pull aggro


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what feats or abilities/class features exist that cause enemies to attack you? I want to play a tank in the sense that he forces enemies to target him before targeting the spellcasters, or at least gives penalties to enemies who don't focus him.

I know there is antagonize, but beyond that I don't really know.


There's not really much. The Unchained Monk and unchained rogue have ways to keep enemies near there

Scarab Sages

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Play smart, play tactically, make it so that the best tactical choice that an enemy can make is to attack you instead of whoever you're protecting. "Pulling aggro" is an emergent concept on the tabletop, not a button you press.

Dark Archive

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Hit things so hard that they can't afford to ignore you.

Make it so they absolutely cannot avoid dealing with you and/or your class features.

See if your DM is okay with using Intimidate to make enemies more likely to attack you.

3pp:
Play a Warder or Zealot and use your class features to make it a serious pain to ignore you.

Liberty's Edge

What does the phrase 'pull aggro' even mean?


What Duiker said.

If you build a character with strong offense and strong positional tools, you'll pull aggro.

Additionally, there's the Compel Hostility spell.


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Marc Radle wrote:
What does the phrase 'pull aggro' even mean?

It's a term from MMO's.

Creatures in the games had an algorithm that determined who they would attack; that was termed "agro," as in some modification of aggression.

In MMO's, there were a wide variety of abilities that would increase the level of aggressiveness that a monster would feel towards a character. "Tank" characters were designed to both be able to withstand a lot of damage while simultaneously inspiring monsters to direct their attacks at the "Tank" rather than at the squishier casters or damage dealers.

Silver Crusade

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Build around the feat Combat Patrol.


asking for a "pulling agro" mechanic in pathfinder is the equivalent of yelling "king me" in a chess match.
The boards may look the same but the mechanics are completely different.

Think about what you are asking for a minute. How would you like it if the DM used a pull agro mechanic on you.

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Cinderfist wrote:

asking for a "pulling agro" mechanic in pathfinder is the equivalent of yelling "king me" in a chess match.

The boards may look the same but the mechanics are completely different.

Think about what you are asking for a minute. How would you like it if the DM used a pull agro mechanic on you.

I'd like it more than being Dominated, Charmed, Stunned, Nauseated, Confused, etc. At least I still get a turn.

---

3.x/Pathfinder doesn't really have mechanics to punish opponents for attacking your allies. You can find that in 4e though, or in 5e with the Sentinel feat.
In this game though, you just have to be a big enough threat/block off routes to your allies.
You can also taunt them in-character, sometimes all it takes is a hurtful insult or three.


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Thanks be to the gods, because there aren't really any and there shouldn't be. It removes the sentience of creatures and destroy tactics.

Outside of some niche abilities like Antagonize, and Compel hostility there aren't very many and they aren't very effective. Compel hostility being a first level spell means it will probably be successfully resisted unless you heighten it, and most of the classes that have sufficient spells levels to keep it relevant aren't classes that should be trying to tank.

As a GM I hate this entire concept, and I would ask any players at my table not to go to hard into it because it ruins the fun of tactical combat for me. The game is supposed to be fun for everyone, GM and Players alike.

Aggro mechanics are probably the worst thing that could be added to Pathfinder. This isn't an MMO, please don't treat it like one.


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To quote Lilarcor from Baldur's Gate 2: "Swing harder!"

High AC turtles who hit like a wet noodle (like an MMO tank) can be safely ignored. Don't try and be unhittably tough - or nothing will even try and hit you. Having high HP and good offensive power means that enemies will hit you (and will try and hit you).

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I am also against aggro mechanics in a tabletop RPG - you have a living GM for a reason. Aggro exists in computer games because simple AI has to decide who to attack somehow, and once you get to that point agro manipulation mechanics become an obvious step.

Instead, you should think tactically. Position and make yourself worth attacking. If you were actually in the battle depicted how would you make the foes attack you instead of other targets? Do that.

As an aside, you can still do a lot of interesting things with an unhittable guy. If your foes decide to ignore you because your AC is "need a nat 20," that opens up a bunch of new combat options. You're basically immune to AoOs at that point - that frees up a lot of battlefield maneuverability and combat maneuvers. It's not traditional "tanking" but there is something very fun about provoking, say, a dozen or more AoOs with a move and shrugging them all off.


