Does Sneak Attack apply to ranged attacks when you are flanking?


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Oddman80 wrote:

Crap - i wanted to side with you RumpinRufus - but i found the one rule that shows why what you want to do won't work:

Under the rules of Combat, under "Cast a Spell" there is the folowing line:
While casting a spell, you don't threaten any squares around you.

So you no longer threaten with the dagger while you cast the acid splash -
or any other spell you may have wanted to cast - and therefore you are not flanking while you cast that spell - and therefor you cannot get the sneak attack damage.

Firstly, the rules question still stands, because you could also throw a second dagger or something similar while in flank.

Secondly, here is the context of the line you quoted:

Quote:
You only provoke attacks of opportunity when you begin casting a spell, even though you might continue casting for at least 1 full round. While casting a spell, you don't threaten any squares around you.

You don't threaten while casting a spell, so if you're casting something like Summon Monster or Lesser Restoration with a casting time measured in rounds, you don't threaten in the meanwhile. But once you are in a position to make the attack roll with Acid Splash, you have already finished casting the spell and you are once again threatening, assuming you're holding a melee weapon.


RumpinRufus wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:

There is no condition called "flanking" or "flanked". Flanking is a conditional bonus that only applies to melee attacks, and only lasts for the duration of that melee attack.

There is simply no way under the rules as written to allow a ranged attack a flanking bonus.

This argument has already been invalidated by the existence of Enfilading Fire.

Enfilading Fire doesn't grant a flanking bonus though, just a bonus.


Ssyvan wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:

There is no condition called "flanking" or "flanked". Flanking is a conditional bonus that only applies to melee attacks, and only lasts for the duration of that melee attack.

There is simply no way under the rules as written to allow a ranged attack a flanking bonus.

This argument has already been invalidated by the existence of Enfilading Fire.
Enfilading Fire doesn't grant a flanking bonus though, just a bonus.

That's not the relevant part - the relevant part is that it proves that it is possible for a creature to be flanked even when no melee attack whatsoever is being made.


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

It seems to me that everyone agrees that you can't get sneak attack during a ranged attack from flanking. Everyone who has posted agrees, or once they look more closely at the rules changes their mind to agree. At some point when everyone else says the sky is blue, even though you insist it is green, the argument is moot.

You ask a question, you don't have to like the answer you get, but continuing to argue doesn't change the answer.

Scarab Sages

RumpinRufus wrote:
Ssyvan wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:

There is no condition called "flanking" or "flanked". Flanking is a conditional bonus that only applies to melee attacks, and only lasts for the duration of that melee attack.

There is simply no way under the rules as written to allow a ranged attack a flanking bonus.

This argument has already been invalidated by the existence of Enfilading Fire.
Enfilading Fire doesn't grant a flanking bonus though, just a bonus.
That's not the relevant part - the relevant part is that it proves that it is possible for a creature to be flanked even when no melee attack whatsoever is being made.

It proves the author and editors didn't understand how flanking works in pathfinder. Flanking is broken, until it's fixed, there are options that should work and don't unless they are houseruled.


RumpinRufus wrote:
Ssyvan wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:

There is no condition called "flanking" or "flanked". Flanking is a conditional bonus that only applies to melee attacks, and only lasts for the duration of that melee attack.

There is simply no way under the rules as written to allow a ranged attack a flanking bonus.

This argument has already been invalidated by the existence of Enfilading Fire.
Enfilading Fire doesn't grant a flanking bonus though, just a bonus.
That's not the relevant part - the relevant part is that it proves that it is possible for a creature to be flanked even when no melee attack whatsoever is being made.

But still flanking is an attack roll modifier. Go to the combat section and look at "Table: Attack Roll Modifiers". Flanking isn't a condition on a creature.

Shadow Lodge

j b 200 wrote:
You ask a question, you don't have to like the answer you get, but continuing to argue doesn't change the answer.

However, consensus does not mean that everyone is right about what the words on the page say. There is how we understand it, and there is what the literal interpretation is, and these are not always aligned.

More to the point, no one may allow sneak attack on ranged attacks, but that doesn't mean the rules completely preclude it. Of course, neither does that mean everyone is wrong either.


