Total Defense and flanking


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Total Defense means you cannot make Attacks of Opportunity.

Flanking requires that an ally "threatens" the target: "You get a flanking bonus if your opponent is threatened by another enemy character or creature on its opposite border or opposite corner."

The definition of threatening (for the purposes of AoOs) is: "You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn."

Q: Do you qualify as "threatening" for the purposes of Flanking etc when using Total Defense?

IE can a character using Total Defense still function as a flanking buddy?

A few links for convenience:
Total Defense
Attacks of Opportunity and Threatened Squares
Flanking


Thanks for creating the thread, Kudaku.

I'm thinking that you do threaten when doing Total Defense, since nothing states you do not.

While you can't make Attacks of Opportunity, this doesn't stop you from threatening. Otherwise you would stop flanking someone immediately upon using up your allotment AOOs for the turn.

I haven't seen any tactical descriptions that discuss drawing an AoO from an enemy so that they no longer flank you.

Would like to hear some other thoughts on this.

Sczarni

Well, the only thing that comes to mind, is that if you are in full defense, you are no longer Threatening - Which would make sense as to why you can't take an AoO if someone moves through your now Unthreatened area.

If flanking requires "your opponent is threatened by another enemy character or creature on its opposite border or opposite corner", then you certainly aren't covering the threatening part.

It makes sense here that you do not aid in the flanking process, since you are not threatening.

However, when merely thinking about it, you do not have to attack in order to assist in flanking someone. You just need to be in the right position. Both standing there, or going into full defense are equally as unharmful as the other, so why not both of them still assist in flanking?

That's my input :)


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.

While technically total defense does not bar you from making attacks (I thought it did, but it does not), it does require a standard action and bars you from making AoOs. That means unless you have the capability to make an attack using a move-equivalent, swift, or free action, you cannot make an attack into any adjacent squares. Because of that, I don't believe that normally you would threaten while using total defense.


Although I think this can go either way, in my opinion you do act as a flanker for the following reason.

1. Your enemy does not know you are going total defense. It is not like you have a neon sign that says you cannot attack. After all, can you tell the difference between fighting defensively and total defense? Your opponent still has to keep track of you and guard against you possibly attacking and that is enough to allow flanking.


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Mike Franke wrote:
1. Your enemy does not know you are going total defense.

Over in another thread (discussing flanking while invisible), one of the designers was quoted that your opponent's perception of you is irrelevant. An invisible character still grants a flank bonus to allies opposite him, even if the enemy isn't aware that he's there.

So what you've said makes some sense as a house rule, but by RAW, it's not relevant to flanking whether your opponent is aware of you or not.


Xaratherus wrote:
Mike Franke wrote:
1. Your enemy does not know you are going total defense.

Over in another thread (discussing flanking while invisible), one of the designers was quoted that your opponent's perception of you is irrelevant. An invisible character still grants a flank bonus to allies opposite him, even if the enemy isn't aware that he's there.

So what you've said makes some sense as a house rule, but by RAW, it's not relevant to flanking whether your opponent is aware of you or not.

Well rules wise and mechanically that certainly makes it easier and cuts off any exceptions.


In total defence you do not threaten and thus can't flank.


@Democratus

Happy to help!

@Thread in general
Personally I've been ruling that Total Defense disqualifies you from threatening squares, and by extension flanking, in my home games. That said, there seems to be at least some ambiguity here...

I'd like to ask you all to hit the FAQ button and see if we can shed some light on the topic :)


Total defense does not say that you do not threaten. It only says that you can not make Attacks of Opportunity.

These are not the same thing.


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Democratus wrote:

Total defense does not say that you do not threaten. It only says that you can not make Attacks of Opportunity.

These are not the same thing.

You are correct that it does not explicitly say that you do not threaten. But following what it does through to the end shows that you don't threaten.

The definition of threaten is effectively "to be able to make a melee attack into an adjacent square". I quoted the rules that define the term above.

Now, when you make a melee attack, you normally do so in one of three ways: Either by taking a full-round action and make a full attack; taking a standard action and making a single melee attack (or two melee attacks if you are two-weapon fighting); or making an AoO, which is not an action.

