D&D 5E Flanking

ki11erDM

Explorer
I think everyone is assuming that the DMG will give us rules to ADD to combat, but it might have rules to REPLACE the current combat rules.

For instance it could remove rogues getting sneak attack based on if someone is within 5' and go back to flanking only adding it.

I honestly like combat as it is now, which I did not think i would, so its really not that important to me any more.
 

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I enjoy combat as an abstract situation where everyone is vying for position all the time. I won't be using rules to penalize archers for firing into melee, so I won't be using rules to give any kind of advantage for positioning tricks either.

In fact, experience has shown me that not making players have to analyze their movement choices in the same way they have to analyze actual actions greatly speeds up combat encounters. This means no flanking for us.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I think everyone is assuming that the DMG will give us rules to ADD to combat, but it might have rules to REPLACE the current combat rules.

For instance it could remove rogues getting sneak attack based on if someone is within 5' and go back to flanking only adding it.

I honestly like combat as it is now, which I did not think i would, so its really not that important to me any more.

Actually, one can grant advantage due to flanking and still be within RAW...

PBR 57, PHB 173:
You usually gain advantage or disadvantage through the use of special abilities, actions, or spells. Inspiration (see chapter 4) can also give a character advantage on checks related to the character’s personality, ideals, or bonds. The DM can also decide that circumstances influence a roll in one direction or the other and grant advantage or impose disadvantage as a result.​
Note that last sentence.

If you, as the DM, want to grant advantage due to flanking, you can. If you want to grant it to attacks from behind a fleeing foe, you can! Right there is your explicit, RAW permission.
 

ccooke

Adventurer
So, here's the thing - Flanking already gives you a bonus in 5e. It just doesn't need a specific rule to do so.

Consider the effect of flanking in 5e, without actually going too far into the mechanics:

1) Anyone trained to exploit a distracted enemy gets to do so
2) The flanked enemy cannot move towards either of the flanking characters without triggering an opportunity attack or sacrificing an action
3) The flanked enemy cannot move away from the flanking characters without triggering two opportunity attacks or sacrificing an action

That's quite a big difference, and note that point 2 is a big departure from 3e and 4e. In those editions, you could always take a 5' step or shift 1. That doesn't exist in 5e - you can move around a single opponent all you like, but as soon as you're flanked you're much more effectively pinned down unless you use the Disengage action.

With all the extra tactical shove and grapple use I'm seeing in 5e, I'm not entirely sure that specific flanking rules in addition wouldn't be overpowered. There's a lot of tactical depth in the 5e rules that I think we have only really started to see, especially with games that really focus on gridded play.

I think the thing I like most about 5e combat layout is that I can switch effortlessly between complicated gridded scenarios with loads of props (I've been known to abuse a bit of Lego; a 3x3 grid in lego is almost exactly 1" square, you know) and narrative combat with theatre of the mind play. Being able to choose which is best for a particular encounter is very freeing - I seem to run about 60/40 ToM/Gridded.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Flanking was there to add depth to the tactical layer: if there's no positional benefit to be gained, then you don't encourage people to move their PC's around the battle-mat.

I think this is another case where WOTC decided to go with "DM instead of rules".


Before, the rules provided concrete benefits for positioning and movement. Now the rules made mobility fluid, but left it up to the DMs to create combats that would encourage movement.
 

Ilbranteloth

Explorer
I've modified my flanking rule. There are a number of monsters, particularly lower level ones like kobolds, that already have a flanking bonus. So I don't want to take that away from them. On the other hand, I'd still like to allow the PCs to benefit without special abilities or a feat.

So I've decided on a different approach:

Flank: If you and your allies are adjacent to a target, not incapacitated, and not adjacent to any other hostile creatures, you and your allies gain advantage on your attacks.

Simple and easy to adjudicate. And it limits the opportunities a bit, so those other abilities have some relevance. It will also speed up the end of combat situations if the combat happens to

Ilbranteloth
 

ccooke

Adventurer
I've modified my flanking rule. There are a number of monsters, particularly lower level ones like kobolds, that already have a flanking bonus. So I don't want to take that away from them. On the other hand, I'd still like to allow the PCs to benefit without special abilities or a feat.

So I've decided on a different approach:

Flank: If you and your allies are adjacent to a target, not incapacitated, and not adjacent to any other hostile creatures, you and your allies gain advantage on your attacks.

Simple and easy to adjudicate. And it limits the opportunities a bit, so those other abilities have some relevance. It will also speed up the end of combat situations if the combat happens to

Ilbranteloth

That seems to be too powerful, to me. Advantage is huge.
I still think people are thinking too much in a 3e/4e mindset here - 5e has a lot more subtlety about it. Yes, there's no explicit rule for flanking. There isn't an explicit rule for Coup de Grace, either, but it's still there.
Flanking already provides you with a big tactical bonus without any modifiers.
 

keterys

First Post
You could add "Flanking" as a feat potentially. Trivial advantage for just standing in the right place in a system where walking circles around someone doesn't provoke isn't something I'd just tack onto the system for free.
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
The current rules, one of the two flankers could use the help action to give the other one advantage.

I might give advantage if the target was out numbered by 4 to 1 by opponents equal to his size, or so like a gang up rule.

No need. Someone already out numbered by 4 to 1 is already being ganged up on.
 

Runny

First Post
I also changed my approach. I now ignore flanking and instead give advantage if someone is totally surrounded. Basically, four on one for a medium creature. Six to one for large. Eight to one for huge. Bigger than huge gets no effect.
 

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