There are some movement abilities that allow one to move without drawing an AoO (Attack of Opportunity).

However, it may be tactically advantageous to draw that AoO, but one can be restricted only to movement that does not draw AoO.

Can the character take the movement, but opt out of the AoO immunity?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you give an example of when drawing AoO would be advantageous? \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Feb 16 '18 at 0:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @fectin I frequently see one PC deliberately provoke an attack of opportunity from a foe (usually through ill-advised movement) so that another team member can do something that would normally get him smacked (like make a ranged attack or cast a spell). I'm more interested in examples of these "movement abilities that allow one to move without drawing an AoO," to tell the truth. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 16 '18 at 2:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Makes sense, but that may be an X/Y problem where the best answer is "take some other action to provoke." \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Feb 16 '18 at 3:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @fectin I dunno. My campaigns are 3.5e so that's where I'm coming from, and each PC in both games has a chronocharm of the horizon walker (it's magic item purchase #2 after a healing belt) so that 1/day the PC can take a swift action to move half his speed and not provoke, yet I can remember situations wherein the PC wanted that movement to provoke for exactly the reasons I described. Sometimes you want to risk the hit instead of your buddy risking the hit and you want that battlefield position instead of, like, provoking via retrieving an item or something. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 16 '18 at 3:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @fectin this is not a X/Y. And taking some other action means wasting action economy so that can't be an answer really. A character can have some temporary extremely high AC, or wants to meatshield an ally to break through a blockade. If you really want an example (and I won't add it to the question because it is not about a barbarian, there is the come and get me barbarian ragepower). There are situations where it is tactically advantageous to draw the AoO, that is all. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mindwin
    Feb 16 '18 at 13:32

There is no explicit provision in the rules for forgoing that benefit. However, looking back to the definition of attacks of opportunity, we have this:

Sometimes a combatant in a melee lets her guard down or takes a reckless action. In this case, combatants near her can take advantage of her lapse in defense to attack her for free. These free attacks are called attacks of opportunity.

Avoiding attacks of opportunity takes effort. Provoking an attack of opportunity is something you do because you are forced to by the distracting nature of whatever you’re doing. That seems like a pretty solid case for saying that characters can always provoke attacks of opportunity, whatever they’re doing. The rules specifying that some actions provoke, in this argument, are really saying that while performing those actions, a character cannot help but provoke.

But this is definitely not something the rules come out and tell you. And even as I advocate for it being sensible to allow, I am a little worried that there might be some weird abusive corner-case to it. As GM, I would probably allow it, but with the caveat that I reserve the right to revisit that choice if it turns out to be problematic (as with any ruling ret-con like that, I would also allow players the opportunity to rebuild their characters somewhat in response).

  • \$\begingroup\$ (The 3.5e feat Robilar's Gambit (PH2 82) may break such a ruling… especially if a creature could do nothing yet say, "I provoke! I provoke!" I dunno if it'd be a big deal in Pathfinder, though.) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 16 '18 at 2:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Yeah, I kinda meant as part of some action that normally wouldn’t provoke, rather than just constantly. But even with Robilar’s Gambit (or Karmic Strike), it still relies on enemies actually deciding to take those attacks of opportunity (and having Combat Reflexes, and decent Dex). Lot of if in that. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 16 '18 at 2:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, everything I come up with is heavy on the ifs. If the DM lets you designate your ally as an opponent, your ally could provoke attacks of opportunity from you and—under one reading of the feat—the feat Evasive Reflexes would allow a movement around your friend… especially if you were A) Large and B) armed with a rope dart. But, yeah, that's a lot of crazy. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 16 '18 at 2:20

As far as I can tell, this exact situation isn't covered anywhere in the Pathfinder or 3.5e rules. There are three reasonable guidelines I can provide.

  1. Player characters can usually voluntarily forgo benefits to which they are entailed. As an example, players are allowed to forgo saving throws or lower spell resistance to specific spells. If your case is that of a feat or class ability providing the ability to avoid AoOs, it seems reasonable that this same principle applies.
  2. Involuntary movement usually does not provoke attacks of opportunity. That is, being propelled through a square doesn't typically provoke an attack of opportunity, even if the character is intentionally creating a situation that will cause that "involuntary" movement (such as leaping and then falling). In this case, the benefit is not caused by something about the character, but by the situation that they're in; thus, they don't have voluntary control over it.
  3. Characters and creatures may almost always forgo Attacks of Opportunity. While researching this question I came across a forum post that discusses why someone would want to provoke attacks of opportunity. In the case of effects like Flame Shield, even if the AoO can voluntarily be provoked, the creature in question usually doesn't have to (and probably wouldn't) choose to take one (unless they are being compelled by another effect to always attack when possible).
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn’t call #1 a default; both saving throws and spell resistance have particular, explicit rules about lowering them (and, in the case of spell resistance, that is a fairly time-consuming process, at least at the time-scale of combat). It’s not clear to me that other defenses can be so lowered, or that there is any such default. Also, typo: you want entitled, not entailed. And #2 needs a citation; I am not aware of any such general rule, and I’m pretty sure that’s not true. But #3 is definitely true. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 16 '18 at 1:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Entailed" or "entitled" are both correct in this circumstance. I'm having some entertaining reading looking for consensus statements on #2, including remarkable consistency on your part. Sage Advice is as usual wrong... \$\endgroup\$
    – noneuklid
    Feb 16 '18 at 1:32

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