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Lord Tataraus
2008-01-30, 10:55 PM
I would like some input on a ruling concerning the Action Before Thought maneuver from ToB.

Basically the key parts that the maneuver defined action is 1 immediate action as it is a counter. Secondly is this line in the rules text:
You can use this maneuver any time you would be required to make a Reflex save.
I rule that, since the maneuver is a counter and thus requires an immediate action to perform and that immediate actions cannot be preformed while flat-footed, the maneuver is not usable outside of combat. I have always seen this interpretation as a balancing factor of replacing a reflex save with an easily cheesed out skill. However, one of my players has asked to have this ruling reconsidered, pointing out the afore mentioned rules text which seems to state that this overrides the "no immediate actions while flat-footed" rule.
From the SRD: (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#immediateActions)
Immediate Actions

Much like a swift action, an immediate action consumes a very small amount of time, but represents 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 it's not your turn. Casting feather fall is an immediate action, 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 it is not currently your turn (effectively, using an immediate action before your turn is equivalent to using your swift action for the coming turn). You also cannot use an immediate action if you are flat-footed.

So, what say you? Should the maneuver be able to be executed outside of combat and why?

Draz74
2008-01-30, 11:06 PM
I think technically you are right. I think the "whenever you would make a Reflex save" is an additional condition to when you can use this immediate action -- a restriction, not a permission. Immediate actions are weird that way ... that they require this kind of clarification unless they can just be used "whenever you want," if they are responses to something specific.

That said, I would definitely allow the use of this maneuver if, for example, the party Searches and finds a trap, and then just triggers it rather than trying to Disable it.

Nebo_
2008-01-30, 11:12 PM
To me, it seems like an oversight. I think that the intent is to let it be used whenever you need a reflex save, even if you are flat footed a the time. Just look at the name of the maneuver.

shaggz076
2008-01-30, 11:16 PM
Well when you look at it there are two things that contradict in the definition. One say it CAN be used anytime and the other say it CANNOT be used while flat footed. So I think it would depend on how your characters handle themselves outside of combat, If they are careful and meticulous I wouldn't consider them flat footed as they are keeping alert to their surroundings and prepared for when life takes that hard right turn. If they are the type to just tromp through the dungeon killing everything in their way without much regard for the things around them then I would say they would be considered flat footed.

It may only be for flavor but I usually state that when we enter some dark and dingy dungeon that I ready my sword and shield. I can still be suprised but it is a lot less likely than if I were just strolling along and didn't specify.

Talic
2008-01-31, 12:34 AM
I think that this is a case of specific overrides general.

For example, people who attempt to enter a grapple provoke an attack of opportunity, by RAW, in the PHb section on attack types.

People with the Improved Grapple do not. Now, this is a case where a specific ability overrides a general rule.

One says that you may only use Immediate Actions when you are not flat footed. This is a general ruling.

The specific ability shows that it may be used anytime you would make a reflex save. Note that the language is permissive, not restrictive. A restrictive modification would say something like, "This ability may only be used when you are making a reflex save." This states that whenever you may make a reflex save, you may use this ability. That shows, to me, at least, that the specific text of this specific ability overrides the normal rules concerning making a reflex save, in this specific instance.

Brawls
2008-01-31, 01:47 AM
I'm currently playing a warblade with the "Momment of Perfect Mind" manuever. This is the same as "Action Before Thought" but replaces a will save with a concentration check. We have ruled that it does not apply outside of combat or when flat footed. The rational is that it is a combat manuever. The warblade has to be in a particular mental of physical form to accomplish the manuever. I think this interpretation reflects an intentional class limitation on the part of the designers.

my 2 cp

Brawls

Rachel Lorelei
2008-01-31, 01:58 AM
"Flatfooted" is a very specific condition. It only applies after Initiative is rolled, and only until your turn comes around (plus, whenever other things--like the Confound the Big Folk tactical feat--impose it).

You can use the Diamond Mind saving-throw maneuvers, and any other immediate-action abilities, outside of combat at any time, because you are never flat-footed outside of combat.

Talic
2008-01-31, 03:02 AM
"Flatfooted" is a very specific condition. It only applies after Initiative is rolled, and only until your turn comes around (plus, whenever other things--like the Confound the Big Folk tactical feat--impose it).

You can use the Diamond Mind saving-throw maneuvers, and any other immediate-action abilities, outside of combat at any time, because you are never flat-footed outside of combat.

Mostly true. Technically, any time you are not aware of an incoming attack, you are flat-footed. This applies to the surprise round of combat, prior to the rolling of initiative.

However, I'm inclined to agree that most people retain their dex bonus to AC outside of combat. I doubt many people deny targets their dex to AC when attacked by a trap, for instance.

Rad
2008-01-31, 03:13 AM
"Flatfooted" is a very specific condition. It only applies after Initiative is rolled, and only until your turn comes around (plus, whenever other things--like the Confound the Big Folk tactical feat--impose it).

You can use the Diamond Mind saving-throw maneuvers, and any other immediate-action abilities, outside of combat at any time, because you are never flat-footed outside of combat.

Seconded. Plus I also agree with the interpretation of it being an instance of the "particular trumps general" rule. I would allow a flat-footed warblade to use that even in combat.

GutterRunner
2008-01-31, 08:33 AM
Casting feather fall is an immediate action, since the spell can be cast at any time.

Do you rule that you can't cast featherfall outside of combat, because you're flat-footed?

I'm in with the people who say you're only flat-footed while in combat and only until you've acted, so you can use this ability (whatever it does) anytime you would take a reflex save, providing you're not flat footed from just entering combat.