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Psst! you got snake on your face.


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

During a game a PC drags another PC out of a fight against his will. When one of the a players asks if this provokes, the GM correctly clarifies that forced movement does not usually provoke attacks of opportunity (excepting things like some improved [combat maneuver] feats), just voluntary movement on the part of the one moving.

Later, a PC throws his viper familiar at an enemy's face so that it can bite him while also delivering poison and a harmful touch spell.

The GM rules that it provokes and the familiar is cut out of the air.

The familiar's owner is upset, feeling that the GM ignored his own clarification and punished him for trying to be creative.

The GM feels the player was cheesing the system, trying to avoid the attack of opportunity that normally comes with a tiny creature entering an enemy's square to attack.

What do you think? Discuss.


Either it provokes or it does not. I see it as the player being creative.
Personally I think both would provoke, but in either case the GM should remain consistent.

Lantern Lodge

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How big is a javelin? Bigger than the viper I would say. A javelin thrown at someone's face doesn't provoke, the one throwing does. I'd say the viper should be treated as a projectile, like the javelin, and not as a creature and as such the act of throwing would provoke but the viper entering a square wouldn't.

This idea is based on logic though, and logic rarely holds in games.


A) I don't think the GM is being inconsistent. The situations are that comparable. In the first he retains from punishing a PC that is being forced away using grapple rules (or reposition or whatever). In the latter it is a willing act done by a PC, which shouldn't necessarily allow you to circumvent AoOs.

B) Whether I would have ruled the same way depend on the circumstances. If the player had to make a ranged attack to throw the snake onto the enemy, after which the snake had to make a bite attack, then I'd probably say do it without an attack of opportunity, since the additional action and attack roll makes up for it.

How was it pulled off? I could see as much reason arguing that it couldn't be done with the touch spell hitting the PC as he fuddles his snake.


A. Both the viper and the previous NPC are both moving under someone else's power. The GM's reason was that "forced movement" does not provoke. The fact that the NPC is a class feature of the PC should not be a factor for the viper.


wraithstrike wrote:

A. Both the viper and the previous NPC are both moving under someone else's power. The GM's reason was that "forced movement" does not provoke. The fact that the NPC is a class feature of the PC should not be a factor for the viper.

But is it really forced movement? I don't expect the PC to have made a CMB roll against the snake (in which case he couldn't throw it). If it is willing, is the manner of transportation really different than being mounted and moving about?


The snake can't fly by itself so I think it qualifies as forced movement since the snake is not moving under its own power.

I really don't think snakes are aerodynamic enough to even be a projective weapon, but that is neither here nor there.

Lantern Lodge

wraithstrike wrote:


I really don't think snakes are aerodynamic enough to even be a projective weapon, but that is neither here nor there.

Over a short distance that does not matter. Besides, Stone Giants throw boulders and those are far from aerodynamic.

But to get back to the ruling: I think both cases are very different, mostly because I see the familiar as an object in this case. I'd say one could ready him/her-self to intercept a thrown familiar, like I'd think one could do that for any projectile big enough to hit (so javelins are a yes, but arrows are a no without the appropriate feat).


Rocks being dense objects can be thrown a decent distance. Snakes not so much. Well I guess the snake could position its body so that it can be dense, but I don't know if that was done or not.

Lantern Lodge

Well, some snakes can launch themselves over long distances, but than the rules change as it becomes a jumping charge (which as per the rules would provoke but I think is rather silly since it just goes too fast for a human or human-like creature to even register in time).

But as far as throwing the snake goes. Just treat it as an improvised thrown weapon, so a -4 to hit and a range of 10 feet.


