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Okay, so I've been mulling about this mechanic (Overrun), and I believe I have it down to some extent, but I'd like clarification. This is how I am aware the manoever works:

  • An Overrun is a combat maneuver and uses your CMB plus modifiers from improved manoever feats against the targets CMD, in an effort to continue a move action after colliding with a target. This prompts an attack of opportunity if the character does not have the improved overrun feat.

  • You may only have one target per overrun attempt.

  • The target of an overrun must be one size category larger than the character or smaller.

  • An Overrun may be made as a standard action during either A) at the end of (or during) a move action as an ordinary standard action, or B) as part of a charge (double move in a straight line) replacing the attack with a combat manoever attempt yielding the same +2 bonus, and -2 to AC as an irregular standard action that replaces your intended attack.

  • If the character declaring an overrun is not trained (doesn't have the improved overrun feat), the target of an overrun has a choice of whether he or she attempts to block the overrun, OR allow the overrunning character to continue past without opposition (with the improved overrun feat, the target must attempt to block the overrun)

  • An Overrun used as part of a charge can be used unintended in two different ways: A character charging into an enemy may have a creature blocking the path, if this character declares the charge attack on the enemy, the unintended overrun target (the creature in the path) can attempt to resist the charge becoming an unintended overrun target. If the creature is able to choose to get out of the way, he may do so, and therefore leaving the charge attack still open against the enemy. The second way is that instead of a creature already in the way, there is a trigger set to place an enemy in the path of a charge, in which case this unintended target is treated just as the last example.

  • If an overrun is blocked, whether by choice or not, you roll 1D20 and add your CMB plus overrun modifiers. If it beats the targets CMD, the overrun is a success, and you may continue your move action or charge as normal. If the overrun fails to beat the targets CMD, you stop one square before you would have reached the target, and you have used both your actions in the turn, ending your turn. In addition to a success, if you exceed the targets CMD by at least five, the overrun also makes the target prone in its original square.

If I am correct in my assumptions, I have a few questions. If not, then ignore what I'm about to ask, as its based off these prior statements.

  1. What is the value of forcing a target to block an overrun, in terms of an intended charge attack? Isn't it more advantageous to have the target choose to get out of the way, leaving you with the ability to make the charge attack you intended? The only benefit I see to forcing an enemy to take the overrun is if you intend on making the enemy prone, and then having an additional movement, but thats very niche in practice, and has a +5 adjustment to the DC making it also quite difficult.

  2. Since there can only be one target per overrun attempt, doesn't that put larger size category creatures at a massive disadvantage? Larger creatures occupy more spaces, so there is more room for enemies to get in the way, meaning that if there is a line of small/medium sized enemies horizontally, a medium overrun specialist is more able to continue his move than a large or huge creature, as medium creatures can pick one target, and move through them, and Large creatures can overrun one enemy, and then forced to stop by an adjacent enemy. This doesnt seem to make sense mechanically, or logically.

  3. If the purpose of an overrun is to move through a divide, why are there so many obstacles to doing so? If there is one large enemy (10ft x 10ft), a medium character can push past it reasonably, but if there are two medium creatures (10ft x 5ft) both in the path of an overrun, then it becomes an infeasible task for the same medium sized character.

  4. (bonus question) In my search for answers, it seems that some DM's have treated overrun as if it has always has the feat "charge through" for the purposes of fixing the underperforming manoever, but I feel that this is excessive, and doesn't fix the real issue of allowing characters to move through enemies more consistently, as that seems to be the more express purpose of the manoever. Does anyone else find this simultaneously too overpowered of a fix, and too unfocused, or is that just me?

I really like the idea of overrunning and I want to make an animal companion that specializes in this for my Mammoth Rider prestige class character, but it doesn't seem like a mechanically effective ability in the first place, let alone for a huge creature.

Am I wrong in my understanding of the mechanic, or is it in fact this broken and useless?

I look forward to some answers. I can't seem to find answers anywhere else on the internet.

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closed as too broad by user17995, Trish, Thomas Jacobs, Conduit, Sh4d0wsPlyr Oct 19 '17 at 18:22

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ From my understanding of the rules the Improved Overrun feat means the target cannot avoid but they can still block. \$\endgroup\$ – Octopus Oct 18 '17 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, sorry, just created the account to ask this question. I have been lurking for a while, but made an account today. I know that Improved Overrun means they can't avoid, but that feels like the tactically better position for the overrunner... to auto-succeed... you know? Just seems strange to me that the improved feat would force the requirement that you have to forfeit your charge attack, etc. \$\endgroup\$ – TheGrubbler Oct 18 '17 at 21:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Our usual rule of thumb is that you ask questions separately unless it doesn't make sense to do so. Incidentally, when someone's confused about a single mechanic and have multiple things to ask to seek clarity about how it works, that usually makes less sense being asked separately so it's OK keeping the questions together. (Usually but not always.) It gives someone the opportunity to just take the whole deeper problem and go: "ok, I'm going to just explain this mechanic simply," or "the rules are confusing, here's a diagram" or something like that just once rather than doing that 4 times. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 18 '17 at 21:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ You may be really interested in this question. Also, it may interest you to know that the Player's Handbook errata—that Pathfinder never officially incorporated—eliminates the overrun option during a charge. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 19 '17 at 1:21
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  1. What is the value of forcing a target to block an overrun, in terms of an intended charge attack? Isn't it more advantageous to have the target choose to get out of the way, leaving you with the ability to make the charge attack you intended? The only benefit I see to forcing an enemy to take the overrun is if you intend on making the enemy prone, and then having an additional movement, but thats very niche in practice, and has a +5 adjustment to the DC making it also quite difficult.