Be the most desirable target.


There's the Boasting Taunt rage power, and the Court Bard has a few abilities that penalise enemies for not attacking them.
Also: Gnomes have some tricks in that department, like Caustic Slur.


If they can't hit you then charge through the front lines ignoring AOO as you go and head straight for the soft soft soft squishes. THEN they'll pay attention to you.


No real way, perhaps you can roleplay enough of a taunting for the enemies to want to attack you.

Mechanics wise, you can try the Suicidal Trait (tieflings only), or In Harm's Way to take the hit for an ally.

Silver Crusade

The concept of Aggro like this wouldn't work with me as a GM. The enemies attack based on their own threat perceptions, and as a GM, I will sometimes use fiat so that I don't have a TPK. I don't like to pull punches, but when a party does nothing wrong but are just horribly unlucky that day... well...

That being said however, there aren't a lot of ways to ensure that you get the attention of all the bad guys. I guess go into combat alone.


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zauriel56 wrote:
what feats or abilities/class features exist that cause enemies to attack you? I want to play a tank in the sense that he forces enemies to target him before targeting the spellcasters,

How would you expect this to work "in the real world"?

The idea of being able to force an opponent to attack the tactically least-disadvantageous target is silly.

And you'd hate having this ability applied against your characters. ("No, you can't attack anyone except the AC 50 monk, while the opposing archer is droppng your buddies one-by-one.")

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There are plenty of good ways to make sure that the enemy attacks you, without a mechanic that compels them to. (I will be using 'wizard' below, but that's just shorthand for 'fragile ally of high tactical value', be it a wizard, archer, or the summoner who has to keep his eidolon turned on.)

0) In-character taunts are fun. Lots of evil NPCs might be more interested in hurting the person who insulted their mother than the 'highest value target'.

1) The simplest is just to hit for actual damage. Pain is a more compelling motivator than the buff and debuffs the wizard is throwing, even if those buffs and debuffs are the reason you can hit in the first place. Sure, stopping the wizard from casting haste is ultimately more important than a handful of HP, but swords hurt. Have you ever done something like drop a bowling ball on your toe? Did you care about things happening more than a foot away from you when that happened?

2) Tactical position is important. Especially if you have a reach weapon and Combat Reflexes, you can block a large segment of the battlefield, forcing enemies to either spend extra actions to go around, or suffer AoOs. Just hitting you might be more appealing than taking 'free hits' to get to the wizard. Likewise, use the shape of the terrain - it is often pretty easy to remove the 'go around' option.

3) You can use readied actions to block a larger area. Your DM might allow you to ready a 'partial charge', or you can just ready a move action to get in the way of an enemy who is trying to rush your ally. Break their straight line, and they can't charge. Make them go around you, and you get an AoO. Yes, this means you don't do anything on your turn, but the only way the bad guys can make you waste your readied action is standing still and leaving the wizard alone. Mission accomplished.

4) Combat maneuvers are your friend. If your GM runs monsters as tactical robots who feel no pain (negating points 0 & 1), it's relatively easy for them to ignore the risk of taking damage from an AoO to win a bigger tactical prize. So use your AoO for a combat maneuver. A trip, disarm, or grapple (even sunder) can shut them down. Even when success if not guaranteed, 'maybe I'll take some damage, but I can get to the wizard' is very different 'maybe I'll end up prone next to the fighter and never get to the wizard at all.'


Orfamay Quest wrote:


And you'd hate having this ability applied against your characters. ("No, you can't attack anyone except the AC 50 monk, while the opposing archer is droppng your buddies one-by-one.")

As someone else said up-thread, I'd hate it a lot less than being Dominated, Stunned, Nauseated, Dazed, etc.

The Monk at least has to be taken down eventually, so you're accomplishing something by attacking. The other things mean you sit there with your thumb up your ass for an hour and a half because of one failed save.