Let's start at the end of the line and work backward:

Total defense already says you can't make AoOs, so that's out.

Total defense already takes a standard action, so you can't use your standard action to make a melee attack. You have a move action, a swift action, and one or more free actions left, but without specific class abilities you cannot use those to make a melee attack.

Total defense takes a standard action, so you can't use a full-round action (since it takes both your standard and your movement to do so) to make a full attack, and thereby make one or more melee attacks.

So total defense is making it so that, unless you have specific abilities that state otherwise, you cannot make a melee attack during your turn.

That means when using total defense you cannot make a melee attack into an adjacent square. And that means you don't threaten.


Xaratherus wrote:
Democratus wrote:

Total defense does not say that you do not threaten. It only says that you can not make Attacks of Opportunity.

These are not the same thing.

You are correct that it does not explicitly say that you do not threaten. But following what it does through to the end shows that you don't threaten.

The definition of threaten is effectively "to be able to make a melee attack into an adjacent square". I quoted the rules that define the term above.

Now, when you make a melee attack, you normally do so in one of three ways: Either by taking a full-round action and make a full attack; taking a standard action and making a single melee attack (or two melee attacks if you are two-weapon fighting); or making an AoO, which is not an action.

Let's start at the end of the line and work backward:

Total defense already says you can't make AoOs, so that's out.

Total defense already takes a standard action, so you can't use your standard action to make a melee attack. You have a move action, a swift action, and one or more free actions left, but without specific class abilities you cannot use those to make a melee attack.

Total defense takes a standard action, so you can't use a full-round action (since it takes both your standard and your movement to do so) to make a full attack, and thereby make one or more melee attacks.

So total defense is making it so that, unless you have specific abilities that state otherwise, you cannot make a melee attack during your turn.

That means when using total defense you cannot make a melee attack into an adjacent square. And that means you don't threaten.

By your logic once I have made all my AoOs that I can in a round - I no longer threaten and no longer give allies flanking.

Where in the rules is this stated?

People are leaving out the second sentence in the rule on threatening.
"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 there we see both the RAW and RAI. You threaten all the squares adjacent to you unless you have a condition that specifically states that you do not threaten (c.f. helpless).

Total defense does not state that you do not threaten. Therefore you do and can create flanking for an ally.


You cannot make an attack when it is not your turn if you cannot make an Attack of Opportunity. Thus you cannot threaten in a Total Defense because it keeps you from making a potential attack.

RAW it's sketchy but RAI it seems clear to me.

If you're out of AoO's I believe you've exhausted your ability to react to combat. I imagine flanking as actively attempting to aid each other in landing blows and if you're making a bunch of AoOs around you, I believe it would be difficult to continue to flank when you're lunging all around you in different directions away from him.


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Scavion wrote:

You cannot make an attack when it is not your turn if you cannot make an Attack of Opportunity. Thus you cannot threaten in a Total Defense because it keeps you from making a potential attack.

RAW it's sketchy but RAI it seems clear to me.

Raw never states this. As I stated above. The rules never say that you stop threatening after making an Attack of Opportunity, even though you are no longer able to make an Attack of Opportunity. So this is clearly not a qualifier for threatening.

Threatening is a requirement for making Attacks of Opportunity.
Making Attacks of Opportunity is not a requirement for Threatening.


Democratus wrote:
Scavion wrote:

You cannot make an attack when it is not your turn if you cannot make an Attack of Opportunity. Thus you cannot threaten in a Total Defense because it keeps you from making a potential attack.

RAW it's sketchy but RAI it seems clear to me.

Raw never states this. As I stated above. The rules never say that you stop threatening after making an Attack of Opportunity, even though you are no longer able to make an Attack of Opportunity. So this is clearly not a qualifier for threatening.

The qualifier requires you to be able to make an attack in that square. If it isn't your turn and you can't make AoOs then you cannot feasibly hit that square when it isn't your turn.


Scavion wrote:
Democratus wrote:
Scavion wrote:

You cannot make an attack when it is not your turn if you cannot make an Attack of Opportunity. Thus you cannot threaten in a Total Defense because it keeps you from making a potential attack.

