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Sneak Attack Flanking Question (Yet Another)


Rules Questions

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Nigrescence wrote:
Nowhere?

Correct, nowhere. What you quoted specifically says "attackers'". If you're not attacking, you're not an attacker.

If one person is attacking, and the other merely threatening, the one attacking is flanking, the other one is not flanking but helping another character get flanking.


Grick wrote:
Nigrescence wrote:
Nowhere?

Correct, nowhere. What you quoted specifically says "attackers'". If you're not attacking, you're not an attacker.

If one person is attacking, and the other merely threatening, the one attacking is flanking, the other one is not flanking but helping another character get flanking.

But they're not both attackers at the same time. One doesn't even need to attack to help the other one flank. He just has to be there and threaten to help the other one flank. But it says "attackers". Right.


Sigh... I have a feeling that this is another one of those Cleave vs MI threads.

Still, regardless of how you choose to describe flanking you only get the benifits of flanking "when making a melee attack". The flanking description makes that perfectly clear.

The corner case you described seems to be an attempt to pigeon hole a scenario around this requirement.

You remove yourself from the benifts of flanking the moment you attempt a ranged attack.


Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

You might be causing the creature to be "flanked" by standing there with your dagger out, but by making a ranged attack you're not taking advantage of that flanking. That's why you're not getting the flanking bonus on the attack.

Conceptually, sneak attack is about catching your opponent off guard. If you're getting a flanking bonus on your attack, it's easy to see how you're catching them off guard. If you're not getting a flanking bonus, you're not catching them off guard, you shouldn't be doing sneak attack damage.

You're not catching them off guard by making a ranged attack in melee? While you are wielding melee weapons? While your buddy over there with the greataxe is gritting his teeth on the other side? Really?

I'm not talking about fluff of "catching off guard" or where you catch them off guard. I think there's plenty of argument that will get nowhere with that.

I'm talking about what the rules say.


You get sneak attack when you flank. Flank says melee attacks only. The developer said melee attacks only. If you can some how convince me that throwing a dagger is a melee attack then ill join your side. Until then, if everyone ( besides one person ) says your wrong.....


Dr Grecko wrote:

Sigh... I have a feeling that this is another one of those Cleave vs MI threads.

Still, regardless of how you choose to describe flanking you only get the benifits of flanking "when making a melee attack". The flanking description makes that perfectly clear.

The corner case you described seems to be an attempt to pigeon hole a scenario around this requirement.

You remove yourself from the benifts of flanking the moment you attempt a ranged attack.

You only get the flanking bonus when making a melee attack. You do not suddenly stop flanking when you make a different attack as long as you are still wielding a melee weapon, are threatening the creature, and are in a flanking position with an ally.

Tagion wrote:
You get sneak attack when you flank. Flank says melee attacks only. The developer said melee attacks only.

Except you're wrong. You get flanking bonus with melee attacks only. And you're mistaken about the developers, if you are referring to the previous FAQ issue which has already been linked and discussed. If you are referring to something else, please provide a link.


Flank is the +2 bonus. The rest of it is telling you how to check to see if you get it. Your wrong. everyone is telling you.


Tagion wrote:
Flank is the +2 bonus. The rest of it is telling you how to check to see if you get it. Your wrong. everyone is telling you.

So I see you still have nothing other than simply declaring it to be so.


Other then basic reading skills , no.

Flanking wrote:

When making a melee attack, you get a +2 flanking bonus if your opponent is threatened by another enemy character or creature on its opposite border or opposite corner. ( this tells you what flank is )

When in doubt about whether two characters flank an opponent in the middle, trace an imaginary line between the two attackers' centers. If the line passes through opposite borders of the opponent's space (including corners of those borders), then the opponent is flanked.
( this tells you how to check to see if you get the above bonus )

Exception: If a flanker takes up more than 1 square, it gets the flanking bonus if any square it occupies counts for flanking.
Only a creature or character that threatens the defender can help an attacker get a flanking bonus.
Creatures with a reach of 0 feet can't flank an opponent. ( this amends the section directly above it. )

Your wrong , everyone says so. Deal with it.


Nigrescence wrote:
you're mistaken about the developers

Your argument hinges on the assumption that you "flank your target" when you are not making a melee attack.

