Flanking with a different weapon


Rules Questions


Can you threaten with one weapon, but attack with another weapon that doesn't and still get the benefits of flanking?

My specific desire is to use Tail Terror with a Long Lash Kobold Tail Attachment (a Reach weapon) in order to qualify for sneak attacks (from the Bushwacker archetype) with a pistol.
Theoretically, if I'm threatening it with my tail lash, it's still something the enemy has to worry about, so it should still disrupt them even if I'm not attacking with the thing that's technically threatening their space. I remember reading somewhere that you don't count as wielding one thing if you attacked with something else, though, so I'm not sure if this works.
I know I could eventually do this with Improved Snap Shot, but I'd rather my frontlining high-AC Pistolero (Have you SEEN all the AC bonuses Kobold Gunslingers get? He could be an unhittable little terror!) not have to wait until 15th level or so to come online with some actual damage, and I wouldn't mind having 2 feats left over at high level when I can afford a second magic gun for Two-Weapon Fighting and Improved TWF (probably at 17th and 19th level if I do get them, but who knows?), though I probably won't be able to since Bushwacker trades out bonus feats.


Only melee weapons can benefit from flanking.

Snap Shot and Improved Snap Shot can allow you to threaten which will allow you to provide flanking while you are using a ranged weapon, but you will not receive the benefits of flanking yourself.


Ah, right. I guess I phrased things wrong. I specifically wanted to be able to gain sneak attack on the attacks; the flanking bonus itself is not the goal. Can that not happen?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I... admittedly, cannot find any rules that specifically disprove your position. Sneak Attack simply says "that the rogue is flanking", not necessarily with that weapon.

However, the intention of the meaning is clear, even if there is a loophole. Your GM will likely not allow it.


Honestly, knowing her, she might allow it, but I'd rather do things legitimately. So the only way to do what I want is to multiclass into Fighter or Ranger (or Slayer) and spend a whole pile of feats to get Snap Shot and Point Blank Master?


You could perhaps attempt to pursue making an opponent flat-footed to generate sneak attack?


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Flanking is caused by a weapon threatening, not the action the character is about to take. If the rogue can threaten with one weapon then it is part of a flanking condition. Seems to me, a sneak attack should be permitted with a weapon that threatens, while the sneak attack is performed by a different weapon.

Scarab Sages

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If you make an attack with a ranged weapon, that attack never gains the benefit of flanking, because flanking only applies to melee attacks. To gain sneak attack from a ranged weapon, you cannot use flanking. You must deny the target dex to AC, either through total concealment/invisibility or through the ranged feint feat.


Imbicatus wrote:
If you make an attack with a ranged weapon, that attack never gains the benefit of flanking, because flanking only applies to melee attacks. To gain sneak attack from a ranged weapon, you cannot use flanking. You must deny the target dex to AC, either through total concealment/invisibility or through the ranged feint feat.

I was afraid of that. So I can't make a frontline Bushwacker, then. It'd probably take about 20 feats just to get it functioning.

EDIT: So, there are a few ways to deny the opponent's Dex bonus that could work, but they all require multiple feats which I just wouldn't have and/or come online way too late.
For example, the very appropriate Kobold Groundling feat would work with the Twin Shot Knockdown deed from Pistolero, but requires the High King of Feat Taxes Combat Expertise and Kobold Style, Twin Shot Knockdown is an 11th level deed, the first two attacks wouldn't benefit, and I'd need Signature Deed to do it reliably. Not to mention the +4 AC bonus vs. ranged attacks for the prone enemy.
Shatter Defenses is a little better, but it requires Weapon Focus, Dazzling Display, for the enemy to be shaken, frightened, or panicked, and the first shot doesn't benefit.
Ranged Feint would require so many feats you probably wouldn't have everything you needed for the build to come online by 20th level, never mind any time that it'd actually be useful.


You don't have to threaten to flank, only your ally does. You could sneak attack with a whip, even 15' away, no problems.


Quantum Steve wrote:
You don't have to threaten to flank, only your ally does. You could sneak attack with a whip, even 15' away, no problems.
Sneak Attack wrote:
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.

Scarab Sages

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A whip is still a melee weapon, so it can benefit from flanking. A ranged weapon can't.


Imbicatus wrote:
A whip is still a melee weapon, so it can benefit from flanking. A ranged weapon can't.

Yes. You can only flank with a melee weapon. I missed that was what the OP was asking.


you can only gain the benefits of flanking with a melee weapon however if you use snapshot you can give your melee ally a flanking bonus


Bringing some sources to this discussion.

[...]

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.[...]

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.[...]

