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 A Brief Primer on Actions in D&D 3rd Edition

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The House of Ainsley
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Male Number of posts : 1996
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Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: A Brief Primer on Actions in D&D 3rd Edition   Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:51 am

(This list may continue to grow at any time as more details are included.)

I've created this thread in order to familiarize everyone (or at least those of us whose knowledge of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition's rules may be a bit wobbly) with the basic actions available throughout the course of play. We'll begin with actions which may be taken during combat rounds, and then go from there.

As always, my fellow D&D nerds may chime in with their input, and all of you not-so-nerdy types are welcome to ask any questions which come to mind. Smile
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The House of Ainsley
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PostSubject: Movement Actions   Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:20 am

Standard Move

With this action, your character moves any distance up to his or her maximum movement (denoted by the character's Speed, usually 20 or 30 feet)...not really in any big hurry, just wandering around, looking the place over or doing whatever else takes his or her fancy.

A standard move may usually be taken with another standard action, such as moving towards a door and kicking it open, or moving towards an enemy and attacking. The Double Move--described below--is in essence taking a Move right after another Move. More on this later.



In this example, Karnoz has found a large pair of iron double doors at the end of a posh manor hallway. Disconcerted with the presence of such crude and sturdy doors in such elegant surroundings, he approaches the double doors cautiously, walking a mere 30 feet towards the door--his standard Speed--and keeping his dagger at the ready. (Grid squares in these examples represent 5 feet to an edge and 7.5 feet to a diagonal.)


Double Move

For this maneuver, your character puts a little hustle in his step. The character jogs up to twice his movement rate, and moving adjacent to or past enemies won't necessarily provoke Attacks of Opportunity. No other actions may be taken with a Double Move.



In this example, a territorial grizzly bear closes with Sylvea and attacks while she's attempting to open a gate. She's keeping the bear busy for the moment, but the bear is quickly gaining the upper hand. Hearing Sylvea's calls for help, Ariean comes galloping through the cavern and leaps at the bear in a bid to spare Sylvea from harm. Because Ariean was doing a Double Move, she cannot attack this round, but the bear does not get an Attack of Opportunity against Ariean either.


Run

This is an all-out sprint where the character just runs and runs as fast as his or her legs can bear. With a Run action, the character moves up to four times his movement rate (so a character whose Speed is 30 feet could run up to 120 feet in a round). The exception is if the character has the Run feat, which multiplies the character's movement by 5 instead of by 4.

No other actions may normally be taken while running, and getting too close to enemies while running will provoke Attacks of Opportunity from them.



In this example, Sylvea is walking along through a palace corridor when a lava flow comes rushing right at her; it seems the treacherous wizard she had come to confront anticipated her arrival and prepared a nasty surprise for her. With little time to lose, Sylvea turns tail and takes off running through the twisty passage towards the exit. Since her movement rate is 30 feet, she covers a full 120 feet that round...not enough to get her to the outer door, but enough to keep her well ahead of the lava.
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PostSubject: Basic Attack Actions   Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:45 am

Standard Attack

This action consists of a single attack which may or may not be taken in conjunction with another action, such as a Standard Move. It allows a character to attack while moving into position, entering a melee, readying a potion or other such actions. Moving into melee with a Standard Attack does not provoke Attacks of Opportunity.



In this example, Corwin has confronted an ogre cleric in her altar chamber; hoping to deny her the chance to cast any spells, he lunges quickly into close quarters and thrusts at her with his trident, moving 20 feet (his maximum movement) into melee to deliver a single attack.


Full Attack

With a Full Attack, the character is committed entirely to the assault. The Full Attack is the only way for a character with multiple attacks (whether from dual-wielding two weapons, wielding a double weapon or being of a high enough Level to have multiple attacks with a single weapon) to employ all of those attacks in one round, as a Standard Attack allows only one attack no matter what (well, aside from the use of magic such as a Haste spell).

Movement is extremely limited with a Full Attack, as the character is too busy stabbing, swinging or nocking arrows to do much else. A fully attacking character may move no further than 5 feet (though I'm usually lenient enough to accept 7.5 feet if a Full-Attacking character wishes to move on a diagonal across the grid).



In this example, Corwin is of a high enough Level where his Base Attack Bonus is high enough to grant him two attacks per round. Having already closed into melee with the ogress, he is determined to strike her down as swiftly as possible. He does not move at all, instead taking two stabs at her with the trident. The ogress is free to retort with a Full Attack against Corwin in return, if she has the capability...and if she first survives Corwin's furious assault.



...and in this example, the dreaded Black Knight of Harnsford must defend himself--and his ill-gotten treasure hoard--from his three uninvited guests (the player characters, each a high enough Level to have no fewer than two attacks per round).

Corwin has already engaged the Black Knight; he stands his ground with a Full Attack, arousing the Black Knight's anger through a concentrated and defiant offense. Between Corwin's kite shield and his half-plate armor, the Black Knight will have difficulty felling him before Corwin can deal a grievous wound.

