Revised Action Economy rules


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Paizo has already committed to using the Revised Action Economy rules introduced in Unchained.

I don't usually use words like Hate, Loathe, or Despise, but I really cannot think of more appropriate terms to describe my feelings towards the Revised Action Economy rules.

What does everyone else think about this change?


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I love it


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I don't know what Paizo is on about. That system is neither simple or easy to understand.

They mentioned fixing the "action economy problem." Are they aware the problem with the action economy is that combat usually lasts only a round or two because the PCs generally get more actions than the monsters? Paizo seems to think the problem is people don't understand how actions work.

Everyone gets a Move and Standard action a round. They may sacrifice a Standard action for another Move action, or sacrifice both actions for a Full-round action.

The change I would make to the system for 2nd Edition is to explain the system better in the Core Rules, remove Swift and Immediate actions, and re-word old effects that were swift or immediate to limit their use (so a Wizard with Quickened spells can't spell dump them in a single round).

Scarab Sages

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The way to fix action economy is to balance the game so a fair CR challenge has the same number of actions without 1) being too powerful or 2) each creature being so weak individually that sheer numbers doesn't really constitute a challenge.

The current system of actions is fine. The new system seems more confusing. I'll withhold judgement until I see it.


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If it's how I'm expecting it to work I am fine with that.

3 actions, you just say what you want to do with them, they get done. No more tracking "you used you move action to do X so you can't do Y unless you expend your standard, oh sorry I didn't know you had the thing to make that a swift, so that next thing was a free action, so now this is your standard action?"

I know that's a little dramatic but at higher level play with groups who are not flawless in the rules that can be how it goes. A system when you just say what you to and mark off action uses is fine by me.


Well it would be interesting see spells with casting times of 1 action, 2 actions, 3 actions, and reaction.


Dragon78 wrote:
Well it would be interesting see spells with casting times of 1 action, 2 actions, 3 actions, and reaction.

what we have so far is that each component takes up an action. Or at least Somatic and Verbal are seperate actions anyway, no mention of material components or foci.

There was also some mention of Magic Missile can use 1,2 or 3 actions depending on how many people you want to shoot. Then there is Channel energy which had different effects depending on how many actions you spent on it, so that could translate into spells as well.

Then consider what happens with Metamagic like Still and Silent. If a Sorcerer wants to add a Metamagic on the fly is that an extra action?

Monster Summoning might still be a full round if it boils down to ; Somatic + Verbal + tell monster what to do


I don't know what Paizo means by Action Economy.

The main problem this can fix is that in high-level Pathfinder, a martial with a greatsword becomes far less effective on any turn they have to move more than five feet.

Also, there'll be no more questions of "can I trade a move/standard action for a second swift action"?

And no more cases where swift action abilities (like certain mythic powers) are either very useful or near useless, depending on if your class uses swift actions all the time for its basic abilities.

So I don't have a problem with this.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I liked the Revised Action Economy rules from Unchained, but they were unfinished and required too much work to get them run well with all the other rule system, and admittedly, they were problematic with classes designed to depend heavily on swift actions.

I'm assuming classes are now redesigned to integrate better with the system, and the system has probably been improved upon, too.

I'm looking forward to this.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
I don't know what Paizo means by Action Economy.

That's pretty much where I'm sitting. I'm of the type who has never breezed through Unchained's action economy specifically, but from it's looks I've had doubts about teaching it to new players.

If it is what they refer to with Action Economy, then I'll have to check it out and put together my opinions.

On the other side, my most major complaint with the current system is Move Actions, which you touch upon. Martial characters can't move more than 5 feet and be relevant in late levels, and/or have to devote the entirety of their character to feats which grant them actions, many of which in 1e have hefty taxes and by the time you can apply for them they are nigh useless.

I am hoping they mean restructuring a few actions. Taking movement out of the equation for example so you can just move up to your speed on your turn, divided how you will between attacks, casting, or whatever else you may want to do. Keep the penalties for doing such things recklessly like opportunity attacks, difficult terrain, hazards, etc. but it would free up melee martials, let ranged martials be more tactical, and casters be a little more mobile as well for certain spells/ranges.