If you attack with the ranged weapon, then no, you do not flank your target.

[...]

Benefit: While wielding a ranged weapon with which you have Weapon Focus, you threaten squares within 5 feet of you. You can make attacks of opportunity with that ranged weapon. You do not provoke attacks of opportunity when making a ranged attack as an attack of opportunity.

Normal: While wielding a ranged weapon, you threaten no squares and can make no attacks of opportunity with that weapon.

Well, this is tricky. In my opinion this feat still does not grant you the flanking bonus. I have two arguments for this: a) your attack is still a ranged attack (the feat description does not mention that this is treated as melee-attack) and b) the part under Normal emphasizes the RAI: you can make (an) attack(s) of opportunity (you can also grant flanking to others, but this is more a side effect). As far as I am aware there is no possibility to grant flanking to a ranged attack with pure Paizo material.

If you are willing and your GM permits it, there is a 3rd Party Feat

Even at a distance, you can take advantage of a distracted opponent.

Prerequisite: Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, base attack bonus +10.

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.

Normal: Only characters in melee are considered flanking.

EDIT: Minor text fixes.

EDIT 2: In foresight, just a RAW

[...]

Attack Bonus
Your attack bonus with a melee weapon is the following:

Base attack bonus + Strength modifier + size modifier
[...]
Melee Attacks: With a normal melee weapon, you can strike any opponent within 5 feet. [...]

This is why it is important that it is not mentioned that the attacks granted by Snapshot are no melee attacks. If they were, RAW says you have to apply your Srength-Modifier instead of the Dexterity-Modifier. Since this would certainly not go unnoticed, there would be some wording like "treat this attack as if it were a melee-attack, but still apply your ranged attack bonus".


Imbicatus wrote:
A whip is still a melee weapon, so it can benefit from flanking. A ranged weapon can't.

Ranged weapons can if you have the snap shot feat.


voska66 wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
A whip is still a melee weapon, so it can benefit from flanking. A ranged weapon can't.
Ranged weapons can if you have the snap shot feat.

no ranged weapons with snapshot can grant melee weapon users flanking the range weapon user doesn't get the benefit from flanking tho


voska66 wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
A whip is still a melee weapon, so it can benefit from flanking. A ranged weapon can't.
Ranged weapons can if you have the snap shot feat.

Sadly, you can't.

CRB, 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.
...

So you only get the flanking bonus for melee attacks. This rule is confirmed in the Gang Up FAQ.

FAQ wrote:

Gang Up: Does this feat (page 161) allow you to flank a foe with ranged weapons?

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)

As others have mentioned, Snapshot does let you grant flanking bonuses to allies who are wielding melee weapons.


So, since my poor little Kobold has no way of gaining his Sneak Shot damage himself, I started going through items that would let me do it without relying on my party mates to supply my main damage. The two best options I've found are:
Alchemical Flare Cartridges that you fire out of your gun. In order to be useful, you'd need to be able to lower the enemy saves, unfortunately, but that's not exceptionally hard to do yourself and odds are your party will be doing it, too. The real downsides are the half damage (thankfully, though, if you're making multiple attacks you can just load regular cartridges after you successfully blind it) and the +2 misfire value (as opposed to the +1 on a normal cartridge).
The Fey version of Amulet of the Blooded gives you 9 rounds per day of Greater Invisibility and a nice 3/day touch attack that restricts enemy action. The downside is that it's incredibly expensive and it's ONLY 9 rounds/day of Greater Invisibility, relegating it to emergencies or going nova.


Bloodrealm wrote:
The downside is that it's incredibly expensive and it's ONLY 9 rounds/day of Greater Invisibility, relegating it to emergencies or going nova.

9 rounds is actually a lot. Imagine a TWF Rogue on level 9 (Sneak Attack +5d6, BAB +6/+1) with Shortswords. This character could damage an oponent for 3x 6d6 DMG per round. Let's assume that this rogue spends two rounds to get to the target. This would leave seven rounds of full damage. If you take the average, this would be 21 DMG per Attack, 63 DMG per Round and 441 DMG total. If the Rogue has improved Two Weapon fighting, that is an additional attack per round. If the rogue gets Haste, that is another attack, all stacking, resulting in a total of 5 attacks per round. You get the idea...

For you, 9 Rounds / day would mean that you can get four sneak attacks in reliably (1 round activating the amulet, 1 round shooting, 1 round deactivating the amulet, consuming 2 rounds for one shot).

There is still the possibility of Invisibility potions. With 300 GP a pop, you would have to consume 34 of them before the amulet breaks even.

