Bodyguard: Forum Compilation and Clarification Request


Rules Questions

Sovereign Court

14 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the FAQ. 3 people marked this as a favorite.

As I am linking a number of threads, I know that this had been discussed a lot on the boards. However, because the requirements for rules clarifications are to post here and look for a Dev response, I am posting it again.

Summary:

There are two schools of thought -

1) Bodyguard allows the use of the Aid Another action as an attack of opportunity, but it must still follow the rules for the Aid Another action. Specifically, this feat can only be used when you are adjacent to your ally and threatening your enemy in melee.

2) The text of the Bodyguard feat is specific vs. the general text of Aid Another. Normally, you must be within melee threatening range of your enemy to aid an ally's AC. This feat changes it so you must be adjacent your ally to perform this action. If it were intended for you refer back to the general rules for Aid Another, the feat would have said as much.

The first view greatly narrows the usefulness of this feat as it would almost never be useful against ranged and ranged touch attacks, and would also have a narrow window of usefulness in melee as you must meet two conditions related to your position and melee reach.

Would a member of the Rules Team please clarify which view is the intent? Thank you.

Links to previous discussions:

Bodyguard Range
Bodyguard Feat Question
Questions on bodyguard feat
In Harm's Way


1 - Body guard say that you use the aid another action and does not state any kind of modification to that action other than that you can make it as an AoO. Thus you must still follow all the rules for Aid Another.

As far as restricting it's usefulness....NO. It is no more restrictive than Aid Another. In fact it is less restrictive than Aid Another as you can use it with an AoO, which you can have multiple of if you take combat reflexes. It is a very strong feat in the right hands.

Sovereign Court

To Aid an ally's AC, you normally need only be in range to strike your enemy in melee. Your Ally can be in a flank and nowhere near adjacent to you. Requiring you to be adjacent to your ally and in melee range of your enemy is certainly more restrictive than normal for Aid Another.


Gauss and I also got into it in this thread over Bodyguard.

My assertion: you can't use it to with a Reach weapon if there's an ally in front of you, because you can't make AoOs through cover.

His assertion (my words): it's not an actual attack, so you still follow the rules for Aid Another.

I still think it doesn't provoke in the first place because of cover, which means the Feat is never triggered. But I also got tired of talking in circles.

Not sure if this is relevant, just wanted to specifically add the "Bodyguard through adjacent ally scenario" into the mix.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Too many people I've played with forget that you still need to hit AC 10 to Aid Another at all. You roll a natural 1, or any final total less than 10, and you fail to grant your ally any bonus.

Sovereign Court

That part about cover even further complicates things if you view things as option 1.

The part about hitting AC 10 is mostly trivial, but you are right about nat 1's.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'd imagine you'd have to overcome any miss chances, too, like a Barghest's Blink.

Sovereign Court

Well furthermore, it comes down to whether attacking AC 10 is an abstraction or really an attack. The description of Aid Another describes aiding as distracting or interfering with your opponent. Is your opponent less likely to be distracted if they are blinking? Are you really attacking them?

Then when you think of bodyguard, are you attacking the opponent or attacking their attack: their sword, claw, etc. And then at AC 10, are you really attacking something, or just an abstraction?


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There is nothing specific about the bodyguard feat it just lets you do something using the already defined mechanics for attack of opportunity and aid another. As long as you can both make an AoO against the enemy (with all the rules involved) and use the Aid another action (The rules specifically state it's an attack roll by the way. No abstraction there.) you can use bodyguard.

Even with these restrictions I have a Bard who uses it to make one other party member impossible to hit at appropriate CR's.


Okay, upon further review I've come around to Gauss' position. Here's how I believe it plays out, RAW:

Bodyguard wrote:

When an adjacent ally is attacked, you may use an attack of opportunity to attempt the aid another action to improve your ally’s AC. You may not use the aid another action to improve your ally’s attack roll with this attack.

Normal: Aid another is a standard action.

The only specified difference is that Bodyguard changes the standard action to an attack action performed as an AoO.

Aid Another wrote:
If you're in position to make a melee attack on an opponent that is engaging a friend in melee combat, you can attempt to aid your friend as a standard action. You make an attack roll against AC 10. If you succeed, your friend gains...+2 bonus to AC against that opponent's next attack...

So this works if all of the following conditions are met:

Ally is adjacent
Ally is attacked
You are in a position to make a melee attack against the attacking opponent

Sovereign Court

Yes, I could never argue with that reading. I am concerned with whether that is intent. The biggest thing that sticks out in my mind is the visualization of a bodyguard stepping in and taking a bullet for his charge. Since the most strict reading of the rules precludes doing that, I felt the need to request a clarification of intent.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
RtrnofdMax wrote:
The biggest thing that sticks out in my mind is the visualization of a bodyguard stepping in and taking a bullet for his charge. Since the most strict reading of the rules precludes doing that, I felt the need to request a clarification of intent.

