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I was working on a Monk in Pathfinder and carefully reading the entries when this occurred to me.

It states that as long as you have one or more ki points in your ki pool you can make a ki strike. There's no cost associated with using a ki strike, but ki abilities require a swift action to use unless otherwise stated. Is a ki strike only an attack action and thus can't be used in a flurry of blows?

I've always seen it used, and used it myself, as simply replacing the unarmed strike in whatever fashion it gets used, with no expenditure of additional resources such as using your swift action. I trust that this is the correct way of using it, but I would like to know for sure.

So does a ki strike require a swift action to use?

Is a ki strike a standard attack and thus can't be used with flurry? Or does it replace any/every unarmed attack you make?

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Ki Strikes are part of the Attack Action.

Let me explain why.

This is the original text from the Core Rulebook, let me bold the important parts:

Ki Pool (Su): At 4th level, a monk gains a pool of ki points, supernatural energy he can use to accomplish amazing feats. The number of points in a monk's ki pool is equal to 1/2 his monk level + his Wisdom modifier. As long as he has at least 1 point in his ki pool, he can make a ki strike. At 4th level, ki strike allows his unarmed attacks to be treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. At 7th level, his unarmed attacks are also treated as cold iron and silver for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. At 10th level, his unarmed attacks are also treated as lawful weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. At 16th level, his unarmed attacks are treated as adamantine weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction and bypassing hardness.

There is no mention of what kind of action is a ki strike, so the rules say it should be a standard action, but since it does mention that his unarmed attacks are treated as , we conclude that Ki Strikes are part of the Attack Action. They dont take any kind of action, they are simply a special unarmed strike that has some ki, making it magical somehow.

I split the text in two parts so we can easily see the differences in the mechanics, notice bellow how three uses, all those that spend ki points, are said to use swift actions, and how they are on another paragraph.

By spending 1 point from his ki pool, a monk can make one additional attack at his highest attack bonus when making a flurry of blows attack. In addition, he can spend 1 point to increase his speed by 20 feet for 1 round. Finally, a monk can spend 1 point from his ki pool to give himself a +4 dodge bonus to AC for 1 round. Each of these powers is activated as a swift action. A monk gains additional powers that consume points from his ki pool as he gains levels.

The ki pool is replenished each morning after 8 hours of rest or meditation; these hours do not need to be consecutive.

We can sum up that the following abilities are Swift Actions and use up 1 Ki Point:

  • Make one additional attack at his highest attack bonus when making a flurry of blows attack,
  • or Increase his speed by 20 feet for 1 round,
  • or Give himself a +4 dodge bonus to AC for 1 round.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Because their part of the attack action this also lets them get used in a flurry of blows? \$\endgroup\$ – Fering May 28 '15 at 17:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is correct. They can use ki strikes with any attack action, be it a standard action, full-round action or attack of opportunity. You can just say that a "ki strike" is an empowered unarmed strike. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras May 28 '15 at 17:51

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