[RPG] Conditions of readied actions


The fighter archetype, Crossbowman, has abilities called deadshot and greater
deadshot. These abilities give bonus damage on crossbow attacks that come from readied actions.

This gave me an interesting idea that I could use to increase damage dealt to enemies with high DR, or with high dex-based AC. I was not able to find any restrictions on readied actions that would prevent me from declaring my readied action on the action of the next guy in initiative order. I would be able to get a deadshot every turn without losing my spot in initiative order.

The situation that I'm trying to clarify goes like this:

There are 2 people in the combat, it's a 1v1 where I use a readied action every single turn.
The condition: "if the enemy does anything"
The action: "shoot him in the face"
Theoretically I should be able to do readied actions forever, never losing my spot in turn order. This isn't exclusive to 1v1s, this would work in a fight at any scale regardless of turn order.

Is there any rule I missed that would prevent this?

Best Answer

The PF SRD's section on readying an action doesn't appear to have any FAQs, errata, or other clarifying information that would require you to name a condition more specific than "the next guy in initiative order does something." That said, if someone abuses this, the other side of the table might devise counter-strategies, such as:

  • House-rule that the trigger for a readied action must be a specific action or group of actions (such as "attack", "cast a spell", "move", etc.) Granted, the whole table needs to be on board with house rules, and it might come with abuses/debates of its own ("A 5-foot step isn't a move action so it doesn't trigger your readied action!")
  • Turnabout is fair play -- create an opponent (or more than one!) that's also a Crossbowman and have them use the same tactics.
  • The target sees the Crossbowman is watching them like a hawk, so they delay their own action -- possibly while their allies set up a plan of their own.
  • Entropic Shield, Protection from Arrows, or any other spells that might ruin a ranged attacker's day. Since it might come across as specifically punishing the Crossbowman (and anyone else ranged on his side), this is a harsh one. Though you might combine it with the previous point -- if you took the shot when you had the chance instead of readying, you could've tagged them before they got the buff!