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Let's take for example an Ogre in a 10' wide corridor facing two fighters side by side in front of him.

The ogre wants to perform an overrun attempt to pass over the two fighters and get to the wizard behind them, both fighters block him, thus resulting in a opposed overrun check.

How do you resolve that overrun attempt? From what I understand there seems to be two options.

  1. Since an overrun attempt is a Standard action made as part of a move, you cannot make two of them. So the ogre picks one of the two fighters, and if the ogre wins, the ogre must squeeze past the second fighter that is still standing to get to the wizard (thus resulting in all squeezing penalties on movement, AC and to hit rolls).

  2. Since an overrun attempt is basically the creature moving its space into the opponent's space, in that case the ogre occupies both fighters' spaces and thus must roll and beat both fighters' opposed checks in order to pass them and get to the wizard.

What is right?

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To make the overrun attempt according to the rules, the ogre squeezes to enter one Medium fighter's space—provoking an attack of opportunity from the fighter—then follows steps 2 through 4 of making the overrun attempt conventionally, all the while still suffering the penalties for squeezing until the ogre exits the fighter's space. (The other fighter may have the chance to make some attacks of opportunity in there, too!) The typical ogre can't make a second overrun attempt or make two overrun attempts simultaneously. (The previous scenario assumes the DM even allows voluntary squeezing when actual obstacles aren't about, an issue addressed in this question.)

This conundrum doesn't really have anything to do with the attacker not having enough standard actions, though, because a defender that during step 2 that allows an attacker to pass through doesn't cost the attacker an action anyway. Instead, it stems from the troubling line at the beginning of the description of the special attack overrun: "You can make only one overrun attempt per round" (Player's Handbook 157). Done. Full stop. And, to be clear, an attacker has still made an overrun attempt even if the attacker encounters a defender that proudly lets the attacker pass through!

Whether this strikes a particular DM as a problem isn't for me to say. This DM has considered making a house rule so that, for example, an elephant can overrun a squad of Medium dwarves or whatever, but the the enthusiasm necessary both to concoct such a house rule and to playtest the rule to ensure its fairness has never materialized. The special attack overrun just gets filed away as (ahem) largely useless therefore rarely used.

Note that prior to the 3.5 revision, overrun was something that happened exclusively during a charge (see here on Combat on Combat Actions). An overrun was just a means to get past one defender that was in the path of a charging attacker's preferred target… and it was still only usable once per round (so even prior to the 3.5 revion, the ogre'd still be out of luck). It was the 3.5 revision that made overrun a distinct special attack, removed overrun as an option during a charge with errata (errata that remains unadopted by Pathfinder, by the way), and even added an Improved Overrun feat to the core rules, yet, all along, seemed to forget that creatures bigger than Medium exist.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think what Hey I Can Chan wrote covered it all but I wanted to bring another supporting example. If there was 2 medium characters one behind the other, the ogre would overrun the first one and whether the first avoid or not wouldn't be able to go further (unless he has a lot of tumble skills) and would be forced to go back to the first empty space from where he came as his movement is now illegal (can't stop in an occupied space). \$\endgroup\$ – jonDraco Jan 12 at 4:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like the squeezing while doing the overrun on one of the 2 medium characters side by side but would add that the attack of opportunity from the defender happens before the squeezing so the ogre wouldn't have the penalty for squeezing against this attack. I would say that even the second character wouldn't benefit of the ogre's penalty for squeezing as his attack of opportunity would be for leaving a threatened square which the ogre was not yet squeezing. If there was another character with a reach weapon 10' behind one of the first-line character, he would benefit of the ogre penalties. \$\endgroup\$ – jonDraco Jan 12 at 4:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jonDraco Because the attack of opportunity for the overrun is provoked for entering the defender's square, its possible that the ogre's squeezing to get in there when it provokes, but I see your point: technically, the ogre provokes from the space it started out it not the space its in, for what its trying to do not what it's doing. In the end, though, I'm not sure it really matters as the rules are terrible, especially when a drunk dwarf tries to overrun a halfling sharing a square with another halfling or an angry orc tries to overrun a grig that's sharing a square with 3 other grigs. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 12 at 5:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see your point and for mediums making overrun attempts, well, 2 halflings voluntarily sharing their space or 4 grigs in one square would be, by the letter of the rule, automatically have the overrun attempt to fail, again, even when there is 3 size categories difference,since the rule states you can move through a square occupied by "a creature", so, the second one would make the move illegal. Unless, for 2 creatures sharing their space a DM would consider the overrun of one would leave enough space for a medium character to squeeze through what's left of the square. \$\endgroup\$ – jonDraco Jan 12 at 12:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ So if i get you guys right.. option 1 is the way to go. How do you feel about allowing the 2nd fighter siding alongside the 1st fighter receiving the overrun an opportunity to roll an 'aid another' ability check dice roll as per the Aid another rule and if it suceeds in a DC10 str check, the 1st fighter overrun opposed str check receives a +2 bonus.. \$\endgroup\$ – KilrathiSly Jan 13 at 10:12
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It's option 2, it's basically the same concept for flanking a character whose size is greater than yours (more character can flank him). Here it's the same, because the ogre is taller than the two fighters, when he tries to overrun them, he will have to beat the combined score of the two fighters.