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I am open to the idea to this change being default. I should try out the Revised Action Economy from Unchained to see how it feels.

One thing I can see being done by converting action types into undefined actions of equal value is that you can use them as currency.

For example, a normal attack is 1 action (and you can make 2 normal attacks with 2 actions). What if you had the option to make one powerful attack with 2 actions? Or make a called shot with 2 actions, or a super powerful attack by spending all 3 actions? I think it could add some fun flexibility during combat.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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The most common way I explain Pathfinder's action economy to newbies starts with, "you get a standard action, a move action, and a swift action each round," before then explaining how swift actions don't always happen and how a move and standard action can be combined to create a full attack.

Switching that to, "you get three actions per round" seems like a good step to me.


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Kain Gallant wrote:
I am open to the idea to this change being default. I should try out the Revised Action Economy from Unchained to see how it feels.

It doesn't feel all that great, because the game wasn't written around it. Some things get significantly more or less powerful.


The Revised Action Economy rules are fairly common in games with better tactical combat than Pathfinder, so if Pathfinder 2e wants to have more tactical combat by default they really should be using those rules. It's also the strongest differentiation they can have between 5e's simplified action economy and their new streamlined action economy.

It's one of the things that intrigues me the most, though I guarantee it won't go far enough. The revised action economy can only work by allowing 1st level characters to be able to do an extremely large number of immediately available combat options - and not to keep them locked behind feat chains and class features. That is the real measure of how good combat in PF2e will be.

EDIT

And keeping "immediate action" reactions is already a poor choice. If they really want to implement this style action economy, then they need to do something like give all characters 3 actions in a round and say a character can only take one action on their turn, taking multiple turns in a round. Then you can use the actions for defensive (or AoO) reactions or for an attack and that layer of tactical decision is important.

It also means that you can make magic spells be cast without provoking an attack of opportunity, but still vulnerable to interruption requiring a caster to find a brief safe space to cast across 2 turns. That then means you give martial characters options to defend the casters' spell casting, making defense actually matter in a way it doesn't now.

Just some basics from a revised action economy like this. I hope they look at Mythras/RuneQuest 6 for inspiration.


The unchained action economy is cumbersome because it's a cludge tacked onto an already existing game. With the game being redesigned based on that system from the start, then end result should be a much smoother system.

It does simplify haste, and similar abilities, as they simply grant an additional action.


Also, the immediate action -> reaction change is probably a good one. reactions, however, are specific to classes it seems. So a fighter can use their reaction to make an attack of opportunity, but a wizard cannot - but a wizard may have a completely different reaction that it can take.


Looking forward to this change with ability centered around, this system. I already run this system in my game and I love it, but because it was not fully defined, as GM I find my self having to define the way some of the old system converts. Such as Vital strike, Cleave, ect. I was asking for unchained 2 for some time, to flesh this out more. When unchained came out, the people wondering about 2nd edition form blew up. where suggesting that this system be used if 2nd edition ever came out. Looks like it is going to happen. This system also fixed a lot of problem with mounted combat and charging and combat maneuvers. As those system in 1 edition where rough often contradicting and just did not work as RAW.


CraziFuzzy wrote:

The unchained action economy is cumbersome because it's a cludge tacked onto an already existing game. With the game being redesigned based on that system from the start, then end result should be a much smoother system.

It does simplify haste, and similar abilities, as they simply grant an additional action.

I doubt it will "simplify Haste." The DnD version of that spell did "simply grant an additional action", and Pathfinder very specifically removed that. It would have to be an action that was somehow limited (either by the spell or by the system itself) to NOT allow doing your attack action or spell casting twice. At that point, it seems like it would just boil down to "move farther and/or get a bonus to your attack/damage", which is basically what it does now.


shaventalz wrote:
I doubt it will "simplify Haste." The DnD version of that spell did "simply grant an additional action", and Pathfinder very specifically removed that. It would have to be an action that was somehow limited (either by the spell or by the system itself) to NOT allow doing your attack action or spell casting twice.

But in this system you can already make multiple attacks at any level, and each extra attack is an iterative attack - eg, -5 to hit compared to your previous attack.

