a Bonus Action so it doesn't take up your turn. Your turn starts when your initiative order comes up, - and can consist of one (or more with certain class features) Action, one Bonus Action if permitted, and your movement - not when the trigger happens. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Dec 7 '16 at 5:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleMonkey You are correct, getting Bonus Action and Extra Attack crossed in my head. That being said, PHB 79 states that a Monk can attack twice, instead of once, whenever they take the Attack Action. The PC has technically done just that, taken the attack action. So they should be able to attack twice. Way I see it played out in terms of Role Play is that the Monk attacks so fast, that each hit can land twice, regardless of WHEN they hit. \$\endgroup\$ – Nexmilitis Dec 7 '16 at 6:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Nexmilitis you're omitting the important text of extra attack: …on your turn. The reaction is happening on someone else's turn, and thus extra attack doesn't apply. \$\endgroup\$ – Christopher Dec 7 '16 at 16:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Christopher no, I am arguing that the term "on your turn" still applies to the extra attack. E.g. it is still the Monk's turn, they are using their turn to make the attack, and subsequently, the extra attack. \$\endgroup\$ – Nexmilitis Dec 7 '16 at 21:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Heh, I see you are having a similar idea of what Readied is about. Note, though, that if the player characters have that possibility, then the monsters do too... \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke Dec 8 '16 at 7:53
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If you read the rules as Christopher and Thyzer shows it, then the Ready action contradict itself.

It says that you will be using your Reaction, thus it won't be considered your Action.

[...] you can act later in the round using your reaction.

Yet, in the next paragraph, it clearly says that you can take the Action you chose on your turn (or move.)

[...] you chose the action you will take in response to that trigger, or choose to move up to your speed [...]

So, if you chose the Attack action and since there it says you can take your Extra Attack, I think it is allowed. At least, that's how we play it at our tables.

The fact that you can move your full speed on the trigger also very much sounds like you have the equivalent of a full action at the time the trigger happens. A standard Reaction does not give you that opportunity.

What the rules insist on is the fact that you have a single Reaction. In other words, you won't be able to react to someone going past you and take your ready action reaction. You have to choose one or the other (if your ready action is to attack when a creature comes close enough, then you should use the readied action, obviously.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It does not say "Attack", it says "action". One of my actions includes "Attack"... Otherwise the ready action is totally useless to the fighters and maybe that's what it is about. \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke Dec 7 '16 at 2:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I guess I don't understand where you see a contradiction, then. You take an action your turn: Ready. Later, as a reaction, you take the action (specified when readying) of Attack. You have a class feature called Extra Attack. Extra Attack says when you take the Attack action on your turn you make two attacks. You're not taking the Attack action on your turn, so you don't take two attacks. It's true, that stinks for all martial types. (Honestly, Ready already usually stinks, as it eats your reaction.) But where's the contradiction? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Dec 7 '16 at 2:49

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