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so you are saying - you cast the spell, move in to flanking position - wave the dagger around so the opponent feels properly threatened, and needs to worry about the enemies on either side of him - and that's when you release the charge (rolling versus touch AC, but without any +2 bonus, as the attack is not melee) - and cause the spell damage + sneak attack damage?

ok - i'm back on your side.

as to the enfilading fire thing - here's the problem - the feat never says you are flanking. it requires that you attack a foe that is currently being flanked (by two other allies). As long as one of those two allies has the same teamwork feat, you get a +2 bonus to your ranged attack - but this is not a +2 Flanking Bonus - nor does it mean you are flanking to get sneak attack damage.
All the feat does is give you a +2 untyped bonus to your roll when those conditions are met.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sadly, the intent of one feat should not be used to assume the intent of the overreaching combat system. That is the way that leads to madness.

I'm on the fence about this. Part of me wishes this game had much better defined terms for things in combat like 'flanking', but that's because I'm a bit of a wargame/MtG player myself. As is, it is mentioned in several places but they do not have a clear rule of the instants you begin flanking and lose flanking.

I have to lean in the direction of you cannot Sneak Attack with a ranged weapon from flanking RAI, but you CAN RAW.


TOZ wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
You ask a question, you don't have to like the answer you get, but continuing to argue doesn't change the answer.

However, consensus does not mean that everyone is right about what the words on the page say. There is how we understand it, and there is what the literal interpretation is, and these are not always aligned.

More to the point, no one may allow sneak attack on ranged attacks, but that doesn't mean the rules completely preclude it. Of course, neither does that mean everyone is wrong either.

Just to be a bit more clear, you can get sneak attacks on a ranged attack. But you can't get flanking on ranged attacks.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Oddman80 wrote:


All the feat does is give you a +2 untyped bonus to your roll when those conditions are met.

That's exactly what the problem is. 'Being flanked' is not a rule-defined condition. Flanking seems to be either a) a bonus to your attack roll or b) a bonus and a condition for a character against a target.

Being flanked can be interpreted as 'an ally threatening the target is flanking', which is a push towards b, as the ally is clearly in a condition for that to be true.


RumpinRufus' point is that, in order for the feat to function, your allies must flank the target simply because of their positioning and threatening, regardless of whether or not any of them ever makes a melee attack. And that definitely makes sense.

But the fact that there is a "-" in the section for ranged attack modifiers for flanking, rather than a "+0" seems to clearly indicate that you cannot be considered flanking when making a ranged attack.

The rules in this instance are extremely contradictory.


Avoron wrote:
But the fact that there is a "-" in the section for ranged attack modifiers for flanking, rather than a "+0" seems to clearly indicate that you cannot be considered flanking when making a ranged attack.

Quick note: if you are using that table as a definitive source of rules, you also can't cast Acid Splash or Scorching Ray while prone, because the ranged modifier for prone is also listed as "-", and the only exceptions listed are crossbows and shurikens.


Granted. But that still doesn't explain why they wouldn't just put +0.

It's just a poorly written aspect of the rules. I'm going to FAQ the first post, although I doubt anything will come of it.


Ssyvan wrote:


But still flanking is an attack roll modifier. Go to the combat section and look at "Table: Attack Roll Modifiers". Flanking isn't a condition on a creature.

I would disagree. I think Flanking and the Flanking Bonus have a Set Subset relationship. In order to get the Flanking Bonus you must meet its requirements and also be flanking.

If Flanking and the Flanking Bonus were the same thing - then the benefits described in the Ranged Flank feat make no sense:
Benefit: When attacking with ranged or thrown weapons from a distance of up to 30 feet, if the nearest adjacent space to your target is unoccupied and the opposite space is occupied by a threatening ally, you are considered flanking. Both you and your ally gain all the benefits of flanking, including +2 flanking bonus on attacks, rogues can sneak attack, etc.

so clearly there is a condition called flanking, and then benefit one gets IF one is flanking.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Ranged Flank is not a Paizo published item.


Avoron wrote:

Granted. But that still doesn't explain why they wouldn't just put +0.

It's just a poorly written aspect of the rules. I'm going to FAQ the first post, although I doubt anything will come of it.

Honestly, I don't think it's a great candidate for FAQ because I freely admit it's a corner case that will rarely if ever come up in a game. Once I realized I can just use Frigid Touch instead of Nauseating Dart to do the thing I wanted to do, I don't even really intend to try this type of trick myself.