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More importantly, how dumb a wizard have to be be to throw his familiar at someone?
I mean, where the whole "bender of reality" thing went, if the best you could came up with is throwing your own familiar at someone's face?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I totally agree with the DM.
I'd ask for a to hit attack as well (vs touch ac) with -4 for improvised weapon.

imo : forced movement = movement against your will

Qadira

A tiny creature provokes when it moves, entering a person's space to deliver an attack. Tiny snake with no reach slithers up under it's own power allowing said person to get an attack on it. Tossing the snake shouldn't provoke anymore then a tanglefoot bag tossed into the person's square would. GM was inconsistent. A creature moving by means other then it's own volition did not provoke in one instance, then did provoke in another. If the GM wanted to rule that the snake needs a feat to attack like that or that the wizzo needs to make a ranged touch to pull it off or something else then I can see it but that snake did not move up to the person being bit and should not have provoked.
My personal opinion is that the dude pushing his buddy through combat should have made both of them provoke AoOs. I could see some abuse that way with PCs shoving each other out of harms way or into more advantageous positions I.E."let me shove you into flanking position on my turn so you won't provoke, I have a much higher AC than you so I probably won't get hit if I provoke".


HaraldKlak wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

A. Both the viper and the previous NPC are both moving under someone else's power. The GM's reason was that "forced movement" does not provoke. The fact that the NPC is a class feature of the PC should not be a factor for the viper.

But is it really forced movement? I don't expect the PC to have made a CMB roll against the snake (in which case he couldn't throw it). If it is willing, is the manner of transportation really different than being mounted and moving about?

Willingness has nothing to do with forced movement - forced movement is matter of control over movement/source of action taken to perform move.

In this particular case I say that it would be the wizard who provoked attack of opportunity (if he was in reach) and not the snake, but it could be possible for the opponent, depending upon other rulings, to make a Sunder attempt against the "weapon". By RAW it would probably not work because Sunder is described as being taken in place of melee attack when taking attack action, unlike disarm or trip which are taken in place of melee attack.


Drejk wrote:


Willingness has nothing to do with forced movement - forced movement is matter of control over movement/source of action taken to perform move.

In this particular case I say that it would be the wizard who provoked attack of opportunity (if he was in reach) and not the snake, but it could be possible for the opponent, depending upon other rulings, to make a Sunder attempt against the "weapon". By RAW it would probably not work because Sunder is described as being taken in place of melee attack when taking attack action, unlike disarm or trip which are taken in place of melee attack.

Maybe I am wrong, but doesn't a mounted character also provoke AoOs, when his mount (and thereby him) leaves a threatened square?

It is debateable whether forced movement is relevant in this regard. Entering another creatures square is an action that provokes, but it isn't movement. As such the tiny creature even provokes on a 5-ft step, and might provoke twice if using a move action to get there.

Just to be clear, I lean towards allowing the stunt without an attack of opportunity, since it would take two attack rolls.
From a RAW perspective the are several reason it can't be done. First of all, throwing creatures aren't a possibility (apart from a few specific abilities perhaps), the nearest you get is an Aid Another to acrobatics. Secondly, I can't see how this could be realized without discharging the held touch attack spell.


There is a feat specifically for sundering weapons (reach weapons only, maybe...?) and there is a feat for deflecting/snatching ranged weapons.

A snake is not a weapon, but in this case it has been "weaponized." If the caster was close enough to provoke, then making a ranged attack would provoke for the caster, not the snake.

The AoO should not have targeted the snake unless the NPC attacking it had the appropriate feats to be able to attack a "weapon." If the NPC had deflect arrows, I would have allowed him to swat the thing aside and place it in another adjacent square.

The DM's interpretation of RAW is certainly valid, however, I would throw my lot in with those who would call this "punishing creativity." It's a terrible way to encourage people NOT to do cool things in combat other that "I hit him with my sword" or "I cast magic missile."


I think if PF hadn't changed the rules from 3E, where forced movement from a bull rush (which PF then extrapolated to drag and reposition) provokes even if the person doing it to you is a level 1 commoner whose only feat is skill focus (basket weaving) ...then this wouldn't even be an issue.
:p


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
I think if PF hadn't changed the rules from 3E, where forced movement from a bull rush (which PF then extrapolated to drag and reposition) provokes even if the person doing it to you is a level 1 commoner whose only feat is skill focus (basket weaving) ...then this wouldn't even be an issue.

