I recently wrote an article on the action economy and why it was so important. It took me over 8 hours to compile the research and test out theories, which you can find it on my website here. That said, I noticed something. In all my research I constantly came across the ability Action Surge and saw questions on how it bypasses a lot of the restrictions of action economy. In fact, a good two hours were spent researching questions regarding action surge and how it affects the game. Well, after doing all that research I figured I would compile all the questions together to make it easy to answer any and all action surge questions. So, with that said, let’s begin answering those questions.
What is Action Surge?
Action Surge is an ability exclusive to the fighter class. It is highly sought after because it is one of the strongest abilities to surpass the action economy restriction on characters. The definition of Action surge is:
Action Surge On your turn, you can take an additional action in addition to the normal one allotted to you. Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
With this, you can now complete a whole other action on your turn and can do that after every short rest. If you are curious about action economy, then click that link above for the article I wrote on that.
Does Action Surge Grant A Second Bonus Action?
No, it does not grant a second bonus action.
The long answer is no because of the definition of action surge. It does not state that you can repeat your turn, nor does it state you gain an additional bonus action. However, it does state though that you gain “an additional action in addition to the normal one allotted to you.”
Therefore, you can do your action surge in a few different sequences.
- Take the Action, Bonus action, Action Surge, Additional Action.
- Or Bonus action, Action, Action Surge, Additional Action
- Action, Action Surge, Additional Action, Bonus Action
Does A Fighter’s Action Surge Trigger Extra Attack?
Yes when you action surge you also trigger the extra attack.
The reasoning behind this comes from looking at the definition to the extra attack feature.
Extra Attack allows you to make one additional attack when you take the Attack action. (You may also move between the two attacks). Fighters gain the ability to gain two or three additional attacks at higher levels, so a 20th level fighter is able to make 4 attacks when they take the Attack action.
Notice it does not state that you take an additional attack action, but rather you make an “additional attack when you take the attack action”. And to use your attack action you use your main action to do so. As a result, when you do attack and have the extra attack feature, you can transform your two attacks into four attacks with action surge. Or if you are level 20, transform four attacks to 8 attacks.
Can I Action Surge And Cast Two Spells?
Yes, but boy, this can get complicated. So, strap in and prepare to read I will try to explain this as thoroughly as I can.
You can action surge to cast two spells. So, if you cast hold person on your first action then action surged to cast fireball with your second action you can do that. The reason for that, spells requiring an action to cast have no wording that restricts the ability to cast a second one if you have a secondary main action.
Then why is this confusing? Bonus action spells. Bonus action spells such as spiritual weapon or misty step are great uses of your bonus action. The problem arises though when you take a look at the wording behind bonus action spells.
Bonus Action A spell cast with a bonus action is especially swift. You must use a bonus action on your turn to cast the spell, provided that you haven’t already taken a bonus action this turn. You can’t cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.
The wording seems okay at first glance. However, when taking a look at “you can’t cast another spell during the same turn”, emphasis on “same turn”. This puts a hard limit on your spellcasting ability as any actions taken on your turn are now restricted to a cantrip casting. This was also confirmed b Crawford, lead designer to dnd on twitter. Now, you can bonus action spell, cantrip, action surge, and cantrip again if you so wanted to do that. So, keep that in mind when you are going to cast a bonus action spell or “Quicken” a spell if you are a sorcerer.
Does Action Surge Double Haste’s Attack?
No, it does not double haste’s attack, but you still gain the additional attack that comes with haste.
The reasoning is much like the “Does Action Surge Grant A Second Bonus Action?” question. Haste states:
Haste Choose a willing creature that you can see within range. Until the spell ends, the target’s speed is doubled, it gains a +2 bonus to AC, it has advantage on dexterity saving throws, and it gains an additional action on each of its turns. That action can be used only to take the Attack (one weapon attack only), dash, disengage, hide, or use an object action.
When the spell ends, the target can’t move or take actions until after its next turn, as a wave of lethargy sweeps over it.
The part we are going to focus on is the part underlined in the definition. What haste does is effectively grant you an additional action on top of your other action. That said, this action is more limited by the definition it stated. It can be used for “one weapon attack only”. This means, that if you action surged while hasted you would gain: your first attack action, haste attack, action surge, second attack action. Meaning if you had the Extra Attack feature you would attack a total of 5 times that turn. Twice with normal action, twice with action surge, and once with haste action.
Can I Action Surge Twice In The Same Round?
No, the wording is actually quite clear but sometimes people either just don’t know or forget. So, I figured I would answer it. Also, for those of you who are asking how you would get a second action surge, fighters actually get an additional use of action surge at level 17.
Action Surge Level 17 Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again. Starting at 17th level, you can use it twice before a rest, but only once on the same turn.
As you can see on that final part of the sentence, you can only do action surge “only once on the same turn.” This means, if you wanted to action surge again, you need to wait until the next round before using this ability again.
Can You Ready Two Actions Using Action Surge?
Yes, but you can only act on one of them.
The reason comes from the Ready action definition.
Ready Action: You can take the Ready action on your turn, which lets you act using your reaction before the start of your next turn. First, you decide what perceivable circumstance will trigger your reaction. Then, you choose the action you will take in response to that trigger, or you choose to move up to your speed in response to it… When the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger. Remember that you can take only one reaction per round…
As you can see, there is is no limit on the number of times you can ready an action except the ability to have an action itself. Hence, if you wanted to, you could take the ready action to attack with your sword if they come into range. Then action surge, to take another ready action of casting counterspell if the enemy mage begins to cast a spell.
This said, there is a restriction on the reaction action. Most notably the part where it says, “you can take only one reaction per round”. This means that while you can ready two actions with action surge, you can only use one of them since it also requires the cost of a reaction to do. It is still something to consider in battle though as sometimes having a backup plan is instrumental in ensuring everything goes well.
Does Sneak Attack Go Off Twice With Action Surge?
Yes, but only if you are using your reaction as well.
The final big question I saw in regard to Action Surge. To evaluate this one we need to look at the wording behind Sneak Attack.
Sneak Attack Beginning at 1st level, you know how to strike subtly and exploit a foe’s distraction. Once per turn, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack if you have advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon. You don’t need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn’t incapacitated, and you don’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.
The crucial part in this sentence is, “Once per turn”. This functions much like casting a bonus action spell in regards it applies a flat limit to your entire action economy. As such, if you attack hit with your sneak attack, and then action surge again. You would only gain the sneak attack damage once since both are on your turn.
Now say you attack once, hit with sneak attack, and then bonus action hide. Then action surge to ready an action to attack again if you have advantage. After you ready your action, you would end your turn and wait to see if you can use your ready action.
Your turn has officially ended so if you get the chance to use your reaction, sneak attack would go off due to the fact that you are effectively starting a new turn. This would mean in one round of combat and proper use of action surge; you can get sneak attack off twice.
I hope you enjoyed this post and had all your questions answered in regard to action surge. If there is a question you have regarding this ability still, leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer and might even add it to the post. Moreover, (do people say that nowadays) check out my post that answers a lot of the questions regarding what Fai Chen and Adventurer League Epics are like and filled with. A lot of it comes from personal experience and me asking all my friends who have been in them since there is almost no content on the internet about these. Well, that’s all so have an absolutely fantastic day and hey, keep on rolling!
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