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Readied Action + AoO


Rules Questions


I'm setting up an (avoidable) encounter with a Giant Spitting Cobra; which has a 15ft ranged attack and a 10ft reach.

My assumption (which may get ruined by any of a number of things) is that if they go to attack it it will have readied a spit-action, but if they close for melee they will trigger an AoO.

I'm 95% sure that it works. Heck, even if it was a 5ft ranged attack or a readied Bite attack, I feel like it would be allowed to bite when they get in range, then bite before they leave the square when they attempt to.

I think this is just an oddity with AoO's in general since it seems the creature all the sudden moves *way* faster, getting double it's actions for it's turn out of nowhere.

Long story short, if someone wants to quell the last 5% doubt and let me know that indeed the person passing through the 10ft threatened area and into a readied action will indeed be attacked twice, it'd bring me peace of mind.


You are right, unless acrobatics or reach or some other movement AoO blocker is used, moving through that reach will provoke. And if it readied an action to spit (quite reasonable for that creature) it would get both of those.

It might seems like an oddity in the turn based system but from the SCA wars and martial arts I've participated in, its very real. Remember an AoO is caused by, basically, making an error or taking a risk in combat. A person who not only waits for an ideal moment, but also gets to take advantage of an error/risky move, will get a major advantage on an opponent.

Ex. A match in a tournament I participated in a long time ago (wasn't me in the ring, not that it matters). Guy A obviously is holding his ground and waiting for guy B to approach. Guy B does a few feints, trying to draw Guy A out, doesn't work. Guy B switches tactics, and actually goes for a flying kick. Normally this is risky and Guy B probably though he was fast enough, but Guy A was ready for it. Sidestepped it fully, getting one point for a jab to the ribs as Guy B goes past him. Then comes out of the sidestep into a straight kick into the small of Guy B's back. One more point, and with the momentum of the flying kick, bad landing, and the kick from behind, Guy B stumbles out of the ring. 3 points, match over.

So yeah, tldr: You are right, readied actions are powerful, and AoO consequences should not be ignored. Call it a teaching moment for your players.

Scarab Sages

Cattleman wrote:

I'm setting up an (avoidable) encounter with a Giant Spitting Cobra; which has a 15ft ranged attack and a 10ft reach.

My assumption (which may get ruined by any of a number of things) is that if they go to attack it it will have readied a spit-action, but if they close for melee they will trigger an AoO.

I'm 95% sure that it works. Heck, even if it was a 5ft ranged attack or a readied Bite attack, I feel like it would be allowed to bite when they get in range, then bite before they leave the square when they attempt to.

I think this is just an oddity with AoO's in general since it seems the creature all the sudden moves *way* faster, getting double it's actions for it's turn out of nowhere.

Long story short, if someone wants to quell the last 5% doubt and let me know that indeed the person passing through the 10ft threatened area and into a readied action will indeed be attacked twice, it'd bring me peace of mind.

Wait, so the plan is to have a single action by the PCs to trigger both a readied action and an AoO?

No, it can't do both. While readying your action, you can't make AoOs without losing the readied action. You could certainly have readied action trigger when the PC enters melee range range (at the 10ft mark) and then trigger the melee when they leave the 10ft square, but the same trigger can't be both set up for same exact moment (you can't ready to attack when the opponent triggers an AoO from you...).

Additionally, your proposed readied action at the 10ft mark has some risk since it is a ranged attack. If the PCs have a reach weapon, your readied action will trigger an AoO from the PC, which really nerfs this plan. The reach weapon will also defeat your AoO for melee, as they will not need to provoke in order to attack you.


Do you have a citation for the same action not being eligible to trigger a ready action and AoO? I have never heard this.

And that is not the proposed tactic. What we have here is: ready to spit at first target in range (15'), and then the potential to use 10' reach to bite for an AoO. The double bite is mentioned in follow up.


Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Cattleman wrote:

I'm setting up an (avoidable) encounter with a Giant Spitting Cobra; which has a 15ft ranged attack and a 10ft reach.

