"as a full-attack action" v. "when taking a full-attack action"


Rules Questions


I have been assuming these are different things, but I've recently encountered the opinion that they may not be. See here

Flurry of blows says "a monk can make a flurry of blows as a full-attack action"

Fighting defensively says "You can choose to fight defensively when taking a full-attack action"

As a DM and player, my thinking has been that two things that are "as a full-attack action" cannot be combined, whereas things that are "when taking a full-attack action" can be combined with anything that is "as a full-attack action". Meaning, for example, that fighting defensively could be combined with flurry of blows, but flurry of blows could not be combined with Spell Combat, even if Spell Combat is counted as a full attack action, as it is according to the FAQ here.

Is this wrong? I'm hoping to get some more input so I can see if I'm in the minority here. I realize that rules aren't decided by majority rule, but if I'm the only one who is thinking that way, then I'll have to seriously reconsider.

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

They are different and it works as you think. If something says "as a full-attack action" then you can't combine it with anything and it is its own action. It it says "when taking a full-attack action" then the only time you could do it is when you are taking a full-attack action, i.e. the Rapid Shot feat.

So yes, you could flurry and fight defensively. You would gain +2 AC for the round but all of those flurry attacks would suffer a -4 penalty. Otherwise known as flurry of misses. :)

Edit: Also, Spell Combat is a full-round action, not a full-attack action. Meaning you can't even move (other than a 5-foot step) while performing Spell combat.


anthonydido wrote:

They are different and it works as you think. If something says "as a full-attack action" then you can't combine it with anything and it is its own action. It it says "when taking a full-attack action" then the only time you could do it is when you are taking a full-round action, i.e. the Rapid Shot feat.

So yes, you could flurry and fight defensively. You would gain +2 AC for the round but all of those flurry attacks would suffer a -4 penalty. Otherwise known as flurry of misses. :)

Thanks.

anthonydido wrote:
Edit: Also, Spell Combat is a full-round action, not a full-attack action. Meaning you can't even move (other than a 5-foot step) while performing Spell combat.

The interpretation is debatable, but see the FAQ I linked. It depends on how you interpret the word "effects", and whether the bonus/penalties from fighting defensively are an "effect".

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Ah, I missed the FAQ. That's interesting. In that case you could probably fight defensively while using spell combat but it still won't combine with flurry.


anthonydido wrote:
Ah, I missed the FAQ. That's interesting. In that case you could probably fight defensively while using spell combat but it still won't combine with flurry.

Ok; that's in accordance with my current thinking. Thank you for the input; I'll eagerly await some other opinions as well.


One thing I find helps is assuming things that all reference "treated as" don't work together. But things that modify what they are treated as work with it.

So you could rapid shot quick draw throw daggers while in spell combat for example..for.. -4


anthonydido wrote:
They are different and it works as you think. If something says "as a full-attack action" then you can't combine it with anything and it is its own action. It it says "when taking a full-attack action" then the only time you could do it is when you are taking a full-attack action, i.e. the Rapid Shot feat.

This is an incorrect assessment. If something says, "as a full-attack action", then it is an ability that "kicks in", at your option, during a full-attack action. Functionally, it is identical to the phrase "when taking a full-attack action". You just make a Full-Attack action; that action may be modified by many abilities, including, but not limited to, Flurry of Blows, Fighting Defensively, Power Attack, etc. For instance, the Mobile Fighter archetype gets Rapid Attack which lets you forego your highest-BAB attack to shuffle a single move action into your full-attack action. If you also had Flurry of Blows, you could combine the benefits of both abilities; they both "kick in" during the Full-Attack action. If you had Pounce and FoB, the full-attack made as a subordinate part of the Pounce-modified Charge action would benefit from FoB. If you had Pounce and Rapid Attack, you could add a move action into the full-attack at the end of your charge.

