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


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Can't be bothered running through 8 pages to see if the right answer to the question's been given, so I'll post it here.

Firstly, check the 'maneuver master' monk archetype in UC, which says:

'At 1st level, as part of a full-attack action, a maneuver master can make one additional combat maneuver, regardless of whether the maneuver normally replaces a melee attack or requires a standard action.'

So this clearly gives us two options for Combat Maneuvers: 'replaces an attack' (usable on a full attack, can replace multiple attacks) or 'requires a standard action'.

Then look at the Combat rules in Core for the following text:

Bull Rush: 'You can make a bull rush as a standard action or as part of a charge, in place of the melee attack.'

So you can't Bull Rush with one of your attacks in a full attack action (unless you have the maneuver master archetype)

Disarm: You can attempt to disarm your opponent in place of a melee attack.

So you can disarm with one (or more) iterative attacks in a full attack action

Grapple: As a standard action, you can attempt to grapple a foe, hindering his combat options.

So you can't Grapple with one of your attacks in a full attack action (unless you have the maneuver master archetype)

Overrun: As a standard action, taken during your move or as part of a charge, you can attempt to overrun your target, moving through its square.

No Overrun on a full attack

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.

Wording on this one is clunkier for no reason, but we know from maneuver master that we have a binary choice when it comes to these maneuvers. This doesn't take a 'standard action', so it falls into the 'replaces an attack' category.

So you can sunder with one (or more) iterative attacks in a full attack action

Trip: You can attempt to trip your opponent in place of a melee attack.

So you can trip with one (or more) iterative attacks in a full attack action

Have a summary for convenience (and I'll throw in the UC manuevers as well):

Replaces one (or more) of your iterative attacks: Disarm, sunder, trip

Standard action: Bull rush, dirty trick, drag, grapple, overrun, reposition, steal

Done.


Nothing is better than universal happiness.
A ham sandwich is better than nothing.
Therefore, a ham sandwich is better than universal happiness.

Classic Equivocation Fallacy.

An action in which someone performs an attack is an attack action.
A full-attack action is an action in which someone performs an attack.
Therefore, a full-attack action is an attack action.

Attack(the specific standard action) and Attack(the general action that involves harming someone) are two different terms in Pathfinder and should not be conflated.

I see one very, very fine distinction between saying something replaces the Attack action as opposed to saying it takes a standard action. Attacks of Opportunity could be reasoned to allow the Attack action as a Non-action. By this logic, Attack of Opportunity could be a Sunder attempt.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Every kind of attack under the sub-heading 'Attack' must obey the rule 'Making an attack is a standard action'.

There is more then one "attack."

One "attack" is an action. It is specifically a standard action.

The other is just the word "attack." We all know what the word attack means.

When you use the words "attack action" we are specifically talking about a standard action in which you attack.

A "full attack action" isn't an "attack action."
A "full attack action" is a full-round action.
An "attack action" is only a standard action.

When we just use the word "attack" we could be talking about a Standard action(attack action), a full-round action(full attack action), or not an action at all(attack of opportunity).

"Attack action" couldn't describe an attack of Opportunity because an attack of Opportunity isn't an action.

We could also be using "attack" as a verb or adjective.

Silver Crusade

Where is 'attack action' described? Nowhere!

Where is 'attack' described? Under the heading 'Standard Actions!'

So, the 'attack action' must be utilising 'attack' as described in this section.

All of the sub-types of 'attack' (melee, ranged, etc) are 'attack actions'. So, can 'attack actions' be folded into a full attack or used as an AoO? Yes or no?

If 'no', then full attacks and AoOs don't exist!

If 'yes', then every 'attack action' can be folded into a full attack, as described in 'multiple attacks', which is under the same heading, 'Attack', as all the other types of attack action.

Therefore, by RAW, any and every 'attack action' can be folded into a full attack or used as an AoO etc.

If you say that Sunder cannot be folded into a full attack on the grounds that it's an 'attack action' which equals 'standard action', then you must also say that 'melee attacks' cannot be folded into a full attack on the grounds that it's an 'attack action' which equals 'standard action'!


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Where is 'attack action' described?

"attack action" is a type of action. It is described under "Standard actions" under "action types."

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Where is 'attack' described?

"attack" when it isn't followed by the word "action" is simply the word "attack" it means what all native english speakers think the word "attack" means.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
All of the sub-types of 'attack' (melee, ranged, etc) are 'attack actions'. So, can 'attack actions' be folded into a full attack or used as an AoO? Yes or no?

"attack action" and "attack" are not the same thing.

An AoO isn't an action so it can't be an "Attack action"

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
If you say that Sunder cannot be folded into a full attack on the grounds that it's an 'attack action' which equals 'standard action', then you must also say that 'melee attacks' cannot be folded into a full attack on the grounds that it's an 'attack action' which equals 'standard action'!

Non sequitur. Does not follow.

