At 4th level, an investigator can use a move action to study a single enemy that he can see. Upon doing so, he adds 1/2 his investigator level as an insight bonus on melee attack rolls and as a bonus on damage rolls against the creature. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to his Intelligence modifier (minimum 1) or until he deals damage with a studied strike, whichever comes first.

I am just not getting it. Let us assume I have a Level 4 Investigator with Int 16.

What is the right handling of Studied Conbat?

  1. The I invest a move action to get a +2/+2 for the next hit. If I want to hit the target again, using studied strike, I have to invest a move action after I hit him.
  2. I have to invest one move action to get 3 rounds of +2/+2 and then I have to invest another move action to get another +2/+2?

The damage bonus lasts “until he deals damage with a studied strike” (or goes 3 rounds without doing so), so as soon as you use a studied strike once with it, you lose the bonus and must study again to receive the bonus on further attacks.

If you don’t use the studied strike feature, and then use another move action to study within those 3 rounds, you get the bonus again—but it doesn’t stack. So the next time you attack, you have two overlapping sets of +2/+2, and only get to apply one of them to any given attack. There is no way to keep studying to pump the bonus larger. You also can’t create a stockpile of them: as soon as you use a studied strike, all of your studied combat bonuses go away. No studying several times, and then making a whole bunch of studied strikes in a row.

The only reason to study again when you have already studied and have the bonus waiting is in order to reset the duration (really, to get a second instance of the bonus that has a fresh 3-round duration).

  • \$\begingroup\$ The only benefit of using the ability again is resetting the duration. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Jan 19 '18 at 21:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras Good point, will mention that. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 19 '18 at 21:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Eh, I figured that was covered by “have the bonus waiting”—you don’t have the bonus waiting (for that target). \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 19 '18 at 22:10

Your second option is closest, but not quite accurate because there are two abilities involved. Studied Combat gives you +2/+2 for up to 3 rounds, and you can enjoy that on all your attacks. It ends after 3 rounds, or if you used (the separate Investigator ability) Studied Strike. Note that Studied Strike is only an option while Studied Combat is active.

You can invest another move action to get another +2/+2 at any time, but due to stacking rules this is only useful to reset the 3 round duration, or to start a fresh 3 rounds of +2/+2 benefits.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Studied Strike is a completely different EX (then studied combat) this is what I just realized. I guess I have 3 rounds of +2/+2 or until I use the +1d6 studied strike, then it is expiered and I have to invest another move action. \$\endgroup\$ – ruedi Jan 19 '18 at 21:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ruedi OOH. Well, that conflation caught me too. I'll update the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 19 '18 at 21:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ruedi There, that should be better. I can easily see why the ability was confusing in the first place. :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 19 '18 at 22:03

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