threaten invisible creatures


Rules Questions


Threatened Squares

You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn. Generally, that means everything in all squares adjacent to your space (including diagonally). An enemy that takes certain actions while in a threatened square provokes an attack of opportunity from you. If you're unarmed, you don't normally threaten any squares and thus can't make attacks of opportunity.

so if a monster is invisible and 2 rogues flank him are they flanking because they threaten? do they even threaten? it seems to be as long as you can attack their square you threaten them.

Scarab Sages

Invisibility wrote:

Even once a character has pinpointed the square that contains an invisible creature, the creature still benefits from total concealment (50% miss chance).

...
Invisibility does not, by itself, make a creature immune to critical hits, but it does make the creature immune to extra damage from being a ranger's favored enemy and from sneak attacks.
Total Concealment wrote:
You can't execute an attack of opportunity against an opponent with total concealment, even if you know what square or squares the opponent occupies.

Nothing seems to say that you do not get +2 to hit from flank. But I think RAI is that you do not since while you do threaten the square you don't threaten the enemy since you can not get an AoO on them.


Can you threaten something if you don't know it's there?


You threaten squares, not creatures. A creature is considered threatened if it occupies a square into which you could make a melee attack. It doesn't matter if you know the creature is there or not, the ability to threaten and flank does not depend knowing something is there.

Yes, you can threaten something you do not know is there. Likewise, a creature is still considered flanked even if it doesn't know about one or more of the creatures surrounding it.

Scarab Sages

Jeraa wrote:

You threaten squares, not creatures. A creature is considered threatened if it occupies a square into which you could make a melee attack. It doesn't matter if you know the creature is there or not, the ability to threaten and flank does not depend knowing something is there.

Yes, you can threaten something you do not know is there. Likewise, a creature is still considered flanked even if it doesn't know about one or more of the creatures surrounding it.

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."
Concealment wrote:
"You can't attack an opponent that has total concealment, though you can attack into a square that you think he occupies."
invisible wrote:
If a character tries to attack an invisible creature whose location he has pinpointed, he attacks normally, but the invisible creature still benefits from full concealment (and thus a 50% miss chance). A particularly large and slow invisible creature might get a smaller miss chance.

I think if both characters have pin-pointed the invisible enemy they should get flank. But not if they haven't. And they can not get an AoO or precision damage regardless.


Quote:
Threatened Squares: You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn. Generally, that means everything in all squares adjacent to your space (including diagonally). An enemy that takes certain actions while in a threatened square provokes an attack of opportunity from you. If you're unarmed, you don't normally threaten any squares and thus can't make attacks of opportunity.

Absolutely nothing is said about knowing a creature is in a square is required to threaten. When determining if you threaten, the only thing that matters is if you can make a melee attack into the square (not necessarily against the creature, just into the square.)

Can you make an attack into a square containing an invisible creature? He has total concealment, which says:

Quote:
Total Concealment: If you have line of effect to a target but not line of sight, he is considered to have total concealment from you. You can't attack an opponent that has total concealment, though you can attack into a square that you think he occupies. A successful attack into a square occupied by an enemy with total concealment has a 50% miss chance (instead of the normal 20% miss chance for an opponent with concealment).

So yes, you can make a melee attack into that square. From the rules of threatened squares, that is all that is required. A creature is considered threatened if it occupies one of your threatened squares. Yes, you can threaten a creature you don't know is there.

As for flanking:

Quote:

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.

The only thing that matters is that both attacks threaten the target (and be on opposite sides, of course). Again, nothing is ever said about knowing the creature is there, of the creature knowing you are there. Only threatening matters, and as already established that doesn't depend on knowing about the creature.

Attacks of opportunity and sneak attacks don't work because the rules for total concealment say they don't work. You still threaten (And can flank) the target.

Scarab Sages

But, Jeraa, can you flank a square? Because you can't directly attack an invisible creature(unless its pin-pointed), only its possible square.


Lorewalker wrote:
But, Jeraa, can you flank a square? Because you can't directly attack an invisible creature(unless its pin-pointed), only its possible square.

You can flank a threatened creature. Threatening a creature only requires you be able to make a melee attack into the square said creature occupies, not necessarily against the creature itself. Even if you can't directly attack the creature, if you can make a melee attack into its square at all (the only thing threatening cares about), then you can flank it.

Nothing about the flanking rules says you have to be able to directly attack the creature. Just that you have to be able to melee attack into a square the creature occupies (the definition of threatening in the rules). You don't have to pin-point it. You don't even have to know it is there.

Scarab Sages

That completely goes against what flanking is supposed to represent. I'm still going to have to disagree here based on the rules as is. I get where you are coming from in a completely RAW, no RAI, interpretation. I'm not saying I'm absolutely correct or that you are absolutely wrong... only that this is the way I see it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Flanking rules are the mechanical representation of two attackers against one target, possibly at the same time (though not the same initiative), so the target has a harder time defend (which makes it easier to hit for both attackers).

