Action Points

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Action Points (AP) describes the time necessary to perform an action each round, usually applied during combat. Though rounds are nominally 12 seconds in length, the time for an action point to be expended depends upon both the relative speed of the actor and the difficulty of the action to be accomplished. Action points manage this time-keeping disparity with an eye to playability by assigning an AP cost to each action. Players and NPCs must decide what to do with the points they have, introducing a strong tactical element to combat.

Action points not spent in the course of each round cannot be saved up and used later. Some actions require multiple rounds to perform, such as spellcasting, loading weapons or searching. These examples presume the actor's efforts are being spent in a single continuous procedure that happens to occur over several rounds due to its nature.

Humanoids, from as small as kobalds to as large as giants, are naturally possessed of 5 action points. There are exceptions, such as the monk. This movement is adjusted by encumbrance, which measures the total weight in gear and other carried objects. The amount of weight a character carries is variable. Once a character adds sufficient weight to reduce their AP to 1 point, no more can be carried.


Stride Hexes/AP
Wary 1
Walking 2-3
Running 4-5
Sprinting 6-8

Movement describes the AP cost to cross the distance from hex to hex, each being 5 feet in diameter. There are four manners of movement, or "strides." These strides are wary, walking, running and sprinting; the AP cost for each is shown on the right-hand table. The spread enables the combatant to select a specific speed of movement; for example, if running, the character may use 1 AP to move either 4 hexes per point or 5. Both are counted as "running" for game purposes.

Both large and fast creatures, with longer strides or due to their biology, have AP costs per hex that allow them to move faster than ordinary humanoids. Horses have various gaits at which they can walk or run, while gazelles and cheetahs can manage 20 hexes or more per AP. A hill giant walking with a normal stride would travel 3.5 hexes per AP.

Point Costs

Actions AP Cost
activate object 1
adjust a free object for use 1
adjust lantern shutter 1
adjust lantern turn-key 1
apply a healing salve 3
armour the body, per AC 25
attack with weapon 2
change form 1 round
climb a rope ladder 1
climbing, per vertical ft. 1
close a back pack/saddle bag 2
discharge a casted spell 1
dismount animal 2
dispel active spell 1
dose drink/food with poison 1
dose weapon with poison 5
draw weapon, heavy one-handed 2
draw weapon, light one-handed 1
draw weapon, two-handed 3
eat or drink, per weight 1
extinguish candle 1
extinguish a lantern 2
extinguish a torch 3
free shield from arm 3
grapple attack 3
kneel a camel 3
kneel an elephant 5
leave a melee hex 1
light a candle or spill 2
light a lantern 4
light a torch 2
load a bow, aim & fire 1 round +2 AP
load & fire a bow without aiming 4
load a heavy crossbow 11
load a light crossbow 8
load & fire a sling 1 round +2 AP
mount animal 3
move to prone position 2
obtain item pocketed or tied 4
open a corked bottle 5
open a stuck door 1 round
open an unstuck door 2
pummel attack 1
raise a knelt animal 2
rouse sleeping creature 1-3
scramble 2
search a back pack 3-10
search a saddle bag 2-4
sheathe weapon into back scabbard 3
sheathe weapon into belt scabbard 2
sling shield/bow over shoulder 2
speak or call instructions 1
spellcasting 1 round
stand from prone position 2
stand from seated position
strap shield to arm 10
string a bow 3
throw grapple 5
throw aimed object 2
touch a friendly creature 1
touch an unfriendly creature 2
unsling back pack 5
unsling shield & make ready 3

Many of these actions have exceptions and considerations that a DM must manage. The circumstances of a particular action may require a judgement call, where matters do not fit expected perameters. Actions are listed alphabetically, but should be viewed occasionally by the players, that they may familiarize themselves with the choices listed.

Activate object

1 AP. Includes any object, many of which will be magical in nature, that must somehow be turned on, commanded to act or otherwise activated. Includes uncorking a previously uncorked bottle or drawing out a wand, staff, rod, ring or like item. The action is generally enough to employ the object for its purpose; however, in cases such as the uncorked bottle, the action would not include aiming and throwing the object, which would be another action.

