A Question about Tumbling


Rules Questions


OK, I know there is no "tumble" (but page 193 of the core book still calls it "tumbling").

It's an Acrobatics check to move through a threatened space. The rulebook says:

Paizo Core Rules, Acrobatics, page 87 wrote:
In addition, you can move through a threatened square without provoking an attack of opportunity from an enemy by using Acrobatics.

Well, you can always move through a threatened space, though without using acrobatics or some other trick, it will often be painful when you do. But, after the enemy takes their AoOs at you, you usually get wherever you are going.

So without Acrobatics, you can move through a threatened space but it provokes an AoO. Therefore I interpret the Acrobatics rule to mean that you can still move through a threatened space but if you make a successful roll, you won't provoke. If you fail the roll, it's just like not having acrobatics: you move through the space and you provoke the AoOs like normal.

But then, what about moving through an enemy's space? Now the roll is just harder by +5 with no other rules presented, so the same interpretation seems to apply. Make the Acrobatics roll and you move through the enemy's space, fail the roll and you move through the enemy's space but you provoke an AoO.

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But this seems to contradict the movement rule on page 193 that says:

Paizo Core Rules, Moving Through a Square, page 193 wrote:
You can’t move through a square occupied by an opponent unless the opponent is helpless. You can move through a square occupied by a helpless opponent without penalty. Some creatures, particularly very large ones, may present an obstacle even when helpless. In such cases, each square you move through counts as 2 squares."

OK, lower on the page it says:

Paizo Core Rules, Moving Through a Square, page 193 wrote:
Tumbling: A trained character can attempt to use Acrobatics to move through a square occupied by an opponent (see the Acrobatics skill).

But this is also a bit of a contradiction, since anyone can attempt to tumble. Acrobatics is not a "Trained Only" skill, so no "training" is required. Clearly though, the more Acrobatics training you have, the more likely you are to avoid any AoO - but if you're tough enough, you just might not even care.

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So my interpretation of this rule is:

1. Anyone can try to "tumble" through a threatened space or even an occupied (enemy) space unless they are encumbered, as per the Acrobatics skill rules. I can't wait to see the looks on my players' faces when the dragone tumbles through their space...
2. Success on the roll means exactly what it says, you move through the space and you don't provoke any AoO.
3. Failure means you move through the space anyway but you do provoke AoO. Assuming you survive, you successfully get wherever you wanted to be.

Does anyone see it any differently (more specifically, can anyone point to any actual rule that contradicts my interpretation)?


So, giving the assumptions in my first post in this thread, here's the flaw that I see:

That interpretation completely invalidates the idea of using "tanks" or "meatshields", etc., to protect the squishy mages (etc.) in the back.

So your barbarian, paladin, and fighter form a 3-man wall. There are 20 kobolds attacking, so they all just tumble past the "wall" and attack the mage in the back. Most of them (maybe all of them) fail their Acrobatics rolls, and your "wall" kills 3 of them with their AoOs, but the other 17 kobolds surround your mage and cut him to pieces.

DM's cannot protect their squishy wizard/sorcerer/cleric/warlock/necromancer/etc. villains any more because even the dwarf fighter in full plate with DEX 6 and ZERO points in Acrobatics can tumble right through the minions, even through the spaces they are standing in, and kill the villain - sure, he'll take a few AoOs, but if he has a good AC, maybe the Mobility feat, and lots of HP, a few AoOs won't matter.

The whole Roman phalanx mentality ceases to exist when the Visigoths just tumble past the shield wall and hack the legionnaires to bits from behind.


DM_Blake wrote:

OK, I know there is no "tumble" (but page 193 of the core book still calls it "tumbling").

It's an Acrobatics check to move through a threatened space. The rulebook says:

Paizo Core Rules, Acrobatics, page 87 wrote:
In addition, you can move through a threatened square without provoking an attack of opportunity from an enemy by using Acrobatics.

