Action expenditures and Attacks of Opportunity / Readied Actions

Rules Questions

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Silver Crusade

Human Fighter wrote:

I was in a hurry, and Komoda, you had that avatar for a really long time, and now you change it... It's weird to me.


pin down wrote:


Whenever an opponent you threaten takes a 5-foot step or uses the withdraw action, that opponent provokes an attack of opportunity from you. If the attack hits, you deal no damage, but the targeted creature is prevented from making the move action that granted a 5-foot step or the withdraw action and does not move.
so, I can just withdraw or move again, right? It was 'prevented', so it never happened, right? Pretty useless feat...

Excellent find!

If the AoO let's you change your mind about the action you took which led to the AoO, then this feat would be pointless.

It's a good illustration of the fact that the AoO happens when you're already in that action.

I would just call it an exception, but I do see your point.

Pin Down says specifically the target is prevented "and does not move." So going with Komoda's interpretation they could choose another action but not an actual move (such as a second five foot step or withdraw attempt) and pin down still does its purpose of stopping them from moving.

I don't agree with his theory of AoO but it does not make Pin Down useless.

I would agree that the action is lost. The feat prevents you from doing it, not just an AoO.

I know it is a fine line, but it is one that I would draw.

The whole feat is an exception, both the 5' step and the withdrawal actions are the pinnacle actions to avoid AoOs. So there are two exceptions right there. I do think the feat should be able to stop the action. It doesn't work for any 'normal' AoOs, just these few new ones.

Again, exception to the rule.

Gauss wrote:

FAQ question: If an AoO (or Readied Action) prevents you from completing an action can you change your action or change the order of your actions?

Example: I declare I am using a "Move" move action to move out of a threatened square. I move zero distance when the Attack of Opportunity (or Readied Action) results in my being tripped.

Change action: Did I actually use my "Move" move action even though I didn't travel any distance before I was tripped? Ie. Can I replace the "Move" move action with another action?

Change Order of actions Can I use the Stand Up action and then use the "Move" move action I had already declared?

This has come up in multiple threads (this is the latest).

I am interested in this topic (being a fan of Combat Reflexes, reach and maneuvers) and I marked the OP as FAQ candidate, so I thought I might as well put my 2 cents on the matter:

The rules simply do not address this issue properly, so it is difficult to deduce a solution from them. Specific rules such as feats are hardly a good reference, considering that they have been sometimes designed in apparent ignorance of the parent rule :\

My opinion, like for others in this thread, is that the "action resource" (standard action, move action and so on) that you expend to perform an action must be effectively consumed for the AoO to trigger, otherwise the attack of opportunity would be activated by an action that has never even begun.
The OP example is a situation when expending your action effectively nets you 0, but what if the AoO triggers in between a 30 ft move, after you have already moved a few squares? That is a move action as well, except that the AoO triggers later, but how do you define "later" action-wise? You can do so only when the action includes movement, because squares are the only "dimension" taken into account in combat.
I think the "1) expend, 2) resolve" approach is the best way to handle it.

That said, I think I would allow to stop an action after an AoO (or similar interruption) triggered by that action. The move/standard/whatever action is still expended, the AoO is triggered, but the triggering action does not have to be resolved. A bit brutal, but it helps avoiding headaches from situations like: a character is charging and has his weapon sundered via AoO in the middle of the charge, what does he do? Is he compelled to continue the charge with another weapon at hand (armor spikes, unarmed strike, improvised weapon)? There are no strict requirements over what you have to declare when starting an action, so there are no rules handling what happens when an action parameter changes dramatically.
This is house rules territory anyway, that's why I hit the FAQ button.

Silver Crusade

If you have expended an action type (move, standard, full-round, etc.) on a certain Action In Combat (move your speed, attack, charge etc.), this allows you to do the things described by that action, but you are not compelled to go through with it. If you choose not to go through with it, you do not get that (move/standard/full-round) action back to spend on something else.

If you've spent a move action to 'move your speed', this allows you to move a number of squares that are no greater than your (current) speed, but taking that action does not compel you to move all of those squares, or any of those squares! If you choose to move zero squares (or are unable to move out of your first square) then that is a perfectly valid use of the 'move your speed' action, and you don't get your move action back.

If you spend your standard action on the 'attack' Action In Combat', this allows you to attempt a (valid) attack (using those rules), but it does not compel you to attack. Deliberately missing is allowed, and no rules are required to not hit someone! 'Not hitting someone' is a perfect valid (though wasteful) use of the 'attack' standard action. If you do this, you don't get your standard action back to do something else.

If you spend your full-round action to take the 'charge' Action In Combat, this allows you to charge any valid target, according to the charge rules. Your movement must be as described in the charge rules, and your attack must be as described in those rules. However, you are not compelled to keep moving, it's just that any move must be as described in the charge rules. You are not compelled to attack at the end of the charge, but if you do attack then that attack must be as described in the charge rules.

It's my turn. I want to charge the ogre. I spend my full-round action on the 'charge' Action In Combat. There are a couple of targets that I could charge from my starting position, but I choose to charge the ogre.

