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Can a Cavalier declare a Ride-by attack and then use their mount to overrun the target (thus continuing the movement through the enemies square)?

  1. Is it enough for the Cavalier to have the Ride-by Attack? Would the mount need Charge Through?
  2. Who makes the overrun attempt (check)? The Cavalier (with his own stats), or the mount?
  3. What happens if the overrun attempt fails? Does movement end in front of the target, and does the target get an AoO since Ride-by failed?

Ride-by Attack states:

When you are mounted and use the charge action, you may move and attack as if with a standard charge and then move again (continuing the straight line of the charge). Your total movement for the round can’t exceed double your mounted speed. You and your mount do not provoke an attack of opportunity from the opponent that you attack.

Overrun states:

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. You can only overrun an opponent who is no more than one size category larger than you. If you do not have the Improved Overrun feat, or a similar ability, initiating an overrun provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver. If your overrun attempt fails, you stop in the space directly in front of the opponent, or the nearest open space in front of the creature if there are other creatures occupying that space.

Charge Through states:

When making a charge, you can attempt to overrun one creature in the path of the charge as a free action. If you successfully overrun that creature, you can complete the charge. If the overrun is unsuccessful, the charge ends in the space directly in front of that creature.

My interpretation so far was:

  1. Declare Ride-by attack
  2. Charge
  3. Attack when in range (10 feet with lance)
  4. Continue movement (Ride-by Attack)
  5. Attempt overrun as part of mount's charge action (or free with Charge Through)

So as follows (C = Cavalier, T = Target, x = empty square)

Cavalier attack:

x x x
x T x
x x x
x C x

Overrun CMB

x x x
x T x
x C x 
x x x 

When overrun succeeds, continue moving through enemy square as per Ride-by attack (not taking any AoO). When overrun fails, stop movement in front of enemy, and take 1 AoO (as Ride-by failed) if AoO is applicable.

As Ride-by Attack is worded, nothing stops the Cavalier from doing a Charge, attacking with a lance (reach), and then using the Ride-by Attack to continue the movement for 1 more square (thus being adjacent to the enemy). The mount is then in melee range and should be able to make an overrun attempt and thus continuing the movement through the enemy square, if successful?

(Also, am I correct in my understanding that using Ride-by Attack, I can charge → attack with my lance → move one more square → have my mount make one more attack?)

Am I missing some ruling, FAQ or errata here?


These are statements by my GM in regards to this question:

On a related note, it is questionable (IE ask your GM) if your mount can Charge Through your target, stop after them and then melee attack them.

I do not wish to attack with my mount when doing the overrun. The question in regards to the mount making an attack is when NOT using overrun. On an overrun only the Cavalier would attack, then the mount would overrun the target, and continue to move (so that the cavalier can charge again on the next turn). No need for the mount to stop and attack.

When I asked my GM about this, his replies where:

  1. Your mount may not make an attack during your Ride-by attack, because it needs to stop to attack. Making an overrun attempt is an attack, even if it is done as part of a charge.
  2. I know pretty certain that you can't mix actions in that way. Ride-by attack is a special action that allows you to take a standard action during your charge. Your mount can't make "a normal" charge at the same time.
  3. The moment you charge, you won't know if you can use your Ride-by attack, because you won't know if your mount would make the overrun, and using Ride-by attack determines if your opponent would get an AoO if it has 10+ feet reach.
  4. The inteded way to use 'Overrun' is that you, the rider, make the overun check using your mount's strength, but you (not the mount) makes the check. You're trying to get free actions by letting your mount make the overrun check.

Add in: Knowing you, you plan to stack all your damage on your charge attack. Adding in a CC on top of that becomes a little oppressive.

When I asked if adding in "Charge Through" on my mount would resolve this issue he replied:

You still wouldn't know if you can use ride-by attack beforehand. You have to declare that beforehand. Ride-by attack is a special action. An altered charge action to be precise.

But I'm not sure that's right. Since (given the wording) Ride-By attack would allow me to charge within my attack range (10 feet with a lance) attack with my lance, and then (as per Ride-by attack) move another 5 feet. So even if my mount would fail an overrun attempt, the fact that we moved 5 feet after the lance attack makes it still a ride-by attack, right?


After another talk with my GM (he also saw this thread) these where his final remarks:

There's an argument to be made that you can use ride-by attack the way you propose, when working strictly RAW (Ride-by attack, move another 5ft after your attack, just so it's technicly a ride-by attack).

It most definitely is the rider who makes the overrun (that's why there's feats like Trample). I was wrong about using your mount's strength, that's from 3.5.

