Nested NonTriggered Actions?

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So I have been under what seems to be the false assumption that you cannot initiate a new action in the middle of another before the current one resolves. I thought I recalled an example of a PC not being allowed to use a move action to get to a door, minor to open it, and then continue moving with any movement points left since the minor action effectively ended the move. I also recall more than one thread occuring on this forum about the legality of using something like fey step in mid jump not working since the player would fall first (first move action has to resolve before the new one can start).

But after a discussion with Alcestis and some double checking the RC, it seems no such rule actually exists or is even implied. For completeness sake, I thought I would check to see if anyone knows of something we might have missed (and if not, to help share the info since that assumption seems to have been prevelant).
So I have been under what seems to be the false assumption that you cannot initiate a new action in the middle of another before the current one resolves.

Well... it's not explicit (so I suppose you could start doing so, but you'll open up a big can of worms).

However, it seems  implicit in the PHB/RC language that you cannot take actions simultaneously but must take them "in order". Also, even immediate actions specify when they can interrupt other actions (many immediate actions do not). I would expect the same explicit allowance of move/minor actions before handling them as such.

Also, we wouldn't really need allowances like "You can end your first move in midair if you double move" if we could take a move during a move. And don't get me started on the advantages of taking a standard action (attack) during a move action... stunts like that are meant to be reserved for special powers.

I also recall more than one thread occuring on this forum about the legality of using something like fey step in mid jump not working since the player would fall first (first move action has to resolve before the new one can start).

Discussed here. Also, from the forum FAQ if desired (similar topic): "Can you attack during a jump? Even though, strictly as written the rules do not allow for attacking during a jump, this was apparently not the writer's intent. A DM could either allow it as RAI, or use the DMG p.42 stunt rules to accomplish the exact same thing as a jump attack."
"In order" only applies to move/minor/standard though (it is under structure of a turn). The debate being had was about free actions.
"In order" only applies to move/minor/standard though (it is under structure of a turn). The debate being had was about free actions.

Ah: yes, free actions in the middle of other actions is a good debate. Standard actions in the middle of move actions... not so much.

Okay, I found the "in order" part Alcestis was referring to. Unfortunately, it is not listed in a way to suggest it only applies to standard/move/minor. If anything, it only suggests that all actions during your turn must be "in order," since it is not listed under the standard/move/minor subsection (its listed as its own subheading within the turn, right after the free action heading).

This gives a couple of interpretations that I can think of:
1) "in order" is not an explicit rule, so actions in actions is okay. Supported by how each other section of how a turn works also includes an "in order" section, but those are referring to how the turn owner just gets to choose the order of resolution.
2) "in order" applies to all actions, since it doesn't specify
3) "in order" applies to all actions, BUT only when it is your turn, since it is only specifically mentioned in that location
4: Actions within actions are not specifically allowed, so they are not allowed.  The rules do what they say they do, no more, no less.  So you can move to a door, minor action to open it, then continue moving... by spending your standard to move, charge, or use a power that allows movement.  Ending your movement to use your minor, ends your move action, because the rules have no facility to end it without ending your move action.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Its not the first time this discussion happen and it was last discussed here

Any Order refers to Standard, Move, Minor or Free action and not only to the 3 main actions:


RC 98 The Actions of A Turn:

The Three Main Actions: A creature gets the following three actions on its turn:
    Standard action
    Move action
    Minor action   
Free Actions: The creature can take any number of Free actions on its turn.
Any Order: The creature can take its actions in any order and can skip any of them 
Action Points:  If a character has an Action Point, it can take an extra action on its turn by spending an Action Point as a Free action.  

Ok, I think crisis of faith is averted. Thanks, guys.

@invader: ye, that was always a potential option, but not one of the implicit interpretations on the meaning of "in order" that I was hoping to hash out there. While a good point, I was hoping to avoid that line since there are more than a few official secondary sources that contradict that standard position, both explicitly and implicitly. And if someone interpreted "in order" under position 1 (or a variant where anything ordered, even within eachother, counts as "in order), then along with the secondary sources, it is a reasonable position to hold.