So if you go by the visual of two characters attacking the same square they suspect (but might not have confirmed) an invisible target to be in, syncing their attacks so the target has a hard time, the rules check out.

Scarab Sages

Franz Lunzer wrote:

Flanking rules are the mechanical representation of two attackers against one target, possibly at the same time (though not the same initiative), so the target has a harder time defend (which makes it easier to hit for both attackers).

So if you go by the visual of two characters attacking the same square they suspect (but might not have confirmed) an invisible target to be in, syncing their attacks so the target has a hard time, the rules check out.

The problem is that it just doesn't seem reasonable to organize against a creature which they can not target and can't be sure is in that square. Again, if they pinpointed the creature I'm fine with the idea of flanking.

Heck, I'd be fine with a house rule that you can flank an invisible creature that you have not pinpointed so long as two people who are in a flanking position both succeeded at the 50% miss chance, adding two to their attack. To represent their attempt to box in a target they can not see that somehow succeeded despite that.

Sovereign Court

You threaten a square if you can attack it.

You threaten a creature if it's within your threatened squares.

You flank a creature if you and an ally threaten it from opposite sides.

Invisibility prevents none of these.

---

Now, AoOs are another story. To get an AoO, three things are needed:
1) A creature does something to provoke.
2) You threaten that creature.
3) There are no circumstances that prevent you from making the AoO that was just provoked. Such as the creature being invisible, having cover from you, or you having the grappled condition.

The #3 conditions apply to when you may actually take the AoO, but they don't un-threaten someone.


Lorewalker wrote:
The problem is that it just doesn't seem reasonable to organize against a creature which they can not target and can't be sure is in that square.

It doesn't require organization to flank someone. If one person with a blindfold was trying to hit you with a club, you'd probably be able to dodge. If two blindfolded people standing on either side of you were flailing at you wildly with clubs, you probably wouldn't. Your attention is divided, even if your opponents are incompetent.

Scarab Sages

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Ascalaphus wrote:

You threaten a square if you can attack it.

You threaten a creature if it's within your threatened squares.

You flank a creature if you and an ally threaten it from opposite sides.

Invisibility prevents none of these.

---

Now, AoOs are another story. To get an AoO, three things are needed:
1) A creature does something to provoke.
2) You threaten that creature.
3) There are no circumstances that prevent you from making the AoO that was just provoked. Such as the creature being invisible, having cover from you, or you having the grappled condition.

The #3 conditions apply to when you may actually take the AoO, but they don't un-threaten someone.

Again, if I didn't get it fully across, I believe that RAW does support the position you are representing. I just think that RAI does not. Just as I don't think an invisible ally should provide flank despite there being no rule to disallow it.(Unless they attacked this turn)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Lorewalker wrote:
... Just as I don't think an invisible ally should provide flank despite there being no rule to disallow it.(Unless they attacked this turn)

Why would that have anything to do with whether they are flanking or not?

Sovereign Court

The flanking rules are far from perfect. A lot depends on what exactly causes the bonus. Is it because the defender is splitting his attention?

In that case, can he be distracted by an enemy he doesn't know is there? Could he just decide to disregard an enemy, because he's much more scared of the other one? (Ignore the level 1 commoner so the level 10 rogue doesn't sneak attack you.) Conversely, if it's about (involuntary) splitting of attention, can you flank someone with in illusion? Or if someone thinks that there's in invisible enemy in a square, does that count for flanking?

Big can of worms. Tricky to solve. I just go by RAW on this one even if it doesn't fully satisfy me.


Lorewalker wrote:
Again, if I didn't get it fully across, I believe that RAW does support the position you are representing. I just think that RAI does not. Just as I don't think an invisible ally should provide flank despite there being no rule to disallow it.(Unless they attacked this turn)

This is the Rules subforum. The rules as the actually exist are what matters. And seeing as how these particular rules have existed in the same form for going on 17 years now across 3 editions and 2 companies without a change would seem to indicate they are working as intended.

Doesn't matter if the rules make sense to someone or not. The rules are full of things like that. My go-to example is reach. A 2 foot tall Small creature (2footis the bare minimum for Small size) wielding a dagger has the exact same reach as an 8 foot tall Medium creature (8 foot is the upper edge of Medium) wielding a greatsword.

Also, a colossal creature with a reach weapon can strike a target 60 feet away with a melee attack, while the same creature is out or range for the colossal creatures throwing axe (10' increment, max 5 increments is 50 feet). He can strike a creature in melee that is too far away for a ranged attack.


And don't forget that you can be flanked by an invisible creature whose presence you're not even aware of!

As Ascalaphus said, the flanking rules aren't perfect. But they generally do a good enough job for what we need them to do. And you can always tweak them in a home game if there's something about them you don't like.

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