Say I want to use the Tome of Battle maneuver Moment of Perfect Mind, a maneuver that replaces my Will save with the equivalent Concentration Check.

Out of combat, my warblade and an enemy wizard are negotiating over the price of ferrets. While we are talking he casts a quickened spell of Charm Person.

I have Moment of Perfect Mind readied. Can I use the counter to save as an immediate action, or am I considered flat-footed?

  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie The linked question does not raise the question of being flat-footed, and the answer to it doesn’t address it. That’s a separate issue from merely whether or not maneuvers can be used at all outside combat. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 4:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I see the crux now! I gave it a roughly more fitting title. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 4:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Yeah, that’s probably better. Confusion around what counts as combat in surprise situations/when combat actually starts is pretty common, so thinking of this situation as “out of combat” isn’t all that uncommon (and usually the source of questions; as soon as “that is combat” is pointed out the answer usually become clear), so some of that is lost, but ultimately it’s probably better. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 4:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's "Tome" not "Tomb" ;x \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 7:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. damn phones \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 12:04

3 Answers 3


Yes, regardless of whether or not you have been instructed to roll initiative you can use Moment of Perfect Mind, since its description specifies it can be used at any time (a case of specific beating general).

As per the description of Moment of Perfect Mind:

You can use this maneuver any time you would be required to make a Will save.

Although it requires an immediate action, the rules text in this case specifies that that action can be taken even when one ordinarily couldn't as long as a condition is met (you are required to make a Will save).

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Couldn't this same argument be used to argue you can use it even when you cannot use an immediate action for other reasons (status conditions, e.g. unconsciousness, or simply having already used an immediate action since your last turn)? This is a reasonable argument but I'm not convinced by it, at least yet. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 12:00
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Now I'm concerned. I mean, if any time you would be required to make a Will save should be taken absolutely literally, then should that include multiple times per round when flat-footed even if the dude doesn't have the maneuver readied? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 14:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ The same can’t be said for feather fall (or, for that matter, moment of perfect mind) if we don’t assume that the trigger information of the maneuver implicitly supersedes the general rules of immediate actions. Which I’m becoming more and more convinced isn’t valid. I could support houseruling feather fall and moment of perfect mind to being usable while flat-footed. I don’t think I can support attempting to read that exception into the existing text, with concern for what else that interpretation would logically apply to, and what precedent that sets. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 20:15
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't hold water. Yes, you can use it at any time, and in order to use it, you must still pay its cost. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 0:30
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ There's no conflict. It's like saying "I can go buy things from amazon at any time" (after all, the site is open 24/7), but taking that to mean that I can do so without an Internet connection or money in my bank account. Timing never comes into the cost aspect--I can do it at any time, but there's still an unrelated barrier at this particular moment in time. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 0:33

As soon as the wizard wants to cast charm person on the warblade, combat has started. Matters should follow as normal for surprise combat:

  1. The warblade may have an opportunity to notice the wizard was up to something, perhaps Sense Motive or possibly even Spellcraft. This would be as a “replacement” for the usual Spot vs. Hide, Listen vs. Move Silently checks that precede a typical ambush by stealth. The rules don’t really cover situations like this very well (so far as I know), so the DM will have to make something up.

    (Or the DM rules that this is not a surprise situation.)

  2. Initiative should be rolled.

  3. There is a surprise round. (Again, probably; if not, just assume the warblade passed any tests there might have been in step 1.)

    If the warblade recognized that the wizard was up to something and was just waiting for the wizard to try, and reacted quickly enough (read: passed whatever tests the DM chose for step 1, and beat the wizard’s initiative in step 2), the warblade goes first. He may wish to avoid any overt actions prior to the wizard’s spellcasting, in which case he might delay or ready an action. Either way, his turn has come up and he is no longer flat-footed.

    If the warblade failed to recognize the threat, he does not act in the surprise round. No matter what his initiative is, he is flat-footed and cannot use moment of perfect mind.

    If the warblade recognized the threat, but did not beat the wizard’s initiative, he is too slow and is still flat-footed when charm person is cast. He cannot use moment of perfect mind in this case either.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 12:45

There are two questions here. One is about a surprise round, and the other is about being flat-footed.

The Rules As Written say:

When a combat starts, if you are not aware of your opponents and they are aware of you, you’re surprised.

In this scenario, you are arguing with a wizard and therefore are aware of the wizard. If the only participants in the scene are you and the wizard, it is not possible for you to be surprised.

Some DMs might rule that you can still be surprised if you are aware of the wizard but not aware that the wizard is a potential enemy, but that is a house rule. (The link provided by KRyan's answer has some more discussion of this.)

Using moment of perfect mind is an immediate action, and the rules for immediate actions say:

You also cannot use an immediate action if you are flat-footed.

So: if the wizard wants to spellcast at you, then the two of you roll initiative, and if the wizard beats your initiative then you cannot use this discipline.


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