The only reason I FAQed it is because someone else did, and I didn't want people to think I was that guy who FAQs his own posts when no one else does :p


I don't think this is necessarily a corner case. Ranged sneak attack has always been obnoxiously difficult to get, and throwing daggers instead of stabbing with them at the very least opens up options like Rapid Shot and Sniper's Goggles.


Avoron wrote:


But the fact that there is a "-" in the section for ranged attack modifiers for flanking, rather than a "+0" seems to clearly indicate that you cannot be considered flanking when making a ranged attack.

I think you are putting an awful lot of faith / rules certainty into one little unclear dash.

Additionally - to the people that claim that the writers of a feat (that seems to give credence to an opposing side of an argument) 'don't understand how it works'.... I... I just don't see how you can use that argument without the exact same argument being turned against the people who answer FAQ's, or who wrote the original rules...
Sure - human error exists - but the whole purpose of feats is to be able to do something you cannot typically due. So why on earth would you think that if there are two ways to read a feat, and in one reading you can't do ANYTHING, while the other reading gives you a slight advantage.... that the reading where you can't do ANYTHING is the correct reading... its a very pessimistic outlook on life.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ranged Flank is not a Paizo published item.

DAMMIT! that's the second time in 24 hours i mistakenly read something from d20pfsrd as 1st party when it wasn't... BAH! i do need to stop using them....


RumpinRufus wrote:

I know ranged attacks don't benefit from flanking bonus, and you don't normally threaten with a ranged weapon. But if you ARE flanking and make a ranged attack, it seems like it gets Sneak Attack damage, correct?

Sneak Attack wrote:

If a rogue can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

The rogue's attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 every two rogue levels thereafter. Should the rogue score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.

With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (like a sap, whip, or an unarmed strike), a rogue can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty.

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.

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.

When in doubt about whether two characters flank an opponent in the middle, trace an imaginary line between the two attackers' centers. If the line passes through opposite borders of the opponent's space (including corners of those borders), then the opponent is flanked.

Exception: If a flanker takes up more than 1 square, it gets the flanking bonus if any square it occupies counts for flanking.

Only a creature or character that threatens the defender can help an attacker

...

yes, that is correct. as along as the rogue is within 30 feet and is "flanking" or the enemy is flat footed he gets to add his sneak attack die, however he does not get the +2 to attack.


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No. Flanking still only applies to melee attacks, even if you're in a position to provide flanking. That's been the answer every time this has come up.

See this applicable FAQ.


That FAQ says "flanking specifically refers to melee attacks", because the text of flanking literally does specifically refer to melee attacks, as it says "When making a melee attack, you get a +2 flanking bonus if your opponent is threatened".

The fact that the ranged attack gets no flanking bonus does not necessarily mean the rogue herself is not flanking.

Scarab Sages

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RumpinRufus wrote:


The fact that the ranged attack gets no flanking bonus does not necessarily mean the rogue herself is not flanking.

The problem is that there is no flanking outside of a melee attack, despite Enfilading Fire incorrectly suggesting there is.

Flanking only exists when making a melee attack by raw. This means you do not flank when making a ranged attack, even if you are simultaneously threatening with a melee attack.


Imbicatus wrote:
Flanking only exists when making a melee attack by raw.

PLEASE quote that RAW so we can end this thread.


Imbicatus wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:


The fact that the ranged attack gets no flanking bonus does not necessarily mean the rogue herself is not flanking.

The problem is that there is no flanking outside of a melee attack, despite Enfilading Fire incorrectly suggesting there is.

Flanking only exists when making a melee attack by raw. This means you do not flank when making a ranged attack, even if you are simultaneously threatening with a melee attack.

Actually, Enfilading Fire on denotes that someone in melee flanking a target has to have the Teamwork feat for it to work (along with the non-flanking ranged attacker), as opposed to all of the allies that are flanking it needing the feat for it to work.

It's worded a little odd, but that's all it's saying. It lets an inquisitor use it with its solo tactics ability to fire into melee a bit better.


RumpinRufus wrote:

That FAQ says "flanking specifically refers to melee attacks", because the text of flanking literally does specifically refer to melee attacks, as it says "When making a melee attack, you get a +2 flanking bonus if your opponent is threatened".

The fact that the ranged attack gets no flanking bonus does not necessarily mean the rogue herself is not flanking.

