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PF MECHANICS: Have a Nice Trip!


Have a Nice Trip!

Often in the heat of the moment we can forget that there are options in d20/Pathfinder melee that go beyond the “swing-hit-get hit” back and forth of combat (I like to imagine it being more like a dance with a series of attacks and defenses rather than just trading punches to the nuts). Sometimes in combat it’s hard to get the upper hand against a foe that is currently more than your match. Among many Combat Maneuvers is the “Trip”. The Trip Maneuver will knock an opponent prone and that’s just where you’ll want them in order to turn the tide of battle.


You can attempt to trip your opponent in place of a melee attack. You can only trip an opponent who is no more than one size category larger than you. If you do not have the Improved Trip feat, or a similar ability, initiating a trip provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

If your attack exceeds the target's CMD, the target is knocked prone. If your attack fails by 10 or more, you are knocked prone instead. If the target has more than two legs, add +2 to the DC of the combat maneuver attack roll for each additional leg it has. Some creatures—such as oozes, creatures without legs, and flying creatures—cannot be tripped.


The character is lying on the ground. A prone attacker has a –4 penalty on melee attack rolls and cannot use a ranged weapon (except for a crossbow). A prone defender gains a +4 bonus to Armor Class against ranged attacks, but takes a –4 penalty to AC against melee attacks.

Standing up is a move-equivalent action that provokes an attack of opportunity.

Is this a HOUSE RULE, or a core PF Mechanic? Also, it is my understanding that a PRONE combatant can not make attacks of opportunity...is this correct?

After reviewing the AOO mechanics it is not correct. I also consulted the Paizo forums to see if this was discussed. It was! A prone opponent can make AOO while prone they just do it at -4.

Now, if you find yourself prone and you need to get up and want to try and mitigate your opponents AOO you have options. You can use Total Defense to get a +4 bonus to your AC and stand up or you can Fight Defensively and get +2 bonus to your AC and be at -4 to hit on your Standard Action attack after you stand up.

Cool beans.


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