(Though Haste could be 'broken' if it allows you to cast two two-action spells per round instead of one.)


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

While I'm cautious about other aspects of 2E that they've discussed so far, I love this one. One of my pet peeves with Pathfinder is what I call the "move action to move" issue.
Basically, you have something called a move action, but that name is misleading because it can be used for so many things other than moving. The language becomes fraught with possible misunderstandings: from the simple (I've taken a 5ft step and attacked as a standard, I still have a "move" action left but can't actually move with it) to the complex. Plus it makes the language of feats and features needlessly obtuse.

Revised Action Economy was a good idea held down by the baggage of a system not designed around it. With freedom to ensure that the system is both balanced and elegant in how it handles all combat roles, I'm certain it'll be easier to both parse and handle in gameplay than the 3.5 legacy system.

Grand Lodge

The action economy / combat in the podcast was similar, but not exactly like the Unchained rules.

Keep that in mind. :)


Having finally checked out the Unchained Action Economy, I'm rather in the camp I like it. It fixes some little issues I had like TWF characters being gimped by full attacking at early levels. However yes, not having the system built entirely around it has unfortunate class-killing interactions. A Mysterious Stranger Gunslinger for example (I know not the best, but one of my favorites) uses a Swift Action to add Cha to damage, which means they can't really use it with the Full Round Dead Shot.

And it doesn't address my main concern of splitting your move distance. You could take 2 moves with the system as 2 acts making you quite mobile, and opens choice. I though would still personally prefer, moving your speed neutrally not be an action. Or if it were to remain an action, if I use it, then over the turn I move up to the 30ft*, whether 10 before then needing an action to acrobatics and avoid the AoO to take the remaining 10 and escape (assuming in this case tumbling still halves movement, or in this case, remaining movement, which I think would also feel a little better).


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Kain Gallant wrote:
I am open to the idea to this change being default. I should try out the Revised Action Economy from Unchained to see how it feels.
It doesn't feel all that great, because the game wasn't written around it. Some things get significantly more or less powerful.

Which is why it is better to drop it into a system designed around it so while it may not flow great in normal pathfinder probably works better with classes and game designed around it. Really it should not be a huge change basically you can just do three actions without having to worry about the flavor so if you want to move shoot move you can. Or if you are just up in somethings grill banging away you can go all out.

Also allows them to balance some power move type stuff like this thing is really strong but it costs a couple actions to fire off.


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For real though, this pains me.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

This is a change I am happy with! While rough, and a patch to a preexisting system, the Revised Action Economy is basically why I bought Pathfinder Unchained. My preference is for more tactical combat and this will help encourage that.

Hopefully, all of your actions can be done during your other actions so that you don't need multiple action to move before and after an attack. I think that would flow more naturally.

Action cost can be more nuanced in balancing magic. Hybrid characters that rely on spellcasting to buff can be easier to design if buff spells only cost one act.


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master_marshmallow wrote:
For real though, this pains me.

Well, the similarities are... quite remarkable.

I don't know what to say.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
For real though, this pains me.

Well, the similarities are... quite remarkable.

I don't know what to say.

You do know that master_marshmallow's document is based on the Revised Action Economy from Pathfinder Unchained, as is the new action economy in Pathfinder Second Edition, right? It would be strange if there weren't similarities.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My biggest problem with the PFU revised action economy rules was that some classes were severely hurt by them, particularly classes dependent on swift actions to function. Presumably if classes are balanced around RAE from the ground up, that problem could be avoided entirely. So I'll take a "wait and see" approach on this one.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
CraziFuzzy wrote:
Also, the immediate action -> reaction change is probably a good one. reactions, however, are specific to classes it seems. So a fighter can use their reaction to make an attack of opportunity, but a wizard cannot - but a wizard may have a completely different reaction that it can take.

It has not been stated, as far as I am aware, that other classes will not be able to get an attack of opportunity. It was stated there are class specific reactions. Maybe attack of opportunity is a reaction everyone can do. I also did not go back and read that line.

I see a lot of wild speculation of what people expect and has not been stated. Did we not learn from Utilmate Wilderness that our expectations mean nothing. I realize that book was also not playtested and a large misstep. If we are speculating we should at least speculate positively. I know some people aren’t happy with any change, but do you not still have all the rules to pathfinder and they will still be sold as PDFs.


