Gang Up and Allies FAQ: Please Help: Very Confused.


Rules Questions


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Hello,

I am having some issues with Gang Up and the FAQ language about being your own allie.

GANG UP:

:
Gang Up (Combat)

You are adept at using greater numbers against foes.

Prerequisites: Int 13, Combat Expertise.

Benefit: You are considered to be flanking an opponent if at least two of your allies are threatening that opponent, regardless of your actual positioning.

Normal: You must be positioned opposite an ally to flank an opponent.

Now I took that as being when two other party members [plus you] for a total of three are attacking an opponent you can get flanking even if you are not across from one of your allies.

However, the FAQ wording confuses matters as it suggests that you count as one of your own allies. Does that mean that if me and another character side by side are attacking a target then I count as flanking?

FAQ EXCERPT:

:
Do you count as your own ally?

You count as your own ally unless otherwise stated or if doing so would make no sense or be impossible. Thus, "your allies" almost always means the same as "you and your allies."

—Sean K Reynolds, 10/12/10


Sleep-Walker wrote:
Does that mean that if me and another character side by side are attacking a target then I count as flanking?

That's probably how I would run it. Two people can flank normally, and two people threatening one guy is still using greater numbers.

I kind of don't think that was the intent of the feat, though.

Also remember, this feat won't allow sneak attacks with ranged weapons, even though you're flanking, the flanking bonus doesn't apply to ranged.

Lantern Lodge

The way I have used it is that two allies have been threatening and my dwarven fighter has been able to use the lunge feat and get the Gang Up flanking bonus.

I'm curious on the response here too.

Whats the context of Sean's FAQ post?

Contributor

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This is one of those "unless it doesn't make sense" exceptions. If you counted as your own ally for the purpose of Gang Up, then you'd ALWAYS get a flanking bonus if you had at least one other ally threatening your opponent. It would be a no-brainer feat for rogues because it would mean you could always sneak attack from flanking.

The point of Gang Up is to allow *you* to flank someone if your buddies already have it flanked. Like this:

_D_
_MY
_E_

D = dwarf ally
E = elf ally
M = monster
Y = you

Without Gang Up, the dwarf and elf are flanking the monster, but you are not.
With Gang Up, you're counted as flanking the monster because your allies are flanking the monster.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Wait, so the two allies have to be flanking it? I thought the feat just said they had to be threatening it?


I am going to have to list this one. I am sure someone will try it.


Jiggy wrote:
Wait, so the two allies have to be flanking it? I thought the feat just said they had to be threatening it?

It is threatening, unless the feat is awaiting errata which I have heard nothing about.


Hilarious question by the way. I'm pretty sure it means you have to have two allies with you also threatening the monster, and that you, in this instance, do not count as your own ally.

So,

D
EM
Y

(D=Dwarf Ally, E=Elf Ally, Y=You, M=Monster)

would allow you to get a flanking bonus so long as each of you were threatening the monster, e.g. holding weapons, etc.

Contributor

My bad, the allies have to be threatening the target, they don't have to be flanking it. So Jo Bird's diagram is also a valid option for someone with the feat.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
This is one of those "unless it doesn't make sense" exceptions. If you counted as your own ally for the purpose of Gang Up, then you'd ALWAYS get a flanking bonus if you had at least one other ally threatening your opponent.

Not necessarily.

Exhibit A: Red Mantis Assassin in mantis form using its Lunge special ability. The RMA doesn't actually threaten his victim, yet he's making a melee attack, so one ally threatening it is insufficient whereas two would do the job.

(If you're curious, this exact scenario has come up in one of my current games.)

As an aside, when you factor in Combat Expertise as what mostly amounts to a punishment feat and punishment stat prereq (if you disagree, please dig up my arguments to this effect elsewhere rather than derail this topic), I don't think "I'm considered to be flanking most of the times I'm in melee with something an ally is in melee with" would be unbalanced.


Dire Mongoose wrote:
Exhibit A: Red Mantis Assassin in mantis form using its Lunge special ability. The RMA doesn't actually threaten his victim, yet he's making a melee attack...

