House Rules: Combat - Free Actions

Unless stated otherwise in the action’s description, a free action can be taken only on your turn. Theoretically, you can take as many free actions in a turn as you wish, though the GM may apply reasonable limitations on free actions. For instance, although speaking is a free action, since a round is only 6 seconds in length, your GM might stop you from spouting off a long diatribe during your turn (or between turns), and may even rule that if you are casting a rather complex spell with a verbal component, you aren’t able to verbally warn your companions of some danger that you notice before they do. Typically, this limitation shouldn’t be applied to reloading ranged weapons as a free action.

Sometimes a free action stipulates that you can take it only in conjunction with another action, or at a certain time during your turn. In these cases, you must take any requisite actions before you can take the free action.

The following are the main free actions of this system.

Cast Defensively

When casting a spell, you can take a free action to do so defensively. You must attempt a concentration check (DC = 15 + double the spell’s level). If you succeed, that spell loses the complex subtype for that casting. If you fail, you lose the spell.

Cease Concentrating on a Spell

You cease concentrating on a spell that you have cast.

Draw and Nock an Arrow

You draw and nock an arrow to a longbow or shortbow.

Drop an Item

You drop a held item into a square within your space or within your melee reach (not counting the expanded reach from a reach weapon, unless you are dropping that weapon).

Drop Prone

You drop prone within your space.

Fighting Defensively

At the start of your turn, you can choose to fight defensively when attacking. If you do so, you take a –1 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +1 bonus to AC until the start of your next turn. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every +4 thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the bonus increases by +1.

Identify a Spell Being Cast

You use Spellcraft to identify a spell being cast. Unlike other free actions, you can take this action even when it is not your turn.

Prepare Spell Components or a Spell Focus

While casting a spell, you prepare a material spell component or a spell focus. If this component or spell focus is particularly large or unwieldy, your GM might rule that this instead takes a simple action, or even an advanced action.


You speak for no more than a few words using one or more free actions. Unlike other free actions, this action can be taken even when it’s not your turn.

Use a Free-Action Ability

You use an ability that can be used as a free action in the default action economy. If the ability must be used as part of another action, you must take that action before taking this free action.

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