When your attack succeeds, you deal damage. The type of
weapon used determines the amount of damage you deal. Effects that
modify weapon damage apply to unarmed strikes and the natural
physical attack forms of creatures.
Damage reduces a target’s current hit points.
If penalties reduce the damage result to less than 1, a hit still
deals 1 point of damage.
Strength Bonus: When you hit with a melee or thrown
weapon, including a sling, add your Strength modifier to the damage
result. A Strength penalty, but not a bonus, applies on attacks made
with a bow that is not a composite bow.
Off-Hand Weapon: When
you deal damage with a weapon in your off hand, you add only 1/2
your Strength bonus.
Wielding a Weapon Two-Handed: When
you deal damage with a weapon that you are wielding two-handed, you
add 1-1/2 times your Strength bonus. However, you don’t get this
higher Strength bonus when using a light weapon with two hands.
Sometimes you multiply damage by some factor, such as on a critical
hit. Roll the damage (with all modifiers) multiple times and total
the results. Note: When
you multiply damage more than once, each multiplier works off the
original, unmultiplied damage.
damage dice over and above a weapon’s normal damage are never
Certain creatures and magical effects can cause temporary ability
damage (a reduction to an ability score).
Your Armor Class (AC) represents how hard it is for
opponents to land a solid, damaging blow on you. It’s the attack
roll result that an opponent needs to achieve to hit you. Your AC is
equal to the following: 10 + armor bonus + shield bonus + Dexterity
modifier + size modifier
Note that armor limits your Dexterity bonus, so
if you’re wearing armor, you might not be able to apply your whole
Dexterity bonus to your AC.
Sometimes you can’t use your Dexterity bonus (if you
have one). If you can’t react to a blow, you can’t use your
Dexterity bonus to AC. (If you don’t have a Dexterity bonus,
Other Modifiers: Many other factors modify your
Enhancement Bonuses: Enhancement
effects make your armor better.
Deflection Bonus: Magical
deflection effects ward off attacks and improve your AC.
Natural Armor: Natural
armor improves your AC.
Dodge Bonuses: Some
other AC bonuses represent actively avoiding blows. These bonuses
are called dodge bonuses. Any situation that denies you your
Dexterity bonus also denies you dodge bonuses. (Wearing armor,
however, does not limit these bonuses the way it limits a Dexterity
bonus to AC.) Unlike most sorts of bonuses, dodge bonuses stack with
Some attacks disregard armor, including shields and natural armor.
In these cases, the attacker makes a touch attack roll (either
ranged or melee). When you are the target of a touch attack, your AC
doesn’t include any armor bonus, shield bonus, or natural armor
bonus. All other modifiers, such as your size modifier, Dexterity
modifier, and deflection bonus (if any) apply normally.
When your hit point total reaches 0, you’re disabled.
When it reaches –1, you’re dying. When it gets to –10, you’re
Your speed tells you how far you can move in a round
and still do something, such as attack or cast a spell. Your speed
depends mostly on your race and what armor you’re wearing.
Dwarves, gnomes, and halflings have a speed of 20 feet
(4 squares), or 15 feet (3 squares) when wearing medium or heavy
armor (except for dwarves, who move 20 feet in any armor).
Humans, elves, half-elves, and half-orcs have a speed
of 30 feet (6 squares), or 20 feet (4 squares) in medium or heavy
If you use two move actions in a round (sometimes
called a “double move” action), you can move up to double your
speed. If you spend the entire round to run all out, you can move up
to quadruple your speed (or triple if you are in heavy armor).
Generally, when you are subject to an unusual or
magical attack, you get a saving throw to avoid or reduce the
effect. Like an attack roll, a saving throw is a d20 roll plus a
bonus based on your class, level, and an ability score. Your saving
throw modifier is: Base save bonus + ability modifier
Saving Throw Types:
The three different kinds of saving throws are Fortitude, Reflex,
saves measure your ability to stand up to physical punishment or
attacks against your vitality and health. Apply your Constitution
modifier to your Fortitude saving throws.
saves test your ability to dodge area attacks. Apply your Dexterity
modifier to your Reflex saving throws.
saves reflect your resistance to mental influence as well as many
magical effects. Apply your Wisdom modifier to your Will saving
Saving Throw Difficulty Class:
The DC for a save is determined by the attack itself.
Automatic Failures and Successes:
A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on a saving throw is always a
failure (and may cause damage to exposed items; see Items Surviving
after a Saving Throw). A natural 20 (the d20 comes up 20) is always
At the start of a battle, each combatant makes an initiative check.
An initiative check is a Dexterity check. Each character applies his
or her Dexterity modifier to the roll. Characters act in order,
counting down from highest result to lowest. In every round that
follows, the characters act in the same order (unless a character
takes an action that results in his or her initiative changing; see
Special Initiative Actions).
If two or more combatants have the same initiative
check result, the combatants who are tied act in order of total
initiative modifier (highest first). If there is still a tie, the
tied characters should roll again to determine which one of them
goes before the other.
the start of a battle, before you have had a chance to act
(specifically, before your first regular turn in the initiative
order), you are flat-footed. You can’t use your Dexterity bonus to
AC (if any) while flat-footed. Barbarians and rogues have the
uncanny dodge extraordinary ability, which allows them to avoid
losing their Dexterity bonus to AC due to being flat-footed.
A flat-footed character can’t make attacks of
if you can’t take actions, you retain your initiative score for
the duration of the encounter.
When a combat starts, if you are not aware of your
opponents and they are aware of you, you’re surprised.
Sometimes all the combatants on a side are aware of
their opponents, sometimes none are, and sometimes only some of them
are. Sometimes a few combatants on each side are aware and the other
combatants on each side are unaware.
Determining awareness may call for Listen checks, Spot
checks, or other checks.
The Surprise Round:
If some but not all of the combatants are aware of their opponents,
a surprise round happens before regular rounds begin. Any combatants
aware of the opponents can act in the surprise round, so they roll
for initiative. In initiative order (highest to lowest), combatants
who started the battle aware of their opponents each take a standard
action during the surprise round. You can also take free actions
during the surprise round. If no one or everyone is surprised, no
surprise round occurs.
Combatants who are unaware at the start of battle don’t get to act
in the surprise round. Unaware combatants are flat-footed because
they have not acted yet, so they lose any Dexterity bonus to AC.
ATTACKS OF OPPORTUNITY
Sometimes a combatant in a melee lets her guard down.
In this case, combatants near her can take advantage of her lapse in
defense to attack her for free. These free attacks are called
attacks of opportunity.
You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack,
even when it is not your action. Generally, that means everything in
all squares adjacent to your space (including diagonally). An enemy
that takes certain actions while in a threatened square provokes an
attack of opportunity from you. If you’re unarmed, you don’t
normally threaten any squares and thus can’t make attacks of
Reach Weapons: Most
creatures of Medium or smaller size have a reach of only 5 feet.
This means that they can make melee attacks only against creatures
up to 5 feet (1 square) away. However, Small and Medium creatures
wielding reach weapons threaten more squares than a typical
creature. In addition, most creatures larger than Medium have a
natural reach of 10 feet or more.
Provoking an Attack of Opportunity: Two
kinds of actions can provoke attacks of opportunity: moving out of a
threatened square and performing an action within a threatened
out of a threatened square usually provokes an attack of opportunity
from the threatening opponent. There are two common methods of
avoiding such an attack—the 5-foot-step and the withdraw action
Performing a Distracting Act: Some
actions, when performed in a threatened square, provoke attacks of
opportunity as you divert your attention from the battle. Table:
Actions in Combat notes many of the actions that provoke attacks of
Remember that even actions that normally provoke
attacks of opportunity may have exceptions to this rule.
Making an Attack of Opportunity:
An attack of opportunity is a single melee attack, and you can only
make one per round. You don’t have to make an attack of
opportunity if you don’t want to.
An experienced character gets additional regular melee
attacks (by using the full attack action), but at a lower attack
bonus. You make your attack of opportunity, however, at your normal
attack bonus—even if you’ve already attacked in the round.
An attack of opportunity “interrupts” the normal
flow of actions in the round. If an attack of opportunity is
provoked, immediately resolve the attack of opportunity, then
continue with the next character’s turn (or complete the current
turn, if the attack of opportunity was provoked in the midst of a
Combat Reflexes and Additional Attacks
of Opportunity: If you have the Combat
Reflexes feat you can add your Dexterity modifier to the number of
attacks of opportunity you can make in a round. This feat does not
let you make more than one attack for a given opportunity, but if
the same opponent provokes two attacks of opportunity from you, you
could make two separate attacks of opportunity (since each one
represents a different opportunity). Moving out of more than one
square threatened by the same opponent in the same round doesn’t
count as more than one opportunity for that opponent. All these
attacks are at your full normal attack bonus.
ACTIONS IN COMBAT
THE COMBAT ROUND
Each round represents 6 seconds in the game world. A
round presents an opportunity for each character involved in a
combat situation to take an action.
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 entire round’s worth of
actions. (For exceptions, see Attacks of Opportunity and Special
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 one round to
the same initiative count in the next round. Effects that last a
certain number of rounds end just before the same initiative count
that they began on.
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 four types of actions:
standard actions, move actions, full-round actions, and free
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 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
A standard action allows you to do something, most commonly make an
attack or cast a spell. See Table: Actions in Combat for other
Move Action: A
move action allows you to move your speed or perform an action that
takes a similar amount of time. See Table: Actions in Combat.
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 for one or more equivalent actions), you
can take one 5-foot step either before, during, or after the 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 (see below).
Some full-round actions do not allow you to take a
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, below, detail which actions allow this option.
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.
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.
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 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
Making an attack is a standard action.
Melee Attacks: With a normal melee weapon, 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. With a typical reach weapon, you
can strike opponents 10 feet away, but you can’t strike adjacent
foes (those within 5 feet).
Unarmed Attacks: Striking for damage with
punches, kicks, and head butts is much like attacking with a melee
weapon, except for the following:
Attacks of Opportunity: Attacking unarmed
provokes an attack of opportunity from the character you attack,
provided she is armed. The attack of opportunity comes before your
attack. An unarmed attack does not provoke attacks of opportunity
from other foes nor does it provoke an attack of opportunity from an
An unarmed character can’t take attacks of
opportunity (but see “Armed” Unarmed Attacks, below).
“Armed” Unarmed Attacks: Sometimes a
character’s or creature’s unarmed attack counts as an armed
attack. A monk, a character with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, a
spellcaster delivering a touch attack spell, and a creature with
natural physical weapons all count as being armed.
Note that being armed counts for both offense and
defense (the character can make attacks of opportunity)
Unarmed Strike Damage: An unarmed strike from a
Medium character deals 1d3 points of damage (plus your Strength
modifier, as normal). A Small character’s unarmed strike deals 1d2
points of damage, while a Large character’s unarmed strike deals
1d4 points of damage. All damage from unarmed strikes is nonlethal
damage. Unarmed strikes count as light weapons (for purposes of
two-weapon attack penalties and so on).
Dealing Lethal Damage: You can specify that your
unarmed strike will deal lethal damage before you make your attack
roll, but you take a –4 penalty on your attack roll. If you have
the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, you can deal lethal damage with an
unarmed strike without taking a penalty on the attack roll.
Ranged Attacks: 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 shorter maximum ranges, as
specified in their descriptions.
Attack Rolls: An attack 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’s AC, you hit and deal damage.
Automatic Misses and Hits: A natural 1 (the d20
comes up 1) on the attack roll is always a miss. A natural 20 (the
d20 comes up 20) is always a hit. A natural 20 is also a threat—a
possible critical hit.
Damage Rolls: If the attack roll result equals
or exceeds the target’s AC, the attack hits and you deal damage.
Roll the appropriate damage for your weapon. Damage is deducted from
the target’s current hit points.
Multiple Attacks: A character who can make more
than one attack per round must use the full attack action (see
Full-Round Actions, below) in order to get more than one attack.
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. Two
characters are engaged in melee if they are enemies of each other
and either threatens the other. (An unconscious or otherwise
immobilized character is not considered engaged unless he is
actually being attacked.)