Well, you can always move through a threatened space, though without using acrobatics or some other trick, it will often be painful when you do. But, after the enemy takes their AoOs at you, you usually get wherever you are going.

So without Acrobatics, you can move through a threatened space but it provokes an AoO. Therefore I interpret the Acrobatics rule to mean that you can still move through a threatened space but if you make a successful roll, you won't provoke. If you fail the roll, it's just like not having acrobatics: you move through the space and you provoke the AoOs like normal.

But then, what about moving through an enemy's space? Now the roll is just harder by +5 with no other rules presented, so the same interpretation seems to apply. Make the Acrobatics roll and you move through the enemy's space, fail the roll and you move through the enemy's space but you provoke an AoO.

******************************************************************

But this seems to contradict the movement rule on page 193 that says:

Paizo Core Rules, Moving Through a Square, page 193 wrote:
You can’t move through a square occupied by an opponent unless the opponent is helpless. You can move through a square occupied by a helpless opponent without penalty. Some creatures, particularly very large ones, may present an obstacle even when helpless. In such cases, each square you move through counts as 2 squares."

OK, lower on the page it says:

Paizo Core Rules, Moving Through a Square, page 193 wrote:
Tumbling: A trained character can attempt to use Acrobatics to move through a square occupied by an opponent
...

My interpretation is that one cannot "move" into an enemy's square. However, one can attempt to use acrobatics to pass through an enemy's square. A failed attempt means you do not enter the opponent's square and end up in the square adjacent to the enemy that you previously occupied. Also, you cannot end up in an occupied square even if your max movement would force you to end in that square (acrobatics or not): pass through, or stop in the square before. This interpretation is based on the text in the 3.5 edition books, and I don't imagine that it has changed under the Pathfinder Ruleset.

edit: Just read your post. Thought I would post a simplified version using your example. The fighters that failed their acrobats check bounce off the blocker and end in the square in front of them (AND provoke an attack of opportunity, I believe). Not a good gamble if your acrobatics DC isn't that good.


For tumbling through an enemy occupied space, I would interpret it as you must be "trained" (i.e. have ranks) in acrobatics in order to move through.

If you fail, you provoke the AOP, but move through anyway. Your meat shields can take "Stand Still" to prevent that movement if the AOP lands.

The Exchange

Tumbling changed from Beta. You now move half your speed while tumbling.

Granted you can add +10 to your DC to remove this restriction, but herein lies your change. You cannot move thru enemy occupied squares at normal speed but you can tumble thru them at half. People aren't always tumbling while moving or you would move at half speed all the time, I think this is a good change, however I think the halfling rogue in our group is gonna be upset.


DM_Blake wrote:
But then, what about moving through an enemy's space? Now the roll is just harder by +5 with no other rules presented, so the same interpretation seems to apply. Make the Acrobatics roll and you move through the enemy's space, fail the roll and you move through the enemy's space but you provoke an AoO.

The 3.5 version of tumble stated clearly that you'd stop moving *and* get an AoO. Perhaps it was assumed that if you can't make the DC, you don't get any benefit from acrobatics -- in fact, you get a penalty (AoO). I don't think this was intended as a PF change -- more of a reduction of verbosity in the consolidation of the acrobatics skill.


Ninjaofthesea wrote:

For tumbling through an enemy occupied space, I would interpret it as you must be "trained" (i.e. have ranks) in acrobatics in order to move through.

If you fail, you provoke the AOP, but move through anyway. Your meat shields can take "Stand Still" to prevent that movement if the AOP lands.

I disagree with that interpretation of the repercussions of failing your Acrobatics check. If you fail your Check moving through Threatened Squares, then you provoke AoO. If you fail your Check moving through an Occupied Square then your movement stops (you have been blocked from moving through the square). That means that this rule now applies:

Accidentally Ending Movement in an Illegal Space: Sometimes a character ends its movement while moving through a space where it's not allowed to stop. When that happens, put your miniature in the last legal position you occupied, or the closest legal position, if there's a legal position that's closer.

