Combat Quick Reference

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In all cases, the action is noted if it generates an Attack of Opportunity (AoO), and under what conditions, and is not noted if it does not.

Standard Actions

Attack (AoO if unarmed without natural weapon or imp unarmed)
Cast a spell (AoO. Note that some spells are free actions, and these do not generate AoO. Also, a spell can be cast defensively with a Concentration check DC 15 + spell level to prevent any AoO from taking place, with failure losing the spell)
Concentrate to maintain spell
Read a scroll (AoO)
Activate a magic item other than potion or oil
Activate total defense
Start/Complete Full-round action
Draw a hidden weapon
Stabilize (AoO)
Drink a potion or apply oil(AoO)

Full-Round Actions

Deliver coup de grace (AoO)
Load a heavy or repeating crossbow (AoO)
Full attack
Run (AoO)
Move 5 feet through difficult territory (AoO)

Free Actions

Drop an item
Drop prone
Cease concentration
Cast a quickened spell
Draw ammunition

Move Actions

Move (Provokes AoO if moving out of threatened square)
Crawl 5 feet (AoO at any point of crawl, not just moving out)
Draw a weapon (With at least +1 BaB, this can be combined with another move action. With TWF, can draw two light or one-handed weapons in time it takes to normally draw one)
Sheathe a weapon (AoO)
Ready or loose a shield
Retrieve stored item (AoO)
Direct or redirect a spell
Stand up (AoO)
Mount/dismount (can turn to free action with DC 20 ride check)
Control a frightened mount(AoO)
Load light or hand crossbow (AoO)
Open or close a door (AoO)

5-foot step

A 5-foot step can be taken in any round in which the other actions in that round do not result in a move (including a full-round action). If any other action has resulted in a movement, a 5-foot step cannot be taken.

Attacks of Opportunity

Characters threaten any square into which they can make melee attacks. With reach weapons, this means any square two feet away, even on a diagonal (which is normally measured as 15 feet). Actions that provoke AoO are ones that are generally distracting, such as the ones listed above. Also, moving OUT of a threatened square with any movement that is not a Withdraw (full-round normal speed move) action or a 5-Foot Step (free action that can be taken only when no other action in the round results in movement) provokes an AoO.

In general, a character can make only one Attack of Opportunity per round. Combat reflexes allows (Dex modifier) more AoOs per round. These attacks can be on the same target in a round, but only if that character opens himself to multiple opportunities.

Uncommon exceptions:

  • A character that is flat-footed does not get to make attacks of opportunity, unless he has the Combat Reflexes feat.
  • A character that is unarmed does not get to make attacks of opportunity, unless he has the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, he is using a spell's touch attack, or he/she/it has natural weapons.
  • A character with total concealment typically does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Combat Modifiers

Table: Attack Roll Modifiers, via the SRD
Attacker is… Melee Ranged
Dazzled -1 -1
Entangled -21 -21
Flanking defender +2
Invisible +22 +22
On higher ground +1 +0
Prone -4 3
Frightened -2 -2
Squeezing through a space -4 -4
  1. An entangled character also takes a -4 penalty to Dexterity, which may affect his attack roll.
  2. The defender loses any Dexterity bonus to AC. This bonus doesn’t apply if the target is blinded</a>.
  3. Most ranged weapons can’t be used while the attacker is prone, but you can use a crossbow or shuriken while prone at no penalty.
Table: Armor Class Modifiers, via the SRD
Defender is… Melee Ranged
Behind cover +4 +4
Blinded -21 -21
Concealed or invisible See Concealment
Cowering -21 -21
Entangled +02 +02
Flat-footed (such as surprised, balancing, climbing) +01 +01
Grappling (but attacker is not) +01 +01, 3
Helpless (such as paralyzed, sleeping, or bound) -44 +04
Kneeling or sitting -2 +2
Pinned -44 +04
Prone -4 +4
Squeezing through a space -4 -4
Stunned -21 -21
  1. The defender loses any Dexterity bonus to AC.
  2. An entangled character takes a -4 penalty to Dexterity.
  3. Roll randomly to see which grappling combatant you strike. That defender loses any Dexterity bonus to AC.
  4. Treat the defender’s Dexterity as 0 (-5 modifier). Rogues can sneak attack helpless or pinned defenders.

Special Attacks

Aid Another

If in position to attack an opponent another friend is attacking, make attack roll against AC 10. If success, friend gets +2 bonus to DC against that opponent, or +2 to attack against that opponent (choose at time of performing the Aid action), until the beginning of your next round.

