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Sunder is an attack action = Sunder is a standard action?


Rules Questions

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Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Coriat wrote:


But "attack action" is such an ill-defined and often-misused term within the rules that I would be tempted solely on those grounds to follow the interpretation that bases its reading on "in place of a melee attack." Simply because while the side arguing otherwise has some good points, to agree with them would be to base my interpretation on the application of a term that seems to cause problems wherever it appears.

This. I agree totally.

I suspect that RAI is to limit sunder to one attempt/round, even if I don't see any reason to do that, but "attack action" has often been misused. Both reading have some ground for validity, that was the reason of the question. I see I have generated a lively debate, but no clear conclusion.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
concerro wrote:

Sunder requires a standard action because it is an attack action.

I know it says that it is use a "attack action in place of a melee attack.", but not all melee attacks require the same action

As an example if you are using a full round action you can make several melee attacks. Trip can be substituted for any of those because trip only references a melee attack which means in can be used with any melee attack.

Sunder specifically calls out "an attack action" in place of a melee attack. An "attack action" is a specific game term that takes a standard action. The only way to use an attack action without a standard action is with a rules exception. Sunder does not say an attack action used to sunder can be used with a lesser action. If they intended for it to be used in place of any melee attack instead of using an attack action it would have been worded like trip is worded.

All they are saying is that instead of a normal attack. You can sunder by using a melee attack.

Concerro, actually an "attack action" isn't a specific game term defined in the CRB or any hardbound book AFAIK.

It has become a specific game term after Jason Bulmahn post, made August 19, 2009, and it hasn't jet been defined in the CRB. That is the reason why people has trouble with it and contributors are asked to refrain from using the term (read Jim Groves post, it is the n. 62 in this thread).

After reading the posts in this thread I am almost sure that sunder is meant to require a standard action and will not work with a full attack, but the term "attack action" has been used loosely enough that it isn't a 100% certainly.


After reading this post I am not sure what the RAI was for sunder. I do note a few people are trying to justify iterative Sunders due to the use of an instead of the prior to attack action.
My question for the wording would instead focus on the as part of an attack action. Does this imply an attack action has parts it can be broken into (like iterative attacks)?

I play home games so I'll just rule it how I've always ruled it, but I did want to add fuel to this fire for the rest of you.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So much would be solved if we had a Glossary. Ahhh to dream.

- Gauss

Sczarni

Do you all realize what this means? As it stands, by RAW, Sunder is a standard action that cannot be used as part of a Full-Attack.

Unless you are a Monk.

How will the Monk haters take this? How will the conspiracy theorists who think Paizo is out to screw The Monk react?


Krodjin wrote:

Do you all realize what this means? As it stands, by RAW, Sunder is a standard action that cannot be used as part of a Full-Attack.

Unless you are a Monk.

How will the Monk haters take this? How will the conspiracy theorists who think Paizo is out to screw The Monk react?

Who knows? Maybe demand a book called "Ultimate Errata."

Qadira

Better call it 'Penultimate Errata', as it's bound to need errata itself... ;)


Nu'Raahl wrote:
I do note a few people are trying to justify iterative Sunders due to the use of an instead of the prior to attack action.

Actually, I hadn't noticed that anybody else had jumped on that. (???)

(To argue that point requires claiming it's less likely one article was grammatically mistaken vs. one entire clause referencing a specific action was put into the sentence 'by mistake'... not convincing by my book)
I had just thrown it out there because I like to acknowledge all points of an issue. Some people seem to call that 'trolling' though.
I do believe if they FIX the article connected to 'melee attack', that it would make clearer to everybody the intent of the rule.
Using 'the' correctly calls attention to the context of that melee attack.

Relatedly, what ARE these other rules cases where 'attack action' is used incorrectly?
(i.e. can't possibly function in combo with the standard 'attack' action, or conflicts with Paizo-confirmed/100%-obvious RAI)
I really am not aware of any....????


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

This is from a 3.5 Sage Advice/FAQ by Skip Williams:-

'Sunder is a special kind of melee attack. If it were a special
standard action, its description would say so (as the descriptive
text for the Manyshot feat says).
If you make a full attack, and you have multiple attacks
from a high base attack bonus, you can sunder more than once,
or attack and sunder, or some other combination of attacking
and sundering.'

