Odd use of Acrobatics


Rules Questions


I've got a player who wants to use Acrobatics to move through an enemy's space BUT they're totally OK with drawing an attack of opportunity while doing so.

I can't find a rule about moving through an enemy space without doing something special, like Overrun or Acrobatics. Most people use Acrobatics to avoid the AoO, this guy wants to use it to get through the space and is just fine with letting enemy take a swing at him.

How much of a bonus should be given for this use of acrobatics? Just drop the 5 point increase in CMD, or go even further?


Well, the DC increases by 2 per additional opponent's AOO avoided, so you could reverse that for a reduced DC of 3 + CMD.

This is beyond rules, but: IMO moving through an opponent's square(s) shouldn't be too easy, so I wouldn't remove the entire 5 point increase.


Like SheepishEidolon said, this is not really addressed in the rules. Your player could just move around the enemy without acrobatics and draw an AOO. If he HAS to go through an enemy, then IMO it should be just the opponents CMD. This is just what I would probably do.

Note the larger/smaller creature rules;
"Square Occupied by Creature Three Sizes Larger or Smaller: Any creature can move through a square occupied by a creature three size categories larger than itself.

A big creature can move through a square occupied by a creature three size categories smaller than it is. Creatures moving through squares occupied by other creatures provoke attacks of opportunity from those creatures. Designated Exceptions: Some creatures break the above rules. A creature that completely fills the squares it occupies cannot be moved past, even with the Acrobatics skill or similar special abilities."


Without knowing the character involved it is impossible to be definitive but it sounds as though the player is confident that their stats are high enough to avoid damage and is metagaming to use up the opponents AoO.

In game the character would try and avoid being hit and being so highly skilled would easily avoid damage. They wouldn't deliberately try and get hit.

Ask the player "okay, as you are deliberately trying to get hit the enemy gets a bonus AoO which will automatically crit and cause max damage, are you sure that you want to proceed". Then explain your rationale and let the player choose a different course of action.

Liberty's Edge

Acrobatics wrote:
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.

From that piece of text, if you are the target of an AoO you fail the attempt to move through the enemy square. There is no option to accept the AoO and pass through. You need different abilities and actions to do that, not a simple move action.

Think about the player request if it was used by the NPCs. The players would be happy if enemies with a lot of hp did pass through the frontliners to attack directly the squishy character in the back line?

What works for the players should work for the NPCs too, so, if you allow the player's characters to bypass the obstacles accepting some damage, it should work for the NPCs too.


Diego Rossi wrote:
Acrobatics wrote:
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.

From that piece of text, if you are the target of an AoO you fail the attempt to move through the enemy square. There is no option to accept the AoO and pass through. You need different abilities and actions to do that, not a simple move action.

Think about the player request if it was used by the NPCs. The players would be happy if enemies with a lot of hp did pass through the frontliners to attack directly the squishy character in the back line?

What works for the players should work for the NPCs too, so, if you allow the player's characters to bypass the obstacles accepting some damage, it should work for the NPCs too.

^ that is a very solid reason to disallow it the way it was presented.

but, here is something he can try.

1st remember that (as Valandil Ancalime pointed up above) a creature can enter a space of an other creature without problem as long as they are 3 size different (beside provoking aoo for leaving a threatened area and also for entering a creature space) -unless one of them takes the entire space with no room, like say a gelatin cube.
-So if that's the case then provoking aoo while moving in and out is covered.

now in case of creatures with closer sizes.
since using acrobatics take twice the move as not (normally, barring other abilities etc etc etc),so most when they do use acrobatics only tumble part of their movement, the part that is threatened, there is no reason to keep tumbling once you leave the enemy's reach after all, as this needlessly eats up your movement.

