invisible flanking?


Rules Questions


Do invisible allies provide flanking?

Sczarni

Yup.


Yes


Thanx guys:) is there a page# I can refer to?

Sczarni

Just page after page after page of arguments, as far as I've seen.

It's more of a logical application of the rules for being Invisible combined with the rules for Flanking.


Flanking says if you threaten a creatures square with melee weapons you can both provide and gain flanking bonuses. Invisibility makes no special exception to that rules.


Interesting question. RAW, obviously, any creature which would otherwise provide flanking continues to do so when invisible.

But it does seem that the defender's perceptions ought to be relevant to whether or not flanking occurs, since it's supposed to represent distraction or some such, and if you don't know someone's there, how can they be distracting to you? So, being invisible might not remove flanking, but if you hadn't been detected yet, it would seem odd for you to give flanking. Logically. Obviously, the rules ignore this and probably should.

Silver Crusade

seebs wrote:

Interesting question. RAW, obviously, any creature which would otherwise provide flanking continues to do so when invisible.

But it does seem that the defender's perceptions ought to be relevant to whether or not flanking occurs, since it's supposed to represent distraction or some such, and if you don't know someone's there, how can they be distracting to you? So, being invisible might not remove flanking, but if you hadn't been detected yet, it would seem odd for you to give flanking. Logically. Obviously, the rules ignore this and probably should.

Just because you can't see them doesn't mean you don't know they are there.


Shadowlord wrote:
Flanking says if you threaten a creatures square with melee weapons you can both provide and gain flanking bonuses. Invisibility makes no special exception to that rules.

This. Nowhere does it say being invisible changes flanking, so it doesn't.


I see now that shadowlord has it correct. It doesn't mention a difference there for there isn't one.

@Nefreet I predicted the correct ruling as a possibilty but still questioned its logic in the sense seebs explained. It seems that they would need to be perceived to provide the distraction. Of course their presence would be known if they attacked, but before that it seems that a mandatory perception check by the flankee would be in order.

Alas I will play as the book states because I dislike house rules. Not that I've never found a good one, but they are rare and I prefer the stability the published rules offer. Anyone can look up any rule at anytime. They can plan based off those rules without worry of being shot down by a GM's logic(which in my opinion is flawed quite a bit more often than the rules) or a rule a gm uses that they didn't know about etc etc

Thanx for the help guys, my rogue and my magus will be quite pleased


As others have pointed out, by RAW all you must do to provide a flanking bonus is to threaten a target that's between you and an ally.

I've always assumed that the reason you gain a bonus against the foe is because he has to split his defenses between you and your ally - but if he doesn't know you're there, then he wouldn't be defending against you anyway; that said, I generally just ignore the bit of brain-tweaking it takes when one of the allies happens to be invisible and let the flanking bonus stand.


Bigdaddyjug wrote:
seebs wrote:

Interesting question. RAW, obviously, any creature which would otherwise provide flanking continues to do so when invisible.

But it does seem that the defender's perceptions ought to be relevant to whether or not flanking occurs, since it's supposed to represent distraction or some such, and if you don't know someone's there, how can they be distracting to you? So, being invisible might not remove flanking, but if you hadn't been detected yet, it would seem odd for you to give flanking. Logically. Obviously, the rules ignore this and probably should.

Just because you can't see them doesn't mean you don't know they are there.

Hence the second to last sentence is Seebs post:

"So, being invisible might not remove flanking, but if you hadn't been detected yet, it would seem odd for you to give flanking."

Or yes you are aware and hence distracted, trying to locate or keep track of the invisible foe ... or you are oblivious to their presence. Of course the flip side is you are oblivious hence neither being invisible or the fact your foe is flanking is likely to change your activity until you are aware of their presence. Unless you are paranoid and just tend to assume there are invisible foes everywhere and act accordingly :p

Grand Lodge

Overthinking Flanking.

Why?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Kayerloth wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
seebs wrote:

Interesting question. RAW, obviously, any creature which would otherwise provide flanking continues to do so when invisible.

But it does seem that the defender's perceptions ought to be relevant to whether or not flanking occurs, since it's supposed to represent distraction or some such, and if you don't know someone's there, how can they be distracting to you? So, being invisible might not remove flanking, but if you hadn't been detected yet, it would seem odd for you to give flanking. Logically. Obviously, the rules ignore this and probably should.

Just because you can't see them doesn't mean you don't know they are there.

