Combat Actions

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).

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.
Action Types
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 may also take one swift action per round, and as many free actions as the Games Master allows. Immediate actions count as immediate actions, but can be used on any turn, not just your own.

In some situations (such as in the surprise round) a character may be limited to taking only a single attack or move action.

Combat Maneuver Bonus
Most combat maneuvers rely on both skill and physical power. To represent this combination, characters have a Combat Maneuver Bonus, or CMB, equal to their Base Attack Bonus plus their Strength or Dexterity plus their size modifier (see below). Most maneuvers require opposed CMB checks; this is generally referred to as "rolling CMB."

Size Fine Diminuative Tiny Small Medium Large Huge Gargantuan Colossal
Modifier -8 -4 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +4 +8

Free Actions
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.

Drop an Item: Dropping an item in your space or into an adjacent square is a free action.

Speak: In general, speaking is a free action that you can perform even when it isn’t your turn. Speaking more than few sentences is generally beyond the limit of a free action.

Swift Actions
Swift actions take a measureable amount of time, more than a free action but less than a move action. You may take one Swift action per turn.

Drop Prone: Dropping to a prone position in your space is a swift action.

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 a swift action. This action also applies to weapon-like objects carried in easy reach, such as wands. If your weapon or weapon-like object is stored in a pack or otherwise out of easy reach, treat this action as retrieving a stored item. Drawing ammunition for use with a ranged weapon (such as arrows, sling bullets, or shuriken) is a free action.

Five-Foot Step: As a swift action, you may attempt to back away from an opponent without provoking an attack of opportunity.

Ready or Loose a Shield: Strapping a shield to your arm to gain its shield bonus to your AC, or unstrapping and dropping a shield so you can use your shield hand for another purpose, requires a swift action. Dropping a carried (but not worn) shield is a free action.

Stand Up: Standing up from a prone position requires a swift action and provokes attacks of opportunity.

Move Actions

Aim: You may take a move action to take aim at a target. Treat the target as being one range increment closer to you (if using a ranged weapon), and halve the effects of the target's damage reduction against attacks you make this turn.

Manipulate an Item: In most cases, moving or manipulating an item is a move action. This includes retrieving or putting away a stored item, picking up an item, moving a heavy object, and opening a door.

Mount/Dismount a Steed: Mounting or dismounting from a steed requires a move action.

Fast Mount or Dismount: You can mount or dismount as a swift action with a DC 20 Ride check (your armor check penalty, if any, applies to this check). If you fail the check, mounting or dismounting is a move action instead. (You can’t attempt a fast mount or fast dismount unless you can perform the mount or dismount as a move action in the current round.)

Move: The simplest move action is moving your speed. If you take this kind of move action during your turn, you can’t also take a 5-foot step.
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).

Crawling: You can crawl one-quarter your speed as a move action. Crawling incurs attacks of opportunity from any attackers who threaten you at any point of your crawl.

Stand Up: You may stand up from a prone position without provoking attacks of opportunity as a move action.

Standard Actions

Attack: Making an Attack is a standard action.

Bull Rush: A bull rush is an attempt to push a foe backwards, using a combination of brute force and cunning footwork. As a standard action, the attacker and defender make opposed CMB checks. If the attacker's check is higher, he moves his foe backwards one foot for every point that his check beats the defender's, although the defender always moves at least five feet on a failed check. The attacker must move with his foe to push him the full distance. Both characters provoke attacks of opportunity for movement. If using a battle grid, round distance moved to the nearest five feet.

Charge: You may move up to your speed in a straight line and make a single melee attack. You suffer a -2 penalty to AC until the beginning of your next turn. If you also use your move action to follow the line of the charge (essentially making this a full-round action), you deal bonus damage equal to your Strength.

Defend: You may choose to abandon offense and fight defensively for a round. Until the beginning of your next turn, you gain a +4 bonus to reflex saves, and whenever you are attacked in ranged or melee combat, you may roll 1d20 + your armor class bonuses, instead of the attack being opposed by your armor class bonuses +5. You can’t combine total defense with fighting defensively or with the benefit of the Combat Expertise feat (since both of those require you to declare an attack or full attack). You can’t make attacks of opportunity while using total defense.

Disarm: To attempt to disarm an opponent's weapon or shield, attacker and defender make opposed CMB checks. The defender gets a +5 bonus to his roll if a shield disarm is being attempted. If he is wielding a weapon in two hands, he can add his Strength to his defensive CMB roll a second time. If the attacker's roll is higher, the disarm is successful, and the weapon falls to the ground in the defender's square. If the attacker wins by 5 or more, he can toss his opponent's weapon into an adjacent square.

You may attempt a ranged disarm attempt against a foe within one range increment, but you take a -5 penalty for doing so.

Feint: As part of a standard action when making a melee attack, the attacker can roll a Bluff skill check instead of his normal attack bonus, opposed by his opponent's Sense Motive check or normal Armor Class, whichever is higher. If the attacker succeeds, he strikes his foe, and that foe is considered flat-footed against the attack. You may not full attack while feinting. You may not feint with a ranged attack.