A melee attack is not the same thing as an "attack action."

A Melee attack can be preformed as an "attack action"
A Melee attack can also be preformed as a "full attack action"
A Melee attack can also be preformed as an "attack of Opportunity" which isn't an action at all.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Where is 'attack action' described? Nowhere!

Where is 'attack' described? Under the heading 'Standard Actions!'

So, the 'attack action' must be utilising 'attack' as described in this section.

All of the sub-types of 'attack' (melee, ranged, etc) are 'attack actions'. So, can 'attack actions' be folded into a full attack or used as an AoO? Yes or no?

If 'no', then full attacks and AoOs don't exist!

If 'yes', then every 'attack action' can be folded into a full attack, as described in 'multiple attacks', which is under the same heading, 'Attack', as all the other types of attack action.

Therefore, by RAW, any and every 'attack action' can be folded into a full attack or used as an AoO etc.

If you say that Sunder cannot be folded into a full attack on the grounds that it's an 'attack action' which equals 'standard action', then you must also say that 'melee attacks' cannot be folded into a full attack on the grounds that it's an 'attack action' which equals 'standard action'!

Malachi if you want to say that dev quote does not matter, even if an undefined term keeps getting used, and only what the book says matters then you are saying we must go with the most literal interpretation possible. Otherwise you would have to say we must not follow RAW blindly. Which is it?

Are we going to follow RAW blindly or not. You can't say, but the "book says" and then try to "not use RAW" when it is convenient for you.

Before you answer --> both the "attack action" and "full attack action" are not defined, but both are written in the general instruction area of combat maneuvers.

By RAW there is no extrapolating, so trying to use reasoning will not be accepted. You only get exactly what the book gives you.

*waiting patiently*


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Where is 'attack action' described? Nowhere!

Where is 'attack' described? Under the heading 'Standard Actions!'

So, the 'attack action' must be utilising 'attack' as described in this section.

All of the sub-types of 'attack' (melee, ranged, etc) are 'attack actions'. So, can 'attack actions' be folded into a full attack or used as an AoO? Yes or no?

If 'no', then full attacks and AoOs don't exist!

If 'yes', then every 'attack action' can be folded into a full attack, as described in 'multiple attacks', which is under the same heading, 'Attack', as all the other types of attack action.

Therefore, by RAW, any and every 'attack action' can be folded into a full attack or used as an AoO etc.

If you say that Sunder cannot be folded into a full attack on the grounds that it's an 'attack action' which equals 'standard action', then you must also say that 'melee attacks' cannot be folded into a full attack on the grounds that it's an 'attack action' which equals 'standard action'!

So a question, where do the rules say that all attacks must use the "attack action".

Silver Crusade

You can't have it both ways. Standard Actions wrote:-

'Attack
Making an attack is a standard action.'

This is the only place 'attack' is made equivalent to a standard action, and the only excuse to consider 'attack action=standard action'.

If this phrase were considered to take precedence then full attacks could not exist, but it is the only excuse to say 'attack action=standard action', and every subtype of attack would also be invariably a standard action.

There is no part of the 'attack action' which doesn't apply equally to melee attack, ranged attack, and Sunder.

It's pointless trying to pretend that all this is coming from me! It was true in 3.0 and 3.5 and did not change in the CRB. The only thing which has changed is, after the PF RAW was written, a careless reply from a dev asked to clear up a carelessly written feat.

If, as he claimed, 'attack action=standard action', then the consequence would be that every attack action would take a standard action, and could not be used in another type of action; every melee attack action, every ranged attack action, etc. All of these attack action types are described in the same RAW. There is no justification for any player claiming to use RAW to decide that some of the described attacks are 'attack actions' and others are just 'attacks'! All of them are described in the same section, and all must follow the same rule.

This was not even an issue in 3.5! Skip Williams even contrasts 'attack action' with 'standard action' to illustrate that 'standard actions' cannot be folded into a full attack, and contrasts this with 'attack actions' which can!

Since the wording of this section did not change between 3.5 and PF there is no reason to suppose that this changed in any way. If it wasn't for a careless dev reply this thread would have finished over 300 posts ago!


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Can we all agree that it could be ruled either way, despite our personal opinion?

I can.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

You can't have it both ways. Standard Actions wrote:-

'Attack
Making an attack is a standard action.'

This is the only place 'attack' is made equivalent to a standard action, and the only excuse to consider 'attack action=standard action'.

If this phrase were considered to take precedence then full attacks could not exist, but it is the only excuse to say 'attack action=standard action', and every subtype of attack would also be invariably a standard action.

There is no part of the 'attack action' which doesn't apply equally to melee attack, ranged attack, and Sunder.

It's pointless trying to pretend that all this is coming from me! It was true in 3.0 and 3.5 and did not change in the CRB. The only thing which has changed is, after the PF RAW was written, a careless reply from a dev asked to clear up a carelessly written feat.

