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 oil No
Aid another Maybe2
Cast a spell (1 standard action casting time) Yes
Channel energy No
Concentrate to maintain an active spell No
Dismiss a spell No
Draw a hidden weapon (see Sleight of Hand skill) No
Drink a potion or apply an oil Yes
Escape a grapple No
Feint No
Light a torch with a tindertwig Yes
Lower spell resistance No
Read a scroll Yes
Ready (triggers a standard action) No
Stabilize a dying friend (see Heal skill) Yes
Total defense No
Use extraordinary ability No
Use skill that takes 1 action Usually
Use spellLike ability Yes
Use supernatural ability No
Move ActionAttack of
Opportunity1
Move Yes
Control a frightened mount Yes
Direct or redirect an active spell No
Draw a weapon3 No
Load a hand crossbow or light crossbow Yes
Open or close a door No
Mount/dismount a steed No
Move a heavy object Yes
Pick up an item Yes
Sheathe a weapon Yes
Stand up from prone Yes
Ready or drop a shield3 No
Retrieve a stored item Yes
Full-Round ActionAttack of
Opportunity1
Full attack No
Charge4 No
Deliver coup de grace Yes
Escape from a net Yes
Extinguish flames No
Light a torch Yes
Load a heavy or repeating crossbow Yes
Lock or unlock weapon in locked gauntlet Yes
Prepare to throw splash weapon Yes
Run Yes
Use skill that takes 1 round Usually
Use a touch spell on up to six friends Yes
Withdraw4 No
Free ActionAttack of
Opportunity1
Cease concentration on a spell No
Drop an item No
Drop to the floor No
Prepare spell components to cast a spell5 No
Speak No
Swift Action
Attack of
Opportunity1
Cast a quickened spell No
Immediate ActionAttack of
Opportunity1
Cast feather fall No
No ActionAttack of
Opportunity1
Delay No
5-foot step No
Action Type VariesAttack of
Opportunity1
Perform a combat maneuver6 Yes
Use feat7 Varies
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.
2 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.
3 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.
4 May be taken as a standard action if you are limited to taking only a single action in a round.
5 Unless the component is an extremely large or awkward item.
6 Some combat maneuvers 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. Others are used as a separate action.
7 The description of a feat defines its effect.

Actions In Combat

During one turn, there are a wide variety of actions that your character can perform, from swinging a sword to casting a spell.

The Combat Round

Each round represents 6 seconds in the game world; there are 10 rounds in a minute of combat. A round normally allows each character involved in a combat situation to act.

Each round's activity begins with the character with the highest initiative result and then proceeds in 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 Initiative Actions.)

When the rules refer to a "full round", they usually mean a span of time from a particular initiative count in 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.

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 six types of actions: standard actions, move actions, full-round actions, swift actions, immediate 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 swift action and 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.

Standard Action

A standard action allows you to do something, most commonly to make an attack or cast a spell.

Move Action

A move action allows you to move up to your speed or perform an action that takes a similar amount of time.

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 action for one or more equivalent actions), you can take one 5-foot step either before, during, or after the action.

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 and swift 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 detail which actions allow this option.

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, as decided by the GM.

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 only a single swift action per turn.

Immediate Action

An immediate action is very similar to a swift action, but can be performed at any time—even if it's not your turn.

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, such as nocking an arrow as part of an attack with a bow.

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 and swift 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).

Standard Actions

Most of the common actions characters take, aside from movement, fall into the realm of standard actions.

Attack

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 unarmed foe.

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 (see natural attacks).

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 bludgeoning damage (plus your Strength modifier, as normal). A Small character's unarmed strike deals 1d2 points of bludgeoning damage, while a Large character's unarmed strike deals 1d4 points of bludgeoning 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 10 range increments. Some ranged weapons have shorter maximum ranges, as specified in their descriptions.

Natural Attacks

Attacks made with natural weapons, such as claws and bites, are melee attacks that can be made against any creature within your reach (usually 5 feet). These attacks are made using your full attack bonus and deal an amount of damage that depends on their type (plus your Strength modifier, as normal). You do not receive additional natural attacks for a high base attack bonus. Instead, you receive additional attack rolls for multiple limb and body parts capable of making the attack (as noted by the race or ability that grants the attacks). If you possess only one natural attack (such as a bite—two claw attacks do not qualify), you add 1–1/2 times your Strength bonus on damage rolls made with that attack.

Some natural attacks are denoted as secondary natural attacks, such as tails and wings. Attacks with secondary natural attacks are made using your base attack bonus minus 5. These attacks deal an amount of damage depending on their type, but you only add half your Strength modifier on damage rolls.

You can make attacks with natural weapons in combination with attacks made with a melee weapon and unarmed strikes, so long as a different limb is used for each attack. For example, you cannot make a claw attack and also use that hand to make attacks with a longsword. When you make additional attacks in this way, all of your natural attacks are treated as secondary natural attacks, using your base attack bonus minus 5 and adding only 1/2 of your Strength modifier on damage rolls. Feats such as Two-Weapon Fighting and Multiattack can reduce these penalties.

Multiple Attacks

A character who can make more than one attack per round must use the full-attack action 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 character.

If your target is two size categories larger than the friendly characters it is engaged with, this penalty is reduced to –2. There is no penalty for firing at a creature that is three size categories larger than the friendly characters it is engaged with.

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 to AC until the start of your next turn.

