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According to your gun analogy, your saying that a flanking bonus should apply to a bow in the same way it applies to guns in real life. However, I would like to point out that if a gun is pointed me it still has the same chance to hit whether there is somebody holding a knife at me or not. Pretty much doesn't get any easier than point blank range in my opinion.

So what you're saying is you would completely ignore that the knife is there and try to dodge bullets? You'll get stabbed in the back. Conversely, you could totally ignore the gun to avoid getting stabbed, and you'll get shot in the back. That's the beauty of a flank; that panic when you don't know which threat to focus on, when your attention MUST be divided for any hope at avoiding both. That's a flanking bonus.


If you disagree that ranged can PROVIDE a flank bonus, dissect flanking.

"When making a melee attack, you get a +2 flanking bonus" :only the person making a melee attack gets the bonus, and under the following condition:

"if your opponent is THREATENED by another enemy character or creature on its opposite border or opposite corner."

Now Snap Shot: "While wielding a ranged weapon with which you have Weapon Focus, you THREATEN squares within 5 feet of you." Add Improved Snap Shot and Combat Patrol, and you're looking at potentially a 25-30 square burst that you threaten. However, because the ranged character is not making a melee attack, he cannot actually get the bonus, only threaten squares to provide it to others.

EVEN AT MELEE RANGE, A LONGBOW IS NOT A MELEE ATTACK. Unless you have an improvised weapons feat and intend to bash your enemy with your longbow, it will never be a melee attack! But you still THREATEN squares, which fulfills the requirement for the melee characters to flank.


SUMMARY:A ranged character can grant flanking bonuses to melee characters, but cannot actually get the flanking bonus. This is because flanking requires the opposite square to be "threatened" but does not specify the threat must be melee. Snap Shot feat tree and Combat Patrol allow ranged characters to threaten at range.

EXPLANATION: The question of flanking with ranged weapons has only covered half of the argument - whether the ranged character can attack. Here is the definition of flanking: 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.
That one word changes everything. For instance, your archer takes Snap Shot, Improved Snap Shot, Combat Reflexes, Combat Patrol, and Point Blank Master. You can have potentially 25-30 feet IN ALL DIRECTIONS from your character that you threaten. The ranged character CANNOT actually get the flanking bonus, but in that burst around them, ALL MELEE CHARACTERS DO, because the ranged character threatens the enemy on it's opposite border.