Bonus actions: if a feature says you can do X as a bonus action if you do Y, you must do Y before you can do X

7 thoughts on “Bonus actions: if a feature says you can do X as a bonus action if you do Y, you must do Y before you can do X

    • I agree. At the very least, SM should either be reworded (or excepted by clarification via SA, though obviously that isn’t going to happen vis-a-vis Crawford’s responses) or “nestling”, when a given requisite has multiple aspects (such as with a character with multi-attack), the first attack meets the requirement for “x” feat (SM, in this case). Also, the rationale of the shove being a “finishing” move is patently ridiculous both on cinematic and real-world levels: knocking someone down as an initial “go” followed by one or more immediate attacks is totally legitimate.

  1. Rodrigo says:

    Mr Jeremy

    I think that 5e should, just like it do on actions, make some separation between bonus actions and bonus attacks. For example, a shield master lvl 20 fighter should be able to shove and attack in any order. Even before attack, but only, if someone uses a “bonus attack” that he can do as bonus for any reason (like shove, off hand attacks, even flurry of blows) he cannot uses it’s action to anything else but attack, for bonus attack should be always part of a regular attack, even if you do it before the attack action. If a kensei monk that is able to make 2 shots with it’s bow, and then 2 unarmed attack ith flurry, why he cannot make the 2 atks before the shots, it just should be allowed, just like the paladin or fighter that tries to shove with shield master before the attacks.

  2. JMM says:

    I just want to know if I can put a bonus action between my attack and my extra attack.

    My specific example is as an Eldritch Knight, can I throw a magic dagger (Attack), use my Bonded Weapon feature (bonus action) to recall my dagger, and make my second attack (Extra Attack).

  3. JC’s logic completely escapes me, particularly concerning the application for a feat like Shield Master. Given all the relevant information from the PHB, if in his tweet (11 May 1:33) his intent in denying the intervention of a BA (a la Shield Master) lies in the lack of an applicable trigger, then he ends up saying the opposite of what he means. Consider in the PHB Ch. 9, the concepts discussed are defined as the “actions” that make up a turn of combat, and this of course includes “Attack” (I won’t even get into the problem of using the very word “attack” as a non-action to define “attack” as being an action). Now, the Attack entry p.192 clearly references “Making an Attack” (p.193f) as defining the steps comprising the attack action:

    1. Choose a target. Pick a target within your attack’s range: a creature, an object, or a location.
    2. Determine modifiers. The GM determines whether the target has cover and whether you have advantage or disadvantage against the target. In addition, Spells, Special Abilities, and other effects can apply penalties or bonuses to your Attack roll.
    3. Resolve the Attack. You make the Attack roll. On a hit, you roll damage, unless the particular Attack has rules that specify otherwise. Some attacks cause Special effects in addition to or instead of damage.

    Full stop. The PHB text reads that you resolve an executed attack (action) made with a given method/weapon for which you made an attack roll. By these mechanics, Extra Attack becomes its own attack with its own three-step procession and attack roll quite independent of the attack preceding it, BECAUSE THAT’S HOW THE BOOK DEFINES AN ATTACK. It follows from this that JC’s trigger condition, at least of the kind for Shield Master, is in fact met after the first attack’s resolution, and the BA can be executed prior to an Extra Attack.

    • Devon B. says:

      The ‘attack action’ section references the ‘making an attack’ section with the following: “With this action, you make one melee or ranged attack. See the “Making an Attack” section for the rules that govern attacks.”
      An attack action is made up of attacks, which are stated under another section, to make it clear that ‘the attack action’ and ‘an attack’ are related, but distinct concepts. In addition, the attack action section finishes by stating, “Certain features, such as the Extra Attack feature of the fighter, allow you to make more than one attack with this action.”
      This means the action is expanded with multiple attacks. The action is not complete until after its individual components are complete. You can no more interpose the bonus action awarded via the shield master feat between attacks granted by features such as the extra attack feature than you could between the first and second step of making an attack. It’s all one action, which the feat requires before it grants its bonus action.
      This is not how real life works, granted. It may be confusing if you put it into that context. This is why it’s important to dissociate the mechanics and rules (and story, for the most part) of games from real world parallels. Games work the way they work. You’re free to house-rule it at your private games, but officially, this is how it works.
      It’s also important to remember, it’s just a game. Even in the unlikely event that this change in ruling somehow invalidates your character, and you and your friends all lose your characters in a fight that somehow relied on being able to give yourself advantage on an attack roll, and the campaign ends with your deaths, you can just make new characters, and play a new campaign! Everyone is still okay, you just had a different end to the story than everyone expected, which is absolutely okay.

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