If, as he claimed, 'attack action=standard action', then the consequence would be that every attack action would take a standard action, and could not be used in another type of action; every melee attack action, every ranged attack action, etc. All of these attack action types are described in the same RAW. There is no justification for any player claiming to use RAW to decide that some of the described attacks are 'attack actions' and others are just 'attacks'! All of them are described in the same section, and all must follow the same rule.

This was not even an issue in 3.5! Skip Williams even contrasts 'attack action' with 'standard action' to illustrate that 'standard actions' cannot be folded into a full attack, and contrasts this with 'attack actions' which can!

Since the wording of this section did not change between 3.5 and PF there is no reason to suppose that this changed in any way. If it wasn't for a careless dev reply this thread would have finished over 300 posts ago!

I'm still waiting on that answer of where the rules say that all attacks must use the "attack action".


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
If, as he claimed, 'attack action=standard action', then the consequence would be that every attack action would take a standard action, and could not be used in another type of action; every melee attack action, every ranged attack action, etc. All of these attack action types are described in the same RAW. There is no justification for any player claiming to use RAW to decide that some of the described attacks are 'attack actions' and others are just 'attacks'! All of them are described in the same section, and all must follow the same rule.

Every "attack action" is a standard action.

Not every "attack" is an "attack action."

Some "attacks" aren't actions at all.

Terms are often defined at the moment where they are most important not at the only moment they are important.


concerro wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
Kazaan wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
*snip*

Full Attack, indeed, is not an "Attack" action,

The rules do not say as such - and the only reason to interpret them as such is to specifically exclude sunder - nothing else in the entire game would be affected.

I refuse to twist words and look at the rulebook as a computer program and on and on and on to make up special rules for Sunder when if it was meant to be special they could have just put 'as a standard action' in front of it - like they do with any other CM that can't be rolled into a full attack action.

On that note I won't argue this point any more - that anyone can sit there with a straight face and say that any attack is not an attack action is beyond belief.

We will simply have to agree to disagree on this point.

On that note.

If you believe that an attack is always an attack - then sunder fits the rules like other CM's.

If you believe that some attacks are not attacks but instead they are non-attack full attacks that are not really actions - then you can't sunder during a full attack.

I leave it to you - dear readers - to see which one of those definitions seems to be reaching.

Well most gamers don't use your rules interpretation. I even had quote saying that you have to make an attack action or a full attack action by a dev. The rulebook and the devs disagree with you.

In the header about CMs, which CMs does the part about using it as part of a full attack apply too? I don't see a reference to it in any of the specific CMs at the moment, but I do see language similar to Sunder.

Is it your claim that this language is in error, and the lack of the phrase "standard action", but presence in other CMs is irrelevant?

Silver Crusade

WWWW wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

You can't have it both ways. Standard Actions wrote:-

'Attack
Making an attack is a standard action.'

This is the only place 'attack' is made equivalent to a standard action, and the only excuse to consider 'attack action=standard action'.

If this phrase were considered to take precedence then full attacks could not exist, but it is the only excuse to say 'attack action=standard action', and every subtype of attack would also be invariably a standard action.

There is no part of the 'attack action' which doesn't apply equally to melee attack, ranged attack, and Sunder.

It's pointless trying to pretend that all this is coming from me! It was true in 3.0 and 3.5 and did not change in the CRB. The only thing which has changed is, after the PF RAW was written, a careless reply from a dev asked to clear up a carelessly written feat.

If, as he claimed, 'attack action=standard action', then the consequence would be that every attack action would take a standard action, and could not be used in another type of action; every melee attack action, every ranged attack action, etc. All of these attack action types are described in the same RAW. There is no justification for any player claiming to use RAW to decide that some of the described attacks are 'attack actions' and others are just 'attacks'! All of them are described in the same section, and all must follow the same rule.

This was not even an issue in 3.5! Skip Williams even contrasts 'attack action' with 'standard action' to illustrate that 'standard actions' cannot be folded into a full attack, and contrasts this with 'attack actions' which can!

Since the wording of this section did not change between 3.5 and PF there is no reason to suppose that this changed in any way. If it wasn't for a careless dev reply this thread would have finished over 300 posts ago!

I'm still waiting on that answer of where the rules say that all attacks must use the "attack action".

It's here:-

'Attack
Making an attack is a standard action.'


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

It's here:-

'Attack
Making an attack is a standard action.'

No. That says that making an attack is a standard action, not that making an attack is the attack action.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Attack

Making an attack is a standard action.

This is an action. It's called the "attack action." It's a standard action.

Actions (Part Three) By Skip Williams wrote:
Attack: Use this action to make a single melee or ranged attack.

It isn't the only way to attack.

An "Attack of Opportunity" isn't an action, but you can attack with an "Attack of Opportunity."

Attacking does not require a standard action.