I realise that PF has changed some things, and the wording of the things that are now Combat Manoevres have changed. I have also seen comments from people like Mr. Groves.

This leads me to believe that Sunder is intended to replace any attack, not just the standard action. YMMV.

3.5 arguments only really apply when the wording has not changed it is very close such as the full attack rules. All of the combat maneuvers have changed since 3.5 a lot.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Diego Rossi wrote:
concerro wrote:

Sunder requires a standard action because it is an attack action.

I know it says that it is use a "attack action in place of a melee attack.", but not all melee attacks require the same action

As an example if you are using a full round action you can make several melee attacks. Trip can be substituted for any of those because trip only references a melee attack which means in can be used with any melee attack.

Sunder specifically calls out "an attack action" in place of a melee attack. An "attack action" is a specific game term that takes a standard action. The only way to use an attack action without a standard action is with a rules exception. Sunder does not say an attack action used to sunder can be used with a lesser action. If they intended for it to be used in place of any melee attack instead of using an attack action it would have been worded like trip is worded.

All they are saying is that instead of a normal attack. You can sunder by using a melee attack.

Concerro, actually an "attack action" isn't a specific game term defined in the CRB or any hardbound book AFAIK.

It has become a specific game term after Jason Bulmahn post, made August 19, 2009, and it hasn't jet been defined in the CRB. That is the reason why people has trouble with it and contributors are asked to refrain from using the term (read Jim Groves post, it is the n. 62 in this thread).

After reading the posts in this thread I am almost sure that sunder is meant to require a standard action and will not work with a full attack, but the term "attack action" has been used loosely enough that it isn't a 100% certainly.

If you go into the CRB or the corebook it does reference "attack action". There is hyper link to the attack section

Quote:
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 (see the attack action).

When you click on it you are taken to

Quote:

Attack

Making an attack is a standard action.

The hyperlink included is also in the PRD.

edit:I think they that hyperlink was made by accident, nor do I think we are told to reference something that has no meaning even though I do wish they would have use the words "attack action" instead of "attack".


Quandary wrote:


Relatedly, what ARE these other rules cases where 'attack action' is used incorrectly?

I am would like to see this also.


Quandary wrote:
Nu'Raahl wrote:
I do note a few people are trying to justify iterative Sunders due to the use of an instead of the prior to attack action.

... Relatedly, what ARE these other rules cases where 'attack action' is used incorrectly?

(i.e. can't possibly function in combo with the standard 'attack' action, or conflicts with Paizo-confirmed/100%-obvious RAI)
I really am not aware of any....????

So would I. Especially since I didn't post anything about other rules cases where it is used incorrectly. I'm guessing you're referring to another post?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I'm standing firm.

To attack is a standard action. That's a verb. The action of attacking is a standard action. But I'll quote just so no one thinks I'm being underhanded.

Core Rules wrote:
Making an attack is a standard action.

An attack is a noun. An attack is not "to attack".

To reference the quote above: The creation of an attack is the verb. The attack itself is a noun.

That's why there are multiple attacks (nouns) when you take a full round action "to attack" (verb).

Core Rules wrote:
Multiple Attacks: A character who can make more than one attack per round must use the full-attack action (see Full-Round Actions) in order to get more than one attack.

Noun and Verb. :)

The sunder rules refer to "an attack action" which is a noun. It suggests a plural. Attacks are multiple plural nouns.

Let's compare.

Core Rules for Trip wrote:
You can attempt to trip your opponent in place of a melee attack.
Core Rules for Sunder, Emphasis Mine wrote:
You can attempt to sunder an item held or worn by your opponent as part of an attack action in place of a melee attack. If you do not have the Improved Sunder feat, or a similar ability, attempting to sunder an item provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

Those sentences are almost exactly the same except they refer to both the verb and the noun at the same time. I completely grant everyone that is ambiguous and confusing. But it also refers to the sunder as being "part" of something. As in "not the whole of" an action. How can it be "part" of anything, when sunder is the entire action?

