Attacks of Opportunity. Some Questions, Concerns, and Thoughts.


Prerelease Discussion


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So, it's been clear that AoOs are not going to be the default for everyone. Fighters can have them, other classes may be able to gain access, and enemies may vary. However, from what has been revealed so far, I have concerns that the implementation is too similar and doesn't offer any improvement considering the opportunity that a second edition has to improve it.

My two questions are, will players be aware of who can perform AoOs, or will it be unknown? And will the "five-foot-step" still ignore AoOs?

If players are aware, my concern is that, much as I experience in my current games, AoOs will never happen. From my understanding the five-foot-step still exists, as an action admittedly but if it still avoids AoOs (and what other use would it have with AoOs being limited now instead of default?). While yes, players and certain enemies may choose to be risky and provoke, my experience is that provoking rarely happens when a players and reasonably smart enemies can take an action to be safe. In this situation, it becomes almost a nonability, you don't actually use AoOs the ability just makes you stickier and costs action economy of retreating opponents as per old system (see below)

If players are unaware, it would make sense, you don't necessarily know a creature's ability until it happens. However now you play the paranoia game. In my opinion, players do not like 'Gotchas' and after the first couple times it happens, will probably err to the side of caution and five-foot-step anyway when it seems likely an enemy can AoO. Even worse, a GM is aware of what players can AoO and, willingly or not, may metagame the system to the players disadvantage. So we end up with players still safe-stepping to avoid, possibly sourly because it might be a wasted safe-step, and a set-up that favors GMs who cannot resist the meta-game.

In current Pathfinder, Attacks of Opportunity serve the niche of being a base way to be 'Sticky' and threatening. It allows the fighter to close with an enemy and that enemy suddenly finds it trickier to leave the melee and target the squishy. Most often this manifests in taking a five-foot-step to slowly position or cast a spell safely, or full retreat to reposition in melee with the squishy who now finds themselves in the threatening spot. The attack isn't often actually taken, unless investment has been built up to allow it anyway. It provides the stickiness but at the cost of each turn, reminding players about the potential AoO, dancing around, in general making things complicated and messing up the smooth flow of combat. My concern is that, even limiting this ability, enough people CAN have it, or the threat of enemies POSSIBLY having it, will end up with it still playing the same and I would like combat smoother than that.

I shall see what full playtest reveals. However, currently it is sounding like it either needs to be more threatening (remove five-foot-step safety option) or simplified to what the end results will be with the current system (Make movement or spell-casting starting within the Fighter's range cost one additional action from being harried, perhaps costing the fighter one of their actions to manifest the ability). Or, follow both paths as either separate options or options that can stack so the fighter can become very very sticky. If moving costs two actions AND still provokes, that enemy is very stuck, which would be a nice path for Fighters to really have.

Bit of a ramble. But I really want paizo to simplify and improve Melee Stickiness and Threaten abilities without the five-foot-step/AoO setup of the current edition.


Carter Lockhart wrote:

So, it's been clear that AoOs are not going to be the default for everyone. Fighters can have them, other classes may be able to gain access, and enemies may vary. However, from what has been revealed so far, I have concerns that the implementation is too similar and doesn't offer any improvement considering the opportunity that a second edition has to improve it.

My two questions are, will players be aware of who can perform AoOs, or will it be unknown? And will the "five-foot-step" still ignore AoOs?

If players are aware, my concern is that, much as I experience in my current games, AoOs will never happen. From my understanding the five-foot-step still exists, as an action admittedly but if it still avoids AoOs (and what other use would it have with AoOs being limited now instead of default?). While yes, players and certain enemies may choose to be risky and provoke, my experience is that provoking rarely happens when a players and reasonably smart enemies can take an action to be safe. In this situation, it becomes almost a nonability, you don't actually use AoOs the ability just makes you stickier and costs action economy of retreating opponents as per old system (see below)

If players are unaware, it would make sense, you don't necessarily know a creature's ability until it happens. However now you play the paranoia game. In my opinion, players do not like 'Gotchas' and after the first couple times it happens, will probably err to the side of caution and five-foot-step anyway when it seems likely an enemy can AoO. Even worse, a GM is aware of what players can AoO and, willingly or not, may metagame the system to the players disadvantage. So we end up with players still safe-stepping to avoid, possibly sourly because it might be a wasted safe-step, and a set-up that favors GMs who cannot resist the meta-game.

