During a normal round, you can perform a standard action
and a move action, or you can perform a full-round action.
You can also perform an immediate action or a swift action,
and as many free actions as your DM allows. You can always
take a move action in place of a standard action. Activities
can also be undertaken that are parts of other actions but
not actions in and of themselves. In some situations, such
as during a surprise round, your activity, and thereby your
actions, might be restricted.
Free, full-round, immediate, move, standard, and swift are
action types. An action’s type tells you how long the action
takes to perform within the framework of the combat round.
It also tells you how movement is treated.
A standard action allows you to perform an act that takes
a substantial amount of time. The most common type of
standard action is a single melee or ranged attack. Other
common standard actions include casting a spell, concentrating
to maintain an active spell, activating a magic item, and
using a special ability.
A move action allows you to move your speed or perform
an action that takes a similar amount of time. You can move
your speed, climb one-quarter of your speed, draw or stow a
weapon or other item, stand up, pick up an object, or perform
some equivalent action.
You can take a move action in place of a standard action.
For instance, rather than moving your speed and attacking,
you could stand up and move your speed (two move actions),
put away a weapon and climb one-quarter of your speed (two
move actions), or pick up an item and stow it in your backpack
(two move actions).
If you move no actual distance in a round—commonly
because you have swapped your move for one or more
equivalent actions, such as standing up—you can usually
take one 5-foot step before, during, or after the other actions
A full-round action consumes almost all your effort during
a round. Before, during, or after a full-round action in which
you don’t otherwise move, you can usually take a 5-foot step.
The most common type of full-round action is a full attack,
which allows you to make multiple melee or ranged attacks
in a single round.
Some full-round actions don’t allow you to take a 5-foot
step. Other full-round actions can be taken as standard
actions in situations when you’re limited to performing
only a standard action during your turn, such as during
a surprise round.
Free actions consume a very small amount of time and
effort. Their impact is so minor that they’re considered free.
You can perform one or more free actions during your turn.
However, the DM can put reasonable limits on what you can
really do for free.
A swift action consumes a very small amount of time, but it
represents a larger expenditure of effort than a free action.
You can take a swift action any time during your turn, but
you can perform only one swift action per turn.
An immediate action consumes a tiny amount of time.
However, unlike a swift action, an immediate action can be
performed at any time during a round, even when it isn’t your
turn. Using an immediate action on your turn counts as your
swift action for that turn. If you use an immediate action
when it isn’t your turn, you can’t use another immediate
action or a swift action until after your next turn. You can’t
use an immediate action when you’re fl at-footed.
NOT AN ACTION
Some activities are so minor that they aren’t even considered
free actions. They literally don’t take any time
at all to do and are considered an inherent part of doing
A few situations make you unable to take a full round’s
worth of actions. In such cases, you’re allowed to take
only a single standard action or a single move action,
along with allowed swift, immediate, and free actions.
You can’t take a full-round action and finish that action,
but you can start or complete a full-round action by using
a standard action.