That's pretty much my opinion on the subject.

But as it is, if the wizard used the bull rush maneuver to push his familiar into the target's square, I don't think it should have provoked an AoO.

On the other hand, if the wizard made up his own "throw ally" maneuver (or whatever), the GM is within his rights to dictate how that maneuver works with respect to AoOs.


Does the tiny stone thrown at enemy provokes attack of opportunity from the enemy? No, so why would snake used as improvised ranged weapon.

Quote:
First of all, throwing creatures aren't a possibility (apart from a few specific abilities perhaps), the nearest you get is an Aid Another to acrobatics.

There is no rule that forbid throwing the creature. Most of the time it would be highly ineffective and hard to pull due to lift capacity, weight and improvised penalties but not impossible. The lack of specific rule governing taking a physical action that would be reasonably possible does not mean that it can't be done - it means that GM has to actually fulfill his role and make a judgement call.

Quote:
Secondly, I can't see how this could be realized without discharging the held touch attack spell.

There is no reason for discharging the held spell - discharging the spell is action on the part of creature holding the charge, in this case the snake.


in my opinion someone should have provoked in the first situation, I would have ruled that to drag (without maneuver) you need to be in your friends square, and you yourself provoke when dragging him, except if you use 5ft of course.

For the snake, I didn't know that rule. I can understand the GM, but there are easier ways to punish a spellcaster who throws his familiar. But yeah, the snake didn't move on his own terms, he could only have been intercepted by a readied action, much like arrow.
I wouldn't have allowed to snake to attack, it didn't charge or anything. Teeth of a snake are not their means to grapple or hold themselves to a surface. If the throw was extremely lucky, the snake could have used a readied (Standard) action to find a hold on the person. Next round, if the ennemy did nothing, it could attack.

Anyhow, you GM had to houserule, he did, but he should have told you the snake thing before you threw it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vrischika111 wrote:
imo : forced movement = movement against your will

lol : what makes you think the viper was willing? :D


Ravingdork wrote:
Vrischika111 wrote:
imo : forced movement = movement against your will
lol : what makes you think the viper was willing? :D

I think the implication is that if it were resisting, then the thrower would be using some sort of CMB check along the lines of a bull rush. Was that what happened?


Foghammer wrote:

There is a feat specifically for sundering weapons (reach weapons only, maybe...?) and there is a feat for deflecting/snatching ranged weapons.

A snake is not a weapon, but in this case it has been "weaponized." If the caster was close enough to provoke, then making a ranged attack would provoke for the caster, not the snake.

The AoO should not have targeted the snake unless the NPC attacking it had the appropriate feats to be able to attack a "weapon." If the NPC had deflect arrows, I would have allowed him to swat the thing aside and place it in another adjacent square.

This. I disagree with the GM, but not because I think the GM was being inconsistent: I think "throwing a tiny snake" is analogous to a thrown improvised weapon attack, rather than to creature movement.

Deflect Arrows does seem like the relevant feat to me; the Snatch Arrows feat does specifically reference "thrown weapons". Outside this feat tree, I wouldn't let a player AoO or otherwise intercept an incoming arrow, or javelin, or flask of alchemist's fire--why would they get to attack a tiny viper (which is probably smaller, lighter, and more aerodynamic than a tanglefoot bag) just because it happens to have a pulse?


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There are rules for this, people!

Goblins of Golarion wrote:

Tossglove: A tossglove is a hefty leather and metal

glove made for holding and throwing an insect, snake, or
other tiny creature that would otherwise bite the goblin.
Those who don’t use a tossglove when attempting to sling
such creatures provoke an attack of opportunity from
the animal they attempt to throw or stash. The glove
has overlapping plates that cover the goblin’s arm up to
the elbow. It’s a full-round action to put on or take off
a tossglove, and while it’s worn, that hand can’t be used
to perform acts of fine manipulation (such as making
a Disable Device check or firing an arrow). The gloved
hand can still wield a melee weapon.
Quote:

Angry Snake: Using a tossglove (see page 13) a goblin

can “safely” handle a venomous snake (use the stats for
a viper; Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 133) and either toss it at
an opponent or sneak it into a pocket or pack of those
passing—goblins who don’t use tossgloves provoke a
single attack of opportunity from the snake when they
throw it or plant it. Throwing a snake requires a ranged
touch attack with an improvised weapon. If the goblin
hits, the snake lands on the foe in such a way as to cause
the foe to become shaken until he takes a move action to
divest himself of the unwelcome guest. The snake won’t
bite its target on the round it lands (the snake is generally
too disoriented to do so), but if it’s not removed as a move
action, it makes a bite attack against the foe on which it is
climbing on its turn each round.


What benefit was there to be had for throwing the snake? A bite attack for 1d3 damage above the spell's effect? 1d2? And then the familiar is threatened and likely to suffer the same fate on the following turn?

Even if this trick became a common one for the player, I wouldn't penalize him so harshly for it. If nothing else, I would make him take some ranged weapon feats to make it function properly, maybe treat it as a javelin then. Allowing something off the wall once, I don't penalize it; if it's becomes habit, then it goes under the magnifying glass.

The more I think about this, the more I feel like the DM either doesn't understand how harsh it is or is just being a jerk.


It was, at best, a slapshod ruling. Was it a cheesing? Maybe. The player had reason to expect a certain outcome and it seems odd that the GM would change up based on the type of forced movement.

As I posted earlier, though, there are actual mechanics for this exact action. Not something that could be twisted around to say it worked a certain way. This exact action. I have a bunch of books and only loosely remember the rules in Goblins of Golarion, but the second that I saw the post, I completely remembered that there was a real mechanic for this.


Serisan wrote:

It was, at best, a slapshod ruling. Was it a cheesing? Maybe. The player had reason to expect a certain outcome and it seems odd that the GM would change up based on the type of forced movement.

I think that's a bit harsh on the GM. The ruling that you can't force someone else to provoke an AoO (without the proper feats) is there only as a balancing factor because they didn't want bull-rush, etc, to have potential effects beyond the effect of the maneuver itself.

If players start abusing this (like, say, bull rushing each other in order to maneuver around enemies without provoking AoOs) a GM is perfectly within his rights to do something about that.

Throwing your familiar is clever, though if not handled carefully it could quickly become a 'free' way to add range to all your touch attacks, which surely isn't the intention. Personally, I probably wouldn't count the familiar as a 'character' in this case, and let the thrower provoke the AoO. Or maybe (if I found it a really fun and appropriate action) rule that the target was so surprised he didn't manage to react in time. Repeats wouldn't necessarily be that lucky though.

That said, if someone throws a snake in your face, I think trying to bash it away from your face would be a perfectly natural instinctive reaction, and the AoO mechanic represents this decently, IMHO. I think my ruling would be something like: Player provokes AoO for throwing his familiar (normal for a ranged attack). Familiar doesn't provoke for being thrown through someone's threat, but familiar DOES provoke for entering the target's square, as usual. Maybe!


Drejk wrote:

Quote:
First of all, throwing creatures aren't a possibility (apart from a few specific abilities perhaps), the nearest you get is an Aid Another to acrobatics.

There is no rule that forbid throwing the creature. Most of the time it would be highly ineffective and hard to pull due to lift capacity, weight and improvised penalties but not impossible. The lack of specific rule governing taking a physical action that would be reasonably possible does not mean that it can't be done - it means that GM has to actually fulfill his role and make a judgement call.

What I wrote is that RAW doesn't make provisions for, not that it shouldn't be a possibility to throw a snake.

My point was related to the argument that "forced movement is matter of control over movement/source of action taken to perform move".

Accepting that as a blanket ruling on whether certain actions does not provoke attacks of opportunity, is everything but accepting the GM right (and responsibility) to make judgement calls. Rather it is sticking to small bits of the rules applying them to only slightly similar situations.
Based on that absurdity can arise, when players start using the same arguments to carry others PCs into combat to grant them their full attack actions.