RAW it's sketchy but RAI it seems clear to me.

Raw never states this. As I stated above. The rules never say that you stop threatening after making an Attack of Opportunity, even though you are no longer able to make an Attack of Opportunity. So this is clearly not a qualifier for threatening.

The qualifier requires you to be able to make an attack in that square. If it isn't your turn and you can't make AoOs then you cannot feasibly hit that square when it isn't your turn.

So it's your contention that you stop flanking if you make an Attack of Opportunity and have none left for the remainder of your turn?

Sovereign Court

Its quite simple, if you can't attack, you do not threaten. Total Defense says you can't attack nor can you make AoOs, therefore you do not provide flanking.
To a previous post, Total Defense, as with reach, is obvious to your opponents unless you have some specific ability to hide it.
@Democratus.. The second sentence is a generalized (thus the term leading it "generally") example. It does not negate the condition established by the first sentence which says you must be able to make a melee attack (prevented by Total Defense).


Democratus wrote:
Scavion wrote:
Democratus wrote:
Scavion wrote:

You cannot make an attack when it is not your turn if you cannot make an Attack of Opportunity. Thus you cannot threaten in a Total Defense because it keeps you from making a potential attack.

RAW it's sketchy but RAI it seems clear to me.

Raw never states this. As I stated above. The rules never say that you stop threatening after making an Attack of Opportunity, even though you are no longer able to make an Attack of Opportunity. So this is clearly not a qualifier for threatening.

The qualifier requires you to be able to make an attack in that square. If it isn't your turn and you can't make AoOs then you cannot feasibly hit that square when it isn't your turn.

So it's your contention that you stop flanking if you make an Attack of Opportunity and have none left for the remainder of your turn?

Yes as you no longer have the ability to make a melee attack into any square when it is not your turn.


Galahad0430 wrote:

Its quite simple, if you can't attack, you do not threaten. Total Defense says you can't attack nor can you make AoOs, therefore you do not provide flanking.

To a previous post, Total Defense, as with reach, is obvious to your opponents unless you have some specific ability to hide it.
@Democratus.. The second sentence is a generalized (thus the term leading it "generally") example. It does not negate the condition established by the first sentence which says you must be able to make a melee attack (prevented by Total Defense).

So you also believe that once you have expended your Attacks of Opportunity in a turn that you immediately stop flanking?

Sovereign Court

Democratus wrote:
So it's your contention that you stop flanking if you make an Attack of Opportunity and have none left for the remainder of your turn?

No, because at some point during your turn you WERE able to attack that square. With Total Defense, at NO point in the turn were you able to do so, thus not meeting the requirement to threaten.


Scavion wrote:
Democratus wrote:
Scavion wrote:
Democratus wrote:
Scavion wrote:

You cannot make an attack when it is not your turn if you cannot make an Attack of Opportunity. Thus you cannot threaten in a Total Defense because it keeps you from making a potential attack.

RAW it's sketchy but RAI it seems clear to me.

Raw never states this. As I stated above. The rules never say that you stop threatening after making an Attack of Opportunity, even though you are no longer able to make an Attack of Opportunity. So this is clearly not a qualifier for threatening.

The qualifier requires you to be able to make an attack in that square. If it isn't your turn and you can't make AoOs then you cannot feasibly hit that square when it isn't your turn.

So it's your contention that you stop flanking if you make an Attack of Opportunity and have none left for the remainder of your turn?

Yes.

And this reduction is where it falls apart. Because this is clearly not the case in Pathfinder.


Democratus wrote:
Scavion wrote:
Democratus wrote:
Scavion wrote:

You cannot make an attack when it is not your turn if you cannot make an Attack of Opportunity. Thus you cannot threaten in a Total Defense because it keeps you from making a potential attack.

RAW it's sketchy but RAI it seems clear to me.

Raw never states this. As I stated above. The rules never say that you stop threatening after making an Attack of Opportunity, even though you are no longer able to make an Attack of Opportunity. So this is clearly not a qualifier for threatening.

