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


Rules Questions

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3rd edition(first printing):
3rd edition actually says "Attack actions"

under "attack actions" it lists:
Attack(melee)
Attack(range)
Attack(unarmed)
Charge
Full Attack

but is also says "The attack action is a standard action"

Sundering is listed as "Strike a Weapon" under "attack an object"

It requires a "melee attack" which if I were running a game would work for full attacks. "melee attack" doesn't seem to be exclusive to "attack
action"

The actual word "sunder" is a feat that simply remover that AoO associated with striking a weapon

The "spring attack" feat uses the words "attack action."


This clears up the confusion about 3rd edition.

SYSTEM REFERENCE DOCUMENT

d20 3.0 SRD:
"Strike a weapon [Standard][AoO: Yes]
Description: A character can use a melee attack with a slashing or bludgeoning weapon to strike a weapon or shield that a character's opponent is holding."


3.5th edition(first printing):

Okay no "attack actions"

We have "attack" under "standard actions" under "action types."

It now reads "Making an Attack is a standard action."

We now have "Sunder" and it's listed under "standard action" on table 8-2 page 141.

"attack action" is still used for the feat "spring attack."

It basically now reads like the 3.0 SRD.


WWWW wrote:
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...

Your still using a phrase that does not appear on page 182-184. If you can't admit that, I don't see what there is to talk about.


3.5 SRD doesn't seem to change any of these.

but pathfinder throws wrenches.

Pathfinder:
Keeps the same wording for "Attack" as 3.5.

removed "sunder" from the list of standard actions.

Changed "spring attack" to a "full-round action"


Irontruth wrote:
You're still using a phrase that does not appear on page 182-184. If you can't admit that, I don't see what there is to talk about.

You're still mistaking 'attack action' for a single mechanical phrase. The phrase is 'Attack' which most certainly appears. Move the emphasis in your brain from 'Attack Action' to 'Attack' action and you'll find it makes a lot more sense. Attack is the name of the action. To denote that it's a functional part of the system rather than just the linguistic term, I'll refer to it as Attack(). The only reason they mention 'action' is to differentiate Attack() from the generic linguistic term 'attack'. If they put all defined action types in some sort of instantly recognizable way such as the function-terminology I'm using or surrounding it with special characters (#Attack#, for example), then they wouldn't need to say 'action'. They could say, "You may perform a Sunder attempt as part of Attack()..." or "you may perform a Sunder attempt as part of #Attack#...". But because of the fact that the specific, defined action, Attack(), shares its name with the generic linguistic term attack, they have to specify that it's the Attack action for the sake of the reader. Otherwise, yes, you're completely right... Sunder references something that apparently doesn't even exist in Pathfinder rules. If there's no such thing as 'Attack Action' then Sunder can't even be performed in Pathfinder because it requires this thing called an Attack Action which you can't seem to find RAW justification for. Guess you won't be able to use Sunder in any of your games now.


Irontruth wrote:
Your still using a phrase that does not appear on page 182-184. If you can't admit that, I don't see what there is to talk about.

Phrase, what phrase are you talking about. I am talking about a designer giving a ruling. Now either designer rulings are rules or they are not. If they are rules then they are rules. If they are not rules then all your talk about designer intent mattering is so much hot air. So, which is it?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Let me pose a question:

If the Vital Strike errata was worded different, would you view sunder different?


Irontruth wrote:
Your still using a phrase that does not appear on page 182-184. If you can't admit that, I don't see what there is to talk about.

"Attack action" is not in the book with a definition, but neither is "full attack action", and yet it is in the Combat maneuver section. Both terms are also used in quotes by developers. The attack action has been said to use an standard action by the devs for 3.5 and PF. The intent is not unclear.

Combat Maneuver Section wrote:


Performing a Combat Maneuver: When performing a combat maneuver, you must use an action appropriate to the maneuver you are attempting to perform. While many combat maneuvers can be performed as part of an attack action, full-attack action, or attack of opportunity (in place of a melee attack), others require a specific action.