Adjust a free object for use

1 AP. Describes any situation in which the object weighing less than 5 lbs. has to be manipulated, such as being opened in order to be read, such as a book or a compass; looked through, such as an eyeglass or telescope; turned over; picked up from its location; taken out of a small pocket; or any other like situation in which movement of the object is the intention or requirement.

Larger objects require more time. Those up to 8 lbs. will require 2 AP; up to 13 lbs. will require 3 AP; and up to 21 lbs. will require 4 AP. Objects weighing up to 34 lbs., 55 lbs., 89 lbs., 144 lbs., 233 lbs. and so on will progressively require 1 additional AP per stage (until they are too heavy to move). These numbers apply to humanoids weighing up to 233 lbs.

For humanoids weighing up to 377 lbs., 610 lbs., 987 lbs. and more, progressively subtract 1 AP from the cost of picking up each size class of item. However, as size increases, it becomes harder to pick up smaller items. And so, when the AP of an item is reduced to zero, count such items as costing 2 AP to the time needed to collect that item. For example, a 350 pound humanoid bends down to pick up an item weighing less than 5 lb. Because the normal time is already 1 AP, the modifier would reduce this to 0 AP. The small-item rule adjusts this to 2 AP.

Adjust lantern shutter

1 AP. Describes the act of adjusting a bullseye lantern so that the arc of light shining can be widened or narrowed, or closed completely.

Adjust lantern turn-key

1 AP. Describes the adjustment of a lantern valve that controls the amount of air to the glass bubble, determining the amount of illumination that the lantern will offer.

Apply a healing salve

3 AP. Gives the time required to feed a healing salve to a willing, conscious patient, or pour the salve into an open wound. This allows the salve to work (awarding 1-4 hit points) and causes the wound to close. If there is no wound, or the patient is unconscious, the time needed to introduce part of the salve into the mouth and rub the rest into the skin of the patient's throat or upper chest will be 6 AP, which can be accomplished over multiple rounds.

Armour the body
Dressing in Armour.jpg

25 AP. Regardless of the type of armour being applied, the cost indicates the amount of action necessary to improve the wearer's armour class by 1 point. This presumes that part of the armour can be applied (such as hauberk and chausses, greaves, tassets, breast plates, chain shirts, gorgets and so on) even if the whole ensemble is not worn. A character may spend 75 AP dressing in partial chain mail armour, sufficient to improve the character's AC by 3 pts., then forgo the remainder in order to join a fight.

A full suit of Leather armour would require 50 AP to make completely ready, studded leather or ring mail would need 75 AP, scale mail would need 100 AP and so on.

Aid can be received from up to 2 attendants. One attendant helping will reduce the time needed per point of armour class to a cost of 15 AP, while two attendants will reduce the cost to 10 AP per point.

Armour can be removed at 12 AP per point of protection.

Attack with weapon

2 AP. The cost of rolling to hit, whether in combat and if firing/hurling a weapon. Combatants using two weapons must pay this cost once for each weapon each round. If the character does not have sufficient AP to do this, they must forgo two attacks. In the case of multiple attacks, which arise from the combatant having achieved the ability to attack twice in a given round, the cost per attack is only 1 AP.

Change form

1 round. Includes polymorph and shape-change, by spell or natural ability. Cost in AP equals one complete round, from beginning of change to full assumption of new shape.

Climb a rope ladder

1 AP. Refers to climbing upwards 3 vertical feet. Cost assumes the character has no special climbing ability, such as might be possessed by an assassin or thief.


1 AP. Refers to climbing upwards one vertical foot. Cost assumes the character has no special climbing ability. Characters with the sage abilities mountain climbing or tree climbing are able to climb at 2 ft. (natural rock) or 3 ft. (tree) per action point. Movement downwards is double the speed needed to climb up.

