View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Ideas for Optional Reaction Rules

2018-11-08, 10:38 AM
So, reactions. Everyone loves 'em, very few people can use 'em, and half the time people forget about 'em. The fact is, apart from the basic Attack of Opportunity, one or two spells, and a few builds specifically geared towards 'em, they're very limited. Readied actions in particular are so situational that I don't think I've ever used one, or even been in a game where someone used one. So here are two possible optional rules I was thinking about implementing that would give more use cases for reactions, along with why I think they make sense.

Readied Bonus Action
Spend a bonus action to ready a bonus action. This acts just like Readied Action, except you can do a bonus action instead. If you have Dash as a bonus action, you can move your move speed; otherwise, you can use any movement you didn't use during your turn as your reaction. If you have an ability that lets you make more attacks using a bonus action which you could have used during your turn, you may make a single attack from that ability as your reaction.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Bonus actions are neat, but there's no way to shift them off-turn like there is for standard actions. Plus, combining this with a typical readied action lets you effectively delay your turn (albeit with fewer attacks), which is very helpful for certain team compositions, without messing up spell durations (which is why delaying your turn isn't present in 5e).

If you spend your action to Anticipate, you get advantage on your next attack roll if you make an Attack of Opportunity before the start of your next turn.
For this one, I feel like adding actions that disincentivize opponents from provoking AOO could allow for some interesting tactics, but it's so situational that I don't think it would be worth making a feat. I would anticipate this being most useful for battlefield-control characters; as an action, they would probably only take it if keeping enemies in check is more important than dealing damage. Honestly, it's pretty weak, but I could see it being useful for someone like a Polearm Master or a Mage Slayer, who have additional ways to use AOOs.

What do you guys think? Do these make sense? Should they be feats instead? Are they broken? Too confusing? Weaksauce? Against the design philosophy of 5e in some way? Already existent elsewhere? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to like share and subscr

Indigo Knight
2018-11-12, 11:04 AM
For me, the problem comes from the framework rather then the options provided. That is to say, the lack of a skill or a feat or a certain roll isn't the issue. In order to 'fix' this there's need to be a revision of combat round economy.

Think of how in AD&D there was a speed modifier for certain actions and weapon and so it derived how many attacks you can enact in a certain moment (to be replaced in 3e by BAB).

That's IMHO.

2018-11-12, 01:09 PM
I think anticipate could instead allow you to ignore the disengage action and make attacks of opportunity anyway.

2018-11-13, 11:58 AM
Anticipate suffers from the exact same problems as the Ready action:
- You are giving up your action (usually casting a spell or making 1+ attacks)
- In exchange, you are getting a provisional action (specifically a weapon attack), but only in response to someone else doing something that triggers the action
- This is almost never a worthwhile exchange in terms of damage or battlefield control

Compared to the Ready action:
- Anticipate is better because you get advantage on your weapon attack
- Anticipate is worse because at least with Ready you could ready other things to do (that is, the Ready action is more flexible)

If you have the means to get a single weapon attack on a bonus action, I suppose getting to ready a bonus action is all right. It's not worth it if you're a monk.

I think you could bundle both of these options together in a feat that also had a +1 to one ability score, and it would be fine - indeed, still probably underpowered relative to other combat feat options.

Anyway, I agree with Indigo Knight: the problem with reactions is the structure of the action economy. Indigo Knight doesn't say so explicitly, but I would go so far as to say that the problem specifically is that reactions are too scarce.

Now, I wouldn't want to give everyone (PCs and NPCs) alike one reaction per turn the way the Cavalier subclass gets one - that would be a serious drag on time - but giving some characters the option, whether through class features or feats or monster statblock abilities, to get an extra reaction per round would be all right.

2018-11-13, 05:27 PM
O F F - T U R N
(I'd put those all on one line, but they'd then come out with only one space between them instead of three (because of some strange automated system))

To clarify: Rogues who dual-wield under your system/houserules could almost double their "normal" DPR with no investment, as they can ready their Bonus Action second attack and use it the moment the next creature in the initiative order's turn begins (remember: Sneak Attack is useable once per TURN, not once per ROUND).