I do feel between the lack of direct RAW as invader noted in 4 to avoid a munchkin fallacy, along with the implied meaning of "in order" supported by the official FAQ question mvincent noted is enough to support either position 2 or 3. And claiming position 3 is weak since it again relies on another instance of a munckin fallacy while ignoring the precedent of "in order" established during your turn.

Awesome, I feel better ;)
the implied meaning of "in order" supported by the official FAQ question mvincent noted

The forum FAQ is not actually official (but is still usually based on many long discussion by rules lawyers, as was this case).

Also (for reference if desired) RC p.197 says: "If an effect has a Trigger and is neither an Immediate Action nor an Opportunity Action, assume that it behaves like an immediate Reaction, waiting for its Trigger to resolves. However, ignore this guideline when the effect has to interrupt its Trigger to function."

Since this covers free actions (regardless of whether its your turn or not), expecting other free actions to normally be "in order" would not seem to be a problem.
Oh, I thought you pulled that from the official FAQ, not the board one. Hrmm. But okay.
the implied meaning of "in order" supported by the official FAQ question mvincent noted

The forum FAQ is not actually official (but is still usually based on many long discussion by rules lawyers, as was this case).

Also (for reference if desired) RC p.197 says: "If an effect has a Trigger and is neither an Immediate Action nor an Opportunity Action, assume that it behaves like an immediate Reaction, waiting for its Trigger to resolves. However, ignore this guideline when the effect has to interrupt its Trigger to function."

Since this covers free actions (regardless of whether its your turn or not), expecting other free actions to normally be "in order" would not seem to be a problem.

Only coveres triggered free actions. There is no RAW for non-triggered free actions, beyond the Warden Dragon article (which says you can take non-triggered free actions in the middle of other actions and is the only definitive published material on the matter).
I have to agree with Alcestis that that section doesn't directly relate, although it does help establish a precedent for a reasonable rule.

That said. @Alcestis: how do you interpret the "in order" text? The section doesn't exclude Free Actions (or imply it isn't meant for them) in the slightest. This seems to leave you with either interpretation 1 ("in order" does not mean a strict sequiential ordering) or 3 (it only applies to your actions on your turn).
I assume you don't hold 1, since after clarification you do not believe regular actions cannot be nested inside eachother.
So unless there was a different interpretaion you had, that seems to leave 3. By strict RAW, that does seem the most likely, but it does have its own issues since it a) requires ignoring the basic precedent/assumptions that apply on your turn normally for actions, and b) still requires what is essentially a munchkin fallacy since you have to make a claim along the lines of "it doesn't say I can't."

As far as the one supporting bit of evidence from the dragon article, either it has to be flat wrong, or it holds to some form of interpretation 1 (since the example is about, IIRC, using the free mark in the middle of a charge on the warden's turn, which violates interpretations 2 and 3).
There is no RAW for non-triggered free actions, beyond the Warden Dragon article (which says you can take non-triggered free actions in the middle of other actions and is the only definitive published material on the matter).

In last April's Podcast, R&D stated that non-triggered Free action were't meant to be taken halfway through another action. Rodney Thompson mentions the Warden article advice that Nature's Wrath could be taken midway through a Charge, to which Jeremy Crawford answers that under the baseline assumtpion, no: Nature's Wrath would either have to be use before or after it because Free action can't Interrupt and only triggered actions can be used in the middle of another action.
 

I won't go into the debates of what RAW says, but I would generally allow non-triggered free actions in the middle of other actions, within reason.  In fact, this must be allowed, otherwise you couldn't do things like use a Longbow with Twin Strike, because loading a Longbow is a free action.
  Also, not allowing free actions to occur during other actions would literally prevent anyone in the world of D&D from walking and talking at the same time.

 As for the OP - the Move - open door -continue move case doesn't work if opening the door is a minor action, unless the character has a utility move power that allows a minor to be taken in the middle of it.   Moving, dropping an object and continuing to move is completely within the scope of allowed actions, in my opinion
 
There is no RAW for non-triggered free actions, beyond the Warden Dragon article (which says you can take non-triggered free actions in the middle of other actions and is the only definitive published material on the matter).