Bull Rush

Can bull rush as part of a standard action or a charge.
Move into defender's space (provokes AoO without Imp. Bull Rush feat, AoO by anyone other than defender has 25% chance of hitting defender instead of you, and any AoO against the defender has 25% chance of hitting attacker). Make opposed Str checks, modified by 4 for each size category of difference (in favor of larger), with a further +2 if part of a charge. The defender gets a +4 if he has more than two legs, or is otherwise exceptionally stable (as the Dwarf ability). Success pushes defender back 5 feet, plus an additional (and optional) five feet for every 5 points over the check succeeded by. The attacker cannot exceed normal movement limits. AoO is provoked by both the attacker and the defender for every five feet for anyone not participating in the bull rush (but not between the attacker and the defender). On failure, move back five feet. If the space is occupied, fall prone in the square.

A character with Improved Bull Rush gets a +4 on the opposed check when initiating a bull rush.


Allows the attacker to move at twice movement speed and perform an attack. The attacker must move at least ten feet, and at most double movement, in a straight line. There must be a clear path, free of obstacles and difficult terrain (determine by drawing a line between starting and ending squares--if any of those squares includes a creature, difficult terrain, or other obstacle, the charge cannot be performed). Line of sight must exist between attacker and defender (no charging through obscuring mist).

If only allowed a standard or move action on a turn, can still charge, but only up to normal speed (rather than double). This option only applies when restricted to a standard or move action.

After the charge, make a single melee attack at +2, and take a -2 penalty to AC until next turn (note that there is no damage increase). Lances do double damage when used from a mount. Spears, tridents, and certain other piercing weapons do double damage against charging enemies when set against a charge.

Coup de Grace

A helpless creature can be delivered a coup de grace as a full-round action. The attack automatically hits and criticals. If the victim survives the damage, he must make a Fortitude save against DC (10 + damage dealt), or die. Delivering a coup de grace provokes AoO. Creatures immune to critical hits can be delivered a coup de grace, and a coup de grace can be delivered with a missile weapon, provided the attacker is adjacent. A creature with full concealment can be delivered a coup de grace, but two consecutive full-round actions are needed (both of which provoke AoO): One to "find" the victim, the other to deliver the blow.


Attempt to leave the opponent weaponless. If done armed, the weapon disarmed falls to the ground. If done unarmed, the weapon ends up in the attacker's hands (and can then be dropped as a free action, if so desired).

First, attacker provokes AoO (unless attacker possesses Improved Disarm feat). If attacker is damaged, disarm fails. Second, make opposed attack rolls with the weapons. Two-handed weapons get a +4 bonus, light weapons get a -4 penalty. An unarmed strike is always a light weapon. Modify by 4 for each size category difference, in favor of larger. If targeted item is not a melee weapon, defender gets a -4 to roll. If the opposed roll is in attacker's favor, weapon is disarmed. On failure, the defender gets a free attempt to disarm the attacker's weapon (which does not provoke AoO, and does not allow another reactive disarm from the initial attacker). If a non-weapon was targeted, the defender does not get the free disarm attempt.

If the item is not held, but worn, treat as disarming a non-weapon, above. Items that are poorly secured or otherwise easy to snatch give the attacker a +4 bonus. Well-secured items cannot be grabbed unless while in a grapple, and even then receive a +4 bonus on the defender's opposed roll.

If the attacker has the Improved Disarm feat, he gains a +4 to the opposed roll, and never provokes an AoO when disarming.


Attacker makes a bluff check opposed by defender's (sense motive + base attack bonus) check. The next attack the attacker makes against the defender will bypass any Dex-bonus to AC (thus allowing sneak attacks). This next attack must be made on or before the attacker's next turn. Humanoids feinting against non-humanoids receive a -4 penalty (and vice-versa, presumably). Feinting against creatures of Int 1 or 2 receives a -8 penalty. Non-intelligent creatures cannot be feinted against.

Improved feint allows this to be taken as a move action, rather than a standard action.


Most of the sub-actions under grapple require a grapple check. The grapple check is defined thusly:

BaB + Str Modifier + Grapple Size Modifier

where Grapple Size Modifier is +4 for every category above Medium, or -4 for every category below (this takes place of the normal size modifier for attacks). A character with the Improved Grapple feat gets a +4 to all grapple checks.

Starting the Grapple

The grapple is initiated by making a melee touch attack roll. Without Improved Grapple (or equivalent special ability), this provokes AoO. If the AoO does not do damage, and the touch attack hits, the attacker rolls an opposed grapple check to hold. If the defender is more than two sizes larger than the attacker, the hold automatically fails (barring a special ability that allows otherwise). If the attacker succeeds, he does damage as if with an unarmed strike, and is now grappling the defender. If the attacker fails, a grapple is not started (Ties on the opposed check are resolved with the highest grapple modifier. If this is a tie, re-roll the opposed check). On success, the attacker must move into the defender's space to maintain the grapple (this provokes AoO). If the attacker cannot do so, the grapple is not maintained.


