If I am invisible do I still count as flanking


Rules Questions

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bbangerter wrote:
@Pinky, And... refer to my post up thread. Do you want to nit pick every corner case situation?

No, just your fluff justifications for applying the rules as is in those corner cases ...


I will be totally honest... I was just throwing out random points that could be made...


Bruunwald wrote:
slade867 wrote:
Bruunwald wrote:

Unfortunately for the munchkins (you know who you are), this is not a simple, black and white issue that RAW decides for you without question. That is because RAW never defines what it means by "threatens" in this part of the rule:

Only a creature or character that threatens the defender can help an attacker get a flanking bonus.

"Threaten" is used in the book interchangeably between the ability to "threaten a square" (meaning having the ability to attack it without restraint) or to "threaten your opponent" (meaning to intimidate him or to show him you intend him harm). "Threaten" is never clearly defined as meaning only the former, and only if it is so do you threaten an opponent when he cannot see you.

I think the solution to this is common sense. Since flanking works by complicating a target's defense by forcing him to defend on two fronts, he cannot possibly be flanked unless the combatant behind him is engaging him or he is otherwise AWARE of that opponent. You simply CAN NOT - "not" is spelled N - O - T - be occupied and so distracted by somebody who you DO NOT KNOW IS THERE.

So the sequence for determining a benefit from flanking while invisible would be as follows:

Invisible - not flanking
Attack and lose invisibility - flanking
Improved Invisibility - not flanking until you attack, at which point target becomes aware he is flanked by something or someone he cannot see, at which point you are successfully flanking him.

This is no houserule. This is common sense and it fits RAW as well as anything else until you can point to me where the word "threaten" has one, clear, concise definition that does not contradict itself.

You skipped most of this thread, didn't you?

Yeah, I guess I'm the only poster on the whole site who reads the first few then offers his opinion.

Put me in a firing line.

Notsureifserious. Reread the 1st page. 16th post by my count. It's by a guy named Cheapy. It's a link.


Bruunwald wrote:
slade867 wrote:

You skipped most of this thread, didn't you?

Yeah, I guess I'm the only poster on the whole site who reads the first few then offers his opinion.

Put me in a firing line.

Slade's not trying to take your head off, he's merely pointing out that if you go back and read the rest of the thread you'd find out why you're wrong.


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3.0: Nope (FAQ)

3.0 FAQ wrote:

Suppose an ally of mine is attacking one foe, then I

somehow become invisible, draw my sword, and move to
the other side of that foe, thus flanking the foe. Does my ally
still get a flanking bonus even if I am invisible?

You get a flanking bonus from any ally your foe can see (and
who is in the correct position to flank). If your foe can’t see
you, you don’t provide a flanking bonus to any ally.
Sharp readers will note that this means you cannot flank a
blind creature; however, truly blind creatures are effectively
flanked already (they can’t use their Dexterity bonus to AC and
you a +2 bonus to attack them). Creatures with the blindsight
ability effectively “see” within blindsight range and can be
flanked.

3.5: New flanking text ties flanking to threatening, but not much else is explained from the 3.0 ruling. Therefore, it is assumed that an invisible creature can indeed provide a flank. Also, blind creatures can be flanked.

Pathfinder: Extension of same text from 3.5.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

It totally functions whilst invisible. Totally undisputed RAW.

Some people are just really angry about it, and want to complicate it with houserules.

Yep.

What the target sees, does not matter. They are getting pressured from two sides. They get shivved.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Has this simply become a "I don't like it, and this is why..." thread?

We know the RAW, but that seems to be lost, or confused by some.

Others, fully understand, but argue that it shouldn't be, or that it isn't, in spite of what they know.


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One thing threads like this taught me, is that it's a lot more productive trying to come up with justifications for perfectly clear rules than trying to find reasons why they're at fault.

The latter is just pointless, practically every rule can be made to look 'unrealistic' if you pick at it long enough. Why bother?