I'm not sure whether this provokes AoO also (I would argue it does as you left the threatened square, entered the opponent's, and were forced back).

I don't see any reason that Acrobatics has to be trained only under the above interpretation. Very few people would pass their check without ranks and would suffer severely for the attempt.


DM_Blake wrote:

OK, lower on the page it says:

Paizo Core Rules, Moving Through a Square, page 193 wrote:
Tumbling: A trained character can attempt to use Acrobatics to move through a square occupied by an opponent
...

I think "Attempt" is the key word here if you fail you fail to move through that square and provoke...not sure if I would allow the player to continue to move if they had additional movement or not(i.e. tried to get through the orc's square got body blocked so moved to the side to try to get away) but I definately read it as a failure to get through the square.

Now taking the kobold example: if they don't tumble through the shield wall they could (unless the three meatshield close of a corridor or something, just run past taking the AOOs till the fighter on that side is out of AOOs and stream past to the mage...so I don't see bad tumbling changing life much unless you ignore the Attempt in going through a square....of and honestly with tumble being against the CMD I don't see many succusses if they did try to tumble through ;)

Scarab Sages

An interesting point, that 3.5 Tumbling used to be trained only, while PF Acrobatics is not.
Presumably, we should see more attempts being made, and more dynamic combats?
Though, if a PC has no ranks, and poor Dex, it's less likely to succeed, making it an act of desperation.

Then again, I've never played a light/non-armoured PC that didn't have ranks in Tumble, so I don't see this changing my game much.

I agree that, in the shieldwall example, common sense would say that only those who succeed should make it past the defenders, otherwise the shieldwall tactic is useless. Going round, well, that's a different story.

However, in real life, soldiers/police forming a wall stand a lot closer than 5' apart, which isn't represented well in D&D, which assumes everyone is a skirmisher flailing round in their own square, after individual glory, rather than a well-drilled member of a military unit.

And, in RL, one free attack of opportunity would usually kill anyone mad enough to provoke one, making it an unattractive tactic. ("Let's get'em!" "Yeah!" "Err, you first." "No, YOU first!"). As soon as your rules allow people to take multiple hits, you see players making a lot of decisions that should be suicidal in the real world.


Thanks for the replies.

I see a lot of "I would rule" and "Common sense says" and that's all fine and dandy, but I'm looking for a more lawyerish approach, I guess.

The rules for Acrobatics themselves simply state that you're using the skill to avoid the AoO, not to see if you can specifically complete the movement or not.

It's all pretty clear when you simply run past an enemy, through a threatened but unoccupied square. Succeed and you don't provoke, fail and you do provoke, but either way, you get where you want to go (unless the AoO kills you, or the enemy has a trick that can stop your movement when he makes an AoO).

But it gets really fuzzy when you move through an occupied space. The rules for Acrobatics make no distinction at all, other than the +5 to the difficulty. So, since moving past the enemy is guaranteed to succeed, with or without an AoO based on your Acrobatics check, then moving through an enemy is equally guaranteed to succeed - you're just more likely to provoke the AoO because of that +5 difficulty. So, succed and you move through the enemy's space without any AoO. Fail, and you move through the enemy's space but you provoke the AoO.

I'm confounded to find a rules-based argument against this interpretation, though I completely agree that common sense definitely argues for a houserule here.


Snorter wrote:
Then again, I've never played a light/non-armoured PC that didn't have ranks in Tumble, so I don't see this changing my game much.

Who needs light armor?

In fact, who needs ranks in tumble? (Well, now in Pathfinder, it's ranks in Acrobatics).

Just wear your full plate, move through the enemy's space, and take your lumps from the AoO. I mean really, unless you're first level, that one hit isn't going to hurt too bad. Especially if you have a cleric on your side with Channel Energy. He can probably heal all or nearly all of the damage from that one AoO with a single healing wave - just don't move more than 30' away from him.


