# Does Following Step provoke attacks of opportunity?

Suppose a fighter with the Step Up and Following Step feats is standing next to an ogre with ten-foot reach. On its turn, the ogre takes a 5-foot step away from the fighter. The fighter can now use her Step Up or Following Step feat to move up to the ogre.

It is clear what happens if the fighter uses Step Up. She makes a 5-foot step, so she does not provoke an attack from the ogre. However, she also loses 5 feet of movement on her next turn.

What if the fighter uses Following Step to move ten feet (maybe one square sideways, and then one square towards the ogre)? Does she provoke an attack from the ogre for moving within its reach?

What if she uses Following Step to move five feet directly towards the ogre? Does this provoke an attack, or is it treated like a five-foot step?

It seems very odd to me that using this feat would cause you to suffer attacks of opportunity, but I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't.

Following Step appears, to me, to pretty clearly indicate that it modifies Step Up. It's not an either/or proposition - to use Following Step, you must be using Step Up. So, reading them together, Following Step allows you to take a ten foot "5-foot step" which doesn't provoke AoOs and also doesn't subtract from your next turn's options (it still costs your immediate action). While you could theoretically use Step Up without the benefits of Following Step, since feats are optional unless otherwise stated, there's no reason to: Following Step kicks in as part of using Step Up, which means it applies to the 5-foot step granted by that feat.

The following rules citations were stolen from Hey I Can Chan's answer, bold emphasis mine:

The feat Step Up has as its benefit:

Whenever an adjacent foe attempts to take a 5-foot step away from you, you may also make a 5-foot step as an immediate action so long as you end up adjacent to the foe that triggered this ability. If you take this step, you cannot take a 5-foot step during your next turn. If you take an action to move during your next turn, subtract 5 feet from your total movement.

The feat Following Step has as its benefit:

When using the Step Up feat to follow an adjacent foe, you may move up to 10 feet. You may still take a 5-foot step during your next turn, and any movement you make using this feat does not subtract any distance from your movement during your next turn.

Closing note: I know, a 10-foot "5-foot step" doesn't exactly make sense. A 5-foot step is a defined game term, though, which means it works well as a shortcut - it's a quick way to say you can move 5 ft without provoking AoOs. Weirdness like that happens when one rule modifies another - such as allowing a 5-foot step to reach 10 ft.

• +1: Good answer, but you forgot to answer the "AoO" part. It wouldn't provoke. – GreySage Oct 26 '15 at 16:07
• @GreySage A 5-foot-step (no matter how long it actually is) already doesn't provoke AoOs. – Michaellogg Oct 26 '15 at 16:19
• Yes, but the question specifically asks for that information. – GreySage Oct 27 '15 at 16:10

This issue has been a bugaboo since the release of the Advanced Player's Guide, and more can be read about the issue in these Paizo message board threads from Aug. 2010, Aug. 2010 where you can (as I did) mark pretty much this exact question as a FAQ candidate, Oct. 2010, Nov. 2010, and Sept. 2012. Some on these threads agree with this answer, others with this one. Here's the unpopular reading. I hope it's useful nonetheless.

## Using the feat Following Step to move 10 ft. can provoke attacks of opportunity

The feat Step Up has as its benefit:

Whenever an adjacent foe attempts to take a 5-foot step away from you, you may also make a 5-foot step as an immediate action so long as you end up adjacent to the foe that triggered this ability. If you take this step, you cannot take a 5-foot step during your next turn. If you take an action to move during your next turn, subtract 5 feet from your total movement.

Emphasis mine. When a foe adjacent to a creature with this feat takes a 5-ft. step away from the creature, the creature may take an immediate action to follow the foe (i.e. ending up adjacent to the foe) by...

• taking a 5-ft. step. On its next turn, the creature can't take a 5-ft. step, and, if the creature takes a move action to make a normal move, the maximum amount of movement he can make is reduced by 5 ft.

