Actions in Combat

The fundamental actions of moving, attacking, and using abilities cover most of what you do in a battle. They are described here. Other, more specialized options are covered later in Combat Maneuvers and Special Initiative Actions.

The Combat Round

Each round represents 6 seconds in the game world. In the game, a round presents a chance for each character involved in a combat situation to take actions.

Anything a person could reasonably do in 6 seconds, your 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 sequence, that character performs his 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. The term “round” works like the word “month.” 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.


Every round, each combatant gets to do something. The combatants’ initiative checks, from highest to lowest, determine the order in which they act.

Initiative Checks: 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. The GM finds out what order characters are acting in, counting down from highest result to lowest, and each character acts in turn. 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). Usually, the GM writes the names of the characters
down in initiative order so that on subsequent rounds he can move quickly from one character to the next. 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.

Opponents Initiative: Typically, the GM makes a single initiative checks for opponents. That way, each player gets a turn each round and the GM also gets one turn. At the GM’s option, however, he can make separate initiative checks for different groups of opponents or even for individual creatures.

Inaction: Even if you can’t take actions (for instance, if you become paralyzed or unconscious), you retain your initiative score for the duration of the encounter.

Types of Actions

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: Attack actions, movement actions, full-round actions, and free actions. In a normal round, you can perform two attack actions and a movement action, or you can perform one full-round action. You can also perform as many free actions (see below) as your GM allows. In some situations (such as in a surprise round), you may be limited to taking only one normal action.

Attack Action: Each character is able to make at least two separate attack actions, which they use to make various types ranged shots, melee strikes, or combat maneuvers. A character can substitute all or some of their attack actions in a round to do other tasks. These include, using a device, or using a class ability.

Movement Action: One movement action allows you to move up to your speed. At any time during your movement, you can make any of the attack actions available to your character. (Before, during, or after). A character can substitute one of their attack actions for an additional move action.

Full-Round Action: A full-round action consumes all your actions during a round, even if you have more than 2. 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) as your GM allows.

Free Action: Free actions consume a very small amount of time and effort and over the span of the round, their impact is so minor that they are considered free. You can perform one or more free actions while taking another action normally. However, the GM puts 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.

Restricted Activity: In some situations (such as during a surprise round), you may be unable to take a full round’s worth of actions. In such cases, you are restricted to taking only a single attack or movement action (plus free actions as normal).

Attack Actions

In order to attack a target, the character must spend actions. The number of actions he needs to spend depends on the type of attack action used.

Single Shot

Properly aiming and bracing their weapon, a character is able to make a single, accurate, shot. Doing so consumes an attack action and the shot is made with no recoil penalty and a +2 to attack. (Burst weapons cannot perform Single Shot actions.)


Semi-Automatic weapons allow a character to make multiple shots with one attack action. With a double tap, the first shot is considered a takes no recoil penalty and the second shot is made at the normal recoil penalty for that weapon. (Because Burst weapons cannot be used to perform Single Shots, they cannot be used to perform Double-Tap actions.)

Rapid Fire

With a semi-automatic weapon a character can choose to use an attack action to fire rapidly making 3 shots. The first shot is made with no recoil penalty, the following shots are made with normal recoil penalty. If, in the same round, another attack action is made using Rapid Fire, that attack action will be made with double recoil penalty. (Slow firing type weapons (i.e. Revolvers) cannot be used to perform Rapid Fire actions.) (Because Burst weapons cannot perform Single Shot actions, they always perform the Rapid Fire action.)

Burst Fire

A character wielding an Automatic or Burst weapon can choose, at the beginning of their attack action, to perform a Burst Fire action. The character makes an attack action to fire three shots per attack action at the normal recoil penalty.

Each successful attack roll adds a damage die to the total damage of the attack action.

Full-Auto Fire

A character wielding an Automatic weapon can choose, at the beginning of their turn, to perform a Full-Auto Fire action. This action allows the character to perform a total of three Burst Fire actions, despite the two attack action limit of a round. The first three shots are made at the normal recoil penalty, the second three at double the recoil penalty, and the last three at three times the recoil penalty. Full-Auto Fire requires a full-round action, so it cannot be started at the second action of the character’s round. Only Automatic weapons, or weapons with an automatic fire setting, allow a character to perform a Full-Auto Fire. This type of attack can only be made in a cone of the weapons first range increment and each attack made use triple the amount of ammunition as a normal shot.

Enemies in the cone of fire must make one reflex save, against each burst, to beat the result of the attack roles. Any of the three attack roles, with a total higher than the saving throw made, results in that many successful shots against the target.

Melee Attacks

With a melee attack, you can strike any opponent within 5 feet. (Opponents within 5 feet are considered adjacent to you). Because melee attacks do not use the usual attack actions previously presented, a character can make two melee attacks by spending one attack action.

Heavy Melee Attacks

With a heavy melee attack, you can strike any opponent within 5 feet. (Opponents within 5 feet are considered adjacent to you). Unlike melee attacks, heavy melee attacks require two attack actions to be performed. With a Heavy Melee Attack the character deals double melee weapon’s damage and doubles his Str mod to damage (if that damage is already doubled, such as by having the Broken and Bloody feat, the Str mod is instead tripled).

If the target has no Shields HP, Plating HP and is wearing no armor, they must make a Fortitude save DC 10 + Str mod added to damage of this Heavy Melee attack or loses their next action.

Certain weapons alter the effect of a Heavy Melee Attack:

- Bludgeoning weapons, such as hammers, clubs, staves, etc, but excluding unarmed strike, also knocks the target prone. Fortitude save (DC = damage dealt, after DR)

- Blade weapons, such as swords, energy blades, knives, etc., deals bleeding to targets with no Shield HP. Fortitude save (DC = damage dealt, after DR)

Bleeding: Whenever a creature takes bleeding damage, it loses 5 HP (subtracting the bleeding creatures constitution modifier to a minimum of 1 damage) at the beginning of each round. This damage stops occurring whenever the creature is healed with a DC 15 Treat Injury check.

Actions in Combat

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