View Full Version : This Old Rule: Tumble

2007-06-03, 11:53 PM
(note: Format cribbed from The Giant)

Surveying the Rule

In my opinion, it's too easy to make tumble checks for avoiding attacks of opportunity. DC 15 is just too low. This basically means that a 7th level character with max ranks in Tumble does not have to worry about attacks of opportunity during combat. If the character takes five ranks in Jump, it's level 5; if he takes Acrobatic, it's level 3. (18 dex + 6 ranks + Jump + Acrobatic) Halving the movement rate is effective, but moving 15 feet (assuming a base speed of 30 feet) is still usually enough to maneuver past reach, into a flanking position, or what have you. Uncertainty is what makes combat exciting; if attacks of opportunity are so easily negated, it removes a big chunk of the tactical basis for D&D combat.

Furthermore, and I think this is a bigger issue, the current skill check does not take into account the nature of the opponent(s), only their numbers. Per RAW, it is just as easy to tumble past a drunken city guard as a master swordsman. This seems extremely unrealistic; shouldn't a faster, more responsive opponent be better equipped to counter a tumble?

Building the Foundation

First, I want the tumble skill to scale with level. It should still be challenging to tumble through threatened squares at higher levels.

Second, I want the DC to reflect the nature of the opponent.

The Big Reveal

When making a tumble check to avoid provoking attacks of opportunity from an opponent's threatened squares, the opponent makes a Dexterity check. The tumbler then makes a Tumble check opposed to the result of the opponent's Dexterity check. If the Tumble check succeeds, the tumbler moves without provoking an attack of opportunity from that opponent. If the check fails, the tumbler still only moves at half speed, but the opponent makes an attack of opportunity as normal. The Combat Reflexes feat allows the opponent to make as many Dexterity checks as he could make attacks of opportunity.


This is a houserule I cooked up for my game. Too easy (for the tumbler)? Too hard? Too complicated? Let me know what you think.

2007-06-04, 12:26 AM
Maybe a size adjustment - or an adjustment for the number of threatened squares you tumble through (that many more opportunities for your opponent to intercept you with an attack).

I find the concept of tumbling with laughable ease past a dragon that has attack forms all over its body to be unfortunate, to say the least.

You might make it a tumble check against a base attack bonus check by the enemy.