Brother Anthony had been studying the path of the monk for many years. Over time, he had learned the importance of surprise.
As he watched the fighter across from him, he noted the smug look on the man’s face, so sure that he could easily defeat his adversary. But Brother Anthony was ready.
He stepped forward, grabbed the man’s tunic with his free hand, struck out with his leg, and sent the fighter sprawling to the ground.
This is just one example of how to trip an opponent in Pathfinder, but there are other ways to do it.
In this post, we’ll cover tripping opponents, tripping with weapons, and how to get the most out of the trip action.
Mechanics of the Trip Action
You have at least one hand free. Your target can’t be more than one size larger than you.
You try to knock a creature to the ground. Attempt an Athletics check against the target’s Reflex DC.
Critical Success: The target falls and lands prone and takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
Success: The target falls and lands prone.
Critical Failure: You lose your balance and fall and land prone.
Source: Core Rulebook, pg. 243
How to Trip Opponents in Pathfinder
There are a few things to keep in mind when making a trip attempt.
You must either have a free hand or something to trip your target with. This can be a weapon with the trip trait or possibly another object.
You also need to be able to reach your opponent. This means that if they are standing behind a wall or other obstacle, you won’t be able to trip them.
Keep in mind that some creatures are immune to being tripped. If your target is more than one size larger than you, you can’t trip them.
Also, if you trip a creature while they’re flying or climbing, they will suffer a fall as a result. Please note that a swimming creature can’t be knocked prone.
Reasons to Trip an Enemy
One of the best reasons to trip your opponent is to knock them down. This can have a number of benefits.
First, it allows your teammates to attack. This is especially useful if you have a weapon with the reach trait, as you can attack them from further away.
Second, it can create distance between you and your opponent. A well-timed trip can give you the space you need to back away if they are getting too close for comfort.
Another common use for trip is to control the battlefield. By knocking opponents prone, you can force a more advantageous situation, especially when facing multiple opponents.
Even knocking just one combatant prone can turn the tide of a fight in your favor.
Being Knocked Prone
When you trip an NPC, they fall to the ground. While prone, a creature is flat-footed and takes a -2 circumstance penalty to attack rolls.
The only actions you can take while prone are the crawl or stand actions. You can also take cover against ranged attacks while prone, but your character will still be flat-footed.
Once a character stands, the prone condition ends. However, standing up provokes an attack of opportunity.
If you have an ally or multiple allies who can perform attacks of opportunity, surrounding and tripping an enemy can be a very effective strategy. When an opponent stands up, players with attacks of opportunity have a chance to do immense damage.
Weapons That Use the Trip Trait
Several weapons have the trip trait. This means that they can be used to make trip attempts. The most common weapon with the trip trait is the bo staff. Other common weapons include the scythe, flail, and guisarme.
As mentioned before, using a weapon to trip your opponents can be a great way to control the battlefield. It can also set up an advantageous situation for you or your allies.
For example, if you have a character with the reach trait attacking an opponent who is knocked prone, they can do so without fear of retaliation. This can be a great way to take down tough opponents.
The trip trait uses the weapon’s reach. It also adds the weapon’s item bonus to attack rolls. Players who attempt to trip an opponent with a weapon and critically fail can drop the weapon to take the effects of a failure instead of a critical failure.
We discuss a few of the best weapons with the trip trait below.
|Whip||1 sp||1d4 S||1||Flail||Disarm, finesse, nonlethal, trip|
|Bo Staff||2 sp||1d8 B||2||Club||Monk, parry, reach, trip|
|Temple Sword||2 gp||1d8 S||1||Sword||Monk, trip|
|Kukri||6sp||1d6 S||1||Knife||Agile, finesse, trip|
|Scythe||2 gp||1d10 S||2||Polearm||Deadly, trip|
|Horsechopper||9 sp||1d8 S||2||Polearm||Goblin, reach, trip, versatile P|
|Flail||8 sp||1d6 B||1||Flail||Disarm, sweep, trip|
|Sickle||2 sp||1d4 S||1||Knife||Agile, finesse, trip|
|Guisarme||2 gp||1d10 S||2||Polearm||Reach, trip|
Made with thick leather, the whip is typically braided. This weapon is usually nonlethal but slashes enemies painfully and can be used from a distance.
