# Can a character take Attacks of Opportunity while moving without stopping?

This mostly would come up in the context of readied actions, but other situations could arise. If a character is moving past an opponent who is provoking an attack of opportunity, can that character take the AoO without actually ending his own movement action?

Hypothetical 1:

A sorcerer is nondefensively casting a summoning spell with a one round casting time. While she is still casting, an enemy ranger with 5' reach, Combat Reflexes, and very high dexterity moves past her (moving through three adjacent squares), but doesn't actually stop until he is 10 feet away and neither character threatens the other.

While still moving, did the ranger get to make zero, one, or three Attacks of Opportunity against the sorcerer?

Hypothetical 2:

A monk with 60' land speed readies a move action triggered by 'any enemy exiting a square within 15 feet.' An enemy with 5' reach charges the monk, triggering the readied action. The monk moves past the enemy, successfully tumbling through the three squares in his path that the enemy threatens from the square it is exiting. The monk stops at a point neither threatens the other. Did the monk get an AoO against the charging enemy? For that matter, did he need to tumble past the charging enemy at all to avoid the charger's own AoOs?

• Could you map out how your envisioning this happen, maybe with bullet points? It's hard to picture how this exactly happens. – wax eagle Feb 10 '15 at 21:42
• I'm not in a position to right now. I might be able to make and add graphics later. – Epiphanis Feb 10 '15 at 21:46

# Hypothetical 1

## The timing of a provocation

Casting provokes an attack of opportunity from someone who threatens you when you start casting. Note:

## Concentration

### Injury

The interrupting event strikes during spellcasting if it comes between when you start and when you complete a spell (for a spell with a casting time of 1 full round or more) or if it comes in response to your casting the spell (such as an attack of opportunity provoked by the spell or a contingent attack, such as a readied action).

There are two options here: either an attack between the start of the spell and its completion, or an attack of opportunity provoked (or readied attack triggered) by the action of casting the spell. That is, the full-round action you take on your turn to begin casting the spell.

So in the case of 1-round-or-longer-casting-time spells, people who move close enough to threaten do not get to take an attack of opportunity just for being there (though obviously they can attack using their turn’s usual attacks). They missed the provoking action that would have allowed them to do so.

Therefore, in this hypothetical, barring something like Spring Attack, he can’t attack while moving, and thus cannot attack the sorcerer. Attacks of opportunity never come into play.

## Multiple attacks of opportunity with Combat Reflexes

Moreover, you cannot take multiple attacks of opportunity for a single provoking action, even with Combat Reflexes.

Combat Reflexes and Additional Attacks of Opportunity

[Combat Reflexes] does not let you make more than one attack for a given opportunity, but if the same opponent provokes two attacks of opportunity from you, you could make two separate attacks of opportunity (since each one represents a different opportunity). Moving out of more than one square threatened by the same opponent in the same round doesn’t count as more than one opportunity for that opponent.

Any given action can provoke at most once. This is most relevant when moving about in someone’s threatened area: they get one attack of opportunity, not one for every threatened square you leave for that same action.

# Hypothetical 2

## No Spring Attack, no threatened area, no attack of opportunity

Without Spring Attack or similar, this is clear:

### Threatened Squares

You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack,

Without Spring Attack, the monk cannot attack while moving, and therefore threatens nothing. Since he cannot threaten, he cannot take any attacks of opportunity.

## Spring Attack and a threatened area: still need a provocation

Now, the case of Spring Attack (or similar). The monk does threaten, and could take an attack of opportunity if one were provoked. Is one?

If the triggered action is part of another character’s activities, you interrupt the other character. Assuming he is still capable of doing so, he continues his actions once you complete your readied action.

The charger does not act during the monk’s readied action. As a result, he does not move, and since he does not move, he does not leave any square the monk threatens. Thus, there is no provoking action that the monk can take advantage of.