You are currently the most powerful character of the party, by far, and will be for a long time.

He went on to tell me I'm a powergamer and that he tends to rule against me because of that. I am not to bring this up again.

I think he's wrong. My interpretation is in line with ifusaso's statement. Sadly there's only so much I can do in regards to my own case.

I hope someone else finds this helpful!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I really hope you're using Ride-by Attack as described in answer to this question. Otherwise, you'll have to let us know what rules your GM is using to make mounted combat happen—the designers have admitted the deeper you go, the less RAW you get. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 15 at 17:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ It looks like you've accidentally made two accounts. You should go through the process of getting them merged \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Feb 15 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is complicated further by Pathfinder even allowing overruns during a charge (see, for example, here), something that its predecessor D&D 3.5 eliminated with an erratum that was never ported into Pathfinder \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 15 at 21:36
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Both of your proposed turns are valid

When performing these actions, your mount's (full round) Action is to Charge. Both Overrun and a single attack are valid options for the mount to perform during/at the end of the charge. Ride-by Attack, despite the name, makes no requirements that you actually ride past the target; it only allows your continued movement instead of stopping as normal for a charge.

On a related note, it is questionable (IE ask your GM) if your mount can Charge Through your target, stop after them and then melee attack them. Based on how Charge Through is written, this is unlikely but odd enough to have table variance.

There are no other rules restricting this combination; Paizo seems to have taken down the 1st edition errata, but the official SRD contains no deviation from the quoted texts you provide.


In response to your GM's complaints from your "comment" that I hope will be edited into your Question when possible,

  1. Your mount may not make an attack during your Ride-by attack, because it needs to stop to attack. Making an overrun attempt is an attack, even if it is done as part of a charge.
  • Your mount can absolutely attack at the end of its charge (the action it took to allow you to Ride-By Attack) because, as noted, Ride-By Attack is a bit of a misnomer. Making an overrun is both explicitly not an attack and follows different rules that specifically allow it to be used during a charge action.
  1. I know pretty certain that you can't mix actions in that way. Ride-by attack is a special action that allows you to take a standard action during your charge. Your mount can't make "a normal" charge at the same time.
  • This is a re-phrasing of the rules, not an application. Describing Ride-By Attack as providing the ability to take an action in the middle of a different Full Action seems accurate but does not follow the actual rules. Ride-By Attack is not itself a 'special action'; like Vital Strike it alters an existing action. That existing action is still happening, as described in Mounted Combat.
  1. The moment you charge, you won't know if you can use your Ride-by attack, because you won't know if your mount would make the overrun, and using Ride-by attack determines if your opponent would get an AoO if it has 10+ feet reach.
  • This isn't even an appropriate interpretation of the rules. In the case of Ride-By Attack, you perform the Charge action (along with your mount) then are able to have the mount continue moving in the same direction. The mount (you) can then choose to move one more space and have the mount attack or attempt to overrun the target, which does not happen until you attempt to move through their space. The (negated, with Ride-By Attack) attack of opportunity from movement has nothing to do with the potential attack of opportunity from overrun.
  1. The inteded(sic) way to use 'Overrun' is that you, the rider, make the overun(sic) check using your mount's strength, but you (not the mount) makes the check. You're trying to get free actions by letting your mount make the overrun check.
  • This is another point that is absolutely inaccurate. There is no 'intent' that you make the check; you do not perform overrun combat maneuvers while mounted, and your mount has its own actions to do what it (you) wants with which includes Charge and overrun. Technically you could overrun while mounted using your own actions, attack bonus, and Strength (although that is a very clunky application of the rules), but as written you are using your mount's actions, attack bonus, and strength for it to do it's own thing.

Add in: Knowing you, you plan to stack all your damage on your charge attack. Adding in a CC on top of that becomes a little oppressive.

They're both right and wrong here. Yes, mounted charge builds stack a ton of damage on one attack... because they only get one (maybe two with very high level feats) attacks while others get 2-4. But honestly, there are huge drawbacks to this that even it out, and you're still a martial character. If they're worried about you knocking one target per turn prone, I hope you don't have any control focused spellcasters around that can knock entire cones of enemies prone. Remind your GM that