With unchained rules and 15 points in Stealth, you can deny an enemy, that is unaware of your location, its Dexterity-Bonus to AC, but this only qualifies for one attack (after the first attack you either have to re-hide by using Sniping, as marked in the Stealth skill descripton or be discovered).


Gunslinger needs several feats at the start to get everything in order (Rapid Reload, PBS, and Precise Shot at least, and Bushwacker trades out Gunslinger bonus feats to get the Sneak Shot damage) and two +1 Shadowshooting Pistols aren't cheap (+2-equivalent weapons like that are 8000gp each, not counting the 300 to upgrade my initial pistol and 800 for the second) along with some AC items like armour, and obviously the amulet (10000gp), so TWF is off the table at the beginning. Sneak Shot also doesn't give full Sneak Attack progression. I know 9 rounds is a lot in many situations, but it will take a while to come online even just taking the cost into account. If I built a Pepperbox as a six-shot-per-fight weapon and have my main weapon be a +1 Shadowshooting Pistol, then I suppose TWF could work a bit earlier, but the Pepperbox would still cost me 1500gp to build (more for Masterwork) and I'd probably just be better off getting Rapid Shot at first.

The problem with regular invisibility is that I'm not making a sniper build (if I were, then Concealment Master would be a pretty good idea). I'm aware of what I could do as a Bushwacker Musket Master (and I would like to try that at some point, too; likely a Vital Strike build) but I'm trying for a Pistolero, hence my initial question regarding flanking. Flanking, were it able to work, would save me so much hassle.

I would love to be able to make Bushwacker Pistolero work, but the more I look into it, the more it seems like I should go with just Pistolero and rely on Deadly Aim and number of attacks like anyone else. I had no idea you couldn't get Sneak Attack with a ranged weapon even if you threatened with it, which is what it would take to really make things work. It's sad, since I don't want to lose that Kobold stuff, but it looks like the build wouldn't be viable until way later on.


you could ask your dm to retrain your archetype


Bloodrealm wrote:
I would love to be able to make Bushwacker Pistolero work, but the more I look into it, the more it seems like I should go with just Pistolero and rely on Deadly Aim and number of attacks like anyone else. I had no idea you couldn't get Sneak Attack with a ranged weapon even if you threatened with it, which is what it would take to really make things work. It's sad, since I don't want to lose that Kobold stuff, but it looks like the build wouldn't be viable until way later on.

You can get Sneak Attack with ranged weapons, but it's incredibly hard and Flanking does not work with ranged weapons so threatening doesn't matter.

You would have to find some other way of denying your target their dex to AC.

This difficulty is why you almost never see specialized ranged builds with rogues, because there isn't a good way to get Sneak Attack with ranged weapons. It's basically only on the first round of combat before the enemies act (while they are still flat-footed).


Claxon wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
I would love to be able to make Bushwacker Pistolero work, but the more I look into it, the more it seems like I should go with just Pistolero and rely on Deadly Aim and number of attacks like anyone else. I had no idea you couldn't get Sneak Attack with a ranged weapon even if you threatened with it, which is what it would take to really make things work. It's sad, since I don't want to lose that Kobold stuff, but it looks like the build wouldn't be viable until way later on.

You can get Sneak Attack with ranged weapons, but it's incredibly hard and Flanking does not work with ranged weapons so threatening doesn't matter.

You would have to find some other way of denying your target their dex to AC.

This difficulty is why you almost never see specialized ranged builds with rogues, because there isn't a good way to get Sneak Attack with ranged weapons. It's basically only on the first round of combat before the enemies act (while they are still flat-footed).

Sniping also works, though difficult to pull off. I mentioned that Kobolds would be good at it, though I erroneously said Bushwacker Musket Master (you couldn't add Musket Master, though that's not too much of a penalty for a one-shot-per-round build).


Shatter Defenses has always been one of the gotos for ranged sneak attack.

1.Get the enemy shaken, frightened, or panicked (Enforcer works well for this: Shaken for a number of rounds equal to non-lethal damage dealt)

2.Attack them once

3.Go to town.

If you can convince one of your party members to help set you up, this gets a lot easier. Also, if you have a way to keep enemies afraid you can just keep re-activating Shatter Defenses with every attack.

It's not perfect, but ranged SA is hard.


Quantum Steve wrote:

Shatter Defenses has always been one of the gotos for ranged sneak attack.

1.Get the enemy shaken, frightened, or panicked (Enforcer works well for this: Shaken for a number of rounds equal to non-lethal damage dealt)

2.Attack them once

3.Go to town.