I don't know what a Red Mantis Assassin is, but if it's making a melee attack, then it's threatening the square.

If it's a normal creature, and using the Lunge feat, it threatens, but only until the end of its turn.


Thanks.

Contributor

Dire Mongoose wrote:
As an aside, when you factor in Combat Expertise as what mostly amounts to a punishment feat and punishment stat prereq (if you disagree, please dig up my arguments to this effect elsewhere rather than derail this topic), I don't think "I'm considered to be flanking most of the times I'm in melee with something an ally is in melee with" would be unbalanced.

The rogue's optimal damage occurs if she can perform a sneak attack. She's designed for that to be an if, not a when. If she were meant to always get sneak attack, even with a "feat tax," the class would give her sneak attack all the time, not just when she can use the proper tactics.

Look at it this way: A fighter 4 can take Weapon Spec and get +2 damage on all his attacks. If Gang Up counted you as your own ally, a rogue 4 could take Gang Up and get +2d6 on all her attacks. Compare the two feats, +2 damage vs. +2d6 damage ... you do the math.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:


Look at it this way: A fighter 4 can take Weapon Spec and get +2 damage on all his attacks. If Gang Up counted you as your own ally, a rogue 4 could take Gang Up and get +2d6 on all her attacks. Compare the two feats, +2 damage vs. +2d6 damage ... you do the math.

Except without the feat, the fighter never gets that +2 damage.

Without the feat, the rogue still gets that +2d6, sometimes.

(I'm not arguing for the feat to be changed, I still think it's a no-brainer feat for a melee rogue, and a partial-brainer feat for lots of other melee types. It doesn't -need- to be made more powerful, IMO.)


Hey Sean, did you write the feat in question???


Sean K Reynolds wrote:


The rogue's optimal damage occurs if she can perform a sneak attack. She's designed for that to be an if, not a when. If she were meant to always get sneak attack, even with a "feat tax," the class would give her sneak attack all the time, not just when she can use the proper tactics.

Look at it this way: A fighter 4 can take Weapon Spec and get +2 damage on all his attacks. If Gang Up counted you as your own ally, a rogue 4 could take Gang Up and get +2d6 on all her attacks. Compare the two feats, +2 damage vs. +2d6 damage ... you do the math.

Well, always -- when he has another ally besides himself threatening the thing to total two. That's not always, even if it might be often. In most cases it only amounts to slightly more permissive flanking rules. That's not bad, but I don't know if it's worth two feats and what amounts to making what otherwise is probably your fourth or fifth most important stat one of your highest in low to moderate point buy.

The math pretty much shows that, for various reasons (mostly involving differing base attack and other bonuses to hit and damage), a fighter will generally outdamage a rogue even if the rogue can sneak attack. Which is fine, because a rogue has more other things to do than a rogue does, but one has to assume that either

A) Rogues were meant to usually be able to sneak attack, or
B) The designers meant for the rogue to be clearly sub-par to almost everyone else in combat (which I would consider bad game design, but is arguable), or
C) The designers didn't understand how the math shakes out.

Design choices for Pathfinder such as drastically reducing the list of enemies you can never sneak attack as well as my generally high opinion of Jason Bulmahn's eye for balance lead me to assume (A) is the case.


Grick wrote:
Dire Mongoose wrote:
Exhibit A: Red Mantis Assassin in mantis form using its Lunge special ability. The RMA doesn't actually threaten his victim, yet he's making a melee attack...

I don't know what a Red Mantis Assassin is, but if it's making a melee attack, then it's threatening the square.

If it's a normal creature, and using the Lunge feat, it threatens, but only until the end of its turn.

It's a Golarion prestige class which in this example is essentially using the Giant Mantis monster Lunge special ability, which specifically disallows threatening/AoO.


Grick wrote:

(I'm not arguing for the feat to be changed, I still think it's a no-brainer feat for a melee rogue, and a partial-brainer feat for lots of other melee types. It doesn't -need- to be made more powerful, IMO.)

Take a look at melee rogue builds people post; they don't usually involve a 13 INT.