The qualifier requires you to be able to make an attack in that square. If it isn't your turn and you can't make AoOs then you cannot feasibly hit that square when it isn't your turn.

So it's your contention that you stop flanking if you make an Attack of Opportunity and have none left for the remainder of your turn?

I can't answer for Scavion but I can for myself: Yes, I'd say that you no longer threaten. You no longer have the potential to make melee attacks into adjacent squares for the remainder of the round, and that is a requirement to threaten.

It's similar to being disarmed mid-round: If you haven't taken any AoOs, but a foe disarms you (and you don't have another weapon ready, lack natural attacks, or don't have Improved Unarmed Fighting) you can no longer make AoOs into the opponent's square, and thus no longer threaten.

Democratus wrote:
And this reduction is where it falls apart. Because this is clearly not the case in Pathfinder.

Really? You've got a rules quote to back that up, yes?


Galahad0430 wrote:
Democratus wrote:
So it's your contention that you stop flanking if you make an Attack of Opportunity and have none left for the remainder of your turn?
No, because at some point during your turn you WERE able to attack that square. With Total Defense, at NO point in the turn were you able to do so, thus not meeting the requirement to threaten.

What rule says "if at some point during the turn you could attack a square..."? Please point this out in the RAW.

Sovereign Court

RAW is quite specific that you must be able (at any point) to attack a square with a melee attack in order to threaten that square. Total Defense precludes this again by RAW. I still do not understand how this is not obvious.


Democratus wrote:
Galahad0430 wrote:
Democratus wrote:
So it's your contention that you stop flanking if you make an Attack of Opportunity and have none left for the remainder of your turn?
No, because at some point during your turn you WERE able to attack that square. With Total Defense, at NO point in the turn were you able to do so, thus not meeting the requirement to threaten.

What rule says "if at some point during the turn you could attack a square..."? Please point this out in the RAW.

What rule states that "You only needed to be able to attack their square on your turn..." Please point this out in the RAW.


Xaratherus wrote:
Democratus wrote:
Scavion wrote:
Democratus wrote:
Scavion wrote:

You cannot make an attack when it is not your turn if you cannot make an Attack of Opportunity. Thus you cannot threaten in a Total Defense because it keeps you from making a potential attack.

RAW it's sketchy but RAI it seems clear to me.

Raw never states this. As I stated above. The rules never say that you stop threatening after making an Attack of Opportunity, even though you are no longer able to make an Attack of Opportunity. So this is clearly not a qualifier for threatening.

The qualifier requires you to be able to make an attack in that square. If it isn't your turn and you can't make AoOs then you cannot feasibly hit that square when it isn't your turn.

So it's your contention that you stop flanking if you make an Attack of Opportunity and have none left for the remainder of your turn?

I can't answer for Scavion but I can for myself: Yes, I'd say that you no longer threaten. You no longer have the potential to make melee attacks into adjacent squares for the remainder of the round, and that is a requirement to threaten.

It's similar to being disarmed mid-round: If you haven't taken any AoOs, but a foe disarms you (and you don't have another weapon ready, lack natural attacks, or don't have Improved Unarmed Fighting) you can no longer make AoOs into the opponent's square, and thus no longer threaten.

Democratus wrote:
And this reduction is where it falls apart. Because this is clearly not the case in Pathfinder.
Really? You've got a rules quote to back that up, yes?

It's a negative. The burden isn't on me to prove a negative but on you to prove a positive.

Show me any rule that states this. Or any "tactics used by" in any module that discusses draining AOOs to remove flanking.


Scavion wrote:
Democratus wrote:
Galahad0430 wrote:
Democratus wrote:
So it's your contention that you stop flanking if you make an Attack of Opportunity and have none left for the remainder of your turn?
No, because at some point during your turn you WERE able to attack that square. With Total Defense, at NO point in the turn were you able to do so, thus not meeting the requirement to threaten.

What rule says "if at some point during the turn you could attack a square..."? Please point this out in the RAW.

What rule states that "You only needed to be able to attack their square on your turn..." Please point this out in the RAW.

