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Can a zombie or a staggered creature perform a coup de grace? I'm wonder for both 3.5 and Pathfinder.

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Yes

Because of its interaction with the action economy, the option is rarely used, but in both games a creature can take a standard action in two successive turns to perform a full round action (see here for 3.5e and here under Start/Complete Full-Round Action for Pathfinder). That is, the creature, at the end of the first turn, takes a standard action to start the full-round action, then, at the beginning of the second turn, takes a standard action to finish the full round action. In both games, however, some full-round actions remain impossible for the creature to perform, but a coup de grace shouldn't be among these.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As I recall, that option is only available when you cannot use a full-round action normally, not an option you can always use. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 31 '17 at 0:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Not so far as I'm aware. A partial charge, for example, can only be taken when you're, like, slowed or whatever, but otherwise it's a general option available to anybody. You can follow the links to confirm. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 31 '17 at 0:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, I must have been conflating partial charges with the general option. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 31 '17 at 0:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan It looks like you're wrong this time. And I can see where the confusion may come from. The PHB gives an example where a PC is limited to a standard action. But this example starts with 'for instance', thus it is not the only situation where this action is allowed. But it is for sure one of that few situations where it can be worth taking. \$\endgroup\$ – Ols May 31 '17 at 0:32

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