Close a back pack

2 AP. Describes the time needed to close a buckle or draw string, to ensure that items within are secured and won't fall out. Includes closing a saddle bag, locking a box, barring a door and tying closed a scroll case or a belt pouch.

Discharge a casted spell

1 AP. Once the casting time has been completed for a spell, 1 AP must be spent to actually release the spell so that its effects can be take place. If a cast spell is not discharged, the caster must continue to concentrate until the spell is discharged, or else the spell will be lost.

Dismount animal

2 AP. Describes a safe dismount from any animal, including horses, donkeys, mules, camels, elephants, flying mounts and so on. Assumes the reins are held and the rider steps down carefully. Hopping clear of an animal can be done at a cost of 1 AP, but the rider must make a dexterity check or risk taking damage.

Action points must be taken to kneel camels and elephants in addition to the time needed to dismount.

Dispel active spell

1 AP. Describes only those spells that the caster is personally responsible for, the effects of which are ongoing. The caster merely waves the spell out of existence at the cost of 1 AP.

Dose drink/food with poison

1 AP. Presumes the poison are at hand and can be scattered quickly into either food or drink in a fashion that mixing is unnecessary or may be done surreptitiously.

Dose weapon with poison

5 AP. Describes the time needed to apply the poison carefully along a blade for safe use; presumes that both the weapon and substance are at hand. Includes the AP cost to apply other like substances, such as oiling a rope, spreading glue and applying gripcolle and quicksilver.

Draw weapon, heavy one-handed

2 AP. Includes weapons weighing 5 pounds or more, that can be used with one hand, counting the mace and warhammer; and the bastard, broad & long sword. Those creatures with enhanced upper body strength that can wield a two-handed weapon with one hand may draw those weapons at this speed, such as the battle axe, spear and trident; and the military fork & pick. The same AP cost applies to weapons that are dropped.

Draw weapon, light one-handed

1 AP. Includes weapons weighing less than 5 pounds that can be used with one hand, counting the ankus, bullwhip, club, dagger, dart, godentag, javelin, sabre, scimitar, shiriken and throwing knife; the horseman's flail, mace & pick; and the short axe, hammer & sword.

Draw weapon, two-handed

3 AP. Includes weapons of any weight that are used with two hands, counting the battle axe, bola, bo stick, bow, corseque, crossbow, flail, glaive, great scimitar, guisarme, halberd, jo stick, khopesh, maul, morning star, pike, quarterstaff, sling, spear, staff sling, trident and two-handed sword; and the military fork & pick.

Eat or drink

1 AP. Indicates the AP cost per 1 ounce of food or 2 ounces of fluid to be consumed. A potion consists of 8 ounces of fluid, and would therefore require 4 AP to consume. A healing salve consists of 2 ounces of edible material, therefore requiring 2 AP to eat.

Extinguish candle

1 AP. Describes the time needed to snuff a candle, whether blowing it out, using ones fingers or dousing it.

Extinguish a lantern

2 AP. Includes both the time to adjust the turn-key sufficiently to douse the flame and the time needed for the glow to die. Because of their construction, neither a hooded lantern nor a bullsye lantern can be as easily blown out, due to the hooded cap on the former or the metal door-latch on the latter.

Extinguish a torch

3 AP. Effort describes smothering the torch with a cloth or grounding the flame by stamping or striking it out. If the torch can be doused in water, the cost is 1 AP.

Strapped Shield.jpg
Free shield from arm

3 AP. Describes time needed to unstrap a shield from the combatant's arm, including situations where the shield has failed save as an item. A damaged shield that is not freed will decrease armour class by 2 points. Cost in AP presumes the shield is dropped and not slung over the character's shoulder.

Grapple attack

3 AP. Includes the time necessary to physically wrestle an opponent, whether employed in clinch fighting, takedowns, joint locks and other grappling holds.

Kneel a camel

3 AP. Describes the process of the camel's front legs buckling so that the camel kneels on its front legs, before the camel's back legs seat and the camel is seated. This allows a comfortable dismount for the rider. Camels being taller than a horse, it is difficult to dismount from a camel any other way.