(And I'm not boldfacing to win, I'm respectfully drawing your attention to the part of the sentence. I even included the second sentence, probably unnecessarily, just to be assure everyone I'm not cherry-picking)

Again, we all agree its confusing and awkward. We have common ground on that.

I'm only posting again because some folks think there is a consensus on this. Respectfully, there's not.

In the meantime, when I GM, sunder can be used in the place of an iterative attack.

EDIT: I don't expect to convince anybody. :D
And I think it should be rewritten.
But just because I tripped over my words a year ago doesn't mean I think I'm wrong either.


Gauss wrote:

So much would be solved if we had a Glossary. Ahhh to dream.

- Gauss

This is what I would like to see more then any Pathfinder 2.0

Just a Rules Compendium type of product with all of the language clearly defined.

Lantern Lodge

Here's how sunder reads from the combat section.

"Sunder:

You can attempt to sunder an item held or worn by your opponent as part of an attack action in place of a melee attack. If you do not have the Improved Sunder feat, or a similar ability, attempting to sunder an item provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver."

It doesn't say "as an attack action". It says "as part of an attack action in place of a melee attack".

Unless you think a full attack action is not an attack action, you can clearly sunder in place of a melee attack as part of a full attack, as well as in place of your single attack as part of a standard attack action.

Is there any other way to interpret this?


That's the way I read it too but this thread is proof enough that there's another way to interpret it.


Long Hu Gui wrote:

Here's how sunder reads from the combat section.

"Sunder:

You can attempt to sunder an item held or worn by your opponent as part of an attack action in place of a melee attack. If you do not have the Improved Sunder feat, or a similar ability, attempting to sunder an item provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver."

It doesn't say "as an attack action". It says "as part of an attack action in place of a melee attack".

Unless you think a full attack action is not an attack action, you can clearly sunder in place of a melee attack as part of a full attack, as well as in place of your single attack as part of a standard attack action.

Is there any other way to interpret this?

A full attack action is not an attack action. If it was then you could use vital strike with a full attack action which you can't since it also references an attack action. The devs have clearly stated that vital strike uses a standard action because it says attack action.

Quote:

Vital Strike (Combat)

You make a single attack that deals significantly more damage than normal.

Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6.

Benefit: When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon's damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision based damage, and other damage bonuses. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Vital Strike is an attack action, which is a type of standard action.

He specifically says an attack action is a type of standard action.

Lantern Lodge

concerro wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Vital Strike is an attack action, which is a type of standard action.
He specifically says an attack action is a type of standard action.

It says vital strike is an attack action which is a type of standard action. That means vital strike is an attack action and vital strike is a standard action. The subject of the sentence is vital strike the two predicates are is an attack action and is a standard action. "Soccer is a sport which is an olympic event." does not mean that "sport" is an "olympic event".

I don't mean to play grammar nazi here, but I think this is an easily misunderstood sentence that means something much less game-shatteringly important than you might think.

It doesn't say that sunder is an attack action anywhere else in the rules or in any errata.

It says sunder can be made in place of a melee attack. The fact that a melee attack is a part of a full attack means sunder can be too.

Further, I don't think Jason Bulmahn intended to change anything about sunder from the RAW by fixing vital strike, which would have otherwise been very wonky.


He is saying an attack action is standard action.

Another Jason quote wrote:
Vital Strike can be used in place of an attack action. This means that whenever you take an attack action, you can use Vital Strike instead. An attack action is a type of standard action.


Your argument was "Unless you think a full attack action is not an attack action, you can clearly sunder in place of a melee attack as part of a full attack, as well as in place of your single attack as part of a standard attack action."

As you can see that is not true.

The rules for sunder specifically say "as part of an attack action..." which we know is a standard action. If it takes an attack action, and an attack action a standard then the rest is academic.

Shadow Lodge

Except this.

6 Some combat maneuvers substitute for a melee attack, not an action. As melee attacks, they can be used once in an attack or charge action, one or more times in a full-attack action, or even as an attack of opportunity. Others are used as a separate action.