Yeah, it can be a waste of time to explain why hit points are a good and realistic part of the game system, if someone is only willing to believe the opposite.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Robert A Matthews wrote:

So if I understand correctly, some people are suggesting:

- a visible creature gets a +2 while flanking

- an invisible creature attacking a defender aware of its presence gets +2 for flanking

- an invisible creature attacking an unaware defender doesn't get +2 for flanking... what?

An unaware defender shouldn't be harder to hit. They already lose their dex/dodge bonus to AC due to an invisible attacker so the ability to ignore enemies would basically let them bypass a penalty.

I think that people is saying that the companion of the invisible creature don't get flanking.

PRD 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.

Even if you are invisible and the GM disallow you from giving the flanking bonus to other characters, you still get it from them. the requirement is to have a enemy of the target of the other side when you attack, if you are invisible or not has no bearing on that.


Bruunwald wrote:

Unfortunately for the munchkins (you know who you are), this is not a simple, black and white issue that RAW decides for you without question. That is because RAW never defines what it means by "threatens" in this part of the rule:

Only a creature or character that threatens the defender can help an attacker get a flanking bonus.

"Threaten" is used in the book interchangeably between the ability to "threaten a square" (meaning having the ability to attack it without restraint) or to "threaten your opponent" (meaning to intimidate him or to show him you intend him harm). "Threaten" is never clearly defined as meaning only the former, and only if it is so do you threaten an opponent when he cannot see you.

I think the solution to this is common sense. Since flanking works by complicating a target's defense by forcing him to defend on two fronts, he cannot possibly be flanked unless the combatant behind him is engaging him or he is otherwise AWARE of that opponent. You simply CAN NOT - "not" is spelled N - O - T - be occupied and so distracted by somebody who you DO NOT KNOW IS THERE.

So the sequence for determining a benefit from flanking while invisible would be as follows:

Invisible - not flanking
Attack and lose invisibility - flanking
Improved Invisibility - not flanking until you attack, at which point target becomes aware he is flanked by (and distracted by - defending on two fronts) something or someone he cannot see, at which point you are successfully flanking him.

This is no houserule. This is common sense and it fits RAW as well as anything else until you can point to me where the word "threaten" has one, clear, concise definition that does not contradict itself.

The game designers reject your common sense and logical conclusion.

I agree with your common sense if the premise that flanking is based entirely upon taking advantage of the defender having his attention divided. It is a good premise and a good way to explain the flanking bonus - and All-Around vision supports this notion. I happily concede that it is a big support of flanking being awareness based.

But the rules don't provide that as being the premise upon which flanking works and I believe that premise is only partly correct. It is one aspect of flanking, but not the whole of flanking.

The barbarian improved uncanny dodge ability is not all around vision, yet provides the barbarian the ability to not be flanked. 6th sense?

Flanking does not give a penalty to AC (specifically dodge AC) like one would expect if it were entirely on the defenders inability to pay attention to both sides at once. It gives the attackers a bonus to hit.

The outflank feat gives the attackers an additional +2 to hit. Does outflank make the defender even worse at dodging? No, it makes the attackers better at taking advantage of all the little things.

The menacing weapon enchantment provides a magical bonus to flankers (not a penalty to the defender). If two visible allies are flanking an opponent and an invisible ally with a menacing weapon is next to the opponent should the menacing not kick in because he doesn't know the invisible guy is there? We could theorize how that works but really it just comes back to "its magic" - so it works and provides its bonus.

The flanking foil feat temporarily negates a opponents ability to get the flanking bonus against you. How does that work in the premise of flanking is purely sight based? The guy can still hit you afterall, shouldn't he still be able to coordinate with his opposite ally to get the bonus?

Gang Up feat? Enfilading Fire feat? Shield Guard? Flexible Flanker?

The list goes on and on. Some of these fit nicely in the attention divided premise, others do not.

Given then that the premise is not entirely accurate, the common sense and conclusion you've come to is also not entirely accurate.

