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D&D 5E Flanking

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Which changes nothing. You can only make one OA per turn normally anyway. It doesn't prevent me from making an OA instead against a target I haven't marked (using my reaction, of course, and without advantage).

What Mark does is allow you a free OA with advantage with no cost at all to the PC or creature using it.
Oh, I see what you’re saying. I misunderstood, I thought you were saying nothing stops you from doing the free OA and a regular OA.

Yes, I agree with you that Marking just seems to give you free advantage OAs at no cost, which is why I wouldn’t use it without Facing. With Facing though, I feel that free OAs are warranted, to compensate for the additional competition for the reaction resource.

But again, I’ve taken up enough of this thread with discussion of Facing and Marking. I recommend trying them together, but if it isn’t for you, no worries!
 

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6ENow!

The Game Is Over
But again, I’ve taken up enough of this thread with discussion of Facing and Marking. I recommend trying them together, but if it isn’t for you, no worries!
Well, I don't see your suggestion really detracting from the thread in any fashion; after all, you are offering it as an alternative to normal flanking rules. :)

No, I can't see myself using Marking to offer free OAs and allow other reactions (such as Uncanny Dodge) in addition to the OAs in my games. Facing would only mitigate the issue slightly, and even then I don't see it doing so in a sizable manner.

Frankly, I don't see too many issues with flanking as it is anyway. But one option I thought might work well (someone else probably already suggested it--but oh well) would be each ally in combat with your target grants a +1 bonus to all for attacks.

So, if a party of 5 PCs surrounded a giant, they would all get a +4 to attack rolls instead of giving them all advantage.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Frankly, I don't see too many issues with flanking as it is anyway. But one option I thought might work well (someone else probably already suggested it--but oh well) would be each ally in combat with your target grants a +1 bonus to all for attacks.

So, if a party of 5 PCs surrounded a giant, they would all get a +4 to attack rolls instead of giving them all advantage.
That seems like a pretty good alternative, and it’s easier to translate to TotM than most flanking rules, which is a plus.
 

tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
I find it pointless because there is little to no cost and just allows more OAs.

I am fighting an ogre. I mark it when I attack (no cost to me). Now, if it moves away I get an OA with advantage and without costing me my reaction.

There is no downside to this. If the gnoll I am also fighting moves away instead, I can still make an OA against the gnoll, but it would be without advantage and would cost me my reaction (in other words, completely normal OA).

Now, if marking one target prevented you from making OAs against another target, that might make sense.
It's also extremely difficult for the gm to track which baddies have marked which PC on top of everything else. Unlike something like prone/poisoned/bleed & other DoT type effects/bane/etc that are almost certain to be an issue every round or have a player reminding the gm "I cast bane on that guy earlier, is that save with the -1d4?" & go unused. The GM is generally not exactly invested in the success of NPCs & can be expected to not metagame the red base elf when bob says "I mark the red base elf" but that's not quite the same in reverse if the GM says "The red base elf marks you bob The green base elf marks bob the blue base elf marks alice the orange base elf marks Dawn etc".
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
It's also extremely difficult for the gm to track which baddies have marked which PC on top of everything else. Unlike something like prone/poisoned/bleed & other DoT type effects/bane/etc that are almost certain to be an issue every round or have a player reminding the gm "I cast bane on that guy earlier, is that save with the -1d4?" & go unused. The GM is generally not exactly invested in the success of NPCs & can be expected to not metagame the red base elf when bob says "I mark the red base elf" but that's not quite the same in reverse if the GM says "The red base elf marks you bob The green base elf marks bob the blue base elf marks alice the orange base elf marks Dawn etc".
Honestly, I don’t bother with declaring who marks who. If you make a melee attack against a creature, you have advantage on opportunity attacks against that creature until the end of your next turn and you can make opportunity attacks against the target without spending your reaction. It’s not terribly difficult for me to remember which monsters attacked which PCs on a given round.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
That seems like a pretty good alternative, and it’s easier to translate to TotM than most flanking rules, which is a plus.
It's used in other game systems and makes it so having allies in a fight grants someone different than advantage, so if you can get both you are really looking good. :)
 

Rockyroad

Explorer
Frankly, I don't see too many issues with flanking as it is anyway. But one option I thought might work well (someone else probably already suggested it--but oh well) would be each ally in combat with your target grants a +1 bonus to all for attacks.

So, if a party of 5 PCs surrounded a giant, they would all get a +4 to attack rolls instead of giving them all advantage.
I'm not crazy about this option. On a square grid you can easily get 3 combatants lined up in front of a target to get +3 for all 3 attackers. That seems too easy. Getting behind a target would be harder and put yourself potentially in a more vulnerable position, which would deserve the bigger bonus, high risk high reward.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
I'm not crazy about this option. On a square grid you can easily get 3 combatants lined up in front of a target to get +3 for all 3 attackers. That seems too easy. Getting behind a target would be harder and put yourself potentially in a more vulnerable position, which would deserve the bigger bonus, high risk high reward.
That's fine. Personally, I think it works well because having the advantage of numbers in battle IS huge IMO. When a lone PC is facing three foes, starting to think defensively is a good thing and will create more uses of such tactics as Dodging or Disengaging.