Jason Bulmahn said "flanking specifically refers to melee attacks"

Without a melee attack, there is no flanking, regardless of positioning and threatening.


Tagion wrote:
Other then basic reading skills , no.

Yes, because insults will make your point if you can't do it yourself.

Tagion wrote:
When making a melee attack, you get a +2 flanking bonus if your opponent is threatened by another enemy character or creature on its opposite border or opposite corner. ( this tells you what flank is )

It tells you when you get a flanking bonus, which is when you melee attack a creature that is flanked.

Tagion wrote:

When in doubt about whether two characters flank an opponent in the middle, trace an imaginary line between the two attackers' centers. If the line passes through opposite borders of the opponent's space (including corners of those borders), then the opponent is flanked.

( this tells you how to check to see if you get the above bonus )

It tells you when an enemy is flanked. It even says, "whether two characters flank an opponent," and, "then the opponent is flanked," in regards to location of the characters and the enemy.

Tagion wrote:

Exception: If a flanker takes up more than 1 square, it gets the flanking bonus if any square it occupies counts for flanking.

Only a creature or character that threatens the defender can help an attacker get a flanking bonus.
Creatures with a reach of 0 feet can't flank an opponent. ( this amends the section directly above it. )

It just clarifies threatening reach of non-standard reaches for flanking.

Tagion wrote:
Your wrong , everyone says so. Deal with it.

You're* wrong, and an argument from popularity is a fallacy. Deal with it.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Nigrescence wrote:

You're not catching them off guard by making a ranged attack in melee? While you are wielding melee weapons? While your buddy over there with the greataxe is gritting his teeth on the other side? Really?

I'm not talking about fluff of "catching off guard" or where you catch them off guard. I think there's plenty of argument that will get nowhere with that.

I'm talking about what the rules say.

It's so unexpected, why, he barely has time to make his attack of opportunity on you before you attack. :)

I'm not saying "you're wrong because the fluff says you're wrong". I'm saying that your position rests on a shaky interpretation of the mechanics (otherwise, why come on the boards and ask about it?), and by looking at the flavor of the ability, we can get a better sense of how the rule is meant to be read. With sneak attack, the intent is pretty clearly that you get the damage when you get the bonus.


While I certainly don't believe this is RAW or RAI... I've changed my mind, and if it were to ever come up in my games I would allow it.

1) The rogue would need precise shot to avoid massive penalty.
2) The rogue takes an AoO for the attempt.
3) Rogue loses his dagger needs to keep drawing them to continue to attack = wasted actions. (quickdraw helps but burns a feat)

I think that a rogue attempting to do this wont last long in a fight compared to if this rogue had just melee attacked or attacked from concealment in the first place. So I see no problems from a balance standpoint in allowing this.


Grick wrote:
Nigrescence wrote:
you're mistaken about the developers

Your argument hinges on the assumption that you "flank your target" when you are not making a melee attack.

Jason Bulmahn said "flanking specifically refers to melee attacks"

Without a melee attack, there is no flanking, regardless of positioning and threatening.

Flanking specifically refers to melee threatening and position. It only specifically refers to melee attacks for a flanking bonus. The specific FAQ in which that statement sits is about flanking with a ranged weapon. "Gang Up: Does this feat (page 161) allow you to flank a foe with ranged weapons?"

I'm not concerned, as I repeatedly stated, about flanking with a ranged weapon. I don't care about flanking a foe with a ranged weapon. I care about flanking in melee qualifying for a sneak with ranged.

You still insist, with no backing beyond your personal assumptions, that there is no flanking without an attack. I have cited other feats that contradict this assumption and the rules themselves.

You have cited your declaration that your opinion is true. And misrepresenting a FAQ which has already been addressed.


since we are arguing based on minor wording and trying to twist things , im changing my argurment.

NEW STANCE - When in doubt about whether two characters flank an opponent in the middle, trace an imaginary line between the two attackers' centers. If the line passes through opposite borders of the opponent's space (including corners of those borders), then the opponent is flanked.

since it says draw a line between the attackers now both people must be atacking at the same time in order to be flanking. Some one better ready an action! If you disagree I will keep quoting this one line over and over. I says it plan as day " line between two attacker " . No flanks unless you attack together.


Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
It's so unexpected, why, he barely has time to make his attack of opportunity on you before you attack. :)

Yes, the fluff sometimes does not mix well with the rules. My comment was specifically made BECAUSE the fluff would/could suggest surprise while the rules would demand AoO (unless you take feats around it).

I invite you to take a look at the falling rules/speed and confront a physics professor with them. Remember to tell him the length of a round. They aren't too bad, but they're certainly not right. They work for the game mechanics, though.

Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
I'm not saying "you're wrong because the fluff says you're wrong". I'm saying that your position rests on a shaky interpretation of the mechanics (otherwise, why come on the boards and ask about it?), and by looking at the flavor of the ability, we can get a better sense of how the rule is meant to be read. With sneak attack, the intent is pretty clearly that you get the damage when you get the bonus.

My position rests on some ambiguity in the rules that do not deal with a corner case.

I came on the boards and asked about it because I think it's a good question that should get a clarification.

By looking at the flavor of the ability, it's pretty clear that you get the damage when your position is right, NOT when you get the bonus.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Does this have any effect on any game you are in or are you practicing for a debate class? This is like an exercise in futility.

Every rule will not encompass every single possible situation in the world. There is no way the developers could anticipate everything. For these "corner cases", GM makes the call. There will not be 500 exceptions or special circumstances for every single rule in the game


I agree with the other posters; the phrase "when making a melee attack" applies to the entire flanking section.

Flanking is something that only happens when someone is making a melee attack.


Tagion wrote:
No flanks unless you attack together.

Welcome to about ten posts from the bottom of the first page, or somewhere around there.

I pointed that out to make note that flanking doesn't even require the other person to attack, just to be there, and that if the person demanded flanking to be based on attacking, that the wording insists you can only get flanking if they're both attacking.

It's ironic because you don't realize how it was an argument in my favor. And yet you're here attempting to be witty, instead showing your shortsightedness and not having read this thread.


Nigrescence wrote:
Tagion wrote:
No flanks unless you attack together.

Welcome to about ten posts from the bottom of the first page, or somewhere around there.

I pointed that out to make note that flanking doesn't even require the other person to attack, just to be there, and that if the person demanded flanking to be based on attacking, that the wording insists you can only get flanking if they're both attacking.

It's ironic because you don't realize how it was an argument in my favor. And yet you're here attempting to be witty, instead showing your shortsightedness and not having read this thread.

Read all of the thread. The language is clear. Line between two attackers. I guess we better change the arguement to what is an attacker.


no flanks or sneak attacks for you unless you are both attacking. You must draw a line between two "attackers"


Tagion wrote:
Nigrescence wrote:
Tagion wrote:
No flanks unless you attack together.

Welcome to about ten posts from the bottom of the first page, or somewhere around there.

I pointed that out to make note that flanking doesn't even require the other person to attack, just to be there, and that if the person demanded flanking to be based on attacking, that the wording insists you can only get flanking if they're both attacking.

It's ironic because you don't realize how it was an argument in my favor. And yet you're here attempting to be witty, instead showing your shortsightedness and not having read this thread.

Read all of the thread. The language is clear. Line between two attackers. I guess we better change the arguement to what is an attacker.

No, "attacker" is just used there to refer to the two characters flanking as opposed to the opponent character. It doesn't actually mean they have to both be attacking.

One of them is attacking with a melee attack, which is why we're figuring out if they're flanking. The other is just threatening in the appropriate position.


Shar Tahl wrote:

Does this have any effect on any game you are in or are you practicing for a debate class? This is like an exercise in futility.

Every rule will not encompass every single possible situation in the world. There is no way the developers could anticipate everything. For these "corner cases", GM makes the call. There will not be 500 exceptions or special circumstances for every single rule in the game

It does not have any effect, as far as I can tell. I certainly am not silly enough to try this with a squishy non-melee type unless there's a desperate situation. I just thought it seemed cool and thematic, and felt bad that it wouldn't be seen in any games. Then I realized that it's fairly ambiguous and was interested in seeing a proper answer. Shame, really.

This is not just a corner case. There's something, as we have seen here, important for other feats too. Flanking is not clearly defined, which I think we can all agree on. It is described vaguely with "hints" that may be deliberate or incidental.

Flanking is important for all kinds of things in the game, so this question has some merit.