In current Pathfinder, Attacks of Opportunity serve the niche of being a base way to be 'Sticky' and threatening. It allows the fighter to close with an enemy and that enemy suddenly...

That's just the nature of the game, and of risks, gambling, and adventuring in general. Delving into and facing the unknown is just part of the package deal. I think there are tools that are available that alleviate some of these concerns (i.e. Knowledge/Lore checks), but I'd prefer to keep my players on their toes if given the choice, since it creates a greater sense of immersion for them. (YMMV of course.)

I mean, what's the reason Joe Schmoe doesn't adventure if not simply because it's a deadly occupation not suited for everyone? (No actual answers for this please, the question is purposefully rhetorical to demonstrate a valid point.)

And to be honest, I think it's fair if the players play it safe even if they don't have to. Because conversely, some NPCs and monsters will have to make those identical decisions, and some will have solid avenues to identify those issues (such as previous fighting experience and scrying).


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
That's just the nature of the game, and of risks, gambling, and adventuring in general.

I'm not arguing that there isn't an inherent risk to being an adventurer. Moreso, I'm trying to forward the idea that the implementation doesn't fit the desired effect.

Making attacks of opportunity a limited resource puts it on a pedestal. This is a reaction, and if you level in Fighter or take it as a other-class feat, you want to use it. You want to be able to attack outside of your turn.

Spoiler:
Current game, when everyone has it, it's not that important if your AoO doesn't get used or not unless you specialize, and chances are if you specialize you will be able to get it

But, unless something has changed (and considering the five-foot-step has been mentioned I'm inclined to think they haven't), the game is being set up for it to never be used and instead players and enemies will take decreased action economy to avoid the threat.

And let's be clear. An AoO is something to be avoided. With only a -2 penalty, it is much better to avoid an AoO and instead allow a full attack, because the default -5 second attack and -10 third attack are significantly less accurate.

Even if the ability is unknown, the default ability and default action of five-foot-step implies that the common knowledge of the game world is that some warriors are able to do it, and when facing a big melee creature or warrior, you should be careful backing away. Players and not-dumb NPCs use five-foot-steps and an AoO remains a rare occurrence, and this Big Shiny no longer seems so important or fun.

It either needs to have no counter to let those who pick it be able to use it. Or, a simpler version should be implemented that just decreases action economy for non-attacks on adjacent enemies.

I suppose, in general, If this is a reaction that is equivalent to a feat, it should have few counters, and counters should also require a feat. If everyone has access to the five-foot-step counter, this is a poor value class ability or feat and adds unneeded complexity to what could be much simpler.

I could see it split into three feats/abilities, that don't have a counter, keeping it simple and worthwhile.

Distracting: As an action, the character threatens those who don't engage them in combat. Opponents who start their turn within the reach of the Fighter's melee weapon must spend an additional action to move out of the Fighter's reach or cast a spell while within the fighter's reach.
Pros: Doesn't use up your valuable reaction action, decreases action economy for those trying to flee or cast spells beside you.

Disruptive: As a reaction, you may make an attack at a -2 penalty against an opponent who casts a spell within reach of your melee weapon.
Pros: Guaranteed attack, focusses on being a trouble to casters.

Harrying: As a reaction, you may make an attack at a -2 penalty against an opponent who moves out of the reach of your melee weapon.
Pros: Guaranteed attack, focusses on being sticky.

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An attack of opportunity is just one option for your reaction. If your enemy avoids provoking, you can always use Shield Block to negate some damage from their attack, or other unrevealed options.