## Provoking the charger

As to whether the charger could have taken an attack of opportunity had the monk not used Tumble to get past him, yes, he could have, because he gets to layer yet another exception here:

### Making an Attack of Opportunity

An attack of opportunity “interrupts” the normal flow of actions in the round. If an attack of opportunity is provoked, immediately resolve the attack of opportunity, then continue with the next character’s turn (or complete the current turn, if the attack of opportunity was provoked in the midst of a character’s turn).

So even though the charger does not generally get to act while the monk resolves his readied action (the charger’s charge is put on pause until the monk’s readied action resolves), the charger gets to interrupt the monk’s interrupt, putting his move on pause, and take the attack of opportunity. After the attack of opportunity is resolved, the turn continues, that is, the charger goes back to pause and the monk resolves his move action, and then the charger’s turn continues.

## Bonus on attacks of opportunity during a charge

Finally, one last thing to note:

### Attacking on a charge

After moving, you may make a single melee attack. You get a +2 bonus on the attack roll and take a −2 penalty to your AC until the start of your next turn.

I would argue that the charger’s attack of opportunity, assuming the monk had not used Tumble, would benefit from this +2. Since the charger has moved, the “after moving” clause is satisfied.

# Title Question

In D&D 3.5, can a character take Attacks of Opportunity while moving without stopping?

In the hypotheticals proposed, no. In general, though? To say “no” conclusively, we would need a rule that explicitly says as much; no such rule exists. To say “yes” conclusively, we would have to demonstrate a situation in which an attack of opportunity happens for a character currently in motion.

Such a situation:

• A spellcaster readies an action to cast a spell when someone enters a square within 10 ft. of himself.

• An enemy of the spellcaster has the Spring Attack feat, and also has a reach that includes squares 10 ft. from her own position (e.g. Small or Medium with a reach weapon, Large without a reach weapon, etc.). She moves, one way or the other, and her movement takes her into a square 10 ft. from the spellcaster.

• The spellcaster’s readied action is triggered, and he takes it. The spring-attacker’s movement is paused so the spellcaster can resolve the readied action.

• The spellcaster decides, for whatever reason, not to cast defensively (maybe he does not realize that the spring-attacker has 10-ft. reach, or maybe she has the Mage Slayer feat). Thus, when he casts his spell with his readied action, he is performing an action that provokes.

• The spring-attacker, whose movement is on pause while she is in a square 10 ft. from the spellcaster, has a threatened area that includes the spellcaster. She is therefore entitled to take an attack of opportunity, and does so.

• The attack of opportunity is resolved; an attack roll is made, and if it is high enough, damage is rolled. If damage is dealt, the spellcaster must make a Concentration check to keep the spell. Regardless, at this point the attack of opportunity has been resolved.

• After the attack is complete, the readied action continues. This involves either casting the spell, or simply ending the “pause” if the spellcasting has been disrupted. Either way, the readied action has been resolved.

• The spring-attacker’s original movement is unpaused. She now gets to complete her movement.

• I appreciate most of the logic you employ. However, are you certain about this: "Moreover, you cannot take multiple attacks of opportunity for a single provoking action, even with Combat Reflexes. Any given action can provoke at most once. This is most relevant when moving about in someone’s threatened area: they get one attack of opportunity, not one for every threatened square you leave for that same action."? That is very much counter to what I have seen and played. If at all possible, could I trouble you to expound on the RAW behind that? – Epiphanis Feb 10 '15 at 22:25
• @Epiphanis: d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/… specifically calls out moving out of multiple threatened squares as not provoking multiple AoOs. – minnmass Feb 10 '15 at 22:37
• Thanks, that does clarify. Dang, I had a glaive-using Combat Reflexes player who got away with a lot of stuff he shouldn't have. (Assuming that applied to 3.5--I see its the Pathfinder SRD). – Epiphanis Feb 10 '15 at 22:44
• @Epiphanis The nature of the provoking rules make this limitation a necessary consequence, since it is an action that provokes an attack of opportunity, continuing an action does not provoke yet more. This is, however, explicitly addressed somewhere – I suspect Rules Compendium, but I am away from my books and so cannot check. – KRyan Feb 10 '15 at 22:59
• @Epiphanis "Moving out of more than one square threatened by the same opponent in the same round doesn’t count as more than one opportunity for that opponent" (PH 138). That's literally all the PH says on the matter. – Hey I Can Chan Feb 11 '15 at 1:18

