Dark Days in Sion
This house rule allows you to move, enter a defensive fighting stance, make a skill check, use an item or cast a minor spell before your turn in initiative.
Early Move Action
At the start of a normal round, if you’ve had a chance to roll initiative, you can take a half-move action before your turn. You can use this move to back away from a threat or find cover, or ready an item. This uses up the move action you would normally get on you turn as you merely took your move action early. Moving early in this fashion still provokes AOO’s against you if it normally would.
Early Defensive Fighting
If you have a Base Attack Bonus of +1 or higher, you can also draw a weapon(s) early and declare Fighting Defensively, Combat Expertise or Parrying (see ‘Parrying’ under Combat) and thus defend yourself better before your turn in initiative. If you declare these early in the round you must honor the action for the rest of the round.
Early Skill Check
I also allow you to attempt a skill check early if that is something that would help in your defense. Active Spot or Listen checks for example are obvious things you could try and do before your turn, or perhaps a Knowledge check so you can realize what you’re up against as soon as possible and perhaps warn or give information to others.
But using skills early in this fashion uses up one action greater then usual. A skill that is normally a move action would become a standard action, and a standard action would be a full round action. Full round action skills remain full round action skills however.
Early Magic Item Activation or Use
Some magic items can be used or activated early, but only those which are already held and/or worn by the owner. For example It is possible to drink a potion early in the round if you are holding it before initiative is rolled. But you can never use a magic item (like a wand) to attack anything before your turn in initiative. Activating an item early takes up more time in your round then usual. I reserve final judgment on which items can be activated or used early so please ask for clarification from me before you declare you are doing so.
Early Spell Casting
Some minor spells, spell-like effects or spell-like abilities can be cast/used early. Mainly cantrips, but also ‘Light’, ‘Darkness’ or ‘Feather Fall’ spells. Using a spell early like this does increase the spells casting time so you may loose your move action doing so.
The ONLY spells that can be cast early are those that are memorized by the caster or otherwise mentally available to them. You cannot cast a spell from a scroll early in this fashion or use any spell or spell-like ability to harm another before your turn. I reserve final judgment on what is capable of being cast early so please ask me for clarification beforehand when possible.
Swift Action: A swift action consumes a very small of time, but represents a larger expenditure of effort than a free action. You can perform one swift action per turn without affecting your ability to perform other actions. In that regard, a swift action is like a free action. However, you can perform only a single swift action per turn, regardless of what other actions you take. You can take a swift action anytime you would normally be allowed to take a free action. Casting a quickened spell is a swift action (instead of a free action, as stated in the Quicken Spell feat description in the Player’s Handbook). Casting a spell with a casting time of 1 swift action does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Immediate Action: Much like a swift action, an immediate action consumes a very small amount of time, but presents a larger expenditure of effort and energy than a free action. However, unlike a swift action, an immediate action can be performed at any time – even if its not your turn. Casting feather fall is an immediate action (instead of a free action as listed in the spell description in the Player’s Handbook), since the spell can be cast at any time. Using an immediate action on your turn is the same as using a swift action, and counts as your swift action for that turn. You cannot use another immediate action or a swift action until after your next turn if you have used an immediate action when its not currently your turn. You also cannot use an immediate action if you are currently flat-footed.
House rules regarding potions. You can normally only drink 1 potion at a time (as a standard action).
Full Round Action: You can drink two potions as a full round action.
Standard Action: You can attempt to drink two potions at once as a standard action via Sleight of Hand Check (DC 18). Failure means it takes the normal full round to drink two potions. A Fumble during this check (natural 1) means you spill and ruin both potions.