Fighting Defensively as Standard / Full Action


Rules Questions


PFRPG wrote:
Fighting Defensively as a Standard Action: You can choose to fight defensively when attacking. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 to AC for the same round.
PFRPG wrote:
Fighting Defensively as a Full-Round Action: You can choose to fight defensively when taking a full-attack action. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC for the same round.
Quote:


Total Defense
You can defend yourself as a standard action. You get a +4 dodge bonus to your AC for 1 round. Your AC improves at the start of this action. You can’t combine total defense with fighting defensively or with the benefit of the Combat Expertise feat. You can’t make attacks of opportunity while
using total defense.
PFRPG wrote:


Combat Expertise (Combat)
You can increase your defense at the expense of your accuracy.
Prerequisite: Int 13.
Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +1 dodge bonus to your Armor Class. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every +4 thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the dodge bonus increases by +1. You can only choose to use this feat when you declare that you are making an attack or a full-attack action with a melee weapon. The effects of this feat last until your next turn.

Am I reading this correctly to say that a normal character can take a standard action attack, defensively, and gain the bonus for combat expertise and fighting defensively the rest of the round (doing move actions etc).

But cannot use these same bonuses to move and then attack?

That seems nonsensical and arbitrary to me.


Since the bonuses from both the combat expertise and the fighting defensively are dodge bonuses, i am not sure if you can stack them under any occasion.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
leo1925 wrote:
Since the bonuses from both the combat expertise and the fighting defensively are dodge bonuses, i am not sure if you can stack them under any occasion.

*sigh* Dodge bonuses stack.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

You gain both the benefits and the penalties of fighting defensively and using the combat expertise feat upon attacking. Your AC will not be improved until you attack. So if you move first and then use the fighting defensively and/or combat expertise options your AC will not be improved until after you take your standard action to attack; if you provoke an AoO before attacking your AC will be its normal value.

@leo1925: Dodge bonuses stack.
Edit: I got ninja'd.


Gorbacz wrote:
leo1925 wrote:
Since the bonuses from both the combat expertise and the fighting defensively are dodge bonuses, i am not sure if you can stack them under any occasion.
*sigh* Dodge bonuses stack.

Not that i don't believe you, but can you give me a page number?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

179


Gorbacz wrote:
179

Thank you.

I was wrong.


What are the differences between fighting defensively as a full round action vs. Total defense?

If I understand the rules correctly (and I doubt I am) you gain an untyped bonus to AC if fighting defensively as a standard action. As a full round action you receive a +4 (+2 from the untyped and +2 to dodge).

As total defense, you get a +4 to dodge.

Does this mean there is really no difference between a full round and total defense? Is the bonus to AC from the standard action typed? Can someone break this down for me?


Globetrotter wrote:

What are the differences between fighting defensively as a full round action vs. Total defense?

If I understand the rules correctly (and I doubt I am) you gain an untyped bonus to AC if fighting defensively as a standard action. As a full round action you receive a +4 (+2 from the untyped and +2 to dodge).

As total defense, you get a +4 to dodge.

Does this mean there is really no difference between a full round and total defense? Is the bonus to AC from the standard action typed? Can someone break this down for me?

Fighting defensively does the same wether you do it as a full attack or as a standard attack, in either case it gives a +2 dodge bonus.

total defense mode does not allow you to attack or threaten an area, but gives you a +4 dodge bonus, but all you do is dodge blows.

In case you take expertise total defense will be useless in most cases once your BAB hits +4 or higher, unless you are somehow unable to attack or attacking would be unwise for fear of retaliation from an attack of oppurtunity or a fireshield for example.


3 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

And note that by the RAW Combat Expertise ONLY applies to Attack Action and Full Attack Action...
No Cleaves, Grapples, Spring Attacks, Whirlwind Attacks, etc...
And Fighting Defensively as Full-Round Action ONLY applies to Full Attack, not Whirlwind or any other 'special' attack mode.

But Fighting Defensive as Standard Action only requires you 'attack' so any 'alternative' Standard Action Attacks ARE compatable with it.

...The wierd assymettry here makes me suspect this isn't RAI, but is just a wording artifact, hopefully to be corrected.

Fighting Defensively as a Standard Action is also slightly confusing because it's positioned as a sub-set of the Attack Action, but then again so are all the rules for Natural/Unarmed/Ranged Attacks and Crits, etc, which clearly apply to ALL attack rolls (introduced earlier in the chapter), not just the Attack Action, so in the interest of a playable game, we're forced to IGNORE the RAW in that specific aspect.


Sorry but everyone seems to be closing over the big difference between fighting defensively and total defense. Threatened squares. If you take a full defense action, you no longer threaten your adjacent squares, focusing all your abilities on your own defense at the total exclusion of offense.

The note on Standard Actions being specifically mentioned is because some Combat Maneuvers use Standard actions and some of them may be used in place of an attack as in during a full attack action. Penalties to your attack rolls affect your CMB. Power Attack specifically takes away from your CMB to add to your damage during grappling for example.

Liberty's Edge

Be careful of the assumption you don't threaten in total defense. There was a long thread giving arguments for both threatening and not here.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
edwin dennis wrote:

Sorry but everyone seems to be closing over the big difference between fighting defensively and total defense. Threatened squares. If you take a full defense action, you no longer threaten your adjacent squares, focusing all your abilities on your own defense at the total exclusion of offense.

The note on Standard Actions being specifically mentioned is because some Combat Maneuvers use Standard actions and some of them may be used in place of an attack as in during a full attack action. Penalties to your attack rolls affect your CMB. Power Attack specifically takes away from your CMB to add to your damage during grappling for example.

And you seem to have missed this thread died almost 6 years ago and there was no need to resurrect it.


If you're doing something that takes a full round action, you don't have any actions left to do a move action as well.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Fighting Defensively as Standard / Full Action All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.