Exactly! There is none.

Therefore, if your weapon could have attacked that square in a previous turn and you don't have a condition that explicitly makes you not Threaten - you Threaten.


the only exeption I find to needing an action is improved feint which makes a feint a move equivalent action instead of a standard action. But a feint is no melee attack. So unless Democratus can provide a viable example I do not see how you can threaten while employing total defence.
I might be wrong off course, but I did not find an example


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Democatus has this correct. Total defense does not remove your ability to threaten and flanking is based upon threatening, not on attacks remaining, not on whether you chose to make any attacks against the flanked target this round, not on AoO's remaining, or anything like that.

E.g, a wizard could use a total defense action, cast a quickened touch attack spell and still make a free touch attack (of course in this scenario unless the wizard is holding a one handed weapon in his other hand he doesn't threaten anyway so wouldn't count as flanking).

Or what if you are playing with mythic rules and burn a mythic point to gain a extra standard action with Amazing Initiative. In this scenario you could full-attack and go total defense.

Total defense does not remove your ability to make attacks except that:
1) It takes a standard action, which is generally what is used to make an attack. Note though that this, because of action economy, prevents you from attacking that round. It does not remove your ability to attack in general.
2) It removes your ability to take an AoO.

As shown in my two examples above though there are other ways to get attacks in even when you use a standard for total defense. They are rare and far between, but it shows the fallacy of saying you can't attack when using total defense and thus you don't threaten.

@Galahad0430, total defense does not say you cannot attack, and as my examples show this is not accurate. Total defense says you cannot take AoO's.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mike Franke wrote:

Although I think this can go either way, in my opinion you do act as a flanker for the following reason.

1. Your enemy does not know you are going total defense.

We really need to get rid of the phrase "does not know you are.." in these discussions.

It's not a matter of knowledge, any more than it's the matter of knowing someone you're in melee with is casting a spell. In the latter case, the spellcaster is lowering his defenses to spellcast unless he alters his spellcasting on the fly to accomodate your attempts to hack him to pieces. (i.e. casting on the defensive). In the relevant case, going "Total Defense" essentially means you're employing a Turtle strategy of defense which means you're not actively pressing the opponents around you. It means a MAJOR change in fighting style.

In "9 Princes of Amber" Eric goes Total Defense after being pressed by his brother Corwin. He's no longer threathening Corwin, but he's hard enough for Corwin to land a telling blow on that the latter quits the fight realizing that he's not likely to down his opponent before Eric's guards come to his rescue. The way Zelazny describes the change in the fight, is ONE way of describing Total Defense.


I will certainly admit that we could use some FAQ love on this one.


The rules as written. The qualifier for threatening does not state that it must be qualified for only on your turn.

Attacks of Opportunity are the only method with which you can use to make attacks when it isn't your turn.

Total Defense precludes you from making Attacks of Opportunity.

Ergo, you no longer threaten when you are using Total Defense or are out of Attacks of Opportunity.


Democratus wrote:

It's a negative. The burden isn't on me to prove a negative but on you to prove a positive.

Show me any rule that states this. Or any "tactics used by" in any module that discusses draining AOOs to remove flanking.

You're making a positive claim in the negative tense. The tense is irrelevant; it's the status of the claim that matters.

Regardless, I already offered up proof of my claim: I quoted the exact rules definition of threaten, the exact rules definition of flanking, and then walked step-by-step through the logic of how total defense bars you from meeting the requirements to threaten.

Can you make a melee attack while using total defense? No (the total defense action takes a standard action, leaving you with no action table available with which you can make an attack - and you are explicitly prohibited from taking the 'not an action' attack of opportunity by the total defense text).

Must you by definition be able to make a melee attack to threaten? Yes (by definition you must be able to make a melee attack into adjacent squares in order to threaten; you do not threaten simply by standing next to them with a weapon drawn).

Does this mean that you do not threaten while using total defense? Yes (by RAW that's far more clear than we get in a lot of instances.


Scavion wrote:
The rules as written. The qualifier for threatening does not state that it must be qualified for only on your turn.

Therefore you do not use the availability of AOOs on only your turn to determine threatening.

