The four types of actions are attack actions, move actions, full-round actions, and free actions. In a normal round, a character can perform an attack action and a move action (or two move actions; a character can always take a move action in place of an attack action), or a character can perform a full-round action. A character can also perform as many free actions as the GM allows.
In some situations (such as in the surprise round) a character may be limited to taking only a single attack or move action.
An attack action allows a character to do something. A character can make an attack, use a skill or a feat (unless the skill or feat requires a full-round action to perform; see below), or perform other similar actions. During a combat round, a character can take an attack action and a move action. A character can take a move action before or after performing an attack action.
A move action allows a character to move his or her speed or perform an action that takes a similar amount of time. A character can move his or her speed, climb one-quarter of his or her speed, draw or stow a weapon or other object, stand up, pick up an object, or perform some equivalent action (see Table: Actions in Combat).
A character can take a move action in the place of an attack action.
If a character moves no actual distance in a round, that character can take one 5-foot step before, during, or after the action.
A full-round action consumes all a character’s effort during a round. The only movement the character can take during a full-round action is a 5-foot step before, during, or after the action. Some full-round actions do not allow a character to take a 5-foot step. A character can also perform free actions (see below) as the GM allows.
Free actions consume a very small amount of time and effort, and over the span of the round, their impact is so minor that they are considered free. A character can perform one or more free actions while taking another action normally. However, the GM puts reasonable limits on what a character can really do for free. For instance, dropping an object, dropping to a prone position, speaking a sentence or two, and ceasing to concentrate on a magic spell (if magic is available in the campaign) are all free actions.