Attack action makes no sense as a separate category of action from a standard action.


sure it does. if you want the manuever to use the attack action, and thus be compatable with vital strike.
if it was it's own unique standard action, that wouldn't be true.
sunder working with vital strike has pretty obvious synergies.
if spring attack were worded to allow an attack action, mid-movement, that would allow sunder and/or vital strike.
not so if sunder were it's own action.

attack action makes sense as a separate category than standard actions,
because it is ONE example of a standard action, distinct from casting a spell.
i won't bother expounding on the difference between those two things.

Lantern Lodge

I can appreciate that an attack action is a type of standard action means that any single attack as an action takes up a standard action in a round.

The rules for sunder still only say in place of a melee attack as part of an attack action. If you use sunder as part of a standard action attack action, it is the whole thing, not part of it. Why would it say part of an attack action, if they didn't intend it to be part of something?

The errata to vital strike was written after the combat rules in the core rule book. I can't imagine that they would be able to go back and errata everything else just because of a clarification on a feat that is new to the system.

Also, saying that a full attack action is not an attack action, to me, is like saying a valencia orange is not an orange.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Except this.

6 Some combat maneuvers substitute for a melee attack, not an action. As melee attacks, they can be used once in an attack or charge action, one or more times in a full-attack action, or even as an attack of opportunity. Others are used as a separate action.

Attack action makes no sense as a separate category of action from a standard action.

Some do substitute for a melee attack, but unlike trip sunder spefically calls out an attack action used as a melee attack, so it is still an attack action.

Also, I am not saying an attack action is its own action just like a standard action is or move action is. I am saying it is something just that uses a standard action, just like most spells so. So in order to gain access to the "attack action" you must spend a standard action. By the same token in order to gain access to most spells you must use a standard action.


vital strike was never errata'd... they consider vital strike wording 100% correct.
although perhaps you are also having trouble with the lingo for 'errata', as well as 'attack' action?
(not trying to poke fun, really just pointing out a repeated failure to use/recognize correct game terminology)

re: Vital Strike, they just spelled it out for people confused by the wording.
i'm really unsure why they have failed to do so for sunder, the other main piece of rules which uses the attack action... but vital strike itself is still not in the real PRPG FAQ either.

'any single attack' does NOT take up any given action in a round,
what action it takes up is depending on what options you use to effect that attack.
the 'attack' action is available to everybody and is a common way of doing so.
you can use the 'full-attack' action to make a single attack if you want to (your BAB may not allow iteratives),
and there are plenty of other actions effecting single attacks: grapple uses 'it's own' standard action, f.e.,
or the spring attack 'unique' full-round action including one attack interlaced within movement.

Shadow Lodge

concerro wrote:


Also, I am not saying an attack action is its own action just like a standard action is or move action is. I am saying it is something just that uses a standard action, just like most spells so. So in order to gain access to the "attack action" you must spend a standard action. By the same token in order to gain access to most spells you must use a standard action.

How can sunder be "part of" an attack action if its not done on the iteratives? There's no parts to something that only has one part.


Why does it have to be done on an iterative to be a part of something else?

I do agree that ability is badly written, but I also have provided text to show that an attack action is a standard action. Unless the devs make a comment saying this use of an attack action no longer counts as a standard action then I don't see how it can be ruled otherwise.


two weapon warriors can indeed make attack actions that contain two attack rolls.
regardless if you think 'part of' is REDUNDANT or not, the clear existence of 'attack action' is undeniable.
that term actually means something in this game, thus is presence should mean something.
if the intent was to work like trip/disarm, that wording would have been used,
wording which successfully was copy/pasted in those two CMBs.
...i'm not really sure where you could possibly GO with this 'part of' contention,
because any and every individual melee attack (ala trip/disarm) certainly doesn't have a multitude of 'parts' either,
so arguing that point doesn't get any closer to the trip/disarm functionality...
do you think that sunder must be made as part of an action with multiple attacks, e.g. full-attack?
otherwise, perhaps 'part of' isn't ideal or something, but again, minor grammatical weaknesses in articles simply have much less substance than the inclusion or not of specific game terms.

