[RPG] How should I adjudicate the order of readied actions, when they seem to happen all in the same turn


If more than one creature readies an action and their triggers happen all in the same turn, which one comes first?

For example, let's say a character walks into a room full of enemies. He readies a dodge action with the trigger "I will dodge when I get attacked". In the room, the enemies have an attack action readied with the trigger "when I see an enemy I will shoot him with my crossbow". Which one comes first?

Assuming both readied actions are valid, in what order do they happen?

Best Answer

Your example is tricky because of how readied actions are worded.

From the description of readied actions (PHB p. 193, emphasis added):

When the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger.

In your example, the enemy with the crossbow would use their reaction to take their readied crossbow shot on the PC's turn, triggered by the PC entering the room. After that attack is finished the PC could use their reaction to take their readied Dodge action. This could give them the benefit of the Dodge action against subsequent attacks, but not the triggering attack.

In order for two readied actions to occur "simultaneously," they would both have to specify the same triggering condition.

From the description of initiative (PHB p. 189, emphasis added):

The DM ranks the combatants in order from the highest Dexterity check total to the one with the lowest. This is the order (called the initiative order) in which they act during each round.

The clause "the order in which they act" does not say "the order in which they take turns," which implies that initiative order governs the sequence of reactions and other off-turn actions in addition to the turn order.

Thus, if two creatures readied actions and specified the same triggering condition, I would rule that the reactions are resolved in initiative order of the readying creatures upon the occurrence of that trigger.