FAQ wrote:
The Gang Up feat allows you to count as flanking so long as two of your allies are threatening your opponent. The feat makes no mention of ranged attacks being included, and since flanking specifically refers to melee attacks, ranged attacks do not benefit from this feat. (JMB, 8/13/10)
PRD wrote:

Gang Up (Combat)

You are adept at using greater numbers against foes.

Prerequisites: Int 13, Combat Expertise.
Benefit: You are considered to be flanking an opponent if at least two of your allies are threatening that opponent, regardless of your actual positioning.
Normal: You must be positioned opposite an ally to flank an opponent.

That FAQ says that since flanking specifically refers to melee attacks, ranged attacks don't get the benefit of Gang Up. Which isn't the +2 Flanking Bonus to hit, it is saying that you don't count as flanking because ranged attacks can't flank.

Scarab Sages

RumpinRufus wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Flanking only exists when making a melee attack by raw.
PLEASE quote that RAW so we can end this thread.
PRD Combat wrote:

Flanking

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.

When in doubt about whether two characters flank an opponent in the middle, trace an imaginary line between the two attackers' centers. If the line passes through opposite borders of the opponent's space (including corners of those borders), then the opponent is flanked.

Exception: If a flanker takes up more than 1 square, it gets the flanking bonus if any square it occupies counts for flanking.

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

Creatures with a reach of 0 feet can't flank an opponent.

Flanking = Flanking Bonus.

The first sentence in the combat section on flanking states flanking only occurs when making a melee attack. Then it later defines that only a creature that threatens the defender can help an attacker get a flanking bonus. That creature is not called out as flanking the defender, only as helping an attacker gain the flanking bonus, because unless they are attacking, they are not flanking.

There is no "Flanked" condition defined in the rules anywhere. There should be. That would allow ranged sneak attacks to work, Enfilading Fire to work, along with actually making sense. But that is not what the rules say.

Scarab Sages

Sniggevert wrote:


Actually, Enfilading Fire on denotes that someone in melee flanking a target has to have the Teamwork feat for it to work (along with the non-flanking ranged attacker), as opposed to all of the allies that are flanking it needing the feat for it to work.

No, Enfilading Fire actually does nothing RAW unless you ready an action to attack when your ally attacks. Flank is not a condition, and only occurs when making a melee attack.


Imbicatus wrote:
Flanking = Flanking Bonus.

I do not see this as being supported by RAW.

Imbicatus wrote:
The first sentence in the combat section on flanking states flanking only occurs when making a melee attack. Then it later defines that only a creature that threatens the defender can help an attacker get a flanking bonus. That creature is not called out as flanking the defender, only as helping an attacker gain the flanking bonus, because unless they are attacking, they are not flanking.

It is ubiquitous in the rules that the creature provided a flank is referred to as "flanking".

Topple Foe wrote:
Benefit: If you attempt to trip a foe that is larger than you, you gain a +1 bonus on your CMB check to trip the foe as long as an ally with Topple Foe is flanking the foe with you. If multiple allies with Topple Foe are flanking the foe with you, you gain an additional +2 bonus on your CMD check for each additional ally that’s flanking the target.
Assault Leader wrote:
Once per day, when the rogue misses with an attack on a flanked opponent, she can designate a single ally who is also flanking the target that her attack missed. That ally can make a single melee attack against the opponent as an immediate action.
Amplified Rage wrote:
Benefit: Whenever you are raging and adjacent to a raging ally who also has this feat or flanking the same opponent as a raging ally with this feat, your morale bonuses to Strength and Constitution increase by +4. This feat does not stack with itself (you only gain this bonus from one qualifying ally, regardless of how many are adjacent to you).
Underfoot Assault wrote:
While the mouser is within her foe's space, the foe takes a –4 penalty on all attack rolls and combat maneuver checks not made against the mouser, and all of the mouser's allies that are adjacent to both the foe and the mouser are considered to be flanking the foe.

So, the second creature is definitely called out as flanking the defender.

Scarab Sages

The only place "Flanking" is defined is as a bonus to a melee attack.

This is clearly not the intent when looking at feats, the mouser ability, topple foe, and so on, but given that the only RAW definition of flanking is as a bonus to a melee attack, then all of your other examples actually do nothing unless those characters are actually making melee attacks.