EDIT: and i would argue that actions in game can certainly be broken down into parts, namely beginning, doing, and ending them. taking the action to stand up triggers an AoO before any standing up has taken place. thus even an action seemingly containing only one component can still be validly referenced using 'part' terminology since at minimum 'starting' and 'ending' the action are always present additional parts even if they accomplish nothing in-game, they are actionable components. similar for 'ready action' triggering events, etc.

Cheliax

Just to clarify Concerro, you are stating that the monk is the exception to the rule in that he is allowed to attempt multiple sunders as part of a full attack action, specifically during a flurry of blows?


Where does it say a monk can do that other than the maneuver based archetype? I am not saying it can't, but I have seen any text that says it can.

Cheliax

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
concerro wrote:
Where does it say a monk can do that other than the maneuver based archetype? I am not saying it can't, but I have seen any text that says it can.

in monk under flurry of blows:

Monk link to PRD

Quote:

Flurry of Blows (Ex): Starting at 1st level, a monk can make a flurry of blows as a full-attack action. When doing so he may make one additional attack using any combination of unarmed strikes or attacks with a special monk weapon (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham) as if using the Two-Weapon Fighting feat (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat). For the purpose of these attacks, the monk's base attack bonus from his monk class levels is equal to his monk level. For all other purposes, such as qualifying for a feat or a prestige class, the monk uses his normal base attack bonus.

At 8th level, the monk can make two additional attacks when he uses flurry of blows, as if using Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat).

At 15th level, the monk can make three additional attacks using flurry of blows, as if using Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat).

A monk applies his full Strength bonus to his damage rolls for all successful attacks made with flurry of blows, whether the attacks are made with an off-hand or with a weapon wielded in both hands. A monk may substitute disarm, sunder, and trip combat maneuvers for unarmed attacks as part of a flurry of blows. A monk cannot use any weapon other than an unarmed strike or a special monk weapon as part of a flurry of blows. A monk with natural weapons cannot use such weapons as part of a flurry of blows, nor can he make natural attacks in addition to his flurry of blows attacks.


I am looking into something. I may have been wrong. I will post again in a few minutes.


Does anyone have a copy of the alpha version of the rulebook? If it has the same wording as the current version for sunder then you can use sunder as part of iterative attacks.


Ravingdork wrote:

I have looked up all 19 instances in which the term "attack action" has appeared in the Pathfinder line of hardback books.

It does not always mean a standard action.

In short, the term is inconsistent.

Also, I do not believe a link makes a defined term. It lacks context.

Quotes please. Another poster said this, but never provided quotes.


RD, i don't care how many instances there are, i care WHAT they are.
which ones 'fail to use attack action correctly'? (that is pretty much irrelevant to this issue, but i just am not aware of any such case... were they Errata'd at some point?)

@concerro: how can the wording in the alpha version affect the meaning of the current RAW? really.

i've always understood monk flurry explicitly mentioning sunder to be a monk-specific rule.


You guys passed over that Sage Advice article awfully hastily. I tend to think if something was supposed to change substantially someone would have rewritten it instead of copy and pasting it. Just saying.


The alpha version does not even break down the action types so I can't use that either.


Grimmy wrote:
You guys passed over that Sage Advise article awfully hastily. I tend to think if something was supposed to change substantially someone would have rewritten it instead of copy and pasting it. Just saying.

Grimmy the combat maneuvers are not a copy and paste like many of the other rules are. The CMB mechanic did not even exist in 3.5. They completely rehauled them. That is why I said they have to use the same wording in order to be relevant, and they don't.


Quandary wrote:

RD, i don't care how many instances there are, i care WHAT they are.

which ones 'fail to use attack action correctly'? (that is pretty much irrelevant to this issue, but i just am not aware of any such case... were they Errata'd at some point?)

@concerro: how can the wording in the alpha version affect the meaning of the current RAW? really.

i've always understood monk flurry explicitly mentioning sunder to be a monk-specific rule.