In last April's Podcast, R&D stated that non-triggered Free action were't meant to be taken halfway through another action. Rodney Thompson mentions the Warden article advice that Nature's Wrath could be taken midway through a Charge, to which Jeremy Crawford answers that under the baseline assumtpion, no: Nature's Wrath would either have to be use before or after it because Free action can't Interrupt and only triggered actions can be used in the middle of another action.
 


Podcasts are not rules. . They said they were giving an answer they thought was balanced given the preponderance of non-triggered free actions, that they themselves made, without thinking about the consequences (like being unable to give a battle cry while attacking or, indeed, anyone ever being able to talk at all) rather then the rules.
those three are retards who ought to be fired.

They're responsible for the rules in the first place.

like being unable to give a battle cry while attacking or, indeed, anyone ever being able to talk at all

They talk about that too in the podcast.



Not technically true. They didn't do any of the work on action types/action timing. Yes, they've made game elements (poorly, most of which have been errata'd due to their incompetence, hence my point they ought to be fired), but that isn't really the point.

Yes, they talk about it. They discuss in detail why what they are saying is fundamentally retarded and then stick to it. This is a good argument for listening to them how?
A quibble @Zan: if a power requires a ranged ammo weapon to be reloaded to work, then the reloading is encompassed by the action for the power, regardless of what the regular action required takes to reload. RC 270 under "Load"

Not being able to walk and talk is funny for a couple reasons, but mainly because I have seen so many fail at it. The battle cry thing doesn't bother me in the least though, since if you /really/ want to model it, the free action roar is before the attack (and the snarky one liner is after).

Until (if/when) Alcestis gets the chance to comment on my earlier concerns, I think it is safe (or at the very least, very reasonable) to assume interpretation 2 is the proper one, if only because we should assume the conservative stance when faced with a potential rules gap and avoid what could be a munchkin fallacy by claiming it is allowed purely because the rule is lacking and doesn't say we cannot. That is something I think nearly all can agree is a position that needs to be avoided.
A quibble @Zan: if a power requires a ranged ammo weapon to be reloaded to work, then the reloading is encompassed by the action for the power, regardless of what the regular action required takes to reload. RC 270 under "Load"

Same problem exists with thrown weapons though.
Previously discussed here and here

I was about to bring back the April podcast but i saw mvincent did already. 

Note that the Dragon article is not a Rule Source to redefine actions neither, unless it would specifically address that (the article address Nature's Wrath with the assumption that Free action can interrupt). The author simply went with what he thought was right, and R&D addressed that in the Podcast as well as discussing Dwarven Armor Heal used in a manner to interrupt (which they say you can't)


To conclude:

RAW Free action are not excluded as action that need to be taken in order 
And RAI R&D confirms in a Podcast that Free action cannot be taken during other actions.

 Draw your own conclusions Wink



They didn't do any of the work on action types/action timing. Yes, they've made game elements (poorly, most of which have been errata'd due to their incompetence, hence my point they ought to be fired), but that isn't really the point.

The point being is that they are integral part of R&D, and the whole point of those podcast sections is to provide rules clarifications from official WotC people.

Conversely, I don't believe the writers of the Warden Essentials article (Travis Allison and Eytan Bernstein) were R&D, nor had official license to make clarifications outside of the Warden class. They were merely providing a tip based on an ambigious assumption. The Podcast was far more specific and clear about the subject (and was provided by people that had license to do so).
Previously discussed here and here

I was about to bring back the April podcast but i saw mvincent did already. 

Note that the Dragon article is not a Rule Source to redefine actions neither, unless it would specifically address that (the article address Nature's Wrath with the assumption that Free action can interrupt). The author simply went with what he thought was right, and R&D addressed that in the Podcast as well as discussing Dwarven Armor Heal used in a manner to interrupt (which they say you can't)


To conclude:

RAW Free action are not excluded as action that need to be taken in order 
And RAI R&D confirms in a Podcast that Free action cannot be taken during other actions.

