Most strikes in the Tome of Battle state

As part of this maneuver, make a single melee attack...

Does this mean that you can make that single attack a Decisive Strike by spending a full-round action instead of the usual standard action that the strikes require? If it doesn't, is there a specific wording that let's Stunning Fist be used as a Decisive Strike while the maneuvers aren't?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ A little sideways to the issue, but you may also be interested in this question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 15:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is indeed interesting, never thought of that and now I never will since it seems it's not possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – Karrion42
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


The alternative class feature decisive strike (Player's Handbook II 51), in part, says, "As a full-round action, make one attack with an unarmed strike or a special monk weapon, using your highest base attack bonus but taking a –2 penalty on this attack roll." In other words, an attacker takes a full-round action to make a decisive strike, and it is a unique full-round action: A decisive strike is a new option the character has because of the alternative class feature.

A martial maneuver's Initiation Action entry lists the action type necessary for the maneuver's initiation (e.g. full-round, standard, swift). Because a creature typically can't—for lack of a better term—layer simultaneously two incompatible actions (e.g. a full-round action to make a decisive strike on top of a standard action to initiate the maneuver mountain hammer), a martial maneuver that's a strike can't typically be combined with the alternative class feature decisive strike. (A martial maneuver that's a boost usually can, however.)

On the other hand, the feat Stunning Fist (Player's Handbook 101) can be used "before you make your attack roll" and doing so has no associated action type. Declaring that it's being used is, essentially, not an action. This makes the feat Stunning Fist compatible with the alternative class feature decisive strike and likewise compatible with any appropriate Tome of Battle maneuver that require an attack roll.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So you could say that Decisive Strike is a "maneuver" in itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – Karrion42
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 18:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Karrion42 Sort of. It's a new full-round action that can be taken, like the benefit of the feat Spring Attack. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 18:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Its status as a unique full-round action comes with a lot of drawbacks. For example, decisive strike does not grant additional attacks whole hasted. Another huge drawback, for some races anyway, is that decisive strike does not allow for additional natural weapon attacks. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 23:42

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