Ross Byers wrote:


3) You can use readied actions to block a larger area. Your DM might allow you to ready a 'partial charge', or you can just ready a move action to get in the way of an enemy who is trying to rush your ally. Break their straight line, and they can't charge. Make them go around you, and you get an AoO. Yes, this means you don't do anything on your turn, but the only way the bad guys can make you waste your readied action is standing still and leaving the wizard alone. Mission accomplished.

Unfortunately, this is not legal without the rhino charge feat.

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Rhino Charge would be a good investment for this type of character, but even without the 'charge' aspect, you can ready a move action. Simply getting in the way means preventing the enemy from charging and costs them movement to go around, and even more movement to go around enough to avoid your AoO.


How does one expect magic to work "in the real world"?

It's a game. About a fictional, fantastic world. I wouldn't sweat the realism concerns. I mean, I see no reason a feat couldn't skew perceptions of your threat level when other feats let you continue casting spells even after you turn into a bear.

That said, the above posters are all correct: Pathfinder does not choose to support aggro or targeting mechanics generally. You can specialize in maneuvers, but it's not that good. Flying things can't really be tripped, natural attackers can't be disarmed, and so on.

Have you considered a grappler of some flavor?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Ugh. Did you really have to use the term "pull aggro"?

Pathfinder really isn't Guild Wars.


If the goal is to penalize enemies for attacking anyone else, you can look at the Mouser Swashbuckler archetype.

There's also the Knight's Calling spell...


Guild Wars doesn't have a very good agro system. I think the term more than likely came from WoW. And while I like the mechanic in a game like that it doesn't belong in a game like Pathfinder.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

In Pathfinder, you can climb trees.

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Lune wrote:
Guild Wars doesn't have a very good agro system. I think the term more than likely came from WoW. And while I like the mechanic in a game like that it doesn't belong in a game like Pathfinder.

It dates to much older MMOs than WarCraft.


Ross: Right you are. I have played many MMOs dating back to EQ and UO. EQ I think was the first that had an agro system similar to what is used today. Unless there was one that predated it that I am unfamiliar with?

Shadow Lodge

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Be an a!##&*%.

Insult the enemy, their mother, and their stupid hat.

It won't work all the time, but get good enough at it and you can get it done pretty reliably.


Marc Radle wrote:
What does the phrase 'pull aggro' even mean?

"Pulling Aggro" is a largely MMO term. Most MMO's have three types of characters, or Toons. The tank (keeps mobs on him), DPS (kill the mobs), and healers (heal the tank and rest of the party/raid)

Each toon gains a nominal amount of threat depending on the abilities they use. That threat builds until they surpass the tank, whereupon the mob(s) move to the highest threat in the group and try to kill it.

Tanks usually have threat building abilities and at least one "taunt" ability (if not more). Taunting is used when someone other than the tank "pulls aggro" (draws the attention of the mob(s)).

Typically the DPS will have one threat-reducing ability so that they do not draw the attention of the mob(s). Successful use of threat-dropping ability is highly desired.

Healers can also have a threat reducing ability which should be used in raids.

The importance of threat reducing abilities and taunts are critical in Raids, where the mobs are usually tougher and the bosses can sometimes one-shot toons other than tanks.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Unlike Warcraft, your enemies can't simply just walk through you. Positioning and environment are the key.


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zauriel56 wrote:

what feats or abilities/class features exist that cause enemies to attack you? I want to play a tank in the sense that he forces enemies to target him before targeting the spellcasters, or at least gives penalties to enemies who don't focus him.

I know there is antagonize, but beyond that I don't really know.

There are a few ways to force enemies to attack you:

Antagonize - Uses your own standard action and only works once
Compel Hostility - Needs to be cast as a standard action first, then the enemy gets a save.
Caustic Slur - The opponent gets a save and is treated as if he's power attacking you, and you need to be a gnome, ranger, with the enemy type as your favored enemy and it uses a standard action.

There are some ways to penalize your enemy for not attacking you:
Boasting Taunt - A Barbarian rage power.
Lock gaze - Wizard/Magus/Witch/Inquisitor spell that gives allies concealment if the enemy fails its save.