 Draw your own conclusions 




It isn't interrupting. So, no.

@mvincent: And by "clear" you mean they said it was a retarded decision and stuck to it because they don't really give a damn about making good rules, because they happen to come from the Mearls camp. I mean this forum is pointless according to them, because the rules don't really matter. You'll forgive me if I summarily dismiss them for their evident incompetence and stick to the rules in official material.

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Since neither the article or the podcast are RAW sources, they should be ignored. If the devs wanted to make the stance official, they would put it in a FAQ/errata.

@Alcestis: I think I get the claim how they aren't interrupting; they are not in response to / defined as an interrupt, as opposed to the broader timing definition claiming it /is/ an interrupt because it is being activated after another action has started and then resolving before the prior action does. I would call what I think you're alluding to as a 'concurrent instantaneous', occuring alongside the first action and being resolved the moment it occurs.

It still runs afoul of the primary RC RAW "in order" clause without taking a stance that causes even greater problems or a munchkin fallacy. This makes the stance you are advocating extremely weak and hard to take seriously.

Granted, the other option does have issues as well. But if the biggest complaint is that you can't talk and walk or that multi-attack powers with more than 2 attacks with a thrown weapon prior to getting a magic weapon don't properly work, then honestly, that is one of the least troubling RAW implications.
Actually Dragon is a RAW source. It isn't like people complain stuff from Dragon doesn't work because it isn't anywhere in the actual rules.

It isn't an interrupt because it can't stop something. But it can come between events. Not the same thing at all. I understand what they are saying, they're just wrong in their thinking.

It isn't that you can't walk or talk. It is that no one in the whole world can talk when it is your turn. The battle cry thing might not bother you, but what if you're a defender who uses his defender mechanic to invalidate an attack against you? You can't taunt the monster with his failure. The whole idea that non-triggered free actions can't happen whenever you want has numerous retarded implications, both mechanically and for RP. The converse makes a couple of powers moderately more powerful then was apparently intended. Whoop de doo.
Granted, the other option does have issues as well. But if the biggest complaint is that you can't talk and walk or that multi-attack powers with more than 2 attacks with a thrown weapon prior to getting a magic weapon don't properly work, then honestly, that is one of the least troubling RAW implications.


It's not just "prior to getting a magic weapon" when it comes to thrown weapons. Catching a returning weapon is a free action as well.
R&D specifically adress talking in the Podcast as something that should be allowed but that being a Free action is problematic. 

It doesn't matter if Dragon is RAW or Podcast aren't, the RC is a Rule Source and Any Order doesn't exclude Free actions as actions that need to be taken in order. So  Free actions must still be taken in order as per the latest Rule Printed.
I thought catching them was a no action. Ungh, messy.

@Alcestis: Dragon routinely has fluff, crunch, and advice columns. A RAW advice article means silly things, like it is a rule you should do x in certain situations. That aside, if we accept it as RAW, we now have a situation where 2 RAW sources are contradicting eachother (and not in a SvG kind of way).
And depending on how you are interpreting/justifying it does make a difference between "a couple powers moderately more powerful" and any action allowed in any action.
I get the result you are advocating: only nontriggered free actions get to happen whenever you want. The problem is how are you justifying it? To achieve that by RAW seems to require letting all actions do the same. The narrowed version necessitates a munchkin fallacy. Even if it is reasonable, that isn't a practice that is advocated or accepted when discussing the RAW.
Dragon is a RAW source.

That section of Dragon was not presenting (or changing) a rule: it was presenting a tip based on a percieved interpretation of a rule. Similarly: when a Dungeon magazine suggests an illegal action in the "tactics" section of an encounter, we would not actually use that to change an underlying global rule. Mind you: such information still seems useful when discussing RAI for an ambiguous rule.

If desired, here's the text from the 9/14/2009 Warden Essentials article:
"Marking 101: Nature's Wrath: As a warden, you use Nature’s Wrath to mark foes. Here are the things you should know about this fundamental class feature: It’s a free action. One thing this means is that you can use Nature’s Wrath at any point in your turn, including midway through another action such as a move or a charge..."

