3e SRD:Special Initiative Actions

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Special Initiative Actions


When a character delays, the character voluntarily reduces its own initiative result for the rest of the combat. When a character's new, lower initiative count comes up later in the same round, the character can act normally. A character can specify this new initiative result or just wait until some time later in the round and act then, thus fixing the character's new initiative count at that point.

If multiple characters are delaying, the one with the highest initiative bonus (or highest Dexterity, in case of a tie) has the advantage. If two or more delaying characters both want to act on the same initiative count, the one with the highest bonus gets to go first. If two or more delaying characters are trying to go after the other, the one with the highest initiative bonus gets to go last.

Initiative Consequences of Delaying

A character can only voluntarily lower its initiative to –10 minus its initiative bonus. When the initiative count reaches –10 minus a delaying character's initiative bonus, that character must act or forfeit any action that round.


The ready action lets a character prepare to take an action later, after a character's turn is over but before a character's next one has begun. Readying is a standard action, so a character can move as well. It does not provoke an attack of opportunity (though the action that a character readies might do so).

Readying an Action

Only partial actions can be readied. See the table in the description of "Start full round action" for a list of standard partial actions. Specify the partial action a character will take and the conditions under which it will be taken. When those conditions are met, the character may take the readied partial action. The partial action comes before the action that triggers it. For the rest of the fight, the character's initiative result is the count on which the character took the readied action, and the character acts immediately ahead of the character whose action triggered the readied action.

Initiative Consequences of Readying

If the character takes the readied action into a subsequent round, and the conditions are met before the character's normal initiative, the character's initiative rises to that new point in the order of battle, the character may take the readied action, and whether that action is taken or not, the character does not get a regular action that round.

Distracting Spellcasters

A character can ready an attack against a spellcaster with the trigger "if she starts casting a spell." If a character succeeds in damaging the spellcaster or otherwise distracting the spellcaster, the spellcaster may lose the spell the spellcaster was trying to cast (as determined by the Concentration check result).

Readying to Counterspell

A character may ready a counterspell against a spellcaster (often with the trigger "if she starts casting a spell"). In this case, when the spellcaster starts a spell, a character get a chance to identify it with a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + spell level). If a character does, and if the character can cast that same spell (is able to cast it and has it prepared, if a character prepares spells), the character can cast the spell as a counterspell and automatically ruin the other spellcaster's spell. Counterspell works even if one spell is divine and the other arcane.

A spellcaster can use dispel magic to counterspell another spellcaster, but it doesn't always work.

Readying a Weapon against a Charge

A target can ready certain piercing weapons, setting them to receive charges by using the ready action against receiving a charge. A weapon of this type deals double damage if the readied attack is successful.


Refocus is a full-round action during which a character cannot move. The character moves up in the initiative count and is positioned as though it had rolled a 20 on the initiative check. Other modifiers (such as for Dexterity and for the Improved Initiative feat) also apply to this roll of 20 when determining the new initiative check result.

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