In short, the only meaningful distinction in the rules is between the Full-Attack action and a full-round Use Feat or full-round Use Special Ability action. For instance, when we say "Cleave is its own action", what that means is that Cleave uses the Use Feat action to perform the Cleave attack. This is distinct from a feat like Vital Strike which "kicks in" during the standard Attack action. Likewise, a full-round Use Special Ability action like Spell Combat is "its own action" whereas Flurry of Blows, Rapid Attack, fight defensively, etc. "kick in" during the Full-Attack action and they can all work in conjunction. Pounce makes the full-attack as a subordinate part of the Charge action.

However, Spell Combat is special and still somewhat unclear as to how the relevant FAQ is to be interpreted. Does it mean that "all your attacks" is a full-attack action being made as a subordinate part of the Spell Combat action? Or does it mean that Haste and haste-like effects are being changed to work not just on Full-Attacks but on any action which allows for iterative attacks? If they meant that full-attack is a subordinate action within Spell Combat, you can certainly benefit at least from the increased BAB of Flurry of Blows, though you are already making your "off-hand" attack in the form of casting a spell as part of the Spell Combat action. You could also Rapid Attack or fight defensively as part of the full-attack contained within Spell Combat. You couldn't combine it with Pounce, mind you, as the full-attack is just a subordinate part of Spell Combat; Spell Combat itself is still not a Full-Attack action but a Full-Round Use Special Ability action. However, if the clarification was that Haste is no longer limited to "actual" full-attack actions but rather any action which allows for iterative attacks (such as Spell Combat), then you can't roll any "kick in" abilities that work on full-attacks into the Spell Combat action because the attacks don't actually constitute a Full-Attack.


The reason that Mobile fighter's Rapid Attack ability can be combined with Flurry of Blows is not because they both modify a full-attack action, it's because Rapid Attack says "a mobile fighter can combine a full-attack action with a single move", and FoB is a full-attack action.

Fighting Defensively can be combined with FoB because it says "You can choose to fight defensively when taking a full-attack action", and FoB is a full-attack action.

Pounce can be combined with FoB, because it says "When a creature with this special attack makes a charge, it can make a full attack", and FoB is a full-attack action.

I fully respect that you don't agree with this interpretation, but it is what the syntax of the words actually means. When you say "Johnny, you can have a piece of candy as a reward for being a good boy," you're saying the piece of candy *is* a reward for being a good boy. When you say "I used the alleyway as a means of escape", you're saying that they alleyway *is* a means of escape. When you say "At 1st level, a monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat", you're saying Improved Unarmed Strike *is* a bonus feat. And when you say "Starting at 1st level, a monk can make a flurry of blows as a full-attack action.", you're saying FoB *is* a full attack action. This is the actual grammatical meaning of the phrase "as a".

You don't agree, fine, I respect that. However, do you have any evidential basis for saying that the words should not be interpreted according to their actual English meaning? Because, if not, given the fact that "when taking a" and "as a" do mean different things in the English language, I see no reason to accept your assertion that they are the same.


Rudy2 wrote:
I see no reason to accept your assertion that they are the same.

Pope Urban VIII said the same thing about Galileo's assertion that the Sun was the center of the solar system. You assert that they are different, then you go on to say that Flurry of Blows is a full-attack and that, functionally, there is no difference between making a full-attack action and making a Flurry of Blows. So what's the point of asserting that they are different? As I said in the first place, you're arguing that you don't want a half dozen eggs, you want six eggs and a half dozen is completely unacceptable. Saying you make "a Flurry of Blows" is just easier than saying you make "a Full-Attack action modified by Flurry of Blows", just as saying you make "a Vital Strike" is easier than saying you make "an Attack action modified by Vital Strike". Saying you make "a Cleave" is easier than saying you make "a Use Feat action to use the Cleave feat". You are making a full-round Full-Attack action modified by the Flurry of Blows class feature. You are not making a full-round Use Special Ability action that "counts as" a full-attack, as is the case with the Fast Bombs alchemist discovery. If you were, the text would read, "you can make a Flurry of Blows as a full-round action... this ability counts as making a Full-Attack," as it does for Fast Bombs.


