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As a rogue I want to start making better use of the Acrobatics skill to move through threatened squares to get better positioning. However, I have been holding back because I am a little unclear on the penalties for failure.

The rules specify that if you fail a check to move through an enemy's space you provoke an attack of opportunity and you fail to move. However, it does not specify the penalty for failing the check to move through a threatened square.

What is the penalty for failing to move through a threatened square? You don't move and you provoke? You can still move, but you provoke? You don't provoke, but you also don't move? Or can you decide to either provoke or to not move?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

You move anyway, and provoke an attack of opportunity. Think of it this way: you're always allowed to move through threatened squares; making an Acrobatics check just means you avoid the side-effect of provoking an attack of opportunity. There are special rules for failing the Acrobatics check while moving through an opponent precisely because there aren't any normal rules for it.

If the attack of opportunity hits, you get the usual effects. If they tripped you, then you fall prone and stop moving, etc. If their hit didn't do anything special to stop you, then you just take your damage and keep moving.

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You still move, but you provoke. The idea is that you are nimbly dodging by the opponent as you move, ducking under high attacks and flipping over low ones. The check is to if you mess up and leave an opening for them to attack.

The description from the skill itself is a tad ambiguous, so I can see why you asked the question. It states that can move through a threatened square without provoking an attack of opportunity from an enemy by using Acrobatics

The DC for this is given in a table. A footnote to the DC itself says:

This DC is used to avoid an attack of opportunity due to movement. This penalty increases by +2 for each additional opponent avoided in one round.

Acrobatics is something you use while you are moving, to avoid the AoO. The move isn't contingent on the Acrobatics check except in the special case of trying to pass through an opponents space.

The RAW are also clarified by the designers in the FAQ.

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