Grick wrote:
Dire Mongoose wrote:
Exhibit A: Red Mantis Assassin in mantis form using its Lunge special ability. The RMA doesn't actually threaten his victim, yet he's making a melee attack...

I don't know what a Red Mantis Assassin is, but if it's making a melee attack, then it's threatening the square.

If it's a normal creature, and using the Lunge feat, it threatens, but only until the end of its turn.

It is a prestige class for Golarion. The lunge is from the Giant Mantis in the bestiary which the PrC gets to use.

Lunge (Ex) A giant mantis's limbs are capable of reaching much farther than normal for a creature of its size. As a full-attack action, it can make a single attack with its claws at double its normal reach. When a giant mantis attacks with a claw in this manner, it gains a +4 bonus on its attack roll. A giant mantis cannot make attacks of opportunity with its lunge.

The monster can only reach out that far when it is actually attacking. Other times it can't do anything which is why AoO's would not take place.


Dire Mongoose wrote:


It's a Golarion prestige class which in this example is essentially using the Giant Mantis monster Lunge special ability, which specifically disallows threatening/AoO.

Mantis, Giant "Lunge (Ex) A giant mantis's limbs are capable of reaching much farther than normal for a creature of its size. As a full-attack action, it can make a single attack with its claws at double its normal reach. When a giant mantis attacks with a claw in this manner, it gains a +4 bonus on its attack roll. A giant mantis cannot make attacks of opportunity with its lunge."

So it looks like it cannot make an AoO, but it can still make an attack, and thus, threatens the square(s) into which it can make that attack, during the time in which it makes it.

So, using the crazy house-rule flank-bonanza version of ally/gangup, if a friend-of-mantis is threatening the orc, and the mantis lunges at the orc, then the mantis threatens the orc when he's making that attack, and thus would gain flanking.

Which, I guess, doesn't really matter anymore.


Self-Flanking should not ever happen. At the same time I don't agree with combat expertise as a good tax feat either, but then again most tax feats are not that good.

If the feat was ever changed so you could do a one man flank I would take it for almost every combat build I made, especially as a fighter since they get so many feats.

Contributor

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Grick wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:


Look at it this way: A fighter 4 can take Weapon Spec and get +2 damage on all his attacks. If Gang Up counted you as your own ally, a rogue 4 could take Gang Up and get +2d6 on all her attacks. Compare the two feats, +2 damage vs. +2d6 damage ... you do the math.

Except without the feat, the fighter never gets that +2 damage.

Without the feat, the rogue still gets that +2d6, sometimes.

Your statement only adds to my argument. :)

Dire Mongoose wrote:
Well, always -- when he has another ally besides himself threatening the thing to total two. That's not always, even if it might be often.

If a rogue "often" enters combat and doesn't try to get flanking, that's her choice. Just as if a wizard "often" tries to shoot his crossbow instead of casting spells, that's his choice. The point is, the rogue is designed to be able to make sneak attacks, and if a player is consistently making choices to not facilitate that design intent, that's the player's fault, and an "easy button" feat is not the solution.

Dire Mongoose wrote:
In most cases it only amounts to slightly more permissive flanking rules.

If by "slightly more permissive" you mean "I don't have to flank with an ally, I just have to attack the same target as my ally, which means there are 7 squares where I can stand and get SA instead of just 1." That's not "slightly."

Dire Mongoose wrote:
That's not bad, but I don't know if it's worth two feats and what amounts to making what otherwise is probably your fourth or fifth most important stat one of your highest in low to moderate point buy.

1) That first feat, Combat Expertise, is worthwhile on its own. It's not like it has no effect in-game and just serves as a "feat tax" for Gang Up.

2) If your rogue doesn't have a 13+ Int, maybe your rogue isn't smart enough to understand how to best account for flanking tactics.

Dire Mongoose wrote:

The math pretty much shows that, for various reasons (mostly involving differing base attack and other bonuses to hit and damage), a fighter will generally outdamage a rogue even if the rogue can sneak attack. Which is fine, because a rogue has more other things to do than a rogue does, but one has to assume that either

A) Rogues were meant to usually be able to sneak attack

So on the one hand you're saying the rogue is designed to "usually" be able to sneak attack, and on the other hand you're saying the rogue is "often" unable to perform a sneak attack.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

1) That first feat, Combat Expertise, is worthwhile on its own. It's not like it has no effect in-game and just serves as a "feat tax" for Gang Up.