Playing against a fighter, you might try to bait them into using their reaction to shield block so you can retreat safely. The fighter then takes the calculated risk of either blocking damage or continuing to threaten an opportunistic attack. I really like that dynamic.


KingOfAnything wrote:

An attack of opportunity is just one option for your reaction. If your enemy avoids provoking, you can always use Shield Block to negate some damage from their attack, or other unrevealed options.

Playing against a fighter, you might try to bait them into using their reaction to shield block so you can retreat safely. The fighter then takes the calculated risk of either blocking damage or continuing to threaten an opportunistic attack. I really like that dynamic.

This is a fair idea of balance, but it sounds very unfun for a fighter, because he is wasting actions to gain options and still doesn't have a guarantee that he can use what is essentially the Fighter's signature ability.

Let's say, Fighter closes to wizard/cleric.
Fighter Action 1: Move
Fighter Action 2: Attack
Wizard Reaction: Shield (no counter or avoidance to this so far as we know)
Fighter Action 3: Ready Shield

Cleric Response:
Action 1: Attack (Fighter may shield here, but wants to get his AoO and chooses not to)
Action 2: Five-foot-step
Action 3: Self-heal (I believe this is at 1 action?)
Fighter has possibly been damaged once, and the damage he dealt may have been healed. The fighter will have to use one of three actions to approach again next turn.

Wizard Response:
Action 1: Attack (Fighter may shield here, but wants to get his AoO and chooses not to)
Action 2: Five-foot-step
Action 3: Magic Missile
Fighter has possibly been damaged twice, and have only damaged wizard once, and will have to use one of three actions to approach again next turn.

Even if the fighter chooses a second attack instead of readying shield, it's at a -5, not the -2 of the AoO, and still the AoO can be avoided.


Magic Missile might cost more than one action to do, so that's not potentially possible, meaning the Wizard has to either burn his 3rd action to not move out, or to just run and complete one of the spell components.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Magic Missile might cost more than one action to do, so that's not potentially possible, meaning the Wizard has to either burn his 3rd action to not move out, or to just run and complete one of the spell components.

I believe information has confirmed that Magic missile is a single action, with additional actions possible for extra missile? Of course I may be confused. Nonetheless, the Wizard could still five foot step and target a party member other than the Fighter who does not have a shield. My main point that the Shiny AoO ability has been negated still stands. And now even worse the fighter may have wasted an action to give him options that may not apply (I don't know if it's been clear if shield reduce magic damage) if no melee or ranged weapon targets him.


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AOO is the strongest when you don't have to use it. The OP is a great analysis of how this mechanic actually plays out: It limits the opponent's options and "locks them down" with a melee guy. If you take measures to avoid it, you are losing out on actions, so there's a lot to gain from risking it if you evaluate the situation correctly. It's one of the most interesitng tactical variables in Pathfinder.

If you have AOO and are next to an enemy, you are already oppressing them and controlling their actions even if you never actually swing the sword. The fear of free hit can be more powerful than the damage it would deal anyways.

It is both buffed and nerfed in this edition. On one hand, the 5-step is not "free", it's an action called "Guarded Step" and using it is as costly as any attack or ability you want to use so they can't 5-step and full-attack at 100%. This means you can more reliably slow down reach-weapons (though it slows you down as well). Punishing mages is a mixed bag since they can still step back and cast 1 spell and you dont get all 3 attacks against them, but they also run out of actions at that point and can't draw a wand or other things they could also do in 1e.

Punishing people for moving around seems about the same. Unless it's changed to "leaves your reach", in which case that would be a big downgrade in tanking since they can just kinda run a circle around you for free.


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I'd still like to see all Martials (barbarian, fighter, paladin, ranger, rogue) get AoO even if it's restricted to a feat for everyone else. Just make it better for the fighter. Then you still at least have a good mental sense from the description of an opponent whether they're likely to be able to do it or not, and other Martials don't lose out on the ability to help control the battlefield.

