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In a recent game, the situation came up where one of the players wanted to take a charge action. The path, however, was obstructed, and the player suggested that they jump as part of the charge. I don't have the specific charge rules on hand, but I believe that they state that you cannot make a charge action if there is any obstruction.

But the question remains: can you jump (or a similar type of movement) to charge through an obstacle or difficult terrain?

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RAW, no - by the very technical SRD definition, anything in any square in the line blocks a charge. It doesn't say "unless you evade it somehow."

I personally take a lighter hand with that, as it's not very heroic. I prefer to give options and consequences. "You can charge and try the jump, but if you fail it you're not going to reach him, and if you fail by 5 or more you'll trip and fall. If you make it, kill away."

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would have thought that this would be noticed in pathfinder, and maybe corrected, but I guess not. Thanks :) \$\endgroup\$ – NT3RP Aug 21 '11 at 23:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sure. The easy correction is "have a GM running your game instead of a computer," though. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Aug 21 '11 at 23:41
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Short answer: dnd3.5 - yes, pathfinder - don't know.

While mxyzplk is right about charge being restricted by difficult terrain or obstacle, there is a feat named Leap Attack in Complete Adventurer (page 110), which allows to jump as a part of charge movement (and to ignore terrain on the squares you jumped over).

I'm not very familiar with pathfinder rules, but IMO you could adapt this feat for PF without much trouble.

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First the official rule in 3.5.

Jumping during a Charge

You can make a long jump to avoid an obstacle as part of a charge, as long as you continue to meet all other criteria for making a charge before, during, and after the jump.
(Rules Compendium p.27)

Though there is some debate on the issue of whether the Rules Compendium takes precedence over a core book. WotC intent was clear when they wrote:

The book you hold in your hands is the definitive guide for how to play the 3.5 revision of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Roleplaying Game. Years in the making, it gathers resources from a wide variety of supplements, rules errata, and rules clarifications to provide an authoritative guide for playing the D&D game. It updates and elucidates the rules, as well as expanding on them in ways that make it more fun and easier to play. When a preexisting core book or supplement differs with the rules herein, Rules Compendium is meant to take precedence. If you have a question on how to play D&D at the table, this book is meant to answer that question. (Rules Compendium p.5)

This doesn't mean that the Rules Compendium (like most of WotC rulebooks) always phrases the rules in the best manner possible. Notice how only an obstacle is mentioned in the first quote above. There is nothing about jumping over difficult terrain. But in the initiating a charge section obstacles aren't even mentioned.

If any line from your starting space to the ending space passes through a square that blocks movement, is difficult terrain, or contains a creature (not a helpless one), you can’t charge. (Rules Compendium p.27)

This is where the 3.5 FAQ is helpful in clarifying this particular rule. Though one must take care when using the FAQ. (see here):

Can my character make a jumping charge attack, either with a long jump or a high jump?

You can make a long jump as part of a charge. You must still follow all the normal rules for making a charge, such as moving in a straight line on the battle grid. This tactic can let you avoid some of the normal restrictions against charging. If a square of difficult terrain is between you and your charge target, you could possibly jump over it with a long jump. (The fact that your jump means that your movement isn’t a perfectly straight line doesn’t make the charge illegal—you’re still moving in a straight line as far as the battle grid is concerned, and the jump isn’t really changing your direction.) (D&D FAQ v.3.5 Update Version: 6/30/08 p.72)

Now for Pathfinder.

I haven't seen it explicitly mentioned in any of the books. So here's the best information on the topic that I'm aware of.

On the Paizo forums this question was asked (the original includes the 3.5 FAQ quote above)

Can you jump over difficult terrain with your mount, while charging?

The 3.5 FAQ says that you can, but official word would be nice!

In agreement with the 3.5 FAQ, James Jacobs (Paizo Creative Director) states

Nothing's changed here, really. Jumping is a part of movement. If you're charging and part of that charge needs to be a jump, that's fine. You'll just need to make the appropriate Acrobatics DC to make the jump; if you fail the jump, obviously your charge is wasted.

On his post it states

10 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Staff response: no reply required.

Apparently Paizo didn't take issue with James statement.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The difficulty with the RC's clarification to charge is that it's… well… weird. For example, the RC allows charging through foes' spaces (because the RC explicitly allows Tumble skill checks during a charge) but not through allies' spaces (because those can't be Tumbled through yet a space occupied by ally "contains a creature"). So, while it's okay to mention here that the RC's authors believed their book should win, encouraging folks to take its opening blurb at face value, I think, goes too far. Consider a less adversarial phrasing. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 17 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hey I Can Chan Is that better? I always appreciate the help Chan! I guess we'll have to jump over allies then eh? ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – Zarus Jul 17 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hey I Can Chan I assume the authors meant tumbling to avoid an attack of opportunity. As you can't charge if a square contains a creature that isn't helpless. \$\endgroup\$ – Zarus Jul 17 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan In this case its obvious enough that you may tumble past a creature (ally or foe or bystander). Foe is the hardest case, so while it is written with foes in mind, making at least as good tumble check should bring you past an ally with no problem. I mean it may not be pure raw, but is there at least some reason to actually disallow it in any game? \$\endgroup\$ – annoying imp Jul 18 at 4:07

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