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If I'm in a threatened square can I take a 5-foot step back (to an non-threatened square) and perform a standard action like a ranged attack or cast a spell?

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up vote 15 down vote accepted


That is precisely how the 5-foot step rules work.

Watch Out Though

Step Up and its sequel feats are designed to counter this tactic; you may end up facing this down.

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Just an addendum to the other answer - yes, in general this is exactly how the 5 foot step works. As an added thing to watch for, you (generally) can't 5 foot step in difficult terrain, and so casting spells and using missile weapons often becomes harder in these sorts of areas. Being grappled also prevents you from moving at all unless you escape it, so this would also prevent a 5 foot step. – YogoZuno Mar 24 '14 at 21:38
In fact, you can take a 5 foot step and perform a full action. Or a standard and a move action other than moving. – mxyzplk Mar 25 '14 at 0:26
Reinforcing @mxyzplk, you explicitly cannot do a five-foot-step and then move as a Move action or vice versa. So no "5 foot step back, attack, move back 30 feet" shenanigans. – Sean Duggan Mar 25 '14 at 16:09

Can't remember if Pathfinder works the same, but in 3.5 you can use a standard action to perform a move action. But you can't 5 foot step in a turn in which you make a move.

So yes, you can 5 foot step and shoot/cast but you can't take a 5 foot step and then perform ANY standard action, such as 5 foot step and then 2 x 30 ft movements.

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Welcome to! Please take a look at the tour and the help center; they're a useful introduction to the site. If Pathfinder's rules for this are identical to 3.5's, this is useful--but it's not actually answering the question. Since Stack Exchange is a Q&A site (not a forum), every answer must stand on its own as a complete response to the question. When you have a bit more rep you can make this kind of thing a comment to enhance an existing answer. (And in the future, it's a good idea to make sure your answers are accurate to the system being asked about.) – BESW Mar 25 '14 at 4:01
Scott, please verify this is the case in Pathfinder and base your answer on Pathfinder's rules. 3.5e's rules do not necessarily have any relevance here. – doppelgreener Mar 25 '14 at 8:43

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