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," meaning the hit might be a critical hit (or "crit"). To find out if it's a critical hit, you immediately make an attempt to "confirm" the critical hit—another attack roll with all the same modifiers as the attack roll you just made. If the confirmation 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 confirmation 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 ×2.

Exception

Precision damage (such as from a rogue's sneak attack class feature) and additional damage dice from special weapon qualities (such as flaming) are not multiplied when you score a critical hit.

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 a threat.

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. If a spell causes ability damage or drain, the damage or drain is doubled on a critical hit.

Activate Magic Item

Many magic items don't need to be activated. Certain magic items, however, do need to be activated, especially potions, scrolls, wands, rods, and staffs. Unless otherwise noted, activating a magic item is a standard action.

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.

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 component.

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 occupied.

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 components are elaborate, preparing them is a free action. For material components and focuses whose costs are not listed in the spell description, you can assume that you have them if you have your spell component pouch.

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. 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 effect.

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 + the spell's 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 + double the spell's level) to successfully cast the spell. 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. In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action. 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 roll.

Touch Attacks

Touching an opponent with a touch spell is considered to be an armed attack and therefore does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The act of casting a spell, however, 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 as long as the spell deals damage. 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 charge indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round. If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges. If you cast another spell, the touch spell dissipates. You can touch one friend as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round action. 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 normally 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 charge.

Ranged Touch Spells in Combat

Some spells allow you to make a ranged touch attack as part of the casting of the spell. These attacks are made as part of the spell and do not require a separate action. Ranged touch attacks provoke an attack of opportunity, even if the spell that causes the attacks was cast defensively. Unless otherwise noted, ranged touch attacks cannot be held until a later turn.

Dismiss a Spell

Dismissing an active spell is a standard action that doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity.

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 withdraw.

Total Defense

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. You can't make attacks of opportunity while using total defense.

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 (Sp)

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 + double the spell's level) fails, you can't use the ability, but the attempt counts as if you had used the ability.

Supernatural Abilities (Su)

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 (Ex)

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.

Move Actions

With the exception of specific movement-related skills, most move actions don't require a check.

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).

Accelerated Climbing

You can climb at half your speed as a move action by accepting a –5 penalty on your Climb check.

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. A crawling character is considered prone and must take a move action to stand up, provoking an attack of opportunity.

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.

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 one.

Drawing ammunition for use with a ranged weapon (such as arrows, bolts, sling bullets, or shuriken) is a free action.

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 one.

Drawing ammunition for use with a ranged weapon (such as arrows, bolts, sling bullets, or shuriken) is a free action.

Manipulate an Item

Moving or manipulating an item is usually a move action.

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 the table.

Mount/Dismount a Steed

Mounting or dismounting a steed requires a move action.

Fast Mount or Dismount

You can mount or dismount as a free action with a DC 20 Ride 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.

Ready or Drop 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 drop a shield as a free action combined with a regular move.

Dropping a carried (but not worn) shield is a free action.

Stand Up

Standing up from a prone position requires a move action and provokes attacks of opportunity.

Full-Round Actions

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.

Full Attack

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 attacks.

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 and assuming you have not already taken a move action this round. 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 until the start of your next turn.

Cast a Spell

A spell that takes one 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 automatically fails.

When you begin a spell that takes 1 round or longer to cast, you must continue the invocations, gestures, and concentration from 1 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 1 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 (except for spells modified by the Quicken Spell feat, which take 1 swift action to cast). Note that this isn't the same as a spell with a 1-round casting time. Spells that take a full-round action to cast take effect in the same round that you begin casting, and you are not 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 and druids must take more time to spontaneously cast a metamagic version of a cure, inflict, or summon 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.

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.

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 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 or if you can't see where you're going.

A run represents a speed of about 13 miles per hour for an unencumbered human.

Use Special Ability

Using a special ability is usually a standard action, but some may be full-round actions, as defined by the ability.

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), 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.

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.

Cease Concentration on Spell

You can stop concentrating on a spell as a free action.

Drop an Item

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

Drop Prone

Dropping to a prone position in your space 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 a few sentences is generally beyond the limit of a free action.

Swift Actions

A swift action consumes a very small amount of time, but represents a larger expenditure of effort than a free action. You can perform one swift action per turn without affecting your ability to perform other actions. In that regard, a swift action is like a free action. You can, however, perform only one single swift action per turn, regardless of what other actions you take. You can take a swift action anytime you would normally be allowed to take a free action. Swift actions usually involve spellcasting, activating a feat, or the activation of magic items.

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 or swift action, as a swift 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 as a swift action doesn't incur an attack of opportunity.

Immediate Actions

Much like a swift action, an immediate action consumes a very small amount of time but represents a larger expenditure of effort and energy than a free action. However, unlike a swift action, an immediate action can be performed at any time—even if it's not your turn. Casting feather fall is an immediate action, since the spell can be cast at any time.

Using an immediate action on your turn is the same as using a swift action and counts as your swift action for that turn. You cannot use another immediate action or a swift action until after your next turn if you have used an immediate action when it is not currently your turn (effectively, using an immediate action before your turn is equivalent to using your swift action for the coming turn). You also cannot use an immediate action if you are flat-footed.

Miscellaneous Actions

The following actions take a variable amount of time to accomplish or otherwise work differently than other actions.

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 that 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.

Use Feat

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.

Use Skill

Most skill uses are standard actions, but some might be move actions, full-round actions, free actions, or something else entirely.

The individual skill descriptions tell you what sorts of actions are required to perform skills.