An action’s type essentially tells you how long the action takes to perform (within the framework of the 15-second combat round) and how movement is treated. There are three types of actions: standard actions, move actions and free actions. Actions can also be immediate actions.
In a normal round, a character can perform an attack action on her turn. She can also perform one or more free actions.
In some situations (such as in a surprise round), characters may be limited in their actions.
A move action allows a character to move her speed or perform an action that takes a similar amount of time. A character can move his or her speed, climb one-quarter of his or her speed, draw or stow a weapon or other object, stand up, pick up an object, or perform some equivalent action.
A character can take a move action in the place of an attack action. Characters without the Combat Martial Arts feat can make two move actions per round, plus one at level 3 and every three levels thereafter.
If a character moves no actual distance in a round, that character can take one 5-foot step as a free action.
An immediate action is any action, usually performed in response to another character or event, which takes place outside the order of initiative on a turn other than their own. Immediate actions can be either standard or free, and immediate standard actions use up one of the character’s standard actions for that round. As such, a character can only take an immediate standard action if she would have standard actions remaining on her next turn (unless her next turn would be on a new round).
Most common attack actions are described below.
Characters without the Combat Martial Arts feat can make one attack action per round, plus one at level 3 and every three levels thereafter.
All characters can make a move action in place of an attack action.
Making an attack is an attack action.
A character capable of making more than one attack per round must take one per turn in order to make more than one attack.
With a normal melee weapon, a character can strike any enemy within 5 feet. (Enemies within 5 feet are considered adjacent to the character.)
Striking for damage with punches, kicks, and head butts is much like attacking with a melee weapon.
Unarmed Strike Damage: An unarmed strike from a normal human character deals 1d6 points (plus the character’s Strength modifier, as normal) of damage.
Attacks of Opportunity
The combat rules assume that combatants are actively avoiding attacks, where they can. Sometimes, however, a combatant in a melee lets her guard down, and doesn’t maintain a defensive posture as usual. In this case, she can take advantage of her opponent’s lapse in defense to attack instead. These attacks are called attacks of opportunity.
A combatant who makes an attack of opportunity does so in place of her defense against the initial attack, instead choosing to attack her attacker, who can also not defend himself, nor can he make his own attack of opportunity.
Attacks of opportunity are immediate attack actions.
In addition to attacking, a character can use her attack action to defend herself against an attack.
Making a Reflex save to take half damage is an attack action.