Hence the second to last sentence is Seebs post:

"So, being invisible might not remove flanking, but if you hadn't been detected yet, it would seem odd for you to give flanking."

Or yes you are aware and hence distracted, trying to locate or keep track of the invisible foe ... or you are oblivious to their presence. Of course the flip side is you are oblivious hence neither being invisible or the fact your foe is flanking is likely to change your activity until you are aware of their presence. Unless you are paranoid and just tend to assume there are invisible foes everywhere and act accordingly :p

If that's true, I'd say that you are always considered flanked... :P

Silver Crusade

Maybe it's just that preternatural sense that somebody is behind you. You can't see them, but you know they are there and that causes you to be distracted from the person in front of you.

Of course, if invisibility removed your ability to provide flanking, you could never flank a blind person. So let's not get into that, ok?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Developer commentary here.


I have a vague memory of the "defender distracted by multiple attackers" theory of flanking from 3.x. But I don't recall seeing it in the PF Core Rulebook.

Flanking is just a magical result of being threatened from two opposite squares. Nobody needs to be aware of the situation. It just happens.

PF physics has its own logic.


I guess I go against the grain here. I pretty much ignore that rule unless the invisible creature has actually been detected or made it clear he's in the vicinity. If the target has no inkling there's an invisible character about, he's not splitting his attention. But then, I'll dispense with or modify rules when they get in the way of the unfolding of the story or interfere with genre conventions.


Cheapy wrote:
Developer commentary here.

Re-quoted for ease of reading...

Stephen Radney-MacFarland (Designer) 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.

The perfect quote for nearly all occasions Cheapy.

/Thread


Yes, thanks for the quote Cheapy. Not sure that I agree with it completely, but it's definitely official. :)


Bill Dunn wrote:
I guess I go against the grain here. I pretty much ignore that rule unless the invisible creature has actually been detected or made it clear he's in the vicinity. If the target has no inkling there's an invisible character about, he's not splitting his attention. But then, I'll dispense with or modify rules when they get in the way of the unfolding of the story or interfere with genre conventions.

The rules don't say anything about "splitting his attention" under Flanking. It's just something that happens when a target is in between two enemies that threaten it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Chalk it up to game mechanic and move on in my opinion. I know a lot of folks like their games to be perfect reflections of reality. I like my fantasy to be fantastic as I get too much reality that is real every day.


Democratus wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
I guess I go against the grain here. I pretty much ignore that rule unless the invisible creature has actually been detected or made it clear he's in the vicinity. If the target has no inkling there's an invisible character about, he's not splitting his attention. But then, I'll dispense with or modify rules when they get in the way of the unfolding of the story or interfere with genre conventions.
The rules don't say anything about "splitting his attention" under Flanking. It's just something that happens when a target is in between two enemies that threaten it.

When playing role playing games, there's ultimately an in-game "why" for everything that happens. Why do the flankers gain a bonus to attack the guy they're flanking? Because he can't defend himself as effectively from two directions... but why is he defending himself from a direction from which there is no known threat?

To a certain point, the game strives for a lack of ambiguity so the rules don't address whether or not the invisible flanker has been detected. But it does lead to some freak exploits though like this one. I prefer to weed out the freak exploits.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Democratus wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
I guess I go against the grain here. I pretty much ignore that rule unless the invisible creature has actually been detected or made it clear he's in the vicinity. If the target has no inkling there's an invisible character about, he's not splitting his attention. But then, I'll dispense with or modify rules when they get in the way of the unfolding of the story or interfere with genre conventions.
The rules don't say anything about "splitting his attention" under Flanking. It's just something that happens when a target is in between two enemies that threaten it.

When playing role playing games, there's ultimately an in-game "why" for everything that happens. Why do the flankers gain a bonus to attack the guy they're flanking? Because he can't defend himself as effectively from two directions... but why is he defending himself from a direction from which there is no known threat?

To a certain point, the game strives for a lack of ambiguity so the rules don't address whether or not the invisible flanker has been detected. But it does lead to some freak exploits though like this one. I prefer to weed out the freak exploits.

If that were the case, then a character should also be able to choose not to be distracted. They could state that they are ignoring the threat behind them in order to focus on their primary enemy.

You would then have to make rulings on what happens in this case. Are they flat-footed against the second enemy? Not much of a price to pay if one character isn't a threat and was merely trying to help with the flank.