Also, here's a transcription of the 4/6/2012 podcast (15 minutes in):
From the DDI Mailbag: Just how free are free actions… specifically the free action power of the Dwarven Armor daily power?(reference Dwarven armor daily power). When a wearer is hit, can he use free action between the attack roll and damage roll?
Mike Mearls: I believe that free actions can't take place in between things like attack roll and damage roll.
Jeremy Crawford: what you're getting at Mike is that in this case he could not use the power in between those two things because the power doesn't have a trigger. Basically the only powers in the game that can mess around with timing are powers with triggers, and then those triggers tell you when you get to break a rule. Because it doesn't say that, you have to use this as a discrete action; not interrupting other actions.
Mike: So it can't take place in the middle of another action.
Jeremy: Exactly.
Rodney Thompson: That may true specifically for this action because it's the wearer using it between the phases of another character’s actions, but how does that account for the warden? We've said in the past that at any point during a move you can use a free action to mark and then continue that move.
Jeremy: That’s really a DM's call because the default assumption of the system is that the warden has to do it before the move action or at the end of it. Actions don't divide each other up (later) in my campaign I have a Warden and I let him do exactly what you describe: he can interrupt himself. It’s just that by the rules: we're breaking the rules. But this is what D&D is about. (later) Early on in the process we didn't have a concept of no action. If we were going to do this power now, it wouldn't be a free action.

 

I thought catching them was a no action. Ungh, messy. @Alcestis: Dragon routinely has fluff, crunch, and advice columns. A RAW advice article means silly things, like it is a rule you should do x in certain situations. That aside, if we accept it as RAW, we now have a situation where 2 RAW sources are contradicting eachother (and not in a SvG kind of way). And depending on how you are interpreting/justifying it does make a difference between "a couple powers moderately more powerful" and any action allowed in any action. I get the result you are advocating: only nontriggered free actions get to happen whenever you want. The problem is how are you justifying it? To achieve that by RAW seems to require letting all actions do the same. The narrowed version necessitates a munchkin fallacy. Even if it is reasonable, that isn't a practice that is advocated or accepted when discussing the RAW.

Because it doesn't break anything. Because it is justifable based on the RAW text. I mean you have three interpretations? You can nest any action. You can't nest any actions without triggers. You can nest only non-triggered free or no actions. Two of them break things. One doesn't. One of them Mike Mearls agrees with, so that one is de facto wrong, and the other is not the natural reading of a small section of text. That isn't the strongest argument in the world for the third interpreation... but the other two have such weak arguments that making any other choice borders on being asinine.
Alcestis, why do you think Any Order only apply to the Main actions ?

If it was a line contained within Main Actions i'd understand, but its contain after Main Actions, Free Actions and basically say you can take actions in any order. 

So why do you think it exclude Free actions, if its not the structure of the text, nor the text itself ?
Alcestis, why do you think Any Order only apply to the Main actions ?

I too wonder that. If you're going to apply the restriction at all (which we kinda have to for other actions), I don't see a basis for excluding free actions (as written).

Mind you: I don't have a preference (indeed, I'd be completely content with free actions in the middle of other actions), I just don't see it in the rules as written, s'all.

^Completely agree.

Honestly, I am a little bit surprised. Al is usually the defacto "who cares what is RAI/reasonable/gets broke, this is the RAW." So this particular position feels very out of place to be argued for by Al. That it is the position directly opposed to what Mearls believes to be the rule is, well, actually it is kind of hilarious. But come on, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
The thrown thing is troubling (but also the /only/ contradiction, not the many you claim). But doing so also contradicts the "in order." So we are required to take one of two postitions based on this:
a) The free action catch is SvG, not indicative of a general rule
b) "In order" does not mean strictly sequential order

Now, your position already admitted this leads credence to b). But this has a more fundamentally game altering impact than the oddity you claim breaks the game, cause no one being able to talk while someone does something else, thrown not working if you ignore it as SvG is not game breaking. It wheird. The OA rules are broken. Interrupt/reaction timing is broken. Zones are still broken in places, despite their best effort. Recursive crits and infinite actions are broken. Falling/immobilzed is broken. But not talking doesn't break the /game/, it just messes with any simulationist ideas about reality. But so what?