It's not a very good feat. For a melee rogue? It's pretty terrible. The trade-off on a kind of character especially infamous for its trouble hitting in combat is just not a good one in almost any situation, and a feat you don't want to use 95% of the time that you need for something else, yeah, is a feat tax.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:


2) If your rogue doesn't have a 13+ Int, maybe your rogue isn't smart enough to understand how to best account for flanking tactics.

This seems like a ridiculous statement to me on multiple levels.

Separate of that, I can't help but feel that you in some way believe a rogue is a radically more effective character than it actually is in play, one that you have to be very very careful to not let be stronger, which would genuinely surprise me because my impression has always been that your eye for the balance of the game was pretty solid overall.


Dire Mongoose wrote:
It's not a very good feat. For a melee rogue? It's pretty terrible. The trade-off on a kind of character especially infamous for its trouble hitting in combat is just not a good one in almost any situation, and a feat you don't want to use 95% of the time that you need for something else, yeah, is a feat tax.

If you can't build rogues sure it's a horrible feat -- if you have a clue what you are doing and plan accordingly it's a very good feat.

If you are having trouble being effective with a rogue from my experience it's the player not the class.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Dire Mongoose wrote:
It's not a very good feat. For a melee rogue? It's pretty terrible. The trade-off on a kind of character especially infamous for its trouble hitting in combat is just not a good one in almost any situation, and a feat you don't want to use 95% of the time that you need for something else, yeah, is a feat tax.

If you can't build rogues sure it's a horrible feat -- if you have a clue what you are doing and plan accordingly it's a very good feat.

If you are having trouble being effective with a rogue from my experience it's the player not the class.

This is kind of on a tangent now, but hypothetically, if you had to build a let's say level 10 rogue using only the Core book, how do you get his attack roll up to where he isn't needing really high rolls to hit CR=APL+2 or +3 enemies?


Dire Mongoose wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
Dire Mongoose wrote:
It's not a very good feat. For a melee rogue? It's pretty terrible. The trade-off on a kind of character especially infamous for its trouble hitting in combat is just not a good one in almost any situation, and a feat you don't want to use 95% of the time that you need for something else, yeah, is a feat tax.

If you can't build rogues sure it's a horrible feat -- if you have a clue what you are doing and plan accordingly it's a very good feat.

If you are having trouble being effective with a rogue from my experience it's the player not the class.

This is kind of on a tangent now, but hypothetically, if you had to build a let's say level 10 rogue using only the Core book, how do you get his attack roll up to where he isn't needing really high rolls to hit CR=APL+2 or +3 enemies?

Why would I regularly be looking at APL+2 =< CR? Here's a hint -- with core that falls under "doing it wrong" by the guidelines and standards there in. However for me I would start with not trying to two weapon fight -- that's a losing bet from the get go. Followed by heavier armor, less dexterity more everything else, possibly starting with a buckler and working into a two handed fighting style.

Since I've lost the penalties from two weapon fighting and gained the feats back I have more room for toughness, power attack and iron will.

It's basically a fighter with a different source of bonus damage. Combat Expertise would play into this as would improved feint and greater feint since they set me up for sneak attack on my own -- dazzling display would show too.

******************************************

Once we leave the Core Rulebook I would use offensive defense (errata'ed version of course), and gang up as well.

For a shield using build I would go with the madu and offensive defender trait possibly going into stalwart later.

Finally I would definitely look at the best of the teamwork feats -- outflank, and shake it off are absolutely awesome for a team that is melee intensive.


Abraham spalding wrote:


Why would I regularly be looking at APL+2 =< CR? Here's a hint -- with core that falls under "doing it wrong" by the guidelines and standards there in.

