Can a creature that is being grappled get sneak attack through flanking?


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Here's the situation. Rogue is grappled, and someone is on the opposite side of the monster grappling the rogue. If the rogue attacks the thing grappling him, does he gain the benefits (including sneak attack) for flanking?

Grapple says...
"A creature that is being grappled cannot make attacks of opportunity."

This does not state the creature has not threatened squares, so I suppose he can still threaten and provide flanking.

Flanking says...
"Creatures that have a reach of zero cannot flank."

Now, if we consider "cannot make attacks of opportunity" as "has a threat range or reach of zero", than the rogue in question cannot flank, or provide flanking with others. But this is not explicitly said.

Thoughts?


Seems a bit wonky, but I'd say yes. I was digging around and found this thread, which I thought spelled it out well.

Don't know if anything more recent has cropped up to change that, though.


Grappling > If You Are Grappled wrote:
Instead of attempting to break or reverse the grapple, you can take any action that doesn't require two hands to perform, such as cast a spell or make an attack or full attack with a light or one-handed weapon against any creature within your reach, including the creature that is grappling you.
Flanking 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.
Attacks of Opportunity > Threatened Squares wrote:
You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn.

Some people will have issues with that last quote, but it makes sense to me. For example, you cannot make attacks of opportunity against a foe with cover, but you still threaten that foe and can provide flanking.

Note that this also means the grappled character flanks any enemy sandwiched between himself and an ally, not just the guy who's hugging him.

TL;DR sounds legit


No; the grappled condition states you cannot make attacks of opportunity when so grappled, which means you do not threaten any squares, a requisite to provide flanking.

Talking with creatures that don't provoke attacks of opportunity due to effects received or actions taken doesn't subtract from the character's ability to threaten adjacent squares, whereas the grappled condition limits the character's ability to threaten. For example, just because a creature takes a 5-foot step doesn't mean the character doesn't threaten that creature; the action just doesn't provoke. In the event of grappling, I just simply can't threaten any squares until I get an ability to do so, or break free from the grapple.


I like Darksol's explanation, but just to throw a wrinkle in, what if I have the grab ability and I take the -20 penalty so I am not considered to be grappled myself?


wraithstrike wrote:
I like Darksol's explanation, but just to throw a wrinkle in, what if I have the grab ability and I take the -20 penalty so I am not considered to be grappled myself?

That is an exception (and example) to my "I just simply can't threaten any squares until I get an ability to do so" statement. The Grab ability allows such a thing to be possible, albeit at a nasty penalty. Of course, Hamatula Demons have Grapple through the roof. Unfortunately, Freedom of Movement is their bane.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
No; the grappled condition states you cannot make attacks of opportunity when so grappled, which means you do not threaten any squares, a requisite to provide flanking.

I used to be of the same mind, but I was convinced by Grick of my error. See my earlier example of cover and flanking.

Basically, ability to threaten =/= ability to make attacks of opportunity. They are related, but not the same (much as being flat-footed is not the same as being denied your Dexterity to AC)


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
No; the grappled condition states you cannot make attacks of opportunity when so grappled, which means you do not threaten any squares, a requisite to provide flanking.

Being able to make attacks of opportunity is a function of threatening, not the other way around. You can make attacks while grappled, so you can threaten while grappled.


Yes, you still threaten those creatures because you can make attacks in those squares outside your turn. The reason you can't attack the invisible creature is because invisibility provides protection from threatened squares toward creatures who can't see you, not because it limits the creature's ability to make attacks, which is what grapple does.

Grapple says you can't make attacks of opportunity. Threatening a square requires you to be able to make attacks in that square outside your turn, I.e. attacks of opportunity.

Grapple = no attacks of opportunity, no attacks of opportunity = no threatening, no threatening = no flanking bonus granted. Unless there are other means to attack outside your turn without readying or delaying, you don't threaten, meaning you don't provide flanking.


I will try to find the post but I dot think the creature benefitting from the flank has to actually be threatening. I did not like that so hopefully I am wrong but I think it came from a dev. Right now my internet is on and off so it might be a while.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

no attacks of opportunity = no threatening

As said before, you are mistaken on this point.

If you don't threaten, you cannot make an attack of opportunity.

But if you cannot make an attack of opportunity, that says nothing regarding whether you threaten or not.

The 'even when it is not your turn' refers to you still threatening off-turn, it's not creating a condition of requiring you to be able to make a melee-attack off-turn.


It's not that you have to be able to make attacks outside of your turn, it's that you threaten even when it is not your turn.

But just to play Devil's Advocate, let's presume Darksol is right.

If you take an Attack of Opportunity under normal circumstances, would you then stop threatening for the rest of the round. Without Combat Reflexes, you can't take more than one AoO. Once the first one is used up, you can't make anymore attacks outside of your turn, so you stop threatening, right?

Alternately, why don't readied attacks qualify? The grappled condition doesn't say you're unable to ready an attack. If you can use a readied action to make an attack outside of your turn, shouldn't that count?


MacGurcules wrote:

It's not that you have to be able to make attacks outside of your turn, it's that you threaten even when it is not your turn.

