Withdrawing from combat when prone


Advice

Grand Lodge

Okay, so you have a low level fighter and you are fighting some tough monsters. They drop you negative. A party member heals you but not enough to get you out of the 'kill' zone, i.e. a hit from the monster has a good chance of killing you not just knocking you unconscious again. Since you are prone, you are much easier to hit and can't maneuver well. Almost any action you take save playing dead, such as standing, crawling, drinking a potion, attacking from prone, has a fair chance of getting your character killed.

In 3.5 the solution to this was an Anklet of Translocation, but those don't exist in Pathfinder. So what does exist for a non-spellcaster in PF to get them safely out of combat when prone?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There isn't any. For the same reason that you can't make a 5 foot step when prone. You essentially are getting up which will provoke.

Spellcasters don't get it that much easier, they have to cast defensively, and the person who put you down can counter by readying an action to strike you when you cast.


There are a couple rogue and combat style abilities that allow you to 5' step or crawl without provoking. That's pretty much it.

You could have a friendly character use a reposition CMB against you I suppose...

The Exchange

Now there's a thought. And I don't think the subject of a Drag maneuver provokes attacks of opportunity either. This came up in another thread and I remember wondering how much lower CMD should be against somebody who wants the combat maneuver to succeed.


Why wouldn't a person be subject to an AoO if they were dragged by a friendly character?

Seems to me like they still would by RaW, it is almost the same as riding a mount. Just because the mount moves you out of danger, you still are suffering the consequences of the mounts movement.


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"Drag

You can attempt to drag a foe as a standard action. You can only drag an opponent who is no more than one size category larger than you. The aim of this maneuver is to drag a foe in a straight line behind you without doing any harm. If you do not have the Improved Drag feat or a similar ability, initiating a drag provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

If your attack is successful, both you and your target are moved 5 feet back, with your opponent occupying your original space and you in the space behind that in a straight line. For every 5 by which your attack exceeds your opponent's CMD, you can drag the target back an additional 5 feet. You must be able to move with the target to perform this maneuver. If you do not have enough movement, the drag goes to the maximum amount of movement available to you and ends.

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."

So no, dragging an enemy does not provoke for the movement, but drag also says you can attempt to drag a foe, not a friendly. Same thing with reposition.

Grand Lodge

LazarX wrote:

There isn't any. For the same reason that you can't make a 5 foot step when prone. You essentially are getting up which will provoke.

Spellcasters don't get it that much easier, they have to cast defensively, and the person who put you down can counter by readying an action to strike you when you cast.

Spellcasters have it a bit easier since they don't provoke when they fail to cast defensively and there is no penalty to casting while prone.


What's stopping the character from taking the full-round withdraw action? I don't see anything in the withdraw text that says he can't do it from prone. He'll only be able to crawl 10 feet (double what you can normally crawl) but he can still back out of the "kill zone" without taking an AoO if he's judicious with his movement. Depending on the situation, that 10 feet can allow his comrades to get into better positions, or to drag him further out of harms way without taking AoOs themselves. The Drag combat maneuver shouldn't even come into play when dragging a friendly. It's simply a matter of action economy and strength. Carrying Capacity says "A character can generally push or drag along the ground as much as five times his maximum load. Favorable conditions can double these numbers, and bad circumstances can reduce them by half or more." If the fighter can withdraw 10 feet and get next to an ally, the ally could use a standard action to grab them, and a move action to drag them. I might rule that the dragging character's movement is hampered, maybe 3/4 or 1/2 depending on terrain, but I don't see anything stopping a friendly from dragging a friendly out of harms way. It happens in real life combat all the time.

Grand Lodge

Unfortunately, Crawl and Withdraw are two seperate actions. Being prone does not give you a 'crawl speed.' You could house rule that but I am asking about RAW here.

Dragging a willing ally based simply as dead weight rather than using a CMB check might work except it then goes back to whether such an action provokes since you are no longer using the grapple rules.

I am now starting to see one of the reasons why I am observing a much higher mortality rate in front line PFS characters than back liners. It is really a shame they have no good solution for this as it happens frequently.


If an ally can cast Blessings of Fervor, that allows you to stand as a swift action. Not sure if there are any ways of getting the same thing.


Indeed. "You may not withdraw using a form of movement for which you don't have a listed speed."

Also, crawling itself provokes. So even if you allow a withdraw while crawling, it still provokes due to the fact you are crawling.


So crawling isn't just a more descriptive form of "land speed?" Because that's how I see it. You are moving across the land, that movement is difficult because of the character's position, but it isn't a "new" form of movement. I'm pretty sure the line you're referencing is meant to reference flying, swimming, and the like. Also, I'd be inclined to rule that the withdraw action supersedes the crawl mechanics, because the character is actively trying to save their own life. I guess I could be in the minority, but in situations like this, I'd rule that the mechanics shouldn't prevent a character from actively working to save their own life.

Shadow Lodge

Belt of the Weasel can help. It's only a +2 dex belt, but it lets you move at half normal speed while prone, negates the AC and ATK penalty, and gives you compression. Sadly, it's up at 10000gp.

The errata'd prone shooter feat is a bit helpful. It'll drop your AC penalty to -2 instead of -4. Not much, but it helps.