My assumption (which may get ruined by any of a number of things) is that if they go to attack it it will have readied a spit-action, but if they close for melee they will trigger an AoO.

I'm 95% sure that it works. Heck, even if it was a 5ft ranged attack or a readied Bite attack, I feel like it would be allowed to bite when they get in range, then bite before they leave the square when they attempt to.

I think this is just an oddity with AoO's in general since it seems the creature all the sudden moves *way* faster, getting double it's actions for it's turn out of nowhere.

Long story short, if someone wants to quell the last 5% doubt and let me know that indeed the person passing through the 10ft threatened area and into a readied action will indeed be attacked twice, it'd bring me peace of mind.

Wait, so the plan is to have a single action by the PCs to trigger both a readied action and an AoO?

No, it can't do both. While readying your action, you can't make AoOs without losing the readied action. You could certainly have readied action trigger when the PC enters melee range range (at the 10ft mark) and then trigger the melee when they leave the 10ft square, but the same trigger can't be both set up for same exact moment (you can't ready to attack when the opponent triggers an AoO from you...).

Additionally, your proposed readied action at the 10ft mark has some risk since it is a ranged attack. If the PCs have a reach weapon, your readied action will trigger an AoO from the PC, which really nerfs this plan. The reach weapon will also defeat your AoO for melee, as they will not need to provoke in order to attack you.

Sure you can. It's especially easy in this case.

Readied action: "If someone comes within 15', spit"
PC comes towards the snake. First, they come within 15' and take spit to the face. The snake's initiative is now set to immediately before the triggering PC's initiative. Then they keep coming and pass through the snake's threatened area. This triggers an AoO from the snake.

Even if, somehow, the readied action happened after the AoO... it's still fine. They just take an AoO with "last turn's" AoO count (less meaningful if they have Combat Reflexes), then take their readied action and reset their initiative.


Murdock Mudeater wrote:

Wait, so the plan is to have a single action by the PCs to trigger both a readied action and an AoO?

No, it can't do both. While readying your action, you can't make AoOs without losing the readied action.

Source?

Quote:
(you can't ready to attack when the opponent triggers an AoO from you...)

Not to sound like a myna bird, but . . . Source?


Murdock Mudeater wrote:


No, it can't do both. While readying your action, you can't make AoOs without losing the readied action. You could certainly have readied action trigger when the PC enters melee range range (at the 10ft mark) and then trigger the melee when they leave the 10ft square, but the same trigger can't be both set up for same exact moment (you can't ready to attack when the opponent triggers an AoO from you...).

Readied actions and AoO's are completely separate and have no interaction with each other. You can most certainly use both mechanics on the same turn, and there are entire builds around taking advantage of the mechanics. (Think Greater Trip + Vicious Stomp, with a readied action to trip opponents approaching the group. Now imagine a few friends with Paired Opportunist and readied actions to move up.)

Quote:
Additionally, your proposed readied action at the 10ft mark has some risk since it is a ranged attack. If the PCs have a reach weapon, your readied action will trigger an AoO from the PC, which really nerfs this plan. The reach weapon will also defeat your AoO for melee, as they will not need to provoke in order to attack you.

With a 15' range on the readied spit, reach weapons will not help, though the character would have no reason to provoke by moving adjacent to the snake.


Yeah, I'm with the rest regarding getting a source for the "AoO cause you to loose readied actions" statement. Under the entry for Readied Actions the only consequence I can see is the shift of initiative.

A readied action can be ridiculously specific and split-second. "When Jim says "Go!"" or "When the clock hits midnight" or even "When the evil wizard casts a quickened spell."

To put it in perspective, a quickened spell is so fast it doesn't provoke an AoO unless it has a ranged attack roll element, which is its own separate AoO. A readied action however CAN hit a quickened spell.

If I can ready for something FASTER than an AoO, it makes logical sense I can ready for an AoO. And thats fine, because it then becomes a risk/reward scenario on whether the AoO, and the linked readied action, actually occur.

tldr: The rules for Readied Actions and Attacks of Opportunity are separate and have no language linking them in a restrictive or prohibitive manner.