And as for stepping back 5 feet to avoid them, I mentioned this elsewhere, but I'd love an early-available AoO upgrade feat to be letting you step 5 feet to take an AoO against someone taking a provoking action just outside your reach... >:3


ChibiNyan wrote:

AOO is the strongest when you don't have to use it. The OP is a great analysis of how this mechanic actually plays out: It limits the opponent's options and "locks them down" with a melee guy. If you take measures to avoid it, you are losing out on actions, so there's a lot to gain from risking it if you evaluate the situation correctly. It's one of the most interesitng tactical variables in Pathfinder.

If you have AOO and are next to an enemy, you are already oppressing them and controlling their actions even if you never actually swing the sword. The fear of free hit can be more powerful than the damage it would deal anyways.

It is both buffed and nerfed in this edition. On one hand, the 5-step is not "free", it's an action called "Guarded Step" and using it is as costly as any attack or ability you want to use so they can't 5-step and full-attack at 100%. This means you can more reliably slow down reach-weapons (though it slows you down as well). Punishing mages is a mixed bag since they can still step back and cast 1 spell and you dont get all 3 attacks against them, but they also run out of actions at that point and can't draw a wand or other things they could also do in 1e.

Punishing people for moving around seems about the same. Unless it's changed to "leaves your reach", in which case that would be a big downgrade in tanking since they can just kinda run a circle around you for free.

My appreciation. I do recognize that AoOs, as implemented in 1E, do serve the purpose of a low-level stickiness and has found it's way to a good balance.

With it becoming a non-default, and something of a Signature for Fighters, I feel it is an opportunity to simplify it and dig down into what the desired effect is. Is the design desire to have out of turn offense, or to lock-down? Is a sword&board melee build ineffective as a fighter because using your reaction for shields means that signature ability is basically useless for you? Does guarded step have any purpose other than to be an option everyone has to shut down this Fighter Signature ability? Do other signature reactions have such a hard counter?

If I play a fighter because of that Signature ability, I may be disappointed if it turns out that I'm limiting opponent action economy instead of actually getting off reaction attacks or entirely locking down certain effects (movement/spellcasting).

Just concerns, and hopes, for making Fighters a good base in new edition.


Carter Lockhart wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:

AOO is the strongest when you don't have to use it. The OP is a great analysis of how this mechanic actually plays out: It limits the opponent's options and "locks them down" with a melee guy. If you take measures to avoid it, you are losing out on actions, so there's a lot to gain from risking it if you evaluate the situation correctly. It's one of the most interesitng tactical variables in Pathfinder.

If you have AOO and are next to an enemy, you are already oppressing them and controlling their actions even if you never actually swing the sword. The fear of free hit can be more powerful than the damage it would deal anyways.

It is both buffed and nerfed in this edition. On one hand, the 5-step is not "free", it's an action called "Guarded Step" and using it is as costly as any attack or ability you want to use so they can't 5-step and full-attack at 100%. This means you can more reliably slow down reach-weapons (though it slows you down as well). Punishing mages is a mixed bag since they can still step back and cast 1 spell and you dont get all 3 attacks against them, but they also run out of actions at that point and can't draw a wand or other things they could also do in 1e.

Punishing people for moving around seems about the same. Unless it's changed to "leaves your reach", in which case that would be a big downgrade in tanking since they can just kinda run a circle around you for free.

My appreciation. I do recognize that AoOs, as implemented in 1E, do serve the purpose of a low-level stickiness and has found it's way to a good balance.

With it becoming a non-default, and something of a Signature for Fighters, I feel it is an opportunity to simplify it and dig down into what the desired effect is. Is the design desire to have out of turn offense, or to lock-down? Is a sword&board melee build ineffective as a fighter because using your reaction for shields means that signature ability is basically useless for you? Does guarded step have any purpose other than...

First: I think the mechanic was added for lockdown and to prevent conga-line, not extra damage.