I do think it is reasonable to assume that a full attack action refers to the action of making a full attack, and the attack action refers to the action of making an attack as a standard action because the devs have said it is a standard action, and a single attack is a standard action.


Except there are multiple types of actions which include attacks. So "attack action" is too vague. In fact, it's so vague that the authors of the game basically didn't use it anywhere. They didn't even use it in the other CMs. They specifically used the Standard Action phrase.

I'm claiming they made an error and used confusing language, with the intent of mimicking trip and disarm..

Others are claiming that the authors forgot to use the Standard Action language they used in the subsection immediately preceding and used a term that doesn't exist even within the section you are claiming defines the term.

I admit, either explanation could be correct.

I'm not married to the concept of Sunder in a full attack. I don't see a problem with it, nor do I see a problem without it. I don't think it's perfectly clear, I think a dev could resolve it one way or another. I'd be fine either way, though I think the language would benefit from alteration to prevent future confusion.


Irontruth wrote:

Except there are multiple types of actions which include attacks. So "attack action" is too vague. In fact, it's so vague that the authors of the game basically didn't use it anywhere. They didn't even use it in the other CMs. They specifically used the Standard Action phrase.

I'm claiming they made an error and used confusing language, with the intent of mimicking trip and disarm..

Others are claiming that the authors forgot to use the Standard Action language they used in the subsection immediately preceding and used a term that doesn't exist even within the section you are claiming defines the term.

I admit, either explanation could be correct.

I'm not married to the concept of Sunder in a full attack. I don't see a problem with it, nor do I see a problem without it. I don't think it's perfectly clear, I think a dev could resolve it one way or another. I'd be fine either way, though I think the language would benefit from alteration to prevent future confusion.

An attack action and a standard action can't be interchanged, to get the same results though.

I will give you an example. If you make a melee attack which uses a standard action aka an attack action, and there is another ability such as sunder that works "as part of an attack action then you can add sunder onto that "attack action". That phrasing(as part of...) allows you to stack abilities onto a melee attack. If you just say sunder uses a standard action then sunder is all you get to do.

That is why it is important to differentiate between uses a melee attack and "as part of". The same logic applies to a full attack action. If an ability uses a full attack action then it uses a full attack, and therefore a full round action. If it works "as part of..." then you get to full attack and use the ability in question also.


I forgot to add that I do think "attack action" should be defined in the book.

edit:as well as terms like "precision damage" that get used, but don't have a definition.


Irontruth wrote:
I'm claiming they made an error and used confusing language, with the intent of mimicking trip and disarm.

Well, historically the term "attack action" was defined. 3rd edition.

It was defined as a standard action
and Striking a weapon was also called a Standard action

in 3.5 "attack action" was replaces with the word "attack."
"Sunder" was still a standard action.

In pathfinder "sunder" isn't listed under standard action.

This was probably because it was changed to a Combat Maneuver.

I doubt that Paizo decided to change the intent of "sunder."

"attack action" might be a little archaic but it's still valid until it is completely removed from the game.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

Actually now that I'm reading it again...

Quote:

Deciding between an Attack or a Full Attack: After

your f irst attack, you can decide to take a move action
instead of making your remaining attacks, depending
on how the f irst attack turns out and assuming you have
not already taken a move action this round. If you’ve
already taken a 5-foot step, you can’t use your move action
to move any distance, but you could still use a different
kind of move action.

Now I've been told that you can *never* take a standard action during a full round attack - and that an attack action is *always* a standard action.

But until you decide to continue to attack or not - you only make one attack - if you stop or continue - that first attack was the same action - and so my point is the 'attack action' is always in a full attack even if you want to call the other attacks 'non-actions'

You simply can't make the first strike without taking the same attack action that you otherwise would have - because you can always stop attacking and move.