While grappling, a character does not threaten any squares, and only gets AoO against the character with which he is grappling. The character also does not get a Dex bonus to AC against anyone he is not grappling. Finally, the character cannot move normally (although an opposed check can be made to move while grappling, described below).

Grappling Actions

The following actions can be taken in a grapple:

Activate Magic Item: Any item that does not require spell completion (and is in a ready position to be activated) can be activated.

Attack: The attack can be made with an unarmed strike, natural weapon, or light weapon (as long as it is drawn and ready). It is made at a -4 penalty.

Cast a Spell: Any spell that requires no somatic components, takes no more than 1 standard action, and for which the components are already in hand, can be cast with a successful DC (20 + spell level) Concentration check.

Do Damage: An opposed grapple check can be made in place of an attack to do damage to the other as an unarmed strike.

Draw a Light Weapon: A light weapon can be drawn as a move action with a successful opposed grapple check.

Escape the Grapple: An escape attempt can be made in place of an attack. To do so, win an opposed grapple check (substituting Escape Artist, if so desired, although doing so takes a standard action). If more than one opponent is grappling the character attempting the escape, then the escape check must beat all other individual grapple checks involved (a grappling attacker does not have to hold a character attempting to escape, if he desires).

Move: As a standard action, a character can move within a grapple by winning an opposed grapple check. If his opponent is pinned, and there are no other characters involved in the grapple, this check is made at +4 for the attacker.

Retrieve a Spell Component: This can be done as a full-round action, and does not require a grapple check.

Use Opponent's Weapon: The attacker makes an opposed grapple check to use the defender's light weapon against him. Success allows an attack to be made with the weapon at -4.

Break Another's Pin: A grapple check can be made to break a pin that an opponent has on another grappler. On success, the pin is broken (but grapple is maintained).

Pin an Opponent: As an attack option, a grappler may pin his opponent by winning an opposed grapple check. Pinning an opponent opens up the following actions.

When Pinning: The grappler who is pinning can perform the Do Damage, Use Opponent's Weapon, or Move actions listed above. The grappler can also prevent his pinned opponent from speaking, at his option. A well-secured object can be taken from the defender with a successful Disarm attack, but the defender gets +4 to resist such an attack. The pinning grappler can release the pinned grappler as a free action--this ends the grapple.
When Pinned: The grappler who is being pinned is immobile (but not helpless) for 1 round. This results in a -4 AC to opponents not engaged in the grapple. The only grapple action that can be taken is the Escape the Grapple action, but success on this roll only escapes the pin, not the entire grapple.

Mounted Combat

Heavy warhorses, light warhorses, and warponies can all serve as steeds in combat with no trouble, but bringing light horses, heavy horses, or ponies into combat will cause them to be frightened. Every round such a horse is ridden in combat, the rider must take a move action to make a DC 20 ride check. A success allows a standard action to be taken, a failure turns the move action into a full-round action as the rider struggles to keep his horse under control.

The mount's action is resolved as directed by its rider, on the rider's action. Movement is done with the mount's action and the mount's speed.

Any horse is a large creature, and takes up a 10'x5' space.

A DC 5 ride check as a free action allows the rider to guide the mount with his knees, freeing his hands for combat. Attacking any creature smaller than the mount gives a +1 bonus to the attack roll. If the mount moves more than five feet, a full attack action cannot be performed by its rider (the rider must wait until the mount has moved until he can commence his attack).

If the mount charges, both the rider and the mount lose the AC associated with the charge, and both the rider and the mount gain the attack bonus associated with the charge. A lance deals double damage when used in a mounted charge attack.

Ranged weapons are used at a -4 penalty when a mount is taking a double move. If the mount is running, the penalty is -8. The attack roll is made after the mount has moved half the distance it will go in the round. A full attack can be made on a mount with a ranged weapon.

If the mount goes up to its normal speed either before or after a spell is cast (but not both), the spell can be cast normally. If movement is performed both before and after the spell is cast, a Concentration DC (10 + spell level) check must be made. If the mount is running at quadruple speed, this check is at DC (15 + spell level).

If the mount falls, a DC 15 ride check must be made to avoid 1d6 falling damage.

If the rider of a mount falls unconscious, he has a 50% chance to stay in a regular saddle, or a 75% chance to stay in a military saddle. Otherwise, 1d6 falling damage is taken.


An overrun can be taken as a standard action during a move (acting as an exception to the rule that actions cannot be taken mid-move). An overrun is an attempt by the mover to plow past or over a blocking opponent to go through his square. Only creatures a size category above, the same size as, or any number of size categories below the initiator can be overrun. The process is as follows:

First, the attacker moves into the defender's square. This provokes an AoO.

