Actions In Combat
The Combat Round
Each round represents 6 seconds in the game world. A round of combat starts with the character with the highest initiative, and proceeds down in descending order. Once you reach the bottom of the list you begin once again at the top. When it is a characters turn, they may use any actions they have.
When determining rounds for spell or ability effects, a round is determined by the character affected. For example if a spell has a duration of 5 rounds, it will last until the end of the targets 5th round of actions, regardless of where they are on the initiative order.
There are 4 types of actions: Full-round, Actions, Free actions and Reactions. An action, is something you can do on your turn, a reaction is something generally done on an opponents turn or in reaction to an ongoing affect. A Full-Round action is a special type of action that uses all 3 actions in a round, while Free actions have an unlimited use count. In a round of combat each character has 3 Normal actions, and 1 Reaction, In some situations (such as in a surprise round), the number of normal actions and reactions may be limited.
Regular actions have a few different sub-types. Strike, Move, Cast a Spell, Gather Power, and Interact.
Strikes and Damage
You can strike any opponent within 5 feet. Opponents within 5 feet are considered adjacent to you. Some melee weapons have reach, as indicated in their descriptions. Attacking with unarmed strikes are considered a melee strike.
With a ranged weapon, you can shoot or throw at any target that is within the weapon’s maximum range and in line of sight. The maximum range for a thrown weapon is five range increments. For projectile weapons, it is ten range increments. Some ranged weapons have different maximums and unusual range increments, look to the weapons stat block for clarification.
An strike roll represents your attempts to strike your opponent.
Your attack roll is 1d20 + your attack bonus with the weapon you’re using. If the result is at least as high as the target Defense, you score a hit.
If the attack roll result equals or exceeds the target’s Defense, the attack hits and you deal damage. Roll the appropriate damage for your weapon. Damage is deducted from the target’s current hit points.
A character can make more than one strike per round, each strike made after the first are subjected to a -4 penalty for each strike made during the round.
Shooting or Throwing into a Melee
If you shoot or throw a ranged weapon at a target engaged in melee with a friendly character, you take a -4 penalty on your attack roll if you are less than skilled proficiency with the weapon you are making the strike with.
You can choose to fight defensively when striking. If you do so, you take a -4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 dodge bonus to your Defense Roll until the beginning of your next turn.
When you make an attack roll and get a natural 20 you critically hit your target IF the result of your attack is a hit. A critical hit means that you double the result of your damage roll and with all your usual bonuses.
Exception: Extra damage dice over and above a weapon’s normal damage (such as fire or elemental damage) is not multiplied when you score a critical hit.
Increased Threat Range
Sometimes your threat range is greater than 20. If you would hit on a number that is now a threat, your critically strike them instead.
Increased Critical Multiplier
Some weapons or class abilities can have a higher multiple of damage.
Spells and Critical Hits
A spell that requires an attack roll can score a critical hit. A spell attack that requires no attack roll cannot score a critical hit.
Cast a Spell
Most spells require 1 action to cast.
To cast a spell with a verbal (V) component, your character must speak in a firm voice. If you’re gagged or in the area of a silence spell, you can’t cast such a spell. A spellcaster who has been deafened has a 20% chance to spoil any spell he tries to cast if that spell has a verbal component.
To cast a spell with a somatic (S) component, you must gesture freely with at least one hand. You can’t cast a spell of this type while bound, grappling, or with both your hands full or occupied.
To cast a spell with a material (M), you have to have the proper materials, as described by the spell. Unless these materials are elaborate preparing these materials is a free action.
You must be able to concentrate to cast a spell. If you can’t concentrate you can’t cast a spell. If you begin to cast a spell but are interrupted, you must make a concentration check. If you fail the points of Natura used are lost, and the spell is not cast.
Concentrating to Maintain a Spell
Some spells require continued concentration to keep them going. Concentrating to maintain a spell is an action that doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity. Anything that could break your concentration when casting a spell can keep you from concentrating to maintain a spell. If your concentration breaks, the spell ends.
Most spells have a casting time of 1 action. A spell cast in this manner immediately takes effect.
Attacks of Opportunity
Generally, if you cast a spell, you provoke attacks of opportunity from threatening enemies. If you take damage from an attack of opportunity, you must make a Concentration check with a DC equal to the points of damage taken + the proficiency level of the spell. Spells that are cast as a reaction do not provoke.
Casting on the Defensive
You may choose to cast defensively which does not provoke an attack of opportunity. Doing this costs 2 actions and requires a successful concentration check equal to 11+ the proficiency level of the spell. If you fail the points of Natura are not spent, but you do not successfully cast the spell.
Gather Power :
Gather power requires two actions and allows a character to gain an amount of Natura based on their magic proficiency. If all 3 actions are spent instead, the character can either gain double the normal amount, or may gather the regular amount without provoking an attack of opportunity. Gather Power provokes an attack of opportunity.
