Whirlwind Attack Feat (WWA)

When you use the full-attack action, you can give up your regular attacks and instead make one melee attack at your highest base attack bonus against each opponent within reach. You must make a separate attack roll against each opponent. When you use the Whirlwind Attack feat, you also forfeit any bonus or extra attacks granted by other feats, spells, or abilities.

Standard Action: Melee Attack

With a normal melee weapon, you can strike any opponent within 5 feet. (Opponents within 5 feet are considered adjacent to you.) Some melee weapons have reach, as indicated in their descriptions. With a typical reach weapon, you can strike opponents 10 feet away, but you can’t strike adjacent foes (those within 5 feet).

So the feat WWA simply says that you are allowed a melee attack but doesnt state what kind. I included the rules I found for a melee attack which comes from the combat rules. Is it limited to this singluar type of attack, or do options such as vital strike get allowed, as vital strike IS a standard action melee attack, just like the other attack.

Now to further complicate matters, I am bringing Path of War into this. Would you be allowed to use single target strike maneuvers that are melee attacks? Would you be able to have the strike apply to each attack in the WWA or would you be required to use a different strike for each enemy provided it was a standard single target melee attack?

So to end with, could someone use WWA to use vital strike or POW strikes to every enemy within reach?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @YogoZuno See this FAQ for why your comment was removed. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ Aug 14, 2018 at 0:37

3 Answers 3


No. When you make a Whirlwind Attack you are using your full action already. To use vital strike you need a standard melee attack. Whirlwind Attack just gives you an attack, not an attack action.

Benefit: When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon’s damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision-based damage, and other damage bonuses. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total.

The action term is key.

Strike maneuvers generally require you to use an action or a full action and as such cannot be used with Whirlwind Attack.

Strikes almost always require a standard or full- round action. Most involve a melee or ranged attack as part of completing the maneuver. If the attack hits, your opponent takes normal melee or ranged damage, as well as suffering the effect of the strike. When making a strike, you use your base attack bonus, all attack and damage modifiers, weapon damage, and so forth, as normal. You can make a critical hit with a strike, but you do not multiply extra damage from a strike when calculating the critical hit damage. It is treated just as extra damage from another special ability would be (like deadly strike damage or damage from a flaming weapon).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Whirlwind doesnt specifically state the kind of melee attack required, so could you show some form of evidence that this restriction is actually imposed rather than it being a common sense or RAI? \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Aug 14, 2018 at 2:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ "and instead make one melee attack" It does- as my answer notes, whirlwind doesn't say you get an extra attack action. You need an extra attack action to trigger vital strike. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nepene Nep
    Aug 14, 2018 at 2:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ When you make a Whirlwind Attack you are using your full action already. I just want to clarify this. Whirlwind Attack requires a full-round, not to confuse with the Full Attack action, which is a type of full-round action, like Whirlwind Attack. "Full" (or "full action") is not actually an action. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Aug 14, 2018 at 12:16

It can be any sort of melee attack you want

For example, you could attack two enemies with a sickle in one hand, attack sixteen more with a scorpion whip in your off-hand, and then make an unarmed strike with your head against another.

If you were holding the charge for a touch spell, you could even attempt to use that as part of a whirlwind attack, possibly even multiple times if you initially missed.

Some spells-- like produce flame, as well as feats-- like Quick Reposition, give you expanded options for things you can do as a melee attack. These options are also available as part of a whirlwind attack, because they consume melee attacks rather than more traditional actions.

The things you are suggesting, though, aren't melee attacks

Vital Strike is a specific standard action you can take. You cannot take it instead of or in modification to a melee attack.

Path of War, as far as I can tell, offers no strikes that can take the place of a melee attack, but rather strikes take actions to make (usually a standard action). Boosts and Stances can improve the attacks you make with Whirlwind Attack, but as you have neither actions remaining nor the ability to make additional attacks even should you have extra actions from some source, strikes can't.

The important distinction here is between things that require a melee attack as part of their use and things that are (or replace) melee attacks. The former are unusable with whirlwind attack. The latter are typically compatible.


A melee attack is one d20 roll using your attack bonus against the target's AC. Because it is a melee attack you also add your Strength bonus. Whirlwind Attack is a full-round action that allows you to make multiple melee attacks against all enemies within melee range of your character. Being a full-round action, you cannot combine it with another full-round, standard or move actions.

There are many parts of the rules that refer to making such attacks as "melee attacks", from attacks of opportunity, to sunder and disarm maneuvers, to making melee attacks while using the Full Attack full-round action. While there is also the standard action called Attack (and not "Melee Attack"), which is its own action and also allows you to make a melee attack as one of its possible options.

The core rulebook is confusing on that aspect because of the name they gave that action (inherited from 3.5), and they attempted to clarify that on the Melee Tactics Toolbox when describing the Types of Actions:

Full-Round Action: A few combat options are full-round actions (such as Spring Attack and the full-attack action) or modify specific full-round actions (such as the extra attack from the haste spell). These options can’t be combined with attack actions or other standard actions, but can be used with options that take the place of a melee attack.

Melee Attack: While a melee attack isn’t an action type itself, many options and other rules affect melee attacks. Some combat options (such as the disarm and sunder combat maneuvers) can be used anytime you make a melee attack, including attacks of opportunity. These options can’t be combined with each other (a single melee attack can be a disarm or sunder combat maneuver, but not both), but they can be combined with options that modify an attack action or are standard or full-round actions. Some options that take or modify melee attacks have limitations—for example, Stunning Fist can be used only once per round.

Standard Action: Some combat options (such as Cleave) are standard actions that allow you to make an attack, but don’t count as the attack action. These options can’t be combined with other standard actions or options that modify only attack actions (such as Vital Strike).

This confusion is mostly caused due to how the (official) PRD and (unofficial) SRD organize and display that information, really. If you open the CRB it should be less confusing, as the action names have a different formatting from the text describing them.

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