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Using movement-related Combat Maneuvers on an ally?


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If PC A wanted to move PC B (an ally ) during A's turn, would using Combat Manoeuvres (Bullrush, Drag, or Reposition) be the best solution? If so, would there be any difference in calculating B's CMD (assuming a willingness to be moved in such a fashion)?

Or should it simply be a function of A's Strength and movement? Something like a "Spring Pick Up and Carry" action or feat? (PC A moves if necessary, picks up B, and finishes rest of movement.)


I would say that a player could use any of those to move any target... so I'd use whichever one benefits the player more.

I might force a drag only if the ally was unconscious.

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Cure Light Wounds requires a touch attack to successfully "inflict" the spell on the target. You never roll for that when you're using it to heal your companions, of course, so the assumption is that they let you hit them. I would say the same thing holds true for combat maneuvers that would improve the position of a willing target.

Hell, even "unwilling" targets. I had one player go to grapple one of the creatures they encountered in the first round of a fight. No one had done any knowledge checks on the creatures. Turns out they have an automatic poison attack they inflict if they are grappling an opponent. I let the character "hit" with his grapple with no role. Worry ensued (rightfully so)...


For a friendly shove, I'd give the ally the helpless condition for the purpose of the check, but still do the check to simulate how they might just be a big thing that's hard to move.


If a PC tries to taxi another PC to get around the inability to move & full attack, I rule that the PC who was moved out of turn has already moved that much distance. They can elect to use the remaining movement of his move action when thier turn begins, but will be unable to launch a full attack that turn.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks for the answers, folks!

My concern about PC B's CMD is based on the fact that the effect of some Combat Manoeuvres (especially distance moved) depends upon how well PC A's CMB roll does against PC B's CMD.

I wasn't asking for the purpose of moving someone else so that they can full attack, but that is a valid point to consider with regard to "cheese". Maybe a simple 5' tax on PC B's next turn and movement? (Just to simulate PC B getting back into a fighting posture after being dragged/bullrushed/repositioned.)

The reason for the question was that in a recent game, one PC tried to get a flat-footed (and very squishy) caster PC out of the front line when the party was ambushed.


Bellona wrote:

Thanks for the answers, folks!

My concern about PC B's CMD is based on the fact that the effect of some Combat Manoeuvres (especially distance moved) depends upon how well PC A's CMB roll does against PC B's CMD.

I wasn't asking for the purpose of moving someone else so that they can full attack, but that is a valid point to consider with regard to "cheese". Maybe a simple 5' tax on PC B's next turn and movement? (Just to simulate PC B getting back into a fighting posture after being dragged/bullrushed/repositioned.)

The reason for the question was that in a recent game, one PC tried to get a flat-footed (and very squishy) caster PC out of the front line when the party was ambushed.

I think you can do that. You're giving up your action (moving a fellow PC) to give them better positioning, save their life, or whatever. The tradeoff of actions may be worth it, may not be, depending on the situation, but I see no reason to prevent it.

In 3.5, there were rules about trying to be hit by party members' attacks. Basically, you took your flatfooted AC and subtracted Dex again, representing you leaning into the attack. Making a party member roll against that CMD (CMD - 2x Dex mod) would make sense to me, but it would be up to the GM of course.


Flat Footed AC Subtracting dex again, sounds like a very reasonable except on one point.

under these circumstances, an unconsious player would be better off than a conscious player trying to be hit.

I would calculate an AC with a Dex of 0 (Dex Bonus = -5) Subtracting again the persons dex for leaning into it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bellona wrote:

Thanks for the answers, folks!

My concern about PC B's CMD is based on the fact that the effect of some Combat Manoeuvres (especially distance moved) depends upon how well PC A's CMB roll does against PC B's CMD.

I wasn't asking for the purpose of moving someone else so that they can full attack, but that is a valid point to consider with regard to "cheese". Maybe a simple 5' tax on PC B's next turn and movement? (Just to simulate PC B getting back into a fighting posture after being dragged/bullrushed/repositioned.)

The reason for the question was that in a recent game, one PC tried to get a flat-footed (and very squishy) caster PC out of the front line when the party was ambushed.