Ckorik -->Actually the first attack is not defined as a standard action until you decide to take your iterative attacks or take a move action.

In other words the action is defined retroactively.

That was how it was in 3.5(a dev officially explaining rules is the source.), and that section you quoted still works the same way that it did in 3.5


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
concerro wrote:


Ckorik -->Actually the first attack is not defined as a standard action until you decide to take your iterative attacks or take a move action.

In other words the action is defined retroactively.

That was how it was in 3.5(a dev officially explaining rules is the source.), and that section you quoted still works the same way that it did in 3.5

And Pathfinder isn't 3.5.... the wording is different - sunder was removed from the list of standard actions and the wording was changed. Just because a dev for 3.5 said something doesn't make it work in Pathfinder.

I still say there is way too much word twisting to make sunder work as a standard action when if that was the intent they could have used the same language they used in the other CM's that are called out for standard actions.

Nothing about saying 'as a standard action you make an attack' would make sunder function differently - to me that's too much of a stretch for something that was very easy to clarify.


Ckorik wrote:
And Pathfinder isn't 3.5

Pathfinder is 3.5.

Ckorik wrote:
I still say there is way too much word twisting to make sunder work as a standard action

Sunder has always been a standard action in previous editions.

Ckorik wrote:
if that was the intent they could have used the same language

Attack action is the same language used for Vital Strike.

Ckorik wrote:
to me that's too much of a stretch

Is it too much of a stretch to think that Sunder would work on a standard action like it does in previous editions?

Is it too much of a stretch to think "attack action" relates to a "standard action" as Devs have clarified?

I mean one thing I think we have proven here is that "attack action" is a "standard action."


Ckorik wrote:
concerro wrote:


Ckorik -->Actually the first attack is not defined as a standard action until you decide to take your iterative attacks or take a move action.

In other words the action is defined retroactively.

That was how it was in 3.5(a dev officially explaining rules is the source.), and that section you quoted still works the same way that it did in 3.5

And Pathfinder isn't 3.5.... the wording is different - sunder was removed from the list of standard actions and the wording was changed. Just because a dev for 3.5 said something doesn't make it work in Pathfinder.

I still say there is way too much word twisting to make sunder work as a standard action when if that was the intent they could have used the same language they used in the other CM's that are called out for standard actions.

Nothing about saying 'as a standard action you make an attack' would make sunder function differently - to me that's too much of a stretch for something that was very easy to clarify.

I was not talking about sunder. I was talking about the quote you had for the full attack or attack section.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
Karlgamer wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
And Pathfinder isn't 3.5
Pathfinder is 3.5.

If it were - you wouldn't need to convert between the systems - as it stands now - you do. Compatibility was a goal and not a rule when they made the game.

Karlgamer wrote:


Sunder has always been a standard action in previous editions.

And it was listed under 'standard action' - the wording was changed - and the listing was changed - while other things came over verbatim - that lets you in on a clue that they intended *something* to change about it.

Karlgamer wrote:


Attack action is the same language used for Vital Strike.

Vital Strike is a feat - not a combat maneuver.

Karlgamer wrote:


Is it too much of a stretch to think that Sunder would work on a standard action like it does in previous editions?

Is it too much of a stretch to think "attack action" relates to a "standard action" as Devs have clarified?

I mean one thing I think we have proven here is that "attack action" is a "standard action."

It's too much of a stretch in that you are using past editions and dev quotes to justify something that otherwise would be silly. Someone picking up the rules in the store that never saw 3.5 (or previous) would never read that combat section and think that an attack action doesn't cover any action that means attack.

As such yes - it is too much of a stretch to view sunder different than every other combat maneuver in the text - when the ones that are meant to not be used in place of *any* attack specifically are called out *in the text itself*


Actually you only need to convert when rules changes. When they are the same you don't convert. Now back to my previous post about the full attack section you quoted. Do you find fault with my reasoning? If so I can show you SKR quoets who help design both 3.5 and PF, and he also uses "or" in reference to the section that you quoted.