Holding the Charge :
If cast a spell with a range of touch, you may choose to hold the charge of the spell indefinitely, but requires at least one hand. If you touch someone, even if involuntarily you discharge the spell. You can hold up to 2 touch spells at a time, and if you attempt to cast another, one of your currently maintained spells dissipates. If the spell you are holding is hostile, you are considered threatening for purposes of flanking and taking attacks of opportunity. You may make a melee touch attack against an opponent's Dodge Defense. You provoke attacks of opportunity as normal for the attack if you are untrained with Unarmed Strikes. If your unarmed attack or natural weapon attack doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity, neither does this attack. If the attack hits the the spell discharges. If the attack misses, you are still holding the charge. If you choose to make an unarmed strike against your opponent they may use either of their defenses for rolls, but if you hit you also do unarmed strike damage.
Dismiss a Spell
Dismissing an active spell is an action that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity.
There are many forms that the Interact action can take.
Draw or Sheathe a Weapon
Drawing a weapon so that you can use it in combat, or putting it away so that you have a free hand, requires an action. If you are trained with a weapon you may draw it as a free action as part of a strike. Shields may be drawn as a free action if you are trained in blocking.
Manipulate an item
This includes retrieving or putting away a stored item, picking up an item, and opening a door. In general, using this action provokes an attack of opportunity unless otherwise stated.
Activating a magic item
If a magic item casts a spell or has more complex activation than a command word, it provokes an attack of opportunity. Items that have passive or reactive effects generally do not provoke.
Use Special Ability
Using a special ability is usually 1 action, but other more complex abilities may require more. There are two types of abilities. Spell-Like, and Supernatural.
Using a spell-like ability works like casting a spell in that it requires concentration and provokes attacks of opportunity. Spell-like abilities can be disrupted, and can be used while casting defensively.The casting time of a spell-like ability is 1 action, unless otherwise stated.
Using a supernatural ability is usually 1 action unless otherwise stated. Its use cannot be disrupted, does not require concentration, and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
You can defend yourself as an action, this cannot be used after you have already made an attack. You get a +4 dodge bonus to your defense roll for 1 round which starts with the beginning of this action. You can’t combine total defense and can’t make attacks of opportunity while using total defense.
The simplest movement action is moving your speed. Many nonstandard modes of movement are covered under this category, including climbing (up to one-quarter of your speed) and swimming (up to one-quarter of your speed).
Accelerated Climbing and Swimming
You can climb one-half your speed as an action by accepting a -5 penalty on your Athletics check.
You can crawl 5 feet as an action. Crawling provokes attacks of opportunity from any attackers who threaten you at any point of your crawl.
5 ft step
Take a 5 ft step, this movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Standing up from a prone position requires an action and provokes attacks of opportunity.
Mount/Dismount a Steed
Mounting or dismounting from a steed requires an action.
Fast Mount or Dismount
You can mount or dismount as a free action with a DC 20 Ride check (your armor dexterity limit, if any, applies to this check). If you fail the check, mounting or dismounting is a move action instead. You cannot attempt this maneuver if you do not have any remaining actions.
Full Round Actions
Full round actions are abilities or maneuvers that require all 3 actions. There are some some spells/abilities/maneuvers that are full round actions. If using a full round action that is not a movement maneuver you may take a 5 ft step for free.
Withdrawing from melee combat is a full-round action. When you withdraw, you can move up to double your speed, and your 10 ft of movement do not provoke. You may not withdraw using a form of movement for which you don’t have a listed speed.
If you are limited to taking only 1 action during a round round you can perform a restricted withdraw, moving your move speed and you do not provoke from the first 5 ft of movement.
You can run as a full-round action. When you run, you can move up to four times your speed in a straight line. You lose any bonus to your Defense Rolls from dexterity while running. You can run for a number of rounds equal to your Constitution score, but after that you must make a DC 11 Constitution check to continue running. You must check again each round in which you continue to run, and the DC of this check increases by 1 for each check you have made. When you fail this check, you must stop running. A character who has run to his limit must rest for 1 minute (10 rounds) before running again. During a rest period, a character can move no faster than a normal move action.
You can’t run across difficult terrain or if you can’t see where you’re going.
Some terrain hampers movement so much that you cannot take a 5 ft step, and all movement costs double. Attempting to move in difficult terrain always provokes attacks of opportunity.
Free actions don’t take any time at all, the only limits to Free actions are those that make somewhat realistic sense. Below are a list of sample free actions.
Drop an Item
Dropping an item in your space or into an adjacent square is a free action.
Dropping to a prone position in your space is a free action.
Shouting a few words is a free action, reciting a full fledged poem is not.
Cease Concentration on Spell
You can stop concentrating on an active spell as a free action.
Certain feats let you take special actions in combat. Other feats do not require actions themselves, others still let you do more with a single action.
Most skill uses are used with the Interact Action, but some might require full round actions while others might be free. Refer to the skill descriptions for more information.
These are actions typically taken on an opponents turn, or in response to an opponent's actions or abilities. All characters begin play with the Attack of Opportunity Reaction, but other examples are listed below.
Attack of Opportunity, Reaction
You may make a strike against an opponent who has provoked an attack.
Raise Shield, Reaction
You may raise your shield to dampen an incoming blow. Increase your Block roll by 4 and add your shields Damage Resistance to your armor for purposes of reducing the damage of an attack.