I have a PC with a (relatively slow) burrow speed through the feat Oread Burrower. Is it possible to do any fancy combat moves from below like bull rush? What would be needed to do that, and what would be the result?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to this stack! Take the tour. Can this question explain what the maneuver is attempting to accomplish? I mean, since all a bull rush does is push a creature back—after convincing the GM that back for the burrowing PC is up for folks he's under—, unless the PC can fly, the victim won't get very far and probably wouldn't even fall over. In short, what result do you imagine? Thank you for an interesting question and have fun! \$\endgroup\$ Jul 14, 2018 at 8:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I think those are precisely the questions that Garrett wants answered: if this works, how does it work? \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 14, 2018 at 12:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Fair enough. I just thought that Garrett might have a secret plan or an image of what happens already. Thanks again, Garrett, for an interesting question! \$\endgroup\$ Jul 14, 2018 at 17:31

2 Answers 2


The typical creature can't attack without first having line of effect

A creature that's burrowing beneath its foe typically lacks line of effect to that surface-dwelling foe, and that means that a creature that's burrowing doesn't threaten its surface-dwelling foe (even if the creature that's burrowing has reach). (Also see Attacks of Opportunity.) Likewise, the typical foe doesn't have line of effect to the creature that's burrowing and doesn't threaten it. The surface that separates the typical creature that's burrowing from its typical above-ground foe usually completely blocks any attacks either would make against each other.

So while it would be awesome for an oread to burst forth from the earth below a foe and catapult its foe into the sky, Pathfinder makes it impossible for most creatures while they're still below the surface to make attacks against foes on the surface—even attacks like the combat maneuver bull rush. The burrower must content itself with emerging from the earth then shoving the foe the old fashioned way.1

Also, if considering the feat Oread Burrower, keep in mind that the feat grants no special sense like tremorsense to aid the oread in subterranean navigation nor in keeping tabs of its surface-dwelling foes. Without such a sense, for example, it's possible for the oread's foes to depart while the oread's undergound, and the oread won't know they're gone until he surfaces.

1 In Pathfinder's antecedent D&D 3.5e the special attack bull rush requires the attacker to enter the defender's space, therefore making a bull rush from below possible in that game. Pathfinder changed how this works, making it so that the combat maneuver bull rush is executed from the attacker's space without the attacker entering the defender's space.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer would be better if you elaborated on what a creature with tremorsense, blindsense, or blindsight could do while burrowing. Many creatures that can burrow also do have tremorsense. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15, 2018 at 7:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso Yeah, it was supposed to be a reminder for the reader not to imply that having such sense made the impossible possible. Restructured. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15, 2018 at 9:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ What about a scenario where flying or levitation was the case? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 21, 2018 at 4:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GarrettMotzner If you mean what I think you mean—making a bull rush so as to push someone down into the earth—, no dice: Bull rush says, "You cannot bull rush a creature into a square that is occupied by a solid object or obstacle. " \$\endgroup\$ Jul 21, 2018 at 9:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Nope, the other direction :) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 28, 2018 at 1:06

I posit for your consideration Brilliant Energy. Thrusting with such a polearm (or shooting a longbow) should be perfectly doable from about 5' down (further with the bow)...

Add a ring of x-ray vision if needed.

But yeah, bull rush could be tough for the reasons pointed out by Hey I Can Chan.

  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a good answer in here along the lines of Most of the time no, but some combat maneuvers besides bull rush are possible using this combination of magic items that then goes on to explain how to use those maneuvers from underground (an answer which, by the way, I'd totally upvote). However, I fear, as it stands, the answer sounds less like a a standalone answer and more of a comment on my answer (mine deliberately ignoring exceptions in favor of an explanation of the general rules). \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16, 2018 at 16:58

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