I think you mean In Harm's Way, not Bodyguard.


Your not stepping in and taking a hit. That is the next feat in the chain. Bodyguard just lets you distract the attacker and thus throw off their attack.

It seems to me that you have an issue with the feat not based on how it works but how you want it to work like the movies. This is the rules forum...if you want it to work differently then you should just make it work differently. GMs can house rule however they like.

Sovereign Court

Yes, I know that's In Harm's Way, but you must be using Bodyguard to take the damage. Since you can't bodyguard a non-point blank, or 5-foot with a reach weapon, ranged attack, you can't "take a bullet".

@Calm down Lab_Rat. I am not against you, the rules or anything of the sort. This is just a discussion and you don't have to take a side and defend it.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

26 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the FAQ. 36 people marked this as a favorite.

While as always my authorial opinions are simply that, and not official errata in any way for the purpose of RAW, PFS, etc., if you'd like to know what was in my head while writing those feats the answer is this:

Bodyguard is intended to require you only to be adjacent to the ally you're defending, not to require you to threaten their attacker. Requiring you to threaten the attacker makes the feat MUCH less useful, since then you can't block ranged attacks or reach weapons or attacks against targets with concealment or cover or anything else that would prevent an AoO. My intention with tying it to the AoO mechanic was simply to make it an ability you could use more than once per round, rather than wanting to tie it specifically to all the implied mechanics of AoOs. I had thought about just making it an immediate action, but that limits it to once per round and takes your im/swift action. I figured that was an appropriate mechanic for In Harm's Way, but the defensive bonus of AA was modest enough that I thought it entirely fair to not limit it that way.

As an side, I should say that for both feats, as well as the shield feats and shield-based archetypes I wrote, I thought that defender characters needed a little extra love in the rules, whether evil emperor bodyguards or altruistic protectors.

It's possible I had misremembered the mechanic for Aid Another, thinking that AA to add an attack bonus required an attack roll vs. AC 10 against the target while AA to add to AC required an attack roll vs. AC 10 against the defender. I can't really say for sure about my thought process 3 years ago, but that could have been the root of the problem.

So, if you're looking for a suggestion to solve the problem, you could perhaps use a rewording of the benefit section of Bodyguard to read something like this.

A short option:

Benefit: When an adjacent ally is attacked, you may use an attack of opportunity to grant your ally a +2 bonus to AC, as if you had successfully used the aid another action.

or a longer option:

Benefit: When an adjacent ally is attacked, you may use an attack of opportunity to attempt the aid another action to improve your ally's AC. You do not need to threaten the attacker to use this action; you need only be adjacent to the target and make a successful attack roll against AC 10. You may not use the aid another action to improve your ally's attack roll with this attack.

I think either of those should convey the desired effect (that you *can* take a bullet or jump in front of a reach weapon or even a trap) for your home campaigns, though again if you're playing PFS or other RAW, you are out of luck, as I think by RAW the strict requirements of making an AoO would have to apply, and you could only use Bodyguard against a foe you threaten.

Sovereign Court

Thanks for taking the time to write your post Jason. While it doesn't eliminate the possibility of continued table variation, it is a strong suggestion to rule one way rather than the other.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'll vote for using it like that. I wonder if this explanation of intent will help solve the issue once and for all?

Dark Archive

Thanks Jason for your post.


Nefreet wrote:
I'll vote for using it like that. I wonder if this explanation of intent will help solve the issue once and for all?

It probably won't, until/if an official clarification or errata is published. But it's always nice to have the RAI spelled out so clearly so that home GMs can houserule it back to intent. Thanks, Jason!

Sovereign Court

redward wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
I'll vote for using it like that. I wonder if this explanation of intent will help solve the issue once and for all?
It probably won't, until/if an official clarification or errata is published. But it's always nice to have the RAI spelled out so clearly so that home GMs can houserule it back to intent. Thanks, Jason!

The way I see it, the feat isn't clear as written and requires adjudication. If it were 100% clear, I probably would never have asked this question, and likely the others who did wouldn't have either. So if you can agree that the feat requires GM adjudication, then having the original writer tell you what his intent was, that should put it all to rest.

Now, there are those who can say that since Jason isn't on the Rules Team, his word doesn't mean anything. How conceited is that? Any GM that rules against Jason's explanation is probably a GM you shouldn't play for.