Heh; you're Galileo, now? I'm just asking for an evidential basis, here. If you don't have any, that's fine, but we'll just have to agree to disagree in that case, and I'll continue to interpret the words according to their meaning in the English language.

I suspect the reason for the different wording with fast bombs is that, being a much later product, they had refined their methods of wording things for much better clarity. I could just as easily say to you "Well, if they'd meant that Flurry of Blows was something that just kicked in with a Full Attack, then they would have worded it like the Maneuver Master, and said 'as part of a full-attack action'" But, they didn't make it clearer, in either direction, likely because this was one of their earlier products. So, that argument gets us nowhere.

Kazaan wrote:
You assert that they are different, then you go on to say that Flurry of Blows is a full-attack and that, functionally, there is no difference between making a full-attack action and making a Flurry of Blows.

I most certainly did not say the part in italics.

Flurry of Blows is a specific type of full-attack action, which is a specific type of full round action. Full-round actions are animals, full-attack actions are mammals, and flurry of blows is a bear. It is important to distinguish between "mammals" and "a bear".

Rapid bombs is a cheetah. *IF* we interpret the FAQ to mean that Spell Combat is treated like a full-attack (and I do agree with you that the FAQ wording is not entirely clear), then Spell Combat is a Wombat.

Fighting defensively is a hat which says "Only mammals may wear this hat!". So, the wombat, or the bear, or the cheetah can wear the hat.

Withdrawing from combat is a full-round action, but not a full-attack action. It is an animal, but it is not a mammal. Say, an alligator. Withdrawing cannot be combined with Fighting Defensively because it is not a full-attack. That is, the alligator may not wear the hat.

Flurry of Blows is a full attack action in the same sense that a bear is a mammal. It has all the properties of being a mammal, and some more that are specific to a bear.


Um, where in the world did you get the "Use feat action"
There is no such thing, search for it all you want, you won't find it...
I believe you misinterpret the meaning of "Modify" and the meaning of "Replace"
The word "as" is a word most commonly used in the context of a "simile" such as: "As strong as a bull" (Heheh of mice and men reference) or "As stubborn as a rock"
When you are using the word "as" it essentially means to "replace" (so to say) the word before it, with the properties or meaning of the words after it.
Let me break down this simile: "She is as cold as ice"
"She" is as "cold" - implying that SHE is replaced with the meaning of COLD
"cold" as "ice." - implying that the word COLD takes on the properties of ICE

There is my english lesson on the word "AS"

So when you says "You as well" you are not "modifying" the word you with "well" (Which would hold the meaning of whatever was implied in the previous statement) you are replacing "You" with the properties and/or meaning of the word "well" (which holds the properties it was given in the previous statement)
Grammar can sometimes resemble simple programming using certain words as variables to store meanings of other words.

So making a Flurry of Blows as a Full-Attack Action isn't "modifying" the full-attack action (Doesn't even make sense), it is replacing the Full-Attack Action with the actions that are contained in the Flurry of Blows. In essence: Flurry of Blows IS a Full-Attack Action.

Okay I'm done


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Kazaan wrote:
anthonydido wrote:
They are different and it works as you think. If something says "as a full-attack action" then you can't combine it with anything and it is its own action. It it says "when taking a full-attack action" then the only time you could do it is when you are taking a full-attack action, i.e. the Rapid Shot feat.
This is an incorrect assessment. If something says, "as a full-attack action", then it is an ability that "kicks in", at your option, during a full-attack action. Functionally, it is identical to the phrase "when taking a full-attack action".

No.

Consider replacing "full-attack" with "move".

You would then be asserting that if something says "as a move action", it is an ability that "kicks in", at your option, during a move action. And that it is "functionally identical" to the phrase "when taking a move action".

That is very obviously and completely unambiguously not correct.

There are areas where the books are a little clumsy at times, but they've been pretty good about distinguishing between "as a/n x action" and "when taking a/n x action".