Using your reaction to defend with a shield kinda defeats the entire purposose of having the shield at all, which is "tanking". If you are commited to using the shield to defend, then enemies can just run past you and attack the more "favorable" targets and make you look stupid.

Thankfully, you can choose which reaction to use once the trigger happens, so even if you raise the shield you can still AOO the guy that sees it and goes "Yeah I'm not attacking his shield". I figure raising the shield will end up resulting in more AOO than blocks (versus intelligent monsters, Zombies and stuff can wail on the shield). So it's not a TOTAL waste!

Either way, with good positioning you're making all enemy options pretty bad by sitting on their face.

Not even all Fighters need this ability, I guess, just melee/tank ones. It's pretty irrelevant mechanic on a lot of characters so you don't want to "baggage" them with it. Hopefully it isn't too much of an opportunity cost to pick this up on the frontliners that wanna use it, or it's gonna become a "tax".


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Amusing metagame implications- Fighters and Paladins want to be mistaken for each other.


ChibiNyan wrote:
Hopefully it isn't too much of an opportunity cost to pick this up on the frontliners that wanna use it, or it's gonna become a "tax".

Indeed, it would be good to avoid any trap or tax options if possible.

Recognizing AoOs meaning to lock-down as primary function, would you be opposed to the ability turning into an action tax aura on the fighter to simplify, or do you prefer the option to eat the AoO to escape remain?

QuidEst wrote:
Amusing metagame implications- Fighters and Paladins want to be mistaken for each other.

Quite possibly. :)

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FYI: They did hint that fighters (and possibly other classes) will be getting additional reactions at later levels, thus allowing them to block and take AoO.

I saw a couple comments that seem assume only 1 reaction forever. This isn't going to be the case, and I suspect we'll see plenty of ways to gain an extra reaction each turn (haste spell?).


Fuzzypaws wrote:

I'd still like to see all Martials (barbarian, fighter, paladin, ranger, rogue) get AoO even if it's restricted to a feat for everyone else. Just make it better for the fighter. Then you still at least have a good mental sense from the description of an opponent whether they're likely to be able to do it or not, and other Martials don't lose out on the ability to help control the battlefield.

And as for stepping back 5 feet to avoid them, I mentioned this elsewhere, but I'd love an early-available AoO upgrade feat to be letting you step 5 feet to take an AoO against someone taking a provoking action just outside your reach... >:3

The first part is kinda why I would like a Dev to pop in and confirm if the AoO threatening is a known or unknown factor. If it's unknown, than even if they don't have AoO other martials may find themselves being treated as such if the GM runs enemies with a consistent metaknowledge. If that's the case, martials will find they possess a soft control anyway still.

I like the idea of options to increase potency of AoOs, but depending on the design desire, I wouldn't want it to be a feat tax if you wanted to be the guy that's dangerous to be close to that you can't just tiptoe away from.


Carter Lockhart wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Hopefully it isn't too much of an opportunity cost to pick this up on the frontliners that wanna use it, or it's gonna become a "tax".

Indeed, it would be good to avoid any trap or tax options if possible.

Recognizing AoOs meaning to lock-down as primary function, would you be opposed to the ability turning into an action tax aura on the fighter to simplify, or do you prefer the option to eat the AoO to escape remain?

QuidEst wrote:
Amusing metagame implications- Fighters and Paladins want to be mistaken for each other.
Quite possibly. :)

Well, hax aura starts to get kinda silly and forced I think. I know the game isn't suppsoed to be that super realistic, but AOO was pretty elegant in that it achieved the goal without specifically mentioning it, while also remaining thematic to melee combat and "mundane".

There's lots of games that handle AOO differently but maintain the spirit of it because it works so well.. For example, in Civilization there is a mechanic called "Zone of Control". if 2 units are engaged in melee and one of them moves, they spend their entire turn doing it (Like a withdraw) and are unable to advance past it. They can run away, but never "ignore" a defender. There's probably other examples of mechanics like this that sare used to handle the issue of "I just run past the dude" without resorting to "forcing" it.