Melissa Litwin wrote:

I think you can do that. You're giving up your action (moving a fellow PC) to give them better positioning, save their life, or whatever. The tradeoff of actions may be worth it, may not be, depending on the situation, but I see no reason to prevent it.

In 3.5, there were rules about trying to be hit by party members' attacks. Basically, you took your flatfooted AC and subtracted Dex again, representing you leaning into the attack. Making a party member roll against that CMD (CMD - 2x Dex mod) would make sense to me, but it would be up to the GM of course.

Thanks for that answer! Would you be able to supply the rules source and page number? I'd love to read up it myself, but I can't seem to find it in either the PHB or the Rules Compendium - which is quite frustrating as I seem to recall something similar myself. (Maybe it was in the 3.0 PHB?)


Frankthedm wrote:
If a PC tries to taxi another PC to get around the inability to move & full attack, I rule that the PC who was moved out of turn has already moved that much distance. They can elect to use the remaining movement of his move action when thier turn begins, but will be unable to launch a full attack that turn.

I'm with Frank on this one. A lot about how I would rule would depend on the intent. If a PC is stunned while in a wall of fire. Sure, I would let another PC push him to safety. If you are trying to move another PC so he can move and full attack, forget about it.

In any case, I wouldn't allow them to automatically succeed or else you end up with the pixie pushing the giant out of the way. I would let the target forgo Strength and Dexterity modifiers to CMD. (Under the Climb skill there is precedent for voluntarily giving up a Dexterity bonus).


A bit of thread necromancy here.

This came up IMC, and my ruling was that you can forego BAB and Dex bonus on your CMD, but not the Strength or Size bonuses (as these reflect mass and size).

The case in point was to move a healer through the giant threatened zone of a Titan Centipede to deliver a Breath of Life spell, so timing was critical. Both the healer and the dead hero were prone, but I did not let that make things easier.

I had the same thoughts about using this to enable a full attack you had on this thread, and the same doubts. I hope this never comes up in play. :o But my players are very tolerant of rulings, so I can simply say no or give it some cost on the fly.


I really wish this was something the devs would address.

And for the most part I'm against it.

Most combat maneuvers start out something like "You can only bull rush an opponent who is no more than one size category larger than you."

I don't personally like the players moving other players around to subvert the normal action economy rules.


you can just use reposition and the player can choose to not fight against it and it just moves them.


I am torn, because I don't really mind a player giving up actions to allow another player to be kept in the game, I am firmly against them using such an ability to give another character pseudo-pounce.
That said it should logically be possible to bull rush, drag or reposition an ally, and easier to do so than an opponent.

I don't know of a neat way to deal with this dilemma.


dragonhunterq wrote:

I am torn, because I don't really mind a player giving up actions to allow another player to be kept in the game, I am firmly against them using such an ability to give another character pseudo-pounce.

That said it should logically be possible to bull rush, drag or reposition an ally, and easier to do so than an opponent.

I don't know of a neat way to deal with this dilemma.

A house rule of allowing it, but the movement uses up the actions of the character on their next turn(s).

I mention turns because in theory it could be possible (though incredibly arbitrary) for a party to line up with readied actions to move one party member well beyond the normal 60ft they might be able to move in a single round.

If the character is forced to use up their subsequent action economy then I wouldn't have a problem with it.


I have a reposition focused character with a whip that I have used to move PC's around the battlefield, both to get people out of trouble and to set up flanks and full attacks. The GM's usually rule that the players can forgo Strength, Dex, and BAB bonus, but size bonuses or penalties still apply.


You can always willingly let an attack hit you, as much as you can always willingly fail a save or fail your own attack or skill check. Combat Maneuvers are attacks, so therefore you can let them affect you with no roll.

What does this mean for the system? Iunno. They're your actions. Frankly it's not the end of the world if you let players do this. By the rules they're fully entitled to it.


Claxon wrote:

I really wish this was something the devs would address.

And for the most part I'm against it.

Most combat maneuvers start out something like "You can only bull rush an opponent who is no more than one size category larger than you."

I don't personally like the players moving other players around to subvert the normal action economy rules.

But you are not subverting the action economy. Actions are being spent to accomplish movement. It is no different than a caster spending his action to Teleport of Dimension Door someone so that they can full attack on their turn.


