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I've just recently become interested in playing Pathfinder. I like the role of a cleric as the backbone of a group that makes sure everything goes smoothly and has a great role in controlling a battle.

I want to make a buff-centric cleric, but the concept of duration leaves me puzzled. For example, If I cast the first-level Bless spell, which lasts for one minute at me level. In game time, this translates to 10 rounds.

Am i understanding correctly when I believe that during a turn, everybody takes an action, and that each of those actions take one round?

If that's the case, does that mean that, in a one-on-one situation, I would enjoy my increased attack rolls for 5 rounds? And likewise, If this was a 10-man brawl, I would only enjoy them for one round?

So in essence, this would make timed buffs decrease in effectiveness as the battle increases in scale? How does that make any sense?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Added a Pathfinder tag, athough something a little more general might be appropriate, as lots of RPGs use the same terminology. \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye Nov 16 '14 at 23:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the dungeons-and-dragons tag is actually appropriate here, this applies to all editions I've seen (though a 'round' or 'turn' used to be a much longer interval) \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 17 '14 at 7:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Before D&D3, a round was a minute and a turn was 10 minutes, so the question and answer wouldn’t work well for AD&D, but it makes sense for all later versions. \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye Nov 17 '14 at 22:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BraddSzonye But the exact amount of time passing doesn't matter at all, the point is that all of the characters act during a round or a turn, and, while their actions might take a round to complete, the whole round is one unit of time. Whether that time is 6 seconds (pathfinder) or 10 minutes (AD&D and Basic D&D (and earlier, IIRC)) is irrelevant. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 18 '14 at 7:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer The exact time does matter because the spell duration is in minutes. And in AD&D, a turn is not once per round, which affects answers written for othe editions. \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye Nov 18 '14 at 8:20
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In Pathfinder, you take actions on your turn. Normally, everyone gets a turn in each round. So in a one-on-one situation, you will take a turn, and your opponent will take a turn, and both together make up a single round. You will get ten turns before the spell expires, one in each round. You’d get the same ten turns in the ten-man brawl; everyone gets one turn per round.

This is true not only for Pathfinder, but also for other games in the D&D family, many other RPGs, and even most board and card games. The term round essentially means “once around the table” – a turn for everybody.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you telling us there are spells with their duration expressed in turns? (I guess you wanted to say you'd get the same ten rounds before the spell expires, even in a ten-man brawl) \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Nov 17 '14 at 18:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ The latter. A minute long spell lasts ten rounds, not ten turns. \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye Nov 17 '14 at 20:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, you as in your character gets then turns, then? Because in that sspell duration 100 turns happen. \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Nov 17 '14 at 22:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Correct. I can edit the answer if you think it’s not clear enough. \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye Nov 17 '14 at 22:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for clearing that up for me. I was under the impression that a turn consisted of everybody having played, and that everybody took 6 seconds each, one after the other. I didn't expect them all to act within that 6 seconds. I'm not sure where I got that notion of turn from (from Baldur's Gate, maybe? it's where most of my D&D experience comes from), but I'm glad it's been cleared up. \$\endgroup\$ – Ashizen Nov 21 '14 at 0:36
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You need to go back and read the basic rules in The Combat Round and Actions In Combat. How time and actions work in Pathfinder isn't simple enough to fully explain in a RPG.SE answer.

The key is to divorce talk of "actions" - specific things your character does - from "rounds" and "turns." You can take multiple actions on your turn (like a standard and a move action); you can do multiple things in one action (like moving and drawing your weapon as part of a move action); you can take some actions not during your turn (immediate actions). You can get a bunch of actions in a round, both on your turn and off of it. This doesn't affect the march of time in rounds. A round consists of everyone's turn(s), but isn't defined by it. Heck, some Mythic abilities let you get a second full turn sometime during the same round.

Some buffs do last for an action or some other increment of "things you do." True Strike is a good example, it works on your next attack and then it's gone (even if that attack was some immediate response to something else not on your normal turn). Most buffs work on rounds or minutes, however, and they last the same amount of time regardless of the number of actions going on in that time.

A high level fighter, on their turn in the round, can use a full-round action to make two attacks. If he has haste cast on him he can get a third attack at the same time. He can also use a swift action to activate a magic item or ability in that turn. This is still all part of their one turn in one combat round. He's high level so he can do more faster in the same amount of time. Buffs that are incremented in rounds (approximately 6 seconds in game time) don't have their duration affected by all those actions, only by the passing of time.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Good explanation, although I think the key point that the OP might be missing is that everyone's actions/turns occur during the same 6-second round, rather than being 6-second turns laid end to end. +1 \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye Nov 17 '14 at 17:53
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Am i understanding correctly when I believe that during a turn, everybody takes an action, and that each of those actions take one round?

Not quite: each of those player's actions occurs once during a round. For example, if there are three participants in a combat, each take their actions during a single combat round, usually during their turn. And if a fourth participant enters the fray, the number of actions happening during the round increases. So when you cast a spell like bless, its effects last for 10 consecutive rounds, not 10 actions, nor 10 turns, consecutive, parallel or otherwise.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Using "action" to mean "turn" is confusing at best and going to get dogpiled with downvotes at worst. Perhaps fix that up? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 16 '14 at 23:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ A responding to the OP using the OPs language. \$\endgroup\$ – Lexible Nov 16 '14 at 23:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's an opportunity to resolve the confusion instead of spreading it. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 17 '14 at 3:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Actually, talking about actions is a much better idea than talking about turns, because you don't necessarily only go on your turn in a round, nor do you necessarily only go once. If we want to resolve the confusion, we should talk about both. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 17 '14 at 7:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer But that's not the locus of the asker's confusion. They're confused about turns and rounds, because they think actions = turns = rounds. Using the asker's own misused terms to half-correct them without explaining the correct terms and how they relate is just setting them up for further confusion, which is the problem with this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 17 '14 at 23:42

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