There are ways to protect an ally:
Murderous Command - Like Compel Hostility, but with the added benefit that the enemy attacks one of their own party members, not one of your party members. Standard action, though.
Shield Other - Split damage between you and an ally within 30'.
Aid another - Increase an ally's armor class. This sucks because it takes your standard action and is only +2, but...
Bodyguard - Allows you to use Aid Another to defend an ally as an AoO. This synergizes with some cavalier bonus abilities, such as the Order of the Dragon or Order of the Lion.
Benevolent Armor enchant - Increase the benefit of Aid Another to increase armor class by the enhancement bonus of your armor: An Order of the Dragon using Bodyguard and wearing +3 Benevolent armor increases his ally's AC by 6.
In Harm's Way - Allows you to take a hit for an ally, need to be adjacent to both the ally and the attacking enemy. Bodyguard is a prerequisite.
Stand Still - Allows you to make a CMB check instead of an AoO to prevent an enemy from moving any further. Requires the enemy to draw an AoO. Combat Patrol will increase the area you threaten AoOs in.
Pretty much every Combat Maneuver - These take specialization and aren't going to be universally useful.

I'm sure I missed some, these are off the top of my head.

Rather than thinking "How can I tank like I do in another game?" you would be better served by thinking "How can I protect party members?" Because this is Pathfinder, not other games, and it's got its own mechanics. So strategies based on its own mechanics are much more likely to be successful than trying to shoe horn in strategies from other games.

Secondly, you should ask "Who really needs my protection?" The Wizards and Sorcerers are only actually squishy for a very short time. Once they get mirror image, they're pretty solid, and a flying, invisible, blinking wizard with Emergency Force Sphere prepared is arguably the least squishy character in the game. Divine casters have decent hit points, can get good ACs and have solid protective spells themselves. Rogues, Inquisitors, Alchemists, etc, on the other hand, can be really squishy. (Though sometimes they can also be really sturdy, depending on how they're built.)

Finally, what's really dangerous? Hit Point damage actually ends fights, but the most dangerous things to a party are often not HP damage: Fearing the damage dealers away, paralyzing party members, dropping a couple people into a pit, dropping a cloud to sicken the party, blinding people, etc. Those aren't things you can tank. The longer the enemy is up, the more chances he has to pull off a game changing ability. So the faster you end the encounter, the less likely the enemy can pull a victory out of the jaws of defeat. That means trading your actions to protect another PC might help save that PC in the short run, but it might contribute to giving the enemy a chance to use their combat ending ability later on. That's one of the reason many people are against specializing in tanking and in combat healing at the expense of offensive capabilities.

The challenge of Pathfinder combat is fundamentally different than the challenge of video game combat which uses tanks. You overcome video game challenges by successfully responding to stimulus while still doing your class's schtick: "Don't stand in fire." Pathfinder, however, is a strategy game against intelligent opponents. You overcome challenges in Pathfinder by out thinking your opponent. Pathfinder combat is more like a chess match than a WoW boss fight, "tanking the Queen" is a non sequitor in chess. One of the most powerful things you can do in chess, and in Pathfinder as well, is to make your enemy respond to you instead of doing what he wants to do. That's not available in a scripted video game encounter, and trying to tank the way you do in a video game not only gives up that option, it hands it to the other side.

Or, looking at it another way: Pathfinder combat is pretty much always PVP. Nobody builds a "PVP tank" that does nothing but stand and take hits the way a PVE tank does in any game that I know of.


How do you pull aggro?
Play 4e instead.

It's a shame there's no middle ground available between the people that find "mmo tanking" to be ridiculous and immersion breaking, and those that wish they didn't have to be a spellcaster in order to contribute something to the party other than damage.

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mplindustries wrote:

How do you pull aggro?

Play 4e instead.

It's a shame there's no middle ground available between the people that find "mmo tanking" to be ridiculous and immersion breaking, and those that wish they didn't have to be a spellcaster in order to contribute something to the party other than damage.

I laid out several ways for a martial character to get in the enemies' collective face and force them to attack him (or at least have penalties for not doing so), but don't let the existence of an actual middle ground distract you from your rant.

However, I will note that like many things in the game, this will only work to the extent your GM allows it to work. If your GM's attitude is 'Only spellcasters are ever a threat' and he plays monsters in a way that ignores the martial characters, it is going to end up feeling like only the spellcasters are important. Just like your ranger will feel less than included if he never gets to face his favored enemy. Just like a trapsmith-rogue will feel less than included if there are never any traps or locked doors.