But just to play Devil's Advocate, let's presume Darksol is right.

If you take an Attack of Opportunity under normal circumstances, would you then stop threatening for the rest of the round. Without Combat Reflexes, you can't take more than one AoO. Once the first one is used up, you can't make anymore attacks outside of your turn, so you stop threatening, right?

Alternately, why don't readied attacks qualify? The grappled condition doesn't say you're unable to ready an attack. If you can use a readied action to make an attack outside of your turn, shouldn't that count?

I understand your point, now that you make a more concise example. The RAW seemed to indicate (based on its wording) that the creature must be able to make attacks in squares of their reach outside their turn in order to have those squares "threatened".

I also pull to mind that the RAI that can be easily gathered from such definitions implies the threatening of attack for distracting actions, something attacks of opportunity should simulate. In the grapple case, the two creatures are unable to focus on other creatures within their reach, another implication of the grapple condition.

In regards to the Ready/Delay actions, these actions adjust your placement on the order of initiative, the actions still being taken during your turn, not fulfilling the criteria I thought was supposed to be met in order to flank.

Shadow Lodge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The RAW seemed to indicate (based on its wording) that the creature must be able to make attacks in squares of their reach outside their turn in order to have those squares "threatened".

The word "even" in RAW does make that look like a possible interpretation, but look at two different, clearer phrasings:

1: You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack () when it is not your turn.

2: You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even (threatening them) when it is not your turn.

Personally I think (2) is correct because the phrasing I've given for (1) is just so much clearer and simpler than what is actually written that I can't believe anyone would have written the line as it is in the book when they could have written (1) instead if that was what they meant.

And that's in addition to the odd rules implications that MacGurcules mentioned.


Weirdo wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The RAW seemed to indicate (based on its wording) that the creature must be able to make attacks in squares of their reach outside their turn in order to have those squares "threatened".

The word "even" in RAW does make that look like a possible interpretation, but look at two different, clearer phrasings:

1: You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack () when it is not your turn.

2: You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even (threatening them) when it is not your turn.

Personally I think (2) is correct because the phrasing I've given for (1) is just so much clearer and simpler than what is actually written that I can't believe anyone would have written the line as it is in the book when they could have written (1) instead if that was what they meant.

And that's in addition to the odd rules implications that MacGurcules mentioned.

i agree with option 2

attacks of opportunity aren't a requirement to flank, and trying to do such, is unnecessarily penalizing the rogue, which already sucks enough. how bout we throw the rogue a bone for once?


Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:


...is unnecessarily penalizing the rogue, which already sucks enough. how bout we throw the rogue a bone for once?

Weakness of a class or ability isn't a reason to claim the rules work in a certain way. It might be a reason to house rule it, or see the rules changed in a future version.

But, the interpretation is still correct.

PRD flanking 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.

So who do we threaten?

PRD on threatening wrote:


Threatened Squares: You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn.

Breaking this down with a sentence diagram shows that 'even when it is not your turn' is in reference to threatening and NOT the ability to make attacks.

This section happens to fall under the rules on taking an AoO, but the ability to take an AoO and the ability to threaten are not co-dependent. You must threaten to take an AoO, but losing the option to AoO does not prevent threatening. 3.5 I believe had the same wording. A Sage Advice column (which is irrelevant to PF, but I reference for interest) also notes a case where a person can threaten but cannot take an AoO.

Sage Advice wrote:


Cover: You threaten a creature that has cover against your attacks, but you cannot make an attack of opportunity against such a foe.

Does grapple modify any of this?

PRD on grappled condition wrote:


A grappled creature is restrained by a creature, trap, or effect. Grappled creatures cannot move and take a –4 penalty to Dexterity. A grappled creature takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls and combat maneuver checks, except those made to grapple or escape a grapple. In addition, grappled creatures can take no action that requires two hands to perform. A grappled character who attempts to cast a spell or use a spell-like ability must make a concentration check (DC 10 + grappler's CMB + spell level), or lose the spell. Grappled creatures cannot make attacks of opportunity.

No changes to who the grappled individual can or cannot attack (and by extension no changes to what squares they threaten). Only that he gets a -2 penalty for doing so.

I think part of the confusion is that the fluff of the grappled condition that most people imagine is actually closer to the RAW pinned condition. The fluff of being grappled should be seeing that an opponent has one hand on an enemy and with that one hand is holding one of the enemies arms, legs, clothing, or something to prevent them from moving about freely (hence taking a dex penalty). And the fluff of pinned (which I believe is what most people think of when they think of grappled) is that full nelson hold on the enemy, or that vice like grip around the enemies chest and arms.


While I completely agree that it makes sense that you still threaten when you can attack into the square in question.

However in the scenario laid out the Rogue(who is grappled) is taking attacks and gaining the flanking bonus but flanking only looks at the other person threatening the square not at the person making the attack so under no circumstances should that matter right?


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Yes, you still threaten those creatures because you can make attacks in those squares outside your turn.

No, you have it backwards.

You can make attacks of opportunity on creatures when they perform certain actions while in a square you threaten.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Weirdo wrote:

2: You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even (threatening them) when it is not your turn.