Nigrescence,

My question to you is this something that you're wanting to do with your char from a flavor standpoint? If so, just clarify if your GM will allow it. Mention how dumb it is for a rogue to do this, and I'm sure he'd be ok with it.

As I mentioned before, mechanically, it seems idiotic to stand there and take an AoO just to get the same sneak attack that you would get from just stabbing the guy.

I'll allow it in my game... because, as a GM, I'd rather have my monsters get an AoO in retaliation rather than just eating sneak attack.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Nigrescence wrote:
Yes, the fluff sometimes does not mix well with the rules. My comment was specifically made BECAUSE the fluff would/could suggest surprise while the rules would demand AoO (unless you take feats around it.

The flavor mixes fine with the rules in this case, you're just trying to use the wrong rules. It sounds to me like what you're trying to do here is really a feint, not flanking.

Rogue: "Hey, look, I've got a knife!"
Palooka: "Oh snap, he's got a knife! I will be on guard!"
Rogue: "Surprise! I was never going to use that knife! Have a different knife to the kidneys!"
Palooka: "Curses! I am bamboozled!"

Nigrescence wrote:
By looking at the flavor of the ability, it's pretty clear that you get the damage when your position is right, NOT when you get the bonus.

How so? What part of sneak attack's flavor text even mentions positioning? It says:

"If a rogue can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage."

If you're not getting a flanking bonus, how exactly are you affecting the target's ability to defend himself from your attack?

-Edited for clarity-


Dr Grecko wrote:

Nigrescence,

My question to you is this something that you're wanting to do with your char from a flavor standpoint? If so, just clarify if your GM will allow it. Mention how dumb it is for a rogue to do this, and I'm sure he'd be ok with it.

As I mentioned before, mechanically, it seems idiotic to stand there and take an AoO just to get the same sneak attack that you would get from just stabbing the guy.

I'll allow it in my game... because, as a GM, I'd rather have my monsters get an AoO in retaliation rather than just eating sneak attack.

It has nothing to do with any character. Who would be silly enough to base a character on provoking opportunity to make an inferior (no +2 bonus) attack every time in melee? There are ways around the provoke, but it's always riskier or more feat-intensive than not. It's not a good option.

But is it an option?
It is a rules question that I saw had some important ambiguity.

I know that it's an inferior sneak attack. That's not the point.

Liberty's Edge

There is no ambiguity here. We get what you're trying to say. We're just telling you (and there's how many of us?) that you're wrong. Flanking does not interact with ranged attacks in any way, shape, or form. Such is the unfluffy life of RAW.

The solution? Talk to your DM. Present your case. Admit it is against the rules but that you think this makes more sense (and I wouldn't necessarily disagree with you) and that you think a house rule should be instituted. "House Rules" are not cuss words after all.


Nigrescence wrote:
Flanking specifically refers to melee threatening and position.

You don't need to threaten in order to be flanking.

Nigrescence wrote:
The specific FAQ in which that statement sits is about flanking with a ranged weapon.

You don't see the correlation between "Flanking with a ranged weapon" and "getting a benefit of flanking (sneak attack) while attacking with a ranged weapon"?


Im saying the first line says it has to be a melee attack. The rest says you have to draw a line between two attacking creatures. So no flank or sneak attack unless you attack at the same time with a melee weapon.

Argueing about game rules that are clear as day is fun.


Nigrescence wrote:

It has nothing to do with any character. Who would be silly enough to base a character on provoking opportunity to make an inferior (no +2 bonus) attack every time in melee? There are ways around the provoke, but it's always riskier or more feat-intensive than not. It's not a good option.

But is it an option?
It is a rules question that I saw had some important ambiguity.

I know that it's an inferior sneak attack. That's not the point.

So then you're here to argue something nobody would ever try, and if they did try, the GM would laugh at and allow anyway because it's inferior? You must be quite bored :) Carry on...

-
It seems to me RAW is debateable here. You make some good points, while other also make good points. When RAW isn't clear, RAI should previal. Devs have made statements that flanking applies to melee attacks only, which certainly fits what most here percieve to be as RAI.


Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
How so? What part of sneak attack's flavor text even mentions positioning?

I said the flavor of the ability, not the flavor text. Bah, sorry.

"The rogue's attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target."