The options of intepretaion aren't, as you put it, one that breaks the game and one that is reasonable. Its one that alters basic assumptions of action structure (not better or worse, just a very different beast), or one that creates another in a long list of odd rule implkications.
RAW says you can catch a returning thrown magic weapon, which is a free action, to use it again in the middle of an attack like Twin Strike.

Curse you and your reasonableness!

Seriously though, this is exactly the sort of data that is useful to see. Do you have more examples?

Does anyone have examples where allowing a free action in the middle of another action would break something?

I would also appreciate more examples. Until it was noted, no one seemed to be aware of any that it prevented, save what many consider weapon swapping shenanigans (which the game would work fine without).

I do agree the strictist RAW of not letting them work in the middle seems to assume it is only strictly prohibited with your actions on your turn. But that it is not expressely mentioned being allowed /at all/, means you have to adopt some form of a munchkin fallacy to say you /can/ do it.
And actually, can someone quote the thrown catch rule? I don't have the text, and I am thinking, by RAW, it does not say you can catch it in the midst of a multi-attack power (like specifically specified by load weapons as rolled into the power), but merely states that catching it is a free action. If this is so, then ye, throwing could potentially be borked. Because implications be damned, knowing the actual RAW and all the myriad ways it is ridiculous is more important than knowing how the game /should/ be played. Cause any kid can tell you that: the way you want that is fun for your table.

For me Catching a returning Thrown as a Free action during a multiattack would be a Specific vs Genral , same with the Load Property.
(warning: I don't think any DM sincerly ban it, its just rule theory here) 

RC 270 Load: When the word ''free'' follows a Load entry, that means the attacker draws and loads ammunition as a Free action, effectively part of the action used to attack with the weapon. 

RC 282 Thrown Weapon: Any magic Light Thrown or Heavy Throw weapon, from the lowly +1 Dagger to the +6 Dragonslayer Javelin automatically returns to the weilder"s hand after a Ranged Attack with the weapon is resolved. Catching a returning Thrown weapon is a Free action


Though for multiattack with the same Thrown Weapon returning, the notion doen't come from a Rulebook but the PHB FAQ.



13. I am using a magical thrown weapon as part of an area of effect power.  If I am attacking multiple enemies within that area, do I need multiple weapons, or will one suffice?


One is enough in this case.  Magical thrown weapons return to you after each attack, so you’ll be able to use it against each enemy as part of using your power.


Guh, so it is official with the FAQ. It still means we have a disconnect with "in order" on your turn, though. Without wording that expressely excuses free actions on your turn, then there is little basis to assume the clause applies the way everyone says it does to regular actions.

I have to say, I think this has to be the most frustating rule element in 4e. Most of the faulty rules are due to rule voids or poorly worded phrases/overloaded words that leave more than one interpretation. This...this bit just flat out contradicts itself no matter which way you cut it. Cause I /know/ what the simple and reasonable solution is (and always have). But that the RAW contradicts itself, and then, the developers (no matter how poorly respected) contradict eachother on the RAI.....that's just the worst >
I /know/ what the simple and reasonable solution is

What it is?

Alcestis's advocated result: free actions aren't included by "in order." That's the simple and reasonable way. Partly why I have been insistent on /why/ that was his position. I prefer the reasonable solution, but I wanted a stronger RAW reason than what the text seems to support.
Alcestis's advocated result: free actions aren't included by "in order." That's the simple and reasonable way. Partly why I have been insistent on /why/ that was his position. I prefer the reasonable solution, but I wanted a stronger RAW reason than what the text seems to support.

If we achieve concensus, I think we could add it as a recommendation in the forum FAQ; especially since the writers have advocated for it (both in the FAQ and the article). It might even be viewed as RAI (which can often outweigh strict RAW).
 
Are there any possible issues with allowing free actions during other actions?
  
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