The rules for flanking are flawed, and need to be rewritten to make flanked a condition. As it is, several feats and abilities that depend on the target being "flanked" do not work unless the user is attacking the defender with a melee weapon.


If look at the rules as RAW, you realise 'flanking' is defined only during a melee attack.

"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."

A lot of feats are poorly written with the idea that flanking is some sort of 'condition', and it is:

When in doubt about whether two characters flank an opponent in the middle, trace an imaginary line between the two attackers' centers. If the line passes through opposite borders of the opponent's space (including corners of those borders), then the opponent is flanked.

But technically these feats do nothing except when you actually make a melee attack. All of the feats you list there work fine, but only apply during the melee attack when flanking is checked. Of course, this is a bit silly: amplified rage for example, would only give you the extra HP when you are actually attacking. Clearly we don't read into RAW that deeply and let the feats fly on a case-by-base basis.

The problem:

You want to read a rules interaction which requires a clearly unintended rules combination: you're right, technically as long as you are flanking you can get a sneak attack, as it never specifies that you have to be flanking with that weapon. The problem is that, if you want to interpret the RAW in such a strict way, you can't then start interpreting the flanking RAW in a loose way. You only check flanking with a melee attack, which breaks those feats and breaks your sneak attack idea anyway.

Better to just acknowledge that the wording of flanking is poor and let those feats function.... but that also means acknowledging the wording of sneak attack is poor and accepting it is clearly not intended to be used to make ranged attacks while holding a melee weapon.

As an aside:

You resolve the effects of a spell as part of the casting of that spell, so technically you still do not threaten when you roll the acid splash attack roll (as it is still 'during' the spell). Melee touch attacks are an explicit exception to this.

TLDR:

Sean K Reynolds wrote: wrote:


Again: the language is a little weak, but you're not stupid--and because you're not stupid, don't try to interpret the rules as if you were stupid.


Let's look at a few things. First, let's look at Flanking itself.

"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.

When in doubt about whether two characters flank an opponent in the middle, trace an imaginary line between the two attackers' centers. If the line passes through opposite borders of the opponent's space (including corners of those borders), then the opponent is flanked."

Let's toss a few takeaways from the actual text out real quick.

A.) Nothing says that the attacking character has to threaten to get the flanking bonus. Only the character on the opposite side has to threaten the enemy by RAW, for the attacker to get a flanking bonus.

B.) Flanked is a condition. Last part of the section, "the opponent is flanked."

C.) Flank exists outside of an active melee attack. The second paragraph is entirely about this concept. An opponent is flanked by characters that meet the imaginary line requirement. No restriction of, "while actively attacking" is given. Characters that flank are flanking. For example, looking at Assault Leader clears this up.

D.) Only the flanking bonus ever actually states a requirement for melee attacks. The requirements for flanking make no mention of melee only.

What does this mean?

1.) It is possible be flanking an opponent without the opponent being flanked outside of the attack. IE Using a non-threatening weapon to attack while the opponent is threatened on the opposite side. In such a case, the opponent would only be flanked for that attack.

2.) An opponent is either flanked by you, or it isn't, at any given time, since it is defined as conditional. The requirements for the condition are laid out, albeit very vaguely.

3.) If you threaten an enemy, you flank it, whether you are attacking ranged or melee. You are just never flanking it for a bonus with ranged weapons. Enfilading fire works perfectly with this. You can be a person that flanks the enemy, assuming you threaten it, or you can be firing at an enemy flanked by two allies. This is the RAW.

4.) This is absolutely not what the authors meant. It is about as clear as mud wrapped in tinfoil and shoved in a steel safe.

5.) The Gang Up FAQ makes it clear that the Devs consider being eligible for the flanking bonus to be a requirement of flanking with any given attack. Whether this is meant to be the case, or it was a gut reaction to the use of a swarm feat for sniping, is not known.


ryric wrote:
You are only flanking when making a melee attack, it's not a state that turns on or off.

I disagree. Holding a weapon makes you threaten adjacent squares regardless of whether or not you're attacking someone. Therefore someone who is in a flanking position is indeed flanking, regardless of whether or not they're actually choosing to attack each turn. It very much is a state that turns on or off, directly depending on position and threatening the target.

As wonky as it sounds, I have to say YES to the OP. YES, you are still flanking your target and therefore I would have to rule YES you earned your sneak attack.

