I'm mainly concerned about the effects that last "one round" and "until the end of turn" (like Stone Bones ToB p.84 and Inferno Blade ToB p. 54, respectively). My guess is that "until end of turn" effects end after you've taken your "standard" actions (one swift action, one move action, one standard action, or whatever the duration equivalent would be, like a full-round action), so the reactions you take on that round are not affected by that effect. On the contrary "one round" effects would be in effect until it's that PC's turn again.

However, my DM insists that both effects would last until that PC's turn comes again, having no distinction, even if it has different wording. So, really, what's a round and what's a turn in this case? Are they the same?


1 Answer 1


Just to clarify terminology some, a “turn” is one character’s opportunity to act for the round, and a “round” is the sequence of each character’s turns (so each round consists of several turns). In the normal course of play, each character gets one turn before any character gets a second turn (barring stuff like surprise, delayed or readied actions, and so on). Initiative is used to determine the order of turns: a round starts with the highest initiative among creatures participating in the combat, and then ticks downward until reaching the lowest initiative among creatures in the fight. Each creature’s turn occurs when the initiative tracker reaches the initiative they rolled (with ties being determined by Dexterity bonus). After the last creature has gone, the next round begins, restarting with the highest initiative (the actual border between one round and the next is not important for any purpose that I’m aware of, however).

A duration of 1 round lasts until the next time the initiative tracker returns to the same point it was at when the duration began. See The Combat Round:

For almost all purposes, there is no relevance to the end of a round or the beginning of a round. A round can be a segment of game time starting with the first character to act and ending with the last, but it usually means a span of time from one round to the same initiative count in the next round. Effects that last a certain number of rounds end just before the same initiative count that they began on.

(emphasis mine)

So under normal circumstances, if you start a 1-round effect on your turn, it will end just as your next turn begins. That effect does not affect that following turn (because it ends when the initiative reaches the number at which the turn would start), but it does affect the turns of every other creature in the fight (since, usually, every creature gets a turn before you get another one). (Abnormal circumstances might include delaying or readying, which change your initiative, but do not change the 1-round effect’s duration—that still ends when the initiative reaches whatever it was when you started it, even if that’s not when your turn is going to happen anymore.)

A 2-round duration is just the same, except it isn’t the next turn but the turn after that, and then 3-round is the turn after that, and so on and so forth.

“End of turn” refers, instead, to literally the end of your turn in a given round. That means that when the initiative tracker ticks down and other characters get opportunities to have their turns, the effect is over. For example, cloak of shadow gives invisibility for the duration of your turn, which means you can move, attack, or perform other move, standard, and/or full-round actions, all while invisible, but as soon as your turn is up, you become visible again and will remain visible for other creatures’ turns.


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