Combat wrote:
Making an Attack of Opportunity: An attack of opportunity is a single melee attack, and most characters can only make one per round.
Actions (Part Two) By Skip Williams wrote:
Aggressive Nonactions: There's only one activity that falls into this category: the attack of opportunity. An attack of opportunity is similar to the attack action.

A "full attack" is an action. It's called a "full attack action" It's a full-round action.

A "full attack" isn't a standard action, but you can attack with a "Full Attack"

Actions (Part Three) By Skip Williams wrote:
If your base attack bonus allows you to make multiple attacks during your turn, or if you wield two weapons, you need to use the full-attack action (a full-round action) to make the multiple attacks.

Silver Crusade

Karlgamer wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Attack

Making an attack is a standard action.

This is an action. It's called the "attack action." It's a standard action.

Actions (Part Three) By Skip Williams wrote:
Attack: Use this action to make a single melee or ranged attack.

It isn't the only way to attack.

An "Attack of Opportunity" isn't an action, but you can attack with an "Attack of Opportunity."

Attacking does not require a standard action.

Combat wrote:
Making an Attack of Opportunity: An attack of opportunity is a single melee attack, and most characters can only make one per round.
Actions (Part Two) By Skip Williams wrote:
Aggressive Nonactions: There's only one activity that falls into this category: the attack of opportunity. An attack of opportunity is similar to the attack action.

A "full attack" is an action. It's called a "full attack action" It's a full-round action.

A "full attack" isn't a standard action, but you can attack with a "Full Attack"

Actions (Part Three) By Skip Williams wrote:
If your base attack bonus allows you to make multiple attacks during your turn, or if you wield two weapons, you need to use the full-attack action (a full-round action) to make the multiple attacks.

All true, but cleverly missing the point.

This 'attack action' thing; what is it?

It's an action (standard), used to make an attack.

What kind of attack?

All the attacks listed under 'attack', like melee, ranged, etc.

If 'attack actions' are used to make attacks, does that mean these attacks can only be made as standard actions?

No. The same section of the rules go on to say that all of the attacks that use attack actions can also be made as individual attacks in a full attack.

So, 'attack actions' use 'attacks'?

Yes.

And 'attacks' can fold into full attacks, and be used as attacks of opportunity?

Yes.

And Sunder uses an attack action, so Sunder is an attack?

Yes.

And so Sunder can be folded into a full attack or used as an attack of opportunity?

Yes. Does that all make sense now?

Yes!


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

All true, but cleverly missing the point.

This 'attack action' thing; what is it?

It's an action (standard), used to make an attack.

What kind of attack?

All the attacks listed under 'attack', like melee, ranged, etc.

If 'attack actions' are used to make attacks, does that mean these attacks can only be made as standard actions?

No. The same section of the rules go on to say that all of the attacks that use attack actions can also be made as individual attacks in a full attack.

So, 'attack actions' use 'attacks'?

Yes.

And 'attacks' can fold into full attacks, and be used as attacks of opportunity?

Yes.

And Sunder uses an attack action, so Sunder is an attack?

Yes.

And so Sunder can be folded into a full attack or used as an attack of opportunity?

Yes. Does that all make sense now?

Yes!

It really doesn't make much sense since it relies on the underlying assumption that all attacks must be made through the "attack action". However you have not yet presented any rule that all attacks require the "attack action," and without that piece of the puzzle the entire argument is unfounded.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
So, 'attack actions' use 'attacks'?

There is no such thing as "attack actions."

There is only one "attack action"

There are different kinds of "attacks" which aren't actions or types of actions. If they were actions they couldn't be used with an AoO.

They are not exclusive to an "attack action."

Terms are often defined at the moment where they are most important not at the only moment they are important.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
And 'attacks' can fold into full attacks, and be used as attacks of opportunity?

"fold into" makes on sense.

Both "full attack" and "AoO" allow you make attacks. "attack action" isn't necessary for these to function.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Sunder uses an attack action, so Sunder is an attack

Sunder is a Combat Maneuver which requires an "attack action."

Sure it's an attack. It's an attack that requires a standard action.

A "full attack action" is also an attack. It's an attack that requires a Full-round action.

An AoO is also an attack. It's an attack that doesn't use an action.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
And so Sunder can be folded into a full attack or used as an attack of opportunity?

Sunder requires an "action" and an AoO is not an "action."

Sunder requires an "attack action" and a "full attack action" is not "attack action."


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

All true, but cleverly missing the point.

This 'attack action' thing; what is it?

It's an action (standard), used to make an attack.

What kind of attack?

All the attacks listed under 'attack', like melee, ranged, etc.

If 'attack actions' are used to make attacks, does that mean these attacks can only be made as standard actions?

No. The same section of the rules go on to say that all of the attacks that use attack actions can also be made as individual attacks in a full attack.

So, 'attack actions' use 'attacks'?

Yes.