It does not now. I misread a post.


concerro wrote:
Grimmy wrote:
You guys passed over that Sage Advise article awfully hastily. I tend to think if something was supposed to change substantially someone would have rewritten it instead of copy and pasting it. Just saying.
Grimmy the combat maneuvers are not a copy and paste like many of the other rules are. The CMB mechanic did not even exist in 3.5. They completely rehauled them. That is why I said they have to use the same wording in order to be relevant, and they don't.

Yeah, I shouldn't have put it that way. Foot in mouth. Still I was pretty sure I had a point. Maybe not.


happens to the best of us :-)


Happler wrote:
concerro wrote:
Where does it say a monk can do that other than the maneuver based archetype? I am not saying it can't, but I have seen any text that says it can.

in monk under flurry of blows:

Monk link to PRD

Quote:

Flurry of Blows (Ex): Starting at 1st level, a monk can make a flurry of blows as a full-attack action. When doing so he may make one additional attack using any combination of unarmed strikes or attacks with a special monk weapon (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham) as if using the Two-Weapon Fighting feat (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat). For the purpose of these attacks, the monk's base attack bonus from his monk class levels is equal to his monk level. For all other purposes, such as qualifying for a feat or a prestige class, the monk uses his normal base attack bonus.

At 8th level, the monk can make two additional attacks when he uses flurry of blows, as if using Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat).

At 15th level, the monk can make three additional attacks using flurry of blows, as if using Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat).

A monk applies his full Strength bonus to his damage rolls for all successful attacks made with flurry of blows, whether the attacks are made with an off-hand or with a weapon wielded in both hands. A monk may substitute disarm, sunder, and trip combat maneuvers for unarmed attacks as part of a flurry of blows. A monk cannot use any weapon other than an unarmed strike or a special monk weapon as part of a flurry of blows. A monk with natural weapons cannot use such weapons as part of a flurry of blows, nor can he make natural attacks in addition to his flurry of blows attacks.

I forgot to respond. It seems the monk is an exception. The only other thing I can think of is that they meant to change the wording of sunder and never did so. I am fine with it being usable several times a round, but right now it does not read that way. If it said "in place of a melee attack or in place of an attack action used as a melee attack", that would work, but that just seems like too many words when they could just use the same wording as trip.

It also could have been possible that an attack action was not a standard action during the alpha playtesting, but when they decided to make it into a standard action sunder got overlooked, but that goes back to the above paragraph about sunder not being changed. They did not even put the word "attack action" in the book as a game term even though the intent has been shown so it is plausible that sunder was overlooked also.

edit:clarification.


attack action was a standard action in 3.5. they didn't change that action itself,
it just became crucial to several new things, like new Sunder and Vital Strike.

every other specific action isn't in some glossary, they are defined where they are defined, mostly in the combat chapter under their action type (standard, move, full-round). some of them are detailed in other parts of the combat chapter and the CRB, but are still given in the table of actions organized by action type. the 'attack' action is the very first standard action detailed in the standard action section, followed by 'activate magic item' action, 'cast a spell' action, etc. the 'attack' action is followed by some info on attacks that isn't strictly pertinent to 'attack' actions, but that doesn't negate it's existence as an action within the game.

i mean, it's impossible to prove a negative, so there is perhaps 'some' chance that they intended sunder to work otherwise.
albeit, given the issue has been flagged for FAQ previously, and they didn't do anything, that doesn't seem likely.
the attack action wording was specifically added... it didn't exist in 3.5 sunder...
so they didnt' just 'forget to change it' from 3.5 or something.
3.5 sunder just used 'melee attack' to initiate a sunder. you also just straight-up COULDN'T SUNDER ARMOR in 3.5, so a totally different beast.


Check out the Gaze Attack ability appearing in all three Bestiaries, in the Omox slime ability of the Bestiary II, and the Ram siege engine under the Environment section of the Core Rulebook.

None of them should be attack actions since they aren't attacks (as per the definition of attack), but activated supernatural abilities or other miscellaneous actions.


Those are not quotes.

Great Cleave which is one of your examples, and the only one I checked does not even use the term attack action.

Quote:

Great Cleave (Combat)

You can strike many adjacent foes with a single blow.

