Action simulates moment-to-moment tension, and organizes it by measuring time in Rounds. A Round is roughly 6 seconds in length and it is composed of four main action types that any given Subject has access to once each turn. The four actions types named are: Standard Action, Move Action, Quick Action, and Reaction. Free Actions (often speaking) do not consume any of the creature’s time or effort, but can only be performed on the creature’s turn, unless granted by an event or action. Ten rounds take up one minute of time In-game, using Minutes measured in Rounds.
The Standard Action is exactly that, standard. Most of the actions which influence the game directly are going to be Standard Actions. It takes up the most amount of time of all the actions taken in the game, if an action not included in the rules is able to be taken in the span of a round, often the best place to include it is as a Standard Action.
Using a Standard Action to attack with a weapon is considered a Primary Attack, take no penalty to the attack roll from using this action. To attack with a weapon the creature must be able to move, and thus cannot be Restrained or Stunned. Roll a d20, and then add Base Attack Bonus (this number usually equals level or half level) along with whichever ability score is associated with the weapon type. Melee attacks use STR by default where Ranged Attacks use DEX. Some creatures of different sizes will add or subtract a Size Penalty from this number. Lastly, add in any Spell Bonuses or bonuses gained from feats, or any other applicable source. This number is compared to the target’s Armor Class (AC), if the attack roll meets or exceeds the AC of the target, the attack is considered a hit. A 20 always hits, a 1 always misses.
To calculate damage, first determine whether or not the hit was a Critical Hit. Critical hits are determined by what number resulted on the d20 roll for the attack, if that number is within the weapon’s Critical Range (and the creature attacking is sufficiently proficient with the weapon) it adds a multiple of the Weapon Damage Dice (1d8 becomes 2d8, etc). Once how many dice to roll is known, roll and add the appropriate modifiers, including STR for Melee and Thrown Ranged Attacks, this number is the HP damage dealt to the target of the attack. Damage Resistance and Energy Resistance are applied after determining this number, if applicable.
Cast a Spell
Spellcasting is a Standard Action. To cast a spell, the caster must have a Spell Quantity (SQ) or present Material Components to be ignited by the casting, and must have the spell in their Spell Repertoire. Spend SQ numbering the Spell Order as the cost to cast the spell or consume a Material Component with the correct value. Casting a spell requires Verbal and Somatic components, meaning the caster must be able to make the required gestures and sounds with at least one free hand and cannot be Nauseated, Restrained, or Stunned. A caster must also present a Spellcasting Focus through which the caster channels their SQ or through which material components can be magically ignited to begin casting the spell (this requires a [Magical Aptitude] check against a DC numbering 13+ Spell Order doubled). Casters with [Psion] instead use Psionic Focus, a mental state attained by Concentrating (a Move Action). Psionic Focus allows the caster to ignore verbal and somatic components, as well as the need for a Spellcasting Focus, though material components can still be ignited with Psionic Focus just like with a Spellcasting Focus. Psionic Focus cannot be attained while Confused, Frightened, Nauseated, Stunned, or Writhing. Psionic Focus is lost after casting. Casting will provoke Reactions from threatening creatures, either attempting to interrupt or counter the spell being cast. Subjects observing the casting may roll [Magical Aptitude] vs the Spell DC to identify the spell as it is being cast as a Free Action.
Assisting is helping another creature, usually with a task or with defenses. Designate 1 creature within the threatened range to be assisted, improve their AC, Saving Throws, and d20 rolls by +4 for 1 turn.
A dash is a short sprint or a tactical movement, allowing the creature to move double its speed, but it must be in a straight line, or at one-and-a-half speed without the restriction on direction, it cannot be done within Difficult Terrain. Dashing will provoke Reactions from threatening creatures.
Defending is a Standard Action that the creature spends actively defending itself instead of attacking or taking other Standard Actions. Defending grants a +3 bonus to AC and Saving Throws for 1 round. Roll [Stealth] to hide behind Cover.
The creature makes an [Athletics] check against its target's Reflex save, if successful the target drops a held object(s). On a failure, this provokes a Reaction from the target.
The creature makes an [Athletics] check against its target's Reflex save, if successful both are Restrained. On a failure, this provokes a Reaction from the target. Opposed [Athletics] checks each turn (Standard Action vs Reaction) determine the duration of the Grapple, the creature who succeeds can end or maintain the Grapple; if maintaining they may also Trip, Push, or make a (Primary) Attack as part of the Grapple. Ties result in the Grapple being maintained, and neither creature can act further.
The creature makes an [Athletics] check opposed by a Reflex save against a creature, or against a DC of 10+ (object’s) STR, a success moves both the pusher and the target up to half speed, failure provokes Reactions.
The creature makes an attack roll against its target's Reflex save, if successful they can target a stationary, moving, held, or worn object and attack it, dealing damage to the object and possibly breaking it. Objects that lack the Fragile descriptor always take half damage from weapon attacks. On a failure, this provokes a Reaction from the target wearing or carrying the object.
