A whip can be used to make attacks against creatures up to 15 feet away, even if it doesn't threaten that area. The Bodyguard feat enables you to use aid another when an adjacent ally is attacked. The Aid another action says that you need to be in the position to melee attack against the opponent that is engaging your ally, it does not mention the requirement that you threaten that target.

Are you able to use a whip in conjunction with the Bodyguard feat while more than 5 but within 15 feet of the attacking enemy?


3 Answers 3


No, because aid another out of your turn requires you threatening the enemy square.

Aid another requires you being in position to perform a melee attack against the enemy, which when not in your turn requires being able to perform an attack of opportunity. You need to threaten the enemy square to perform an attack of opportunity.

Whips do not threaten the area where they have reach, and threatening is a requirement for attacks of opportunity. Thus you cannot use Bodyguard with a whip unless you have a special feat or effect that allows you to threaten with that kind of weapon (as for example the Improved Whip Mastery feat) or somehow being able to use the whip as an immediate action.

There is an specific FAQ that clarifies this:

Bodyguard: The Bodyguard feat says that I can spend one of my attacks of opportunity to aid another the AC of an adjacent ally, but it doesn’t say one way or the other whether this removes other restrictions on aid another? Particularly, do I need to threaten the attacking enemy? Also, has that enemy provoked an attack of opportunity from me?

You still need to fulfill all requirements of aid another, including threatening the attacking enemy. Bodyguard uses up one of your attacks of opportunity for the round, but the enemy hasn’t provoked an attack of opportunity from you, nor are you making one (which is relevant for abilities like Paired Opportunist).

Bold emphasis mine.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is the correct answer by raw, but aparently, not the intent of the author: paizo.com/threads/… \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Sep 9, 2016 at 17:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that, regardless of what the faq says, aid another does not say you must threaten. But we have to accept FAQ's as official ruling for society play. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Sep 9, 2016 at 17:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Exactly, that bit of "aid another requires threatening" in the FAQ surprised me. That's why I avoided to say that in my answer and preferred to try interpret why the FAQ says that. My interpretation is they say it requires threatening because it is still dependent on an AoO even if the bodyguard attack is not considered an AoO (frankly I am still a bit puzzled with this FAQ). \$\endgroup\$
    – Balacertar
    Sep 9, 2016 at 17:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Somebody went overboard with a thoroughly literal reading of aid another requiring an attack roll, in that an attack roll represents an attempt to hit a target which a creature can't do off turn if it's not threatening. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 9, 2016 at 21:58

Rules as Intended: Yes

Because to use Bodyguard, you must use an Attack of Opportunity against your foe. Although the whip does say you cannot threaten adjacent foes:

The whip is treated as a melee weapon with 15-foot reach, though you don't threaten the area into which you can make an attack.

The requeriment of Aid Another is simply that you are in position to make a melee attack against that foe:

If you're in position to make a melee attack on an opponent that is engaging a friend in melee combat

Meaning that you can use Aid Another even if you have weapons that normally do not threaten adjacent squares, such as Unarmed (without improved unarmed strike) or the Whip.

We can see this type of build supported on this thread, and also on this build. And also seems to be the intent of the Author of the feat:

Bodyguard is intended to require you only to be adjacent to the ally you're defending, not to require you to threaten their attacker. Requiring you to threaten the attacker makes the feat MUCH less useful, since then you can't block ranged attacks or reach weapons or attacks against targets with concealment or cover or anything else that would prevent an AoO. My intention with tying it to the AoO mechanic was simply to make it an ability you could use more than once per round, rather than wanting to tie it specifically to all the implied mechanics of AoOs. I had thought about just making it an immediate action, but that limits it to once per round and takes your im/swift action. I figured that was an appropriate mechanic for In Harm's Way, but the defensive bonus of AA was modest enough that I thought it entirely fair to not limit it that way.

As an side, I should say that for both feats, as well as the shield feats and shield-based archetypes I wrote, I thought that defender characters needed a little extra love in the rules, whether evil emperor bodyguards or altruistic protectors.

It's possible I had misremembered the mechanic for Aid Another, thinking that AA to add an attack bonus required an attack roll vs. AC 10 against the target while AA to add to AC required an attack roll vs. AC 10 against the defender. I can't really say for sure about my thought process 3 years ago, but that could have been the root of the problem.

  • Jason Nelson

But is not the official ruling as has been answered on this FAQ.

Note that you also will need Whip Mastery when aiding someone with a whip (if your GM allows you to use Bodyguard with whips), as they do cause attacks of opportunity when used.

Using a whip provokes an attack of opportunity, just as if you had used a ranged weapon.


Yes, of course, but remember you have to be adjacent to your ally (so this situation will not happen that often).

  • \$\begingroup\$ This could happen if your ally was being attacked by an opponent with reach as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rob
    Sep 9, 2016 at 9:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ And if this opponent is not coming from the side. That can happen, of course, but not every day. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 9, 2016 at 11:49

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