If your target (or the part of your target you’re
aiming at, if it’s a big target) is at least 10 feet away from the
nearest friendly character, you can avoid the –4 penalty, even if
the creature you’re aiming at is engaged in melee with a friendly
Precise Shot: If you have the Precise Shot feat
you don’t take this penalty.
Fighting Defensively as a Standard Action: You
can choose to fight defensively when attacking. If you do so, you
take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 dodge
bonus to AC for the same round.
Critical Hits: When you make an attack roll and
get a natural 20 (the d20 shows 20), you hit regardless of your
target’s Armor Class, and you have scored a threat. The hit might
be a critical hit (or “crit”). To find out if it’s a critical
hit, you immediately make a critical roll—another attack roll with
all the same modifiers as the attack roll you just made. If the
critical roll also results in a hit against the target’s AC, your
original hit is a critical hit. (The critical roll just needs to hit
to give you a crit. It doesn’t need to come up 20 again.) If the
critical roll is a miss, then your hit is just a regular hit.
A critical hit means that you roll your damage more
than once, with all your usual bonuses, and add the rolls together.
Unless otherwise specified, the threat range for a critical hit on
an attack roll is 20, and the multiplier is x2.
Exception: Extra damage over and above a
weapon’s normal damage is not multiplied when you score a critical
Increased Threat Range: Sometimes your
threat range is greater than 20. That is, you can score a threat on
a lower number. In such cases, a roll of lower than 20 is not an
automatic hit. Any attack roll that doesn’t result in a hit is not
Increased Critical Multiplier: Some
weapons deal better than double damage on a critical hit.
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 standard action to cast. You can
cast such a spell either before or after you take a move action.
Note: You retain your Dexterity bonus to
AC while casting.
Spell Components: 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
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
To cast a spell with a material (M), focus (F), or
divine focus (DF) component, you have to have the proper materials,
as described by the spell. Unless these materials are elaborate
preparing these materials is a free action. For material
components and focuses whose costs are not listed, you can assume
that you have them if you have your spell component pouch.
Some spells have an experience point (XP) component and
entail an experience point cost to you. No spell can restore the
lost XP. You cannot spend so much XP that you lose a level, so you
cannot cast the spell unless you have enough XP to spare. However,
you may, on gaining enough XP to achieve a new level, immediately
spend the XP on casting the spell rather than keeping it to advance
a level. The XP are expended when you cast the spell, whether or not
the casting succeeds.
Concentration: You must concentrate to cast a
spell. If you can’t concentrate you can’t cast a spell. If you
start casting a spell but something interferes with your
concentration you must make a Concentration check or lose the spell.
The check’s DC depends on what is threatening your concentration
(see the Concentration skill). If you fail, the spell fizzles with
no effect. If you prepare spells, it is lost from preparation. If
you cast at will, it counts against your daily limit of spells even
though you did not cast it successfully.
Concentrating to Maintain a Spell: Some spells
require continued concentration to keep them going. Concentrating to
maintain a spell is a standard 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.
Casting Time: Most spells have a casting time of
1 standard action. A spell cast in this manner immediately takes
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 (DC 10 + points of damage taken + spell level)
or lose the spell. Spells that require only a free action to cast
don’t provoke attacks of opportunity.
Casting on the Defensive: Casting a spell while
on the defensive does not provoke an attack of opportunity. It does,
however, require a Concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) to pull
off. Failure means that you lose the spell.
Touch Spells in Combat: Many spells have a range
of touch. To use these spells, you cast the spell and then touch the
subject, either in the same round or any time later. In the same
round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to
touch) the target. You may take your move before casting the spell,
after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching
the target. You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell
on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack
Touch Attacks: Touching an opponent with a touch
spell is considered to be an armed attack and therefore does not
provoke attacks of opportunity. However, the act of casting a spell
does provoke an attack of opportunity. Touch attacks come in two
types: melee touch attacks and ranged touch attacks. You can score
critical hits with either type of attack. Your opponent’s AC
against a touch attack does not include any armor bonus, shield
bonus, or natural armor bonus. His size modifier, Dexterity
modifier, and deflection bonus (if any) all apply normally.