Scarab Sages

Zedth wrote:
ryric wrote:
You are only flanking when making a melee attack, it's not a state that turns on or off.
I disagree. A wizard holding a dagger who is in a flanking melee position is flanking his target regardless of whether he attacks with the dagger or not. That wizard could cast spells (incurring AoOs, concentrations checks), drink a potion, draw out a scroll, or draw a pretty picture for his mommy--[b]but as long as that wizard is holding the dagger-- the wizard is threatening adjacent squares and is flanking his target.[/I]

No, the wizard is not flanking the opponent, although they could be granting a flanking bonus to an ally who is on the opposite side of the threatened foe. Flanking only applies on melee attacks.


The rogue's attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target.

"When in doubt about whether two characters flank an opponent in the middle, trace an imaginary line between the two attackers' centers. If the line passes through opposite borders of the opponent's space (including corners of those borders), then the opponent is flanked."

It reads to me--plainly--that "flanked" is a sort of condition. I can see what people are saying counter to this, I really can. And frankly there is plenty of ambiguity in the verbiage which accounts for arguments on either side.
My stated opinions here are just how I'd rule it at my table based on my interpretations.

Also, throw the rogue a bone. Is this really worth saying no to?


Once again, even if you're arguing that Flanking is a condition created by position and position alone, the Gang Up FAQ still answers this question.

The only thing Gang Up does is change the positional aspect of flanking. And that FAQ explicitly states that ranged attacks do not benefit from Gang Up, the only purpose of which is to make it easier to find a position to flank from.

So even if Flanking is only positional, you still cannot actively flank with a ranged weapon because the Gang Up FAQ says exactly that. Either you can normally flank from range (because flanking is only positional), but the Gang Up FAQ says you cannot allow ranged attacks to benefit from what is exclusively a positional change, or flanking requires something more than just an analysis of relative positions, and you cannot flank from range because flanking actually contemplates melee combat.

Either way, no flanking from range at this point. The only question is if the PDT wants to clarify (or change) how things work due to the Snap Shot chain allowing you to threaten with a bow.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Zedth wrote:

Also, throw the rogue a bone. Is this really worth saying no to?

The question is not 'should rogues get this?' but 'is this what the rules actually say?' As such, feelings about how we should rule it are irrelevant.


Zedth wrote:
Also, throw the rogue a bone. Is this really worth saying no to?

Spoiler:
Maybe now's not the best time to mention this was actually inspired by a druid build.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Zedth wrote:

Also, throw the rogue a bone. Is this really worth saying no to?

The question is not 'should rogues get this?' but 'is this what the rules actually say?' As such, feelings about how we should rule it are irrelevant.

When there is ambiguity in a rules call, then situational factors come into play. Such as "is this game-breaking?" "will this set a bad precedent?" "can this be abused?"

I'm not seeing an emphatic "yes" as an answer to any of those questions, so I would throw a dog a bone. The FAQ on the Gang Up is a great citing, and could arguably used to clarify this situation, but it still isn't iron-clad to me because it is a different situation. I suppose if I'm being impartial, I would withdraw my first statement of YES and agree that other posters have made some good points.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Zedth wrote:
When there is ambiguity in a rules call, then situational factors come into play. Such as "is this game-breaking?" "will this set a bad precedent?" "can this be abused?"

That comes after it has been determined that the rules are ambiguous. The question at hand is 'does this say what we think it says', and once that is answered we can move to 'should it be used this way'.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
RumpinRufus wrote:
I know ranged attacks don't benefit from flanking bonus, and you don't normally threaten with a ranged weapon. But if you ARE flanking and make a ranged attack, it seems like it gets Sneak Attack damage, correct?

Are you prepping for a melee attack? If the answer is no, the you don't flank, even if you threathen, or otherwise have the ability to make AOO's. Nor can you get the sneak attack bonus if you are not in a melee stance.


My opinion:
RAW: ranged flanking is possible, you can get sneak attack
RAI: The devs don't want it

For more detail see this thread, and click the FAQ requests at this and this post. Here's the text:

  • CRB p197, under "Flanking", first paragraph defines a "flanking bonus". The second paragraph defines a test for "flanking". Is "flanking", not the "flanking bonus", solely dependent on position per this paragraph? This affects ranged sneak attacks.

