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I have just discovered an entry in the Combat section that says "Prepare to throw splash weapon" is a full-round action.

This partly baffles me, but maybe because I have a wrong definition of "splash weapon". Is Alchemist's Fire a splash weapon?

You can throw a flask of alchemist's fire as a splash weapon.

At least it can be used as one it seems.

Oil gets:

You can also use a flask of oil as a splash weapon. Use the rules for alchemist's fire (see Special Substances and Items on Table: Goods and Services), except that it takes a full-round action to prepare a flask with a fuse.

Meaning it does not take a full-round action to... what? Prepare an Alchemist's Fire with a fuse? Prepare an Alchemist's Fire? Prepare a splash weapon in general? This is very confusing to me right now.

Does this ever apply to the Bombs of the Alchemist class? I'd say no since it very explicitely says

Drawing the components of, creating, and throwing a bomb requires a standard action

... but I'm starting to question my understanding of things :)

I used to think throwable alchemical substances were used like any other attack. Standard action for a ranged attack, thingie explodes on contact, boom, yay! At worst, you'd need a Move action to retrieve/draw it.

So what does it end up being? Move to retrieve, Full-round to prepare, Standard to throw? That's the worst-case scenario I can come up with. It would seem overkill for such items but maybe that's what it's been all along.

I'm looking for RAW, and RAI if they differ, so I can form my own opinion on how I want to rule it on my own game.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Don't Worry About It

That entry on the Table: Actions in Combat really is for preparing splash weapons that need to be prepared, and the action that needs to be taken to do so really is only for preparing those splash weapons that actually say they take full-round actions to prepare.

Proving a negative ("Alchemist's fire doesn't take a full-round action to prepare") is really hard because the rules usually enable rather than negate, but you've found, I think, in lamp oil, literally the only splash weapon that actually takes a full-round action to prepare. How do do we know? Because lamp oil says it takes a full-round action to prepare. Items list how they're used in their descriptions, so lamp oil takes that long to prepare and alchemist's fire doesn't take any time at all.

That table entry is for completeness not for general application. Otherwise, lamp oil would take two full-round actions to prepare, the first for its description and the second for the entry on the table.

"But I want to use all the rules!"
That's cool. The rules are there, so you should use them. Try this: Yes, creatures must spend a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity to prepare a splash weapon. But, as there's no further information about this table entry anywhere, the splash weapon can be prepared at any time--like right after it's purchased, maybe while the purchaser's still standing in the shop--, and then that splash weapon is prepared forever. Thereafter, the splash weapon's used just like it says in the splash weapon's description. Maybe splash weapons are all sold in clamshell packaging or whatever.

Note
That same entry was in Dungeons and Dragons, 3rd Edition, and that entry only ever applied to oil in that game, too.

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+1 for clamshell packaging –  mingold Apr 20 at 22:58

Here is an example of play that I think will help:

Crap, I didn't know Orcs were prone to riding horses. They are coming up on our tail fast, and here we are with no bows. Well a least we have this cart full of stuff from that alchemist shop. I'll keep the horses running you start throwing bottles.

What are you doing back there? Preparing them? For what, that isn't oil. No it doesn't need a fuse, it lights automatically when it hit the air. Cool is right so skip the full round and start throwing!

Okay, is it in your hand? No, huh, maybe you should get one out of the crates. That is going to be a move action.

Great, you have it in hand and it is all ready to go. Throw that thing man! Use that standard action! Make that attack roll!

And that is how I talked my buddy through his first encounter with Orcs. Real shame on his third throw he rolled a 1 and the DM blew up our cart. But now we are in a Ghost Walk game, so I got a bunch of mechanics I got to learn. Hope my story helped.


But seriously

Full round action to prepare is only needed if you yourself need to put components together on the fly. The oft used example is lamp oil and a fuse, most likely a rag or strip of cloth.

Alchemist fire and acid is already bottled, stoppered, and ready to rock when you buy it. Just throw it and use the splash rules.

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