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Been testing it for years, trust me it's better.

This alone is enough to buy the new edition.

You can find my playtest results and house rules upthread.


Matthew Downie wrote:
(Though Haste could be 'broken' if it allows you to cast two two-action spells per round instead of one.)

That's the big thing I've seen declared as being the reason for the change. 3.5Haste gave spellcasters two spells per round. If PF2Haste gives a fourth "action", and spells cost 2 actions, it's basically the same as the thing that was nerfed.


shaventalz wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
(Though Haste could be 'broken' if it allows you to cast two two-action spells per round instead of one.)
That's the big thing I've seen declared as being the reason for the change. 3.5Haste gave spellcasters two spells per round. If PF2Haste gives a fourth "action", and spells cost 2 actions, it's basically the same as the thing that was nerfed.

In converting things for Unchained, Haste actually set an unwritten precedent in that if an ability grants additional acts then it must specify how those acts can be taken.

We played two different versions of haste, one that granted an additional act that could either move you or make a primary attack (our stand in for the very wordy in game rules of "attack at your full Base Attack Bonus" and hard rule that helps make combat faster) and the other rules were that the additional act could only be used to make an attack.

I preferred the latter because it furthered to reduce the impact of spellcasters.


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shaventalz wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
(Though Haste could be 'broken' if it allows you to cast two two-action spells per round instead of one.)
That's the big thing I've seen declared as being the reason for the change. 3.5Haste gave spellcasters two spells per round. If PF2Haste gives a fourth "action", and spells cost 2 actions, it's basically the same as the thing that was nerfed.

That two spells per round deal from the Haste spell was introduced in D&D 3.0 and nixed in D&D 3.5. Pathfinder inherited and kept that fix. I am sure that the folks developing the new version of the game are well aware of that history.


David knott 242 wrote:
shaventalz wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
(Though Haste could be 'broken' if it allows you to cast two two-action spells per round instead of one.)
That's the big thing I've seen declared as being the reason for the change. 3.5Haste gave spellcasters two spells per round. If PF2Haste gives a fourth "action", and spells cost 2 actions, it's basically the same as the thing that was nerfed.

That two spells per round deal from the Haste spell was introduced in D&D 3.0 and nixed in D&D 3.5. Pathfinder inherited and kept that fix. I am sure that the folks developing the new version of the game are well aware of that history.

*checks 3.5 SRD*

Huh, you're right. Thought that was added in PF. Well, maybe that change will happen.


master_marshmallow wrote:
shaventalz wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
(Though Haste could be 'broken' if it allows you to cast two two-action spells per round instead of one.)
That's the big thing I've seen declared as being the reason for the change. 3.5Haste gave spellcasters two spells per round. If PF2Haste gives a fourth "action", and spells cost 2 actions, it's basically the same as the thing that was nerfed.

In converting things for Unchained, Haste actually set an unwritten precedent in that if an ability grants additional acts then it must specify how those acts can be taken.

We played two different versions of haste, one that granted an additional act that could either move you or make a primary attack (our stand in for the very wordy in game rules of "attack at your full Base Attack Bonus" and hard rule that helps make combat faster) and the other rules were that the additional act could only be used to make an attack.

I preferred the latter because it furthered to reduce the impact of spellcasters.

You could also take it the opposite 5e way. Where you cannot cast 2 spells in one turn that are both above level 0. You can cast a cantrip and a 1+ level spell, but not 2 high level spells, reducing impact.

You could then keep 1 extra act which could even be used to rummage through your bag for an item, or another such use. Fixes one issue, though raises another with certain higher level spells that are intended to combo. Quickened metamagic being one that would take a large hit.


If Second Edition does away with the distinction between "when you make as a standard action, X" and "as a standard action, make an attack and X", I will be a happy dorf, that was an unnecessary and arbitrary complication.


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This is the change I am most excited about!

Cast a spell and swing an axe at someone in the same round? Yes please!

Draw a potion, move to your downed ally, and administer it, all in the same round? F'ing finally!

