Dungeons & Dragons Online

Question about “attack action” and mounted combat

Hej peoples,

Totally new to reddit and quite new to D&D so please forgive me if I somehow posted in the wrong spot or failed to find that my questions have already been answered. I am happy to move this thread or delete it and put it somewhere else or do whatever the community standard is. Right now reddit just seems hella confusing, but I heard this is the place to go to get sound D&D advice!

Okay, here we go: Attack action

If I understand D&D rules correctly, there is really one consistency in the rules and that is you get to have three actions per combat round. (There are very few abilities that let you take more actions, Second Wind being one.)

  • Attack action
  • Bonus action
  • Reaction

tl;dr: Is there a difference between attack and attack action in RAW?

Now I've seen this come up over and over again and if I'm correct, a lot of people are doing this wrong. Let me give you an example:

The Fighter class at 5th level gets Extra Attack this means when you take the attack action you can make an extra attack. It does not mean that you get to have two attack actions. Why is this important? Well an easy example would be the Eldritch Knight… you can not eg. take your attack action to cast a Cantrip and then with your Extra Attack do an attack, you only get your Extra Attack, if you take your attack action to attack.

Now I do think this is important, let me give you an example of how much difference this can make even early on. We got an lvl 5 Echo Knight with Polearm Master and Constitution 20 carrying a Halberd for the sake of argument we are going to act like each attack is going to hit. Now if things work out like my DM says I could move up to an enemy, then use my attack action to attack, now my echo gets to "Whenever you take the Attack action, you can make one additional melee attack from the echo's position." make an melee attack. Then I get to make an extra attack with my bonus action for d4 dmg due to Polearm Master. My echo can take another attack. Then I get my Extra Attack I attack and my Echo can take another attack. Now I can't take another bonus action to use another attack via Polearm Mastery cause I only get one bonus action per turn. So I use Action Surge and get an additional action, which I use for an attack action and attack, my echo also takes yet another attack, this is a whole new attack action so I get another Extra Attack. I attack with my Extra Attack and my echo takes yet another attack. In total I managed to make 4 attacks and 1 extra attack for 1d4 dmg, my echo made 5 attacks. That is a total of 9 attacks with my Halberd and one extra attack for 1d4 dmg.

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In my version of understanding the rules things get way less crazy:

I move up the enemy and take my one attack action and attack, my echo takes his attack via Unleash Incarnation. I get my Extra Attack and do so (since this is not an attack action my echo can't use Unleash Incarnation). Then I get to have an extra attack via Polearm Master for 1d4. Then I use Action Surge and get an additional action, which I use for an attack action and attack, my echo also takes yet another attack, since this is a whole new attack action. I also get another Extra Attack. I attack with my Extra Attack. In total I managed to make 4 attacks and 1 extra attack for 1d4 dmg, my echo made 2 attacks. That is a total of 6 attacks with my Halberd and one extra attack for 1d4 dmg.

Aside from that example, this way of reading the rules also prevents a lot of other shenanigans (eg. some people apparently claim they get unlimited reactions via Polearm Master), but it also weakens some sub-classes significantly. Now I think my way of reading the rules makes more sense, naturally. There is a hard limit on actions and attack ≠ attack action. Or I got it wrong and I have one attack action but an attack could be a spell, or a Grapple, or a Shove. I give this to you dear D&D reddit community, enlighten me please!

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Okay next question: Mounted Combat – it's a mess!

Now my first character happens to have a Pony cause I thought it'd be cool.. boy oh boy did I not know what was coming. Now in the case of a Pony things are actually easy cause it's medium size. My character also happens to be a Paladin and eventually will learn Find Steed this is where things get more complicated, since let's say a War Horse is large size. But I don't want to talk about that, cause that has been talked about and I don't want to beat a dead horse.

Find Steed will give me an intelligent mount that I can or can't control? Or that let's me control it or not? Now if I decide to let my mount be independent, and since I have my Steed which I have been "creating a long-lasting bond with", that understands one language that I speak, we "have an instinctive bond with it that allows you to fight as a seamless unit. " Can I expect that steed to do what I tell it to do, or at least act in my interest? And how far does that go? Cause when I use eg. Searing Smite "While mounted on your steed, you can make any spell you cast that targets only you also target your steed" my steed could attack with that benefit. There are really no clear rules, but everything that is written about it seems like the intention is for your steed to be an active participant in combat. At the same time having a smiting mount on lvl 1 seems quite overpowered and also silly. That leads me to the next question: When is a creature intelligent? and How to handle mounted combat? or How do really experienced DMs handle mounted combat?

On that note, in the Cavalier sub-class it states "Ferocious Charger: Starting at 15th level, you can run down your foes, whether you're mounted or not." That seems to strongly imply that you can run down your foes while mounted, that is indeed intended that you run down your foes while mounted. So I'm a bit confused by all of that. Depending on how one interprets the rules having a steed becomes either very good, kinda cool or more of a burden than a boon.

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Then I watched some game I can't remember which exactly and they guy acted like he could act during his steeds turn since they shared initiative. Is that a thing? Cause I thought there is strict turn separation. There will never be that situation where you ride near a creature and hit it and then continue riding. Cause you and your steed's turns are separat. I also heard the Dungeon Dudes say that you could mount your steed, move it and then jump of the steed and take the rest of your movement. Again: should not be possible, since you and your steeds turns are separate. If you control your steed are you and your steeds turn still separate?

I'm just looking for some guidance here, since I regularly overwhelm my DM with these questions. Thanks to all of you who answer in advance!

Christoph

*if you find grammar or spelling errors, please tell me. English is not my first language and I want to improve.

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