Holding the Charge: If you don’t discharge the
spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the
discharge of the spell (hold the charge) indefinitely. You can
continue to make touch attacks round after round. You can touch one
friend as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round
action. If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even
unintentionally, the spell discharges. If you cast another spell,
the touch spell dissipates. Alternatively, you may make a normal
unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a
charge. In this case, you aren’t considered armed and you provoke
attacks of opportunity as normal for the attack. (If your unarmed
attack or natural weapon attack doesn’t provoke attacks of
opportunity, neither does this attack.) If the attack hits, you deal
normal damage for your unarmed attack or natural weapon and the
spell discharges. If the attack misses, you are still holding the
Dismiss a Spell: Dismissing an active spell is a
standard action that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity.
Activate Magic Item
Many magic items don’t need to be activated. However,
certain magic items need to be activated, especially potions,
scrolls, wands, rods, and staffs. Activating a magic item is a
standard action (unless the item description indicates otherwise).
Spell Completion Items: Activating a spell
completion item is the equivalent of casting a spell. It requires
concentration and provokes attacks of opportunity. You lose the
spell if your concentration is broken, and you can attempt to
activate the item while on the defensive, as with casting a spell.
Spell Trigger, Command Word, or Use-Activated Items:
Activating any of these kinds of items does not require
concentration and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Use Special Ability
Using a special ability is usually a standard action,
but whether it is a standard action, a full-round action, or not an
action at all is defined by the ability.
Spell-Like Abilities: 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. If your concentration is broken, the attempt to use the
ability fails, but the attempt counts as if you had used the
ability. The casting time of a spell-like ability is 1 standard
action, unless the ability description notes otherwise.
Using a Spell-Like Ability on the Defensive: You
may attempt to use a spell-like ability on the defensive, just as
with casting a spell. If the Concentration check (DC 15 + spell
level) fails, you can’t use the ability, but the attempt counts as
if you had used the ability.
Supernatural Abilities: Using a supernatural
ability is usually a standard action (unless defined otherwise by
the ability’s description). Its use cannot be disrupted, does not
require concentration, and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Extraordinary Abilities: Using an extraordinary
ability is usually not an action because most extraordinary
abilities automatically happen in a reactive fashion. Those
extraordinary abilities that are actions are usually standard
actions that cannot be disrupted, do not require concentration, and
do not provoke attacks of opportunity.
You can defend yourself as a standard action. You get a
+4 dodge bonus to your AC for 1 round. Your AC improves at the start
of this action. 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.
Start/Complete Full-Round Action
The “start full-round action” standard action lets
you start undertaking a full-round action, which you can complete in
the following round by using another standard action. You can’t
use this action to start or complete a full attack, charge, run, or
With the exception of specific movement-related skills,
most move actions don’t require a check.
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).
Accelerated Climbing: You can climb one-half
your speed as a move action by accepting a –5 penalty on your
Crawling: You can crawl 5 feet as a move action.
Crawling incurs attacks of opportunity from any attackers who
threaten you at any point of your crawl.
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 move
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.
If you have a base attack bonus of +1 or higher, you
may draw a weapon as a free action combined 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
Drawing ammunition for use with a ranged weapon (such
as arrows, bolts, sling bullets, or shuriken) is a free action.
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 move action. If you have
a base attack bonus of +1 or higher, you can ready or loose a shield
as a free action combined with a regular move.
Dropping a carried (but not worn) shield is a free
Manipulate an Item
In most cases, moving or manipulating an item is a move
This includes retrieving or putting away a stored item,
picking up an item, moving a heavy object, and opening a door.
Examples of this kind of action, along with whether they incur an
attack of opportunity, are given in Table: Actions in Combat.
Direct or Redirect a Spell
Some spells allow you to redirect the effect to
new targets or areas after you cast the spell. Redirecting a spell
requires a move action and does not provoke attacks of opportunity
or require concentration.
Standing up from a prone position requires a move
action and provokes attacks of opportunity.
