How Combat Works:


Combat is cyclical; everybody acts in turn in a regular cycle of rounds. Combat follows this sequence:

1: Each combatant starts out flat-footed. Once a combatant acts, he or she is no longer flat-footed.

2: Determine which characters are aware of their opponents at the start of the battle. If some but not all of the combatants are aware of their opponents, a surprise round happens before regular rounds of combat begin. The combatants who are 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 one action (either a standard action or a move action) during the surprise round. Combatants who were unaware do not get to act in the surprise round. If no one or everyone starts the battle aware, there is no surprise round.

3: Combatants who have not yet rolled initiative do so. All combatants are now ready to begin their first regular round of combat.

4: Combatants act in initiative order (highest to lowest).

5: When everyone has had a turn, the combatant with the highest initiative acts again, and steps 4 and 5 repeat until combat ends.

The Battle Grid:
The battle grid is a grid of squares used to measure movement in battle. Each square represents a five foot by five foot area in the game world.

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 Initiative Actions.)

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.

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. 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.

Flat-Footed:
At 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 Reflex bonus to AC (if any) while flat-footed. Rogues have the uncanny dodge extraordinary ability, which allows them to avoid losing their Reflex bonus to AC due to being flat-footed.

A flat-footed character can’t make attacks of opportunity.

Inaction:
Even if you can’t take actions, you retain your initiative score for the duration of the encounter.

Surprise:
When a combat starts, if you are not aware of your opponents and they are aware of you, you’re surprised.

Determining Awareness:
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.

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.

Unaware Combatants:
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 Reflex bonus to AC.

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Action:

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.

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

Move Action:
A move action allows you to move 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 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 (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.

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.

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, 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).

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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. (Creatures within 5 feet are considered adjacent to you.)

Ranged Attacks:
With a ranged weapon, you can shoot at any target that is within line of sight. If the target is more than 40 feet away from you, you suffer a -2 penalty on your attack rolls; if the target is more than 80 feet away from you, you suffer a -4 penalty on your attack rolls; this pattern repeats (more than 120 ft is -6, etc).

Throwing Attacks:
While ranged weapons are the main method of attacking from a distance, you can throw melee weapons to strike from a distance. However, this suffers an additional penalty on top of the distance penalty. Daggers, spears and longspears suffer no throwing penalty. All other simple weapons suffer a -2 throwing penalty; all other martial weapons suffer a -5 throwing penalty.

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.

Damage Reduction:
If the target of an attack has damage reduction, the damage of the attack is reduced by their damage reduction.

Multiple Attacks:
A character who can make more than one attack per round may need to use the full attack action in order to get more than one attack. If a character has a base attack bonus of at least +11, they can make one extra attack when making an attack as a standard action; this attack is made with a -4 penalty (or -2, see Open Palm Fighting).

However, a full attack grants more extra attacks based on base attack bonus (see Full Attack).

Shooting into a Melee:
If you shoot 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.

Fighting Defensively or Furiously as a Standard Action:
You can choose to fight defensively or furiously 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 or a +2 bonus to damage rolls for the same round. See also: Fighting Defensively or Furiously as a Full-Round Action.

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 2.

Exception: Extra damage dice over and above a weapon’s normal damage is not multiplied when you 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. Casting a spell provokes attacks of opportunity.

Note: You retain your Reflex bonus to AC while casting.

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 scrolls and wands. Activating a magic item is a standard action (unless the item description indicates otherwise).

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.

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.

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 Flow 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.

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Move Actions:


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 and swimming.

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.

Drawing ammunition for use with a ranged weapon (such as arrows) is a free action.

Reload:
While bows and crossbows take no appreciable time to reload and ready for another shot, pistols take time to reload. After a pistol is shot, it takes a move action to reload it.

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 action.

Manipulate an Item:
In most cases, moving or manipulating an item is a move action.

This includes retrieving or putting away a stored item, picking up an item, moving a heavy object, and opening a door.

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.

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 your base attack bonus is +6 or higher, you can make an extra attack each round. If your base attack bonus is +11 or higher, you can make an additional extra attack each round on top of the one from being +6 or higher. If your base attack bonus is +16 or higher, you get a yet another extra attack top of the first two. The first extra attack is at a -4 penalty, the second extra attack is at a -8 penalty and the third is at a -12 penalty.

If you get more than one attack per round because your base attack bonus is high enough, 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.

Two weapon Fighting:
If you are holding a finessable weapon in your off-hand when you use a full attack, you get an additional attack with that weapon. This attack is made with no penalty.

Open Palm Fighting:
If you are holding nothing in your off hand, the penalties for making extra melee attacks gained from high BAB are reduced by 2 (so the first extra attack is at -2, the second is at -6 and the third is at -10).