And 'attacks' can fold into full attacks, and be used as attacks of opportunity?

Yes.

And Sunder uses an attack action, so Sunder is an attack?

Yes.

And so Sunder can be folded into a full attack or used as an attack of opportunity?

Yes. Does that all make sense now?

Yes!
...

Again, Fallacy. Arguing from false premises. Sunder doesn't use the attack action, it's the other way around, you can chose to have your attack action use Sunder in place of a melee attack. You're putting the cart before the horse.

"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."

Sunder isn't the action here, Attack is still the action. You can Attack(melee) or Full-Attack(melee, melee); both types of attacks share use of the melee type of generic attack. However, with Attack(sunder), sunder is exclusive to Attack.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

People do like to ignore the "part of" description, and focus on the "attack action".

Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Sunder is part of an attack action (not a full attack action).

But Sunder also replaces the attack you make during the attack action, so you can't Vital Strike Sunder something because the one attack you have during your attack action is already used up.

By all means Sunder is just like Vital Strike and should have been worded just like that, or, if that wasn't the intend, it should have been worded just like trip.

That the attack action is just a special standard action is irrelevant to the sunder problem.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Sunder is not worded the same as Vital Strike.

Vital Strike is not "part of" an "attack action", it is an "attack action".
That's different from sunder.

This is an important difference.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Sunder is not worded the same as Vital Strike.

Vital Strike is not "part of" an "attack action", it is an "attack action".
That's different from sunder.

This is an important difference.

Correct, the primary distinction is that Sunder replaces the melee parameter of Attack while Vital Strike doesn't specify parameter. The result is that you can Attack(Sunder) with a weapon that would normally be used to perform Attack(Melee) but you could replace any form of Attack (ie. Attack(melee), Attack(ranged), etc) with Attack(Vital_Strike) regardless of what kind of weapon you have (melee, unarmed, ranged, natural).


MicMan wrote:

Sunder is part of an attack action (not a full attack action).

But Sunder also replaces the attack you make during the attack action, so you can't Vital Strike Sunder something because the one attack you have during your attack action is already used up.

By all means Sunder is just like Vital Strike and should have been worded just like that, or, if that wasn't the intend, it should have been worded just like trip.

That the attack action is just a special standard action is irrelevant to the sunder problem.

Which CMs can be used in a full attack or on an AoO?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Trip and disarm - they don't specify an action type.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Jiggy wrote:
Trip and disarm - they don't specify an action type.

Exactly, they only require a melee parameter to swap out. That could be the melee parameter from Attack, Full Attack, AoO, Charge, anything that involves the melee parameter. But parameters like Sunder or Vital Strike are exclusive to the Standard Action, 'Attack' and Sunder goes a step further as to also require the melee parameter. So Vital Strike is limited to Attack but can replace any parameter (melee, ranged, etc); Trip/Disarm are limited to melee parameters but can be used in any action type (Charge, Attack, Full Attack, etc); Sunder has both constraints, it is both exclusive to Attack and must replace the melee parameter.


Jiggy wrote:
Trip and disarm - they don't specify an action type.

And reading the other CM's, which specifically call out a Standard Action, you think Sunder is more like them, with it's much more vague "attack action", even though if you exclude that phrase (which is extremely rare in the book), is identical to trip and disarm.

Your interpretation also makes the last part of that sentence superfluous. I'm just curious why you think you can ignore this part of the sentence, when the phrase "attack action" has been acknowledged to cause confusion. Why would you choose to use what was initially the most confusing feat in the book as your reference, and not the rest of the sentence and other CMs?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Irontruth wrote:
Why would you choose to use what was initially the most confusing feat in the book as your reference, and not the rest of the sentence and other CMs?

...Because the lead designer of the Pathfinder RPG said so?


Irontruth wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Trip and disarm - they don't specify an action type.

And reading the other CM's, which specifically call out a Standard Action, you think Sunder is more like them, with it's much more vague "attack action", even though if you exclude that phrase (which is extremely rare in the book), is identical to trip and disarm.

Your interpretation also makes the last part of that sentence superfluous. I'm just curious why you think you can ignore this part of the sentence, when the phrase "attack action" has been acknowledged to cause confusion. Why would you choose to use what was initially the most confusing feat in the book as your reference, and not the rest of the sentence and other CMs?

How is the last part of the sentence superfluous.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Basically, the conundrum is this:

Sunder says "as part of an attack action in place of a melee attack". On the one hand, if you treat it as working like disarm and trip, then you're saying the first six words of that phrase mean nothing, and/or disregarding what the lead designer of the game says the "attack action" is. On the other hand, if you go the other way then you've got all kinds of precedent and standardization issues (i.e., why is every single other maneuver used in one of two ways, but sunder alone is doing something else?).

Either way, you're throwing something out the window. You just have to choose whether you're going to throw "consistency with other maneuvers" out the window, or throw "uses a term that Jason Bulmahn has clearly defined" out the window.

