Are you wondering how many bonus actions you get in D&D? You’ve come to the right article if this is you! We’re going to be giving you an overview of everything you’ll need to know about bonus actions in D&D.
How you can use them, what classes get more than others, and how you can use items and abilities to get one when you need it most.
What Are Bonus Actions?
Let’s start at the very beginning. Actions determine who gets to do what during combat or an event within Dungeons and Dragons. Each turn your character has a set number of actions depending on their class, abilities, items, and other external factors.
An action basically represents one thing that your character does within a limited timeframe. It could be swinging a sword or shooting an arrow, casting a spell, or dashing into cover.
Generally, you get one action per turn, though there are special traits of each character that will give you access to more, for example, Cunning Action for anybody playing a rogue.
List Of Actions
Before we get into bonus actions and how you can use them to your advantage, we’ve made sure to include a list of actions that you’ll be able to use within combat.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, though these are generally what you will be limited to in almost every situation.
- Using An Item Or Object: this means you can use something from your inventory, for example, a health potion, or something external in the world.
- Attacking: attacking is simple enough. You’re going to be able to make one attack with a physical weapon or a part of your character’s body.
- Casting A Spell: Casing a spell just means you can choose one spell or cantrip from your roster to use. This is however limited to the number of spell slots you have available to you.
- Hiding: You can use an action to hide. This won’t necessarily make you invisible, but it will give you cover and the possibility of slipping out of the enemy’s gaze.
- Readying Yourself: If you ready your character, what you are doing is holding your action to use at the beginning of your next turn. This means you can react easily to a certain event going on around you, or the action of another.
- Searching Around You: Let’s say you’re an archer and you’re all out of arrows. Well, you can use an action to search around the battlefield!
- Helping An Ally: Helping an ally means that you will give them an advantage (roll twice and pick the highest) on their next ability check.
- Disengaging: Disengaging is essentially moving out of combat to prevent an attack of opportunity.
- Dodging: You’ll dodge out of the way and be harder to hit, causing disadvantage on attacks on you that round.
All of these are actions you can choose to take within combat. At this point, it might feel like there’s not that much you can do per turn.
Whilst these turns are supposed to represent what a character might conceivable do within a small fraction of time – it’s important to remember that you’re playing a fantasy game, and D&D characters have ways to perform heroic actions to turn the tide of battle.
So let’s get into bonus actions. A bonus action is something that comes after your initial action, it is an extra move that your character can make if they have a certain inherent class or item abilities.
Let’s take Cunning Action that we mentioned earlier as an example. Each turn a rogue is able to take their initial action, and then use another action after it.
In terms of lore, this is their prowess as a sneaky figure coming to fruition – a way for them to do special rogue actions that allow them to gain the upper hand in a fight. This is how Cunning Action looks in the rule book:
Cunning Action PHB, pg. 96
You can take a bonus action on each of your turns to take the Dash, Disengage or Hide action.
What this allows a rogue to do is hide in the shadows, pop out for a sneak attack, and then cloak themselves again with their Cunning Action. This class’s ability plays to their strengths.
Rogues are great damage dealers and very agile, but they don’t have many health points and will struggle in direct combat. Cunning Action means they can easily break away when they need to.
Almost every class has some form of bonus action, and those who don’t might be able to do extra actions with an offhand weapon (dual attacks) or perhaps a potion that will give them the advantage for a turn or two.
Either way, it’s important to consider whether or not you have a bonus action available to you.
Do I Only Get 1 Bonus Action?
Generally, you will only ever get one bonus action. This is to try and keep the game balanced.
For example, if there was a class that could get multiple bonus actions per round, then they would be massively powerful and enemies would have to be adjusted accordingly.
There are cases where a DM might create special rules for the sake of story, but generally you have one bonus action and that is it.
We hope that this article has given you some insight into the world of bonus actions, and how you can use them to your advantage.
If you want to learn more about what your character has available to them, carefully read your character sheet to make sure you aren’t missing out on any bonus actions.
Using bonus actions throughout an entire battle will give you a heavy advantage over the enemy. That said, it’s also important to know that enemy characters can also have bonus actions!
Best of luck on your campaign and we hope your character uses their bonus actions to save the day!