Therefore you threaten if you could attack a square in some other turn (baring any conditions such as Helpless).


Sorry Scavion, but you are misunderstanding the rules on threatenning. Threatening is not tied to whether or not you can take an AoO, it is the other way around. Being able to take an AoO is tied to whether or not you threaten.

That is:
Threaten leads to AoO
AoO does not lead to threaten.


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Xaratherus wrote:


Can you make a melee attack while using total defense? No (the total defense action takes a standard action, leaving you with no action table available with which you can make an attack - and you are explicitly prohibited from taking the 'not an action' attack of opportunity by the total defense text).

Actually yes you can, under certain conditions. See my above post.

However, using your logic, and ignoring the rare exceptions, lets run it to its full conclusion. You can only attack when you have a standard action left. If using your standard action to do something other than attack changes whether you threaten or not then the conclusion leads us to believe that if a wizard with a dagger in one hand casts a spell (using his standard action) then he no longer threatens till his next turn comes around - as he no longer has a standard action at that point in time to attack (and therefore threaten) with.

But you say, "Oh, but he could still take an AoO and thus threatens". To which I'll add, what if the wizard is blind, attacker is invisible, or wizard does not have dark vision and it is pitch black. He cannot take an AoO in any of those cases, yet he still threatens. And all this is simply because threatening is determined upon one thing only. Do you have a suitable melee weapon, claw, tooth, whatever, and is the target in reach of said weapon? If yes you threaten, and can therefore flank.


Just to muddy the waters further, what if the fellow taking the total defense action is wearing one of these:

Belt of Teeth:
The brass buckle on this stout leather belt is fashioned to resemble three demonic faces. Once each round, this belt's buckle can animate, lashing out at a creature that provokes an attack of opportunity within 5 feet. This attack uses its wearer's base attack bonus and Strength modifier, with a +4 competence bonus. It deals damage as a bite attack made by a creature of its wearer's size (1d6 for a Medium wearer; see Table 3—1: Natural Attacks by Size, Bestiary 302) plus the wearer's Strength modifier. This belt does not add to the normal number of attacks the wearer can make in a round; it offers another way in which to make attacks of opportunity.
Can he now take an AoO via the belt? Does he then threaten adjacent squares?


bbangerter wrote:

Sorry Scavion, but you are misunderstanding the rules on threatenning. Threatening is not tied to whether or not you can take an AoO, it is the other way around. Being able to take an AoO is tied to whether or not you threaten.

That is:
Threaten leads to AoO
AoO does not lead to threaten.

I don't believe I am misunderstanding anything. This is a perfectly logical interpretation of the rules. I'll even show you the full step by step.

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

Okay great. But what happens when I can no longer feasibly make a melee attack? I no longer threaten right? This is by the very definition threat. My threat is based upon whether I can hit you or not. If I am out of Attacks of Opportunity, I cannot hit you when it isn't my turn. Thus I cannot threaten you without a usage of them.


pellinore wrote:
Just to muddy the waters further, what if the fellow taking the total defense action is wearing one of these: ** spoiler omitted ** Can he now take an AoO via the belt? Does he then threaten adjacent squares?

It procs off an Attack of Opportunity which you cannot provide as you are using Total Defense.


bbangerter wrote:
Total defense does not remove your ability to threaten and flanking is based upon threatening, not on attacks remaining, not on whether you chose to make any attacks against the flanked target this round, not on AoO's remaining, or anything like that.

And as I pointed out above, the definition of 'threaten' is (to paraphrase very slightly) "the ability to make a melee attack into the adjacent square".

It does not say you have to, but it does say you must be able to do so.

Let me ask this: Do you allow a person who is under the effects of Hold Person to threaten?

After all, someone under the effects of Hold Person can still take purely mental actions. Theoretically he could have a supernatural ability that would allow him to telekinetically manipulate his sword and make an attack with it. And neither the Hold Person spell nor the paralyzed or helpless abilities explicitly state that people under their affects are barred from making attacks - they might just have to make them in an unusual fashion.

bbangerter wrote:
And all this is simply because threatening is determined upon one thing only. Do you have a suitable melee weapon, claw, tooth, whatever, and is the target in reach of said weapon? If yes you threaten, and can therefore flank.