The fact that VS is a feat does not matter. The same language always works the same way. If I am using a feat or a combat manuever or a spell, and the rules say it is a swift action as an example then all of them use a swift action. If you are going to say the same instructions have different meanings then you will need a rules quote to support that. As an example a spell that takes a full round in PF action extends into another round, but that is a written exception. Combat Maneuvers don't have anything like that written.

Silver Crusade

In 3.5 Sunder most definately could be used in a full attack! Here's Skip Williams clarifying this very question in the 3.5 FAQ:-

'Is sunder a special standard action or is it a melee
attack variant? It has its own entry on the actions table, but
the text describing it refers to it as a melee attack. Is sunder
a melee attack only in the sense of hitting something with a
melee weapon, or is sunder a true melee attack?

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.
Sunder does indeed get its own entry in Table 8–2: Actions
in Combat in the PH. It needs one because unlike a regular
melee attack, sunder provokes an attack of opportunity
(although not if you have the Improved Sunder feat).
You can also disarm, grapple, or trip as a melee attack (or
attack of opportunity).'

I hope that's absolutely clear!

There are two possibilities created by the poor wording of Sunder in Pathfinder; either they kept it the same as it was in 3.5, OR they changed Sunder to use a standard action. If the PF devs deliberately changed it, they would have made it clear that Sunder in PF uses a standard action! They would have used the phrase 'standard action' to make that change clear, and to match the language of Bull Rush/Grapple/Overrun!

They didn't. They used a phrase not used elsewhere in the CM section: 'attack action'. This phrase has caused problems since the cock-up with Vital Strike, but the CRB was written before that cock-up, so the phrase 'attack action' didn't ring any alarm bells then! Remember that in 3.5 'attack action' was a phrase used to indicate something that could be part of a full attack or used as an AoO. It is under this understanding that the CRB was written.

When I look at the PF wording of Sunder it just doesn't look like a deliberate change from 3.5 in terms of it being useable like Trip or Disarm. A deliberate change would use the phrase 'standard action'.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
concerro wrote:
Actually you only need to convert when rules changes. When they are the same you don't convert. Now back to my previous post about the full attack section you quoted. Do you find fault with my reasoning? If so I can show you SKR quoets who help design both 3.5 and PF, and he also uses "or" in reference to the section that you quoted.

Yes - I find fault with any reasoning that is not official errata - you are arguing RAW and pulling quotes out that can only be used for 'RAI' - yet nothing you quoted makes the sunder action any different than trip.

Simply put playing games with the language to exclude sunder doesn't fly when if that was the *intent* they could have used the same language they use in the other feats (just a few words on the page away) and RAW nothing in the combat section would give you a clue that it worked different than trip.

Looking at past editions the wording for sunder *was different* - so *why* did they change it - obviously not because the 'attack action' is so obvious (or else the vital strike errata wouldn't have been such a big deal)

You act like RAW attack action is just obvious and intuitive and I'm saying RAW no it's not - and you have to look at it through a fun house mirror while chanting 'I will believe the vital strike rule was not silly' to even try to see that attack action doesn't cover full round attacks.


Ckorik wrote:
Someone picking up the rules in the store that never saw 3.5 (or previous) would never read that combat section and think that an attack action doesn't cover any action that means attack.

There is a section of the rules called: "Action Types"

Under that: "Standard Actions"

Under that: "Attack"

"attack" is an action!!! What a surprise!

"full attack" is an action!!! What a surprise!

"attack action" "full attack action"

Attacking isn't an action!!!!!!!

Attacking doesn't require an action!

When you preform an AoO you are not using an action.

"Attack" requires an action "Making an attack is a standard action."

Look at Invisibility:

Quote:
The spell ends if the subject attacks any creature.

Casing magic missile is an attack. It isn't an "Attack action." Magic missile can't be folded into a Full Attack.

There is a difference between an attack and an "attack action"!