  • You are either taking up a Large creature space (meaning squeezing in regular sized passages), or giving up a chunk of damage (and the ability to overrun Huge creatures) to be a Small creature riding a Medium mount.
  • Tied to the first consideration, you still need clear charge lines to do your thing. Enemies can easily block the way, and if they have the appropriate weapons, get a bonus on readying to attack you while any form of environmental obstructions are a significant hindrance to you and potentially protection for your enemies.
  • Overrun uses your horses statistics, so is not a guaranteed success like using your action would be.
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I probably don't need to tell you that Pathfinder mounted combat is kind of a mess. Even the designers know it: "Mounted combat is underdetailed in Pathfinder," says Paizo creative director James Jacobs here. "So, the more you get into it, the more you're going to have to house rule." With that in mind, this reader strongly recommends that a variety mock engagements be run to determine what house rules the GM needs to make so that mounted combat is less divisive. This Reddit thread may help: It's a clearinghouse for various Paizo Messageboard mounted combat discussions, particularly those in which the game's designers participate. If you're serious about mounted combat and the controversies surrounding it, it's a great place to learn of the controversies.

Still, despite the mess and the fact that Pathfinder never printed a step-by-step, action-by-action example of how regular combat works—much less mounted combat!—, I'll do my best to address below the issues the question raises as I understand them. I hope it's okay that I rephrased the issues—their spirits should remain.

Can a mounted cavalier use the feat Ride-by Attack to have the cavalier's mount overrun the mounted cavalier's charge target?

In the right circumstance, yes. When the typical mounted cavalier that possesses the Ride-by Attack feat takes a full-round action to make a charge against a target, the cavalier's mount must also take at least a move action to travel 10 ft. so that the mounted cavalier can execute that charge.1 After the mounted cavalier makes the attack against the charge target, then the cavalier's mount can, if the mounted cavalier wishes, continue its movement in "the straight line of the charge" (as per the feat's description).

If this straight line includes the mounted cavalier's charge target,2 and if the mount has movement sufficient to allow it to travel into one of the charge target's squares and subsequently through its space, and if the mount has a standard action remaining, then—finally—the cavalier's mount can, during that lone move action that it's taken for its turn, take a standard action during its remaining movement to make a normal overrun attempt against the mounted cavalier's charge target. If this overrun attempt succeeds or if the cavalier is allowed to pass, the mounted cavalier's movement continues through the charge target's space in the direction of the charge. (The mount can't also attack; it's used its standard action to overrun.)

Presumably, when the feat Ride-by Attack says, "You and your mount do not provoke an attack of opportunity from the opponent that you attack," it means an attack of opportunity isn't provoked by the cavalier-and-mount unit's movement rather than for, for example, the remainder of the opponent's existence. Nonetheless, ask the GM about that benefit of the feat Ride-by Attack to see if it's necessary to invest some resources into making overrun attempts less hazardous for the mount.

All of this, by the way, is more or less incompatible with the feat Charge Through.

Does the mount need the feat Charge Through?

No, but possibilities expand if both the mounted cavalier and cavalier's mount have the Charge Through feat. The feat's less useful if only the cavalier's mount has it, and the feat'll be largely useless if only the mounted cavalier has it.3 This is covered in greater detail below.

Does the mounted cavalier or the cavalier's mount make the overrun attempt?

Typically, the creature that takes the action to make the overrun attempt itself makes the overrun attempt using its own statistics.4 In the case of the example that opens this answer, for instance, it's the cavalier's mount that makes the overrun attempt.

Does a failed overrun attempt cause the cavalier-and-mount unit's movement to end in front of creature against whom the overrun attempt failed?

I suspect that the majority of GMs will rule that the unit's movement ends upon any unsuccessful overrun attempt. Further, I suspect that many GMs will rule that the creature making the overrun attempt provokes attacks of opportunity as usual—ruling that the Ride-by Attack feat only protects from charge-related movement—, but see above. That the ride-by part of the Ride-by Attack feat didn't kick in doesn't matter; there's typically no penalty associated with that occurrence, and the target's attack of opportunity for the unit's movement typically having been negated already anyway.

Also, just so everything's in one place: A failed overrun attempt means that the creature that attempted the overrun must try to return to the space it left before it entered the foe's space. If it can't, then it goes into the nearest legal open space to the space it left before it entered the foe's space. Then the creature ends its movement.


About that chain of events…

Here's how that goes: The mounted cavalier with the Ride-by Attack feat takes a full action to make the special attack charge against Target A. Because Target A is the mounted cavalier's charge target, the Ride-by Attack feat will prevent an attack of opportunity from Target A against the mounted cavalier and the cavalier's mount automatically—no special declaration required.

Then, while still adhering the restrictions of the charge special attack, the cavalier's mount takes a move action that positions the mounted cavalier to make the attack against Target A. After the mounted cavalier's attack, the cavalier's mount can then continue with its movement as this answer initially describes, if appropriate.