Scarab Sages

shaventalz wrote:

Sure you can. It's especially easy in this case.

Readied action: "If someone comes within 15', spit"
PC comes towards the snake. First, they come within 15' and take spit to the face....

That is different than what I'm talking about. I thought you were suggesting that you could ready the action to trigger off your AoO.

If someone comes within 15ft, then you shoot them at the 15' mark. If their movement continues towards you, after getting shot, then they could trigger AoOs as normal.

But the PC isn't obligated to continue forward after your interupt their movement with an attack.

You can't however, have the same exact effect trigger both the AoO and the readied action. One or the other. Your trigger can't be "I attack them when they trigger an AoO from me."

For that I do have quotes, though I hate not being able to directly quote with this medium.

Issue is related to order of operations. If the AoO resolves first, it cancels out the option for a readied attack. Likewise, if readied action resolves first, then your option to take the AoO is lost (because AoOs are optional and you've chosen to preform a different action in that space).

Regarding Readied actions, as per the Readied action description in the combat section,

"Then, anytime before your next action you may take the readied action in response to that condition."

Bold is mine. It doesn't say next turn, it says next action. If you preform an AoO, which is an action, it will prevent your use of the readied action. So your trigger can't be "I attack them when they trigger my AoO, because the act of triggering your AoO nullifies your option to take readied action.

If instead, your preform the readied action first, the optional use of AoO has been negated because you choose to preform a readied action. AoO are optional. Not using them imediately when the trigger occurs negates the option to preform them. This is covered under AoOs in the combat section.


So it's just a matter of splitting hairs over the trigger for your readied action, fine.

And, what action type is an AoO, can you find it on the tables of action types? I'll give you a spoiler, it does not have a defined action type, as in it is not an action and does not spoil a readied action.


Java Man wrote:

Do you have a citation for the same action not being eligible to trigger a ready action and AoO? I have never heard this.

And that is not the proposed tactic. What we have here is: ready to spit at first target in range (15'), and then the potential to use 10' reach to bite for an AoO. The double bite is mentioned in follow up.

Hey maybe thinking of unchained action economy. In the unchained action economy, you are giving 1 reaction action a round, and it can be used for Aoo, ready attack or anything that would be classified as immediate action. there is exception to this is if you take combat reflex if gives you extra reaction actions a round that must be used for Aoo.

But in Core rules you most certainly preform and aoo and ready action. they are separate devices and separate functions, that have separate causes and effects.


Murdock Mudeater wrote:
But the PC isn't obligated to continue forward after your interupt their movement with an attack.

Correct.

****

Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Issue is related to order of operations. If the AoO resolves first, it cancels out the option for a readied attack.

Why would the AoO cancel out the option for a readied attack? As I stated previously, you'd be using your AoO from the round before you readied (because you haven't yet taken your next round.) You AoO, then take your readied attack and refresh your available AoOs.

****

Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Likewise, if readied action resolves first, then your option to take the AoO is lost (because AoOs are optional and you've chosen to preform a different action in that space).

Disagree. "That space" is a space only filled with an attack of opportunity. The readied action is a totally separate activity that fills the "standard action" space (to use your phrasing.)

****

Murdock Mudeater wrote:

Regarding Readied actions, as per the Readied action description in the combat section,

"Then, anytime before your next action you may take the readied action in response to that condition."

Bold is mine. It doesn't say next turn, it says next action. If you preform an AoO, which is an action, it will prevent your use of the readied action. So your trigger can't be "I attack them when they trigger my AoO, because the act of triggering your AoO nullifies your option to take readied action.

I don't believe an AoO is an action. Check the combat rules, under "Making an Attack of Opportunity".

Quote:
An attack of opportunity “interrupts” the normal flow of actions in the round.

Also see Table: Actions in Combat. There's no entry for attacks of opportunity.

****

Murdock Mudeater wrote:
If instead, your preform the readied action first, the optional use of AoO has been negated because you choose to preform a readied action. AoO are optional. Not using them imediately when the trigger occurs negates the option to preform them. This is covered under AoOs in the combat section.