The creature makes an [Athletics] check against a target's Reflex save, if successful the target is knocked Prone. On a failure, this provokes a Reaction from the target.
Any Standard Action can be used to complete any applicable action that would require a Move, Quick, or Reaction.
Any action that could be taken with a Standard Action can be completed as an additional Reaction gained by waiting; this Reaction does not require provocation but must be completed before the start of the waiting creature’s next turn or the action is lost.
Move Actions essentially are focused on movement, be it positioning creatures around, or moving items around to reconfigure equipment, sometimes they are used in conjunctions with Standard Actions to take advantage of momentum.
Advancing moves the creature, using whichever movement speed it currently has available, leaving or moving through the threatened area of any creature will provoke a Reaction, but only once per movement. Only move half speed in Difficult Terrain.
Using a Move Action to attack is considered a Secondary Attack, before all other penalties, always apply a -5 penalty on attacks made using this action. It otherwise functions the same as a (Primary) Attack.
This action can only be taken after a straight-line Dash of at least 10ft, make a single melee or thrown attack against a foe within range at the end of the Dash. Taking this action prevents the foe targeted with the Charge from taking Reactions against the charger’s movement, and grants a +2 bonus on Attack and Damage rolls, but incurs a -2 penalty on AC for one round.
Roll an [Endurance] check, the DC is 5 plus 5 for each foe that threatens. If successful, the concentrator does not provoke Reactions for 1 round.
Roll a [Deception] check against a target's Will save, if successful the target is Surprised for 1 round.
Mind the surroundings and terrain, adding a +2 bonus on AC and Saving Throws for 1 round.
This action can only be taken after a straight-line Dash of at least 10ft, roll an [Athletics] check(s) against a height or distance within the path of movement with a +2 bonus against a DC of 5 +5 per 5ft horizontal or +10 per 5ft vertical distances.
This action can only be taken after a straight-line Dash of at least 10ft, roll an [Athletics] check(s) against a creature(s) within the path of movement with a +2 bonus. Any such creature may spend its Reaction, or roll a Reflex save to safely move 5ft out of the way; if they do not spend the Reaction or fail the save, they are knocked Prone.
Draw and/or stow any item(s) currently held or easily accessible, even exchanging items with allies.
Roll an [Agility] check, the DC is 5 plus 5 per foe that threatens along a path. If successful, the tumbler can move up to half speed without provoking Reactions. Failure provokes Reactions from all threatening foes along the path.
Quick Actions take only a second, or even a split-second. Often they are used to gain some sort of tactical advantage. Quick Actions never provoke Reactions.
Using a Quick Action to attack is considered a Tertiary Attack, before all other penalties, always apply a -10 penalty on attacks made using this action. It otherwise functions the same as a (Primary) Attack.
Issue a command to allies or call out a foe (such as to duel or surrender) with 13 words or less.
Gain a +1 bonus on Attack and Damage rolls, AC and Saving Throws, or Skill Checks for 1 round.
Roll an [Expertise], [Literacy], [Mechanics], or [Schooling] check to remember important information pertaining to circumstances, communicate this to allies, the DC varies.
The creature uses its senses to seek information, roll an [Alertness] check opposed by [Stealth] checks if applicable.
The shortest movement that affects position, move 5ft in any available direction, this cannot be taken through Difficult Terrain.
Reactions are almost always in response to an event: something happening, appearing, or moving, they take place either during or after the creature’s turn, each creature starts with 1 Reaction per round.
A foe provoking a Reaction within the threatened area is subject to a melee attack. It incurs no tactical penalty, but can only be used when provoked, otherwise this is the same as a (Primary) Attack.
Any creature that successfully identifies a spell as it is being cast may attempt to counter it, this costs them SQ numbering the order of the spell being cast and requires a Spell in their Repertoire of the same School or Discipline. Make a CL check against the Spell DC, a success cancels out and negates the spell effect.
This Reaction can only be used when a creature(s) leaves the threatened area, move up to half speed towards the provoking creature(s).
Unable to see, cannot make visual checks. Surprised against undetected creatures or objects.
Losing fluid, take 1d4 Bleed damage every turn (keep track). Patch the wound with a [Survival] check, DC = 10+ |Current Bleed Damage|. Cured automatically with a [Healing] effect.
Unable to identify friend or foe properly, subtract ability modifier(s) from [Alertness] checks and Will saves.
Unable to be seen or targeted, +4 on [Stealth] and AC, but lose the Ability Modifier(s) on [Alertness] checks and Reflex saves.
Unable to function wholly, take 1d4 Ability Damage (STR and DEX). Move at half speed, lose use of a limb, or both.
Unable to carry more, subtract ability modifier(s) from [Agility] and [Athletics] checks, and Reflex saves; move at half speed.
Unable to hear, cannot make auditory checks. Treat all creatures and objects as [Silent].