Please provide a rules quote, because in fact I quoted above the RAW requirements for threatening, and that's not what it says...


Scavion wrote:

I don't believe I am misunderstanding anything. This is a perfectly logical interpretation of the rules. I'll even show you the full step by step.

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

Okay great. But what happens when I can no longer feasibly make a melee attack? I no longer threaten right? This is by the very definition threat. My threat is based upon whether I can hit you or not. If I am out of Attacks of Opportunity, I cannot hit you when it isn't my turn. Thus I cannot threaten you without a usage of them.

The only time you can no longer feasibly make a melee attack is when you have a condition that prevents Threatening or attacking.

By the very rule you quoted, it doesn't have to be your turn. So if you could have attacked that square in a previous turn then you Threaten it - unless explicitly prohibited by a condition that says you no longer Threaten.

Full Defense never states that you no longer Threaten.


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The reading is "You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack". This is the condition for threatening. The qualifier "even when it is not your turn" tells us that the "threatened" condition applies even when it is not your turn.

Look at it another way. Can you threaten, and therefore flank, an invisible creature? Yes you can, even though invisibility (by virtue of its providing total concealment) prevents one from taking AoO's against the target.

Scavion wrote:


My threat is based upon whether I can hit you or not.

Precisely. Whether I could hit you or not (based on holding a melee weapon and being in range). Not on whether I'm actively trying to hit you right this moment.

Or for another example. You cannot take an AoO if a creature does not provoke. If a creature does nothing to provoke do you still threaten it when it is not your turn? You can't make an attack in this scenario. That option is not available.


Democratus wrote:
By the very rule you quoted, it doesn't have to be your turn. So if you could have attacked that square in a previous turn then you Threaten it - unless explicitly prohibited by a condition that says you no longer Threaten.

So I have a sword ready when combat starts. On round 1 I move adjacent to you. On round 2, I have my sword out, but I don't attack you. On round 3, I sheathe my sword. You haven't moved the entire time.

By your logic, I still threaten you.


I just read the statement in RAW for attack of opportunity:
Threatened Squares

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). An enemy that takes certain actions while in a threatened square provokes an attack of opportunity from you. If you're unarmed, you don't normally threaten any squares and thus can't make attacks of opportunity.

So when you cannot make an attack during your turn (total defence), you cannot threaten a square and therefor cannot provide flanking.
getting disarmed removes the threat you normally make (unless you are a monk) and is an exeption to the threat you normally supply.

However I agree with: 1. Your enemy does not know you are going total defense.
I stated in another thread that a character/NPC/Monster may make a Intelligence check in order to determine if total cover/fighting defensively is being used against him/her/it. Much like a spellcraft roll in order to realize what spell was being cast.
I suggested a dc15 difficulty adjusted by level in order to provide a certain diffculty and award experience (levels) by realising your opponents moves better at high levels. This also punishes a low intelligence fighter somewhat for being less aware of his opponents moves.
In short if your opponent is aware of you employing total defence you do not flank and if he isn't tough luck for him.

But when I check RAW I still believe that you do not threaten when using total defence, because you chose not to attack employing total defence.


Xaratherus wrote:

Let me ask this: Do you allow a person who is under the effects of Hold Person to threaten?

PRD wrote:


A paralyzed character has effective Dexterity and Strength scores of 0 and is helpless.

Of course not. Being unable to attack is an entirely different thing than choosing not to attack. Please address my example of the wizard choosing to cast a spell instead of attack. Does the wizard still threaten? How is the wizards choosing to cast a spell instead of attacking any different than the characters choosing not to attack for total defense any different?


bbangerter wrote:

The reading is "You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack". This is the condition for threatening. The qualifier "even when it is not your turn" tells us that the "threatened" condition applies even when it is not your turn.

Look at it another way. Can you threaten, and therefore flank, an invisible creature? Yes you can, even though invisibility (by virtue of its providing total concealment) prevents one from taking AoO's against the target.

