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D&D 5E Flanking, advantage, and opportunity attacks

We tried Flanking at a couple different level points and got rid of it. It made advantage too easy to get, and really trivialized features that granted Advantage.
This. It lasted all of 1 session, and that was with rules that made it harder to get (leaving a square provoked, and the 5' step was a bonus action)
(And this was a while ago - before Elven Accuracy which would be even more powerful, and the Samurai fighter subclass that would be mostly useless.)
Also this.
 

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Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
So something I'm wondering is why flanking is always associated with an increase in attack bonus or adjusting the attack roll (usually via advantage). But in essence, flanking is a strategic choice the makes characters working together more dangerous. I don't think this needs to be via adjusting the attack roll. Both AC and HP are abstractions that represent an opponent's capacity to continue fighting. We generally accept that AC represents the ability to avoid taking damage, while HP represents how much damage you can take, but it doesn't have to be this way.

So in a game where bounded accuracy is important, and any bonus to attack or gaining of advantage can create huge buffs, flanking is a no brainer. So how do we create opportunities for flanking that make it desirable without making it so great that it would be foolish not to flank?

Well, what if instead of adjusting the attack roll, we adjust the damage? It could be a static +1 or +2 to damage, or it could be an additional d4 to damage. This also opens up options to increase the flanking bonus for each additional creature. Maybe you get a +1 bonus to damage for every ally attacking the same creature.

This also means that those attacking from range or splitting up to attack something else don't lose as much compared to those attacking while flanking.
 

But in essence, flanking is a strategic choice the makes characters working together more dangerous.
That's already the case seeing as having two creatures wailing on you is already twice as bad as having just one creature wailing on you.

The HP attrition model of DnD combat already encourages 'ganging up' on creatures, and it's already a bad thing when you're the one surrounded by a ton off monsters for just such a reason.

I dont see any need to make that situation worse.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
That's already the case seeing as having two creatures wailing on you is already twice as bad as having just one creature wailing on you.

The HP attrition model of DnD combat already encourages 'ganging up' on creatures, and it's already a bad thing when you're the one surrounded by a ton off monsters for just such a reason.

I dont see any need to make that situation worse.

Yea, that's true. But I think a few factors come into play. First, a lot of players like to have more strategic options. Whether or not such options actually exist (I'm not totally convinced) they want to feel like there are ways to set up the set pieces to gain some additional advantage. Like, more so than the obvious advantage of ganging up on a creature already presents.

But I also think there are those who played through 3.x and 4e where flanking bonuses were the norm, and they don't want to let go.

Maybe the best way to address this wouldn't be through granting flanking bonuses to everyone. Maybe that bonus should be earned. Either as a class ability or feat. Like perhaps when a person gains Extra Attack, they can instead choose Coordinated Attack that grants them and one flanking ally a Flanking Bonus (whether a flat bonus, die roll, or advantage).

This way, people can still access the ability to flank, but they still have to work for it in some way.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
So something I'm wondering is why flanking is always associated with an increase in attack bonus or adjusting the attack roll (usually via advantage). But in essence, flanking is a strategic choice the makes characters working together more dangerous. I don't think this needs to be via adjusting the attack roll. Both AC and HP are abstractions that represent an opponent's capacity to continue fighting. We generally accept that AC represents the ability to avoid taking damage, while HP represents how much damage you can take, but it doesn't have to be this way.

So in a game where bounded accuracy is important, and any bonus to attack or gaining of advantage can create huge buffs, flanking is a no brainer. So how do we create opportunities for flanking that make it desirable without making it so great that it would be foolish not to flank?

Well, what if instead of adjusting the attack roll, we adjust the damage? It could be a static +1 or +2 to damage, or it could be an additional d4 to damage. This also opens up options to increase the flanking bonus for each additional creature. Maybe you get a +1 bonus to damage for every ally attacking the same creature.

This also means that those attacking from range or splitting up to attack something else don't lose as much compared to those attacking while flanking.
Interesting idea, but bounded accuracy is not affect by flanking if you make it advantage RAW. It is only affected if you give a bonus to the attack rolls because you are allowing creatures to hit higher ACs that otherwise would be harder to hit.

Another alternative I've suggested before (and am implementing in our games recently) is that instead of the attackers gaining any advantage, it imposes disadvantage on the defender's offense.

Flanked
If you are attacked by more than one creature, your attention is divided and so you focus on your defense at the sacrifice of your offense. Any attack rolls you make are with disadvantage and you must make a DC 10 Concentration check to cast any spell of level 1 or higher while threatened by multiple opponents.