Mainly because:

A) You'll see some "harder" fights (probably more than your fair share with either of the groups that I'm a player with at the moment, but that's another story) and if I were building a rogue I'd rather have an eye towards contributing/surviving in those fights since they tend to be the ones that will kill you, if anything does, and

B) I think this is a potential hazard for the rogue especially, as possibly the only 3/4 BAB class that's meant to physically attack, yet, doesn't have much in the way of class features to help out with that (when compared with the other 3/4 BAB classes of which the same is true). I've seen too many rogues that seemed decent against low-CR encounters and then were looking for nat 20s to hit when that potential-TPK encounter rolls in.

That being said, I pretty well agree with you about things like the save feats and toughness, despite being unsexy, being pretty high priority.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Your statement only adds to my argument. :)

That wasn't my intent.

You were (I think) saying that allowing you to count as your own ally for the purposes of the Gang Up feat would be overpowered, by comparing it to another feat (Weapon Spec). You then compared the two using +2 damage vs +2d6 damage. Conclusion: Since 2d6 is greater than 2, Gang Up would be overpowered.

My statement was intended to say that +2 vs +2d6 is not a fair comparison, since the +2 applies to every attack the fighter ever makes, while the +2d6 doesn't always happen, just happens more frequently. Thus the comparison should be "+2 vs some-value-less-than-2d6" (The value would be the difference between 'normal rogue sneak attack opportunities' and 'rogue sneak attack opportunities using Gang Up')

I'm not saying that it wouldn't still be overpowered, I just didn't want my post to be misunderstood.

Contributor

Grick wrote:
My statement was intended to say that +2 vs +2d6 is not a fair comparison, since the +2 applies to every attack the fighter ever makes, while the +2d6 doesn't always happen, just happens more frequently. Thus the comparison should be "+2 vs some-value-less-than-2d6" (The value would be the difference between 'normal rogue sneak attack opportunities' and 'rogue sneak attack opportunities using Gang Up')

+2d6 = 7 points on average.

So even if the rogue is getting a SA only half the time, he's still averaging +3.5 damage per hit compared to the fighter's +2 damage per hit. Even if he's getting a SA only a fourth of the time, he's still averaging +1.75 damage per hit, which is still pretty close to the fighter's +2 ... and if you're a rogue who's only getting SA 1/4th the time, you really need to work on your strategy.

Also, the fighter's +2 is only with one type of weapon. The rogue's +2d6 is with any weapon. Ranged attack in the surprise round? +2d6 SA, while the fighter has to move up and make one attack with +2. Typical fight with flanking? +2d6. compared to the fighter's +2. Monster resistant to your piercing or slashing damage? Switch to bludgeoning with a backup weapon and still get +2d6 SA, where the fighter toughs it out or switches to a backup weapon with which he probably doesn't have Weapon Spec and therefore doesn't have the +2.

Grick wrote:
I'm not saying that it wouldn't still be overpowered, I just didn't want my post to be misunderstood.

I know. My point is that your statement adds weight to my statement that allowing GU to work this way would be OP. Math says a higher damage bonus that happens less often can be better than a smaller, constant damage bonus.


I don't think I will ever stop laughing over the fact that of everything in Pathfinder, you think rogues being able to always sneak attack is something to fear.

You're right, Weapon Spec. is a pretty eh feat. Rather then knock other classes down - especially the g$#$*&n rogue - you should probably build it up.


Also funny is the fact that SKR compared it to a feat. You know, that thing Fighters get so many more of than Rogues. But if you compare SA to a single feat, SA could possibly be better!


Darwinism wrote:
Also funny is the fact that SKR compared it to a feat. You know, that thing Fighters get so many more of than Rogues. But if you compare SA to a single feat, SA could possibly be better!

what bothers me is even worse

Sean, Why did you compare sneak attack to weapon specialization? I remember November 2000. There is NO WAY these seperate mechanics were ever balanced against each other and not plopped by Cooke-Williams edict into place. I remember the web chats with Williams and the Ivory Tower design article by Cooke. I'm not saying throw away Pathfinder, just don't cite their arguments for a clarification that has no weight and only makes you look bad. Cooke shouldn't be working in the RPG industry for what he did, Dungeoncraft articles showed to me quite clearly He was completely trying to crank out A game and had an utter detachment from the priorities and mind of any good DMing habits or qualities, ever.