In the PF universe, a special status called "flanked" is placed on someone who is threatened (perceived or not) from opposite sides. It's the physics of this magical world.


@Democratus: It's generally not that easy. A trained combatant might evaluate the threats posed by opponents surrounding him, and then determine which ones get the most focus, but they generally will not flat-out ignore any of them.

For instance, let's say the person being ignored was a caster. He's holding a dagger, but he's a caster - not really much of a threat, right?

And then the it turns out the caster was a Magus, and he crits with the dagger, and you wind up taking 90 points of damage from a critical Shocking Grasp...


Xaratherus wrote:

@Democratus: It's generally not that easy. A trained combatant might evaluate the threats posed by opponents surrounding him, and then determine which ones get the most focus, but they generally will not flat-out ignore any of them.

For instance, let's say the person being ignored was a caster. He's holding a dagger, but he's a caster - not really much of a threat, right?

And then the it turns out the caster was a Magus, and he crits with the dagger, and you wind up taking 90 points of damage from a critical Shocking Grasp...

I'm not saying you would be correct about your threat assessment. But you would still have the choice to ignore them. And this would, as a result, not give the +2 to the enemy that you decided to focus upon.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

It's a house rule, but I allow characters to ignore a flanking foe to remove the flanking penalty-but the price is steep. They are helpless to the person they ignore. Generally taking the flank penalty is better than risking a CdG.

I also house rule that you have to be aware of both attackers to be flanked as well. But I know these are house rules. It almost never comes up.


Democratus wrote:
Xaratherus wrote:

@Democratus: It's generally not that easy. A trained combatant might evaluate the threats posed by opponents surrounding him, and then determine which ones get the most focus, but they generally will not flat-out ignore any of them.

For instance, let's say the person being ignored was a caster. He's holding a dagger, but he's a caster - not really much of a threat, right?

And then the it turns out the caster was a Magus, and he crits with the dagger, and you wind up taking 90 points of damage from a critical Shocking Grasp...

I'm not saying you would be correct about your threat assessment. But you would still have the choice to ignore them. And this would, as a result, not give the +2 to the enemy that you decided to focus upon.

I guess I disagree that it would be as easy as you say. I don't picture a trained combatant completely ignoring anyone who might be a threat. Most likely I'd require some sort of check to allow them to do so because it would go against all their training and instinct.


Xaratherus wrote:
Democratus wrote:
Xaratherus wrote:

@Democratus: It's generally not that easy. A trained combatant might evaluate the threats posed by opponents surrounding him, and then determine which ones get the most focus, but they generally will not flat-out ignore any of them.

For instance, let's say the person being ignored was a caster. He's holding a dagger, but he's a caster - not really much of a threat, right?

And then the it turns out the caster was a Magus, and he crits with the dagger, and you wind up taking 90 points of damage from a critical Shocking Grasp...

I'm not saying you would be correct about your threat assessment. But you would still have the choice to ignore them. And this would, as a result, not give the +2 to the enemy that you decided to focus upon.
I guess I disagree that it would be as easy as you say. I don't picture a trained combatant completely ignoring anyone who might be a threat. Most likely I'd require some sort of check to allow them to do so because it would go against all their training and instinct.

In a world where you can avoid flanking by ignoring one opponent. Then such activity would be a part of their training and instinct.

You train to fight using the rules of the world you inhabit.


Democratus wrote:

In a world where you can avoid flanking by ignoring one opponent. Then such activity would be a part of their training and instinct.

You train to fight using the rules of the world you inhabit.

Except that it'd be near-inevitable that you'd encounter situations where the threat you discounted as being "not worth defending against" would wind up tearing off your arm and beating you unconscious with it.

Since "you train to fight using the rules of the world you inhabit", you'd have Rogue schools that would spring up teaching Rogues how to look completely non-threatening for the purposes of exploiting all those warriors who completely discount potential threats on the battlefield.

I'd have to agree with ryric, by the by - if I ever did allow something like this, it wouldn't just be flat-footed, it'd be the equivalent of making yourself helpless against the foe you're ignoring.

Grand Lodge

If you don't give Invisible attackers flanking bonus, then you have silly situations, where someone closes their eyes, to avoid giving their enemies a flanking bonus.

Flanking works fine, as is.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

blackbloodtroll wrote:

If you don't give Invisible attackers flanking bonus, then you have silly situations, where someone closes their eyes, to avoid giving their enemies a flanking bonus.

Flanking works fine, as is.

