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Domain Powers and Action Types


Rules Questions


After doing a little digging into Domain powers I am confused as to what action some of the granted powers are. For many powers it simply doesn't say.
I believe the general rule is that if something doesn't say what type of action it is, then the default is a Standard Action.

Let's look at an example-
Good Domain
Touch of Good (Sp): You can touch a creature as a standard action, granting a sacred bonus on attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and saving throws equal to half your cleric level (minimum 1) for 1 round. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.

Holy Lance (Su): At 8th level, you can give a weapon you touch the holy special weapon quality for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your cleric level. You can use this ability once per day at 8th level, and an additional time per day for every four levels beyond 8th.

Now touch of Good clearly states an action, but why not Holy Lance? It's further complicated by the fact that in the Beta it was specified as a Standard Action for Holy Lance. Why the Change? Is it still a standard action?

And if it is a standard action doesn't that really nerf it if you're using it on your own weapon? It means you just spent a turn activating it and ate up one of your rounds/per day allotment before you even get to use it.

I have no problem it it's a Standard action. It would be a little powerful if it was a swift or something. I just wish they would make it clearer, as many domain powers don't specify.


One answer to my own question:
Supernatural abilities, which is what Holy Lance is, seem to always require a standard action according to many threads and references I've seen on the boards.

However this is a POOR way to organize game information and is one of the (few) problems I have with Pathfinder. Information is spread out too sporadically in the system.

Why should there be a chain of references a player has to look up to answer a simple question?

Why not list action types with all the different abilities?

I'm guessing it was originally done to cut down type in the printed book.


Use Special Ability pg. 183 and pg. 186
Using a special ability is usually a standard action, but whether it is a standard action, a full-round action, or not an action at all is defined by the ability.

Standard Actions
Use extraordinary ability (does not trigger AoO).
Use spell-like ability (triggers AoO).
Use supernatural ability (does not trigger AoO).

So, unless the special ability says otherwise, it takes a standard action.


Which yes, does mean that saying "as a standard action" each time the ability says it is completely redundant.

I would argue the best use of Holy Lance is on someone else's weapon entirely, so the most is made of it.


GM Jeff wrote:

Use Special Ability pg. 183 and pg. 186

Using a special ability is usually a standard action, but whether it is a standard action, a full-round action, or not an action at all is defined by the ability.

Standard Actions
Use extraordinary ability (does not trigger AoO).
Use spell-like ability (triggers AoO).
Use supernatural ability (does not trigger AoO).

So, unless the special ability says otherwise, it takes a standard action.

This. Rules books are fun. :D


Barry Armstrong wrote:
GM Jeff wrote:

Use Special Ability pg. 183 and pg. 186

Using a special ability is usually a standard action, but whether it is a standard action, a full-round action, or not an action at all is defined by the ability.

Standard Actions
Use extraordinary ability (does not trigger AoO).
Use spell-like ability (triggers AoO).
Use supernatural ability (does not trigger AoO).

So, unless the special ability says otherwise, it takes a standard action.

This. Rules books are fun. :D

I think what bugs me is the "user interface" ie: the way the information is organized in the book. It doesn't seem optimum.

I'm generalizing here, but I feel that for many abilities instead of flipping to a page to confirm how it works, I'm flipping to the ability, then maybe to a spell the ability mimics then to the action types then back to my sheet to make sure I have everything straight.

Now you can argue "why the hell haven't you just memorized it all?" But for many players, especially those that might be older and juggling families and eeking out time to game once a month if they are lucky, that's not much of an option.

I guess I can understand why SOME of it is this way in the printed books, every word is more money spent.

But in the myriad online/digital versions of paizo material it is organized the same, even though you are no longer constrained by print concerns. You could list everything under each power/feat/spell etc. and have everything a player needs in one quick reference instead of searching through a chain of references.

I have yet to see digital material that really takes advantage of the medium. Someone point me in the right direction if you think I'm wrong, but I haven't seen it.

Maybe as a web developer/UI designer I'm just being pickier than most.

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