EDIT: A Paladin granting a "Defense Aura" thing that indirectly makes enemies want to target them is fine, but only because they are "magical" and this ability is common in Paladins of other media. Wouldn't like it for a Fighter but wouldnt mind if Paladin gets it instead of AOO since it would serve mostly the same purpose. (As long as the Paladin doesn't get impossible to hit himself anyways).


ChibiNyan wrote:

Well, hax aura starts to get kinda silly and forced I think. I know the game isn't suppsoed to be that super realistic, but AOO was pretty elegant in that it achieved the goal without specifically mentioning it, while also remaining thematic to melee combat and "mundane".

See, I would disagree with elegant. If you consider introducing a new player to the 3.5/P system set, it's quite the complex thing to explain, and basically required a long list of examples with indications whether such an action provoked or not. Very rarely, even with experienced players, when I mention "that will provoke" do they seem aware that it did and were willing to take the attack to complete the action they had planned. It leads to more time spent on turns to find the specific combo that works for the intended action (You move and then cast shocking grasp, but that provokes. You could cast defensively and risk moving the spell. Or you could cast first out of threaten, move, and then make the touch attack without provoking) It worked for the sticky and threaten but it's clunky and complex and not streamlined for teaching.

Edit: As long as the 'aura' is based on the Fighter's melee reach, and is equated to being able to move freely to harass those nearby, it groks for me explanation wise. Or have an action to activate to imply a specific action taking. But that might be my personal vision.


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I would like to see an actual rules tag, say Distracting, which can be right there next in parenthesis next to the name of an action in the combat / Gameplay chapter. Then you can tell just by looking at the name of an action whether or not it will provoke an attack of opportunity.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
I would like to see an actual rules tag, say Distracting, which can be right there next in parenthesis next to the name of an action in the combat / Gameplay chapter. Then you can tell just by looking at the name of an action whether or not it will provoke an attack of opportunity.

I like the concept, but now this is getting into another weird thing with changing AoOs from default to limited. How much rule design and text is going to be committed to what is an ability that no players may actually possess? Will all the text be in the Fighter ability, or spread throughout the rules because the concept could be more relevant with enemies or other classes taken AoO opportunities.

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In my playtests, I've found that both monsters and PCs trigger way more AoOs than before because they get down to the cost/benefit analysis of the action they really want to cast and sometimes decide "Well it might not have an AoO" or "Well it might miss me and I'll get my spell." In PF1, PCs always had AoOs, and martial PCs eventually pretty much always hit with them because they weren't at an iterative penalty, so you would cast on the defensive and auto-succeed (or nearly auto-succeed) at that check because it didn't scale quickly enough and there would be no AoO.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
In my playtests, I've found that both monsters and PCs trigger way more AoOs than before because they get down to the cost/benefit analysis of the action they really want to cast and sometimes decide "Well it might not have an AoO" or "Well it might miss me and I'll get my spell." In PF1, PCs always had AoOs, and martial PCs eventually pretty much always hit with them because they weren't at an iterative penalty, so you would cast on the defensive and auto-succeed (or nearly auto-succeed) at that check because it didn't scale quickly enough and there would be no AoO.

Seems a bit tougher on the GM side, when you "know" who has AOOs and not and it the metagame thinking can slip in even without you wanting to. Would intelligent NPCs be able to distinguish a "Fighter" that has an AOO from a Barbarian who doesn't? Would PCs intentionally disguise their appearance to bluff having/not having this ability? It's a tricky topic.