A 16th level fighter has 4 attacks in a turn. So you think that means he has 4 Standard actions?!?

No!

Because an attack and an "attack action" aren't the same thing.

This is frustrating for me because it's not like you can't figure this out on your own. You know how to get to the PRD?

When I started out this thread I thought: "of course you can sunder as a full attack" and then I actually did some research.

It's alright to change your views when new info arrives. I won't be mad I promise. :)


Sorry Malachi, when you debate on the rules boards 3.5 rulings are only accepted by posters when the wording has not changed. Otherwise you get the "well that was 3.5" comments. I also reference 3.5 at times, but I know to only do so when the wording has not changed. If the wording has significantly changed like it has in this case I won't even waste my time no matter what Skip has said.

You can keep repeating what Skip says, but since Skip and Jason specifically called out an attack action as a standard action, and the combat maneuver rules specifically separate a full attack action from an attack action that argument won't work to convince anyone.

Now you might want to argue that the idea of using an attack action, which is a standard action according to the devs, and the fact that the "attack action" is present in sunder's instructions is a fluke, but you will need to present something other than 3.5 as evidence in this case.

PS:Not to mention that an attack action is a valid way to use a CM, which I have already mentioned via quote. Here is a quote.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
In 3.5 Sunder most definately could be used in a full attack! Here's Skip Williams clarifying this very question in the 3.5 FAQ:-

Wow, I don't know what to say. I guess I'm wrong about sunder.

It's strange that it's called a Standard action in both 3.0 and 3.5. Table 8–2: Actions in Combat. They could have given it a separate section.

It's also strange that "attack action" appears in the Pathfinder version of it considering that "attack action" refers to standard actions.

But I can't argue with the Official FAQ.

Indecently How do you know this is Skip Williams rulling?! Considering it contrast from what he has previously said.

Also if it's an action at all it still can't be used for an AoO.


KG the 3.5 FAQ was written by Skip Williams.


concerro wrote:
KG the 3.5 FAQ was written by Skip Williams.

Strange I couldn't find it. His name appears in the document with the legal stuff as normal but the nothing says who wrote it.


Skip used to do a thing where he would answer questions that were emailed in on the site. Almost all of them are in the FAQ. As for sunder not using a standard attack, text trumps table. That is why he refers to the description.

PS:Skip was also known as the Sage, and there is more than one time in the FAQ that he refers to himself as the Sage.


concerro wrote:

Skip used to do a thing where he would answer questions that were emailed in on the site. Almost all of them are in the FAQ. As for sunder not using a standard attack, text trumps table. That is why he refers to the description.

PS:Skip was also known as the Sage, and there is more than one time in the FAQ that he refers to himself as the Sage.

Ya, I'm pretty sure this wasn't a Skip Williams judgment.

See the text doesn't conflict with the table.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
Ckorik wrote:

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.

You make no sense at all.

The table "actions in combat" lists "attack (...)" grouped under "standard action" and "full attack" grouped under "full round action".

So it is very clear that the attack action is a special standard action and the full attack action is a special full round action.

We also know what we are allowed to do with both.

NOTHING is unclear about the attack action, AT ALL.


Karlgamer wrote:
Ya, I'm pretty sure this wasn't a Skip Williams judgment

Nope. I was wrong.

Actions (Part Four) By Skip Williams wrote:
Sunder: You can attempt to sunder an object as a melee attack. You usually use the attack or full attack action for a sunder, but you also can sunder as an attack of opportunity.

Ya. Okay Apparently Sunder is suppose to work with Full attacks and AoO.

They need to remove the "attack action" part of this rule.

Because "attack action" is a "standard action" Sunder by RAW doesn't allow attacks from "Full Attack actions" or AoO.

RAI is apparently that Sunder works with "Full Attack Action" and AoO.

Unless Pathfinder changed the intend of Sunder which I doubt.

You win Malachi Silverclaw.... kinda ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Right, the sentence "part of an attack action" kills this ruling because attack action is clearly not full attack action and "part of" is useless if you then specify that it "uses the attack", which is all you have got in your attack action.

So either they should word it just as Trip or just as Vital Strike.


Karlgamer wrote:
Karlgamer wrote:
Ya, I'm pretty sure this wasn't a Skip Williams judgment

Nope. I was wrong.

Actions (Part Four) By Skip Williams wrote:
Sunder: You can attempt to sunder an object as a melee attack. You usually use the attack or full attack action for a sunder, but you also can sunder as an attack of opportunity.

Ya. Okay Apparently Sunder is suppose to work with Full attacks and AoO.

They need to remove the "attack action" part of this rule.

Because "attack action" is a "standard action" Sunder by RAW doesn't allow attacks from "Full Attack actions" or AoO.

RAI is apparently that Sunder works with "Full Attack Action" and AoO.

Unless Pathfinder changed the intend of Sunder which I doubt.

You win Malachi Silverclaw.... kinda ;)

Well it was changed later in the life of 3.5. For example the rules compendium changed sunder to action type varies instead of standard action. So while it may have ended up as a variable type action at the end of 3.5 that does not mean it was always that way. This makes 3.5 rulings on sunder rather less applicable.


MicMan wrote:
So either they should word it just as Trip or just as Vital Strike.

Well, if they were going for a "Standard action"

I think I understand the confusion with "attack aciton".

Since Sunder is an attack you should be able to use Sunder and Vital strike.

If either of them required a "Standard action" then they might not be usable together.

But since both can be preformed as "part of an attack action" or "When you use the attack action" these two phrases don't exclude each other.


WWWW wrote:
This makes 3.5 rulings on sunder rather less applicable.

This is just my opinion, but I think looking at the 3.5 rulings is great for discovering RAI.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

The confusion stems from the phrase "uses the attack". If Sunder uses the attack, can you use this attack also to make a vital strike with it or is it "used up" by sunder and thus not any longer available to vital strike.

The wording "part of an attack action" makes no sense then.


Karlgamer wrote:
WWWW wrote:
This makes 3.5 rulings on sunder rather less applicable.

This is just my opinion, but I think looking at the 3.5 rulings is great for discovering RAI.

Maybe in some cases (and I do mean maybe), but a case where the rule was changed over the lifetime of the system and was then rewritten into a new set of rules in the new system seems less likely.


MicMan wrote:

Right, the sentence "part of an attack action" kills this ruling because attack action is clearly not full attack action and "part of" is useless if you then specify that it "uses the attack", which is all you have got in your attack action.

So either they should word it just as Trip or just as Vital Strike.

Attack action references the action, in place of melee attack indicates it uses the weapon.

Without any action qualifier, Trip and Disarm's 'in place of melee attack' means in place of ANY melee attack by a weapon.
Sunder's usage of Attack action means it is limited to that action, which benefits from VS, and is using a weapon (in place of melee attack) so will benefit from any bonus to that. If it merely stated the attack action, it WOULDN'T be clear that the weapon is being used, because an action can theoretically be used for any purpose once it's guts are ripped out, e.g. use the Cast a Spell Action to Sunder. The 'melee attack' wording is being used because that is the boilerplate to indicate weapon usage. When seen by itself, it means said maneuver is unrestricted except by when weapon usage happens. In this case, the Attack action also must be used.

Your worries about 'uselessness' of the 'part of' phrase is misplaced IMHO. The rules say more than they need to all the time. This is called superfluousness. Whether the rules are superfluous or not in a given case doesn't really impact the meaning though. As a rule-based construct there are many similarities to other abstract logical structures like computer programming - in which it is entirely possible and indeed common to have an entity with only 1 member still be able to be referenced as having parts, even if there is only 1 part.

Said wording also leaves Sunder open to/compatable with special abilities that modify/add to the functionality of the Attack action.