Gain a Weakness to Acid and Heat Damage ([Energy Resistance] negates). Drink more Water.
<0 HP; each round, roll a Fortitude Save (DC = 10+ current negative HP). Upon failure, increase negative HP by 1. If negative HP is full, the creature dies and becomes a Corpse.
Unable to exert, cannot use [Endurance], [Athletics], or [Agility] checks, move at half speed, subtract the Ability Modifier(s) from Attack rolls, Damage rolls, and Fortitude Saves.
Unable to perceive threats, treat individuals with whom this condition applies as allies; subtract the Ability Modifier(s) from AC and Saving Throws against them.
Unable to cope, must flee or cower from the source of fear, taking no offensive actions, subtract the Ability Modifier(s) from AC and Will saves.
Perceives an immediate threat, cannot be calmed to avoid conflict.
Unable to focus, cannot use [Endurance] checks, cannot cast Spells or consume potions or food, subtract the Ability Modifier(s) from Fortitude saves.
Unable to stand, -4 AC against melee attacks, +4 AC against ranged attacks. Gain or lose this condition as a Move Action.
Unable to move or attack, must break free of the condition with [Athletics] before regaining the ability to move or attack, subtract the Ability Modifier(s) from AC and Reflex Saves, and lose the Move Action every turn.
Gain a Weakness to Cold and Electricity Damage ([Energy Resistance] negates). Applies to all creatures underwater.
Unable to sustain, must consume food to remove the condition. Take 1d4 Ability Damage (STR and WIS) daily, a successful Fortitude save (DC= 10+ STR+ number of days with the condition) halves the damage.
Unable to act, cannot take any actions or defend until the condition is removed. Subtract Ability Modifier(s) from AC and Saving Throws.
Unable to breath. Take 1d4 Ability Damage (CON and INT) every minute, a successful Fortitude save (DC = 10+ STR+ number of minutes with the condition) halves the damage.
Unable to defend, subtract the Ability Modifier(s) from AC, Reflex, and Will saves.
Unable to think, move, or act, use 1 for all d20 rolls, turns are skipped until the condition is removed. Automatically gain this condition when dropping to 0 or fewer HP or Sleeping.
Unable to resist irritation from an ongoing affliction, lose either the Move or Standard Action every turn.
To start, every creature rolls an Initiative check (D20+ DEX), these checks are organized in descending order to determine turn sequence, called the Initiative Order. Every participating creature has the Surprised condition until the beginning of its first turn in the Initiative Order. Some feats and other abilities or conditions can alter Initiative Order. In the case of a tie, consider all of these factors and compare the tying creatures’ Initiative Modifiers, the higher of the two will go first. When the numbers are the same, PCs have priority over NPCs, and PCs may choose between each other in which order to determine the turn sequence.
In advantageous scenarios, ambushes can occur where one or more creatures may take an entire free turn against a foe(s) before Initiative is rolled. Normally, these are tactically planned out events, and PCs (and NPCs) coordinate their actions in turns taken in no particular order. This is considered a Surprise Round, and during Action all foes are considered Surprised. These rounds usually only occur when using [Stealth] to hide from foes, or to conceal weapons or intentions, but sometimes can also occur in social situations if a creature is not expecting to be attacked. Once the last turn is taken during the Surprise Round, Initiative is rolled, creatures participating in the Surprise Round gain a +4 bonus on Initiative rolls.
When representing combat, it can be daunting to keep track of every detail of action without some reference point to represent things like distance and position in an easy way. The most common way is to use a battle grid, divided into 5ft squares for 2 dimensional combat or 5ft cubes for 3-dimensional combat. Based on positioning on the grid, creatures traverse the terrain square by square, dividing movement up by intervals of 5ft between each square on the grid. Figuring out ranges for effects and emanations requires either to select a grid intersection, from which a radius can be measured, or center around a creature, treating the creature as the center and projecting the radius out by a distance not including the creature at the center.
Creatures threaten foes within reach of any melee weapons they have equipped. Creatures with [Natural] weapons or with the [Warrior] feat are always considered threatening foes within their melee reach. To threaten means that creatures within melee reach who take certain actions will provoke Reactions from the threatening creature(s), and this increases the DC to succeed with certain actions such as Concentrating or Tumbling, depending on how many creatures threaten the foe when the action is taken.
Two or more allied creatures consider themselves flanking if they are positioned in exact opposite squares with respect to a foe they both threaten. Such foes are considered Surprised against attacks by either creature in flanking position. Ranged Weapons cannot flank, unless they can be used as melee weapons.
Within the context of the game, certain positions can alter the modifiers to offensive and defensive statistics. These are often subjective and require adjudication by the GM, but include such ideas as High Ground vs Low Ground, Difficult vs Normal Terrain, and Concealment or Cover. Such advantages should always grant a +4 bonus on Attack Rolls and AC. Creatures with Cover cannot be targeted.