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ChibiNyan wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
In my playtests, I've found that both monsters and PCs trigger way more AoOs than before because they get down to the cost/benefit analysis of the action they really want to cast and sometimes decide "Well it might not have an AoO" or "Well it might miss me and I'll get my spell." In PF1, PCs always had AoOs, and martial PCs eventually pretty much always hit with them because they weren't at an iterative penalty, so you would cast on the defensive and auto-succeed (or nearly auto-succeed) at that check because it didn't scale quickly enough and there would be no AoO.
Seems a bit tougher on the GM side, when you "know" who has AOOs and not and it the metagame thinking can slip in even without you wanting to. Would intelligent NPCs be able to distinguish a "Fighter" that has an AOO from a Barbarian who doesn't? Would PCs intentionally disguise their appearance to bluff having/not having this ability? It's a tricky topic.

Even if you metagame, it can be worth risking one attack of opportunity where risking two or three would be suicidal.


KingOfAnything wrote:
Even if you metagame, it can be worth risking one attack of opportunity where risking two or three would be suicidal.

I think the question is moreso...The group has a Fighter, and a Barbarian that cannot make AoOs. Will a GM, even just subconsciously, have enemies make actions that are 'riskier' for AoOs when just threatened by the Barbarian? Meanwhile enemies by the Fighter might subconsciously act more cautiously and in a way that avoids AoOs, even if the Fighter hasn't confirmed having the ability? It is a concern that, best of intentions to play enemies with characters, a GM might fall into a more strategic outlook with Metagame knowledge players won't have. To say nothing of poorer GMs who embrace the imbalance without regard.

Side Note: Is Mark's comment first confirmation we have that damage from an AoO can still disrupt a Spellcaster's spell?


Carter Lockhart wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Even if you metagame, it can be worth risking one attack of opportunity where risking two or three would be suicidal.

I think the question is moreso...The group has a Fighter, and a Barbarian that cannot make AoOs. Will a GM, even just subconsciously, have enemies make actions that are 'riskier' for AoOs when just threatened by the Barbarian? Meanwhile enemies by the Fighter might subconsciously act more cautiously and in a way that avoids AoOs, even if the Fighter hasn't confirmed having the ability? It is a concern that, best of intentions to play enemies with characters, a GM might fall into a more strategic outlook with Metagame knowledge players won't have. To say nothing of poorer GMs who embrace the imbalance without regard.

Side Note: Is Mark's comment first confirmation we have that damage from an AoO can still disrupt a Spellcaster's spell?

When they were universal, enemies would make this decision based on the perceived power of the enemy, since all of them could be expected to pull it off. I don't know if this was intentional or an accidental "good design", but it was a nice way to avoid this metagame thing.


Mark Seifter wrote:
In my playtests, I've found that both monsters and PCs trigger way more AoOs than before because they get down to the cost/benefit analysis of the action they really want to cast and sometimes decide "Well it might not have an AoO" or "Well it might miss me and I'll get my spell." In PF1, PCs always had AoOs, and martial PCs eventually pretty much always hit with them because they weren't at an iterative penalty, so you would cast on the defensive and auto-succeed (or nearly auto-succeed) at that check because it didn't scale quickly enough and there would be no AoO.

Thank you for the insight. I like knowing that AoOs were changed because of game balance/fun and not because you just wanted to give the fighter something special. It makes me feel better about the change.


Carter Lockhart wrote:
I think the question is moreso...The group has a Fighter, and a Barbarian that cannot make AoOs. Will a GM, even just subconsciously, have enemies make actions that are 'riskier' for AoOs when just threatened by the Barbarian?

While that Barbarian may not have an AoO, we do know that they'll have available actions to be used as Reactions. Sure, it might not do damage, but if the Barbarian gets "I knock you down if you try to pass" free Reactions...


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They did say start with. I wonder if it comes online a bit later for different classes - AoO does suggest a degree of training to be ready to take advantage of an opportunity in close combat.

If, by 5th level, anyone wearing armor and brandishing a weapon is likely to have it, then only the early game will have as much free-running.

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ChibiNyan wrote:
Carter Lockhart wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:

AOO is the strongest when you don't have to use it. The OP is a great analysis of how this mechanic actually plays out: It limits the opponent's options and "locks them down" with a melee guy. If you take measures to avoid it, you are losing out on actions, so there's a lot to gain from risking it if you evaluate the situation correctly. It's one of the most interesitng tactical variables in Pathfinder.