In most situations, being blind is worse than being flanked.

Plus in my houserule if you know the foe is present, you are still flanked even if you don't see them - it's only in the rare situation that you are completely unaware of a second threat where it comes up.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
jimibones83 wrote:
Do invisible allies provide flanking?

No they don't, because they aren't visibly threatening. They are however, effectively flatfooted to those invisible attackers.


LazarX wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
Do invisible allies provide flanking?
No they don't, because they aren't visibly threatening. They are however, effectively flatfooted to those invisible attackers.

An earlier quote in the thread (from SRM) indicates that by RAW this is incorrect.

And by RAW he's right: Flanking requires that two allies be on opposite corners or sides of a foe's square and that both can make melee attacks into that square (which is the game's definition of 'threaten').

Sczarni

Also, being Invisible does not render your opponent flat-footed.


Democratus wrote:


If that were the case, then a character should also be able to choose not to be distracted. They could state that they are ignoring the threat behind them in order to focus on their primary enemy.

That does not necessarily follow. I consider the presence of the flanker pretty compelling... assuming his presence is known. I fully admit this is home rule territory, but that's part of the PF game.


LazarX wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
Do invisible allies provide flanking?
No they don't, because they aren't visibly threatening. They are however, effectively flatfooted to those invisible attackers.

This is 100% acceptable houserule material, and I had considered using it myself. It is not, however, RAW as SRM indicated. The quote is upthread.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Xaratherus wrote:
LazarX wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
Do invisible allies provide flanking?
No they don't, because they aren't visibly threatening. They are however, effectively flatfooted to those invisible attackers.

An earlier quote in the thread (from SRM) indicates that by RAW this is incorrect.

And by RAW he's right: Flanking requires that two allies be on opposite corners or sides of a foe's square and that both can make melee attacks into that square (which is the game's definition of 'threaten').

The problem is that the original question is incomplete. Is the prsence of those attackers known, or are they just two rogues in the process of sneaking up? If it's the prior case, than normal flanking rules apply. Context matters a lot in these questions.


LazarX wrote:
Xaratherus wrote:
LazarX wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
Do invisible allies provide flanking?
No they don't, because they aren't visibly threatening. They are however, effectively flatfooted to those invisible attackers.

An earlier quote in the thread (from SRM) indicates that by RAW this is incorrect.

And by RAW he's right: Flanking requires that two allies be on opposite corners or sides of a foe's square and that both can make melee attacks into that square (which is the game's definition of 'threaten').

The problem is that the original question is incomplete. Is the prsence of those attackers known, or are they just two rogues in the process of sneaking up? If it's the prior case, than normal flanking rules apply. Context matters a lot in these questions.

The question is complete. Invisible allies do provide flanking, by RAW and clarified again by Paizo as stated above.

It doesn't matter if anyone's presence is known. The flanking occurs so long as the two allies are in flanking positions.


LazarX wrote:
Xaratherus wrote:
LazarX wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
Do invisible allies provide flanking?
No they don't, because they aren't visibly threatening. They are however, effectively flatfooted to those invisible attackers.

An earlier quote in the thread (from SRM) indicates that by RAW this is incorrect.

And by RAW he's right: Flanking requires that two allies be on opposite corners or sides of a foe's square and that both can make melee attacks into that square (which is the game's definition of 'threaten').

The problem is that the original question is incomplete. Is the prsence of those attackers known, or are they just two rogues in the process of sneaking up? If it's the prior case, than normal flanking rules apply. Context matters a lot in these questions.

There's no real question of context here. To quote myself from another thread (wherein I quote the relevant RAW):

Me wrote:

My understanding is that in order to threaten, you must be able to make a melee attack into the square.

Combat wrote:
You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn. Generally, that means everything in all squares adjacent to your space (including diagonally)

And in order to gain a flank bonus, the ally opposite the foe must threaten.

Combat 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 by RAW, flanking does not require that the opponent be aware of you; it depends only on whether or the adjacent characters threaten - and that determination is made based on whether they can make a melee attack or not.


LazarX wrote:
Xaratherus wrote:
LazarX wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
Do invisible allies provide flanking?
No they don't, because they aren't visibly threatening. They are however, effectively flatfooted to those invisible attackers.

An earlier quote in the thread (from SRM) indicates that by RAW this is incorrect.

And by RAW he's right: Flanking requires that two allies be on opposite corners or sides of a foe's square and that both can make melee attacks into that square (which is the game's definition of 'threaten').

