Corefinder Design Digest #13: Yes, that’s a Swift

This material was posted on patreon by Legendary Games

But you’re not really here for bird trivia, are you? We’re talking actions and now it’s time to talk about swift actions. This wonky kind of almost-but-not-quite-free action has been around since the start of 3rd Edition, but it started as kind of a rare, specialized thing that almost only ever existed for quickened spells, but the more design kept happening the more people leaned into using swift actions, until there was a glut of class-specific swift actions you could take. This ended up with a really top-heavy design structure, where we never really looped back around to the basic structure of the game and talked about swift actions that everyone can take. Until now. 

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Swift Actions

These actions are very quick actions you can use during your turn. Sometimes they are actions that otherwise would have a different action type, but because of your special training you can do them very quickly and easily, though you may only be able to do that a limited number of times based on a class ability, special piece of equipment, etc.

Full Attack Reload: If you use the full attack action with a light ranged weapon, you can draw and load an additional piece of ammunition as a swift action, or two additional pieces of ammunition if you have a BAB of +11 or greater.

Near Miss: When your attack misses (but is not a critical failure), while you fail to penetrate your target’s defenses you still wear them down with your onslaught. You deal nonlethal damage appropriate to the type of attack you were using to the target equal to one-half your Base Attack Bonus plus your Power Modifier. No other damage bonuses apply to a Near Miss.

You can use this action on an attack that misses due to the miss chance for concealment, as long as you are attacking the target’s actual square.

Quick Search: You carefully examine all squares within 5 feet of you, or within a 5-foot-radius burst (i.e., a 10-foot square) adjacent to you, making a Perception check to notice any hidden or undetected objects or creatures in that area.

Quick Step: When you take a full action, you can move 5 feet in any direction, either before or after performing the full action. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity. You cannot shift into difficult terrain or in the same round that you use the Run action.

You also can take this action after using a move action to stand up from kneeling or prone.

Recharge Reaction: If you are using the Recharging Reactions optional rule and you’ve already used your reaction during a combat, you regain it and can take reactions again.

Swift Ability: Some class features, monster abilities, feats, and similar effects can be used as a swift action.

Swift Maneuver: If you deal extra dice of damage with the Attack or Dual Attack action, or on a critical hit, you can expend one or more extra dice in order to perform a combat maneuver targeting the same creature you just hit as a swift action. See the Attack action (page xx). A swift maneuver provokes AoOs only if the maneuver itself does.

Swift Reaction: You can duplicate the effect of any reaction during your current turn as if it were a swift action. This does not count as using your reaction.

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