Kneel an elephant

5 AP. Describes the elephant bending it's "wrists" and forward elbows, while kneeling on its back legs. The rider can then climb upon its front leg, gripping the ears or the trunk, or by stepping on the elephant's trunk. The distance climbed is about four feet; the rider swings a leg over the elephant's neck before the animal is given a cue to rise. If the elephant has a howdah, there will be steps that will allow entering the carriage.

Leave a melee hex

1 AP. When engaged in a melee hex, the combatant must pay a cost to break off the combat so that any other adjacent hex can be entered. This cost is ignored if the enemy has been stunned, is actively engaged with another combatant.

Light a candle or spill

1 AP. Assumes the candle or spill, and a flame or tinder box, are at hand, so that the spill can be lit.

Light a lantern

4 AP. Touching a side thumb lever, the glass bubble of a lantern is lifted slightly, so that a lit spill can be applied. The flame is drawn into the globe, setting the wick aflame; the amount of air reaching the wick is then adjusted with the lantern's turn-key, ensuring the flame does not go out when the lever is released. Lanterns cannot be lit using a tinder box.

Light a torch

2 AP. Assumes torch and flame are at hand, so that the flame can be applied long enough to ensure the oilcloth wrapped around the torch is able to catch fire and remain burning. If the torch is wet, it will require two complete rounds to light, requiring an open flame. Torches cannot be lit using a tinder box.

Load a bow, aim and fire

Requires 1 round, then 2 AP on the second round after the bow is loaded. Allows an arrow to be fired every other round. The length of time includes selecting an arrow while consciously observing the battlefield and judging the position and movement of the intended target. Loading a weapon can be done while sighting.

Characters with multiple attacks per round may perform both loading and firing at a cost of 3 AP. This 3 AP can be stretched over two rounds; therefore, a character with 2 attacks per round can load the bow (1 AP) at the end of the first round and then aim (1 AP) and fire (1 AP) in the round thereafter; and if he or she has 3 more action points after that, another shot can be fired in that round using 3 more AP.

Load and fire a bow without aiming

4 AP; can be performed in one round. Describes preparing a long or short bow without attention paid to the combatant's surroundings, so as to concentrate on the action itself. Doing the action in this way incurs a -4 penalty to hit. Characters with multiple attacks per round may perform the action at a cost of 2 AP.

Loading a Crossbow.jpg
Load a heavy crossbow

11 AP. Describes not only the use of both hands, but also a stirrup for one foot to hook onto, though some varieties feature a spike that can be sunk into soft ground, to stabilize the weapon while it is being loaded. The heavy crossbow is then cranked with a turn-wheel, until the drawstring is tight, so that the weapon is ready to fire. A minimum strength of 8 is required. The action is usually completed with three or four rounds. The crossbow can be loaded up to five rounds prior to firing without reducing the tension on the bowstring, but if it not loosened by that time, the bowstring has a 10% chance per round thereafter of being ruined and made unusable. If there is time, the weapon can be fired in the same round that it has completed loading with no penalty. Having the multiple attacks per round does not reduce the time necessary to load. Any person with sufficient strength can load a crossbow.

Load a light crossbow

8 AP. Describes not only the use of both hands, but also a stirrup for one foot to hook onto. A single lever is pulled back in one movement to load the crossbow, once the bowstring is fitted correctly. A minimum strength of 9 is required. Once the drawstring is tight, the weapon is ready to fire. The action is usually completed in 2 to 3 rounds. The crossbow can be loaded up to five rounds prior to firing without reducing the tension on the bowstring, but if it not loosened by that time, the bowstring has a 10% chance per round thereafter of being ruined and made unusable. If there is time, the weapon can be fired in the same round that it has completed loading with no penalty. Having the multiple attacks per round does not reduce the time necessary to load. Any person with sufficient strength can load a crossbow.