    Does this change for ranged weapon(s) that also threaten?

  • CRB p197, under "Flanking", first paragraph defines a "flanking bonus" and the requirements to get it. Can a character with Snap Shot feat and wielding a ranged weapon meet the qualifications of "opponent is threatened by another enemy character or creature on its opposite border or opposite corner"? If he can qualify, is he "flanking" while in position to threaten opposite his ally? (Not get a "bonus", but be "flanking")

/cevah


Crash_00 wrote:

Let's look at a few things. First, let's look at Flanking itself.

"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.

When in doubt about whether two characters flank an opponent in the middle, trace an imaginary line between the two attackers' centers. If the line passes through opposite borders of the opponent's space (including corners of those borders), then the opponent is flanked.

I can easily reverse your quote just by bolding different parts.

You check for flanking only when making a melee attack. If you aren't making a melee attack, there's no doubt you are not flanking, so you don't need to apply the second paragraph.

It doesn't mention that you need to threaten because it's implicit that you threaten: otherwise you couldn't be making a melee attack!


Blakmane wrote:


I can easily reverse your quote just by bolding different parts.

You check for flanking only when making a melee attack. If you aren't making a melee attack, there's no doubt you are not flanking, so you don't need to apply the second paragraph.

It doesn't mention that you need to threaten because it's implicit that you threaten: otherwise you couldn't be making a melee attack!

Both parts include falsehoods.

I'll tackle the second part first. Not all melee attacks threaten. For example, Whips are melee weapons that make melee attacks, but they do not not threaten. Another example is the unarmed strike for most characters. It's, again, a melee weapon that you make a melee attack with, yet it doesn't threaten (assuming you have no Improved Unarmed Strike feat).

While you can certainly make the claim that this was oversight, that doesn't actually change RAW.

As for the first part, you're still mistaken. Take Assault Leader for example:
"Once per day, when the rogue misses with an attack on a flanked opponent, she can designate a single ally who is also flanking the target that her attack missed. That ally can make a single melee attack against the opponent as an immediate action."

We can also look at Enfilading Fire:
"You receive a +2 bonus on ranged attacks made against a foe flanked by 1 or more allies with this feat."

If flanking only exists during a single melee attack, then it is impossible for two characters to be flanking at the same time, and the system breaks. It is also impossible for a character to be flanked by anyone while you're making a ranged attack.

No, the system clearly means for flanking to exist at all times. It's conditional, and set out that way. The second paragraph does not depend upon the first paragraph in any way. It is you that assumes the first paragraph is the only way flanking can come up. Both the above rules (Assault Leader and Enfilading Fire) bring up whether a character is flanking outside of his turn, much less outside of a melee attack.

You see, you make the assumption that you only ever need to check if you are flanking. Clearly, you often need to check whether someone else is flanking.

Scarab Sages

Crash_00 wrote:


No, the system clearly means for flanking to exist at all times. It's conditional, and set out that way. The second paragraph does not depend upon the first paragraph in any way. It is you that assumes the first paragraph is the only way flanking can come up. Both the above rules (Assault Leader and Enfilading Fire) bring up whether a character is flanking outside of his turn, much...

That is the problem. The system assumes you are flanking at all times, but per the definition of flanking, it only applies on a melee attack, which means all of the abilities that assume other people are flanking don't actually work.

This is hand-waved by pretty much everyone to allow those abilities to work as intended, but RAW, they do not work because the only place flanking is defined is as a bonus to a melee attack.

Flanking needs errata.


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Meh. Flanking is just a way to describe what happens when you make an appropriate attack while the relevant parties are in the dictated positions.

Gang Up changes the position aspect of flanking.
Enfilading Fire and Coordinated Shot change the relevant parties and how that impacts the acting character.

The analysis is the same every time. When an attack is made, run through the relevant criteria:

1. Are the parties in the correct positions?
2. Is the type of attack being made one that can benefit from the positions the relevant parties are in?

And frankly, the order doesn't really matter.

Flanking is clearly intended to be relevant to melee attacks. The Gang Up FAQ makes this pretty explicit. That other feats might capitalize on an enemy being in the disadvantageous position of being flanked by other combatants doesn't mean that flanking is solely a positional consideration and that ranged attacks can therefore benefit from flanking.

