Readying An Action
Readying an Action
When it is your initiative, you may want to do something that depends upon what another creature is going to do. Of course, you can do that! It is called readying an action.
To ready an action, you declare to the Game Master that you are spending a standard action getting ready to do something. You can ready any action that can be completed as a standard action. Since you can reduce a standard action to a move action or a swift action, you can also ready any action that requires only a move action or a swift action (but not both).
At the time you Ready, you state to the Game Master the conditions that will cause you to take your Readied action. This condition must be something clear and unambiguous, and that your character can sense, having line of sight or line of effect to undertake. If the condition you declare is met, you take your Readied action immediately, resolving it as an interrupt even in the middle of another creature's turn.
Readied actions must be used with caution! If you Ready an action, aiming your bow at a doorway, and set the condition that you will shoot the next creature to move through the door, then you will shoot the next creature who moves through the door, even if it is an ally or an innocent! It is much better to tightly define all Readied actions, such as stating you will fire on the next ENEMY to move through the door, or better yet, that you will shoot a specific creature if they move at all. The details are left to the players and referees to define.
If you have Readied an Action and the initiative count reaches your turn in the order again without the trigger condition being satisfied, then you have lost your Readied action. Note that Readying an Action does NOT change your initiative number, and thus is very different than Holding your action. Note further that you can meet your trigger conditions even in a different round than when you Readied, and still take you normal action that turn (as long as your turn occurs after your readied action triggers). This is not a violation of the 'only one action per round' rule, because technically, when you Ready and Action, you are taking your entire turn immediately to set up the triggered action. The only time you lose the readied action is if your initiative comes up again before the trigger is met.