Ross Byers wrote:
mplindustries wrote:

How do you pull aggro?

Play 4e instead.

It's a shame there's no middle ground available between the people that find "mmo tanking" to be ridiculous and immersion breaking, and those that wish they didn't have to be a spellcaster in order to contribute something to the party other than damage.

I laid out several ways for a martial character to get in the enemies' collective face and force them to attack him (or at least have penalties for not doing so), but don't let the existence of an actual middle ground distract you from your rant.

I wasn't trying to be rude or ranty, but looking at your list, I specifically said, "...contribute something to the party other than damage" and #0-3 on your list are just different ways to deal damage.

#4 is the one that's not damage, but, it's also only really applicable for the beginning levels because CMD scales too high too quickly for most PCs to keep up with, and of the maneuvers that can be used in place of an AoO, only really trip would really "control" the enemy, and something as simple as flying (which is very common in the double digits) completely invalidates it.


I would recommend as well step up. Enemies trying to shift around you will find you in their way.

There's a feat (someone may remember the name) which basically dares people to attack you and gives them a bonus to do so (giving you an attack if they do). Many enemies may find the attack too easy to resist.


Well, you could go with a brawler (fighter archetype, not hybrid class). It is built around lockdown builds, rather than direct aggro, but the effect can be the same.

Brawlers have the 'No Escape' ability at level 9. It pretty much makes any movement out of your adjacent squares draw an AoO. This combines nicely with the stand still feat, which lets you use a combat maneuver to stop any AoO drawing movement in adjacent squares.

Brawlers are particularly adept with this maneuver since they also have an ability at level 13 which adds 1/2 their level to that maneuver check (as well as a few other useful positioning maneuvers, like drag and bull rush). That means you can hope to use this combo to lock down squishy wizards and beefy beasties alike.

There is a level 11 fighter feat that does the same thing as no escape, so lore wardens (who get bonuses to all maneuvers) are also rather adept with this kind of build too.

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Cavall wrote:

I would recommend as well step up. Enemies trying to shift around you will find you in their way.

There's a feat (someone may remember the name) which basically dares people to attack you and gives them a bonus to do so (giving you an attack if they do). Many enemies may find the attack too easy to resist.

Death or Glory.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

mplindustries wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:

I laid out several ways for a martial character to get in the enemies' collective face and force them to attack him (or at least have penalties for not doing so), but don't let the existence of an actual middle ground distract you from your rant.

I wasn't trying to be rude or ranty, but looking at your list, I specifically said, "...contribute something to the party other than damage" and #0-3 on your list are just different ways to deal damage.

But 0-3 are more than damage. 'The bad guy is attacking me and not you' is a contribution.


Ross Byers wrote:


However, I will note that like many things in the game, this will only work to the extent your GM allows it to work. If your GM's attitude is 'Only spellcasters are ever a threat' and he plays monsters in a way that ignores the martial characters, it is going to end up feeling like only the spellcasters are important.

You, as a martial, answer by punishing the monster for their mistakes.


Ross Byers wrote:
Cavall wrote:

I would recommend as well step up. Enemies trying to shift around you will find you in their way.

There's a feat (someone may remember the name) which basically dares people to attack you and gives them a bonus to do so (giving you an attack if they do). Many enemies may find the attack too easy to resist.

Death or Glory.

I can't see how that feat is not horrible in all ways, and don't really help in the case at hand.


Ross Byers wrote:
But 0-3 are more than damage. 'The bad guy is attacking me and not you' is a contribution.

Right, but they rely on the idea that the bad guy is afraid of damage. Most bad guys should be afraid of damage (except when they're not, like constructs or undead), but you're relying on the GM to know that.

When I GM, ok, no problem. When someone I know and trust well is GMing, also usually ok. When anyone else is GMing? A stranger, or a friend of a friend, or a guy that just doesn't agree that the bad guys should react that way to damage, or even just a relatively new GM, well, not so much.