Just don't defend the math of some of the "worst but innovative" designers out there when there's nothing to defend.

Edit - one more thing, don't quote weapon versatility. The examples you gave are so devoid of appropriate context that the mechanics of it are meaningless, and embarrassingly bad if you thought sneak attack was more versatile than Weapon specialization. There's FOUR monsters I know off the top of my head with specific weapon edge based DR. to stop sneak attack, there's -undead, Plant, Ooze, construct, poorly lit room, high level rogue, Fortification armor. Those enemies with DR against Piercing slashing and bludgeoning weapon specific weaknesses?
A clay Golem, A skeleton, and a Zombie.
All always critical Hit Immune. The Fighter has a 1/3rd chance his bonus will apply. Rogue's sneak attack will never

Grand Lodge

EM
Y

(E=Elf Ally, Y=You, M=Monster)
Means Y wouldn't get the flank would it? That makes this a lot more difficult, significantly weakening the feat. Most parties don't have 3 melee characters... unless you are my party and your oracle's brain falls out (seriously lady, either wait, or shoot the enemy, preferably with an AOE, hand to hand is a crappy place for someone with a 17 AC at level 7) half the time. I am at least lucky enough to also have a Eidolon which can make this work, but it's not easy.


Kais86 wrote:
(example) Means Y wouldn't get the flank would it?

Correct. Gang Up does not count yourself as an ally. (Feel free to house-rule it the other way)

Perhaps your oracle friend could benefit from Summon Monster spells?

Lord Psychodin wrote:
Sean, Why did you compare sneak attack to weapon specialization?

He didn't, he compared Gang Up to Weapon Specialization using Sneak Attack as the base for increased damage. Meaning a normal rogue can sneak attack X% of the time. A rogue with Gang Up can sneak attack X+Y% of the time. Thus, comparing the damage of Y more sneak attacks to +2 (WS) is a way to compare the high end effects of the feat. (There's not much greater effect from Flanking than to grant sneak attacks when you otherwise wouldn't get them)

I don't agree with his example, but that's also at level 4. At level 12 the extra sneak attack damage effectively granted by Gang Up gets far larger.

And a general note: Posting rude things is a good way to get the developers to stop posting here. Please keep it respectful, even if you don't agree with what they say.


Kais86 wrote:


EM
Y

(E=Elf Ally, Y=You, M=Monster)
Means Y wouldn't get the flank would it? That makes this a lot more difficult, significantly weakening the feat. Most parties don't have 3 melee characters...
...I am at least lucky enough to also have a Eidolon which can make this work, but it's not easy.

Well if you have two combat characters including the rogue then you would get regular flank with no problem, (acrobatics! Zing!) making the feat needless. Obviously if you are doing a home game with two combat members then you wouldn't take gang up as a feat, but in organized play you never know who or how many you will fight with, so it's a good one to have to optimize your rogue's combat effectiveness. When I first took this feat with my rogue I was under the impression that a you DO count as your own ally for the purpose of this feat; hence why I looked up this thread, but with all these conflicting arguments I'm unsure what the final ruling is. I could argue whether it's balanced or not all day, but I want to know what the actual final say is so I can apply it accordingly in my games, please and thank you.


IQuarent wrote:
I'm unsure what the final ruling is. I could argue whether it's balanced or not all day, but I want to know what the actual final say is so I can apply it accordingly in my games, please and thank you.

You don't count as your own ally for the purpose of the Gang Up feat.

SKR says so here (and clarifies here).


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Sorry if this is discussed somewhere else, but I was curious about something.

Would a Tiny or smaller ally with the Gang Up feat be allowed to 'flank' the enemy he is attacking if he had two other allies threatening the enemy? I know they normally don't count for flanking, but the idea that they can take advantage of Gang Up makes sense in my head.

If the answer to the above question is yes, then to further clarify, would this mean three or more Tiny or smaller allies, each with Gang Up, each attacking the same enemy, would cause each other to 'flank'? They normally don't count for flanking, but they do threaten the square they are in, so technically each creature would have two allies threatening the enemy creature, right?

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