There is also the aspect of each action having a 'beginning' part before anything has actually been accomplished, a concept which is necessary for things like AoOs and Readied Actions - by this concept, even an action which 'does' only one thing still has a 2nd distinct 'beginning that action' component : which would persist even when the melee attack portion of an Attack action is substituted - An ability which triggers when an Attack action is initiated will trigger at the beginning of said Attack action for either normal Attack action, Sunder Attack action, or Medusa Gaze Attack action.

If there was ANY argument about VS working with Sunder or not (as Attack Action) it seems to fall apart when it's affirmed by Paizo that you can CHOOSE the order to apply any effects, e.g. choose the most optimal order. Although I believe VS would still work with Sunder when applied in ANY order.


You're free to play as you darn well please. And I certainly will play as I darn well please.

I believe you can make a sunder attempt each time you have an attack, including w/ two weapons and due to a high BAB.

And here's why:
Sadly, in part it come down to the definitive article: The.

In vital strike it says, "When you use the attack action..." It also clearly mentions that it's only one attack twice in the full description.
CRB pg. 136

In sunder we have, "You can attempt to sunder ...(clause clarifying what can be sundered)...as PART of AN attack action in place of a melee attack." CRB pg. 201 I submit for you consideration: Attack, Full attack, and Attack of Opportunity, could each be considered an attack action. Furthermore, the use of, "...as part of..." Strongly implies other parts. Otherwise you could just drop the, "part of" and be done with it.

Finally in every other combat maneuver that is a standard action, that usage is clear (and it's exceptions) in the first line of it's description.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Then it boils down wether "an attack action" can mean a full attack action.

Which I say no, because these two are listed differently in the table and are different actions all together.


My my my... every time I think we make some progress, this hydra grows a new head. Alright, lets take it from the top.

Attack action is not the generic act of attacking something. If it were, then casting magic missile would also be an "attack action" and you could Vital Strike with a magic missile (because Vital Strike isn't limited to "melee" attacks) because you're "attacking" an enemy with Magic Missile. The proper, mechanical, system term is Attack and 'action' is a necessary redundancy to identify it as the specific standard action Attack rather than the generic term for taking offensive action against someone/something. Attack action is a clearly defined term in the game.

Sunder, according to a FAQ by Skip for 3.5 could be used as part of attack, full attack, or AoO... but then so could Grapple by the same faq and Grapple is now a Standard Action. But even if Sunder were the only maneuver to change, the uniqueness of the change doesn't preclude it.

Sunder uses the phrase 'Attack action' which doesn't show up anywhere else for Combat Maneuvers. Does it have to occur in some other maneuver for it to be valid? Sunder is the only CM that is attached exclusively to Attack(). Others either replace any melee attack or are specific standard actions of their own, ie. Grapple(). Uniqueness doesn't mean it's wrong.

The bottom line is that when you use Sunder, your Attack(melee) becomes Attack(sunder). So any bonus you have that affects Attack(melee) will also affect Attack(sunder). Trip and Disarm, on the other hand, can be used with Attack(melee), Charge(melee), AoO(melee), Full_Attack(melee...), or any other action that involves a melee parameter. Vital Strike is used with Attack(anything). The abilities work differently and are defined as such... what... is... so... hard... to... understand?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
Kazaan wrote:

My my my... every time I think we make some progress, this hydra grows a new head. Alright, lets take it from the top.

Attack action is not the generic act of attacking something.

It is for a CM where the rules state that unless called out otherwise a CM can be used in place of an attack.

It's a good things CM's 1) have special rules about this and 2) have very plain text and non-confusing descriptions - where the designers let us know if they wanted something to be a standard action or not.

Saying 'as a standard action - make an attack' doesn't preclude rolling up any other attack bonuses that you can use anywhere else. There is simply no reason to use 'attack action' to mean 'as a standard action'

Not a single one.