The 4e "marking" concept filled that gap in--it abstracted the decision that GM's make in Pathfinder as to whether or not the NPC is threatened by the damage, and said, "Yes, this NPC is threatened and this is what that means." No Marks were mind control, either--all of them involved a choice.

There appears to be no problem with using AoOs to try and corral NPCs. Even feats like Stand Still or Pin Down seem fine to the majority. You are allowed to punish a bad guy for moving away from you, but why can't you punish a bad guy for hitting your friend instead of you? Hell, there's a way to let your friends punish a bad guy for hitting you (Wounded Paw Gambit), and a way to punish enemies for hitting you yourself (Come and Get Me/Taunting Stance). But no way to punish a bad guy for hitting your friend unless your friend was inviting the attack (via Wounded Paw Gambit).


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POST IN ALL CAPS ON CASTER-MARTIAL DESTRUCITY THREAD STATING BARBARIAN AM ALWAYS WINNER.

THAT DRAW PLENTY OF AGGRO. AM MAYBE BOASTING TAUNT THOUGH.


Moving in front of bad guys and hitting them works well. Using reach weapons to control an area is good.

But 'tanking' as in MMO's is not a feature of table top. In fact central tanking only works in MMO's since the bad guys are run by AI scripts and not people. Tanking as per the MMO theory started with MMO's, not table top games.

You could also RP insulting the enemy in the fight to see if that will put his attention on you. Talking is free in combat.


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Frankly, certain classes are really big threats. Life-altering threats. Threats so deadly that ignoring them will be the last mistake you ever make, right before you die. These are the spellcasters, of course.

Sure, the barbarian's axe is a threat. But armor, HP, and staying just out of reach can make it take him several rounds to cut you down. But that little scrawny guy back there in the robe, wiggling his fingers at you - that guy will end you now. Right now.

So, if the bad guy has enough INT or WIS to know a spellcaster when he sees one, those spellcasters MUST be "at the top of his aggro list" no matter what the guy with a sword does or says.

Get in my way? I'll go around, risking a hit, to shut down that mage.
Call me names? I'll ignore them and go shut down that mage.
Taunt me? Tease me? Threaten me? I'll ignore it all and go for that mage.

Not fair?

I ask every player reading this thread if they walk into a room full of axe-wielding orcs with a spellcaster standing off to the side, who do they try to kill first?

Mmmm hmmm. I thought so.

So it's right, it's fair, and it makes sense that intelligent enemies should think the same way for the same reason.

Hence, no "taunt" mechanism.

Now all you can do is make yourself into a more immediate threat, a bigger threat, than the mage. That's just about impossible. Otherwise, use a combination of AoOs and trips (etc.) to stop them from moving around you to reach your mage.

But understand that intelligent (or wise) enemies WILL and MUST go around the martial guys to get to the squishy guys first. Understand that and use it to your advantage - build your front-line guys with enough DEX to benefit from Combat Reflexes and make them pay, Pay, PAY very dearly for their efforts to get around you. Trip them or make them Stand Still when you do this and they may never reach your mage.

As a side benefit, they might even try so hard that they use all their full-round actions moving and standing back up and never really take any shots at you, so when the fight is done, nobody (including the "tank") even needs any healing...


Nicos wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
Cavall wrote:

I would recommend as well step up. Enemies trying to shift around you will find you in their way.

There's a feat (someone may remember the name) which basically dares people to attack you and gives them a bonus to do so (giving you an attack if they do). Many enemies may find the attack too easy to resist.

Death or Glory.
I can't see how that feat is not horrible in all ways, and don't really help in the case at hand.

It's ok. It wasn't what I was talking about.

Broken wing gambit.


DM_Blake wrote:
I ask every player reading this thread if they walk into a room full of axe-wielding orcs with a spellcaster standing off to the side, who do they try to kill first?

Are the axe wielding orc as threatening as good builded martial Pcs?


A good martial interested in keeping the enemy busy will have good mobility on the battlefield, as well as situational-awareness (Combat Reflexes and is reserving actions when prudent).

Thinking like a field commander, you'll want to protect your artillery and archers (your caster), so stay in a position relative to those whom you wish to protect.

As DM, I won't send an enemy after a PC caster unless I think the enemy has the intelligence to recognize the threat and has the opportunity to do so.

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