Grapple: You may attempt to imitate a grapple as a standard action. The attacker and defender make opposed CMB checks. The defender may substitute and Escape Artist check to avoid the grapple. If the attacker wins, or the defender chooses to allow the grapple to begin unopposed, the grapple begins. If the defender wins, he successfully resists the grapple attempt. Once the grapple is initiated, both characters have the same options, all standard actions, and all based on opposed CMB rolls.

  • Escape from the grapple. (Only a standard action if the other character attempts to prevent the escape; if unopposed, it's a swift action.) You may substitute an Escape Artist check in place of the CMB roll.
  • Deal unarmed damage, attack with a light weapon, or attack with an opponent's light weapon by accepting a -2 penalty to their CMB.
  • Drag your foe, as if making a Bull Rush attempt.
  • Cast a spell or use a spell-like ability. A DC 20 Concentration check is also required, and the caster takes a -5 penalty to both rolls if the spell has somatic components.
  • Attempt to pin a foe. Pinned foes take a -2 penalty to CMB rolls while pinned. Pinned foes cannot take any physical actions except to attempt to escape the pin with an opposed CMB roll, or an Escape Artist check. Characters pinning a foe can deal unarmed damage or attack with a light weapon without making an opposed roll.

Interrupt: As a standard action, you may ready an attempt to interrupt a foe's next action. As long as that foe remains within range of your weapon, every move, standard, and full-round action he makes provokes an attack of opportunity. If your attack hits, the foe must roll a Fortitude save, with a DC equal to the damage dealt. If they fail, they cannot complete the action, and the action is wasted. Only one attack of opportunity per round can be an interrupt attempt, even if you could normally make multiple attacks of opportunity per round

Snatch: When attempting to grab an crown, amulet, or other item not actively being wielded by a foe, the attacker and defender roll opposed CMB checks. The attacker may roll Sleight of Hand instead of CMB. If the attacker's roll is higher, he successfully grabs the item. You must have at least one hand free to make a Snatch attempt.

Sunder: When attempting to damage a foe's weapon, both parties make opposed CMB checks. If the attacker wins, he deals damage directly to his foe's weapon. Attempting to sunder armor is a standard attack roll, dealing damage directly to the armor. Characters may make ranged Sunder attempts, but suffer a -5 penalty for doing so.

Trip: When attempting to make a trip attempt, both parties make opposed CMB checks. If the attacker wins, the defender is knocked prone.

Full-Round Actions

Covering Fire: When wielding a ranged weapon, you may designate a cone area, starting at your square and extending out to one-half the first range increment of your weapon. Until the beginning of your next turn, any foes who move in the designated area provoke attacks of opportunity from you. Foes with an Intelligence of at least 6 are aware of this threatened area.

When taking the Covering Fire action, you may make a number of additional attacks of opportunity equal to one-fourth your base attack bonus.

Full Attack:
As a full-round action, you may make one extra attack at a -2 penalty to both attack rolls. You gain an additional attack for every 5 points of base attack bonus you possess.

Overrun: An overrun attempt is an attempt to plow past or over an opponent. As a full-round action, you may move up to twice your speed and attempt to overrun any creatures in the way. To attempt to overrun a foe, the attacker must be at least the same size as his opponent or larger.

You must roll opposed CMB checks against each opponent. If the attacker wins, he moves through the opponent's square and continues the movement. If he wins by 5 or more, he knocks them prone. If the defender wins the check, the attacker's movement is stopped at that point, and the action is over.

If you make mounted overrun attempts, instead of rolling CMB, you roll your ranks in Ride plus your mount's Strength plus his size modifier. Your mount's size determines how large a creature you may overrun.

Run: You can run as a full-round action. (If you do, you do not also get a 5-foot step.) When you run, you can move up to four times your speed in a straight line (or three times your speed if you’re in heavy armor). You lose any Dexterity bonus to AC unless you have the Run feat.

You can run for a number of rounds equal to five times your Constitution score, but after that you must make a DC 10 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.

Withdraw: Withdrawing from melee combat is a full-round action. When you withdraw, you can move up to double your speed. The square you start out in is not considered threatened by any opponent you can see, and therefore visible enemies do not get attacks of opportunity against you when you move from that square. (Invisible enemies still get attacks of opportunity against you, and you can’t withdraw from combat if you’re blinded.) You can’t take a 5-foot step during the same round in which you withdraw.

If, during the process of withdrawing, you move out of a threatened square (other than the one you started in), you and the enemy or enemies threatening that square may roll opposed CMB checks. If you succeed, you do not provoke an attack of opportunity.

You may not withdraw using a form of movement for which you don’t have a listed speed.

Note that despite the name of this action, you don’t actually have to leave combat entirely.

Restricted Withdraw: If you are limited to taking only a standard action each round you can withdraw as a standard action. In this case, you may move up to your speed (rather than up to double your speed).

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