Pinky wrote:


No, just your fluff justifications for applying the rules as is in those corner cases ...

Unable to refute my examples so just dismiss the entire thing out of hand? That's to easy :)

My original post on the fluff of why was in response to Avianfoo asking "So please give me a rationale that makes sense and allows for invisible flankers." You are free to disagree that my rationale is sufficient for that, that's fine, but you should at least provide some detail as to why that is insufficient.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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Two darkvision critters flanking a silenced human in total darkness still get their flanking bonuses, right?

Right!

It has nothing to do with seeing, or hearing, or feeling threatened.


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Just for fun, I'll re-link this one.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
tjlatta wrote:

How about an explicit interaction with flanking?

When GMing, I've always ruled that you don't provide flank if you're invisible or stealthed because the flanking rules are predicated on the target being "threatened."
If I'm totally unaware of something's existence, it isn't going to be very threatening to me.
A creature threatens under certain circumstances (see page 180 of the Core Rulebook). It may not seem threatening to you, but that's not how threatened squares work in the rules. An invisible or hidden creature still threatens, because it could and might make and attack in a creature within those squares.


Still threatens, done, cheers.


and people tend to forget invisable doenst make you completeley gone!

creatures may stil find you or may be looking for you! wich is why you are stil treathening.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Darkflame wrote:

...and people tend to forget invisible doesn't make you completely gone!

Creatures may still find you or may be looking for you! Which is why you are still threatening.

(fixed)

Indeed. You are right on both accounts.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Has this simply become a "I don't like it, and this is why..." thread?

We know the RAW, but that seems to be lost, or confused by some.

Others, fully understand, but argue that it shouldn't be, or that it isn't, in spite of what they know.

I think I'm shamelessly in this camp. With that dev quote, I understand how it works. I just don't like it : p A rogue who has never been seen by her opponent can approach him with invisibility (an effect that ends if you attack), then her ally can suddenly benefit from flanking even though there is no apparent flanker.

The game rules care more about whether you are a flanker than whether your target is flanked. The game mechanic is fluffed about whether their attention is split, but then the functions of the mechanic are divorced from their attentions.

Still, to criticize my own position, there is at least one balance issue at stake -- Uncanny Dodge. Uncanny Dodge prevents you from being caught without your Dex bonus to AC, but it does not prevent you from being flanked. Thusly, if a barbarian were flanked by rogues, and a blinded character could not be flanked, then such characters would be best advised to shut their eyes at the end of their turns (effectively blinding them), and preventing them from being considered flanked because they could not see their attackers.

Hmmm. I see reasoning for both sides, although I recognize that doesn't change the fact that one is official and the other is not.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Troubleshooter wrote:


Hmmm. I see reasoning for both sides, although I recognize that doesn't change the fact that one is official and the other is not.

Of course, it's also official that if a rule doesn't work for you, don't use it. So the way I run flanking and invisibility, the invisible character's presence needs to be known for any creature to be flanked. But I also allow illusions to flank without using that stupid gnome feat too. The flanker needs to know (or at least believe) he's got enemies on both sides in order to be flanked.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If invisible characters don't count as flanking, wouldn't that imply that any character who is flanked can negate it by completely ignoring one of the attackers? If one of the flankers has a sufficiently pathetic attack bonus, it could well be in one's interest to do just that.


I've heard some GMs say they'd happily allow a player to treat themselves as Helpless against an NPC so that they aren't flanked by another.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

If invisible characters don't count as flanking, wouldn't that imply that any character who is flanked can negate it by completely ignoring one of the attackers? If one of the flankers has a sufficiently pathetic attack bonus, it could well be in one's interest to do just that.

No, it doesn't really. That requires quite a bit more pushing. In neither case, RAW as interpreted by Radney-McFarland nor mine allows anything about the flanked creature being able to willfully ignore anybody. Mine just differs in that for a flanked creature to be compelled to pay attention to an invisible flanker, he has to know he's there.