The problem is that the original question is incomplete. Is the presence of those attackers known, or are they just two rogues in the process of sneaking up? If it's the prior case, than normal flanking rules apply. Context matters a lot in these questions.

I'd say you're on pretty thin ice on this one...

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
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.

This quote doesn't seem to indicate that the knowledge of the one being flanked comes into the equation at any point.

Not that my viewpoint really matters (the RAW is clear), but I'd always envisioned this as the rogue saying "boo" right as the fighter is about to strike. The fact that things occur in rounds can make this seem silly, but I try not to let the abstract nature of the round get in the way anymore than it has to...

Grand Lodge

ryric wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

If you don't give Invisible attackers flanking bonus, then you have silly situations, where someone closes their eyes, to avoid giving their enemies a flanking bonus.

Flanking works fine, as is.

In most situations, being blind is worse than being flanked.

Plus in my houserule if you know the foe is present, you are still flanked even if you don't see them - it's only in the rare situation that you are completely unaware of a second threat where it comes up.

It's a lot easier to open your eyes, than move out of a flanking position.

Then again, some people want to complicate things, for the sake of complicating things.


@LazarX,

RAW, which part of the rules on talk about whether the presence of flankers is known or not? Visible or not? None of course. There are no rules that change the flanking condition for these circumstances. Its not an incomplete question taken out of context.

Flanking is one single simple condition:
When making a melee attack is there a creature on the opposite side of your opponent that threatens your opponent? If yes apply the flanking bonus.

Really LazarX, I know you know the RAW rules better than this.

EDIT: Fully suspected I'd be ninja'd on my slow response :).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Flanking is an attackers bonus anyhow. Not a defenders penalty. If being aware of the flankers was to be requirement, it should be a requirement of the person making the attack taking advantage of the target having a foe his opposite side, not the defender pretending blissful ignorance.

And in general most groups attacking together can probably coordination something to let each other no when they are in position.


Wow, I came back to a pretty lengthy discussion lol

Xaratherus wrote:
Yes, thanks for the quote Cheapy. Not sure that I agree with it completely, but it's definitely official. :)

I didn't get through everything but this is my sentiment exactly

Liberty's Edge

If Flanking required both assailants to be perceived, closing your eyes would immediately get you out of a flank.

There is a major issue with metagaming. Invisible minis are generally left on the map, which can lead to unreasonable situations.

Grand Lodge

EricMcG wrote:

If Flanking required both assailants to be perceived, closing your eyes would immediately get you out of a flank.

There is a major issue with metagaming. Invisible minis are generally left on the map, which can lead to unreasonable situations.

Yeah, I mentioned this exact thing.

Like minds, and all.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
EricMcG wrote:

If Flanking required both assailants to be perceived, closing your eyes would immediately get you out of a flank.

There is a major issue with metagaming. Invisible minis are generally left on the map, which can lead to unreasonable situations.

Yeah, I mentioned this exact thing.

Like minds, and all.

not true, perception includes more than sight alone. That's why you get a perception check vs invisible creatures. They get an insane bonus cuz you can't see them, but its still possible because there are other means to perceive, such as sound

Scarab Sages

seebs wrote:

Interesting question. RAW, obviously, any creature which would otherwise provide flanking continues to do so when invisible.

But it does seem that the defender's perceptions ought to be relevant to whether or not flanking occurs, since it's supposed to represent distraction or some such, and if you don't know someone's there, how can they be distracting to you? So, being invisible might not remove flanking, but if you hadn't been detected yet, it would seem odd for you to give flanking. Logically. Obviously, the rules ignore this and probably should.

This must be part of the problem - an assumption of what flanking means (distraction or some such).

Flanked ONLY means a disadvantage gained by having an enemy on opposite sides, both of which are impossible to defend against simultaneously, unless you have specific feats that let you do so, thus negating flanking.

Flanked is a passive state of a creature under attack, which is due to circumstance - that circumstance is defined as having melee attackers in threatening positions on opposite sides of you. Neither the definitions of flank or threaten (see attacks of opportunity) require awareness on anybody's part - they are states or conditions of circumstance. Obviously, it is in the interest of multiple attackers to try to deliberately create this disadvantaged circumstance for their enemy, but the state exists even if it is created accidentally and unknowingly (ie you are not aware of it).

The bonus is created by the disadvantaged circumstance, not any creatures awareness of it.

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