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Fighting Defensively - When can I do it?


Rules Questions


I've been looking at building a monk based off crane style. However, when looking back at the rules for fighting defensively (I don't think I've ever seen a player use it), I noticed some ambiguity. It says you can do it when attacking but what exactly constitutes attacking?

Mainly, I'm not sure if a combat maneuver applies in this scenario? I'd be more inclined to say yes for trip, disarm and sunder but for the others I'm really not sure. The other maneuvers are their own standard actions but at the same time the PFSRD does say you make an "Attack" roll to do maneuvers (i.e. ...make an attack roll and add your CMB in place of your normal attack bonus).

Any official ruling on this? If not, what's your take on it?

Thanks as always

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Fighting Defensively as a Standard Action

You can choose to fight defensively when attacking. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 to AC until the start of your next turn.
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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Musk wrote:

I've been looking at building a monk based off crane style. However, when looking back at the rules for fighting defensively (I don't think I've ever seen a player use it), I noticed some ambiguity. It says you can do it when attacking but what exactly constitutes attacking?

Mainly, I'm not sure if a combat maneuver applies in this scenario? I'd be more inclined to say yes for trip, disarm and sunder but for the others I'm really not sure. The other maneuvers are their own standard actions but at the same time the PFSRD does say you make an "Attack" roll to do maneuvers (i.e. ...make an attack roll and add your CMB in place of your normal attack bonus).

Any official ruling on this? If not, what's your take on it?

Thanks as always

==================
Fighting Defensively as a Standard Action

You can choose to fight defensively when attacking. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 to AC until the start of your next turn.
==================

You can fight defensively with the use of any combat maneuver, but you do apply the penalty to your CMB as well as any attacks you make in that round.

Example:
Beginning of your turn, you try to trip your opponent while fighting defensively. Make a Trip maneuver, add any bonuses from feats, abilities etc, then apply the penalty for fighting defensively. If you succeed, when they stand up, you make an AoO, making a normal attack roll, but you still apply the penalty for fighting defensively, since the penalty to attack(and bonus to AC) lasts until the beginning of your next turn.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Along with Standard Attacks, there's also rules for Fighting Defensively as part of a full-attack.

Quote:

Fighting Defensively as a Full-Round Action

You can choose to fight defensively when taking a full-attack action. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC for until the start your next turn.

The way I interpreted it was that anytime on your turn you were attacking, you could choose to declare that you were fighting defensively and take the penalties. This would be similar to how Power Attack or Cleave are declared.

As for Combat Maneuvers, you're always free to replace your attacks with sunders, trips, and disarms, so there's no worries there. The other Maneuvers, as a GM, I would say are cool to use defensively also. However, the RAW are a little hazy with that, so make sure to ask your GM. I don't see it being any issue, though.


Cool. Yeah felt pretty much the same as you guys. Thanks.


donato wrote:
The way I interpreted it was that anytime on your turn you were attacking, you could choose to declare that you were fighting defensively and take the penalties. This would be similar to how Power Attack or Cleave are declared.

Unlike power attack, which doesn't use an action, I think you have to declare that you're fighting defensively as a full-round action when you choose to do so. Meaning, you can't make all of your attacks except one, then fight defensively on the last one.

donato wrote:
As for Combat Maneuvers, you're always free to replace your attacks with sunders, trips, and disarms, so there's no worries there.

Trip and Disarm, yes, you can replace any attack. Sunder only works when you use the attack action. (It should still work with fighting defensively as a standard action)

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