Any benefits from flanking are relevant to melee attacks. If you have a specific ability that capitalizes off of flanking differently, then you apply the stated benefits as directed. However, that doesn't change how flanking works in the ordinary case because these specific abilities (like Enfilading Fire and Coordinated Shot) are clearly variations on how flanking generally works. And more importantly, these feats don't actually provide any flanking benefits to the character taking the action - they provide separate benefits distinct from flanking altogether.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This seems like a lot of energy spent into trying to exploit wording to have a single sneak attack used via touch AC. There are clear precedents that call out flanking as melee attacks clear intent to have said attacks while flanking be the same mode as the weapon causing the flanking. There is no need to errata or FAQ as far as I can tell.

Allowing this particular action would open up problems such as a rogue archer with a spiked gauntlet claiming to be threatening with the gauntlet and getting bow sneak attacks on all attacks. It sucks being wrong, but you have to suck it up and deal with it. It happens to everyone in life


fretgod99 wrote:

Once again, even if you're arguing that Flanking is a condition created by position and position alone, the Gang Up FAQ still answers this question.

The only thing Gang Up does is change the positional aspect of flanking. And that FAQ explicitly states that ranged attacks do not benefit from Gang Up, the only purpose of which is to make it easier to find a position to flank from.

So even if Flanking is only positional, you still cannot actively flank with a ranged weapon because the Gang Up FAQ says exactly that. Either you can normally flank from range (because flanking is only positional), but the Gang Up FAQ says you cannot allow ranged attacks to benefit from what is exclusively a positional change, or flanking requires something more than just an analysis of relative positions, and you cannot flank from range because flanking actually contemplates melee combat.

Either way, no flanking from range at this point. The only question is if the PDT wants to clarify (or change) how things work due to the Snap Shot chain allowing you to threaten with a bow.

You are drawing more meaning form the Gang Up FAQ than is actually there. I will be honest - I never played a rogue. I had independently been looking at the Gang Up feat, and it hadn't even occurred to me, when i had read it, that it might possibly allow a ranged attack to count as flanking. I had assumed, as apparently the developers had, that all the feat was intended to do was let you come in and benefit from flanking when you and at least two other allies are attacking a single opponent in melee. I have mostly played melee characters, and i could see the benefit, to getting that bonus for all those times getting into normal flanking positions would be impossible or just dangerous.

The FAQ question does not say anything about threatening with a melee weapon, and then making a ranged attack, and so the FAQ answer does not raise that possibility. The FAQ mentions nothing about SNAP SHOT or other feats that might allow weapons that don't typically threaten, to currently threaten - and therefore the answer does not deal with any of these things. The fact that the base FAQ question was framed in a way to assume no other special circumstances were in play, the answer to the FAQ assumed no other special circumstances were in play.

Furthermore, the Gang Up FAQ in NO way counters the litany of examples provided by RumpinRufus that clearly indicates that Flanking is a condition one can have outside of ones own turn order and that being Flanked is a condition that one can have outside of the moment in which one gets melee attacked by a flanking character.

The only argument supporting the position that all of those feats are wrong/poorly written/can't work by RAW, is the argument that the following line "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." is THE definition of flanking itself, and not simply a definition of how one can get a "+2 Flanking Bonus"... But that very argument is a divergence from RAW. It is making an assumption that "Flanking" and "Flanking Bonus" are the same thing.

I will jump on the "Ambiguous" train. I agree that due to either sloppy writing or poor formatting, it is unclear (had the section talking about positioning been indented one step in from the first line, then the more conservative reading would be clear - but no set/subset of rules is established)- but my RAW reading is that if i have the sneak attack ability, and i am holding a lance in one hand while on a horse (establishing reach/threat for flanking), that i am on the opposite side of an enemy from an ally that also threatens that enemy, i can throw a dart with my other hand and while I would get no bonus to my attack roll for flanking, I would get sneak attack damage.

Now, WHY I WOULD WANT TO DO THAT is irrelevant, I believe I have met every requirement of RAW to get the sneak attack damage.

Sovereign Court

What about the Enfilading Fire feat as it gives the +2 flanking bonus to a ranged attack against enemies who are flanked by 1 or more allies with this feat.

Prerequisites: Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, one other teamwork feat.

Benefit: You receive a +2 bonus on ranged attacks made against a foe flanked by 1 or more allies with this feat.

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