Ckorik this is not a slam but you are doing all kinds of weird mental gymnastics with the rules. It sounds like in the end everything works out the way it's supposed to, but on your way there you are butchering the terminology. A lot of the stuff you are saying is just flat-out, unambiguously wrong, i.e. a full attack is composed of several standard actions, a 5-foot step is a move action, an AoO is a standard action. These aren't even controversial areas of the rules, these are very fundamental basics.

I'm not trying to slam on you at all but I think you might be derailing the thread a little bit with that stuff.


@Karlgamer it's very cool that you are humble enough to change your mind when you think you were wrong, but don't jump ship now over that Skip Williams FAQ. You've had it right for pages. I also love using 3.5 as source for RAI but it won't work in this case. Sunder has changed too much. Remember there was no such thing as a combat maneuver back then. Sunder couldn't even be used on armor, period. So it was a whole different beast.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Seriously, if you haven't hit the FAQ button next to the OP, please do so.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
Grimmy wrote:

Ckorik this is not a slam but you are doing all kinds of weird mental gymnastics with the rules. It sounds like in the end everything works out the way it's supposed to, but on your way there you are butchering the terminology. A lot of the stuff you are saying is just flat-out, unambiguously wrong, i.e. a full attack is composed of several standard actions, a 5-foot step is a move action, an AoO is a standard action. These aren't even controversial areas of the rules, these are very fundamental basics.

I'm not trying to slam on you at all but I think you might be derailing the thread a little bit with that stuff.

if an attack = a standard action than multiple attacks = multiple standard actions.

And yes - based on this thread and the visceral feedback from the vital strike rule and the fact that it's only mentioned in a few places - calling an attack action a special action that can only happen as a standard action (instead of saying that all attacks are attack actions and the one use use in a standard action is just a *type* of attack action) *is* confusing and controversial.

If it wasn't you wouldn't have this thread.


Ckorik wrote:
calling an attack action a special action that can only happen as a standard action (instead of saying that all attacks are attack actions and the one use use in a standard action is just a *type* of attack action) *is* confusing and controversial.

The problems with hearing the words "attack action" and assuming that it refers to any "action" in which you "attack" are numerous.

Attacking doesn't require and action. AoO isn't an action.

Attacking doesn't require any of the rules under "Attack". Magic missle is an attack that doesn't require an attack roll. We know it's an Attack because if you cast it while invisible it will make you visible again.

There are many attacks that require a full-round action. And "attack" is only a standard action.

"Attack" the action and attacking must be two different things.

One is called attack the other is called the "Attack Action."


Ckorik wrote:
Grimmy wrote:

Ckorik this is not a slam but you are doing all kinds of weird mental gymnastics with the rules. It sounds like in the end everything works out the way it's supposed to, but on your way there you are butchering the terminology. A lot of the stuff you are saying is just flat-out, unambiguously wrong, i.e. a full attack is composed of several standard actions, a 5-foot step is a move action, an AoO is a standard action. These aren't even controversial areas of the rules, these are very fundamental basics.

I'm not trying to slam on you at all but I think you might be derailing the thread a little bit with that stuff.

if an attack = a standard action than multiple attacks = multiple standard actions.

And yes - based on this thread and the visceral feedback from the vital strike rule and the fact that it's only mentioned in a few places - calling an attack action a special action that can only happen as a standard action (instead of saying that all attacks are attack actions and the one use use in a standard action is just a *type* of attack action) *is* confusing and controversial.

If it wasn't you wouldn't have this thread.

Ah but here is the thing, whether or not every attack is a standard action is completely unimportant. What matters is if every attack is the attack action. Just showing all attacks take a standard action is not enough to cut it as there are more standard actions then just the one.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Seriously, if you haven't hit the FAQ button next to the OP, please do so.

OK, I will hit it.

I didn't hit until now because we will just get another ruling about this one CM, just like we got a ruling on Vital Strike, but the underlying issue remains... people still subscribe to the myth that the attack action isn't defined in the rules.

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