It’s a great choice for players who want to disarm or trip an opponent instead of eliminating them. And at only 1 sp, it’s also easily affordable for most characters.
This monk weapon is ideal for tripping opponents. The staff is long and slender with plenty of reach, which allows you to sweep the legs out from under an enemy.
It’s also well-balanced and tapered at both ends. This versatile weapon is traditionally used in martial arts, and it works well as both a defensive and offensive weapon.
An uncommon martial weapon designed for monks and other guardians of religious sites, the temple sword features a deadly, crescent-shaped blade. The blade’s crescent shape is perfect for hooking an opponent’s ankle or boot to trip them up.
The pommels and blades of these swords often include holes designed to accommodate holy trinkets, like bells, that religious fighters can use during meditation or prayer.
This machete-like uncommon martial weapon has an imposing appearance with an inward curving blade and no crossguard at the hilt.
The blade of a kukri is foot-long, giving bearers lots of reach. The cruel curve of the blade also makes this weapon suitable for tripping.
Traditionally, scythes are farming tools used to harvest grain. However, the scythe also functions as a deadly weapon in Pathfinder 2e, and its long wooden handle is excellent for tripping opponents.
The wicked, curved blade at the handle’s end can also be slipped around an enemy’s lower legs or ankles. With a bit of practice, you can learn to sweep your enemies off their feet quickly.
Another uncommon martial weapon, this unique blade was invented by goblins to slay horses in battle efficiently. Its long shaft offers good reach and ends in a blade with an intimidating hook, which means goblins can spear or slash cavalry horses from afar on the battlefield.
The blade of a horsechopper can be used to trip fast-moving horses, taking the animal and its rider down. The handle and hooked blade of this weapon work excellently for tripping opponents.
A flail is a weapon that consists of a handle attached to a weight by means of a chain. The weight can be anything from a spiked ball to an actual metal flail head. Regardless of the weight, all flails can be used to make trip attempts.
Any character trained in martial weapons can use a flail. Because it only takes one hand to operate a flail, they are traditionally paired with a shield.
For extra damage, try using a war flail. Bigger and heavier than its smaller cousin, the war flail takes two hands to use and packs a hefty punch.
The sickle is a simple melee weapon with a curved blade. It can be used to make trip attempts, as well as to harvest crops.
Don’t let its simple design fool you. A sickle can be extremely deadly, especially in the hands of a talented fighter.
The guisarme is a polearm with a curved blade at the end. This long weapon can reach and trip opponents from a distance. It’s also an excellent weapon for dismounting horseback riders, making it a good choice when facing mounted opponents.
The guisarme can also be used to disarm enemies or catch their weapons.
Strategies for Using the Trip Trait
When using a weapon with the trip trait, you need to be aware of your surroundings and your opponent’s weaknesses. If obstacles surround your target, try to position yourself so that you can take advantage of this instead of letting it deter your attack.
With the right positioning, you may be able to add damage to the attack. For example, you may be able to trip and knock your enemy down while they’re standing over a pit of spikes or a pool of acid.
You can also attempt to trip an opponent defensively, forcing your enemy into a prone position without incurring damage yourself. One of the best things about tripping an opponent with a long weapon is that you don’t have to get very close to an attacker to act, so you’re distanced from potential retaliation.
Pathfinder tripping can be a fun and profitable way to take down your enemies. When using a weapon with the trip trait, be aware of your surroundings and use them to your advantage.
Position yourself to capitalize on your opponent’s weaknesses and add extra damage to the attack. You can also attempt to trip an opponent defensively.
With the right approach, you can take down your enemies without taking any damage yourself. So get out there and start tripping!