An action defines when and how often a character can do something.
In-turn actions Edit
Generally, each character receives one turn per round, and during each turn, can perform up to one standard, one move, and one minor action. A character may sacrifice each of these three for a lesser action: standard to a move or minor, or move to a minor. This can, for example, allow a character to sustain two spell effects — two minor actions — while still allowing the character to use a standard action to attack in the same turn.
When a character has conjurations or minions, they use the character's actions and generally do not act independently.
Standard action Edit
Move action Edit
Move actions are used to move your character and can be one of two types: a basic move action and a shift action. A basic move action is used to move your speed. Keep note that if you leave an enemy's adjacent square you will succumb to an opportunity attack (see below). To avoid this you can use your move action to shift instead. Shifting allows you to move one square and not grant the opportunity attack.
Minor action Edit
Small actions that tend to let you use your other actions more effectively, escape, using an item, a skill test, among other things. Examples would be marking an enemy or summoning a shaman's spirit companion.
Out-of-turn actions Edit
Certain actions cannot be taken during a character's own turn. Instead, they are used out of turn when certain conditions are met, that is, when triggered. A character can take up to one opportunity action during each other combatant's turn, and up to one immediate action per round, but cannot perform either type of action during the character's own turn.
Some of these out-of-turn actions interrupt another creature's action, meaning they happen before the triggering action. If the interrupted action becomes impossible to complete, it is lost.
Opportunity action Edit
- Main article: opportunity action
One opportunity action may be taken during each other combatant's turn, and is usually used for the opportunity attack action. An opportunity action interrupts the action that triggers it. Normally, an opportunity attack action allows a melee basic attack against the triggering creature; stronger out-of-turn actions are usually immediate actions, as described below, so limited to one per round.
Immediate action Edit
A character may take one immediate action per round, during another combatant's turn. Each immediate action has a corresponding triggering action. If the immediate action is an interrupt, it interrupts the triggering action. If the immediate action is a reaction, it happens just after the triggering action, except it may interrupt the triggering creature's movement.
Free action Edit
Free actions take little time or effort on your character's part. Examples would be some simple combat orders or dropping your weapon. Free actions are allowed either in-turn or out-of-turn, usually as many as desired, but can sometimes be limited by the DM.
Many powers and effects create exceptions to these rules. As always, specific exceptions have priority over general rules.
For example, generally, a basic attack is a standard action, and can't be done on someone else's turn. A warlord can use direct the strike to specifically allow an ally to make a basic attack as a free action. In this case, the general rule is not followed: the ally can perform the basic attack during the warlord's turn, and the attack is a free action and won't count against the ally's per-turn action limit.