Demoralize someone with Intimidate, and then hit them with a spell while their saves are down? That is so cool!

Start up Inspire Courage and stab someone with your rapier simultaneously? That just makes sense!

I really hope this is implemented well.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I have used unchained for 2 years, and two adventure Paths, is miles easier than the default (tested with true noobs) and far more tactical.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I’m a big fan of the unchained action economy. So this makes me very happy!


RumpinRufus wrote:


Draw a potion, move to your downed ally, and administer it, all in the same round? F'ing finally!

Sad face. Current unchained administering a potion or salve to an unresponsive person is 3 acts. So minor tweaks would be nice, because I agree.


I haven't used the Unchained revised action economy, I don't think I've even read the section. But, having movement be something you can just do without spending actions is something I think would make sense as a natural evolution of the rules.


Reading the Action Economy blog post:

The way reactions are being described, things like AoO's will be a class specific option and things that take two actions are not possible as a reaction (no more readying a spell, unless it is a spell that can be cast as a single action.)


Right now I don't like it. Admittedly I've never had players, even new ones, struggle with it.

However, until I see how it interacts with PF2 I won't fully commit to saying it's bad.


I like the revised action economy in its base idea. It just didn't mesh well with the established Pathfinder rules, because there was no straightforward way to convert every class ability into this system, and even if there had been, the abilities were not at all balanced around it.

With classes being written for such a system I could see it work well. I'd be happy to see melee characters being able to move without sacrificing a major part of their attack potential.


I like it, but then that is because I tried hard to integrate the Simple Action system since it first came out into my 1E campaigns for my players.


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If the entire system stems from making this system work then it's all for the better.

It fixes half of caster/martial disparity on its own, results in my own players test results years ago.

I want more active counter spells and give non casters something to do in this window as well.

If spell Sunder becomes a feat that uses the reaction we might have a game.


wraithstrike wrote:

Right now I don't like it. Admittedly I've never had players, even new ones, struggle with it.

However, until I see how it interacts with PF2 I won't fully commit to saying it's bad.

This is a perfectly reasonable stance, if you ask me


I agree with Marshmallow. I was also a vocal proponent of the RAE when it showed up and it was a huge boon to most parts of the game. Some things are clunky because it's not native but the good outweighed the bad in 1e so I think it will be awesome in 2e.


shaventalz wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
(Though Haste could be 'broken' if it allows you to cast two two-action spells per round instead of one.)
That's the big thing I've seen declared as being the reason for the change. 3.5Haste gave spellcasters two spells per round. If PF2Haste gives a fourth "action", and spells cost 2 actions, it's basically the same as the thing that was nerfed.

Based on the observation that most spells' action economy is dependent on components (one action for the somatic, one for the verbal, etc), then already something like a Silent Spell ability could allow two spells in a round - but in the end - I'm not entirely sure 2 spells in a round should really be disallowed. The whole system being designed around this economy means that something like that may still be balanced (especially when compared to all fighters being able to make 3 attacks in a round from 1st level).


CraziFuzzy wrote:
shaventalz wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
(Though Haste could be 'broken' if it allows you to cast two two-action spells per round instead of one.)
That's the big thing I've seen declared as being the reason for the change. 3.5Haste gave spellcasters two spells per round. If PF2Haste gives a fourth "action", and spells cost 2 actions, it's basically the same as the thing that was nerfed.
Based on the observation that most spells' action economy is dependent on components (one action for the somatic, one for the verbal, etc), then already something like a Silent Spell ability could allow two spells in a round - but in the end - I'm not entirely sure 2 spells in a round should really be disallowed. The whole system being designed around this economy means that something like that may still be balanced (especially when compared to all fighters being able to make 3 attacks in a round from 1st level).

Comparing fighters though, it is three attacks but they're still itterative. Changing to proficiency bonus makes a change, so my math isn't perfectly accurate, but from 1st level we'll fill in with current system. 18 Str, +1 BAB is plus 5. Versus AC 14 (a little low), the raw roll for attack 1 requires a 9, subsequent 14, then 19 on the dice roll. Comparatively, spells hold no such penalties for casting two (other than burning spell slots).

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