Denying a DEX bonus to AC is either based on the helplessness of the target or the position of the rogue (stealth snipe for example). Whether the rogue flanks or not is a matter of position of the rogue.

It's when your position is right. It's when the rogue flanks, not when the rogue gets a flanking bonus.

Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
If you're not getting a flanking bonus, how exactly are you affecting the target's ability to defend himself from your attack?

Are you asking from fluff or mechanics?

I'm not entirely sure. If it's fluff, there are any number of reasons that can be used. For example, since ranged provokes you manage to sneak but not sneak really well like with a melee attack, but you're still flanking so they're still distracted or occupied enough. If it's mechanics, I'm not sure there needs to be some mechanic for that, which already is there.


ShadowcatX wrote:

There is no ambiguity here. We get what you're trying to say. We're just telling you (and there's how many of us?) that you're wrong. Flanking does not interact with ranged attacks in any way, shape, or form. Such is the unfluffy life of RAW.

The solution? Talk to your DM. Present your case. Admit it is against the rules but that you think this makes more sense (and I wouldn't necessarily disagree with you) and that you think a house rule should be instituted. "House Rules" are not cuss words after all.

Again, argument from popularity is a fallacy. Why should I bother listening to anything else you merely declare to be true after that? You say it's cut and clear by RAW, but you have yet to demonstrate that it is in fact cut and clear, while I have indicated some unclear or ambiguous elements.

Yet again, this has nothing to do with a character or anything I want to do. You simply assuming so is not appreciated. I'm interested in the rules.


Nigrescence wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:

There is no ambiguity here. We get what you're trying to say. We're just telling you (and there's how many of us?) that you're wrong. Flanking does not interact with ranged attacks in any way, shape, or form. Such is the unfluffy life of RAW.

The solution? Talk to your DM. Present your case. Admit it is against the rules but that you think this makes more sense (and I wouldn't necessarily disagree with you) and that you think a house rule should be instituted. "House Rules" are not cuss words after all.

Again, argument from popularity is a fallacy. Why should I bother listening to anything else you merely declare to be true after that? You say it's cut and clear by RAW, but you have yet to demonstrate that it is in fact cut and clear, while I have indicated some unclear or ambiguous elements.

Yet again, this has nothing to do with a character or anything I want to do. You simply assuming so is not appreciated. I'm interested in the rules.

People have been telling you the rule. constantly. I propose this thread change its topic to what is your favorite pie.

Ill go first. I like key lime pie that most. what about you?

Edit - I maintain this post is on topic becuase it has as much to do with , if not more to do with , ranged weapons and flank.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Personally, by a literal reading I would say yes, you could sneak attack with the ranged attack as long as you threaten with another weapon and so are considered to flank the opponent.

However, I am pretty darn sure that wasn't what was intended :-) and I think most GM's would rule against you. But then again, as has been pointed out, you provoke an AoO, take a -4 penalty unless you have Precise Shot, and will need to draw another weapon (or have Improved Unarmed) to try this a second time, so really it's no big deal anyway.

My agreement with the OP is based on my agreement that Flanking is a state based upon position and the ability to threaten, with no requirement to actually attack. Although this may not be spelt out explicitly other rules such as the feats mentioned strongly imply it.


DigitalMage wrote:
My agreement with the OP is based on my agreement that Flanking is a state based upon position and the ability to threaten, with no requirement to actually attack.

You don't need to threaten in order to flank, so you're also allowing someone to have flanking even if the only weapon they have is a bow?

And since you're not required to threaten, and you're not required to make a melee attack, you could flank from 80 feet away, as long as someone on the other side threatens them.

How do you reconcile all this with Jason Bulmahn's statement that "flanking specifically refers to melee attacks" ?


To get back to the argument, because arguing is indeed fun. The first line of flanking states "when making a melee attack". The rest of the description helps clarify how positioning is settled to grant you a flanking bonus.

It all comes back to that first qualifier that a flank involves a melee attack.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Nigrescence wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
If you're not getting a flanking bonus, how exactly are you affecting the target's ability to defend himself from your attack?

Are you asking from fluff or mechanics?

I'm not entirely sure. If it's fluff, there are any number of reasons that can be used. For example, since ranged provokes you manage to sneak but not sneak really well like with a melee attack, but you're still flanking so they're still distracted or occupied enough. If it's mechanics, I'm not sure there needs to be some mechanic for that, which already is there.