The rule is:
Opponent: You can't move through a square occupied by an opponent unless the opponent is helpless.

And that rule applies unless there is an explicit exception to the rule. There is an explicit exception if you make a tumble roll. Strangely there isn't anything about what happens if you fail but it seems that if you fail you would go back to the base rule.


DM_Blake wrote:

So without Acrobatics, you can move through a threatened space but it provokes an AoO. Therefore I interpret the Acrobatics rule to mean that you can still move through a threatened space but if you make a successful roll, you won't provoke. If you fail the roll, it's just like not having acrobatics: you move through the space and you provoke the AoOs like normal.

But then, what about moving through an enemy's space? Now the roll is just harder by +5 with no other rules presented, so the same interpretation seems to apply. Make the Acrobatics roll and you move through the enemy's space, fail the roll and you move through the enemy's space but you provoke an AoO.

Under Scenario A (Threat Area) which doesn't itself prevent Movement,

Failing an Acrobatics Check (to avoid AoO) doesn't stop your Movement.

does NOT logically lead to:

Under Scenario B (Opponent Occupying Square) which itself prevents movement,
Failing an Acrobatics Check (to allow Movement) doesn't stop your Movement.

See your error?
OK, minimum 1 hr. consultation fee, @$200/hr rules lawyer guild standard rate...


Quandary wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:

So without Acrobatics, you can move through a threatened space but it provokes an AoO. Therefore I interpret the Acrobatics rule to mean that you can still move through a threatened space but if you make a successful roll, you won't provoke. If you fail the roll, it's just like not having acrobatics: you move through the space and you provoke the AoOs like normal.

But then, what about moving through an enemy's space? Now the roll is just harder by +5 with no other rules presented, so the same interpretation seems to apply. Make the Acrobatics roll and you move through the enemy's space, fail the roll and you move through the enemy's space but you provoke an AoO.

Under Scenario A (Threat Area) which doesn't itself prevent Movement,

Failing an Acrobatics Check (to avoid AoO) doesn't stop your Movement.

does NOT logically lead to:

Under Scenario B (Opponent Occupying Square) which itself prevents movement,
Failing an Acrobatics Check (to allow Movement) doesn't stop your Movement.

See your error?
OK, minimum 1 hr. consultation fee, @$200/hr rules lawyer guild standard rate...

That's pretty good. I can run with that.

It kind of contradicts what the Acrobatics skill actually says, but at least it contradicts it with game concepts established elsewhere in the Tactical Movement section of the Combat rules, so I have no problem resolving that conflict in favor of common sense.

Your fee has been remitted by post. I hope you don't mind, I've paid with electrum pieces.


For this time that works. You can use PayPal from now own. Euros preferred currency.

Scarab Sages

DM_Blake wrote:


Who needs light armor?

In fact, who needs ranks in tumble? (Well, now in Pathfinder, it's ranks in Acrobatics).

Just wear your full plate, move through the enemy's space, and take your lumps from the AoO.

Except for most characters, acrobatic tumbling is impossible with that full plate on. See page 88 where it says "you cannot use acrobatics to move past foes if your speed is reduced due to carrying a medium or heavy load or wearing medium or heavy armor."

As far as the statement about moving through a occupied square:

Moving Through a Square, page 193 wrote:
Tumbling: A trained character can attempt to use Acrobatics to move through a square occupied by an opponent

So unless you have ranks in this skill, you cannot attempt this maneuver.

Those statements are not opinions or house rules. This next one is. In my game, a failed attempt at moving though a enemy's square will make the character stop short.


Greg Kilberger wrote:

Except for most characters, acrobatic tumbling is impossible with that full plate on. See page 88 where it says "you cannot use acrobatics to move past foes if your speed is reduced due to carrying a medium or heavy load or wearing medium or heavy armor."

