How often do you provoke AOO/OAs as a DM?

How often do you have monsters provoke AOO/OAs?


First Post
I do it often. Mostly because a lot of my combats involve demons and related monsters that are extremely bloodthirsty and have little to no regard for their own lives. Provoking lots of OAs increases the damage and decreases the grind, and it facilitates more interesting combats and choices.

For instance, I've had the last gnoll of the encounter provoke 3 OAs just to try to tackle a PC off a 50 foot high ledge. Really drives home to the PCs just how crazy vicious these gnolls are. They'd rather take a PC down with him than surrender.

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First Post
If the monster is a big brute with loads of HP then I provoke OA without a second thought if the situation is appropriate. When creatures get bloodied or are more fragile they take more care not to provoke. Dumb creatures make mistakes. Untrained creatures aren't master tacticians. Plus it is a good way to speed combat up and keep players attention on the game when it isn't their turn.


Not as often as I should. last game was all centipedes and Kurziks, none of which provoked OAs. They mostly just attacked the nearest thing. They ignored the paladins mark regularly and 3 minions attacked the guy who was doing automatic damage as a reaction to being hit. One also stood in front of a moving mine cart, (2d10) but it was great positioning. Of course some of the monsters had shift 4 as a move action

I do have monsters that get frustrated attacking high AC characters, and move on to softer targets but few make assumptions based on the appearance of vulnerability.

hmm I have been using a lot of semi-intelligent (at best) monsters. The last intelligent enemy was 6 levels higher, and backed by allies - PCs were captured after killing only 1 opponent.


In my 3.5 game, I frequently had opponents such as dragons or giants provoke them by performing sunder or disarm attacks. Unless the PC has Combat Reflexes, a dragon's high attack bonus and multiple attacks makes eventual success almost certain.

Sometimes the monsters do it out of arrogance, like the wights who tried to swam the cleric. A couple of lucky rolls by the PCs caused the wights to be destroyed by anti-undead weapons before they even got a chance to make an attack roll.


My monsters provoke when the threat seems lesser than the gain. The same goes for ignoring defender marks.

Nod. Barging through an AOO is a good way to show smugness or rage in a monster, too.

Brutes do it all the time. Mindless undead/constructs do it all the time.

Soldier do it occasionally.

Most others do it very rarely.

Solo soldiers do it to display arrogance early in battle.


First Post
In my combat tonight, I think it was at least once a round by some monster or other. At least in 4e, combat is so movement centric the monsters standing still is a bad idea.


More often a low levels, when attacks are more likely to miss. I'm also prone to do it when a monster is one hit away from death anyways; sometimes it simply tries to get away or get out of a surrounded position, or I may have it try something desperate.

Also, the monster's intelligence tends to factor in - unthinking creatures are prone to it, animals tend to avoid provoking at all costs and an intelligent creature will weigh the risk.


I think I probably did it at least once per combat. There are so many actions in 3e that can provoke an AOO, that it's pretty difficult to go through an entire fight and NOT do something at least once.


Plus, even with intelligent foes, it can be fun to charge right through the front-liners to get to the nom-nom-nom casters. :) Makes for an exciting battle.

the Jester

I voted "about once a combat" but that's my best guess as to an average. Certain monsters (mindless ones or stupid ones not used to pack hunting) will not have a good grasp on even elementary tactics; they're more prone to provoke, as are things that don't care if they live or die (e.g. many constructs, undead, demons, etc).

A fight with the mercenaries of the Double Javelins is much less likely to have OAs provoked, and will be heavier on the good tactics and battle savvy. The pcs might fight three battles against them and never see an OA... but again, sometimes it's worth provoking in order to gain an advantage, take a ranged attack or what have you.


On average, probably more than once per combat. I try to run monsters "realistically." So if they're stupid, they provoke because they're not strategically aware enough to avoid them. If they're smart, they provoke them when it seems that the benefit outweighs the risk.

This. If it makes sense, I provoke.


First Post
I answered about once a combat, but it varies significantly.

Elites and Solos will provoke more often than others, particularly soldiers and brutes as they have good defenses and lots of hit points.

Soldiers and Brutes will provoke more often than other types of monsters, as they can generally afford it more easily.

Smarter enemies will provoke if it is tactically advantageous to do so.

Less intelligent enemies will provoke if their nature calls for it (such as to gang up on one person or to flank). This is particularly true if their abilities enhance that fighting tactic.

Monsters will generally provoke if it is the only way they can attack (such as when dazed or when surrounded). However, if they are bloodied they will be more cautious.

Enemies are more likely to take AOO/OAs from those unlikely to have good melee basic attacks.


It's practically impossible for me to answer this poll. It all depends upon what the players do. The monsters follow their scripted tactics for the combat and provoke attacks as the rules and dice rolls dictate. More intelligent monsters (those with more statistically successful tactics) provoke less often, but smart players find ways to make these happen anyways. So... It's all about player actions in the end.

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