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The question arises from a single line in Actions In Combat. Table: Full-Round Actions contains it: "Prepare to throw splash weapon".

So is it true, you must spend a full-round action and then standart/attack action to attack once with something like alchemist's fire? What if you have two-weapon fighting and going to throw two of them? Do you need to prepare each of your weapons? In the later case, how long an item remains prepared and ready for a throw? Can't one just prepare all her splash weapons at the morning, for example?

Or is it just a leftover of some kind, and you generally need to just retrieve and throw your splash weapon, and it works?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also available in Pathfinder flavor! \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 6 '17 at 18:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Strange it didn't come out when I was typing a header. Thanks, that text from Oil has helped a lot! \$\endgroup\$ – annoying imp Apr 6 '17 at 19:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Oh. When I saw "splash weapon" I was thinking of a water gun. Carry on. \$\endgroup\$ – mbomb007 Apr 6 '17 at 21:35
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As far as I can tell, it’s a reference to preparing an oil flask à la Molotov, which uses “the rules for alchemist’s fire, except that it takes a full round action to prepare a flask with a fuse.”

Which makes the table entry really confusing, since it talks about splash weapons and not oil, but I guess they imagined that they would print things in the future that also worked like oil (for all I know, they may well have). Still could have done something like “Prepare some splash weapons, like oil, for throwing,” or something.

At any rate, text trumps table, per the errata rules. If the table is saying something that doesn’t show up in the text, ignore it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That reference on the table has been bothering me since 2003... \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Apr 6 '17 at 18:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan You've missed this: "You can use a flask of oil as a splash weapon. Use the rules for alchemist’s fire, except that it takes a full round action to prepare a flask with a fuse." PHB 127 \$\endgroup\$ – Ols Apr 6 '17 at 19:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ols You know, I actually looked for that because I seemed to remember something about it? But I must have looked right past the oil, looking for Molotov or something. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 6 '17 at 19:35
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Only oil and similar specific splash weapons that say they need to be prepared actually need to be prepared before they're thrown

The Player's Handbook (2000) for has Table 8–4: Miscellaneous Actions, and on it is listed the attack-of-opportunity-provoking full-round action Prepare to throw oil (128) and directs the reader to page 109.1 Page 109 of that text is the Equipment chapter's description of oil, largely unchanged from its appearance in the Player's Handbook for .

However, Table 8–2: Actions in Combat, the similar table in the Player's Handbook (2003) for , changes that older entry to the more general and, subsequently, confusing Prepare to throw splash weapon (141) and directs the reader to page 158. Page 158 of that text includes a description of the special attack the Throw Splash Weapon yet mentions nothing about preparing splash weapons!

I'd like to think the change was made in good faith, like maybe to allow future authors to design low-powered splash weapons that are like oil or a reviser overcorrected, thinking the original designers had made a mistake when, in fact, they didn't.

In short, oil is prepared with a fuse as a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity. Other splash weapons—unless they use similar language—are not. That is, were splash weapons to take a full-round action to prepare in addition to the time needed in their descriptions, that would make oil particularly terrible as it would take two full-round actions to use: one to prepare because of its description and a second because of the table!

If it makes things easier, try reading Prepare to throw splash weapon as Prepare to throw a splash weapon that has a fuse.


1 In many of the game's previous editions weaponized oil was a big deal: classes and, I think, even some alignments were allowed to or forbidden from employing weaponized oil. Omitting a special mention of Prepare to throw oil, I suspect, might've been construed as deviating too much from older editions, eliminating a touchstone players new to the edition yet coming from older editions might wonder about or lament the absence of. This is, of course, despite the game making oil among the last things one should invest in given the newer game's action economy.

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