[top]Action Types

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 actions.
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 action.
[top]Standard Action
A standard action allows you to do something, most commonly make an attack or cast a spell. See Table: Actions in Combat for other standard actions.
[top]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.
[top]Full-Round 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 5-foot step.
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.
[top]Free Action
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.
[top]Swift Action
A swift action consumes a very small amount of time, but represents a larger expenditure of effort and energy than a free action. You can perform one swift action per turn without affecting your ability to perform other actions.
[top]Immediate Action
An immediate action is a swift action that can be performed at any time?even if it?s not your turn.
[top]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.
[top]Restricted Activity
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 below).

[top]Table: Actions in Combat
Standard ActionAttack of Opportunity1
Attack (melee)No
Attack (ranged)Yes
Attack (unarmed)Yes
Activate a magic item other than a potion or oilNo
Aid anotherMaybe2
Bull rushYes
Cast a spell (1 standard action casting time)Yes
Concentrate to maintain an active spellNo
Dismiss a spellNo
Draw a hidden weapon (see Sleight of Hand skill)No
Drink a potion or apply an oilYes
Escape a grappleNo
Light a torch with a tindertwigYes
Lower spell resistanceNo
Make a dying friend stable (see Heal skill)Yes
Read a scrollYes
Ready (triggers a standard action)No
Sunder a weapon (attack)Yes
Sunder an object (attack)Maybe3
Total defenseNo
Turn or rebuke undeadNo
Use extraordinary abilityNo
Use skill that takes 1 actionUsually
Use spell-like abilityYes
Use supernatural abilityNo
Move ActionAttack of Opportunity1
Control a frightened mountYes
Direct or redirect an active spellNo
Draw a weapon4No
Load a hand crossbow or light crossbowYes
Open or close a doorNo
Mount a horse or dismountNo
Move a heavy objectYes
Pick up an itemYes
Sheathe a weaponYes
Stand up from proneYes
Ready or loose a shield4No
Retrieve a stored itemYes
Full-Round ActionAttack of Opportunity1
Full attackNo
Deliver coup de graceYes
Escape from a netYes
Extinguish flamesNo
Light a torchYes
Load a heavy or repeating crossbowYes
Lock or unlock weapon in locked gauntletYes
Prepare to throw splash weaponYes
Use skill that takes 1 roundUsually
Use touch spell on up to six friendsYes
Free ActionAttack of Opportunity1
Cast a quickened spellNo
Cease concentration on a spellNo
Drop an itemNo
Drop to the floorNo
Prepare spell components to cast a spell6No
No ActionAttack of Opportunity1
5-foot stepNo
Action Type Varies
Trip an opponent7Yes
Use feat8Varies

[list=1][*] Regardless of the action, if you move out of a threatened square, you usually provoke an attack of opportunity. This column indicates whether the action itself, not moving, provokes an attack of opportunity.
[*] If you aid someone performing an action that would normally provoke an attack of opportunity, then the act of aiding another provokes an attack of opportunity as well.
[*] If the object is being held, carried, or worn by a creature, yes. If not, no.
[*] If you have a base attack bonus of +1 or higher, you can combine one of these actions 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 one.
[*] May be taken as a standard action if you are limited to taking only a single action in a round.
[*] Unless the component is an extremely large or awkward item.
[*] These 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.
[*] The description of a feat defines its effect.

Back to System Reference Document -> Combat Rules -> Actions In Combat
This article is a D20 reference page
The System Reference Document is a comprehensive toolbox consisting of rules, races, classes, feats, skills, various systems, spells, magic items, and monsters compatible with the d20 System version of Dungeons & Dragons and various other roleplaying games from Wizards of the Coast.

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