BigP4nda wrote:

Um, where in the world did you get the "Use feat action"

There is no such thing, search for it all you want, you won't find it...
prd wrote:

Use Feat

Certain feats let you take special actions in combat. Other feats do not require actions themselves, but they give you a bonus when attempting something you can already do. Some feats are not meant to be used within the framework of combat. The individual feat descriptions tell you what you need to know about them. (also at the bottom of the Actions table)

Combat>Use Feat action

BigP4nda wrote:

I believe you misinterpret the meaning of "Modify" and the meaning of "Replace"...

So making a Flurry of Blows as a Full-Attack Action isn't "modifying" the full-attack action (Doesn't even make sense), it is replacing the Full-Attack Action with the actions that are contained in the Flurry of Blows. In essence: Flurry of Blows IS a Full-Attack Action.

Okay I'm done

It most certainly makes sense. Rapid Attack is a clear example of an ability that modifies the normal parameters of the full-attack action. You're conflating Full-round actions with the specific action Full-Attack. There are different "types" of full-round actions as I stated earlier. You can have different types of Full-Round actions; charge, use special ability, full-attack, etc. But there aren't different types of full-attack; only special abilities that "kick in" during a full-attack. If Flurry of Blows were meant to be a Full-Round Use Special Ability action, it would be worded like Fast Bombs. But, if we're going to pull a Bill Clinton here and debate the meaning of the word 'as'...

'As': You are using 'as' as a Preposition: "Make a flurry of blows as a full-attack action" is analogous to the construction, "to act as leader: in the role, function, or status of, definition 16. That is to say, "It isn't really a leader/full-attack, but it's doing the job of one." But it is supposed to be used as a conjunction as in definition 7, at the same time that; while: "as you look away." That is to say, "you may make a Flurry of Blows during a full-attack." I understand your confusion, as (definition 8, "since, because") there are 16 listed definitions for the word 'as'.

seebs wrote:

No.

Consider replacing "full-attack" with "move".

You would then be asserting that if something says "as a move action", it is an ability that "kicks in", at your option, during a move action. And that it is "functionally identical" to the phrase "when taking a move action".

That is very obviously and completely unambiguously not correct.

There are areas where the books are a little clumsy at times, but they've been pretty good about distinguishing between "as a/n x action" and "when taking a/n x action".

That depends on whether you mean a Move action as in action types (standard, move, full-attack) or the Move action as in the specific action called Move (used to travel a distance up to your speed). To put it more clearly, you have the standard Attack action, the full-round Full-Attack action, the free Drop an Item action, and the move Move action. But, presuming you're talking about Move, the specific action, the clearest example would be climbing. You can Climb as a Move action. You can call it "Climbing" or a "Climbing action" but, technically, it's still a modification of the Move action. If I wanted to move over to a wall and start climbing, I'd Move over to the wall and, when I got there, the Climb skill would "kick in", I'd make my climb check, and if I succeed, I start climbing. Climb isn't a separate action all its own. There aren't "types" of full-attacks; full-attack is full-attack. Flurry of Blows is a class ability that allows added benefits you wouldn't normally have when you make a full-attack and a full-attack modified by Flurry of Blows is simply referred to as "a Flurry of Blows" for the sake of simplicity and for conservation of word count in the books, but technically it's in the same category as Power Attack or Fight Defensively; not an action in and of itself but an ability that can be worn by specific actions as hats. When you use the Power Attack feat, your Full-Attack doesn't "become" a Power Attack, but your attacks are being modified by Power Attack.

Scarab Sages

Paizo need to start including a section on new feats which states the list of options it does and doesn't work with and save all this semantic arguing.

It'd also go a long way if they stated explicitally, Action type, with each feat, from a short list of pre-selected feats.

E.g.

Vital Strike
Action Type: Attack action
Compatabile with: None

If in later publications something was intended to be combined with Vital Strike it'd read

e.g
Vulnerability Strike
Action Type: Attack action
Compatabile with: Vital Strike

So because something explictally states it's compatible with a previously published piece, then that over-rides the text on the original which says it's not compatible.