Prerequisites: Str 13, Cleave, Power Attack, base attack bonus +4.

Benefit: As a standard action, you can make a single attack at your full base attack bonus against a foe within reach. If you hit, you deal damage normally and can make an additional attack (using your full base attack bonus) against a foe that is adjacent to the previous foe and also within reach. If you hit, you can continue to make attacks against foes adjacent to the previous foe, so long as they are within your reach. You cannot attack an individual foe more than once during this attack action. When you use this feat, you take a –2 penalty to your Armor Class until your next turn.

So once again do you have quotes of the inconsistent use of the phrase?

PS:Cleave is mechanically multiple attacks so I can see why that would not use the term "attack action" if that is what you are getting at.


looking at Gaze, Omox Slime, and Ram Siege Engine...
none of those do not function per RAW. they all function just fine.
each case is allowing an alternate usage/functionality of the attack action,
just as Sunder itself does. Sunder and Omox Slime use attack rolls, but that isn't necessary when one is whole-sale substituting the effects of an action.

i can write a spell that is uniquely cast using the attack action if i want to.
what that changes is when i could potentially use those actions.
usually that is when i have a standard, in which case there isn't much difference vs. classing them as unique standard actions,
but POTENTIALLY i could specifically only have a free attack action, or only be able to take an attack action (due to a special feat/etc) and in those cases one COULD use these 'alternate usages' of the attack action.
the vital strike also would apply to any of these abilities,
albeit if the action isn't accomplishing weapon damage of some sort, vital strike doesn't do anything.

since the other mentions of attack action are non-problematic by your own account, i don't see any problem here.


Last one I am checking for you since you did mention it.

Quote:
Gaze (Su) A gaze special attack takes effect when foes look at the attacking creature's eyes. The attack can have any sort of effect: petrification, death, and charm are common. The typical range is 30 feet, but check the creature's entry for details. The type of saving throw for a gaze attack varies, but it is usually a Will or Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 gazing creature's racial HD + gazing creature's Cha modifier; the exact DC is given in the creature's text). A successful saving throw negates the effect. A monster's gaze attack is described in abbreviated form in its description. Each opponent within range of a gaze attack must attempt a saving throw each round at the beginning of his or her turn in the initiative order. Only looking directly at a creature with a gaze attack leaves an opponent vulnerable. Opponents can avoid the need to make the saving throw by not looking at the creature, in one of two ways.

Nowhere does it say "attack action".

Now let's check the Omox Demon.

Quote:
Slime (Su) An omox's nauseating body is composed of sticky, acidic slime. As an attack action, it can hurl a glob of slime (range increment 20 feet). Any creature that is struck by the glob must make a DC 23 Reflex save or become entangled for 1d6 rounds. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Quote:
Ranged slime +20 (1d6 plus 3d6 acid and entangle)

It uses an attack roll. That makes it an attack, and a qualifier for an attack action.

The next quotes should be provided by you.


Gaze says: "A creature with a gaze attack can actively gaze as an attack action by choosing a target within range..."
Again, as I explained above, that is totally fine, it's offering an alternate usage of the attack action if you have the Gaze ability.
Whether or not any of these alternate usages end up being affected by Vital Strike or not (VS doesn't do anything if you aren't doing weapon damage with your Attack Action, as Sunder does), is irrelevant to the 'legitimacy' of them being classed as an Attack action, much less the 'legitimacy' of the Attack action itself. WHO KNOWS, there may be some future rules item that DOES have a useful effect on both Attack Action(Gaze) and normal/Sunder Attack Actions... Whether or not that ever happens is irrelevant to the question if the rules are self-coherent.

EDIT: plenty of effects apply bonus damage to 'attacks', i.e. ANY attacks.
there are plenty of attacks which don't do any damage what-so-ever, e.g. grapple, disarm, and thus this bonus damage is wasted on them. that doesn't delegitimize the concept of 'attack' (shared by attacks doing damage and those not doing damage)


Oh, I see it is below the main body. It is still not a big deal since it is still a standard action which seems to be the crux of the argument in this thread and the other one.

See RD if you had quoted on your own and bolded it... :)

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