As far as the statement about moving through a occupied square:

Moving Through a Square, page 193 wrote:
Tumbling: A trained character can attempt to use Acrobatics to move through a square occupied by an opponent

So unless you have ranks in this skill, you cannot attempt this maneuver.

Those statements are not opinions or house rules. This next one is. In my game, a failed attempt at moving though a enemy's square will make the character stop short.

Valid points.

So only a dwarf in full plate with 1 rank of acrobatics can tumble through an enemy's space, take the AoO, and then massacre the squishy mage that the enemy was trying to protect.

Or anyone in mithral medium armor. Beware the barbarians in mithral breastplates and all their fast movement - they can wade right through the staunchest shield walls and they surely have the HP to soak up a few AoOs along the way...


DM_Blake wrote:

Thanks for the replies.

I see a lot of "I would rule" and "Common sense says" and that's all fine and dandy, but I'm looking for a more lawyerish approach, I guess.

Well, judgements tend to look at precedent. The 3.5 rules state something very clearly. The PF rules state less clearly and don't state otherwise. One system has subsumed another system. While there are some substantial differences with this particular element of the system (acrobatics versus tumble, CMB being a driving favor versus static DCs), the core element of being unable to move through enemy squares is unchanged. Why would the acrobatics check change? A reasonable person would assume the systems work the same on this issue.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Paizo Core Rules, Moving Through a Square, page 193 wrote:

Tumbling: A trained character can attempt to use Acrobatics to move through a square occupied by an opponent (see the Acrobatics skill).

If you fail to meet the DC then you fail to use the skill, the benefit of using the skill is "moving through a square occupied by an opponent".

Seems pretty clear to me.


DM_Blake wrote:
Paizo Core Rules, Moving Through a Square, page 193 wrote:
Tumbling: A trained character can attempt to use Acrobatics to move through a square occupied by an opponent
But this is also a bit of a contradiction, since anyone can attempt to tumble. Acrobatics is not a "Trained Only" skill, so no "training" is required. Clearly though, the more Acrobatics training you have, the more likely you are to avoid any AoO - but if you're tough enough, you just might not even care.

Just because you can use acrobatics untrained doesn't preclude specific actions from requiring training.

Scarab Sages

PF SRD wrote:
In addition, you can move through a threatened square without provoking an attack of opportunity from an enemy by using Acrobatics.

On a slightly different topic, I could read that as "a" (as in 'one', 'singular') threatened square, per use of the skill.

Can someone official confirm if the intent is:

a) to force a further check for each additional square of movement through a threatened area?

b) if one check alone is enough to bamboozle one enemy for the whole of the move?

Checking the 3.5 SRD, I can see how interpretation b) could have been justified before, but wonder if it was ever the intent for it to be that easy, and if the current change in the PF bolded text is a deliberate attempt to explicitly set out the rule the way it was always intended since 2000AD?

d20 SRD wrote:
Tumble at one-half speed as part of normal movement, provoking no attacks of opportunity while doing so. Failure means you provoke attacks of opportunity normally. Check separately for each opponent you move past, in the order in which you pass them (player’s choice of order in case of a tie). Each additional enemy after the first adds +2 to the Tumble DC.

This query came up in 3.5, a few weeks ago, while playing PFS outside my main group. A fellow player Tumbled into a perfectly acceptable flanking position, then declared three more squares, to go even further round the opponent. I said something to the effect of 'Woah, you're pushing your luck, aren't you?', and got a table full of blank looks. Turns out everyone else used interpretation b).

I was OK with being odd one out, since it didn't affect my PC in any way, and the fight (and scenario, last one of the weekend, too!) was all but won, but it did make me wonder if I'd been doing myself short for years.

