Action Surge 5e
Surrounded by enemies the Captain of the First Legion was reaching the end of his limits. The fighting had dragged on for days with only a few hours of rest in between enemy charges. With a final push, he charged the enemy commander. Their steel rang throughout the battlefield, but the Captain was driven to the ground.
Standing over him victorious the enemy commander was about to gloat. One doesn’t become a Captain of the First without reason. Drawing upon every last reserve he had, the Captain lunged forward, driving his sword into the unsuspecting enemy’s chest.
With a shout of defiance, the Captain of the First roared in the face of his enemy before darkness took him.
What is Action Surge 5e?
Action Surge is one of the Fighter’s core abilities. The rules can be found in the Player’s Handbook on page 72 under the Fighter Class abilities or you can read below.
Starting at 2nd Level, you can push yourself beyond your normal limits for a moment. On Your Turn, you can take one additional Action on top of your regular Action and a possible bonus Action.
Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or Long Rest before you can use it again. Starting at 17th level, you can use it twice before a rest, but only once on the same turn.
Action Surge in essence lets a Fighter perform 1 extra action on their turn per rest period. There is no limit to what this action is. Any action that you could normally take you can take again.
Action Surge has no bearing on Bonus Actions. You can only ever have 1 bonus action per turn, regardless of how many other actions you are able to perform on your turn.
Who can use Action Surge?
Action Surge as we mentioned is one of the Fighter’s core abilities. This means that Action Surge can only be used by the Fighter Class. However, the Action Surge ability is learned relatively early on as a level 2 Fighter.
This means that if you really want to have action Surge you can multiclass up to level 2 to gain the additional actions granted from Action Surge.
This may not be a bad idea depending on what class you are. The way it’s written means that Action Surge is not limited to simply swinging a sword, you’ll get 2 actions per turn. If you multiclass a spellcaster & Fighter you’ll be able to cast 2 spells per turn instead of making an attack.
Action Surge & Extra Attack
At level 5 Fighters gain an extra attack.
“you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn”
When you combine your Action Surge and Extra Attacks you can start to do some serious damage. At level 5 You’ll be able to attack 4 times using a standard weapon and your action surge. This can quickly smash through a tough enemy’s hit points as you chip away at them.
Two-Weapon Fighting & Action Surge
Fighters that use two-weapon fighting or dual wield can get the most out of their action surge and extra attacks.
When Dual Wielding players can use their bonus action to make another attack with their offhand weapon. Notice that this attack uses the “Bonus” action and you only get 1 per turn. This means that if you use your Action Surge you will instead get 2 hits from your main hand weapon and 1 hit from your off-hand weapon.
You can take a look at the chart below to get an idea of how many attacks you’ll actually be able to make when you factor in Extra Attacks, Action Surge, and Dual Wielding.
|Level||Max Potential Attack (1 Weapon)||Max Potential Attacks (2 weapons)|
|2 – 4||2||3|
|5 – 10||4||5|
|11 – 19||6||7|
Action Surge Multiclass Combos
If you’re looking to Multiclass, there are a few different classes that really take advantage of Action Surge.
Paladin + Fighter
Paladin + Fighter is a pretty standard combo. Players can use their extra attacks to trigger Divine Smite twice in a single turn. This means that they can hit more often and then trigger Divine Damage on top of their regular attacks.
Spellcaster + Fighter
Multiclassing Fighter and any spellcaster is going to have some serious synergies. Fighters can grant their Action Surge allowing spellcasters to lob their strongest spells twice in a turn, or they can gain extra survivability on the battlefield through the Figher’s training.
If you want to multiclass and focus more on the Fighter aspect, a Fighter that knows a few spells can be a devastating player on the battlefield. Having access to Booming Blade or any of the other damage-enhancing cantrips can make your Fighter tear through enemies physically and magically.
Action Surge & Players
When playing a Fighter, you need to keep in mind that your Action Surge ability essentially only has one charge between rest periods. You get more at level 17, but by then you’re at such a high level that it’s more of a nice to have than an essential skill.
One of the best things to remember about the Action Surge ability is that it’s not all about attacks. You get an ACTION, not an extra attack. You can do whatever you want with that action and sometimes, moving, fleeing, and manipulating a puzzle/trap will be way more important than simply getting another attack.
Action Surge & DMs
Action Surge is a great ability, and as we mentioned before make sure your players know what it does. If they’re new explaining that it gives them an extra attack could be an easy way to get them started, but after they are familiar with the game, you’ll want to make sure they understand the full extent of the Action Surge ability.
In addition, It’s your job as the DM to make it worth their while to think outside the box. If you only create encounters where the only solution is to beat up the bad guys, they’re going to default to that strategy. There’s nothing wrong with games like that if that’s what the party is having fun with, but it’s always a good idea to test out alternative encounters to combat as well.
Action Surge 5e FAQs
Can I cast spells with Action Surge?
Yes. Action Surge grants another Action. Anything a player can do with a regular action, they can do with Action Surge. This includes casting spells.
Can you use two Action Surges in one turn?
No. You can only use 1 Action Surge per turn. At level 17, players get 2 Action Surges between rest periods, but they cannot use them both on the same turn.
Can Action Surge be used with Extra Attack?
Yes. Pairing Action Surge with the Fighter’s Extra Attack ability is a very useful strategy and can allow players to make a significant number of attacks in a single round.
Does Action Surge give an extra bonus action?
No. Action Surge does not grant an additional bonus action. This means that a Fighter Dual Wielding (Two-Weapon Fighting) will only use their off-hand weapon once per turn regardless of how many Extra Attacks, Actions, or Action Surge’s used on a turn. This is because all players will only have 1 Bonus Action per turn regardless of any other special abilities.