Under "Readying an action", the rules say "The action occurs just before the action that triggers it." Therefore, the readied action would happen before the AoO is provoked. That means the opportunity for an AoO would still present itself.

Scarab Sages

Java Man wrote:

So it's just a matter of splitting hairs over the trigger for your readied action, fine.

And, what action type is an AoO, can you find it on the tables of action types? I'll give you a spoiler, it does not have a defined action type, as in it is not an action and does not spoil a readied action.

Read it again. At the very start, AoOs are free actions.


Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Java Man wrote:

So it's just a matter of splitting hairs over the trigger for your readied action, fine.

And, what action type is an AoO, can you find it on the tables of action types? I'll give you a spoiler, it does not have a defined action type, as in it is not an action and does not spoil a readied action.

Read it again. At the very start, AoOs are free actions.

You need to read it again. Because it doesn't say "free action", but "free attack". Not the same thing.

Quote:
Sometimes a combatant in a melee lets her guard down or takes a reckless action. In this case, combatants near her can take advantage of her lapse in defense to attack her for free. These free attacks are called attacks of opportunity. See the Attacks of Opportunity diagram for an example of how they work.

No action is specified at all, not even a free action.


Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Java Man wrote:

So it's just a matter of splitting hairs over the trigger for your readied action, fine.

And, what action type is an AoO, can you find it on the tables of action types? I'll give you a spoiler, it does not have a defined action type, as in it is not an action and does not spoil a readied action.

Read it again. At the very start, AoOs are free actions.

He's talking about this table. It has no entry for attacks of opportunity.

Also, the beginning of the Attack of Opportunity section does not say they are free actions. They are free attacks.

Quote:
Sometimes a combatant in a melee lets her guard down or takes a reckless action. In this case, combatants near her can take advantage of her lapse in defense to attack her for free. These free attacks are called attacks of opportunity. See the Attacks of Opportunity diagram for an example of how they work


Actually, even if AoOs were actions (which they don't seem to be), you could still ready your action for "I take an AoO."

Because readied actions happen before the action they're readied against.

You're still taking your readied action before your next action.

Scarab Sages

Yeah, was misread attacks as actions. So, as a melee attack, an AoO is a "free" standard action as defined in table of actions which can be performed in a round.


Is a full attack multiple standard (attack) actions? Is the attack at the end of a charge a bonus standard (attack) action? Obviously not, so why use that type of description for an AoO? It's a free attack with no associated action type.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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I wouldn't allow a player to specify "provoking an AoO" as a ready trigger simply because that's a game construct and not something their character can observe. It would be like readying an action to attack "when the foe drops below 10 hit points."

I suppose someone could use "lowers their guard" or some such as a trigger but honestly that's going to be a very rare circumstance. There are much better ready triggers to choose in most situations.


To be clear, the scenario in my OP isn't specifying "when they provoke an AoO", it's "when the PC is within range, attack" and then the PC *may just so happen* to provoke an AoO shortly thereafter.

I just wanted to check in because that's a lot of potential burst damage and if someone dies as the result* I'd like the result to be "fair." Later in the campaign I could see this happening with an Otyugh or Ettin getting a pair of Slams/Flails in a short span of time.

*[Probably won't since it'll be mediocre bite damage + DoT's.]


1 person marked this as a favorite.
ryric wrote:
I wouldn't allow a player to specify "provoking an AoO" as a ready trigger simply because that's a game construct and not something their character can observe.

Surely a character can tell when something "provokes an AoO", otherwise how would they know to make them? Perhaps in character, if asked to describe what happened, they would word it differently. But since when do players dictate the mechanics of their turn in character? Requiring someone to say, in character, what the trigger for their readied action is hilarious, but probably not worth it unless your going for a very comedy oriented game.

Scarab Sages

Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Yeah, was misread attacks as actions. So, as a melee attack, an AoO is a "free" standard action as defined in table of actions which can be performed in a round.

Nope. Not that either, otherwise you could do things like Vital Strike on an AoO.

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