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Playing a Pathfinder Infiltrator Ranger. What kind of action does it take to activate the Infiltrator Ranger power for this archetype during combat?

Adaptation (Ex): At 3rd level, an infiltrator learns how to copy the unusual abilities of his prey. He chooses one type of creature he has selected as a favored enemy, such as “aberrations.” The Ranger selects one ability or feat from the adaptation list for that type (see below). A Ranger can use adaptations for 10 minutes per day per Ranger level he possesses. This duration does not need to be consecutive, but it must be used in 10-minute increments. If the adaptation requires the Ranger to make a more specific choice (such as what skill to use with Skill Focus), this choice is permanent and cannot be changed.

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The Adaption class feature is labelled as an extraordinary (Ex) ability. The rules have this to say about (Ex) abilities.

Using an extraordinary ability is usually not an action because most extraordinary abilities automatically happen in a reactive fashion. Those extraordinary abilities that are actions are usually standard actions that cannot be disrupted, do not require concentration, and do not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Well, now we know it is either free or a standard action. It's a little muddy because this is an (Ex) ability that grants a second ability, but I'd lean towards saying it's not an action to use.

Reactive or not, the rules state that (Ex) do not usually require an action to activate; that gives guidance in cases where the action isn't specified. I wouldn't hold it against a DM who ruled otherwise, though.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed, seems to me this case is logically a free action, but you have to use the relevant action for the thing you're adapting to use it. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Sep 12 '12 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd be curious how one would rule using the Adaptation to get Iron Will (+2 will saves) in response to being targeted by a spell, or for Natural Armor (+2) when targeted by an attack \$\endgroup\$ – John Grabanski Apr 16 at 0:13

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