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All Rules in Combat

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Actions in Combat

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 181
During one turn, there are a wide variety of actions that your character can perform, from swinging a sword to casting a spell.

Action Types

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 181
An action’s type essentially tells you how long the action takes to perform (within the framework of the 6-second combat round) and how movement is treated. There are six types of actions: standard actions, move actions, full-round actions, swift actions, immediate actions, and free actions.

In a normal round, you can perform a standard action and a move action, or you can perform a full-round action. You can also perform one swift action and one or more free actions. You can always take a move action in place of a standard action.

In some situations (such as in a surprise round), you may be limited to taking only a single move action or standard action.

Standard Action: A standard action allows you to do something, most commonly to make an attack or cast a spell. See Table 8–2 for other standard actions.

Move Action: A move action allows you to move up to your speed or perform an action that takes a similar amount of time. See Table 8–2 for other move actions.

You can take a move action in place of a standard action. If you move no actual distance in a round (commonly because you have swapped your move action for one or more equivalent actions), you can take one 5-foot step either before, during, or after the action.

Full-Round Action: A full-round action consumes all your effort during a round. The only movement you can take during a full-round action is a 5-foot step before, during, or after the action. You can also perform free actions and swift actions (see below). See Table 8–2 for a list of full-round actions.

Some full-round actions do not allow you to take a 5-foot step.

Some full-round actions can be taken as standard actions, but only in situations when you are limited to performing only a standard action during your round. The descriptions of specific actions detail which actions allow this option.

Free Action: Free actions consume a very small amount of time and effort. You can perform one or more free actions while taking another action normally. However, there are reasonable limits on what you can really do for free, as decided by the GM.

Swift Action: A swift action consumes a very small amount of time, but represents a larger expenditure of effort and energy than a free action. You can perform only a single swift action per turn.

Immediate Action: An immediate action is very similar to a swift action, but can be performed at any time—even if it’s not your turn.

Not an Action: Some activities are so minor that they are not even considered free actions. They literally don’t take any time at all to do and are considered an inherent part of doing something else, such as nocking an arrow as part of an attack with a bow.

Restricted Activity: In some situations, you may be unable to take a full round’s worth of actions. In such cases, you are restricted to taking only a single standard action or a single move action (plus free and swift actions as normal). You can’t take a full-round action (though you can start or complete a full-round action by using a standard action; see below).

Table 7-2: Actions in Combat

Standard ActionAttack of Opportunity1
Attack (melee)No
Attack (ranged)Yes
Attack (unarmed)Yes
Activate a magic item other than a potion or oilNo
Aid anotherMaybe2
Cast a spell (1 standard action casting time)Yes
Channel energyNo
Concentration to maintain an active spellNo
Dismiss a spellNo
Draw a hidden weapon (see Sleight of Hand skill)No
Drink a potion or apply an oilYes
Escape a grappleNo
FeintNo
Light a torch with a tindertwigYes
Lower spell resistanceNo
Read a scrollYes
Ready (triggers a standard action)No
Stabilize a dying friend (see Heal skill)Yes
Total defenseNo
Use extraordinary abilityNo
Use skill that takes 1 actionUsually
Use spell-like abilityYes
Use supernatural abilityNo
Move ActionAttack of Opportunity1
MoveYes
Control a frightened mountYes
Direct or redirect an active spellNo
Draw a weapon3No
Load a hand crossbow or light crossbowYes
Open or close a doorNo
Mount/dismount a steedNo
Move a heavy objectYes
Pick up an itemYes
Sheathe a weaponYes
Stand up from proneYes
Ready or drop a shield3No
Retrieve a stored itemYes
Full-Round ActionAttack of Opportunity1
Full attackNo
Charge4No
Deliver coup de graceYes
Escape from a netYes
Extinguish flamesNo
Light a torchYes
Load a heavy or repeating crossbowYes
Lock or unlock weapon in locked gauntletYes
Prepare to throw splash weaponYes
RunYes
Use skill that takes 1 roundUsually
Use a touch spell on up to six friendsYes
Withdraw4No
Free ActionAttack of Opportunity1
Cease concentration on a spellNo
Drop an itemNo
Drop to the floorNo
Prepare spell components to cast spell5No
SpeakNo
Swift ActionAttack of Opportunity1
Cast a quickened spellNo
Immediate ActionAttack of Opportunity1
Cast feather fallNo
No ActionAttack of Opportunity1
DelayNo
5-foot stepNo
Action Type VariesAttack of Opportunity1
Perform a combat maneuver6Yes
Use feat7Varies
1 Regardless of the action, if you move out of a threatened square, you usually provoke an attack of opportunity. This column indicates whether the action itself, not moving, provokes an attack of opportunity.
2 If you aid someone performing an action that would normally provoke an attack of opportunity, then the act of aiding another provokes an attack of opportunity as well.
3 If you have a base attack bonus of +1 or higher, you can combine one of these actions with a regular move. If you have the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, you can draw two light or one-handed weapons in the time it would normally take you to draw one.
4 May be taken as a standard action if you are limited to taking only a single action in a round.
5 Unless the component is an extremely large or awkward item.
6 Some combat maneuvers substitute for a melee attack, not an action. As melee attacks, they can be used once in an attack or charge action, one or more times in a full-attack action, or even as an attack of opportunity. Others are used as a separate action.
7 The description of a feat defines its effect.

Standard Actions

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 182
Most of the common actions characters take, aside from movement, fall into the realm of standard actions.

Move Actions

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 186
With the exception of specific movement-related skills, most move actions don’t require a check.

Full-Round Actions

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 187
A full-round action requires an entire round to complete. Thus, it can’t be coupled with a standard or a move action, though if it does not involve moving any distance, you can take a 5-foot step.

Free Actions

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 188
Free actions don’t take any time at all, though there may be limits to the number of free actions you can perform in a turn. Free actions rarely incur attacks of opportunity. Some common free actions are described below.

Swift Actions

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 188
A swift action consumes a very small amount of time, but represents a larger expenditure of effort than a free action. You can perform one swift action per turn without affecting your ability to perform other actions. In that regard, a swift action is like a free action. You can, however, perform only one single swift action per turn, regardless of what other actions you take. You can take a swift action anytime you would normally be allowed to take a free action. Swift actions usually involve spellcasting, activating a feat, or the activation of magic items.

Immediate Actions

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 189
Much like a swift action, an immediate action consumes a very small amount of time but represents a larger expenditure of effort and energy than a free action. However, unlike a swift action, an immediate action can be performed at any time—even if it’s not your turn. Casting feather fall is an immediate action, since the spell can be cast at any time.

Using an immediate action on your turn is the same as using a swift action and counts as your swift action for that turn. You cannot use another immediate action or a swift action until after your next turn if you have used an immediate action when it is not currently your turn (effectively, using an immediate action before your turn is equivalent to using your swift action for the coming turn). You also cannot use an immediate action if you are flat-footed.

Miscellaneous Actions

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 189
The following actions take a variable amount of time to accomplish or otherwise work differently than other actions.