Foolishly, my starting square is threatened. As I try to leave that first square, I am disarmed by an AoO. What are my choices?

I can continue to charge the ogre, drawing a weapon as I go. However, this limits the distance I can move. I might not have the distance.

Since I haven't started moving, I can choose another valid charge target. If I'd already started moving, I could only change target if my movement so far was also valid charge movement for the second target.

I can move toward the target (as described under the charge rules), but I can't move to any square that would not be valid for that charge. I can stop moving before I reach the first square from which I could attack the target, but I couldn't attack at all.

If I get to the square from which I can attack the target (which must be the first such square, according to the charge rules) then I can make an attack against that target. But I don't have to. However, I may not attack a different target, because the 'charge' action only allows me to attack the target of my charge.

TL;DR: actions allow you to do anything you want, so long as what you actually do is permitted by the Action In Combat that you chose. You are not compelled to do anything at all, but if you do something then that act must be permitted by the Action In Combat that you chose.

The contention will always be: at what point can a change in battlefield conditions allow you to change your actions and at what "action cost?"

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I think once you've committed to an action, there are limited options. When attacking, the rules clearly lay out that you can decide between a single attack (standard action) and multiple attacks (full attack action) after the first attack is made. And for most movement modes, you don't have to declare your entire move before you start, so you can usually change your path (charging, jumping, and a few other possible moves excepted).

But if you've started attacking and provoke an AoO, you can't suddenly shift to a non-attacking full action like running or withdrawing. You've committed to attacking by starting to do so and provoking the AoO. Same with movement. If you've started a move action but, because of an AoO, are reduced to 0 ft further movement - you can't change that action. If you have any actions left in your turn, you can use those in whatever way choose and they may be different from your original plans.

For example, you want to amble over (move action for, say, 20 ft) and whack a mole. Mole's brother Chuck, however, is good at tripping and trips you successfully just as you start out (because you were in his threatened space and he rolled well). That move action is used up by you trying to move and then having your move reduce to 0 (effectively) by the trip. So instead of using a standard action to whack mole, you decide to spend it on a move action to stand up. That's a perfectly acceptable change of plans. And Chuck is probably out of AoO (though he might not be) and can't make use of your provocation as you pick yourself up off the floor.

If you're in a melee with Renaldo the fencer and use your sword to try to disarm him without having improved disarm, you provoke an AoO. He uses his better fencing skills to disarm you, foiling your attempt. That attack is spent, but you have a decision point. You wanted to use your second iterative attack to bash him, but now you can choose to take a 5' step back (no action) and draw another weapon (move action). That's perfectly fine. You're not locked into a full attack just because you took the first swing.

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Komoda wrote:
The contention will always be: at what point can a change in battlefield conditions allow you to change your actions and at what "action cost?"

No, I think at this point that might only be your contention.

To answer it, as others have, you can always change your actions that you have not used but you cannot change the actions you have already used, and provoking an AoO means you have used the action that provoked it - else you have magically provoked an AoO without doing anything at all (perhaps it's a machine AoO sent back in time from the future to kill John Connor before he provokes it by being born).

It seems quite clear in the RAW that you never provoke an AoO by choosing to do nothing. Doing nothing does NOT provoke. Ergo, if you provoke an AoO, then you MUST have done something. If you did SOMETHING, it is now too late to pretend that you did NOTHING.

Really? With almost 50 FAQs, a few supporters (at least 1), and the fact that this isn't the only time this question has been asked, you are going to try to act as if I am the only one to ever feel this way?

How disingenuous.

It seems quite clear to me that actions happen in a finite order. That mechanical order does not match the thematic order. As evidenced in many of my posts above.

I understand the opposition, but still do not agree with it. Some do not agree with me, but understand how I got to my position. I appreciate that. It makes for a good debate.

Trying to make this completely about me, does nothing for the discussion or your claim.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
TL;DR: actions allow you to do anything you want, so long as what you actually do is permitted by the Action In Combat that you chose. You are not compelled to do anything at all, but if you do something then that act must be permitted by the Action In Combat that you chose.

In fact, every type of action in the Combat section is described as "allowing you to do something"... Besides, it makes sense and seems a good way to handle a lot of scenarios.

Komoda wrote:
The contention will always be: at what point can a change in battlefield conditions allow you to change your actions and at what "action cost?"

True, this is why I was considering, for simplicity, to allow such changes in response to any interruption (where an interruption is something that is triggered in response to an action and is resolved before said action). I would also allow to break down full-round actions so that you can spend only a "lesser" action as long as what you did before the change fits with that action (similarly to when you can decide to only spend a standard action after the first attack of a full-attack action).

Silver Crusade

In terms of the rules, you cannot start an action, and change what action it really was part way through.

There is a singular, written exception: if you take the 'full attack' action, after the first attack of that full attack is resolved, you may retro-actively change that full attack into the 'attack' standard action, and now have a move action left.

There are no other ways to change your action like this in the game rules. There may be a feat/spell/special ability that provides a conditional exception, but I don't know of any.

Liberty's Edge

Dotting (secret bump)

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