HaraldKlak wrote:


Based on that absurdity can arise, when players start using the same arguments to carry others PCs into combat to grant them their full attack actions.

All this time, we've been trying to figure out creative ways to get pounce, and it was really this blindingly obvious all along. :D


Slaunyeh wrote:
HaraldKlak wrote:
Based on that absurdity can arise, when players start using the same arguments to carry others PCs into combat to grant them their full attack actions.
All this time, we've been trying to figure out creative ways to get pounce, and it was really this blindingly obvious all along. :D

You mean you've never seen a halfling cavalier ride a Sythesist into battle? It is a truly inspiring sight...


Slaunyeh wrote:


That said, if someone throws a snake in your face, I think trying to bash it away from your face would be a perfectly natural instinctive reaction, and the AoO mechanic represents this decently, IMHO. I think my ruling would be something like: Player provokes AoO for throwing his familiar (normal for a ranged attack). Familiar doesn't provoke for being thrown through someone's threat, but familiar DOES provoke for entering the target's square, as usual. Maybe!

Again, there are explicit rules for this from a Paizo source, which I posted into the thread earlier. If you're throwing a snake, it's an improvised thrown weapon. You treat it the exact same way you'd treat any other thrown weapon attack. Unless you're wearing a protective glove (which exists in Golarion canon as the Tossglove), you provoke from the snake when throwing it.


Ravingdork wrote:

The familiar's owner is upset, feeling that the GM ignored his own clarification and punished him for trying to be creative.

The GM feels the player was cheesing the system, trying to avoid the attack of opportunity that normally comes with a tiny creature entering an enemy's square to attack.

I think I would have agreed with the Wizard player in this case. Throwing your familiar at an enemy is a dangerous proposition in any case. I think an attack of opportunity was not warranted.

The familiar was in essence a projectile for this attack and without readying an action there is no way to intercept a normal projectile.

I know there are a bunch of movies where throwing a viper/snake into the face of an enemy was a nice and deadly sneaky attack. I can see a mage doing it as an extreme resort. Familiars ARE supposed to be able to deliver touch attacks, it is part of their abilities.

I think your GM may have been a little harsh on this one but I also agree with those who stated that the mage would have needed to make a ranged touch attack at -4 with a 10' range increment to get the snake to the target as an improvised weapon. Then the snake would still have had to make it's own attack to deliver the spells.


Serisan wrote:
Unless you're wearing a protective glove (which exists in Golarion canon as the Tossglove), you provoke from the snake when throwing it.

Any random snake? Sure. Familiar? No.


Prior to Speak with Master, I'm not so sure, Foghammer.


Serisan, do you control your player's companions/familiars/bonded mounts when they have them?

Because if not (and I'd wager a majority don't whether I'm right nor not) all the player has to do is say "Well, my familiar chooses not to take the AoO against me."

If the familiar has no reason not to trust the master before he's thrown and can't communicate with the master, it has no reason to expect what is about to happen. It may be resentful after-the-fact, assuming it survives, but I don't see any reason for an (animal) familiar to attack its master, even if the master is being a little... eccentric.

An imp or some such, well, maybe.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tossglove wrote:

Throwing a snake requires a ranged

touch attack with an improvised weapon. If the goblin
hits, the snake lands on the foe in such a way as to cause
the foe to become shaken until he takes a move action to
divest himself of the unwelcome guest. The snake won’t
bite its target on the round it lands (the snake is generally
too disoriented to do so), but if it’s not removed as a move
action, it makes a bite attack against the foe on which it is
climbing on its turn each round.

I think this basically answers the snake tossing side of things. It's a ranged touch attack with an improvised weapon. Also, this provokes an attack of opportunity on the wizard from the familiar, but I'm sure most will say that the snake will forfeit making that attack.

I would like to add to this, that touch attacks are not discharged at will. You can discharge by accidentally touching somebody. The wizard would become the target of the touch attack if he picked up his viper familiar after the charge is held.

RAW wrote:
Holding the Charge: If you don't discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the charge indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round. If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges.

