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D&D 3E
readying a charge 
6th-Feb-2005 12:11 am
wicked handclasp
I have two players who are very opposed to my "ruling" that 3.5 disallows a player to ready a charge. Their argument is that you can charge if you are restricted to only a move or standard action. My argument is that you cannot ready the charge (which is a full-round action) in the first place.

Rules debates are usually resolved with relative ease between us, but this one is causing problems. During the game, they accept my decision as DM, but we usually have logic debates about this outside of game-time. Since my group has traditionally been a "by-the-books" type of group, I would really like to show them that the rules state a charge can't be readied, or be shown that I'm incorrect and a charge can, in fact, be readied.

We've picked over the SRD and the PHB, but both sides continue to argue their own points. Does anyone have a conclusive way to resolve this?

I'm also checking the bulletin boards on the wizards main site next, before anyone suggests that. :)
6th-Feb-2005 05:31 am (UTC)
We have very specific house rules when it comes to readied actions. WE rule that you can ready any action or full round action. Readying an action puts you at a disadvantage in two ways...
1. if the event you ready for doesn't happen, you've missed a turn.
2. This lowers your place in the initiative order.

So, you ready the action to charge that ogre if he gets closer.

If the ogre gets closer, you charge. Your initiative is now just before his. You run up to twice your speed and attack. You hit, do 7 damage. Now that you are right in front of the ogre, he hits you for 17 damage.

If he doesn't move closeer, instead throwing a rock, you lose your turn, and maybe get hit by a rock.
6th-Feb-2005 06:17 am (UTC)
Ok, we're sitting around discussing our own rules questions and yours just triggered a long discussion. Basically we agree that your ruling is more literal, but there seems to be a general feeling that your players are capturing the intent of the text. :) lol. So, we agree that it says what you think (you can't ready a charge), but that it seems clear that what WOTC was trying to do was allow you to charge on a standard action, they just wanted to make sure you couldn't use a move action to move in one direction, then a standard action to charge in another.

Regardless, your decision, go ahead with it, we don't really have good advice on how to resolve that, lol. :) Strict text is fine, as is determining intent, whichever makes you happy... Ultimately the game is a shared experience so you do have to come to a consensus (a perfectly ok consensus is "DM's word is law", but if your players don't want to accept that, you will probably have to find a differnt position...)

6th-Feb-2005 08:25 pm (UTC)
Interesting... I interpreted their ommission of the partial charge action in 3.5 to mean that their specific intention was to forbid charges as readied actions...

Gah. Rules questions make me crazy sometimes!
6th-Feb-2005 12:58 pm (UTC) - Here's how it works...
You're right in that charging is a full-round action. however, you can still charge when you can only do a move or standard action. By readying an action, that means you only take a move or standard action. Therefore you *can* ready a charge, but you can only make a single move to do so (typically 20-30 feet depending on what you're wearing.)

A far as where the initiative goes -- and forgive me for using fencing terminology -- I'd have to say the right-of-way goes to whichever combatant has the higher initiative modifier, since the action is almost simultaneous.
6th-Feb-2005 03:53 pm (UTC)
3.0 allowed a partial charge, which was a standard action. 3.5 removed this except in the case of zombies. A charge isa full round action, and you can only ready a partial action. There are no readied charges in 3.5.
7th-Feb-2005 06:11 am (UTC) - Hmmmm
I might have the 3.0 SRDs on this computer... Oh well, nothing to really fuss about...
7th-Feb-2005 06:30 am (UTC)
Unless you are a zombie or other creature that has specific rules for partial charges.
7th-Feb-2005 02:52 pm (UTC)
Don't un-except my zombies!
6th-Feb-2005 04:40 pm (UTC)
I know others have stated as much, but here are the SRD rules which are pretty clear for once. Ready actions are standard actions. Charges are full-round actions. So that means you can't ready a charge.

[Ready Actions] [Charge]

As a DM, I'd allow a house rule for a "partial charge", maybe normal move rate and negate the +2 to attack.
6th-Feb-2005 04:52 pm (UTC)
In most cases, I'd say that readying a charge is not really necessary. The only circumstance in which I could see wanting to do it is to intercept someone who's rushing a teammate you want to protect. In other cases, you're just as well off readying an attack. The opponent charges you (suffering a -2 AC penalty, which is the same as giving you a +2 to hit for charging him), you take a swing, he takes a swing (with a +2 to hit for charging, exactly the same as if you had a -2 AC for charging him), and during the next round of combat you go immediately before him ... and it's worth noting that he still has a -2 to AC during that attack. Oooh. I take it back - you're better off letting him come to you.

Also, what other people said - charges in 3.5 are full-round actions.
"If you are able to take only a standard action or a move action on your turn, you can still charge, but you are only allowed to move up to your speed (instead of up to double your speed). You can't use this option unless you are restricted to taking only a standar action or move action on your turn (such as during a surprise round)." That's the 3.5 PHB, page 155. So ... surprise round, partial charge, ok. Slowed or zombie, partial charge okay. Readied partial charge not ok.
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