Mount/Dismount a Steed
Mounting or dismounting from a steed requires a move
Fast Mount or Dismount:
You can mount or dismount as a free 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
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.
If you get more than one attack per round because your
base attack bonus is high enough, because you fight with two weapons
or a double weapon or for some special reason you must use a
full-round action to get your additional attacks. You do not need to
specify the targets of your attacks ahead of time. You can see how
the earlier attacks turn out before assigning the later ones.
The only movement you can take during a full attack is
a 5-foot step. You may take the step before, after, or between your
If you get multiple attacks because your base attack
bonus is high enough, you must make the attacks in order from
highest bonus to lowest. If you are using two weapons, you can
strike with either weapon first. If you are using a double weapon,
you can strike with either part of the weapon first.
Deciding between an Attack or a Full Attack:
After your first attack, you can decide to take a move action
instead of making your remaining attacks, depending on how the first
attack turns out. If you’ve already taken a 5-foot step, you can’t
use your move action to move any distance, but you could still use a
different kind of move action.
Fighting Defensively as a Full-Round Action: You
can choose to fight defensively when taking a full attack action. If
you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain
a +2 dodge bonus to AC for the same round.
Cleave: The extra attack granted by the Cleave
feat or Great Cleave feat can be taken whenever they apply. This is
an exception to the normal limit to the number of attacks you can
take when not using a full attack action.
Cast a Spell
A spell that takes 1 round to cast is a full-round
action. It comes into effect just before the beginning of your turn
in the round after you began casting the spell. You then act
normally after the spell is completed.
A spell that takes 1 minute to cast comes into effect
just before your turn 1 minute later (and for each of those 10
rounds, you are casting a spell as a full-round action). These
actions must be consecutive and uninterrupted, or the spell
When you begin a spell that takes 1 round or longer to
cast, you must continue the invocations, gestures, and concentration
from one round to just before your turn in the next round (at
least). If you lose concentration after starting the spell and
before it is complete, you lose the spell.
You only provoke attacks of opportunity when you begin
casting a spell, even though you might continue casting for at least
one full round. While casting a spell, you don’t threaten any
squares around you.
This action is otherwise identical to the cast a spell
action described under Standard Actions.
Casting a Metamagic Spell: Sorcerers and bards
must take more time to cast a metamagic spell (one enhanced by a
metamagic feat) than a regular spell. If a spell’s normal casting
time is 1 standard action, casting a metamagic version of the spell
is a full-round action for a sorcerer or bard. Note that this isn’t
the same as a spell with a 1-round casting time—the spell takes
effect in the same round that you begin casting, and you aren’t
required to continue the invocations, gestures, and concentration
until your next turn. For spells with a longer casting time, it
takes an extra full-round action to cast the metamagic spell.
Clerics must take more time to spontaneously cast a
metamagic version of a cure or inflict spell.
Spontaneously casting a metamagic version of a spell with a
casting time of 1 standard action is a full-round action, and spells
with longer casting times take an extra full-round action to cast.
Use Special Ability
Using a special ability is usually a standard action,
but some may be full-round actions, as defined by the ability.
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), enemies get
attacks of opportunity as normal.
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).
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 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
You can’t run across difficult terrain or if you
can’t see where you’re going.
A run represents a speed of about 12 miles per hour for
an unencumbered human.
Move 5 Feet through Difficult Terrain
In some situations, your movement may be so hampered
that you don’t have sufficient speed even to move 5 feet (a single
square). In such a case, you may spend a full-round action to move 5
feet (1 square) in any direction, even diagonally. Even though this
looks like a 5-foot step, it’s not, and thus it provokes attacks
of opportunity normally.
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.
Dropping to a prone position in your space is a free
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.
Cease Concentration on Spell
You can stop concentrating on an active spell as a free
Cast a Quickened Spell
You can cast a quickened spell (see the Quicken Spell
feat) or any spell whose casting time is designated as a free action
as a free action. Only one such spell can be cast in any round, and
such spells don’t count toward your normal limit of one spell per
round. Casting a spell with a casting time of a free action doesn’t
incur an attack of opportunity.