Yep, I agree. The "even when it is not your turn" is, I believe, meant to mean that you threaten those squares even when it is not your turn. It is not meant to be part of the clause "squares into which you can make an attack".

Also, the fact that Paizo explicitly changed things from 3.5 where grappling meant you didn't threaten (and therefore also couldn't take AoOs) to just saying you couldn't take AoOs makes me think it was done so you could still threaten (especially now that in PF the two grapplers don't share the same square and so can be part of flanking situations).


It is just the opposite. You have to have an AoO to be able the threaten squares around you. If you no longer have an AoO you no longer threaten squares around you.


My question is can a rogue who is grappled even make a sneak attack.
The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment.

Grappled: A grappled creature is restrained by a creature, trap, or effect. This to me seems to indicate that a rogue may have trouble reaching the vital spot in order to even get a sneak attack. The first line of the grapple maneuver states “As a standard action, you can attempt to grapple a foe, hindering his combat options.” This also implies that the person in the grapple does may not be able to get a sneak attack.

When you attack with a one handed weapon you may not be able to pick out the specific spot to hit. You are probably attack whatever you can reach.


Abigan wrote:
It is just the opposite. You have to have an AoO to be able the threaten squares around you. If you no longer have an AoO you no longer threaten squares around you.

if that was true characters with one aoo per round who took it won't give flanking bonus anymore, which is just not true.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
No; the grappled condition states you cannot make attacks of opportunity when so grappled, which means you do not threaten any squares, a requisite to provide flanking.

It is true that you must Threaten any Square into which you would make an Attack of Opportunity, but it does not simply logically follow from that that if you cannot make the AoO, you do not Threaten the Square. If A, then B does not necessarily imply if B, then A.

Attacks of Opportunity > Threatened Squares, from Thanis Kartaleon's post wrote:
You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn.

The fact that the definition of Threatened Squares is found in the AoO section of the Core Rulebook does support Darksol's point, but the rule itself says you do Threaten any Square into which you can make an Attack, and you can indeed Attack the opponent you are Grappling with, and that fits the definition of Threatening, so could fit the definition of Flanking.

Suppose the Rogue were winning the Grapple and had his opponent Pinned. Pinned Opponents are denied their Dex Mods to AC. Would you say that the Rogue would not get her Sneak Attack Damage were she to Maintain the Grapple to Damage her Opponent?

Pinning Knockout suggests you do.

Pinning Knockout wrote:
While you have an opponent pinned, when you succeed at a grapple combat maneuver check to deal an opponent nonlethal damage using an unarmed strike or a light or one-handed weapon, double your damage result. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is immune to the effects of this feat.

When you have your opponent Pinned, you yourself have the Grappled Condition. This says that when your opponent is Pinned, you do get your SAD.

I think when you are Grappled, you do Threaten your Grappling Opponent, and you can Flank her.

Scarab Sages

You don’t need to threaten someone in order to get a flanking bonus. They need to be threatened by another character. You only need to threaten in order to provide a flank for someone else. So yes, either creature in a grapple may benefit from a flanking partner. Whether or not they can provide a flank back is less clear.

Also, this was a six year old thread.

EDIT: The rule was quoted upthread.

flanking 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.

To recap, getting a flank has nothing to do with whether or not you threaten. It only matters that you are making an attack and someone else threatens the creature and is in a flanking position. Even an unarmed Rogue without Improved Unarmed Strike can get a flanking bonus (and thus sneak attack) when making an unarmed strike, despite not threatening anything.


necro'd thread just to post incorrect info, awesome :)

Mysterious Stranger wrote:

My question is can a rogue who is grappled even make a sneak attack.

The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment.

Grappled: A grappled creature is restrained by a creature, trap, or effect. This to me seems to indicate that a rogue may have trouble reaching the vital spot in order to even get a sneak attack. The first line of the grapple maneuver states “As a standard action, you can attempt to grapple a foe, hindering his combat options.” This also implies that the person in the grapple does may not be able to get a sneak attack.

When you attack with a one handed weapon you may not be able to pick out the specific spot to hit. You are probably attack whatever you can reach.

The rules also spell out what those hindered combat options are:

-4 to dex
-2 to attack/cmb rolls
can't use 2 hands for an action
can't stealth
can't cast certain spells
can't make AoO's

The ability to threaten, flank, etc is not among that list. Without that specific limitation, the general rules remain in place.

There are lots of other threads on how being unable to make an AoO does not prevent threatening if any feel the need to read up on it.

One of the important details on this subject that has come out in the past six years and is quoted in aforementioned threads is this piece from the melee tactics toolbox.

Quote:


Using the total defense action prevents you from attacking— including making attacks of opportunity—but you still threaten foes for the purposes of flanking.

Here we see that even though a character can't make AoO's, they still threaten. Note in this explanatory text, that the character can not take AoO's, and cannot even make attacks, yet they still threaten.


Abigan wrote:
It is just the opposite. You have to have an AoO to be able the threaten squares around you. If you no longer have an AoO you no longer threaten squares around you.

And I was having such a nice nap.

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