You are subverting it.

Consider that a spell caster moves up next to enemy to deliver a touch attack spell. Delivering the spell, having not killed the enemy has left the wizard right next to the BBEG in prime position for a little revenge. Except the wizards friend who is standing nearby uses re-position to get the wizard out of harms way and also keeps the BBEG from moving towards the wizard without eating at least one AoO.

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The rules only let you use combat maneuvers on opponents. I'm not a fan of allowing a monk to "bull rush" an ally 50 feet into position because of an autosuccess. Conceptually there's also big difference between letting an ally touch you and letting them shove you around out of your control. IMC you have to make combat maneuvers against the full CMD of your friend, or they can drop their Dex bonus against everyone because they're letting themselves be moved.


True, it says opponent, so a combat maneuver would be a PvP action, which is generally allowed even in PFS as long as the target gives permission.


Claxon wrote:

You are subverting it.

Consider that a spell caster moves up next to enemy to deliver a touch attack spell. Delivering the spell, having not killed the enemy has left the wizard right next to the BBEG in prime position for a little revenge. Except the wizards friend who is standing nearby uses re-position to get the wizard out of harms way and also keeps the BBEG from moving towards the wizard without eating at least one AoO.

And that friend expended her own action economy to do so. This is fine.


Claxon wrote:


I mention turns because in theory it could be possible (though incredibly arbitrary) for a party to line up with readied actions to move one party member well beyond the normal 60ft they might be able to move in a single round.

Nothing theoretical about it. Melee characters all delay/ready and the wizard uses Dimension Door to move everyone into position.

Reposition/Drag is just the melee version. Less efficient, uses no consumable resources.


blahpers wrote:
Claxon wrote:

You are subverting it.

Consider that a spell caster moves up next to enemy to deliver a touch attack spell. Delivering the spell, having not killed the enemy has left the wizard right next to the BBEG in prime position for a little revenge. Except the wizards friend who is standing nearby uses re-position to get the wizard out of harms way and also keeps the BBEG from moving towards the wizard without eating at least one AoO.

And that friend expended her own action economy to do so. This is fine.

That is your opinion. You are entitled to it as much as I am entitled to my opinion that it is insufficient.

Of course, we must also look at the fact that combat maneuvers are written in a way that specifies opponents.


I guess there are many cases where using maneuvers against allies would be valuable. Some might be questionable, but there are others which just favor teamplay and feel realistic, such as: Drag an unconscious ally out of danger zone.

Since this is in 'Rule Questions': In my opinion it boils down to the question 'Can you temporarily treat an ally as a foe?'.


There is no metaphysical force (other than the GM and table etiquette) preventing you from attempting to punch your ally--in fact, you might want to under certain conditions. Combat maneuvers are no different. The only rule question is whether attacking a "willing" target is any different from attacking normally.

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Moving unconscious or otherwise helpless allies is easily done using the encumbrance rules.


Shoving a helpless ally or peasent out of the path of oncoming danger (avalanche, stampede, charging kinght), holding back an enraged ally from attacking someone, etc... Are all dramatically, and sometimes heroically, appropriate actions. Whatever ruling might be invoked should allow this.


Can you attack an ally?

Answer: Yes. It's called PvP and is allowed at many gaming tables. PFS has strict rules about PvP but it's generally allowed if the target of the attack agrees to it.

Is a Combat Maneuver an attack?

Answer: Yes.

Put these two things together, and it's pretty clear that you can use a combat maneuver on an ally.

A GM has all the power to disallow/alter/forbid/substitute any bit of rule he or she likes, but from a strict rules standpoint, it should be allowed.


Kifaru wrote:
True, it says opponent, so a combat maneuver would be a PvP action, which is generally allowed even in PFS as long as the target gives permission.

Attack shares similar language, by the way.

Attack Roll wrote:
An attack roll represents your attempt to strike your opponent on your turn in a round. When you make an attack roll, you roll a d20 and add your attack bonus. (Other modifiers may also apply to this roll.) If your result equals or beats the target’s Armor Class, you hit and deal damage.

I think 'opponent' is just the general target of the ability, not the restriction. If it was, we'd run into problems wih effects applied to creatures still considered allies but are technically attacks, like touch spells.

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