What You Can Do in One Round
Whatever the precise length of a combat round, a character can accomplish only
one basic action in that round, be it making an attack, casting a spell,
drinking a potion, or tending to a fallen comrade. The basic action, however, may
involve several lesser actions.
When making an attack, a character is likely to close with his opponent,
circle for an opening, feint here, jab there, block a thrust, leap back, and perhaps
finally make a telling blow. A spellcaster might fumble for his components,
dodge an attacker, mentally review the steps of the spell, intone the spell, and
then move to safety when it is all done. It already has been shown what
drinking a potion might entail. All of these things could happen in a bit less than a
minute or more, but the standard is one minute and one action to the round.
Some examples of the actions a character can accomplish include the following:
• Make an attack (make attack rolls up to the maximum number allowed the
character class at a given level)
• Cast one spell (if the casting time is one round or less)
• Drink a potion
• Light a torch
• Use a magical item
• Move to the limit of his movement rate
• Attempt to open a stuck or secret door
• Bind a character's wounds
• Search a body
• Hammer in a spike
• Recover a dropped weapon
There are also actions that take a negligible amount of time, things the
character does without affecting his ability to perform a more important task.
Examples of these include the following:
• Shout warnings, brief instructions, or demands for surrender--but not
conversations where a reply is expected.
• Change weapons by dropping one and drawing another.
• Drop excess equipment, such as backpacks, lanterns, or torches.
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