It's to actually encourage teamwork for taking on large or monstrous size creatures.

Opponent Blocks? If your opponent blocks you, make a Strength check opposed by the defender’s Dexterity or Strength check (whichever ability score has the higher modifier). A combatant gets a +4 bonus on the check for every size category he is larger than Medium or a –4 penalty for every size category he is smaller than Medium. The defender gets a +4 bonus on his check if he has more than two legs or is otherwise more stable than a normal humanoid. If you win, you knock the defender prone. If you lose, the defender may immediately react and make a Strength check opposed by your Dexterity or Strength check (including the size modifiers noted above, but no other modifiers) to try to knock you prone.

I checked if something was actully specified for a multi-block, but there is none, it's up to the GM, so you have to choose if yout want to combine the dice score of the two fighters or if you want to make them roll in order.

I'm actually more prone to make a combined throw for the two fighters if the total space they have is less than the ogre: for exemple, your fighters are each 2feet large (it's an exemple) and your ogre 5feet, then you combine the dice score. But if they are larger than the ogre (like 2.8' each) then you make the ogre choose which character to overrun.

you use the same method as the flanking rule to decide:

When in doubt about whether two friendly characters flank an opponent in the middle, trace an imaginary line between the two friendly characters’ centers. If the line passes through opposite borders of the opponent’s space (including corners of those borders), then the opponent is flanked.

But here you actually check if the fighters both fit in front of the ogre. If not you choose.

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Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Hi, welcome to the site! I think this is correct, but I’m not sure—and around here, we expect answers to provide all of the information needed to be sure. So this answer would be much improved if you were to quote the relevant rules. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 8 at 16:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please add citations (see "objective answers") for the assertions in this question, as KRyan is requesting. We require answers to be visibly justified so that we don't have to take anyone's word for it. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jan 8 at 16:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ (If this answer were to argue that when the PH says, "You can make only one overrun attempt per round" (157), it means that the attacker can make only one overrun attempt but it can make that lone overrun attempt against multiple creatures simultaneously, I think that's an interesting alternative reading that my answer doesn't address. I think such a conclusion might be stretch, but perhaps it may satisfy one of the concerns that folks may be having with this answer. ) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 9 at 14:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ I kinda like this idea.. maybe not combining both results as this is a bit far fetched and likely allows 2 medium sized creatures to block pretty much any large ones. But maybe by using the AID another rule so that the first fighter succeeeds in a strenght check DC10 provides a bonus to the opposed overrun attempts to the second fighter... what do you think ? \$\endgroup\$ – KilrathiSly Jan 11 at 3:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah seem a bit more usable, i see why combining both fighter's STR would be too much. I think your idea is a balanced way to answer the question of a kinda simultaneous opposed check to the ogre. I like that. \$\endgroup\$ – Joe le clodo Jan 14 at 8:38

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