As far as getting behind an enemy--IME unless that enemy has allies that can protect its back, running around behind it isn't that hard because it's dealing with you ally in front of it. shrug

Anyway, I know other game systems use such a mechanic and thought it might work for D&D--take it or leave it as you please. :)
 

aco175

Legend
I do find that flanking keeps the thief from just hiding and jumping out to gain advantage. He actually puts himself in danger behind the monster to help the other party members. It does allow the fighter to hit more but this seems to speed up combat. Kind of a win, win.
 

I'm not a huge fan of flanking, but also wanted to give my players a chance at helping each other out in battle. So the rule is you use the help action on your turn to give advantage to one other player's next attack. I use an open initiative, so players are free to choose who goes in what order. If they wanted to, they could coordinate an attack together.
 

Rockyroad

Explorer
As far as getting behind an enemy--IME unless that enemy has allies that can protect its back, running around behind it isn't that hard because it's dealing with you ally in front of it. shrug
Another reason is that in 5e moving around your target is not hard, as long as you don't leave their reach. Using a concept from wargames, you could say that every combatant has a zone of control, which would be all the squares surrounding that combatant, and any time an enemy enters, leaves, or moves around in that zone of control would be treated as difficult terrain.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
I'm not a huge fan of flanking, but also wanted to give my players a chance at helping each other out in battle. So the rule is you use the help action on your turn to give advantage to one other player's next attack. I use an open initiative, so players are free to choose who goes in what order. If they wanted to, they could coordinate an attack together.
We changed the Help action to a bonus action for a while and people seemed to like it.

I also like the idea of making it your reaction to use via flanking since it only offers advantage to one attack.

Another reason is that in 5e moving around your target is not hard, as long as you don't leave their reach. Using a concept from wargames, you could say that every combatant has a zone of control, which would be all the squares surrounding that combatant, and any time an enemy enters, leaves, or moves around in that zone of control would be treated as difficult terrain.
Or as long as you have enough move (such as the rogue's move + cunning action dash) that you never enter their reach until you are ready to engage them. I see this A LOT through rogues, monks, mobility, etc.

I like the idea from previous versions IIRC of a 5-foot step will not provoke an OA if you remain in enemies reach, but if you move more than 5 feet it provokes an OA. shrug
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I'm not crazy about this option. On a square grid you can easily get 3 combatants lined up in front of a target to get +3 for all 3 attackers. That seems too easy. Getting behind a target would be harder and put yourself potentially in a more vulnerable position, which would deserve the bigger bonus, high risk high reward.
Wouldn’t that be +2 for all 3 attackers by the rule as @6ENow! described it?
 


@6ENow! I think a lot of the things you are saying are not problems for you are because, as you said in the other thread you have dramatically raised ACs and reduced hit chances.

One you do that, then flanking and other means of easily getting advantage are not only not-problematic, they're probably necessary.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
@6ENow! I think a lot of the things you are saying are not problems for you are because, as you said in the other thread you have dramatically raised ACs and reduced hit chances.
Maybe that helps... but we played for over a year with the normal ACs, HP, flanking rules, etc. and never had any problems with them then, either.

Perhaps it is more just my outlook on flanking? I agree that as much as I like the advantage concept, it is WAY too common in 5E and flanking as is represents another easy way to get it. shrug
 

TheOneGargoyle

Explorer
Wow, go to sleep and look what you miss when a thread is active ! Lots of interesting discussion !
But again, I’ve taken up enough of this thread with discussion of Facing and Marking. I recommend trying them together, but if it isn’t for you, no worries!
Well, I don't see your suggestion really detracting from the thread in any fashion; after all, you are offering it as an alternative to normal flanking rules. :)
I also don't see it detracting from the thread, or off-topic at all. Quite the contrary I see it as an extremely elegant solution to the problem of what the OP is asking / trying to achieve.

Points from the OP:
* flanking as written in the DMG is too easy to obtain
* the advantage that it grants is too strong a benefit for something so easy to obtain
* advantage specifically obviates the benefits from certain class features
* however not using flanking reduces the driver for more tactical playstyle

Question from the OP:
* how many use flanking and do you use it as written or homebrew it ?

So in a nutshell, it seems the OP is looking for a solution that drives & incentivises a more tactical playstyle, but without being too easy to obtain a benefit that is too strong or that undermines class features, with consideration for as-written or homebrew rulings.

To me, using Facing & Marking gets a lot of ticks against these criteria:
* It is rules as written in the DMG (just as optional as Flanking, no more, no less) so no homebrew required. Tick.
* It means thinking about positioning & facing and involves judicious use of their mark, reaction and OA, so it drives a tactical playstyle. Tick.
* It isn't as easy as simply "I turn up to the melee so I have advantage in all my attacks". Tick.
* And, it only grants advantage to specifically OA's and attacks on the rear arc, so there is still room for class abilities that specifically grant advantage to still have an added benefit over this. Partial Tick (in some situations the class abilities might still be superceded).
* OAs become more useful than by default, some extra crunchiness is available if desired (such as shields only benefitting against attacks in front & left arcs, being surrounded or having someone behind you actually matters, etc). Not part of the original criteria but worthy of bonus points IMHO.