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RtrnofdMax wrote:
redward wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
I'll vote for using it like that. I wonder if this explanation of intent will help solve the issue once and for all?
It probably won't, until/if an official clarification or errata is published. But it's always nice to have the RAI spelled out so clearly so that home GMs can houserule it back to intent. Thanks, Jason!

The way I see it, the feat isn't clear as written and requires adjudication. If it were 100% clear, I probably would never have asked this question, and likely the others who did wouldn't have either. So if you can agree that the feat requires GM adjudication, then having the original writer tell you what his intent was, that should put it all to rest.

Now, there are those who can say that since Jason isn't on the Rules Team, his word doesn't mean anything. How conceited is that? Any GM that rules against Jason's explanation is probably a GM you shouldn't play for.

Right, but I pretty much only play PFS, so for me (and others), the issue isn't resolved until the change is official.

Sovereign Court

I do as well, and you still have a choice on who you sit with. My point was that while PFS has to run the rule as written, this rule is not totally clear. So to assume that you have to be in melee range and adjacent to your opponent is an interpretation (albeit a legitimate one). But since it's an interpretation, I would say you could ask your DM to refer back to this thread. They don't have to interpret it one way or another, but it should be clear that they are choosing to rule one way or another, not that they are following PFS rules to rule as written.

This is why it's important to bring these issues, or anything that may be questionable about your character, up with your judge before you start the mod.


RtrnofdMax wrote:

I do as well, and you still have a choice on who you sit with. My point was that while PFS has to run the rule as written, this rule is not totally clear. So to assume that you have to be in melee range and adjacent to your opponent is an interpretation (albeit a legitimate one). But since it's an interpretation, I would say you could ask your DM to refer back to this thread. They don't have to interpret it one way or another, but it should be clear that they are choosing to rule one way or another, not that they are following PFS rules to rule as written.

This is why it's important to bring these issues, or anything that may be questionable about your character, up with your judge before you start the mod.

Strictly RAW, I think it's pretty clear that it's melee-only (although you don't have to be adjacent to the opponent if you're using a reach weapon). It refers to the Aid Another action, modifying only the type of action (Standard to Attack action/AoO). In all other respects, it would have to follow the rules for Aid Another.

I know that's frustrating as a player, when you know the intent doesn't match the RAW. It's frustrating as a GM, too.

Sovereign Court

So we had a FAQ update to the APG last Friday it appears. Since the rules team appears to still be making updates to that book, perhaps we can add this to the queue?

And if anyone who cares to have this answered could add their FAQ request to the OP, that would be appreciated.

Sovereign Court

Sorry for the shameless bump but I see SKR is around and maybe he'll take pity on my poor thread and offer some clarity.

Sovereign Court

I couldn't find where this was answered in the FAQ. I noticed the IHW thread says its questions were also in the FAQ, but I could find nothing in the APG, Core or UC FAQs. Is there somewhere else I should look? Is there a delay between when someone marks FAQ candidate threads as answered and when the FAQ is updated?

Grand Lodge

Still no FAQ update with regard to Bodyguard. :(

At Pacificon the other weekend, the interpretation for Bodyguard was all over the map. Haha. To sum it up, the GMs interpreted it three different ways:

1. Only need to be adjacent to allay, and no other conditions need to be met. (GM directed me to James' post)
2. Requires meeting Aid Another conditions, but not AoO conditions.
3. Requires meeting both Aid Another and AoO conditions (can't bodyguard from 2nd rank with reach weapon behind allay or through hard corner, for example).


Considering that Jason Nelson is the Dev who designed the feat and came up with the intent as to how the feat should be interpreted, it's pretty clear that Option 1 is the answer. Also, in the argument of RAW, it says that the PC with the feat need only be adjacent to the ally being attacked to be able to perform the Aid Another action to AC as an AoO, and that being specific to the feat, supersedes the pre-reqs for the standard Aid Another action.

The only way that Jason Nelson's post could be veto'd is if Jason Bulmahn comes in and says one of the other interpretations is correct; until then, Option 1 is the winner.

Grand Lodge

Thanks for your response Darksol. I'd love to use option 1, but even Jason admits in a PFS RAW scenario, it's mostly likely option 3.

Jason Nelson wrote:
I think either of those should convey the desired effect (that you *can* take a bullet or jump in front of a reach weapon or even a trap) for your home campaigns, though again if you're playing PFS or other RAW, you are out of luck, as I think by RAW the strict requirements of making an AoO would have to apply, and you could only use Bodyguard against a foe you threaten.

(emphasis mine)

But even in PFS, my mileage has varied. I'll just keep hitting that FAQ button and see what happens.

*ultimate FAQ button punch*

Sovereign Court

Good to see others still care about this. I would direct you to my FAQ repost here, as I think no amount of discussion in this thread will get us around the Answered in FAQ but not situation.

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