Sylvea marches two steps up behind the Black Knight and, hurling herself into a Full Attack, swings her quarterstaff fiercely; in addition to her basic two attacks per round, she is wielding her enchanted quarterstaff as a double weapon, for a total of three attacks.

And seeing as the Black Knight only has eyes for Corwin at the moment, Karnoz takes advantage of the distraction. Using a Full Attack action, he moves five feet--out of the Black Knight's frontal arc and into his flank--and lays in with two Sneak Attacks. The Black Knight considers retreating to a more defensible position as the fearsome three-pronged assault continues....



Charge

The Charge action carries a number of restrictions on how it must be done, but it is the only action which will allow a character to move well past his or her standard Speed and deliver an attack in the same round.

A charging character must move not less than ten feet and not more than double the character's Speed; with a movement of anything less than ten feet there is not enough momentum for a Charge, and the attack is instead treated as a Standard Attack. The character can only move before the attack is dealt, not after. And, barring the use of certain Feats, the charging character can only move in a straight line and must stop once within striking distance of the target; running past the enemy and attacking from a different direction isn't possible with a Charge.

The Charge action only allows a single attack, dealt at the terminus of the charge. The benefit of a charge is that the attack is fueled by the character's momentum, making the attack more difficult to block or to dodge and thus lending a +2 bonus to the Attack roll. One liability of a Charge, however, is that it's impossible to charge without a bit of recklessness; a charging character suffers a -2 penalty to his or her Armor Class for that round.



Here, a centaur has happened across Ariean in a mountain pass. Armed with a horseman's flail and an intense loathing for the undead, the centaur comes at Ariean with hooves and flail thrashing. But Sylvea comes to the rescue; raising her enchanted staff over her head, she bolts a full 40 feet to strike the centaur mightily from behind. The centaur, occupied with Ariean as she is, is unprepared for Sylvea's Charge. One resounding crack and three bruised ribs later, the centaur staggers and finds herself very suddenly sandwiched between two enemies....

Lances and mounted combat can add another benefit to a Charge. A mounted character who charges and attacks with any kind of lance will deal double damage if the lance connects.



In this example, Corwin has acquired a heavy lance and an undead steed. Drawing on his experiences as a shore-raiding mariner and pirate, he spurs his ghoul horse into full gallop and levels his lance at Lindri'axas the Centaur. Covering 36 feet with his Charge, a single powerful thrust plunges the lance deeply into the centaur's higher belly. Yanking the lance free, Corwin braces himself for a vindictive counterattack as the badly wounded centaur launches herself into a berserk fury.

But whether mounted or not, charging characters or monsters may find themselves faced with yet another liability....


Readying Against a Charge

Certain piercing polearms are bane to charging creatures. Given a moment to prepare (that is, either through winning the initiative against a charging enemy or by forfeiting a round to prepare the weapon for the next round), a character armed with such a weapon may set it against the charge. If the readied weapon hits, the charger takes double damage from the set polearm.



Corwin has slain the she-centaur, but not without cost, for his broken lance juts from the fallen centaur's breast and his undead horse lies with her, returned again to death's grasp.

From behind, Corwin hears an anguished bellow. Enraged with the death of his mate, a second centaur strides into the pass. Regarding Corwin with an accusing glare, the male brandishes his spear and leaps into a full gallop, charging headlong at Corwin. But the latter is prepared. Planting the butt of his trident against the rocky ground, he angles the trident's barbed head into the oncoming centaur's path. A repulsive tearing of flesh follows as the centaur is impaled on the trident by the weight of his charge. If the centaur survives the hideous wound, he may still follow through with his Charge...and Corwin and the centaur could very well end up running each other through.
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PostSubject: Special Attacks   Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:52 am

Fighting Defensively

As an option when taking a Full Attack action, rather than lunging entirely into offense a character may instead fight defensively, focusing more on dodging and deflecting than on landing blows and smiting the enemy. This is commonly used in order to withstand a superior foe long enough for help to arrive, but other applications for defensive fighting exist as well.

The mechanic is simple: when fighting defensively, a character suffers a -4 penalty to hit with all attacks that round, in exchange for a +2 Dodge bonus to Armor Class for that round.


Here, an unusually large and well-crafted flesh golem has backed the party into a palace's wine cellar. The golem is a powerful guardian, and a direct assault on the golem seems unlikely to succeed. Thinking quickly, Corwin and Sylvea stand their ground and go defensive; their armor will help them withstand the golem's mighty fists for a short while, and between Corwin's shield and Sylvea's staff they can block or parry aside even more of the golem's blows. But even this defense will not endure forever; what they have done is buy time for Karnoz and Ariean to race up the stairs and plant themselves on either side of a towering and precariously balanced pyramid of filled wine casks. Corwin and Sylvea successfully halt the guardian's advance and keep the golem directly underneath the stacked barrels as the pyramid begins to teeter and wobble, pushed by two pairs of hands on the other side. If the defenders can withstand the golem's advance for one more round, the golem may soon find itself crushed underneath hundreds of pounds of wood and wine; victory for the intruders will not be far behind.
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A Brief Primer on Actions in D&D 3rd Edition
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