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Sorry, that's just plain wrong. To use "as [x]" in the sense you describe, it has to be associated with a clause which provides subject and verb. It's "as you look away" not "as looking away". In "as a full-attack action", it is absolutely, totally, unambiguous that we are talking about a thing which is serving the role of a full-attack action, just as other things are done "as a move action".

We're not talking about the "Move your speed" move action. Lots of things in Pathfinder use language like "you can direct the spell to a new target as a move action". This is interchangeable with "Directing the spell to a new target is a move action."

So, no. You're just plain wrong, that is not how English works, and I am pretty sure you will not find a single place in any Paizo Pathfinder books, or any WotC 3E/3.5E books, in which "as a move action" can possibly be correctly interpreted as "while you take a move action". You will find dozens of places where "as a move action" is used to indicate "doing so is a kind of a move action".

Flurry of Blows is a kind of a full-attack action, not a modifier. It is absolutely not possible for "as a full-attack action" to be correctly interpreted as "during a full-attack action" in English. The thing on the other side of "as" would have to be a sentence, not a noun.

And this is probably one of the most surreal arguments I've ever seen presented.


Move action is a terrible example because, as I stated, "as a move action" can be interpreted both ways; either "as a move (type) action" or "as a move (specific) action". Of course it would be silly to say that a rules element that kicks in "during a move (specific) action" like Climb can be used with any Move (type) action such as Stand From Prone but it's just as silly to say that an ability that states "you may use this ability as a Stand From Prone action" doesn't actually count as the Stand From Prone action. A better example is to use Attack. If you can do something "as an Attack action", it works in conjunction with any other abilities that also affect the Attack action. Attack action is analogous to Full-Attack action in this case. You don't have different "kinds" of Attack action but you do have different "kinds" of Standard action. You have the Use Feat action which can be used for different "kinds" of feats and, as a verbal shortcut, we say you make a [feat name] action like a Cleave action. As for the surreal-ness of the argument, I've dealt with plenty of people providing misleading information, both inadvertent and deliberate, so this is nothing new for me, sadly.


But you most definitely have attacks that are not the attack action, i.e. cleave. And you can apply things that say "when you make an attack" to cleave, i.e. the benefit of furious focus to power attack would apply to the intial cleave attack. They errata to haste also supports this, as it now applies to spell combat and flurry of blows, as they are full-attacks even if they are not Full-Attacks.


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Kazaan wrote:
Move action is a terrible example because, as I stated, "as a move action" can be interpreted both ways; either "as a move (type) action" or "as a move (specific) action". Of course it would be silly to say that a rules element that kicks in "during a move (specific) action" like Climb can be used with any Move (type) action such as Stand From Prone but it's just as silly to say that an ability that states "you may use this ability as a Stand From Prone action" doesn't actually count as the Stand From Prone action.

This response is incoherent.

You're continuing to talk about "kicks in during ...", but that is never, not even once, what is meant by "as a move action", because it is not possible for those words to mean that.

That is simply not how English works.

When the rules say "as a move action", they mean that the thing in question is an example of the category "move action". They do not, ever, not even once in every book ever published by Paizo or Wizards since 3E came out, mean "this ability kicks in during a move action".

When the rules say "as a full-attack action", they never, not even once, mean "this is a modifier which kicks in during a full-attack action".

If they wanted to say that, they'd say "as you take a full-attack action", but more likely it would be "when" rather than "as" at that point. And indeed, "when you ..." shows up in the rules all over the place.

Quote:
A better example is to use Attack. If you can do something "as an Attack action", it works in conjunction with any other abilities that also affect the Attack action.

This is wrong, because this ability does not affect "the attack action". It is an attack action, but it is not the attack action. You can use any one of those abilities when you can make an attack, but not usually more than one. On the other hand, any abilities which modify attack actions will work with anything which is an attack action, in general.

Quote:
As for the surreal-ness of the argument, I've dealt with plenty of people providing misleading information, both inadvertent and deliberate, so this is nothing new for me, sadly.