All through 3.5, every player in my town ran interpretation a), and it's the one I favour. As I said above, every PC and NPC I make gets Tumble as a level 1 skill, if they're likely to see combat in light/no armour, and most other players are the same. Even with the stricter rule, it's still a skill that sees a lot of use, with some players voluntarily risking 6, 7, 8 checks per round, against higher and higher DCs, to get through a crowded room.
The skill is considered THAT good, that no-one's ever queried this, or suggested it should be easier. In fact, the consensus is that it was far too easy, since the base DC could be auto-passed by level 4 (or earlier, if you took Skill Focus). As such, we generally played that the DC went up by +2 per extra square, as well as per extra opponent, and players still happily took on DCs of 25+, with PCs who didn't even have it as a class skill.

Scarab Sages

Well, that killed that thread.


I've always viewed it in the case of B. How I play it:
You want to tumble past a foe, you have to make 1 tumble check against him. You want to tumble past 3 foes, you make the tumble check past the first one as you exit a square he threatens, when you exit the square the second foe threatens you make your tumble check vs him at +2 dc, third foe gets +4 to the dc. So to tumble past 3 foes is 3 progressively harder checks.

As for tumbling through a foe's space, I'd believe that failing a tumble THROUGH his square ends your movement. Failed tumble checks through unoccupied threatened squares only provoke AoO unless special conditions apply (feats and such)

Side note, I'm quite happy with how difficulty of tumbling has been increased. Old rules having a flat tumble dc just made it silly how easy it was.


Oh man, we just ran into the great Acrobatics/Tumbling debate last night, with 50% leaning one way, and 50% leaning the other. VERY FRUSTRATING so I hope Paizo clarifies this in some future Rules Errata article.

I've got even more questions on top of what's been laid out here.

I made a diagram. and I'll number my points/questions to make them easier to respond to.

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y208/bluefish5/AcrobaticsCheck.jpg

So the PC wants to move through Orc#2's square, from square A to Square C.

1. If the PC fails the Acrobatics roll we interpret that meaning he does not move through Orc#2's square because per the Tumbling rules on pg193 "a trained character can attempt to use Acrobatics to move through a square occupied by an opponent." So by failing your "Attempt" your movement is also stopped. Much like Bull Rush, pg199, "If your attack fails, your movement ends in front of the target." Or like Overrun, pf201, "If your overrun attempt fails, you stop in the space directly in front of the opponent, or the nearest open space in front of the creature if there are other creatures occupying that space."

2. Success is straight forward; the PC ends his turn in square C unharmed. Start stabbing like an SOB.

3. What the hell is the DC for this particular movement?

Is it 3a: DC = CMD + 9 (+5 for Orc#2 + 2 for Orc#1 + +2 for Orc#3)

Is it 3b: DC = CMD + 5 (for Orc#2), and two addition rolls of CMD + 2 for Orcs#1 and #3?

I interpret it as 3a, because the table on pg88 says "The DC increases by 2 for each additional opponent avoided in 1 round." But our group was unable to agree on this.

4. How many Orcs actually get an AOO if the PC fails that roll? In this scenario if the PC fails the roll he never actually enters a square threatened by Orc#3. I would interpret that to mean only Orc#1 and Orc#2 get to make AOOs.

5. What if the Orcs in this scenario all had different CMDs? Would you use the highest for determining the DC, take the average of all 3 CMDs, or some third option?

6. Finally if you attempt to move through two squares occupied by opponents, (not in my diagram, buts lets say Orc#2 is in square B and Orc#3 is in square C, and the PC wants to tumble from square A to square D). I think I'm correct in reading the table on pg88 when I assume that the DC = CMD +7.


1) That's also how I believe it is. If a tumble check is failed to move through a space occupied by a foe, movement stops in the last legal position for the character.

3) I go with your 3b calculation. 3 rolls: [orc2:cmd+5],[orc1:cmd+2],[orc3:cmd+4]
-The phrase "The DC increases by 2 for each additional opponent avoided in 1 round." is put in past tense so as to indicate checks already made.
-Perhaps a more persuasive argument for individual checks is from a DM perspective. Tumbling through so many foes ought to be VERY difficult and prone to failures. Requiring multiple checks drastically raises the chance to roll failures on any given roll. This is increased % failure coupled with progressively higher dcs.