    If a target allows you to pass by instead of taking the Overrun, you've already used your Standard by forcing them to make the choice. Now they've let you get where you want, but not allowed you the opportunity to knock it Prone or use any other Overrun abilities like Trample and Spiked Destroyer.

  2. Since there can only be one target per overrun attempt, doesn't that put larger size category creatures at a massive disadvantage? Larger creatures occupy more spaces, so there is more room for enemies to get in the way, meaning that if there is a line of small/medium sized enemies horizontally, a medium overrun specialist is more able to continue his move than a large or huge creature, as medium creatures can pick one target, and move through them, and Large creatures can overrun one enemy, and then forced to stop by an adjacent enemy. This doesn't seem to make sense mechanically, or logically.

    It's always more difficult to push through a crowd than a single target. Yes, this restricts you if you're trying to maneuver a large creature. There is the Mounted Onslaught feat to allow it, at a steep penalty. Kobold Press (3pp) made a much more powerful Feat as well.

  3. If the purpose of an overrun is to move through a divide, why are there so many obstacles to doing so? If there is one large enemy (10ft x 10ft), a medium character can push past it reasonably, but if there are two medium creatures (10ft x 5ft) both in the path of an overrun, then it becomes an infeasible task for the same medium sized character.

    If you're getting from point A to point B, it might be a lot easier to use Acrobatics or (in your case) take the Attack(s) of Opportunity. Or go around. Or kill the front line first.

  4. In my search for answers, it seems that some DM's have treated overrun as if it has always has the feat "charge through" for the purposes of fixing the under-performing maneuver, but I feel that this is excessive, and doesn't fix the real issue of allowing characters to move through enemies more consistently, as that seems to be the more express purpose of the maneuver. Does anyone else find this simultaneously too overpowered of a fix, and too unfocused, or is that just me?

    This is opinion and not actually supported by Stack Exchange, but since it's a 'bonus question' we may let it slide. Generally, giving a Feat is an overpowered fix, but it's also reasonable to say that Overrun (if you're already 2+ feats in) should allow you to finish a single standard attack after you successfully charge past someone. It directly addresses one of your complaints on the ability. It doesn't allow you to do it more in one turn, but it makes doing it that once worth it. Additionally, it opens a lot of opportunity as far as bypassing a front line to charge the archers, spellcasters and etc.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your reply, it was very helpful! I noticed that you had mentioned a feat titled "mounted onslaught", is there a feat available that gives this type of effect to the animal companion itself that you know of? \$\endgroup\$ – TheGrubbler Oct 19 '17 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not that I know of, but I've only dabbled in Overrun. I'll report back if I find anything pertinent. You can always talk with your GM about Hombrew/altering feats like that, though. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Oct 20 '17 at 3:17
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I think you are interpretting the block as a form of defense.

There is really only one defense against Overrun and that is to avoid it.

If the target chooses not to avoid or if you have the Improved Overrun feat (or if you are mounted and your mount has Trample) then there is no option to avoid.

Next, you resolve the overrun (the target would call this the block from their point of view). It will either be successful (the target goes prone and you move your initially attempted move) or you fail. When you fail the target can immediately counter and try to knock you prone.

Here is a 3.5e description of Overrun

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Here's the thing though, success does not necessarily mean proning: "When you attempt to overrun a target, it can choose to avoid you, allowing you to pass through its square without requiring an attack. If your target does not avoid you, make a combat maneuver check as normal. If your maneuver is successful, you move through the target’s space. If your attack exceeds your opponent’s CMD by 5 or more, you move through the target’s space and the target is knocked prone. If the target has more than two legs, add +2 to the DC of the combat maneuver attack roll for each additional leg it has." \$\endgroup\$ – TheGrubbler Oct 18 '17 at 22:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheGrubbler, okay. I can't find a 5e version of the rule online, and what you say seems correct, but I'm not sure how that affects my answer. What particular part of the rule is giving you trouble? \$\endgroup\$ – Octopus Oct 18 '17 at 22:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm just wondering if I'm correct. It seems like a point of struggle for many people online, to define this ruling. I just want to be entirely certain before I make this character archetype decision. Also, I feel like if I do have it correctly laid out, the maneuver is fairly underperforming. Was wondering if there was something that I'm missing that makes it a functional feat line. \$\endgroup\$ – TheGrubbler Oct 18 '17 at 22:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question is asking about Pathfinder rules. Not 3.5e or 5e rules. \$\endgroup\$ – GreedyRadish Oct 18 '17 at 23:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Greedy, Pathfinder is meant to be compatible with 3.5e. The differences regarding overrun are pretty small. Can you identify what specifically is different with the Pathfinder rule? Grubbler already quoted what he found. \$\endgroup\$ – Octopus Oct 19 '17 at 8:43
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If you look at charge,

You must have a clear path toward the opponent, and nothing can hinder your movement (such as difficult terrain or obstacles).

This means you can't charge through one opponent with the target of your charge being another opponent because you don't meet the prerequisites.

Charge Through gets by this for one opponent and I doubt giving it away would break the game, because although it does have a lot of feat prerequisites it is only useable for a very specific case.

I use a few house rules for overrun. One, if the attacker has the ability to make more than one attack and move, then more than one opponent can be overrun, with one attempt for each attack (the attempt becomes an attack, not a standard action). Two, if the attacker has Improved Overrun and the defender wants to avoid, I leave that up to the attacker. Three, for larger creatures, I allow them to overrun as many adjacent opponents as they are wide (large 2, huge 3, etc), but with a cumulative -4 for every opponent after the first and all must succeed or the maneuver fails.

The latter mostly has a negative impact on the players, but also makes a large creature's charge more interesting.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I like that quite a bit actually. Will have to run this past my DM. Thanks for the input. \$\endgroup\$ – TheGrubbler Oct 19 '17 at 0:16

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