Personally, my preference is to accept sloppy-but-technically-agreeing interpretations over the opposite, so I go with Bulmahn's ruling on what an attack action is, go with the assumption that the phrase "attack action" was not put into sunder's text by accident, and make my peace with sunder being worded similarly to maneuvers it doesn't mimic in execution. It makes things look silly, but at least terms and rulings and such aren't technically contradicting each other. To me, that's preferable to the alternative. YMMV.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Agreed that the wording is vague and unclear. Hopefully we will get a clarification soon.


Jiggy wrote:

Basically, the conundrum is this:

Sunder says "as part of an attack action in place of a melee attack". On the one hand, if you treat it as working like disarm and trip, then you're saying the first six words of that phrase mean nothing, and/or disregarding what the lead designer of the game says the "attack action" is. On the other hand, if you go the other way then you've got all kinds of precedent and standardization issues (i.e., why is every single other maneuver used in one of two ways, but sunder alone is doing something else?).

Either way, you're throwing something out the window. You just have to choose whether you're going to throw "consistency with other maneuvers" out the window, or throw "uses a term that Jason Bulmahn has clearly defined" out the window.

Personally, my preference is to accept sloppy-but-technically-agreeing interpretations over the opposite, so I go with Bulmahn's ruling on what an attack action is, go with the assumption that the phrase "attack action" was not put into sunder's text by accident, and make my peace with sunder being worded similarly to maneuvers it doesn't mimic in execution. It makes things look silly, but at least terms and rulings and such aren't technically contradicting each other. To me, that's preferable to the alternative. YMMV.

Eh it seems a bit silly to get in such a disagreement over what houserules people choose to use.


Jiggy wrote:
On the one hand, if you treat it as working like disarm and trip, then you're saying the first six words of that phrase mean nothing, and/or disregarding what the lead designer of the game says the "attack action" is. On the other hand, if you go the other way then you've got all kinds of precedent and standardization issues (i.e., why is every single other maneuver used in one of two ways, but sunder alone is doing something else?).

I don't see any precedent issues with other maneuvers. Other maneuvers don't have the attack action wording. Just like Swift Action spells don't have precedent issues with other spells 'generally' using Standard Actions, because those other spells aren't classed as Swift Actions. If Sunder DIDN'T use the attack action, the sentence describing the varied actions that CMBs may use wouldn't make sense because there then would be no CMB which used the Attack Action (which is explicitly mentioned in that sentence). You're also ignoring the CMBs which CAN use the Charge action.

Although the name of the action is confusing, and for the most part you can make any Standard Action when you can make an Attack Action (albeit not always true, look if you try to use the 3.5 version of Shot on the Run), Sunder using the Attack Action DOES mean that Vital Strike works with it, an important distinction that is certainly synergistic with Sunder's effects (especially important given that objects are immune to Crit damage). I just don't see the inconsistency in applying the RAW. You can do so and the game is 100% functional. Why ignore rules text in that situation?


Irontruth wrote:


In the header about CMs, which CMs does the part about using it as part of a full attack apply too? I don't see a reference to it in any of the specific CMs at the moment, but I do see language similar to Sunder.

Is it your claim that this language is in error, and the lack of the phrase "standard action", but presence in other CMs is irrelevant?

I was saying the "general instructions" list a full attack action as a part of the instructions for CM's. I am not saying it applies to every CM.

In short each CM will tell you how it can be use. If it says as part of an attack action then it will require an attack action to be made. If it says you can use it as part of a full attack action them you can. If it specifically calls out a standard action then you must use a standard action, but you can't combine it with a normal a melee attack.

As an example if ability 1 and 2 say "as part of an attack action", that mean when you make one melee attack as a standard action that you can also use ability's 1 and 2 if you wish since they don't have their own actions, but they ride another act.


Kazaan wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Trip and disarm - they don't specify an action type.
Exactly, they only require a melee parameter to swap out. That could be the melee parameter from Attack, Full Attack, AoO, Charge, anything that involves the melee parameter. But parameters like Sunder or Vital Strike are exclusive to the Standard Action, 'Attack' and Sunder goes a step further as to also require the melee parameter. So Vital Strike is limited to Attack but can replace any parameter (melee, ranged, etc); Trip/Disarm are limited to melee parameters but can be used in any action type (Charge, Attack, Full Attack, etc); Sunder has both constraints, it is both exclusive to Attack and must replace the melee parameter.

This is a good explanation.


the melee attack wording in Sunder is also making clear that a weapon is being used, thus weapon bonuses/effects are in play, which WOULDN'T be clear if it had just said 'you can do X CMB with the attack action'. and again, Paizo has seen this issue marked for FAQ before and responded 'not needing a FAQ'. If the 'attack action' wording WAS a mistake, they would have fixed it by now or issued a FAQ or 'something'.