Overall rating vs OP critieria: 4/4 (if the partial tick and the bonus pts add up to a whole point between them)

That doesn't mean of course that it's the best/only valid solution to the OP, there may be others that are as good or better. But in terms of what the OP was asking for, it certainly looks pretty on-point to me !
Yes, I agree with you that Marking just seems to give you free advantage OAs at no cost, which is why I wouldn’t use it without Facing. With Facing though, I feel that free OAs are warranted, to compensate for the additional competition for the reaction resource.
No, I can't see myself using Marking to offer free OAs and allow other reactions (such as Uncanny Dodge) in addition to the OAs in my games. Facing would only mitigate the issue slightly, and even then I don't see it doing so in a sizable manner.

Frankly, I don't see too many issues with flanking as it is anyway. But one option I thought might work well (someone else probably already suggested it--but oh well) would be each ally in combat with your target grants a +1 bonus to all for attacks.

So, if a party of 5 PCs surrounded a giant, they would all get a +4 to attack rolls instead of giving them all advantage.
Both entirely fair points.
The stacking +1 instead of advantage is also another valid option. On the plus die it would definitely not undermine any class abilities as it's different from any existing mechanics. On the downside, it's different from any existing mechanics so it's entirely homebrew. It's probably in the same boat as the flanking rule of "I just turn up and get a big benefit" too.
Overall I'd give this one maybe a 2/4 vs the OP criteria.
 

Rockyroad

Explorer
Wow, go to sleep and look what you miss when a thread is active ! Lots of interesting discussion !


I also don't see it detracting from the thread, or off-topic at all. Quite the contrary I see it as an extremely elegant solution to the problem of what the OP is asking / trying to achieve.

Points from the OP:
  • flanking as written in the DMG is too easy to obtain
  • the advantage that it grants is too strong a benefit for something so easy to obtain
  • advantage specifically obviates the benefits from certain class features
  • however not using flanking reduces the driver for more tactical playstyle

Question from the OP:
* how many use flanking and do you use it as written or homebrew it ?

So in a nutshell, it seems the OP is looking for a solution that drives & incentivises a more tactical playstyle, but without being too easy to obtain a benefit that is too strong or that undermines class features, with consideration for as-written or homebrew rulings.

To me, using Facing & Marking gets a lot of ticks against these criteria:
  • It is rules as written in the DMG (just as optional as Flanking, no more, no less) so no homebrew required. Tick.
  • It means thinking about positioning & facing and involves judicious use of their mark, reaction and OA, so it drives a tactical playstyle. Tick.
  • It isn't as easy as simply "I turn up to the melee so I have advantage in all my attacks". Tick.
  • And, it only grants advantage to specifically OA's and attacks on the rear arc, so there is still room for class abilities that specifically grant advantage to still have an added benefit over this. Partial Tick (in some situations the class abilities might still be superceded).
  • OAs become more useful than by default, some extra crunchiness is available if desired (such as shields only benefitting against attacks in front & left arcs, being surrounded or having someone behind you actually matters, etc). Not part of the original criteria but worthy of bonus points IMHO.

Overall rating vs OP critieria: 4/4 (if the partial tick and the bonus pts add up to a whole point between them)

That doesn't mean of course that it's the best/only valid solution to the OP, there may be others that are as good or better. But in terms of what the OP was asking for, it certainly looks pretty on-point to me !


Both entirely fair points.
The stacking +1 instead of advantage is also another valid option. On the plus die it would definitely not undermine any class abilities as it's different from any existing mechanics. On the downside, it's different from any existing mechanics so it's entirely homebrew. It's probably in the same boat as the flanking rule of "I just turn up and get a big benefit" too.
Overall I'd give this one maybe a 2/4 vs the OP criteria.
Great points @Darryl Wright ! Very nicely summed up what I was looking for. The issue I have with the facing rules in the DMG was that we tried it before in our group but found it to be too time consuming and fiddly so we gave up on it. I don't know what it was but everyone seemed to perseverate over their decisions when we included that rule. Maybe we could revisit it at some point later.
 

TheOneGargoyle

Explorer
Great points @Darryl Wright ! Very nicely summed up what I was looking for.
Thanks @Rockyroad :)
The issue I have with the facing rules in the DMG was that we tried it before in our group but found it to be too time consuming and fiddly so we gave up on it. I don't know what it was but everyone seemed to perseverate over their decisions when we included that rule. Maybe we could revisit it at some point later.
Hmm ... yes I could see how that could happen. Maybe you could streamline it by saying something like unless a player declares otherwise, their character is assumed to be facing whoever they attacked last. That way they could still declare they were facing somewhere different if they wanted to at the end of their move as the rules say, but otherwise the group can just move on. And if they forgot / overlooked it, they can always change it using their reaction later if they still wanted to. Would that help ?
 


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