Types of Actions
Types of Actions Actions that may be performed during an encounter are classified in a number of different ways. This helps to structure what a character can and cannot do in a given length of time. There are Free Actions, Fast Actions, Move Actions, Standard Actions, and Full Actions. Additionally, you can modify these actions with Readied Actions or Delayed Actions. There are other subtypes of actions (such as charges and rituals) that may only be utilized in specific circumstances. Each turn, a character is generally allowed one Fast Action, one Move Action, and one Standard Action unless otherwise enabled by a special power (e.g. Alacrity, Tactical Retreat, etc).
Free actions are actions which either do not take any time at all or are difficult to determine how long it actually takes. Thinking a thought, calling out a message in the heat of battle, and similar non-actions are all classified as free actions. You may take any number of free actions in a round, subject to Storyteller discretion. A full conversation would take more time than just a quick battle cry, even though both are 'just talking'.
Fast actions are similar to free actions, in that they are actions which take almost no time at all, but more than free actions do. Examples include drawing a weapon with Quick Draw and drinking a potion. You may only make 1 fast action in a round. You may not take a Fast Action in a round in which you take a Full Action.
Move actions are slower than fast actions and consume actual effort to conduct. Walking down the hall, drawing a weapon without Quick Draw, etc. You may only make 1 move action in a round unless you do not also take a standard action, in which case you may make two Move Actions.
While taking a Move action, a character may move at their base speed unless encountering one of two things: Difficult Terrain and Threatened Space. The ground is considered to be Difficult Terrain when it would provide significant obstruction to movement - viscous mud, rocky or uneven terrain, soft sand, piles of bodies, bones, etc. Threatened Space is any space that can be directly reached by an enemy's attack (including modifiers to attack range such as Fighting Style: Two-Handed Slashing Weapons's Reach, etc).
Where it would normally take 1 yard of the character's base movement speed to move through a square, it will cost an additional movement speed to move through Difficult Terrain or a Threatened Space. This penalty does stack, so moving through a square of Difficult Terrain that is also Threatened would cost 3 of the character's total movement speed.
Standard Actions are the standard combat action speed, and is the common action length for most actions. Attacking, casting most spells, and similar actions. You may only make one standard action per round. You may exchange your standard action for a second move action if you wish.
A Full Action (occasionally referred to as a "Full-Round Action") is the slowest of combat actions, and completing one will up the entire combat round. A Full Action replaces either two Move Actions or a Move Action and a Standard Action. You may still take Free Actions, but not Fast Actions.
Special Types of Actions
Most actions that do not fall into action types above are up to the Storyteller's discretion unless otherwise detailed below.
Readied vs Delayed Actions
A readied action is a prescribed action that may be any action above, or valid combination of actions above, which is to occur when the conditions you specify are met. No other action may be taken this round, regardless of what type of action that is.
When the triggering conditions are met the readied action is performed before anything else at that initiative. For example Quiv iniative is 11 but he readies an action to counterspell the enemy mage who goes on a 7.
Quiv's actions are deferred to when the enemy mage begins casting a spell on initiative 7. When that trigger is met, Quiv casts his counterspell as his only action that round, and the counterspell occurs before the mage completes his cast. If Quiv had also specified a move action as part of the readied action, then the move would take place as well, if it was still a valid move.
If the enemy mage did not attempt to cast a spell that round, Quiv would not act at all, and would have lost his actions. However, regardless of the result of the readied action, on the following round Quiv will resume his place in the initiative at 11.
A delayed action is similar to a readied action in that all actions are deferred till later in the round. However, no conditions are pre-specified, and all actions are possible when the player elects to take action. Using the above example, if Quiv didn't want to risk wasting an action, he could instead delay his action to respond to the enemy caster, and choose to take his actions when the mage casts. However because the action was not readied, Quiv can not cast a spell prior to the mage casting a spell (and thus not successfully counterspell), and Quiv's new initiative would become the same as the enemy mage, only immediately after the enemy mage's action in same tied initiative.
The distinction between readied actions and delayed actions lies with what you gain for what you are giving up. A readied action sacrifices flexibility of what to act, risking taking no action at all, to be able to get in an action that prevents another action from taking place, or synchronizes perfectly with a partner's action. A delayed action gives up the advantage of timing to retain the flexibility of what to do at that time.
A Reactive Action is an action which enables the player to utilize a spell or power freely on enemy turns, most often only after certain conditions have been met. For example, Reactive Assault may be used freely, but only after the Adept has taken damage from an attack while flat-footed. Reactive Actions generally do not count against the normal action limits for the round unless otherwise specified.
A charge is a combat action that requires no special training. Charging allows the character to move up to double their base movement speed in a straight line, as long as the movement is followed by an attack attempt. This is effectively counted as a Full Action, and does not allow for the character to utilize any Fast Actions in the same turn.
A character may charge if an unobstructed straight line can be drawn from the center of the character to their target. The target of a charge must be a minimum of 5 yards away. Characters may not charge over difficult terrain, and still suffer the standard double movement cost to move through threatened squares.
If an attack made following a charge misses, the Storyteller may rule the charging character continues past the intended target.
A concentration spell is initiated with a standard action, however the caster may choose to maintain the spell through subsequent rounds by concentrating. Casting other spells, making attacks or skill checks will disrupt concentration and effectively halt or end the spell in progress, requiring it to be recast. The caster may move freely (including taking a double Move Action) without penalty while concentrating.
Rituals typically require about 10 minutes to complete and often require various physical components or reagents as well as continued concentration. This makes them exceedingly difficult to initiate, maintain, or complete in combat encounters.