The feat Following Step has as its benefit:

When using the Step Up feat to follow an adjacent foe, you may move up to 10 feet. You may still take a 5-foot step during your next turn, and any movement you make using this feat does not subtract any distance from your movement during your next turn.

Emphasis mine. When a foe adjacent to a creature with both feats takes a 5-ft. step away from the creature, the creature may take an immediate action to follow the foe (i.e. ending up adjacent to the foe) by either...

• taking a 5-ft. step. On its next turn, the creature can't take a 5-ft. step, and, if the creature takes a move action to make a normal move, the maximum amount of movement he can make is reduced by 5 ft.

or

• moving up to 10 ft. On its next turn, the creature can still take a 5-ft. step and its next turn's movement isn't reduced.

There are reasons to employ either option—for example, the former doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity because it's a 5-ft. step and the latter allows the creature to get into a flanking position it couldn't quickly otherwise assume—, but, while a 5-ft. step doesn't normally provoke, 10 ft. of movement certainly can.

The ambiguity comes from interpreting the movement available through the feat Following Step as changing what a 5-ft. step is for the creature using the feat Following Step—that is, the creature's 5-ft. step becoming a sort-of 10-ft. step. But the feat Following Step makes no mention of such a change. The first clause of the feat Following Step ("When using the Step Up feat to follow an adjacent foe") references not the feat Step Up's 5-ft. step but, instead, what the feat Following Step means when it says follow an adjacent foe; that is, a creature with the feat must end its movement adjacent to the foe that moved away, a fact otherwise unmentioned by the feat Following Step.

Also noteworthy is the feat's Following Step's normal entry, which says that...

You can only take a 5-foot step to follow an opponent using Step Up.

This seems to differentiate the 5-ft. step the feat Step Up allows a creature to take from the move up to 10 ft. that the feat Following Step allows a creature to take, the normal entry pointing out, essentially, that a 5-ft. step isn't 10 ft. of movement.

### Make creatures happy with house rules

Under this reading, the feat Following Step is useful only in niche situations, usually only being not much better than DM_Blake's fictional feat Scratch Your Head ("Benefit: None, except that your head feels wonderfully itch-free all day"). Making the feat do something other than what's written will brighten the day of any sad creature slogging organically through the Step feat chain.

• A house rule making the 10 ft. of movement from the feat Following Step not provoke attacks of opportunity makes the feat substantially better but still not good. However, many feats aren't good, so that's not really that big of a deal.
• Alternatively, a house rule allowing a creature to employ both the 5-ft. step from the feat Step Up and the 10 ft. of movement from the feat Following Step when a foe takes a 5-ft. step would also be an improvement, allowing a creature, for example, to block the path of a foe of no more than Medium size.
• Combining the above house rules to allow a creature with both feats to follow for 15 ft. without provoking attacks of opportunity when a foe takes a 5-ft. step would likely make the feat actually good and open up some interesting tactical options.

This GM has not playtested these house rules, this information instead gleaned from having read a lot about the feat Following Step.

• I agree with this answer. From the following step page. "Normal: You can only take a 5-foot step to follow an opponent using Step Up." This seems to say that the movement from Following Step is not a 5-foot-step. – Nyoze Oct 26 '15 at 23:40
• If this were the case, you would not pick between the 5ft step and the 10' move, but instead get both. – Please stop being evil Oct 27 '15 at 6:59
• @thedarkwanderer I don't think so because A) the foe can only take a lone 5-ft. step and that's when either benefit must be used, and B) using either benefit is an immediate action. (I, too, was trying to parse a way to get the feat to grant 15 ft. of movement, as that would, essentially, allow the Following Stepper to block a Medium or smaller foe's path, and that would make the feat kind of awesome.) – Hey I Can Chan Oct 27 '15 at 11:36
• @Nyoze Thank you for that; that's been added to the answer. Also, I've incorporated TDW's comment as a house rule option; I suggest that a stronger opinion of that reading be its own answer. – Hey I Can Chan Oct 27 '15 at 13:54