Secondly, the attacker may choose to avoid the overrun and allow movement through his square. If he chooses to do so, the attacker can move freely through the square, and the overrun attempt does not expend an action. (With Improved Overrun, the attacker may choose not to allow his opponent to avoid the overrun).

If the defender can not or decides not to avoid the attacker, the attacker makes a Str check opposed by the opponents Str or Dex (whichever has the higher modifier). Size differences give a +4 in favor of the larger opponent per size category difference. The defender gets a +4 to this check if he has more than two legs, or is otherwise exceptionally stable (as the Dwarven racial ability). Improved Overrun gives a +4 to this check to the attacker. If the attacker wins, he knocks the defender prone; if the attacker loses, the defender may immediately make a Str check opposed by the the attacker's Str or Dex (again, whichever has the highest modifier) to knock him prone (modified by size, as above, but without the other modifiers).

If the attacker succeeds in knocking the defender prone, he may continue his movement normally. If the attacker fails, he moves back 5 feet in the direction he came from, either standing or prone (depending on the defender's success on the counter-check, above).

If the attacker is mounted, the attack is called a trample, and it is the mount's Str and size that are used to make the opposed check roll. Improved Overrun does not apply its modifiers to a trample. If the attacker also has the Trample feat, he gains the ability to stop the target from avoiding the overrun, as per Improved Overrun (without the +4 opposed check bonus), and if the defender is successfully knocked down, the attacker's mount gets a free hoof attack on the defender.


If an attacker has an attack with a slashing or blunt weapon, he may choose to make a sunder attempt in place of an attack, attempting to damage or destroy an item carried by the defender. The steps are as follows:

First, the attempt provokes an AoO (attackers with Improved Sunder do not provoke an AoO).

Then, if the attacker is sundering a weapon or shield, the attacker and the defender make opposed attack rolls. Size modifies this with 4 points per size category in favor of the larger. The wielder of a two-handed weapon receives +4 to this check, and the wielder of a light weapon receives -4. If the attacker has Improved Sunder, he gains +4 to this roll. If the attacker is sundering a carried or worn object, this roll is instead made against the object's AC, calculated as 10 + size modifier + Dex modifier of the creature carrying or wearing the object. Armor cannot be sundered.

If the attacker wins, he rolls damage as normal, and the damage is dealt to the item. If the attacker fails, no damage is done.

Throw Splash Weapon

Splash weapons do damage in an area of effect, and do not require proficiency to use (and thus incur no penalties for using without a proficiency). To attack with a splash weapon, make a ranged touch attack. A hit does damage to the target, then splash damage to anything else within 5 feet. Alternatively, an attack can be made against a 5-foot square--such a square is treated as having AC 5, all creatures within 5 feet are damaged, and the direct damage is dealt to no one. A square containing a size Large or larger creature cannot be targeted--the creature is targeted, instead.

If the target is missed, a 1d8 is rolled to determine the direction it goes, with 1 being straight back toward the attacker, and 2 through 8 designating the other squares around the target square in a counterclockwise direction. The splash weapon goes (range increment) feet in this direction.


Can trip an opponent as an unarmed attack, or with certain weapons. Only opponents a size larger, the same size, or any amount smaller than the attacker can be tripped. Attacker must make a touch attack against the opponent that provokes AoO (unless the attacker has the Imp. Trip feat). If the attack succeeds, the attacker must make an opposed Str vs (highest of Str and Dex) check, modified by four for each size category difference in favor of larger, with defender receiving +4 if exceptionally stable (more than two legs, or as Dwarven ability). If attacker wins, he trips the defender. If the attacker loses, the defender may immediately attempt to trip the attacker, with no AoO and no chance for attacker to counter-trip the counter-trip. If tripping with a weapon, the weapon can be dropped on failure, rather than allowing the defender a chance to counter-trip. A tripped person is considered prone. If the trip action is performed against a rider, the Ride check may be substituted for Str or Dex in the opposed roll.

If the attacker has the Improved Trip feat, he gains a +4 to the opposed roll, and never provokes an AoO when attempting to trip.





Corners provide one-half cover if one is fighting around them, and three-quarters cover if just peeking.

Conditions that Allow Sneak Attacks

Attacked by Invisible Opponent (from the invisible opponent)
Grappling (from opponents not in grapple)

Note that, contrary to popular belief, prone is not on this list.

In general, any condition in which the victim loses his Dexterity bonus to AC allows sneak attacks.

The Uncanny Dodge special ability cancels out the loss of Dexterity bonus to AC from the Flat-footed and Attacked by Invisible Opponent conditions. Improved Uncanny Dodge cancels the Flanked condition (with exceptions).