Jiggy wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Why would you choose to use what was initially the most confusing feat in the book as your reference, and not the rest of the sentence and other CMs?
...Because the lead designer of the Pathfinder RPG said so?

Was it specifically in regards to Sunder? Or Vital Strike?

And why do you think Vital Strike should be given more weight in figuring this rule out instead of the other CMs?


Irontruth wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Why would you choose to use what was initially the most confusing feat in the book as your reference, and not the rest of the sentence and other CMs?
...Because the lead designer of the Pathfinder RPG said so?

Was it specifically in regards to Sunder? Or Vital Strike?

And why do you think Vital Strike should be given more weight in figuring this rule out instead of the other CMs?

Probably because it is the difference between a hint of an implication of designer intent versus a rule on which there has been an explicit ruling.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Sunder can only be used with an attack action (which it is "part of" - well yeh, what else?).

Sunder replaces the single attack you get when using an attack action.

RAW - Period.


WWWW wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Why would you choose to use what was initially the most confusing feat in the book as your reference, and not the rest of the sentence and other CMs?
...Because the lead designer of the Pathfinder RPG said so?

Was it specifically in regards to Sunder? Or Vital Strike?

And why do you think Vital Strike should be given more weight in figuring this rule out instead of the other CMs?

Probably because it is the difference between a hint of an implication of designer intent versus a rule on which there has been an explicit ruling.

The whole book is designer intent. That's the point of writing a game book, to deliver your intent in word form.

I just think the first place we should be looking at for trying to interpret the design concept is the CM section and other CM's, instead of over a hundred pages away in the feat chapter at a feat that has nothing to do with this.

If the argument can't be made from within the combat chapter, preferably from within the specific subsection itself, people are treating the game text too much as a form of legalese. Except with most major legal documents you have numerous people combing over language for inconcistencies like this, plus you get lots of (for a game text) superfluous language that would be awful to read.

I agree, reading just the CM section, it's possible to interpret sunder as taking a standard. But my point is also true, that the sentence detailing what kind of action it is is structurally more silimar and has more in common with trip and disarm than it does bull rush, grapple, or overrun. Bull rush, gapped and overrun all use the same exact language, with the additional caveat for charging in bull rush. Sunder uses the exact sentence for trip and disarm, but add as "part of an attack action". Seeing as that specific term is only defined in a FAQ in regards to one feat that caused confusion, I don't think it means as much as people say it means.

In fact, as far as I can tell, the only instance of "attack action" in the combat chapter is in the sunder section. I don't see the phrase at all on pages 182-184.

So, I still don't understand why Vital Strike is more important in understanding Sunder than then CM section or other CMs.

Feats are exceptions to rules, not the baseline.


MicMan wrote:

Sunder can only be used with an attack action (which it is "part of" - well yeh, what else?).

Sunder replaces the single attack you get when using an attack action.

RAW - Period.

On what page can I find the phrase Attack Action?

The index has a listing:
Attack, action 182-184, but the phrase you are using doesn't appear there.

Also note, in Overrun, the subheading immediately prior, the designers used the phrase "as a standard action". They also used it in the section prior to that, for grapples. Are you claiming that for this one they forgot to use their boilerplate terminology that they really wanted, so used a "new" term for the first time in the chapter?

Possible, but it seems unlikely.

My solution relies on interpreting a couple of adjacent pages, all stuff directly related. It's internally consistent with the index, glossary and the entirety of the combat chapter.

I don't have to rely on a phrase that appears exactly once in those three places and then use a FAQ answer from a initially confusing and unrelated feat.

Until a dev weighs in, I'm sure most of you in the standard action camp won't agree with me, I'm willing to bet you guys have just as much fun at your tables.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Page 183 I think (haven't got a book here). There is a table that lists the possible actions and it has "attack action (melee)".


MicMan wrote:
Page 183 I think (haven't got a book here). There is a table that lists the possible actions and it has "attack action (melee)".

Mine is in front of me, 8-2; Actions in Combat.

The subheadings are:
Standard Action
Move Action
Full-Round Action
Free Action
Swift Action
Immediate Action

Under standard is says:
Attack (melee)
Attack (ranged)
Attack (unarmed)

The phrase "attack action" does not appear.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

The table states "actions in combat" and lists "attack" but you want to make a case that there actually is no "attack action"?!

How about searching the core pdf for "attack action" and counting the hits?


Irontruth wrote:

The whole book is designer intent. That's the point of writing a game book, to deliver your intent in word form.

I just think the first place we should be looking at for trying to interpret the design concept is the CM section and other CM's, instead of over a hundred pages away in the feat chapter at a feat that has nothing to do with this.

If the argument can't be made from within the combat chapter, preferably from within the specific subsection itself, people are treating the game text too much as a form of legalese. Except with most major legal documents you have numerous people combing over language for inconcistencies like this, plus you get lots of (for a game text) superfluous language that would be awful to read.

