[RPG] When you take the Dash action via Expeditious Retreat, does that consume your action on that same turn


The expeditious retreat spell (which has a casting time of a bonus action) says:

This spell allows you to move at an incredible pace. When you cast this spell, and then as a bonus action on each of your turns until the spell ends, you can take the Dash action.

However, with a strict reading of the wording, it says "when you cast this spell … you can take the Dash action". It doesn't add "as a bonus action" on the end (like how, say, the rogue's Cunning Action is worded), which implies that the "you can Dash as a bonus action" part only comes into effect on subsequently turns, and dashing this turn still uses an action, since it only specifies the bonus action in the context of the subsequent turns ("then as a bonus action on each of your turns until the spell ends").

If I wanted to cast this spell, then Dash, would I still have my action to use for something else on that same turn? My strict reading seems to imply "no". I'm fairly certain my strict reading is wrong (at least not RAI), but why am I wrong?

There are other questions on this site about this spell, but none of them specifically address this wording that I'm focusing on.

Best Answer

It does not consume your turn's action

On any given turn, you can do the following things (plus possibly other things for specific classes or races):

  • Action
  • Bonus action
  • Movement

Casting this spell uses a Bonus action, and changes your available remaining things you can do on this turn to the following:

  • Action
  • Movement
  • Dash

It uses your Bonus action, and gives you the Dash action as an additional thing you can do.

You still retain your action for that turn, because the spell doesn't say When you cast this spell, can use your action to Dash (which you can usually always do), it just says When you cast this spell, ... you can take the Dash action.

Something being an "[something] action" doesn't mean it consumes your turn's action

Your Turn (PHB 189)

On your turn, you can move a distance up to your speed and take one action. (Emphasis original.)

Many things count as an action, but when they can be used is based on the rules, not on the fact that designers re-used the word "action" in many places.

This a common confusion, but it is important to always be aware of the difference between something being referred to as "[something] action" and your turn's one "action". When a "[something] action" can be used is dependent upon what the rules say for that particular action.

In this case, the "Dash action" can be the one action you use on your turn, because the rules say so.

Actions In Combat heading (PHB 192)

When you take your action on your turn, you can take one of the actions presented here,...

Dash is then presented there.

The rules for the expeditious retreat spell also permit you to take the Dash action.

So, what you have is 2 different ways to take the Dash action (and there are many more, as well, that I won't get into.)

Key takeaway: There is no rule that says that anything with the word "action" attached to it will consume your turn's action, so you are free to use as many "[something] actions" on your turn as you have rules to support doing so.