Troubleshooter wrote:
I've heard some GMs say they'd happily allow a player to treat themselves as Helpless against an NPC so that they aren't flanked by another.

I've done something similar, but only imposing the flat-footed penalty. Helpless is an extreme condition and allows coup de grâces.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Bill Dunn wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

If invisible characters don't count as flanking, wouldn't that imply that any character who is flanked can negate it by completely ignoring one of the attackers? If one of the flankers has a sufficiently pathetic attack bonus, it could well be in one's interest to do just that.

No, it doesn't really. That requires quite a bit more pushing. In neither case, RAW as interpreted by Radney-McFarland nor mine allows anything about the flanked creature being able to willfully ignore anybody. Mine just differs in that for a flanked creature to be compelled to pay attention to an invisible flanker, he has to know he's there.

But the problem with that approach is that you are giving players an incentive to either fail Perception rolls or not attempt them in the first place -- depending on the attacker's stats, it could be in your interest to fail to notice something. It is never a good idea to devalue a skill that way.


I used to like the option of ignoring an opponent and losing Dex to prevent flanks, but recently I've been feeling that it overly short-changes sneak attackers.


based On this Ignore the other guy thing I would Say Rage and Enrage and Murderous Intent are really the only things I can think of off the top of my head that would allow you to Ignore Someone behind you...

Or just be a Great Wyrm Red Dragon...


Receiving an attack from an invisible attacker already denies you your dex bonus. No reason to penalize invisible attackers by not giving them flanking too. It allows players to ignore a penalty that they should be vulnerable to. Using this ruling, it would be more effective to feint a target while flanking than it would to be invisible while flanking.

Feinting should not be better than being invisible.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:


But the problem with that approach is that you are giving players an incentive to either fail Perception rolls or not attempt them in the first place -- depending on the attacker's stats, it could be in your interest to fail to notice something. It is never a good idea to devalue a skill that way.

Who says they get to choose to not notice something? Taking an action to make a more concentrated search, sure, but that's not in combat anyway. Perception is otherwise more of a stimulus-response kind of thing - if there's something there to stimulate it, I'll call for the response.

And yes, it sometimes is in a character's interest to not know about something. Sometimes that first Idea roll after losing a bunch of SAN is best missed in Call of Cthulhu. That said, the Mythos knowledge you get from it may save your bacon. Similarly, if there's an invisible enemy sitting off your behind and you don't know he's there, you may have the brief advantage of not suffering from him flanking you as you fight his compatriot. However, there's still an invisible enemy behind you and he's probably doing something you don't want him to do. So the advantage is fleeting if anything and may lead to worse tragedy than giving up a +2 to hit for his buddy.

So, no, it doesn't devalue Perception at all.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Robert A Matthews wrote:

Receiving an attack from an invisible attacker already denies you your dex bonus. No reason to penalize invisible attackers by not giving them flanking too. It allows players to ignore a penalty that they should be vulnerable to. Using this ruling, it would be more effective to feint a target while flanking than it would to be invisible while flanking.

Feinting should not be better than being invisible.

Feinting already is better than being invisible against 2nd level barbarians. Very few conditions or abilities should always be better than another.

But if the invisible character is attacking the guy he's trying to flank, he should gain the flanking bonus and give it to any compatriots opposite. He's forcing his target to pay attention to him rather than avoiding his attention.


When you are invisible you get +2 and deny them their Dex Bonus and 50% miss Chance... Whats another +2

I mean lets look at this realistically for 1 second

+2 and +4 hold any real weight anyway... By the time you hit level 6 in most classes you are already starting to out Match AC... The only real thing that scales with player growth is HP... Something can take hits...

This whole argument is silly and any mid to high level Game no longer even cares what ac anything has... They start focusing on Miss Chance Spell Resistance....

I can totally see this argument being Valid if they Rework armor to Scale in some fashion...

But most people only look at flanking for 1 thing Bonus Damage.

This is just my opinion.

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