Load a sling and fire

Requires 1 round, then 2 AP on the second round after the sling is loaded. Allows a bullet or stone to be hurled every other round. The length of time includes selecting the stone while consciously observing the battlefield and judging the position and movement of the intended target. Characters with multiple attacks per round cannot fire a sling faster than this. Slings cannot be loaded and fired without aiming. Loading a weapon can be done while sighting.

Mount animal

3 AP. Horses, donkeys, mules, pegasi, hippogriffs, hippocampus, sea horses and tarns are mounted by fitting one foot into the stirrup before the rider hoists themselves onto the animal. Some saddles are unusually shaped but the procedure is more or less the same. Camels and elephants are knelt first and this point cost must be paid before the animal is mounted, and then another cost must be paid to raise the creature.

If the stirrup on the animal is higher than the rider's diaphram, or top of the rider's belly, the stirrup must be complimented with a step to raise the rider first. Climbing a step to a mounting position costs 1 AP. To ascend to the back of an oliphant, a rope ladder must be used; the oliphant requires 9 feet of climbing.

Move to prone position

2 AP. Describes the time necessary to fall and take to the ground (1 AP) and then orient in order to take further action. The first part of the action may be taken if the character wishes to keep head down and remain blind; but to identify what's happening and from what direction, the second cost must be met.

Obtain item pocketed or tied

4 AP. Describes the cost to take hold of items attached to the character's person, such as flasks, small blades, cricket cages, tawkra balls, etcetera — by straps, strings, hooks or in pockets both inside and outside clothing. Time includes the general matter of shifting objects already in the character's hands, feeling for the object wanted, digging around under cloaks or through robes, and being sure to grab the object firmly before pulling it free.

Open a corked bottle

5 AP. Describes specifically sealed bottles that have not been opened since the contents were sealed inside, such as potions, wine bottles or pots of glue, sealing wax, pastes, acid bottles and so on. Once the cork has been removed once, the item counts as an activated object.

Open a stuck door

1 round. Describes doors that have swollen inside their frames from damp, so that the pressure of the wood resists entry. Stuck doors must be forced with pressure applied to the right points. The chance of opening a stuck door equals the combined mass of up to two persons and their equipment, divided by 10, which is expressed as a percentage chance out of 100. The chance of success is doubled if the character(s) attempts to rush the door, requiring at least a 5 foot running start; this action will automatically cause 1-6 damage from the crash.

Open an unstuck door

2 AP. Describes the process of opening any ordinary door that is not barred, locked or otherwise blocked against normal use. If the door is shouldered open, the time required is reduced to 1 AP; this requires the character to make a dexterity check or tumble, once the door is opened.

Pummel attack

1 AP. Conveys how a punch can be delivered more quickly than a swung weapon. An attack with a fist can be done at any time in lieu of a weapon attack, or as a second weapon when the character wishes to attack with two weapons or has multiple attacks.

Raise a knelt animal

2 AP. Describes the time needed to bring a camel or an elephant from its knees to a standing position, whether or not the animal has been mounted or includes a howdah. Mounted persons must ensure the animal is standing before forward movement is allowed.

Rouse sleeping creature

1 to 3 AP. Relates to the difficulty that sleeping creatures have in waking up so that they're able to take action. Light sleepers require 1 AP; normal sleepers 2 AP; and heavy sleepers 3 AP.


2 AP. Describes the cost per combat hex when moving over cluttered or broken ground, or where the variation of surface is 11-30° up or down. Includes climbing onto or off furniture, a platform or a short ledge where the angle of ascent does not exceed 30°. Steep climbs of 31-50° require 3 AP per hex. Sharp climbs of 51-80° require 4 AP. Treat slopes greater than 80° degrees as climbing.

Search a back pack

3 to 10 AP. Includes opening the pack, then digging through the contents in search of a specific object. Anything that would be obvious, due to its size and nature, being any object as long as the pack itself (about 15 in.) would be found at a cost of 3 AP. This is likewise if the pack is ¾ empty. Fist-sized objects in a half-full pack would be found at a cost of 3-5 AP. Smaller items require a cost of 3-10 AP (2d4+2). Since the time of searches only matters during combat, some of the time required reflects the stress the character would feel under those conditions.

