Front and back flanks, note the one in front still gets the bonus. Flanking 5E: By the Book. How is that not upending what an action is? Creatures within a single size category can vary widely in size and shape, but size categories provide a reasonable approximation of the space they occupy in combat. Half cover imposes an effective −2 penalty on an attacker; three-fourths cover, an effective −5. Combat Facing :: A glaive can deal 1d10 slashing damage, which also makes it one of those weapons that can deal more than your average bit of physical damage. A spell caster or (even worse) a bowman shouldnt be allowed to hop back and shoot someone who is 5 feet away with no penalty. TBH, if there’s any hole I’d want to patch in D&D with a new rule, it’s the lack of differentiation among bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage, and how armor resists them. Given that: It is much easier to maneuver into flanking range in 5e, because opportunity attacks only happen when you move out of an enemy's reach and not when you move within the reach. You’re far from a simple blacksmith, and our Rune Knight 5E guide will show you! If it works for you, use it. Basic d20 Rules Usually, players roll a 20-sided die (d20) to resolve everyting from attempts at diplomacy to hitting someone with a sword. But it never rises to the level of being a problem with the rules. But let’s look at some of the other common sources of advantage available to PCs: Now, it’s possible that I’m cudgeling a straw man here, and that the critics’ basic objection is not that it makes these features less useful to those PCs who possess them but that it devalues them by giving every other PC who doesn’t have these features an equally good way of obtaining advantage at insignificant cost. Utterly. Rather than settle into the conga line, they’ll cut off access to the squares or hexes that PCs need to get to in order to flank—if not by blocking movement to those squares or hexes, then by occupying those squares or hexes themselves. If you worry that large mobs of enemies will do that to players, well and good: that’s why PCs should be scared of superior numbers. Let them have it, but don’t let them have it cheap. As a simple example, take the kobold, which has the Pack Tactics feature, giving it advantage on attack rolls when a non-incapacitated ally is within 5 feet of its target. When making a melee attack against a target that isn’t adjacent to you (such as with a reach weapon), use the rules for determining cover from ranged attacks. It also allows players with few options for bonus actions the ability to use one. A spiritual weapon isn't a creature. First, it assumes that the enemies in question have the intelligence to understand flanking themselves—most likely, a case of meta-knowledge creeping in. Salvatore, Bookshop Amazon Barnes & Noble TargetIndigo Kobo Google Play iBooks. If a DM feels RAW is broken, it goes both ways. Not requiring confirmation of critical hits increases the randomness of damage output, a situation that favors the underdog, usually the monsters. Also, whether something exists in Pathfinder has exactly nothing to do with whether it exists in 5E. 4E | Roguish. Glaive 5E Weapon Attributes Damage 1d10 Damage Type Slashing Item Rarity Standard Item Type Melee Weapon Properties Heavy, Reach, Two-Handed Subtype Martial, Glaive Weight 6 DA: 14 PA: 28 MOZ Rank: 96. I’m discussing flanking as described in the rules, an optional rule that you can use with miniatures, defined in a way that’s premised on the existence of a battle grid. It does require a theory of mind. (A curious artifact of the wording of this rule is that if three melee attackers are focusing their assault on a single enemy from the north, south and west, only North and South gain advantage on their rolls—West doesn’t! If they rush in to flank for cheap advantage on a melee attack, the consequences are theirs alone to bear. Design Goal. Similar inconsistencies pop up all over the place in almost all the combat rules, not just the flanking rules. if possible, the enemy has cover or something? Opportunity Attacks are still attacks. One other crutch, is to limit an effect to certain kinds of npcs (non-playable creatures in this case). That doesn’t by itself make the game unbalanced. Nothing RAW prevents a ranged attacker (or spellcaster, or non-combatant even) providing flanking advantage to a melee attacker opposite, although they would not get advantage themselves. The available reach weapons out of the box are as follows: Of course, other weapons can have reach, such as magic weapons, but these are the only default common weapons with reach. The wrench isn’t the cost. Fighting ogres feels different from fighting fire giants, etc. On the other hand if you use the raw rules where you only flank if you are opposite someone then looping behind enemy lines against is less punishable because everyone needs a perfectly positioned partner to flank with so unless they outnumber you enormously and completely surround you, many of them are likely not getting advantage. This is incredibly suboptimal for the ranged attacker, who is now attacking with disadvantage, but sure. The only thing that provokes AoO's is moving out of an opponent's reach. Keep combat moving. The ninjas kept teleporting around to flank the party it worked well until five characters moved into formation to avoid being flanked. A simple alternative to the current optional flanking rule in 5th edition Dungeons ... rule that for large creatures can fend off three (medium-sized) creatures without any penalties, as they have a longer reach, and medium sized attacker would have to stand off and be ... Revising Falling Damage for 5e. Special A weapon with the special property has unusual rules governing its use, explained in the weapon’s description (see “Special Weapons” later in this section). I think that if I wanted to start imposing rules like that, I’d go back to playing GURPS. It allows those players to feel as though they’ve made the most of their action economy, which just plain feels good. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative. Tough combo. Bookshop Amazon Barnes & Noble TargetIndigo Kobo Google Play iBooks Audible. You know what people don’t do at those tables? That is the point of it. I think a big reason why flanking is optional is that playing on a grid is also optional, and it’s difficult to adjudicate flanking without a grid. And ranged attackers will pick off isolated characters who try to make an end run around the front line. Reach weapons, like the glaive, are a fun melee weapon type for DnD. Magic weapons, special abilities, and other factors can grant a bonus to damage. Stick to the letter of the law. I just think that if DMs believe that flanking is too powerful, a large part of that comes from their failing to show their players why one has to use it judiciously. Weapon (staff), legendary (requires attunement by a paladin) You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. It’s well balanced and keeps high the tactical aspect of choosing if helping or doing other bonus actions. Does this seem fair to you? Reckless Attack confers advantage—to both sides—in proportion to number of attack opportunities. I don’t think it’s very fair to Dave that Jim can lock him into an action that he might not want to take. Yeah, D&D is a game in which silly things happen on the regular, but given a choice, I still like to err on the side of verisimilitude, and it’s a simple fact of life that if you’re being attacked by someone in front of you and someone behind you, you’re going to get the tar kicked out of you. However with this house rule if your 2 buddies start flanking someone it makes much more sense to just join in the fun and attack them too you get advantage probably burst them down faster for better flanking and you are less exposed to be flanked yourself. Learn how to write compelling adventures focusing on the clashes between factions without making it obvious who the “good guys” and “bad guys” are. of movement is enough to run almost a complete circle around a medium creature, a size of creature most players are expected to face most of the time. Non–front line PCs aren’t playing their positions. RAW no, reach has no effect on the optional Flanking Rule in the DMG, you and your ally both have to be adjacent to flank. The fact that they are doing it en-mass doesn’t magically invert stupidity into intelligence. I wonder if just treating Flanking as a sort of “reverse cover” awarding +2 to attack rolls against a flanked target would make it more appealing. Often new players will think that having reach will allow them to get extra attacks of opportunity since they have all this extra reach. Speaking for myself, none of these arguments has convinced me that the optional flanking rule is a bad rule to opt into, and I’ll continue to recommend using it. In 3.5e, reach weapons deal less damage, but there's usually no difference between d8+54 and d12+54, so using a longspear over a greataxe tends to be the smarter option. e.g. But after getting some negative feedback to my advocacy of the flanking rule (including one Reddit poster who went so far as to say that as far as he was concerned, it invalidated everything else I say! Back in those days, the manuals were set in Futura, and plate mail plus a shield was AC 2, and we were thankful for it, you whippersnappers. On the heels of The Monsters Know What They’re Doing—a compilation of villainous battle plans for Dungeon Masters—Live to Tell the Tale evens the score, providing beginning and intermediate D&D players the tools they need to fight back. Vs, say, Giants, it is imperative that pc’s find ways to maximize damage as they can’t sustain healing and tanking vs massive brutes Mano a Mano. If you feel like you need some space, try out a reach weapon. Glaives are melee weapons, but they give your fighter some breathing room by having reach. This is aggravated by the other issue you pointed out: advantage is probably more valuable if you are converting weak odds to hit into moderate odds, rather than strong odds into stronger odds. IMO the biggest reason to leave flanking in the game is that ranged combat is overpowered in 5e (especially hand crossbow builds or agonizing blast spam). A creature is flat-footed (taking a –2 circumstance penalty to AC) to creatures that are flanking it. Even though RAW don’t require it as part of the action economy, making it into a choice for a player allows them to feel as though flanking is an actual tactical move, with costs an benefits to be weighed. Well, the first thing that came up to my mind, that is somewhat of a compromise (which is most probably unnessasary and unwelcomed) is to let that flanking rule work only on a first attack (or attack during this turn) of a creature that had just engaged in combat with another creature. Maybe they shouldn’t have happened, maybe they needn’t have happened, but they did. Fair play. That’s the point of this entire blog, that they know what they’re doing. I found this out the hard way. If the total of the roll plus modifiers equals or exceeds the target’s Armor Class (AC), the attack hits. Required fields are marked *. He consistently moves into flank positions with his greater movement. Lions and wolves have Int 3, but will flank in nature. It’s maybe the most natural mechanic in 5e’s entire rule set. This makes it so that flanking is an