And the reason you threaten in that example is because you still can attack the square, assuming you have the necessary actions to do so. The fact that the enemy is invisible is not really relevant.

If something made you incapable of attacking - say, you had used all your actions already that round - can you still make an attack into that square? The only way you can make an attack not on your turn is an AoO - and you can't do that because of total concealment.

bbangerter wrote:
Of course not. Being unable to attack is an entirely different thing than choosing not to attack.

Neither Hold Person nor Helpless state that you cannot make an attack, actually. That's my point, and I stated it later in the response you quoted.

Paralyzed states that you can only take purely mental actions; Helpless doesn't actually even say that.

That does not rule out the possibility of making an attack through a purely mental means - as I said, a supernatural telekinesis for example. Or a spell that, either naturally or because of metamagics, has no somatic, material, or verbal components.

As to the Wizard example:

bbangerter wrote:
If using your standard action to do something other than attack changes whether you threaten or not then the conclusion leads us to believe that if a wizard with a dagger in one hand casts a spell (using his standard action) then he no longer threatens till his next turn comes around - as he no longer has a standard action at that point in time to attack (and therefore threaten) with.

He can still make AoOs with it; thus he still threatens. Included in the definition of 'threaten' is the statement that you threaten if you could make an attack even if it is not your turn. Now Democratus takes that to an example that I believe it outside RAI and states that if you could have made an attack you still threaten, but I posted why that's not really sensible.


Snowleopard wrote:

So when you cannot make an attack during your turn (total defence), you cannot threaten a square and therefor cannot provide flanking.

getting disarmed removes the threat you normally make (unless you are a monk) and is an exeption to the threat you normally supply.

As iterated several times up thread, total defense prevents you from taking an AoO's till your next turn. It does not prevent you from making attacks otherwise.


Xaratherus wrote:
bbangerter wrote:

The reading is "You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack". This is the condition for threatening. The qualifier "even when it is not your turn" tells us that the "threatened" condition applies even when it is not your turn.

Look at it another way. Can you threaten, and therefore flank, an invisible creature? Yes you can, even though invisibility (by virtue of its providing total concealment) prevents one from taking AoO's against the target.

And the reason you threaten in that example is because you still can attack the square, assuming you have the necessary actions to do so. The fact that the enemy is invisible is not really relevant.

If something made you incapable of attacking - say, you had used all your actions already that round - can you still make an attack into that square? The only way you can make an attack not on your turn is an AoO - and you can't do that because of total concealment.

So I'm not sure what your response is here. Do you believe two creatures can flank an invisible creature or not?


bbangerter wrote:
Xaratherus wrote:
bbangerter wrote:

The reading is "You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack". This is the condition for threatening. The qualifier "even when it is not your turn" tells us that the "threatened" condition applies even when it is not your turn.

Look at it another way. Can you threaten, and therefore flank, an invisible creature? Yes you can, even though invisibility (by virtue of its providing total concealment) prevents one from taking AoO's against the target.

And the reason you threaten in that example is because you still can attack the square, assuming you have the necessary actions to do so. The fact that the enemy is invisible is not really relevant.

If something made you incapable of attacking - say, you had used all your actions already that round - can you still make an attack into that square? The only way you can make an attack not on your turn is an AoO - and you can't do that because of total concealment.

So I'm not sure what your response is here. Do you believe two creatures can flank an invisible creature or not?

If they are on opposite corners or edges of the invisible creature's square, and they have action economy that would allow them to make a melee attack into that square - yes, they flank the invisible creature.


bbangerter wrote:
Snowleopard wrote:

So when you cannot make an attack during your turn (total defence), you cannot threaten a square and therefor cannot provide flanking.

getting disarmed removes the threat you normally make (unless you are a monk) and is an exeption to the threat you normally supply.
As iterated several times up thread, total defense prevents you from taking an AoO's till your next turn. It does not prevent you from making attacks otherwise.

Yes it does, it uses up your standard action and will therefor remove your ability to attack and threaten. Unless you can melee attack in a move-equivalent action, you will not threaten.

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