Search a saddle bag

2 to 4 AP. Includes opening the bag and committing it to a similar search as that of the back pack, above. In the case that an animal will have two saddle bags, the character should make a wisdom check to see if they remember which bag the sought object would be in. A failed check will mean a loss of 4 AP in searching the wrong bag.

Sheathe weapon into back scabbard

3 AP. Describes the time needed regardless of the weight or nature of the weapon. The scabbard must, of course, be designed for the specific weapon in question.

Sheathe weapon into belt scabbard

2 AP. As with the back scabbard, the point cost applies to weapons of any weight or nature.

Sling shield/bow over shoulder

2 AP. Describes cost to lift the weapon up and onto the character's back or across the character's shoulders. The also applies to a bow, if the weapon is strung. Sheathing an unstrung bow into a back scabbard costs 3 AP. To sling the shield over a character's shoulder, the character's shoulder belt must include a shield hook. Does not include the time needed to free a shield from the character's arm.

Speak or call instructions

1 AP. The number of words that can be spoken for the cost indicated is four; a sentence of 5-8 words would require 2 AP; 9-12 words would require 3 AP and so on. Alternately, DM's may use a time piece to measure the amount of speech that can be said in the time period reckoned, but in such cases the speech should be made loud enough to be heard over the sound of battle, or across distances, if those circumstances apply.

Speaking can be performed while taking other actions, so long as the character is not drinking, eating or spellcasting. No other actions may be taken if the party is attempting to parley with an enemy.


1 round. 1st and 2nd level spells usually require 1 full round to cast; as spells increase in power, they take more rounds. Some spells, specifically not designed for battle, may take much longer. Most cantrips require only a few action points to cast.

Stand from prone position

2 AP. Describes jumping up from laying on either the front or the back. Does not include the time needed to awake. While prone, characters are limited to using one-handed weapons until returning to a standing position.

Stand from seated position

1 AP. Upon standing, characters may subtract 1 AP from the time needed to draw weapons, as this can be done simultaneously. This includes using found objects as weapons.

Strap shield to arm

10 AP. Compare with the time necessary to armour the body. Strapping the shield in place can be aided by one other person, reducing the total cost to 7 AP.

String a bow

3 AP. Assumes that both string and bow are already in hand. Characters who possess a total of 5 AP can string the bow and load it without aiming in one round.

Grappling Hook.jpg
Throw grapple

5 AP. Describes the time necessary to ready the grapple, swinging it for momentum, hurling it outwards and testing the resistance of the grapple by pulling the rope taut. A failure requires the same amount of time.

Throw aimed object

2 AP. Similar to attacking with weapon, includes throwing a magic stone, a rock, hurled missile or object intended for another individual to catch.

Touch a friendly creature

1 AP. Includes attempts to deliver the effects of a spell, such as bless or cure light wounds, to a recipient, one who is willing to be touched. If both persons are able to move towards each other, the characters may be counted as touching though they remain in adjacent combat hexes (they are presumed to move close enough to each other to reach. To touch a prone or unconscious person, the character attempting to touch must move into the target's hex.

Touch an unfriendly creature

2 AP. Describes any attempt to deliver the effects of a spell or actively attempt to affect an unwilling enemy by physical contact, such as spells like shocking grasp or cause light wounds. Such attempts are treated in action point costs as attacking with a weapon. Intelligent creatures will recognize what's being attempted and will often give ground to avoid receiving an unknown spell's effect, increasing the AP cost.

Unsling back pack

5 AP. Describes the time necessary to loosen the shoulder straps of a back pack and drop it from a combatant's shoulders. Often used prior to combat or as a preliminary to searching a back pack.

Unsling shield & make ready

3 AP. Describes the time needed to lift a shield from the combatant's back, where it hangs on a shield hook, and ready it in hand. Does not include the time necessary to strap the shield to the combatant's arm.