actual choice, rather than an effect, as well as placing it within the action economy, potentially competing with other uses of the bonus action. Your email address will not be published. Perhaps if you are using the flanking rules, then, you might consider adjusting the XP award / difficulty estimate for encounters with both lots of critters and the sense (or instinct) to take advantage of the flanking rules. It would be less clean, but I might even consider +1 on sides, +2 from behind, just because it’s kind of an important thing (like armor), and I like positioning and mobility to matter more (but be less required to think about, so you can focus on what the character would really do). On the flip side, shouldn’t players be rewarded for working as a team and coordinating their actions and movements—especially if they can do so without discussion, just by anticipating each other’s needs? It’s more like a feeding frenzy in the ocean gobbling up a school of fish. Now, I’m torn with the flanking rule. Or do I want to use my bonus action to flank the enemy, distracting him enough to give my ally advantage on their attack, regardless of when he acts? That’s the entire point! The PCs significantly outnumber their enemies (or enemy, in the case of a single monster). But also, Help allows an ally to confer advantage on an attack roll with less specific positioning. Flanking is something that will be used sooner if your group has a rogue. This is absolutely incorrect. This book will enrich your game immeasurably!”—Matthew Lillard, “This book almost instantly made me a better Dungeon Master. In the whole time i've played with him. We just roll. So an enemy without reach trying to approach a unit with reach weapon will provoke an attack of opportunity from latter once it leaves the threat range. Second, it assumes that they have no innate advantage that they’d use more instinctively than flanking. As a Rune Knight, you harness the power of the Giants to enchant weapons and armor around you. A Large or larger creature is flanking as long as at least one square or hex of its space qualifies for flanking. When making a melee attack against an adjacent target, your target has cover if any line from your square to the target’s square goes through a wall (including a low wall). Yea flanking is horrible. It’s possible attack an enemy through an ally square with a reach weapon? Conga lines…. Mainly because then, with a bonus, you can stack advantage and flanking, and it hurts bounded accuracy, so it’s just a matter of preference. I dont agree but I can see the logic in it. That’s certainly the DM’s prerogative, though personally I would choose the option that requires less tracking and statements of intention. Against a Huge creature, they must have 5 hexes between them. Mod also makes reach weapons work closer to how they should in pnp: Unit with reach weapon is not threatening enemies in range equal to half its maximum range. Two attacks, effective +9* to hit vs AC 16. Special : A weapon with the special property has unusual rules governing its use, explained in the weapon’s description (see “Special Weapons” later in this section). Only a few people offered the critique that allowing advantage from flanking slows combat down too much, yet in my opinion, this is a stronger objection than the ones above. This does not give a ranged character advantage to attack and negate their disadvantage for being in melee range of their target. They noticed exactly where that secret door is and exactly how to open it. I think there is a problem with DnD combate rules, which has a bit to do with flanking, which is this: a character can defend himself from N attackers as well as from one. Too much more effective? It has a narrative reason (a new and somewhat unexpected attacker can have an upper hand at first, but then immidiately after is accounted for in targets’ defence stance (remember, all turns are semi-simultaneus, and all characters are in constant motion, just slightly lagging behind each other)), it makes players rush (which is always a tremendous fun for dm), and the benefit is miniscule, so no conga lines, yet it might still be occasionally useful, so as to ensure the rule is used. -Once to a Construct assassin who they encircled completely so it couldn’t even escape. And the easiest way is the oldest and truest – make it akin to dm inspiration – you decide when the combat situation is good enough for this rule to apply. Some of these cousins of this hardy avian species keep to remote locales, while others share their forebears’ predilection for the easy grub to be found in city streets. As the name implies, a reach weapon lets you target and attack things that are further away. The weapon’s damage die for this attack is a d4, and the attack deals bludgeoning damage. Still, there’s one critique of the flanking rule that I can’t dispute: Other DMs used this rule, and these bad things happened to them. Now running a 5E campaign for my wife and her coworkers and loving it. If, e.g., your PCs have been fighting large groups of hobgoblins as their bread and butter, with martial advantage, but not particularly good odds to hit, adding flanking could result in a big swing in difficulty. This lapse on the designers’ part is actually helpful in this debate, because it lets us ask whether the benefit that flanking confers is equivalent in magnitude to negating half cover, equivalent to negating three-fourths cover, or something in between. But the impact was the same fights began to feel very samey and advantage didn’t feel special when you were getting it more than you weren’t. Reach extends your melee weapon reach by 5'. At +4 to hit, the first Goblin moves in and Readies an attack