4) This is also another argument for progressive checks. It simplifies matters such as this. I agree with your outcome but would like to ask if you went with a single roll what sense does it make that orc3 can interfere with your tumble but not attack you since you never tried to move out of a square he threatens? The correct way would for you to check against orc2 to move through his square. Then check against orc1 for trying to leave the square he threatens. You then resolve their AoOs if the checks failed. If the check to move through orc2 passed you now have to check against orc3 and resolve the AoO if needed.

5) Yet another reason for progressive checks. It would make it the simplest and fairest. If pushed for a solution for someone using a single check, I would use the highest CMD. Why would tumble between a very low level bard and a high level fighter be easier than tumbling past a lone high level fighter?

6) tumbling through two successive occupied squares would be two checks
[orc2:cmd+5], [orc3:cmd+7]. Also note ending up in an illegal position say by failing to pass orc3's check

Quote:
Accidentally Ending Movement in an Illegal Space: Sometimes a character ends its movement while moving through a space where it's not allowed to stop. When that happens, put your miniature in the last legal position you occupied, or the closest legal position, if there's a legal position that's closer.

Scarab Sages

OK, so the +2 add would apply if the PC then took a left and tumbled over Orc #3 in 'G'?

+2 for Orcs #1 & #2 for leaving threatened square A

+2 for Orcs #1 & #3 & +5 for Orc #2 for tumbling over #2

+2 for #1, #2 & #3 for leaving square C

+2 for #1 & #2 & +7 for #3 for going over #3

Did I get all the checks?

*** or ***

+2 for Orcs #1 & #2 for leaving threatened square A

+4 for Orcs #1 & #3, & +7 for Orc #2 for tumbling over #2

+6 for #1, #2 & #3 for leaving square C

+8 for #1 & #2 & +11 for #3 for going over #3


DM_Blake wrote:

Who needs light armor?

In fact, who needs ranks in tumble? (Well, now in Pathfinder, it's ranks in Acrobatics).

Just wear your full plate, move through the enemy's space, and take your lumps from the AoO. I mean really, unless you're first level, that one hit isn't going to hurt too bad. Especially if you have a cleric on your side with Channel Energy. He can probably heal all or nearly all of the damage from that one AoO with a single healing wave - just don't move more than 30' away from him.

Well that's all a bit silly. This is way simpler than you're trying to make it.

The Acrobatics skill allows you to ignore some of the normal rules for movement in combat and triggering Attacks of Opportunity on a successful check. On a failed check, you don't receive any of the benefits of the acrobatics skill, and must abide by the usual rules and restrictions on movement. Meaning you do take Attacks of Opportunity upon leaving a threatened square, and you cannot move through an opponents space.


airhead:
1st you missed the rule where moving out of a threatened square will only provoke the foe once. It's talked about in the Attacks of Opportunity section in Combat. Subsection is combat reflexes and AoO.
See just above the picture in the SRD Here
Because of this you're making only one tumble per foe. 3 foes = 3 checks

Anyway, so yes the +2 for each successive tumble check is cumulative.

If player went from Square A through foe in B to end up in C and then again through Foe in G to end up on the other side of orc3, he needs to make a tumble check for each foe.
orc1 is only getting tumbled past
orc2 is getting tumbled through
orc3 is getting tumbled through

so the first check is made normally with no additional penalties
2nd check will have +2 penalty
3rd check will have +4 penalty

The first check to be made is up to the dm. its either going to be tumbling past orc1 or tumbling through orc2. The final check would be tumbling through orc3

so based on which check your dm wants first youll end up with either
cmd > cmd+7 > cmd+9
or
cmd+5 > cmd+2 > cmd+9

p.s. great diagram

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