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In Pathfinder an Overrun attempt normally draws an attack of opportunity. A character can take Improved Overrun to negate this and get a bonus, but does it apply for a character making an Overrun attempt mounted? Does the mount having Improve Overrun count?

In short: Does the character, the mount, or both need Improved Overrun for AoO-less Overrun/Trample Attempts?

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Questions like this are part of why I hate the mounted combat rules. –  Bobson Aug 25 '11 at 20:21
    
@Bobson They do seem fairly incomplete. Like how your mount is the one doing the charge, but you get the AC penalty and Attack bonus from it. Why the heck doesn't it just treat you and the mount as a single unit? sigh –  Cthos Aug 25 '11 at 20:29
    
Reference this thread (and others on Paizo.com) for a more thorough treatment and discussion of the topic. –  deathgaze Apr 11 '13 at 21:32

3 Answers 3

The rules in regards to mounted combat are a little muddy.

For Reference, here is Overrun

As a standard action, taken during your move or as part of a charge, you can attempt to overrun your target, moving through its square.

From the Mounted Combat Rules:

Your mount acts on your initiative count as you direct it. You move at its speed, but the mount uses its action to move.

This section implies that it would be the mount attempting the overrun maneuver in order to move through an opponent's square.

However

Several of the feats that you are referencing imply that you are the one doing the overrun. For example, take Trample

While mounted, you can ride down opponents and trample them under your mount.

Benefit: When you attempt to overrun an opponent while mounted, your target may not choose to avoid you. Your mount may make one hoof attack against any target you knock down, gaining the standard +4 bonus on attack rolls against prone targets.

Conclusion

Here's how I would rule this. I would say that you and only you need to have Improved Overrun/Trample/etc, however you would have to spend your own standard action in order to attempt the maneuver in exchange.

Edit:

Taking a look back at the 3.5e SRD, we have this gem under the Overrun maneuver

Mounted Overrun (Trample)

If you attempt an overrun while mounted, your mount makes the Strength check to determine the success or failure of the overrun attack (and applies its size modifier, rather than yours). If you have the Trample feat and attempt an overrun while mounted, your target may not choose to avoid you, and if you knock your opponent prone with the overrun, your mount may make one hoof attack against your opponent.

Note that this doesn't say that "The mount makes the overrun attempt", it says "you" make the overrun attempt and then use the horse's strength to resolve it.

Since there is a lack of this clause in Pathfinder, and it's bloody confusing, I'm going to have to go with this is what they intended.

Now this doesn't stop you from having the horse make an overrun attempt on its own while you do something else, but then your horse would need the aforementioned Overrun feats, and wouldn't benefit from you having Trample (Or even it having trample feat, since it's you know, not mounted... it would need the Trample (Ex) special attack for that). Also, it would probably need to be taught an "Overrun" trick, since I personally don't believe that "move" covers it.

So I further affirm that these things lead me to believe that Rules as Intended is for you to make the overrun attempt if you want to benefit from the trample feat, and if you are the one doing the overrun then you get to benefit from Improved Overrun.

Plus, teaching an Int 2 horse additional feats is a pain.

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Although this is useful feedback, -1 because I disagree with this interpretation - the above rationale seems more like a GM-fiat ruling than a reading of the rules given. The mount, for all intents and purposes, is a separate creature which takes its own actions, and does its own overrun attempt. Only certain, specific mount/rider actions which are called out in the rules differ from this norm. I agree with @Bobson's answer, below. –  RMorrisey Aug 26 '11 at 2:07
    
Though I see your point, by a strict reading of the rules, trample would be pointless because it would be impossible for "you" could not make the overrun attempt as stated in the feat description. –  Cthos Aug 26 '11 at 2:36
    
You're right, it's murky and self-contradictory. I read it, though, as the feat enabling you to make the horse do something, not as you yourself taking an action. –  RMorrisey Aug 26 '11 at 2:51
    
@RMorrisey - I dug up some additional circumstantial evidence to support my claim. –  Cthos Aug 26 '11 at 14:44

The mount would need Improved Overrun. If you (not the mount!) had the Trample feat, you'd get a bonus attack from the horse's hoof, but it still doesn't negate the Attack of Opportunity by itself.

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I've been trying to figure this out for awhile, and here's my answer:

Depends on who does it.

Your mount acts on your initiative count as you direct it. You move at its speed, but the mount uses its action to move. ... If your mount charges, you also take the AC penalty associated with a charge. If you make an attack at the end of the charge, you receive the bonus gained from the charge.

The rules go on to explain other actions you can perform while your mount is moving, which include a full attack with a ranged weapon, non-movement move actions, and casting spells. I would contend that this list is not meant to be exhaustive, and other equivalent actions should be allowed.

When you perform an overrun with a mount, you have the option of having the mount perform the overrun (which may require training) or performing it yourself. If the mount does it, it has expended it's standard action for the turn and would require Improved Overrun to not draw an AoO, likewise if you decide to perform the maneuver yourself.

Many combat maneuvers would require Ride By Attack to be used in this way, if they were available at all, but Overrun is specifically allowed mid-charge without this feat, and I see no reason to add an extra limitation just because you're mounted.

Let's say we have Improved Overrun, Trample, Charge Through, and Spirited Charge, but our mount is just an ordinary war horse with no useful feats. We want to charge through an enemy and attack the guy past him. In this case we need to reserve our standard action for the attack, so the mount has to do the Improved Overrun. It does so, provoking an AoO, since it doesn't have Improved Overrun, but DOES get the free Trample attack if successful. At the end of the move we get our Spirited Charge attack for triple lance damage, as a charge. Yay! However, the horse gets no attack at the end of the charge, since it doesn't have Charge Through. In fact, we didn't actually use Charge Through either, since we didn't do the overrun ourselves.

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Welcome to the site John! A good, thought provoking answer. Is there any particular support for this in the rules, errata or such? Oh, and please take a look at the FAQ when you get a chance! –  C. Ross Jul 31 '12 at 20:56
    
The only quibble is in how mounts work. Basically, the rules state you move with them and gain the benefits and penalties of their charges, and can't make a full attack when they move. Nothing really more or less. Trying to transfer feats to your mount or combine your overrun with your mount's strength is an addition to the RAW, whereas this interpretation only requires accepting that you can perform an overrun maneuver from a mount as though you are the one charging, which I feel is RAI, and not explicitly against RAW. –  John Rhoades Aug 2 '12 at 20:38

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