Deciding between an Attack or a Full Attack:
After your first attack (or first two, if your BAB is at least +11), 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 or Furiously as a Full-Round Action:
You can choose to fight defensively or furiously 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 or a +2 to damage rolls for the same round.

Cleave:
The extra attack granted by the Cleave feat can be taken whenever it applies. This is an exception to the normal limit to the number of attacks you can take when not using a full attack action.

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 (rather than up to double your speed).

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.

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 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.

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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.

Drop an Item:
Dropping an item in your space or into an adjacent square 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 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 action.

Miscellaneous 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 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.

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.

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Combat Statistics:


This section summarizes the statistics that determine success in combat, and then details how to use them.

Attack Roll:


An attack roll represents your attempt to strike your opponent on your turn in a round. When you make an attack roll, you roll a d20 and add your attack bonus. (Other modifiers may also apply to this roll.) If your result equals or beats the target’s Armor Class, you hit and deal damage.

Attacking without Proficiency:
If you make an attack with a weapon you are not proficient with, you suffer a -8 penalty to the attack roll.

Automatic Misses and Hits:
A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on an 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.

Your attack bonus with a melee weapon is:

Base attack bonus + Strength score + size modifier (if a melee weapon is listed as finessable, you may apply your Dexterity score instead)

With a ranged or thrown weapon, your attack bonus is:

Base attack bonus + Dexterity score + size modifier

Base Attack Bonus:
A base attack bonus is an attack roll bonus derived from character class and level or creature type and Hit Dice (or combinations thereof). Base attack bonuses increase at different rates for different character classes and creature types. A second attack is gained when a base attack bonus reaches +6, a third with a base attack bonus of +11 or higher, and a fourth with a base attack bonus of +16 or higher. Base attack bonuses gained from different sources, such as when a character is a multiclass character, stack.

Damage:


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.

Minimum Damage:
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 attack or a thrown weapon, add your Strength score to the damage result. If a melee weapon is listed as finessable, you may apply your Dexterity score instead.

Dexterity Bonus:
When you hit with a ranged attack, add your Dexterity score to the damage result.

Wielding a Weapon Two-Handed:
When you deal damage with a two-handed weapon, you add double your Strength score.

Improvised Weapons:
If you lack a proper weapon, other objects can be pressed into service. Treat such items as the weapon they most resemble, but they suffer a -2 penalty to damage.

Fighting without a Weapon:
If you attack unarmed, you can deal 1d2 damage with punches and kicks.

Multiplying Damage:
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.

Exception: Extra damage dice over and above a weapon’s normal damage (e.g. a rogue's sneak attack) are never multiplied.

Nonlethal Damage:
When you deal damage, you may choose to make that damage nonlethal. Nonlethal damage does not reduce the target's hit points. Instead, it is just recorded.

Armor Class:


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 + Reflex save bonus + size modifier

Your Reflex save bonus is all bonuses that apply to your Reflex save (including your Dexterity score and your base save from your class).

Sometimes you can’t use your Reflex bonus (if you have one). If you can’t react to a blow, you can’t use your Reflex bonus to AC (If you don’t have a Reflex bonus, nothing happens).

Other Modifiers:
Many other factors modify your AC.

Enhancement Bonuses:
Enhancement effects make your armor better.

Dodge Bonus:
Dodge bonuses allow you to slip away from attacks.

Deflection Bonus:
Deflection bonuses are magical barriers that deflect attacks.

Natural Armor:
Natural armor improves your AC.

Hit Points:


Your hit points measure damage. Your maximum hit points are how many hit points you can have at one point in time.

Whenever you gain a level in a class, your maximum hit points increases. The number of hit points is listed under the classes table. However, you get additional hit points each level equal to your Constitution score. If your Constitution score increases, your maximum hit points increase as if you had always had that Constitution score.

When your hit point total reaches 0, you’re dying. When it gets to -10, you’re dead.

Speed:


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.

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.

Saving Throws:


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 score

Base Save Bonus:
A saving throw modifier derived from character class and level. Base save bonuses increase at different rates for different character classes. Base save bonuses gained from different classes, such as when a character is a multiclass character, stack.

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Cover:


To determine whether your target has cover from your ranged attack, choose a corner of your square. If any line from this corner to any corner of the target’s square passes through a square or border that blocks line of effect or provides cover, or through a square occupied by a creature, the target has cover (+4 to AC).

When making a melee attack against an adjacent target, your target has cover if any line from your square to the target’s square goes through a wall (including a low wall). When making a melee attack against a target that isn’t adjacent to you, use the rules for determining cover from ranged attacks.