Take 5-Foot Step
You can move 5 feet in any round when you don’t
perform any other kind of movement. Taking this 5-foot step never
provokes an attack of opportunity. You can’t take more than one
5-foot step in a round, and you can’t take a 5-foot step in the
same round when you move any distance.
You can take a 5-foot step before, during, or after
your other actions in the round.
You can only take a 5-foot-step if your movement
isn’t hampered by difficult terrain or darkness. Any creature with
a speed of 5 feet or less can’t take a 5-foot step, since moving
even 5 feet requires a move action for such a slow creature.
You may not take a 5-foot step using a form of movement
for which you do not have a listed speed.
Certain feats let you take special actions in combat.
Other feats do not require actions themselves, but they give you a
bonus when attempting something you can already do. Some feats are
not meant to be used within the framework of combat. The individual
feat descriptions tell you what you need to know about them.
Most skill uses are standard actions, but some might be
move actions, full-round actions, free actions, or something else
The individual skill descriptions tell you what sorts
of actions are required to perform skills.
INJURY AND DEATH
Your hit points measure how hard you are to kill. No
matter how many hit points you lose, your character isn’t hindered
in any way until your hit points drop to 0 or lower.
LOSS OF HIT POINTS
The most common way that your character gets hurt is to
take lethal damage and lose hit points
What Hit Points Represent:
Hit points mean two things in the game world: the ability to take
physical punishment and keep going, and the ability to turn a
serious blow into a less serious one.
Effects of Hit Point Damage:
Damage doesn’t slow you down until your current hit points reach 0
or lower. At 0 hit points, you’re disabled.
At from –1 to –9 hit points, you’re dying.
At –10 or lower, you’re dead.
Massive Damage: If
you ever sustain a single attack deals 50 points of damage or more
and it doesn’t kill you outright, you must make a DC 15 Fortitude
save. If this saving throw fails, you die regardless of your current
hit points. If you take 50 points of damage or more from multiple
attacks, no one of which dealt 50 or more points of damage itself,
the massive damage rule does not apply.
DISABLED (0 HIT POINTS)
When your current hit points drop to exactly 0, you’re
You can only take a single move or standard action each
turn (but not both, nor can you take full-round actions). You can
take move actions without further injuring yourself, but if you
perform any standard action (or any other strenuous action) you take
1 point of damage after the completing the act. Unless your activity
increased your hit points, you are now at –1 hit points, and
Healing that raises your hit points above 0 makes you
fully functional again, just as if you’d never been reduced to 0
or fewer hit points.
You can also become disabled when recovering from
dying. In this case, it’s a step toward recovery, and you can have
fewer than 0 hit points (see Stable Characters and Recovery, below).
DYING (–1 TO –9 HIT POINTS)
When your character’s current hit points drop to
between –1 and –9 inclusive, he’s dying.
A dying character immediately falls unconscious and can
take no actions.
A dying character loses 1 hit point every round. This
continues until the character dies or becomes stable (see below).
DEAD (–10 HIT POINTS OR LOWER)
When your character’s current hit points drop to –10
or lower, or if he takes massive damage (see above), he’s dead. A
character can also die from taking ability damage or suffering an
ability drain that reduces his Constitution to 0.
STABLE CHARACTERS AND RECOVERY
On the next turn after a character is reduced to
between –1 and –9 hit points and on all subsequent turns, roll
d% to see whether the dying character becomes stable. He has a 10%
chance of becoming stable. If he doesn’t, he loses 1 hit point. (A
character who’s unconscious or dying can’t use any special
action that changes the initiative count on which his action
If the character’s hit points drop to –10 or lower,
You can keep a dying character from losing any more hit
points and make him stable with a DC 15 Heal check.
If any sort of healing cures the dying character of
even 1 point of damage, he stops losing hit points and becomes
Healing that raises the dying character’s hit points
to 0 makes him conscious and disabled. Healing that raises his hit
points to 1 or more makes him fully functional again, just as if
he’d never been reduced to 0 or lower. A spellcaster retains the
spellcasting capability she had before dropping below 0 hit points.
