I have a player who want to make a "tanky" build with a Synthesist Summoner (from Pathfinder APG).

The plan is as follows: The fused eidolon is a bipedal with dual claws. Evolutions are:

  • Bite, augmented by:
    • Grab
    • Reach
    • Trip

He also picked Combat Reflexes, granting him multiple AoOs.

To protect the people "in the back", the plan is to prevent monsters from passing him by using his reaching bite attack and grapple the opponents on hit, like this:

  • Monster tries moving past him: AoO with Grapple on hit. He is moved to the opponent's square, (isn't he?) as per grapple rules. He isn't, see the accepted answer.
  • Another monster tries to move past the (now grappled) Synthesist. He decides to take a free action to let go and follows up with reaching bite again and is moved to that monster's square the creature is moved to an adjacent square if he hits.
  • repeat until all monsters have moved or no AoOs are left.

Aside from it being a nice idea for a character ("No one gets past me") that made me laugh IRL, does this even work?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: What happens when I grapple as an attack of opportunity? Basically the same question, but for 3.5 rather than Pathfinder. Not sure off the top of my head if all the relevant rules are exactly the same or not, but it's a starting point. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 14:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd like to add (I know this is an old post, but for the sake of someone strolling here), the "Reach" evolution of an Eidolon apply to an attack and not an attack type which make a huge difference. One of your attack per turn has reach, but not all of your [natural attack type] have reach. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nyakouai
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 8:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ The grapple rule also limit you to the number of adjacent open space you threaten. So possibly, if you're already swarmed by creatures, you can only grapple as many creatures (not in your direct vincinity) as there are adjacent open spaces, otherwise the grapple automatically fails (as pointed by Hey I Can Chan). \$\endgroup\$
    – Nyakouai
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 8:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nyakouai Typically, when a question makes an error, it's better for answers to address that error than for the question be edited to remove the error. (The error is part of the question and might be whence some of the confusion arises!) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 8:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Thanks for the heads-up. I wasn't sure, since OP had edited the first point but not the second. Any ways to make it better without losing the original intent? I guess it could qualify as an answer (to say "it doesn't work"), but it would be rather short. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nyakouai
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 8:44

1 Answer 1


The Rules as Written Prevent It…

A lot of grapple fun is quashed by a creature being unable to take free actions (except, most of the time, speaking) when it's not the creature's turn. It seems like—but I'll add it anyway, just in case—that you already know that, like it says here, "Grappled creatures cannot make attacks of opportunity."

Finally, "If you successfully grapple a creature that is not adjacent to you," it says here, "move that creature to an adjacent open space (if no space is available, your grapple fails)." This is a radical change from D&D 3.5 where the grappler enters the grappled creature's square.

…But House Rules Sometimes Allow Free Actions Off-turn

Then all bets are off, and it's a whole new game for your eidolon-wearing buddy.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It would be worthwhile to link to the existing question, even if it is 3.5. Can you speak to how Pathfinder has or has not changed the relevant rules? \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 14:13

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