So when he uses acrobatics to move through the enemy's space (Assuming a medium\small size enemy. adjust for larger) he need to move 10 feet to the space across using 20 foot of movement. 5 feet that cost 10 for entering the enemy's area without provoking (also leaving his space without provoking this is one 5 ft of movement that normally would provoke twice) and 5 more foot to go into the space across that cost 10 more.
what he can do, and not only because he want to provoke this also happen if he doesn't have enough movement to finish this 20 foot movement (if he has only 15 ft movement left before going in), is using acrobatics only to enter the enemy's space (with +5 as normal) and then NOT USING IT when leaving. since the enemy can take aoo at creatures in it's space (unless it uses a reach weapon) that part of the movement would provoke an aoo as he wishes.
(remember the cost of movement is for the area you enter not the one you leave, so going from, say difficult terrain into a normal space, cost only 5 ft of movement)


It would be helpful to have more information, like size of characters and tactical situation involved at least.


SheepishEidolon wrote:

Well, the DC increases by 2 per additional opponent's AOO avoided, so you could reverse that for a reduced DC of 3 + CMD.

This is beyond rules, but: IMO moving through an opponent's square(s) shouldn't be too easy, so I wouldn't remove the entire 5 point increase.

This seems entirely reasonable. But zza ni is right, if you're looking for a RAW way to allow it, they can provoke when leaving one square and only tumble while moving through instead of the whole time.

Liberty's Edge

I think that the player wants a way to bypass the obstacle without the need for a check. If I am right zza ni suggestions, while useful, don't resolve the problem.


Diego Rossi wrote:
I think that the player wants a way to bypass the obstacle without the need for a check. If I am right zza ni suggestions, while useful, don't resolve the problem.

that seem to be it by the way the op put it ('wants to use Acrobatics to move through an enemy's space BUT they're totally OK with...' - he wants a bonus for allowing aoo to make it easier moving through).

but as you mentioned it will make a mess of the whole 'meatshield\tank' position in any group (or any game of American football for that matter)


Honestly I figured it's a swashbuckler who plans to parry/riposte the attack (or similar), so *wants* to be attacked. So the emphasis was on making sure to provoke, vs. a bonus on the check. But who knows - that's why trying to stick to the bounds of the rules makes the most sense. "He auto hits and crits you" isn't a deterrent if it's going to be parried anyways.


Personally I would say that you still need to roll against CMD+5 to get through, you just choose to provoke instead, on your acrobatics version of an overrun. Keep in mind though that if the target is bigger than you by 2+ size categories, you can move through them already without the check, as per a sneaking stealth rule (see below), and thus don't need the +5 DC to try to avoid the AoO or not.

Stealth: Hide behind other creatures wrote:

Large bodies that break your opponent’s line of sight can sometimes be just as useful as darkness for hiding your position.

Special: Normally the soft cover provided by other creatures is not sufficient to allow you to attempt a Stealth check. Soft cover provided by creatures at least one size category larger than you does allow you to attempt Stealth checks against other creatures not already aware of your presence at a –10 penalty. If the creature providing the cover knows which square you occupy and is trying to avoid concealing you, this penalty increases to –20.

You can also hide from a creature by staying under its own body if it is at least two size categories larger than you and you are in its space. Such attempts also take a –10 penalty, which increases to a –20 penalty if the creature is aware you are in the area. If the creature moves away from you, you are automatically revealed, unless you have readied an action to move with it.


Sometimes enemies want to stop people from getting past them so they fill a doorway or some such thing.
If you're okay with the PCs being able to walk through any enemy they want without a problem other than soaking an AoO, then use the rules for tumbling through a square but an AoO happens if they fail instead of being stopped?

Personally, I don't like it because stopping someone from getting past you (unless there's a successful roll by the person trying to get past) should be an option.

Liberty's Edge

Warped Savant wrote:

Sometimes enemies want to stop people from getting past them so they fill a doorway or some such thing.

If you're okay with the PCs being able to walk through any enemy they want without a problem other than soaking an AoO, then use the rules for tumbling through a square but an AoO happens if they fail instead of being stopped?

Personally, I don't like it because stopping someone from getting past you (unless there's a successful roll by the person trying to get past) should be an option.

The problem with that idea is that with the normal rules if you fail the Acrobatic check you suffer an AoO and are stopped. Your suggestion would remove one of the consequences of falling the roll without replacing it with another cost.

That is the kind of benefit that you normally receive from a feat or a class ability.


Diego Rossi wrote:
Warped Savant wrote:

Sometimes enemies want to stop people from getting past them so they fill a doorway or some such thing.