Tackling the puzzle one piece at a time:

# Interruption of movement

First thing to get out of the way: attacks of opportunity (the source of all following quotations) always interrupt the current activity in the round, then allow it to continue after resolving the attack of opportunity:

An attack of opportunity "interrupts" the normal flow of actions in the round. If an attack of opportunity is provoked, immediately resolve the attack of opportunity, then […] complete the current turn, if the attack of opportunity was provoked in the midst of a character’s turn

(Eliding only the part of the quote that doesn't deal with mid-turn AoOs.)

So assuming you get any, you can continue to move after the AoO.

# Number of attacks

You may only make one attack of opportunity in a round:

An attack of opportunity is a single melee attack, and you can only make one per round.

So by default you get at most one. With Combat Reflexes you still only get one, because:

[Combat Reflexes] does not let you make more than one attack for a given opportunity, but if the same opponent provokes two attacks of opportunity from you, you could make two separate attacks of opportunity (since each one represents a different opportunity). Moving out of more than one square threatened by the same opponent in the same round doesn’t count as more than one opportunity for that opponent. All these attacks are at your full normal attack bonus.

# Do AoOs trigger during movement?

While moving you don't threaten any squares at all, which is the prerequisite for AoOs to trigger in the first place. The text states:

You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack

Can you make a melee attack in the middle of movement? No (not without exceptions, such as with the Spring Attack feat), so you don't threaten these squares. Unless you stop here — which creates a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation. So, assuming you can make the AoO at all, you could only make it if you elect to end your movement here.

# Does the enemy trigger off-turn AoOs at all?

Attacks of opportunity only trigger when the action is taken, not afterwards, even for actions that last longer than the turn on which it was taken. As counter-intuitive as it is, your hypothetical sorcerer and hypothetical monk's target are not triggering an AoO in any of your threatened squares, because they are not at this moment initiating an action that would trigger an AoO:

• The sorcerer did not just use the "cast a spell" action while in one of your threatened squares. Being mid-spell doesn't trigger an AoO, just taking the action does.

• The monk's enemy did not move within of any of your threatened squares: they neither took any movement themselves, nor were you threatening the squares they were in while you were moving (per the previous section).

# Conclusion: No

No AoOs trigger in either situation. The controlling issue is that no provoking actions are being taken while within threatened squares. Even if an exception changed the rule that you don't threaten while moving (such as Spring Attack), the lack of provoking actions makes the threatened squares irrelevant.

• Very nice answer! But your logic raises some further questions. Re: "Number of attacks" I expressly stated that the ranger in Hypo 1 had high dex and Combat Reflexes, which permit more than 1 AoO per round. Does this affect your answer? – Epiphanis Feb 10 '15 at 22:04
• Also, re: "Do AoOs trigger during movement" would your answer be different if the moving character had the Spring Attack feat? In that case, would you consider the moving party able to make a melee attack? Note that very literally if you have used up your actions for a round, you are technically not able to make a mêlée attack, but I think its a given that you can still make provoked AoOs in that situation if you are standing still. – Epiphanis Feb 10 '15 at 22:11
• You provoke AoOs on your turn, you make AoOs on the enemy's turn (when they provoke) – Adeptus Feb 10 '15 at 22:51
• @Epiphanis I forgot about Combat Reflexes before, so I've added a bit to address that. Spring Attack would count as an exception to that one point, yes. Neither one change the final answer though; I've added a Conclusion section to make the end answer and its reasoning extra clear. – SevenSidedDie Feb 10 '15 at 23:34
• Thanks. I appreciate the effort to explain your reasoning and I believe I agree with your conclusions. – Epiphanis Feb 10 '15 at 23:40