Except in this case, you're presenting a claim about English which is patently false, and which is particularly impressive in that it is an error which I have never seen before. Not even once. Not from native or non-native speakers. There is simply no possible confusion here; there is no legitimate way anyone could think that "as an attack action" means "during an attack action", because the construction for "as" as "during" requires a subject-verb clause, not a noun.

"I ran into a friend as I went to the store" works. "I ran into a friend as shopping" does not. "As a full-attack action" and "as a move action" both mean "this thing is that kind of action", neither means, nor has ever meant, nor has ever been seriously believed to mean, "this thing happens during that kind of action".


Kazaan wrote:
Of course it would be silly to say that a rules element that kicks in "during a move (specific) action"

I believe drawing a weapon as a free action (If you have +1 BAB) during the move action fits into your "interpretation" So now you are contradicting yourself


Yeah, that's sort of the thing -- we already have a nice clear example of wording that means "you can do X while also doing Y", and "as a full-attack action" is not how it gets worded.


BigP4nda wrote:
Kazaan wrote:
Of course it would be silly to say that a rules element that kicks in "during a move (specific) action"
I believe drawing a weapon as a free action (If you have +1 BAB) during the move action fits into your "interpretation" So now you are contradicting yourself

No, you took it out of proper context so it doesn't make sense anymore. The full line was that it's silly to say a rules element that kicks in during a move (specific) action can kick in for any move (type) action. Drawing a weapon as part of a move "kicks in" for the move action but not for Move type actions like Stand up from Prone.

Regarding Seebs, quit trying to mislead people; your assertion that "the attack action" or "the full-attack action" don't exist is directly contradicted by official FAQs on the matter. I gave you the benefit of the doubt up until now, but your continued insistence on ignoring any and all logic on the matter seems to reflect that this isn't an inadvertent misunderstanding.


Uh... Seebs never said there was no such thing as "the attack action", only that there were many types (or subtypes, if you want) of attack actions. I'm not sure how you got that from what he said. Another example is the gaze attack:

"A creature with a gaze attack can actively gaze as an attack action by choosing a target within range."

That doesn't mean that, when it makes a melee or ranged attack, it also chooses a target in range to apply extra gazeyness to. It means, gazing actively is a special kind of attack action (and therefore also a standard action).


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Yeah, I never said anything of the sort.

What I did say is that not every full-attack action is the full-attack action. Things which are done "as a full-attack action" are full-attack actions. They are not modifications to the full-attack action. There are other things which are indeed modifications to the full-attack action.

Contrast:

Haste wrote:
When making a full attack action, a hasted creature may make one extra attack with one natural or manufactured weapon. The attack is made using the creature's full base attack bonus, plus any modifiers appropriate to the situation. (This effect is not cumulative with similar effects, such as that provided by a speed weapon, nor does it actually grant an extra action, so you can't use it to cast a second spell or otherwise take an extra action in the round.)
Monk wrote:
Starting at 1st level, a monk can make a flurry of blows as a full-attack action. When doing so, he may make on additional attack, taking a -2 penalty on all of his attack rolls, as if using the Two-Weapon Fighting feat.

You can use haste with a flurry of blows, because flurry of blows is a full attack action, and haste modifies a full attack action.

Prior to the haste/spell combat FAQ, it was unclear how to understand spell combat:

Spell Combat wrote:
At 1st level, a magus learns to cast spells and wield his weapons at the same time. This functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast. To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand. As a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty).

But we've had it confirmed that this is supposed to be a full attack action.

So haste affects either of these, but they can't be used together, because neither of them is a modification to the full-attack action you're taking, they are themselves distinct full-attack actions. Similarly:

Rapid Shot wrote:
When making a full-attack action with a ranged weapon, you can fire one additional time this round. All of your attack rolls take a –2 penalty when using Rapid Shot.

See how they say "when making a full-attack action" when they want to modify an existing action, and "as a full attack action" when they want to create a new one?

Webstore Gninja Minion

Dial back the hostility, folks. Let's slow down and read what's being said before jumping to conclusions and sniping at each other.

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