Making One Attack in a Full Round Action


Rules Questions


If a character decides to make a full round action to attack and their base attack bonus is high enough to allow multiple attacks, and they make their first attack and it kills their opponent or they choose to stop attacking, can they take a move action to do something? This line of logic follows that they only take one attack that a standard action allows instead of the rest of their iterative attacks.


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Explicity yes, this is from the full attack definition, combat chapter, CRB:

Deciding between an Attack or a Full Attack: After your first attack, you can decide to take a move action instead of making your remaining attacks, depending on how the first 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.


Ninja'd while looking for the rule - it's on page 187


There are exceptions to this.

If you have an ability that only triggers on a full-attack action and you use that ability then you can't take a move action (although you're not required to take your remaining attacks).

Eg. The SHIELD OF SWINGS gives you a defensive bonus while full-attacking, so once you've declared that you're using this feat you can't take a move action for the round.

But in general the others are correct.


MrCharisma wrote:

There are exceptions to this.

If you have an ability that only triggers on a full-attack action and you use that ability then you can't take a move action (although you're not required to take your remaining attacks).

Eg. The SHIELD OF SWINGS gives you a defensive bonus while full-attacking, so once you've declared that you're using this feat you can't take a move action for the round.

But in general the others are correct.

I disagree, there's nothing in Shield of Swings that says it changes the general rule or that you can't move. You gain the AC bonus, make an attack with reduced damage, and can then move off. Any other attacks you make before your next turn (AoO), also has the reduced damage.

I'm not sure there are any abilities that do change it (there are a few that apply bonuses & penalties to attack or AC, and those apply as soon as you say you're making the full attack with the ability, even if you then don't take multiple attacks.


Andy Brown wrote:
I disagree, there's nothing in Shield of Swings that says it changes the general rule or that you can't move.

For me the thing that says it doesn't work is that Shield of Swings requires a full attack action. If you attack with SoS, then decide not to take your 2nd attack you've cancelled your full attack action and you'd lose your shield bonus.

Hmmm... the only FAQ about it I could find is this one:

No. Though the rules for "Deciding between an Attack or a Full Attack (Core Rulebook 187) give you the option to move after your first attack instead of making your remaining attacks, Manyshot locks you into using a full attack action as soon as you use it to shoot two arrows.

(I could have sworn there was somehting about a low level fighter using a full attack action while only making 1 attack)

While this isn't difinitive, the idea seems to me to be that once you've got a benefit from something that reauires a full attack action you're locked into the full attack action.

I can see the argument that this specifically talks about an action that gives you an extra attack (sort of), so it's more likely about stopping multi-attack plus move cheese.

There are other actions that would work in a similar manner (eg. Spell Combat), so I guess it's worth thinking about the broader implications.

What are people's thoughts?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
CRB, pag. 187 wrote:
Deciding between an Attack or a Full Attack: After your first attack, you can decide to take a move action instead of making your remaining attacks, depending on how the first 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.

Read the text, title included:

to be able to take a standard move after making the first attack, you decide if your attack is a standard attack or a full attack after the first attack. But some action, like Shield of swing, Manyshot et al. require you to decide if you are making an attack action or a full attack before you start the action. After you have chosen you don't get to go back.

Normally, at the game table, it is resolved the other way as it is simpler and faster, but when you use abilities that give bonuses and/or penalties if you make a full attack or a single attack, you need to choose before taking the action.


MrCharisma wrote:
What are people's thoughts?

At a home table, it's easy: If you profited from an ability that only works on a full attack, you're locked in, period. If you didn't, fine. That means unless you somehow provoked an AoO and made use of the shield bonus, you can abort a full-attack when using Shield of Swings, but, since you (in retrospect) never actually triggered the feat, you don't get any benefits (so all you did was reduce your attack's damage).

If you try to abort a cMonk's Flurry to get the higher BAB on one attack, no you can't, because a single attack is not a "flurry", b+&*%!

Also, if you try to abuse the system this way (Flurry, Manyshot, whatever), the entire order of Pizza that evening is on you.

Grand Lodge

Derklord wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:
What are people's thoughts?

At a home table, it's easy: If you profited from an ability that only works on a full attack, you're locked in, period. If you didn't, fine. That means unless you somehow provoked an AoO and made use of the shield bonus, you can abort a full-attack when using Shield of Swings, but, since you (in retrospect) never actually triggered the feat, you don't get any benefits (so all you did was reduce your attack's damage).

If you try to abort a cMonk's Flurry to get the higher BAB on one attack, no you can't, because a single attack is not a "flurry", b@#$@!

Also, if you try to abuse the system this way (Flurry, Manyshot, whatever), the entire order of Pizza that evening is on you.

this phrase ... made me think of

Lady Gaga's meat dress

only with some Gamer wearing a Pizza T-Shirt.

and now I need to find the brain bleach again...


MrCharisma wrote:
Andy Brown wrote:
I disagree, there's nothing in Shield of Swings that says it changes the general rule or that you can't move.

For me the thing that says it doesn't work is that Shield of Swings requires a full attack action. If you attack with SoS, then decide not to take your 2nd attack you've cancelled your full attack action and you'd lose your shield bonus.

Hmmm... the only FAQ about it I could find is this one:

No. Though the rules for "Deciding between an Attack or a Full Attack (Core Rulebook 187) give you the option to move after your first attack instead of making your remaining attacks, Manyshot locks you into using a full attack action as soon as you use it to shoot two arrows.

(I could have sworn there was somehting about a low level fighter using a full attack action while only making 1 attack)

While this isn't difinitive, the idea seems to me to be that once you've got a benefit from something that reauires a full attack action you're locked into the full attack action.

I can see the argument that this specifically talks about an action that gives you an extra attack (sort of), so it's more likely about stopping multi-attack plus move cheese.

There are other actions that would work in a similar manner (eg. Spell Combat), so I guess it's worth thinking about the broader implications.

What are people's thoughts?

OK, I can see that and Diego's post as counters to my argument, and will go away and think whether I should change my mind about how I'd run it.

I'm not sure I've ever seen this come up in cases other than a normal full attack, so I'm not sure how much difference it makes.

(as an aside, Spell Combat is a Full Round Action, not a Full Attack, so it's a slightly different situation where you can't change your mind & move anyway)


Schrödinger's Attack Action. The moment you are in a situation where you must be exclusively one or the other, you are.


blahpers wrote:
Schrödinger's Attack Action. The moment you are in a situation where you must be exclusively one or the other, you are.

Haha I like it. You could use this for archetypes too (Schrödinger's Archetype).


Isn't that a Wizard archetype?


Derklord wrote:
Isn't that a Wizard archetype?

The wizard is merely theorycrafting.

The fighter can actually build it.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
The wizard is merely theorycrafting.

Not since Secret of Magical Discipline!


Derklord wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
The wizard is merely theorycrafting.
Not since Secret of Magical Discipline!

And my love for the Loremaster is vindicated.

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