Low Obstacles and Cover:
A low obstacle (such as a wall no higher than half your height) provides cover, but only to creatures within 30 feet (6 squares) of it. The attacker can ignore the cover if he’s closer to the obstacle than his target.

Cover and Attacks of Opportunity:
You can’t execute an attack of opportunity against an opponent with cover relative to you.

Cover and Hide Checks:
You can use cover to make a Hide check. Without cover, you usually need concealment to make a Hide check.

Big Creatures and Cover:
Any creature with a space larger than 5 feet (1 square) determines cover against melee attacks slightly differently than smaller creatures do. Such a creature can choose any square that it occupies to determine if an opponent has cover against its melee attacks. Similarly, when making a melee attack against such a creature, you can pick any of the squares it occupies to determine if it has cover against you.

Total Cover:
If you don’t have line of effect to your target he is considered to have total cover from you. You can’t make an attack against a target that has total cover.

Concealment:


To determine whether your target has concealment from your ranged attack, choose a corner of your square. If any line from this corner to any corner of the target’s square passes through a square or border that provides concealment, the target has concealment.

When making a melee attack against an adjacent target, your target has concealment if his space is entirely within an effect that grants concealment. When making a melee attack against a target that isn’t adjacent to you use the rules for determining concealment from ranged attacks.

Concealment Miss Chance:
Concealment gives the subject of a successful attack a 20% chance that the attacker missed because of the concealment. If the attacker hits, the defender must make a miss chance percentile roll to avoid being struck. Multiple concealment conditions do not stack.

Concealment and Stealth Checks:
You can use concealment to make a Stealth check. Without concealment, you usually need cover to make a Stealth check.

Total Concealment:
If you have line of effect to a target but not line of sight he is considered to have total concealment from you. You can’t attack an opponent that has total concealment, though you can attack into a square that you think he occupies. A successful attack into a square occupied by an enemy with total concealment has a 50% miss chance (instead of the normal 20% miss chance for an opponent with concealment). In addition, if you have total concealment, all creatures you attack are considered flat-footed for that attack (i.e. they are denied their Reflex bonus to AC).

You can’t execute an attack of opportunity against an opponent with total concealment, even if you know what square or squares the opponent occupies.

Ignoring Concealment:
Concealment isn’t always effective. A shadowy area or darkness doesn’t provide any concealment against an opponent who can see in the dark (e.g. dwarves or orcs). Although invisibility provides total concealment, opponents may still make Perception checks to notice the location of an invisible character. An invisible character gains a +10 bonus on Stealth checks (even though opponents can’t see you, they might be able to figure out where you are using their other senses).

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Flanking:


When making a melee attack, you get a +2 flanking bonus if your opponent is threatened by a character or creature friendly to you on the opponent’s opposite border or opposite corner.

When in doubt about whether two friendly characters flank an opponent in the middle, trace an imaginary line between the two friendly characters’ centers. If the line passes through opposite borders of the opponent’s space (including corners of those borders), then the opponent is flanked.

Exception: If a flanker takes up more than 1 square, it gets the flanking bonus if any square it occupies counts for flanking.

Only a creature or character that threatens the defender can help an attacker get a flanking bonus.

Saving Throw Types:


The three different kinds of saving throws are Fortitude, Reflex, and Will:

Fortitude
These saves measure your ability to stand up to physical punishment or attacks against your vitality and health. Apply your Constitution score to your Fortitude saving throws.

Reflex
These saves test your ability to dodge area attacks. Apply your Dexterity score to your Reflex saving throws.

Will
These saves reflect your resistance to mental influence as well as many magical effects. Apply your Wisdom score to your Will saving throws.

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 a success.

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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.

Threatened Squares:
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 opportunity. Ranged weapons don't threaten squares.

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 square.

Moving:
Moving 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. Remember that even actions that normally provoke attacks of opportunity may have exceptions to this rule.

Performing a Distracting Act:
Some actions, such as spellcasting, when performed in a threatened square provoke attacks of opportunity as you divert your attention from the battle.

Making an Attack of Opportunity:
An attack of opportunity is a single 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 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 middle of a character’s turn).

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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 from 0 to -9 hit points, you’re dying.

At -10 or lower, you’re dead.

Dying (0 to -9 Hit Points):
When your character’s current hit points drop to between 0 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, he’s dead. A character can also die from taking ability damage or suffering an ability drain that reduces his Constitution to 0.

Last Chance:
If a character is at or above 50% of their maximum hit points, no single attack can deal enough damage to reduce that character to zero or lower. If a single attack would reduce that character to zero or lower, it reduces that character to one hit point. Multiple attacks made in one action counts as one attack for this rule.

