When a mount and its rider move throught a threatened square, an AOO is provoked. If the creature they provoked from has combat reflexes, can they attack both rider and mount, or are they only allowed to choose one because its a single movement?

I should mention that I am not using ride by attack or charge. Just a normal movement.


3 Answers 3


It's likely both mount and rider should provoke attacks of opportunity for the mount's movement

"Mounted combat is underdetailed in Pathfinder," says Pathfinder creative director James Jacobs. "So, the more you get into it, the more you're going to have to house rule." Whether mount, rider, or both provokes attacks of opportunity for the mount's movement is, however, one of the things that'll probably be gotten into quickly by any rider astride a mount, but the Pathfinder printed rules are absolutely gray on the matter.

With that in mind, despite some hiccups, mounted combat in Pathfinder does remain largely unchanged from mounted combat in Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. Because official Pathfinder material seems less than anxious to clarify exactly how mounted combat works, this GM thinks it acceptable to look to Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 for answers.

Monster Manual author Skip Williams's Rules of the Game Web column "All about Mounts (Part Two)" on Attacks of Opportunity says

When you and our mount move, you both are subject to attacks of opportunity from your foes (your mount might be the one actually doing the moving, but you're moving as well). For example, when you and your mount leave a threatened space, you both provoke attacks of opportunity from foes that threaten that space. A foe who can make multiple attacks of opportunity in a round (for example, a foe with a high Dexterity score and the Combat Reflexes feat) can make an attack of opportunity against you and one against your mount.

As an optional rule, you might want to treat a rider and a trained war mount (or a special mount, such as a paladin's warhorse) as a single creature in battle. When the pair moves, they provoke one attack of opportunity for each foe that threatens them, not one each.

(Emphasis mine.) This reader is unaware of this bold statement being made elsewhere by any D&D 3.5e or Pathfinder designer. The topic has been discussed on the Paizo messageboards in, for example, 2010, 2013, and 2015, but no designer's offered input.

So, despite a lack of clarity by either set of printed rules on the issue, one designer believes that mount and rider both provoke attacks of opportunity for the mount's movement (unless using that designer's optional rule). As Pathfinder's rules are relatively silent on this specific score (although, as ShadowKras's fine answer demonstrates, meaning can be inferred and extracted from the existing rules), William's absolute ruling seems a reasonable one.

(It should be noted that the Rules of the Game Web columns were in some quarters poorly received and, sometimes, dismissed entirely… yet the "All about Mounts" series remains one of the few places in the whole of Third Edition—and, subsequently, Pathfinder—that reduces instead of increases the opacity and unrelenting sorrow that is mounted combat.)

"So that's what Ride-by Attack means!"

Using Williams's rules, for example, in both D&D 3.5e and Pathfinder, when the feat Ride-by Attack says, "You and your mount do not provoke an attack of opportunity from the opponent that you attack," the feat's benefit means that normally both rider and mount provoke attacks of opportunity in the given situation instead of meaning, for example, that normally attacks of opportunity are provoked by one or the other of the rider or the mount, nobody really knowing which.


Unless stated otherwise, moving or being moved from a threatened space causes attacks of opportunity

It's common to read on abilities, effects and spells that can move an opponent, that the effect will not cause attacks of opportunity. This ruling is absent on Mounted Combat. It even says that you move using the mount's speed.

Your mount acts on your initiative count as you direct it. You move at its speed, but the mount uses its action to move.

This is also enforced when both of you take the penalties related to charging:

If your mount charges, you also take the AC penalty associated with a charge.

If we look at the text clarifying how to Provoke an Attack of Opportunity, it says:


Moving out of a threatened square usually provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening opponents. There are two common methods of avoiding such an attack—the 5-foot step and the withdraw action.

Now, every combat maneuver that moves an opponent does explicitly call that this movement does not cause an attack of opportunity, like Bull Rush:

An enemy being moved by a bull rush does not provoke an attack of opportunity because of the movement unless you possess the Greater Bull Rush feat.

And even spells, like Hydraulic Push and Telekinesis, that state that they move or bull rush an opponent, call out that the effect does not provoke.

And finally, if we take a look at the Ride-by Attack feat, it says that one of the benefits is that you and your mount does not provoke an attack of opportunity from this attack, which allows you to move after attacking the target. So everything suggests that normally both the rider and his mount provoke when moving out of a threatened area.

Benefit: When you are mounted and use the charge action, you may move and attack as if with a standard charge and then move again (continuing the straight line of the charge). Your total movement for the round can't exceed double your mounted speed. You and your mount do not provoke an attack of opportunity from the opponent that you attack.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I want this to be correct because, dammit, both the mount and the rider are moving! However, only the mount is taking an action to move, and taking actions usually provoke attacks of opportunity (see Attacks of Opportunity on Threatened Squares). (That makes all the mentions of forced movement usually not provoking just reminder text.) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 8, 2017 at 14:22

No, the mount is moving. The rider is not - it's simply being carried. In much the same way someone moving away is provoking attacks of opportunity, but not each piece of equipment they wear.

Considering how fragile mounts are, I'd give them the opportunity, on getting the mount, to decide if AoOs default to the character, or the mount. Also, there is the Withdraw action, which lets them to ignore a bit of AoO.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .