Does involuntary movement provoke?


Rules Questions


14 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Between vanguards making combat maneuvers great again and skittermanders getting +35 to bullrush checks they succeed on with extra leverage the rule question has surfaced again

Does being forced out of a space provoke the same as voluntary movement?

When you threaten a space and the opponent moves out of that space in any way other than a guarded step or withdraw action (see above), you can use your reaction to make a melee attack against the opponent.

Being billiard balled out of a square isn't a guarded step or withdrawl so... did they mean to do this?


I guess we'll have to look at the selection of class abilities, spells, etc that can move another character, and see how many of them say "This movement does not provoke" or "This movement does provoke."

Not it, on that research, by the way. But, if they all say "This movement does not provoke," I would take that as the usual thing of all other methods of moving that aren't a guarded step, withdrawal, or marked with that phrase as provoking.


The only example I can think of where it says "does provoke" rather than staying silent or affirmatively saying it doesn't provoke is the new Gravity Well spell. I tend to think the default is "does provoke" for that reason.


Black Hole specifically calls out not provoking.


Xain wrote:
Black Hole specifically calls out not provoking.

Correction: Almost every special ability or spell calls out not provoking, but combat maneuvers say nothing at all.

Sovereign Court

You could say that it's implicit in the definition of Attack of Opportunity:

CRB p. 248 wrote:

When you threaten a space and the opponent moves out

of that space in any way other than a guarded step (see
page 247) or withdraw action (see above), you can use your
reaction to make a melee attack against the opponent.

Note that it says "moves out", not "is moved out".

It's not as definite as I would like, but other clues also seem to point to this: most involuntary movement through other means doesn't provoke in Starfinder, also most involuntary movement in Pathfinder 1 doesn't provoke, and in Pathfinder 2 involuntary movement never provokes.


This was just recently debated in another thread. Someone else may be able to say better than I - I didn't follow it closely. I seem to recall looking once though.

It's been a long established "thing" in many systems that involuntary movement does not provoke. So much so that I assumed Starfinder said it too, and was surprised that I could not find such a reference. I don't think the combat rules section says it categorically, though some individual things do.

Personally, I would say that it does not provoke for the same reasons it became a standard rule in many systems; otherwise it tends to get used abusively by players. But I don't think there's a clean cite in the rules as written.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

When I GM, I generally rule that forced movement does not provoke opportunity attacks, unless specified by the ability/source. This avoids any shenanigans.


Ascalaphus wrote:

Note that it says "moves out", not "is moved out".

There is no tense that would definitively include both moving and being moved. So reading that tea leaf of grammar doesn't mean anything. "is moved out" would meant hat ONLY being forced out provokes, which clearly isn't the idea.

"in any way other than " would include being bullrushed

Quote:
It's not as definite as I would like, but other clues also seem to point to this: most involuntary movement through other means doesn't provoke in Starfinder, also most involuntary movement in Pathfinder 1 doesn't provoke, and in Pathfinder 2 involuntary movement never provokes.

That same evidence goes heavier the other way. Why would they have to waste page space repeatedly saying that the abilities don't provoke if they were covered by a blanket rule?

Paizo really should insert a "Remember" header when they're being helpful, not neccesary, with rules...

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I did speak to John Compton at Nuke Con '19 when he visited and I asked him this specific question "Was Forced Movement intended to Provoke?" I don't know how to copy him on this or have him verify it in writing but this was his response to me. Since he is a Starfinder Senior Developer it was enough for me. I hope it helps.

John Compton wrote:
Forced movement does not provoke.

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