If you're okay with the PCs being able to walk through any enemy they want without a problem other than soaking an AoO, then use the rules for tumbling through a square but an AoO happens if they fail instead of being stopped?

Personally, I don't like it because stopping someone from getting past you (unless there's a successful roll by the person trying to get past) should be an option.

The problem with that idea is that with the normal rules if you fail the Acrobatic check you suffer an AoO and are stopped. Your suggestion would remove one of the consequences of falling the roll without replacing it with another cost.

That is the kind of benefit that you normally receive from a feat or a class ability.

RIGHT! I forgot that you can't go through and get an AoO against you!


With a high enough acrobatics roll you could simply jump OVER the enemy provoking an AoO for going thru a threatened space. Will probably need some sort of special class feature for high jumps like the ninja tho. That or just a really good acrobatics cuz a 5 foot high jump is DC 20 I believe.

Liberty's Edge

Trokarr wrote:
With a high enough acrobatics roll you could simply jump OVER the enemy provoking an AoO for going thru a threatened space. Will probably need some sort of special class feature for high jumps like the ninja tho. That or just a really good acrobatics cuz a 5 foot high jump is DC 20 I believe.

It can be done as part of your movement, without paying extra, but it requires a lot of head clearance, as you are doing it while staying vertical and with the intention of landing and fighting, not doing a Fosbury jump or other kinds of Olimpic jumps.

Normally you will need almost as much head clearance above the obstacle as you are high. It works in the open, less in corridors or caves.


This brings up a question I’ve wondered about for awhile. Jumping for distance and jumping for height each have their own separate DCs but what if u want to jump for distance AND height. Is it two separate rolls or do u make one acrobatics check and apply it to both DCs? If it’s two separate checks u can get some really weird results especially if u have a low bonus on the check. Say u had only a +5 to acrobatics and u roll max for distance (25 ft) but min for height (roll of 6 would round down to 1 ft height). Seems pretty weird to just sort of hover at 1 ft off the ground for a distance of 25ft.


Trokarr wrote:
This brings up a question I’ve wondered about for awhile. Jumping for distance and jumping for height each have their own separate DCs but what if u want to jump for distance AND height. Is it two separate rolls or do u make one acrobatics check and apply it to both DCs? If it’s two separate checks u can get some really weird results especially if u have a low bonus on the check. Say u had only a +5 to acrobatics and u roll max for distance (25 ft) but min for height (roll of 6 would round down to 1 ft height). Seems pretty weird to just sort of hover at 1 ft off the ground for a distance of 25ft.

You can't make two jumps at the same time like that. The act of long jumping and high jumping are separate and distinct actions.

So, in 3.5 they had a rule that said, "A long jump is a horizontal jump, made across a gap like a chasm or stream. At the midpoint of the jump, you attain a vertical height equal to one-quarter of the horizontal distance."

So, if you want to clear a 20 foot chasm and reach the open sewer grate 20 feet up on the opposite side, you'd need to make a long jump check that could cover 80 feet.

Well, slightly less because 3.5's jump rules also had a chart indicating the vertical reach of a given creature.


That 3.5 rule for determining the height of the jump at the midpoint is exactly the info I was looking for. Pathfinder has no such rules text to determine the height u achieve while long jumping. Which is why I was wondering if a separate check to determine height was needed. Unfortunately as this is a 3.5 rule and not pathfinder it can’t be considered RAW or possibly even RAI because no rule for this exists. So without an actual pathfinder rule covering this what is RAW here? If the check for distance is used as the height at midpoint then, since the DC for height is 4 times the DC for distance this would result in a height roughly 1/4 the distance which would match the 3.5 ruling. This seems right to me.


The answer is always there is no RAW besides a really good precedent that also pretty closely follows real physics of a long jump. By the 3.5 rules, the distance jump is literally the same as the high jump, as it mentions you going the same vertical (one quarter) distance in a long jump as you would go with the same roll and a high jump. Realistically as well, you would go only the same height with a straight vertical jump (with or without running start) as the way you actually make a long jump is by building the vertical momentum and then essentially trying to just jump as high as possible without needing to add more forward momentum; that said, the high jump actually gets halved because of the no-running-start penalty.

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