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In Pathfinder, a monk has a power which lets him spend a point of his Ki Pool to increase his AC Dodge Bonus as a swift action.

Can he do it even when it isn't his turn?

a monk can spend 1 point from his ki pool to give himself a +4 dodge bonus to AC for 1 round

Round:

Combat is measured in rounds. During an individual round, all creatures have a chance to take a turn to act, in order of initiative. A round represents 6 seconds in the game world.

Swift Action:

A Swift Action consumes a very small amount 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. You can, however, perform only one 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. Swift actions usually involve spellcasting, activating a feat, or the activation of magic items.

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Strongly related: Can a character take free action out of her turn? –  SevenSidedDie Dec 9 '13 at 16:45

3 Answers 3

Swift actions, like Free actions, take place during your turn, and cannot be taken outside your turn.

Immediate actions take place outside your turn, and use up your next turn’s Swift action.

So no, you must activate that bonus on your turn in order to have it for the round, you cannot try to activate it just when you need to.

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KRyan, is there a citation for "Swift actions [...] cannot be taken outside your turn", even if it's in the Immediate action rules or FAQ? Assuming the OP's quotations are accurate, "any time you would normally be allowed to take a free action" should include outside your turn, should it not? –  David C Ellis Dec 9 '13 at 14:43
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@DavidCEllis Yeah, citing Immediate Actions would help here: 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. –  GBorreson Dec 11 '13 at 22:43

Assuming that a swift action can be taken any time you could take a free action, we must determine when you can take a free action.

As the PRD suggests, speaking is a non-standard free action:

In general, speaking is a free action that you can perform even when it isn't your turn.

From this, we can assume that a free action, and thus also a swift action, can only be taken on-turn, and so this monk can't gain an AC boost out of turn.

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I think the point of the comment was to not limit speaking to one's own turn, not to open up all (other) Free Actions to anyone's turn. There would also be no need for an immediate action if this was the intent. –  Wyrmwood Dec 9 '13 at 20:53
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@Wyrmwood Except that in my answer I'm suggesting that speaking is the exception that proves the rule (no free actions off-turn). –  Metool Dec 10 '13 at 0:14

No, you can only take a swift action on your turn.

A swift action can be taken at any time a free action could be taken. A free action is an action. Unless something says otherwise, actions can only be taken on your turn. Neither the rules for swift actions nor free actions add an exception that lets them be taken out of turn.

Therefore, we can conclude without difficulty that swift actions are limited to being taken during your turn, just like most other actions are.

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