The master in our group doesn't allow animals to take AoO because "they don't have enough intelligence to use that tactic". He says it is documented somewhere but he doesn't remember where...

Can animals take AoO? Or can someone tell me which document negates animals from taking AoO?




Since the general rule is that everyone can make Attacks of Opportunity, so can Animals unless explicitly forbidden.

There is nothing in the rules, at any sane location, that prevents animals from taking Attacks of Opportunity, such as:

  • Attacks of Opportunity mentions neither "Animal" nor "Intelligence"
  • Animals or Creature Type: Animal doesn't contain the word "Opportunity" anywhere
  • Intelligence speaks about Animal Intelligence, but only in the sense that Animal Intelligence is Int 1 or 2. It does not mention anything about Attacks of Opportunity.

Intelligence has absolutely no bearing on Attacks of Opportunity. In fact, going one step further, even Mindless creatures like Oozes or Vermin can take Attacks of Opportunity.

About the Flank trick

Your friend might be thinking of the description of the Flank trick from Handle Animal, which includes

Flank (DC 20): [...] You can instruct an animal to attack a foe you point to and always attempt to be adjacent to (and threatening) that foe. If you or an ally is also threatening the foe, the animal attempts to flank the foe, if possible. It always takes attacks of opportunity. [...]

(emphasis mine). In the context of this trick, this sentence makes little sense to me. Taking AoOs has little to do with flanking. Also, by RAW, this forces the animal to take AoOs, where without the trick it had a choice.

I find it reasonable to assume that RAI is that the animal always provokes attacks of opportunity if needed to get into flank, which also makes the context actually make sense.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 For good answer and commenting "sane location"; given the editting on some systems you'd be hard pressed to find the exception hidden on page XX.... \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Jan 8 '15 at 10:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rob Talk about the devil, I found an "insane" location right now. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Jan 8 '15 at 10:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the "always takes attacks of opportunity" is after you've instructed it to use that trick, so you can give your animal the order and leave it to do it's thing. Tell it to stop or do something else and it no longer always takes the AoOs, because it's no longer doing what it is trained (by RAW) to do when using the Flanking trick. \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Jan 8 '15 at 10:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ For what it's worth, another valid interpretation of the bolded part is that the animal isn't smart enough (or even if it is smart enough that this sentence specifically makes it do it) to avoid Attacks of Opportunities and that telling it flank means that it will circle immediately around the enemy taking any AoOs that it provokes. I've seen it ruled this way before. \$\endgroup\$ – claudekennilol Jan 8 '15 at 21:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ The same master in our group doesn't allow animals to take 5-foot step and do a full attack. His reasoning is the same: "animals don't have the intelligence to do that". Do the reasoning "Since the general rule is that everyone can ... so can Animals unless explicitly forbidden" also apply here?? Thanks again :D \$\endgroup\$ – Mike Landgrave Jan 9 '15 at 8:57

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