Optionally, you can give the defender the option. Either you accept disadvantage, etc. or your allies gain advantage--your choice. 🤷‍♂️
 

Gadget

Adventurer
I like the idea of giving more damage to flankers, if a bonus needs to be given. Just outright giving advantage trivializes advantage and so many of the features that grant it. I've found the flanking rule, like many of the optional rules in the DMG, to be half-baked, back-of-the-napkin theory crafting that does not quite hit the spot.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Interesting idea, but bounded accuracy is not affect by flanking if you make it advantage RAW. It is only affected if you give a bonus to the attack rolls because you are allowing creatures to hit higher ACs that otherwise would be harder to hit.

Not sure I agree. Everything I've read seems to suggest that advantage on a d20 roll is roughly equivalent to a +5 bonus on the check. Now sure, advantage doesn't allow you to hit a 29 AC if the best you can hit is only a 24 on a natural 20, but I don't recall any monsters lower than CR 20 with anything close to that kind of AC.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Not sure I agree. Everything I've read seems to suggest that advantage on a d20 roll is roughly equivalent to a +5 bonus on the check. Now sure, advantage doesn't allow you to hit a 29 AC if the best you can hit is only a 24 on a natural 20, but I don't recall any monsters lower than CR 20 with anything close to that kind of AC.
You might be correct--I'd have to do the math in comparing what is better. Advantage's "advantage" depends largely on the number you need to roll.

Either way, though, bounded accuracy is about keep the bonuses low. Advantage doesn't actually increase the bonuses, as where a bonus of any sort (like a flat +2) would. Not a problem to me, just how it works as I understand it.
 



6ENow!

The Game Is Over
In the game I run, we changed Flanking to increase the critical range of Melee attacks to 19-20.
Oh, interesting... I like this and will have to look into it.

You could make it more lethal by increasing the critical range for each participant! So, if 4 creatures ganged up on 1, the critical range would become 17-20!!! Yikes! :eek:
 

Xeviat

Hero
Supporter
Advantage is nearly equivalent to +5 to hit if you need a 10 or 11 to hit. It goes down in value when you need below or above that, but it always doubles crit chances.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Advantage is nearly equivalent to +5 to hit if you need a 10 or 11 to hit. It goes down in value when you need below or above that, but it always doubles crit chances.
Yeah, I seem to recall near the extremes the effect bonus drops to about +2 or so.
 

Yeah, I seem to recall near the extremes the effect bonus drops to about +2 or so.
If you already need a 20 on the die, it's less than a +1. (you get a 9.5% chance of hitting) Over an "average" spread of needs, it's just under a +4.

It's not a small boost, though - although it doesn't change the caps.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
If you already need a 20 on the die, it's less than a +1. (you get a 9.5% chance of hitting) Over an "average" spread of needs, it's just under a +4.

It's not a small boost, though - although it doesn't change the caps.
(Emphasis mine). That's the most important point concerning bounded accuracy. It is why I disliked Expertise doubling proficiency, it blows bounded accuracy out of the water... So, we reduced Expertise to half proficiency bonus (rounded up).

Here's the actually "effective" bonus (rounded to 1 decimal place):

1614402665102.png


So, if you "need" to roll an 8 (standard given the 65% hit probability IME), it is about a +4.6 bump. But if you need a 17 to hit, it is effectively about a +3.2 bump. Given the more normal ranges of numbers needed (7-15) on d20 rolls, I would definitely estimated it at typically about a +4.5 increase overall.
 

aco175

Legend
I have not had a problem with flanking. There may be some movement to circle the monsters and ganging up at the end finishes the fight faster, but I also allow the monsters to flank to even things out more. I do find that it keeps the thief from just hiding and poking out each round to gain advantage. It allows him to contribute more when he can give the fighter advantage as well by placing himself in a bit of danger.
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
I've gone from being anti-flanking to pro-flanking because it gives melee an advantage (NPI) over ranged. Making advantage easy to get isn't ideal, but it's better than a party that kites all the time.
My rule is that firing into melee where allies are involved is -2 due to the scuffling and movement. I won't treat it like cover and so it doesn't get negated by sharpshooter.
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
I like having players think tactically and positioning characters, we’re all about the grid. I find advantage is far too much just from location. Matt Colville’s “Running the Game“ video on the math of D&D really clarified why it felt too much, it’s a huge benefit.

A straight +2 is cleaner, but I could even see instead using d4 like bless, that may or may not stack with bless.
If I were to g this route I'd prefer the +2 myself. It's a balancer between modifier creaap (a la 3e) and bonus dice creep.

I feel in 5e we're more in the latter.
 

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