Nonlethal Damage:
If a character has nonlethal damage exceeding their current hit points, they immediately fall unconscious and can take no actions. They remain unconscious until their nonlethal damage is below their current hit points. However, a character who is unconscious due to nonlethal damage is not dying.

Stable Characters and Recovery:


On the next turn after a character is reduced to between 0 and -9 hit points and on all subsequent turns, roll 1d10 to see whether the dying character becomes stable. If that roll is a 1, the character becomes stable. If they don’t, they lose 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 occurs.)

If the character’s hit points drop to -10 or lower, they're dead.

You can keep a dying character from losing any more hit points and make them stable with a DC 15 Heal check.

If any sort of healing cures the dying character of even 1 point of damage, they stop losing hit points and become stable.

Healing that raises their hit points to 1 or more makes them fully functional again, just as if they'd never been reduced to 0 or lower.

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 to them, however, their life is still in danger, and they may yet slip away.

Recovering with Help:
One hour after a tended, dying character becomes stable, roll 1d10. If that roll is a 1, the character becomes conscious and disabled (a disabled character can only take free actions). If he remains unconscious, they have the same chance to revive and become disabled every hour. Even if unconscious, they recover hit points naturally. They are back to normal when their hit points rise to 1 or higher.

Recovering without Help:
A severely wounded character left alone usually dies (basically, they die unless the GM sees fit to save them in some fashion).

Healing:


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.

Natural Healing:
With a full night’s rest (8 hours of rest 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.

Medical and Magical Healing:
Various abilities and spells can restore hit points. Such effects state how many hit points they restore.

Healing Limits:
You can never recover more hit points than you lost. Healing won’t raise your current hit points higher than your full normal hit point total.

Nonlethal Damage:
Whenever a character regains hit points, they lose an equal amount of nonlethal damage.

Temporary Hit Points:
Certain effects give a character temporary hit points. When a creature gets temporary hit points, note down how many temporary hit points they get. When a creature with temporary hit points takes damage, that damage is subtracted from their temporary hit points; if the damage exceeds the temporary hit points, the excess is subtracted from the creature's hit points normally.

If a creature gains temporary hit points while unconscious, they regain consciousness while they have temporary hit points (if the creature was dying, they are still dying).

Temporary hit points go away once one of two things occurs; either the duration of the effect that granted the temporary hit points ends or damage takes them all away. When temporary hit points are lost, they cannot be restored as real hit points can be, even by magic.

If a creature gains temporary hit points while they have temporary hit points, the new temporary hit points replace the old ones; a creature can only have temporary hit points from one source at a time.

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Special Initiative Actions


Here are ways to change when you act during combat by altering your place in the initiative order.

Delay


By choosing to delay, you take no action and then act normally on whatever initiative count you decide to act. When you delay, you voluntarily reduce your own initiative result for the rest of the combat. When your new, lower initiative count comes up later in the same round, you can act normally. You can specify this new initiative result or just wait until sometime later in the round and act then, thus fixing your new initiative count at that point.

You never get back the time you spend waiting to see what’s going to happen. You also can’t interrupt anyone else’s action (as you can with a readied action).

Initiative Consequences of Delaying
Your initiative result becomes the count on which you took the delayed action. If you come to your next action and have not yet performed an action, you don’t get to take a delayed action (though you can delay again).

If you take a delayed action in the next round, before your regular turn comes up, your initiative count rises to that new point in the order of battle, and you do not get your regular action that round.

Ready:


The ready action lets you prepare to take an action later, after your turn is over but before your next one has begun. Readying a standard action is a standard action; readying a move or free action is a move action. It does not provoke an attack of opportunity (though the action that you ready might do so).

Readying an Action:
You can ready a standard action, a move action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, any time before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it. If the triggered action is part of another character’s activities, you interrupt the other character. Assuming he is still capable of doing so, he continues his actions once you complete your readied action. Your initiative result changes. For the rest of the encounter, your initiative result is the count on which you took the readied action, and you act immediately ahead of the character whose action triggered your readied action.

You can take a 5-foot step as part of your readied action, but only if you don’t otherwise move any distance during the round.

Initiative Consequences of Readying:
Your initiative result becomes the count on which you took the readied action. If you come to your next action and have not yet performed your readied action, you don’t get to take the readied action (though you can ready the same action again). If you take your readied action in the next round, before your regular turn comes up, your initiative count rises to that new point in the order of battle, and you do not get your regular action that round.

Distracting Spellcasters:
You can ready an attack against a spellcaster with the trigger "if they start casting a spell". If you damage the spellcaster, they may lose the spell they were trying to cast (as determined by their Fortitude save result).

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