If you have AOO and are next to an enemy, you are already oppressing them and controlling their actions even if you never actually swing the sword. The fear of free hit can be more powerful than the damage it would deal anyways.

It is both buffed and nerfed in this edition. On one hand, the 5-step is not "free", it's an action called "Guarded Step" and using it is as costly as any attack or ability you want to use so they can't 5-step and full-attack at 100%. This means you can more reliably slow down reach-weapons (though it slows you down as well). Punishing mages is a mixed bag since they can still step back and cast 1 spell and you dont get all 3 attacks against them, but they also run out of actions at that point and can't draw a wand or other things they could also do in 1e.

Punishing people for moving around seems about the same. Unless it's changed to "leaves your reach", in which case that would be a big downgrade in tanking since they can just kinda run a circle around you for free.

My appreciation. I do recognize that AoOs, as implemented in 1E, do serve the purpose of a low-level stickiness and has found it's way to a good balance.

With it becoming a non-default, and something of a Signature for Fighters, I feel it is an opportunity to simplify it and dig down into what the desired effect is. Is the design desire to have out of turn offense, or to lock-down? Is a sword&board melee build ineffective as a fighter because using your reaction for shields means that signature ability is basically useless for you? Does guarded

...

I don't feel the 5 foot step negates anything for the fighter.

Cleric example
1) attack fighter
2) 5 foot away
3) self heal

fighter
1) 5 foot step
2 a Power Attack
2 b Attack twice
2 c Attack & raise shield

Both classes are doing damage prevention if the fighter raises his shield. The fighter will more likely out damage the cleric while the cleric will have a hard time getting through shield damage reduction

Mage
1) 5 foot step
2 & 3 ) Cast 2 step spell

Fighter

1) 5 foot step
2 a Power Attack
2 b Attack twice
2 c Attack & raise shield

IF anything the fighter is still sticky unless he uses his shield to block. If he does then a caster could use movement to run but that could also be negated by fighters sudden charge feat.

My point is we are just getting a taste, not the full system and already the fighter establishes control. Will he be the perfect answer in every situation? Of course not. Already they are hinting at rogue abilities to negate figter AOE. As long as the game appears to have rock, paper,scissor options for all classes then the game will be a success.

The Exchange

Dread Moores wrote:
Carter Lockhart wrote:
I think the question is moreso...The group has a Fighter, and a Barbarian that cannot make AoOs. Will a GM, even just subconsciously, have enemies make actions that are 'riskier' for AoOs when just threatened by the Barbarian?
While that Barbarian may not have an AoO, we do know that they'll have available actions to be used as Reactions. Sure, it might not do damage, but if the Barbarian gets "I knock you down if you try to pass" free Reactions...

That would be awesome, like a Pro Wrestler clothesline


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
ChibiNyan wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
In my playtests, I've found that both monsters and PCs trigger way more AoOs than before because they get down to the cost/benefit analysis of the action they really want to cast and sometimes decide "Well it might not have an AoO" or "Well it might miss me and I'll get my spell." In PF1, PCs always had AoOs, and martial PCs eventually pretty much always hit with them because they weren't at an iterative penalty, so you would cast on the defensive and auto-succeed (or nearly auto-succeed) at that check because it didn't scale quickly enough and there would be no AoO.
Seems a bit tougher on the GM side, when you "know" who has AOOs and not and it the metagame thinking can slip in even without you wanting to. Would intelligent NPCs be able to distinguish a "Fighter" that has an AOO from a Barbarian who doesn't? Would PCs intentionally disguise their appearance to bluff having/not having this ability? It's a tricky topic.

I don't see how this is any more of a problem than it exists in all roleplaying games. Part of being a good GM (hell even a good player) is divorcing out of game knowledge from in game knowledge. The GM already has to ignore everything he knows about everything a lot of the time to get a believable world/story.

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