when it has advantage. Objects sometimes use the same size categories, especially for items larger than a person could typically carry. This weapon adds 5 feet to your reach when you attack with it, as well as when determining your reach for opportunity attacks with it. Flanking without stealth is just isolating yourself. Get spells and abilities that confer advantage to their teammates. When in doubt about whether two creatures flank an enemy on a grid, trace an imaginary line between the centers of the creatures’ spaces. A creature can’t flank an enemy that it can’t see. This is an important distinction because if you were a Bugbear for instance your reach with the weapon would be 15 feet. RAW explicitly does not say “an allied melee attacker” needs to be adjacent and opposite, all it says is “at least one of its allies”. Two-Weapon Fighting. This seems to me to fall into the “deal with it” category of problem, not the “OMG something must be done to fix this” category. The point about “devaluing other methods of advantage.” Yes. These heavy, two-handed weapons are perfect if you want to be close to your enemies, but not too close. When combat begins, all combatants roll initiative. If the total of the roll plus modifiers equals or exceeds the target's Armor Class (AC), the attack hits. Even pulling off a basic flanking maneuver requires a bit more coordination than is immediately apparent (vs enemies with tactical competence). The Oath of Deliverance is an attestation that there are laws greater than the laws of governors and judges, kings and emperors—laws of freedom, justice, benevolence, and dignity. Evolved creatures never let themselves get congo-lined unless both their wisdom (survival instinct) and intelligence (tactical knowledge) are less than 10. Giving advantage for maneuvering like that is just too easy in most combats, even with plentiful environmental effects and terrain. Exception: If a flanker takes up more than 1 square, it gets the flanking bonus if any square it occupies counts for flanking. While yes, I do get sneak attack regardless, the ability to take those melee attacks at advantage (since cunning action lets me avoid staying out of line) is very nifty. That’s a direct reference to the unseen attacker rule (PH, chapter 9) and has nothing to do with flanking. If Dave attacked Toby in the previous round, or positioned himself there with the stated intention of attacking Toby, give Jim the advantage. Flanking and the advantage of superior numbers are such ancient and elemental tactical strategies, I wouldn’t run a game without them. If a party member wants to PC as a Revenant, I have have a baddy who can Min/Max the same way. FG-5E-Enhancer. Concentration, an action and a spell slot to get you…oh nothing. You’ve mentioned one critique – the only important one, I’d say – and then failed to address it. It’s like, in the name. Position and need to be in certain positions adds huge amounts a tactical outcome to encounters to impact on things like the effect of terrain, impact on ranged attacks and area effect attacks. , DM this game I am a strict RAW person. This mechanical bonus to attacks is so easy to get that it really overshadows a lot of creative thinking that would otherwise take place during encounters. In this case, my chances of hurting my foe in a face-to-face showdown are weak, but with a friend behind it helping me double-team it, they improve to moderate. Most of the opposition leaves me wondering just how boring and bland some DM’s must be making combat encounters. Conga lines have consequences, and the fact that flanking favors the larger force cuts both ways; I see it as a way to make goblin hordes more of a threat to higher level players. Featured in Syfy’s “The Best Loot: A Dungeons & Dragons Gift Guide”! Plate Mail + Shield (because back then you used sword and board) was 2 which is probably why you were off by one. I know my players would agree! It’s just my two silly cents, and im overly biased towards narrative. Weapons Weapon Categories. That’s the reality of trying to simulate turn based combat in real time. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) piercing damage. If the three melee specialists exclusively attempt to flank by ganging up on a monster as you are so concerned, they’ll leave the squishy wizard and bard unattended, and get them killed. Against a Large creature, the allies flank if there are 4 hexes between them. Pathfinder and previous editions had no issues with using it without minis. Mod also makes reach weapons work closer to how they should in pnp: Unit with reach weapon is not threating enemies in range equal to half its maximum range. To make an attack roll, roll a d20 and add the appropriate modifiers. You’re far from a simple blacksmith, and our Rune Knight 5E guide will show you! As a player RAW nothing supports reach weapons allowing you to flank while not being adjacent. At first I thought it was cool because you would get an oppourtunity attack as they come into range which could make them useful for blocking off a passage. I’ve been thinking of using the optional flanking rule for my group (which includes 8 PCs about evenly split between melee, ranged damage and spell support). My concern isn’t that it makes it too easy for the PCs, but quite the opposite. Also, if you aren’t using a great sword or great ax, you can still get reach on a two-handed weapon. Nothing at all that you don’t get anyway. Barbarians already have the higher hit dice, and a bear totem barbarian will have double that, in practice, so yeah, they have some hp to spare. I haven't used a reach weapon in 5e because I don't quite see what it is for. 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