If you can convince one of your party members to help set you up, this gets a lot easier. Also, if you have a way to keep enemies afraid you can just keep re-activating Shatter Defenses with every attack.

It's not perfect, but ranged SA is hard.

Gunslingers in particular don't have a huge number of skill points to put into Intimidate, though, making Dazzling Display just a tax if you're not going to specialize in that yourself, and poor little Kobolds need all the feats they can get since Bushwacker trades away bonus feats for the sneak attack. Intimidate is a Class Skill and you do need 5 points in it to qualify for the Prestige Class, however, so it might be okay.

Rogues, Ninja, and Slayers have it easier: all three have more skill points, Ninja actually use Charisma in their Class Features, and Slayers get their Studied Target bonus on Intimidate at 7th level.

Come to think of it, Empty Quiver Flexibility might allow you to make your Sneak Shot attacks in melee (not certain, but maybe), meaning you wouldn't just be restricted to first-round sneak attack damage.

But all this wouldn't be necessary if threatening the opponent let you get a ranged sneak attack, whether through a separate melee weapon threatening or through feats that let you threaten with a ranged weapon.


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Bloodrealm wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:

Shatter Defenses has always been one of the gotos for ranged sneak attack.

1.Get the enemy shaken, frightened, or panicked (Enforcer works well for this: Shaken for a number of rounds equal to non-lethal damage dealt)

2.Attack them once

3.Go to town.

If you can convince one of your party members to help set you up, this gets a lot easier. Also, if you have a way to keep enemies afraid you can just keep re-activating Shatter Defenses with every attack.

It's not perfect, but ranged SA is hard.

Gunslingers in particular don't have a huge number of skill points to put into Intimidate, though, making Dazzling Display just a tax if you're not going to specialize in that yourself, and poor little Kobolds need all the feats they can get since Bushwacker trades away bonus feats for the sneak attack. Intimidate is a Class Skill and you do need 5 points in it to qualify for the Prestige Class, however, so it might be okay.

Rogues, Ninja, and Slayers have it easier: all three have more skill points, Ninja actually use Charisma in their Class Features, and Slayers get their Studied Target bonus on Intimidate at 7th level.

Come to think of it, Empty Quiver Flexibility might allow you to make your Sneak Shot attacks in melee (not certain, but maybe), meaning you wouldn't just be restricted to first-round sneak attack damage.

But all this wouldn't be necessary if threatening the opponent let you get a ranged sneak attack, whether through a separate melee weapon threatening or through feats that let you threaten with a ranged weapon.

Ranged combat is already what most consider a "powerful" combat form. Easy ranged SA would make it ridiculous. Fights would be over before they started and it would be no fun for anyone besides the person playing a tactical nuke. Just to put things in perspective. There are more than a few reasons to not implement what you are looking to do, if you step back and look at the forest instead of the tree.


Oh, yeah, I understand that. Just a little annoying that I can't really use Bushwacker how I want. Maybe this will let me focus on the crazy AC, though.


I think you would get the sneak attack. You have to flank your opponent. You do flank your opponent, even if it's not with the weapon you're attacking with. I think it makes logical sense as well - if the opponent is concerned about a melee attack from both sides, if anything they would be even more distracted from a potential ranged attack. Clearly you don't get the flanking bonus to attack, but you still provide flank with your ally.


MyTThor wrote:
I think you would get the sneak attack. You have to flank your opponent. You do flank your opponent, even if it's not with the weapon you're attacking with. I think it makes logical sense as well - if the opponent is concerned about a melee attack from both sides, if anything they would be even more distracted from a potential ranged attack. Clearly you don't get the flanking bonus to attack, but you still provide flank with your ally.

That is simply not how the rules mechanics work. You do not qualify for flanking flanking when using a ranged weapon, including not being able to get sneak attack from it.


There is another point of view on flanking. That it is a positional thing, per the English language. That the flanking bonus only applies to melee attacks, and that the position only can get sneak attacks.

Most people do not take this view. I don't play it, but think it is RAW. While there have been FAQs, I don't think they have actually stated that flanking only applies to melee, because they refer to a section of text under question rather than spell it out. Many say I am wrong.

/cevah


What about this, Cevah? Looks to me like they spelled it out.


Cevah wrote:

There is another point of view on flanking. That it is a positional thing, per the English language. That the flanking bonus only applies to melee attacks, and that the position only can get sneak attacks.

Most people do not take this view. I don't play it, but think it is RAW. While there have been FAQs, I don't think they have actually stated that flanking only applies to melee, because they refer to a section of text under question rather than spell it out. Many say I am wrong.

/cevah

Mostly because you are, and they have.

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