Actions in Combat

The fundamental actions of moving and attacking cover most of what a character wants to do in a battle. They’re described here. Other, more specialized options are touched on in Table: Actions in Combat, and covered in Special Initiative Actions and Special Attacks.

The Combat Round

Each round represents about 6 seconds in the game world. A round is an opportunity for each character involved in a combat to take an action. Anything a person could reasonably do in 6 seconds, a character can do in 1 round.

Each round’s activity begins with the character with the highest initiative result and then proceeds, in order, from there. Each round of a combat uses the same initiative order. When a character’s turn comes up in the initiative sequence, that character performs his or her entire round’s worth of actions. (For exceptions, see Attacks of Opportunity and Special Initiative Actions.)

For almost all purposes, there is no relevance to the end of a round or the beginning of a round. A round can be a segment of game time starting with the first character to act and ending with the last, but it usually means a span of time from a certain round to the same initiative number in the next round. Effects that last a certain number of rounds end just before the same initiative count that they began on.

Table: Actions in Combat
Attack Actions Attack of Opportunity1
Attack (melee) No
Attack (ranged) Yes
Attack (unarmed) Yes
Attack (aid another) No
Bull rush (attack) No
Escape a grapple No
Feint (see the Bluff skill) No
Ready (triggers an attack action) No
Make a dying character stable Yes
Attack a weapon Yes
Attack an object Maybe2
Total defense No
Use a skill that takes an attack action Usually
Start/complete full-round action Varies
Move Actions Attack of Opportunity1
Move your speed Yes
Use a piece of equipment No
Climb (one-quarter speed) No
Climb, accelerated (one-half speed) No
Crawl No
Draw a weapon3 No
Holster a weapon Yes
Move a heavy object Yes
Open a door No
Pick up an object Yes
Reload a firearm with a box magazine or speed loader Yes
Retrieve a stored object Yes
Stand up from prone, sitting, or kneeling Yes
Swim No
Use a skill that takes a move action Usually
Full-Round Actions Attack of Opportunity1
Bull rush (charge) No
Charge No
Coup de grace Yes
Full attack No
Overrun (charge) No
Run Yes
Withdraw No
Extinguish flames No
Use a skill that takes a full round Usually
Reload a firearm with an internal magazine Yes
Free Actions Attack of Opportunity1
Drop an object No
Drop to prone, sitting, or kneeling No
Speak No
Action Type Varies Attack of Opportunity1
Disarm4 Yes
Grapple4 Yes
Load a weapon Yes
Trip an opponent4 No (Yes if unarmed)
Use a feat5 Varies
No Action Attack of Opportunity1
Delay No
5-foot step No
1Regardless of the action, if a character moves out of a threatened square, the character usually provokes an attack of opportunity. This column indicates whether the action itself, not moving, provokes an attack of opportunity.
2If the object is being held, carried, or worn by a creature, yes. If not, no.
3If the character has a base attack bonus of +1 or higher, he or she can combine this action with a regular move. If the character has the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, he or she can draw two light or one-handed weapons in the time it would normally take to draw one.
4These attack forms 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.
5The description of a feat defines its effect.
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