I agree, reading just the CM section, it's possible to interpret sunder as taking a standard. But my point is also true, that the sentence detailing what kind of action it is is structurally more silimar and has more in common with trip and disarm than it does bull rush, grapple, or overrun. Bull rush, gapped and overrun all use the same exact language, with the additional caveat for charging in bull rush. Sunder uses the exact sentence for trip and disarm, but add as "part of an attack action". Seeing as that specific term is only defined in a FAQ in regards to one feat that caused confusion, I don't think it means as much as people say it means.

In fact, as far as I can tell, the only instance of "attack action" in the combat chapter is in the sunder section. I don't see the phrase at all on pages 182-184.

So, I still don't understand why Vital Strike is more important in understanding Sunder than then CM section or other CMs.

Feats are exceptions to rules, not the baseline.

I don't think you understand. When I say the hint of designer intent I do not mean actual designer intent. Something that might possibly hint at what could maybe be designer intent is just conjecture. Conjecture that could just as easily go either way. So regardless of what designer intent actually is that is not what we have here.

No, what we have are rules. Rules that say how the situation works. Rules that say that the attack action is a type of standard action and that sunder takes an attack action to use.

One can argue intent all day in support of either side, but the rules say what the rules say until they are changed.


Irontruth wrote:
The phrase "attack action" does not appear.

Read it as 'attack' action and comprehend it in the same way you would understand the 'use magic device' action or the 'cast a spell' action. The meat of the phrase is 'attack' which is one of the standard 'actions'. the action part categorizes it as a specific standard action as opposed to the generic term 'attack' which simply refers to the act of attacking someone (or something). In other words, Attack action is a specific standard action while attack is a generic descriptive term. Those Attack(melee), Attack(ranged), etc are the Attack actions.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
MicMan wrote:

The table states "actions in combat" and lists "attack" but you want to make a case that there actually is no "attack action"?!

How about searching the core pdf for "attack action" and counting the hits?

Yes and nothing the RAW sets up 'attack action' as some special thing that makes a full attack *not* an 'attack action'

Actually saying that attacks outside of the 'standard action' are not actions is counter-intuitive and confusing.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I love these discussions. I'll mention now that I haven't read the entire thread, but wanted to interject a thought:

How much simpler would the rules become if there was something defined as:

Strike - a single attack with a weapon or spell.

The attack action becomes:

Make a strike...

The full attack action becomes:

Make as many strikes as your iterative attacks allow...

The various combat maneuvers become either:

As a standard/full-round action...

or

Replace a strike...

Vital strike becomes:

When taking the attack action, your strike...

Even Attacks of Opportunity could read:

Make a strike...

Manyshot:

As a full-round action make a number of strikes as per the full-attack action. The first strike fires two arrows...

...

Ah, I'm just dreaming.


This used to be an interesting thread that brought up the fact that some people were using sunder incorrectly because they glossed over a few extra words that were not put into trip and disarm (the other combat maneuvers that can be done with a weapon). I still know players (In my home group and currently Gming) that use sunder wrong. I know first hand that some of you are ingrained to using it one way and don't want to change. I still can't get him to change and thus we get full-attack sundered by sky giants and can't have nice things.

It seems that this has digressed into the age old question of what is an attack action. For those of you that are new to this argument, we have been arguing over this point since Pathfinder RPG came out. This is an age old argument and probably one of the first really good arguments about rules. Vital strike was an interesting feat until we learned how it actually worked and what we couldn't do with it. Let me repeat....the definition of attack action is settled. It is an important term that IS defined in the book. Below is how the book defines it as RAW.

Look on page 182 of the dang core rule book. You have a list of Standard actions and the first one is ATTACK....this is the attack action referenced by so many abilities / feats / sunder. It says "Making an attack is a standard action" and then goes into the specific sub-types of attack actions (melee, unarmed, ranged, natural). Notice that melee attack is one sub-type of attack action. This is why sunder requires referencing both "attack action" and "in place of a melee attack." If it didn't then you could sunder with a ranged weapon.

Now lets move on to a different type of action that people think you can use with sunder. Look on page 187 of the Core. Here we have a list of full-Round actions. The first action listed is FULL ATTACK. That's right, a full attack is called a full attack action and takes a full-round. It is not the same as an attack action. It even references in the rules for a full attack action that after you take your first attack you may choose to take a move action instead of finishing, thus converting your Full Attack action into an Attack action.

These are obviously two separately defined terms that have meaning beyond the generic concept of attacking.

This probably won't settle anything and those in denial will probably stay that way. However, the idea that attack action is not a term defined by RAW is just not true.


So I decided to make a small chronological look at what "attack action" meant over the years

2nd edition:
2nd edition didn't have "attack action" it had "Make an attack" which is more of a description. Here I think an attack is an attack is an attack. If there was something special about one kind of attack there was surely a long description of what that entails.

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