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 may 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 has already been shown what drinking a potion might entail. All of these things might happen in a bit less than a minute or a bit 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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