This typical cavalier's mount—lacking as it does the feat Charge Through—cannot take a move action to move then take a standard action during its movement to make an overrun attempt as described in this answer initially (therefore continuing its movement) then take—in the same turn—another a standard action to make a standard attack against the foe (therefore ending its movement). It doesn't have enough actions.

Also, this cavalier's mount could not make a charge against the same target that the mounted cavalier designated and, upon the cavalier's mount completing the charge,—due to the mounted cavalier's Ride-by Attack feat—continue moving. A charge by this cavalier's mount means that the cavalier's mount needs to follow all the normal rules for a charge, including ending its movement to make the attack at the end of its charge as soon as it's within range of Target A. I know it's weird, but the feat Ride-by Attack doesn't really help the cavalier's mount charge better. Instead, the feat Ride-by Attack helps the mounted cavalier and the cavalier's mount get out of harm's way.

(I imagine there's a GM who reads the Ride-by Attack feat's benefit as an absolute: Viewing When you are mounted and use the charge action, you may move and attack as if with a standard charge and then move again as a no matter what statement, so that even, even if, for instance, the mount or the rider dies, the pair may move again. That's a badass reading, but I'm guessing it's also a rare reading and should probably be part of a larger conversation about how flexible absolutes are in Pathfinder.)

Adding the feat Charge Through to the chain

The addition of the Charge Through feat makes this even more complicated. The Charge Through feat mandates that the creature doing the charging through also make the special attack charge: "When making a charge, you can attempt to overrun one creature in the path of the charge as a free action. If you successfully overrun that creature, you can complete the charge." Here's how that works:

  • If the mounted cavalier and the cavalier's mount both have the Charge Through feat they can both designate as their charge target Target A who is in a path that's blocked by Target B. Then both charge Target A along the path blocked by Target B. Then the GM decides whether both or either can take a free action to make an overrun attempt against Target B on their way to Target A. Once the cavalier's mount's can attack Target B, the cavalier's mount's movement ends and it attacks, completing its charge. If the mounted cavalier is also within striking distance of Target B, the mounted cavalier can attack, likewise completing the charge. No movement's possible afterward, despite the Ride-by Attack feat; the cavalier's mount's successful charge ended its movement.
  • If only the cavalier's mount has the Charge Through feat it can designate as its charge target Target A who is in a path that's blocked by Target B. Then it can charge Target A along the path blocked by Target B. The mounted cavalier can't designate as a charge target Target A because there's no clear path to Target A for the mounted cavalier—no Charge Through feat. This GM would likely allow such a mounted cavalier astride such a cavalier's mount to designate as the charge target, instead, Target B, and allow the mounted cavalier to attack the nearer one and, if the cavalier's mount successfully overruns Target B, the mount could continue its charge toward Target A. As before, though, when the cavalier's mount is within striking distance of Target A, it'll make its attack at the charge's end, and its movement will end, Ride-by Attack feat or no.
  • If only the mounted cavalier has the Charge Through feat the mounted cavalier can designate as its charge target Target A who is in a path that's blocked by Target B. However, to realize the Charge Through feat's benefit, the cavalier's mount can't charge: It can't designate as its charge target Target A because the path is blocked by Target B, and it can't designate as its charge target Target B because that would see the cavalier's mount's movement end before the mounted cavalier can complete the charge against Target A, spoiling the mounted cavalier's charge completely.5

1 While mounted "[y]ou [i.e. the cavalier] move at its [i.e. the mount's] speed, [but] the mount uses its action to move," so the cavalier's mount's movement pretty much counts as the mounted cavalier's movement.
2 The Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 revision pretty much guaranteed that it did. Prior to the revision, a charge didn't have to be directly toward the enemy: "The charge stops as soon as the character threatens the target" (see here on Combat Action on Charge). The Ride-by Attack feat's never been the same.
3 Like many feats, the Charge Through feat may be of more use to the mounted cavalier when not mounted.
4 I suppose it's technically possible for the mounted cavalier to make an overrun attempt because the mounted cavalier's using the cavalier's mount's movement, but I suspect the typical mounted cavalier's actions will likely be more precious than the typical cavalier's mount's actions. Also, the cavalier's mount's probably pretty good at the whole overrun thing. Finally, keep in mind that the GM might not be on board with mounted creatures making overrun attempts, although this GM doesn't see a problem with a knight on horseback—rather than the horse proper—knocking down a kobold or whatever. Hey, look! Allow that and suddenly the Trample feat works! You're welcome!
5 If the GM allows any visible phenomena as a charge target—a point in space, for instance—then this gets even more complicated. Charging is complicated enough—see here, for example—so let's not go there.

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