A stable character who has been tended by a healer or
who has been magically healed eventually regains consciousness and
recovers hit points naturally. If the character has no one to tend
him, however, his life is still in danger, and he may yet slip away.
Recovering with Help:
One hour after a tended, dying character becomes stable, roll d%. He
has a 10% chance of becoming conscious, at which point he is
disabled (as if he had 0 hit points). If he remains unconscious, he
has the same chance to revive and become disabled every hour. Even
if unconscious, he recovers hit points naturally. He is back to
normal when his hit points rise to 1 or higher.
Recovering without Help:
A severely wounded character left alone usually dies. He has a small
chance, however, of recovering on his own.
A character who becomes stable on his own (by
making the 10% roll while dying) and who has no one to tend to him
still loses hit points, just at a slower rate. He has a 10% chance
each hour of becoming conscious. Each time he misses his hourly roll
to become conscious, he loses 1 hit point. He also does not recover
hit points through natural healing.
Even once he becomes conscious and is disabled, an
unaided character still does not recover hit points naturally.
Instead, each day he has a 10% chance to start recovering hit points
naturally (starting with that day); otherwise, he loses 1 hit point.
Once an unaided character starts recovering hit points
naturally, he is no longer in danger of naturally losing hit points
(even if his current hit point total is negative).
After taking damage, you can recover hit points through
natural healing or through magical healing. In any case, you can’t
regain hit points past your full normal hit point total.
With a full night’s rest (8 hours of sleep or more), you recover 1
hit point per character level. Any significant interruption during
your rest prevents you from healing that night.
If you undergo complete bed rest for an entire day and
night, you recover twice your character level in hit points.
Various abilities and spells can restore hit points.
You can never recover more hit points than you lost. Magical healing
won’t raise your current hit points higher than your full normal
hit point total.
Healing Ability Damage:
Ability damage is temporary, just as hit point damage is. Ability
damage returns at the rate of 1 point per night of rest (8 hours)
for each affected ability score. Complete bed rest restores 2 points
per day (24 hours) for each affected ability score.
Certain effects give a character temporary hit points.
When a character gains temporary hit points, note his current hit
point total. When the temporary hit points go away the character’s
hit points drop to his current hit point total. If the character’s
hit points are below his current hit point total at that time, all
the temporary hit points have already been lost and the character’s
hit point total does not drop further.
When temporary hit points are lost, they cannot be
restored as real hit points can be, even by magic.
Increases in Constitution Score and
Current Hit Points: An increase in a
character’s Constitution score, even a temporary one, can give her
more hit points (an effective hit point increase), but these are not
temporary hit points. They can be restored and they are not lost
first as temporary hit points are.
Dealing Nonlethal Damage:
Certain attacks deal nonlethal damage. Other effects, such as heat
or being exhausted, also deal nonlethal damage. When you take
nonlethal damage, keep a running total of how much you’ve
accumulated. Do not deduct the nonlethal
damage number from your current hit points. It
is not “real” damage. Instead, when your nonlethal damage equals
your current hit points, you’re staggered, and when it exceeds
your current hit points, you fall unconscious. It doesn’t matter
whether the nonlethal damage equals or exceeds your current hit
points because the nonlethal damage has gone up or because your
current hit points have gone down.
Nonlethal Damage with a Weapon that
Deals Lethal Damage: You can use a melee
weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage instead,
but you take a –4 penalty on your attack roll.
Lethal Damage with a Weapon that Deals
Nonlethal Damage: You can use a weapon that
deals nonlethal damage, including an unarmed strike, to deal lethal
damage instead, but you take a –4 penalty on your attack roll.
Staggered and Unconscious:
When your nonlethal damage equals your current hit points, you’re
staggered. You can only take a standard action or a move action in
each round. You cease being staggered when your current hit points
once again exceed your nonlethal damage.
When your nonlethal damage exceeds your current hit
points, you fall unconscious. While unconscious, you are helpless.
Spellcasters who fall unconscious retain any
spellcasting ability they had before going unconscious.
Healing Nonlethal Damage:
You heal nonlethal damage at the rate of 1 hit point per hour per
When a spell or a magical power cures hit point damage,
it also removes an equal amount of nonlethal damage.