MendedWall12 wrote:
So crawling isn't just a more descriptive form of "land speed?" Because that's how I see it. You are moving across the land, that movement is difficult because of the character's position, but it isn't a "new" form of movement. I'm pretty sure the line you're referencing is meant to reference flying, swimming, and the like. Also, I'd be inclined to rule that the withdraw action supersedes the crawl mechanics, because the character is actively trying to save their own life. I guess I could be in the minority, but in situations like this, I'd rule that the mechanics shouldn't prevent a character from actively working to save their own life.

Put a different way, if instead you only used a move action to crawl 5 feet back, you would provoke twice. Once for leaving a threatened square, and once for crawling.


Actually there is a Simple Answer this

Acrobatics Check!

Hmm lets see I am a Fighter I have more feats than anything in the game.

And this is not even crazy

I have 4 Feats that always help me out

Dodge- Always amazing for a fighter
Mobility - Great for those I want ignore everyone except that guy that owes me money over there

Now for entertaining ones
Acrobatic + 2 to skill
Skill Focus Acrobatics +3

So now you have a +5 to Start add your Dex in say its a 15 16
So we have a 9 (1 for just one rank)

And then you get 1 more feat if you really wanted to Push the Issue
Acrobatic Dodge!

Now granted if your in Plate mail you this is going to drop but depending on your level that penalty drops down and if you put 10 Ranks in it both Skill Focus and Acrobatic Feats are doubled in their usefulness! And you so many feats that it should not affect you to give up a few for some mobility as a whirlwind of death, that just can't be kept down!


Acrobatics check to stand up from prone without provoking an AoO...? Some of the language of that skill makes me think it won't work by RAW, but a kind GM could certainly rule that it falls within the RAI.

I'm going to quote the entire section on moving through a threatened square, because it's all relevant.

Acrobatics-Move Through Threatened Square wrote:
In addition, you can move through a threatened square without provoking an attack of opportunity from an enemy by using Acrobatics. When moving in this way, you move at half speed. You can move at full speed by increasing the DC of the check by 10. 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. If an ability allows you to move at full speed under such conditions, you can use Acrobatics to move past foes. You can use Acrobatics in this way while prone, but doing so requires a full-round action to move 5 feet, and the DC is increased by 5. If you attempt to move through an enemy’s space and fail the check, you lose the move action and provoke an attack of opportunity.

I'm not sure if standing up from the prone position (which mechanically is better represented as removing the prone condition) qualifies as moving "through" a threatened square. On the one hand you are essentially moving from the bottom of the 3-dimensional grid square to the top, on the other you are not moving from one grid square to another. The bit that makes this questionable for your low level fighter is whether or not they are restricted from this movement by their armor. At third level they could in medium armor, unless they took an archetype that replaced the armor training ability.

What I find interesting is that the rules specifically say you can attempt almost exactly what I described earlier, a full-round action to crawl away, and if you make the acrobatics check you avoid the AoO, of course they also say you can only move five feet. Since this skill specifically addresses that combat situation, it proves my use of the withdraw is a houserule, but it's one I'll continue to use.


Acrobatics doesn't allow you to stand up from prone as far as i can tell... but it certainly allows you to crawl a short distance without provoking... which is a start.


EvilMinion wrote:
Acrobatics doesn't allow you to stand up from prone as far as i can tell... but it certainly allows you to crawl a short distance without provoking... which is a start.

And then the person who was threatening you, does a 5' step and full-attacks.

You're better off 99% of the time either standing up and taking the AoO, or full-attacking from the floor at a -4.

The Exchange

An ally with Bodyguard or Improved Bull Rush is handy, too. Sometimes delaying your action is wisest, if you feel confident your buddies will be able to do something about the situation...

Wait, we're getting a little off-topic. Within RaW, I don't see anything under Withdrawal or Prone that specifically disallows the maneuver - odd as that may be. I also don't see any evidence of 'crawling' being a special movement type - although I admit that the sort of monsters in the Bestiary that 'crawl' (centipedes, etc.) are using their primary form of ambulation, not an awkward temporary expedient.


Lincoln Hills wrote:

An ally with Bodyguard or Improved Bull Rush is handy, too. Sometimes delaying your action is wisest, if you feel confident your buddies will be able to do something about the situation...

Wait, we're getting a little off-topic. Within RaW, I don't see anything under Withdrawal or Prone that specifically disallows the maneuver - odd as that may be. I also don't see any evidence of 'crawling' being a special movement type - although I admit that the sort of monsters in the Bestiary that 'crawl' (centipedes, etc.) are using their primary form of ambulation, not an awkward temporary expedient.

Crawling is 5' per move action. Acrobatics is at half-speed. You can make a 5' movement by spending a full-round action. That is why you can acrobatic's crawl 5' as a full-round action without provoking.

Or you could just move 5' and provoke twice(once for crawling, once for leaving a threatened square), then stand up as your other move.

Grand Lodge

You could Acrobatics to double crawl 10 feet if you took the -10 penalty but again that is getting very risky. Also you can't even try it if you are wearing medium or heavy armor. Guess what most front liners wear?

Shadow Lodge

I find Total Defence then standing can help. +4 dodge AC against the aoo. Its even better if you have 3 ranks in acrobatics as this grants a +6 AC. The down side is no attack that round and you don't threaten...

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