For melee attacks and attacks from stealth, there is a concrete mechanical expression of the target's inability to adequately defend himself. He loses his Dex, or you get a bonus on the attack.

For your ranged attack, there is no mechanical expression of the target's ability to defend himself being impaired (aside from the disputed SA, of course). Your attack goes off as normal, no bonus. Either that's because he's in some kind of limbo state between being caught off guard and not caught off guard (as in your example), or because he's not caught off guard.

Isn't the latter a much simpler, intuitive explanation?


Grick wrote:
DigitalMage wrote:
My agreement with the OP is based on my agreement that Flanking is a state based upon position and the ability to threaten, with no requirement to actually attack.

You don't need to threaten in order to flank, so you're also allowing someone to have flanking even if the only weapon they have is a bow?

And since you're not required to threaten, and you're not required to make a melee attack, you could flank from 80 feet away, as long as someone on the other side threatens them.

How do you reconcile all this with Jason Bulmahn's statement that "flanking specifically refers to melee attacks" ?

O man you just brought up a great point. I guess we can consider 2 people 80 ft out with bows flanking as long as they are on oposite sides huh? Since that first part on the flanking desciption is only for a mechanical bonus and has nothing to do with whats going on. Yep the arguements make total since now.....


Tagion wrote:
I guess we can consider 2 people 80 ft out with bows flanking as long as they are on oposite sides huh?

No, you still need to threaten in order to help provide flanking, you just don't need it in order to BE flanking.


Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

For your ranged attack, there is no mechanical expression of the target's ability to defend himself being impaired (aside from the disputed SA, of course). Your attack goes off as normal, no bonus. Either that's because he's in some kind of limbo state between being caught off guard and not caught off guard (as in your example), or because he's not caught off guard.

Isn't the latter a much simpler, intuitive explanation?

There is. That you can even make the ranged attack and get a sneak in melee. He's caught off guard, but you exposed yourself (barring feats that might overcome that) to get him good. It's a trade-off, all possible because big meaty greataxe over there is grinning in his face.


Although it seems that there is only one correct way to interpret the rules (given FAQ, coherence with feats, etc), with possible minor variations not worth mentioning, the rules could be much clearer.

Currently:
* Being flanked is a state (informally; it doesn't seem to be a game term), but flanking is not. Incidentally, flanking seems to be a bonus type, or a descriptive label for an untyped bonus -- mentioned in the next point.
* When making a melee attack against an opponent when a threatening ally is opposite (Edit: "adjacent" removed, it's not necessary) to the opponent, you get a flanking bonus on the attack.
* Whenever anything else references flanking, it is referring to the second point, although not in a very clear way. This is why Gang Up confused some people, for example.

The problem isn't with the first two points, but with the third: things that reference flanking should say, "when your attack has or would have the flanking bonus", or something to that effect. But that approach would need to locate every reference to flanking and adjust it, and all future references to flanking would have to keep that in mind.

Alternatively, it could be redefined entirely. This is potentially a bit more drastic, but could be done in one place (Combat/Flanking), perhaps by defining flanking as a temporary state that exists when making a melee attack against an opponent that meets the flanked prerequisite. This should allow existing material to say, "when flanking," and be correct. I think. (Edit: It would also need to say that you have to be one of the participants in causing the opponent to be flanked. It's so easy to miss a small detail like that!)

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Nigrescence wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

For your ranged attack, there is no mechanical expression of the target's ability to defend himself being impaired (aside from the disputed SA, of course). Your attack goes off as normal, no bonus. Either that's because he's in some kind of limbo state between being caught off guard and not caught off guard (as in your example), or because he's not caught off guard.

Isn't the latter a much simpler, intuitive explanation?

There is. That you can even make the ranged attack and get a sneak in melee. He's caught off guard, but you exposed yourself (barring feats that might overcome that) to get him good. It's a trade-off, all possible because big meaty greataxe over there is grinning in his face.

So he's not able to defend himself because you can sneak attack him, and you can sneak attack him because he's not able to defend himself?

Here's another question--If just being 'flanked' is enough to make the target unable to defend himself properly, why do you need to be the one doing the flanking? Surely having two of your friends flank him is just as distracting as flanking him yourself? Since actually getting the bonus to your attack doesn't matter, you should be able to sneak attack anyone who is currently flanked.


Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

So he's not able to defend himself because you can sneak attack him, and you can sneak attack him because he's not able to defend himself?

Here's another question--If just being 'flanked' is enough to make the target unable to defend himself properly, why do you need to be the one doing the flanking? Surely having two of your friends flank him is just as distracting as flanking him yourself? Since actually getting the bonus to your attack doesn't matter, you should be able to sneak attack anyone who is currently flanked.

No, he's not able to adequately defend himself as he usually would because big meaty greataxe is breathing down his neck, and that worries him very much. He has to defend himself against both.

It's a matter of vision. With few as the exception, tracking attacks with your eyes is hard to do from opposing directions at the same time, leaving vulnerabilities, which is what I assume the point of flanking is.

If they can see the attack coming, for example a ranged attacker that is being observed, then it's much easier to account for it even with other chaos going on. You have more time to react than against those right next to you.

But the other reason is mechanical balance and wonkiness.

(Though for the reason you state, I personally think that a target who is flanked should be susceptible to sneak attacks. But that's neither here nor there. It's me personally, not the rules.)


Grick wrote:
Tagion wrote:
I guess we can consider 2 people 80 ft out with bows flanking as long as they are on oposite sides huh?

No, you still need to threaten in order to help provide flanking, you just don't need it in order to BE flanking.

Isn't the real issue Threaten vs Do? Everyone, including the OP agrees that you must be in a position to threaten with a melee attack. But if you threaten to stab someone, that doesn't mean you DID stab them.

For me, and it's just my opinion I can see both sides of the argument here, it really boils down to that point.

When I first started reading this thread I thought it was ridiculous that the OP could think that you could get a SA off in this situation. However, approaching it with an open mind I can see why he's asking the question.

All of the text says you must THREATEN with a melee attack to be considered flanking. The OP, in his example is threatening the monster, he just never makes good on that threat. The text on flanking says that you do not get the bonus from flanking with a ranged attack, which the OP does not argue.

So, we know for sure that SA is allowed to be a ranged attack. We may not agree when that is to be the case, but we all agree it can be.

We also agree, I hope, that if two people are adjacent and opposite to a monster, with melee weapons out ready to attack, that they are both in flanking position.

So the real point is, if you move in with a dagger looking like you're going to stab some baddie in the ribs, and then instead at the last second, throw your other dagger at his head...should that benefit from SA, assuming said baddie is flanked by a friend to our dagger dude here.

Some of you argue that since you would not get the flanking bonus with the ranged attack, that means the rogue isn't flanking. I can totally see that point, and that's what I thought as well.

However, consider this. If the rogue moved in and throws his dagger, leaving him with a dagger in his hand. It then becomes his buddy's turn. Would the buddy get a flanking bonus with his melee attack?

If he would, then that means you accept that the Rogue with a dagger in one hand is flanking, even though on his turn he didn't conduct a melee attack.

Personally I think that's a really interesting point. I'm not sure I would play it that way, because I tend to think the intent of the rule (based on not getting the flanking bonus) means that for that split second you are throwing the dagger you aren't considered to be flanking.

That being said, I can see the OPs point and I'm not sure that getting mad at him because you don't agree with his idea is warranted. If you really think about, it could be interpreted the way he suggested, even if that isn't the common take on the rule.

-S


I look at it as a bit of rules twisting on the part of the OP.

In actuallity, once the rogue starts to throw his dagger, he ceases to be a melee combatant and becomes a ranged combatant instead. The dagger in the other hand is meaningless at this point as he is a ranged combatant. A ranged combatant can't flank. After the ranged attack is resolved he can resume his melee posture and provide flanking for his buddy.

It would be no different if a Ranger cast bowstaff on his bow.. Just because it can act as a quarterstaff doesnt mean that when he uses it as a bow he is not a ranged combatant.

Flanked is not a condition that applies to the enemy... Flanking is a condition that applies to you, only "when making a melee attack".

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I removed some posts. Do not use that word that way.

I'm also locking this thread. The original question has been answered and discussed, and the more times this goes in a circle the less likely it is to be useful for the next person who finds it when searching for the answer to their own problem.

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