Now! As for the OTHER side of things:

Bull Rush wrote:
An enemy being moved by a bull rush does not provoke an attack of opportunity because of the movement unless you possess the Greater Bull Rush feat.
Reposition wrote:
An enemy being moved by a reposition does not provoke an attack of opportunity because of the movement unless you possess the Greater Reposition feat. You cannot move a creature into a square that is occupied by a solid object or obstacle.
Drag wrote:
An enemy being moved by a drag does not provoke an attack of opportunity because of the movement unless you possess the Greater Drag feat. You cannot move a creature into a square that is occupied by a solid object or obstacle. If there is another creature in the way of your movement, the drag ends adjacent to that creature.

If you are using Grapple, however, on subsequent actions you may continue the grapple and apply a free Move that is part of the standard action.

Grapple wrote:

Move

You can move both yourself and your target up to half your speed. At the end of your movement, you can place your target in any square adjacent to you. If you attempt to place your foe in a hazardous location, such as in a wall of fire or over a pit, the target receives a free attempt to break your grapple with a +4 bonus.

I notice that this doesn't say anything about avoiding an attack of opportunity for moving out of a foe's threatened square. I would think, then, that both participants in a grapple will provoke?


GrenMeera wrote:


I would like to add to this, that touch attacks are not discharged at will. You can discharge by accidentally touching somebody. The wizard would become the target of the touch attack if he picked up his viper familiar after the charge is held.

RAW wrote:
Holding the Charge: If you don't discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the charge indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round. If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges.

This is not necessarily a correct interpretation. Yes, you can discharge a held spell via touching someone accidentally. But You touching Them, is not the same thing as Them touching You. Otherwise, you don't need to make touch attacks if your opponent attacks and hits you with a natural weapon.

The game generally requires an action by you to discharge it, not someone else. Also, a touch attack might require a certain part of you to do the touching... Or else a mounted combatant would be discharging all touch attacks on the mount upon which he sits. Where or what that part is might be up to common sense =)

I can see this all being interpreted a few ways.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
EvilMinion wrote:

This is not necessarily a correct interpretation. Yes, you can discharge a held spell via touching someone accidentally. But You touching Them, is not the same thing as Them touching You. Otherwise, you don't need to make touch attacks if your opponent attacks and hits you with a natural weapon.

The game generally requires an action by you to discharge it, not someone else. Also, a touch attack might require a certain part of you to do the touching... Or else a mounted combatant would be discharging all touch attacks on the mount upon which he sits. Where or what that part is might be up to common sense =)

I can see this all being interpreted a few ways.

Yeah, I'll buy some of that. I've had problems with that sentence in the rules many times at tables as it's fairly unclear on meaning and intent. A person touching you could be considered the same thing as unintentionally touching them. There's also never any set ground rules on HOW you touch, such as requirements for direct skin contact and bodily location.

I've had a debate at table involving if you can even cast a touch attack spell underwater without it instantly discharging into the water itself for Shocking Grasp. In the end we eventually have all come to the conclusion that the GM has the final say after the first round, but during the initial round you are not technically holding the charge yet and it's not quite so fickle (meaning it doesn't discharge into the water).

All of this is a bit moot for this discussion really, but still wanted it put out there because I saw somebody mention that the viper can choose to hold a charged spell, and not all GMs would think this wise when being picked up.


Foghammer wrote:

Serisan, do you control your player's companions/familiars/bonded mounts when they have them?

Because if not (and I'd wager a majority don't whether I'm right nor not) all the player has to do is say "Well, my familiar chooses not to take the AoO against me."

If the familiar has no reason not to trust the master before he's thrown and can't communicate with the master, it has no reason to expect what is about to happen. It may be resentful after-the-fact, assuming it survives, but I don't see any reason for an (animal) familiar to attack its master, even if the master is being a little... eccentric.

An imp or some such, well, maybe.

Technically, I should have stated that you always provoke, but the familiar probably won't take the opportunity. You have a fair point.

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