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D&D 5E Flanking

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I can see how @Charlaquin's idea to use facing helps with the first part (harder to get into position) but doesn't really help with the second because it is still advantage...
It doesn't directly address the second problem, no. The idea is that it indirectly addresses it, because with the difficulty of gaining the upper hand via tactical positioning under the facing rule as compared to the flanking rule, advantage becomes a more appropriate benefit relative to the effort required to gain it.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
My take on what Charlequin is saying about using them both together (and the reason I'm interested in trying them at my table) is as follows:
  • Using Facing means there is an addition contender for use of the Reaction, meaning OAs will be even less likely to be used than normal
  • Using Marking as well gives OAs without needing to use the Reaction, easing the constraint imposed by using Facing.
  • Using Facing only gives advantage when attacking from the rear, which isn't going to be all the time (but as you say, Rogues will love it)
  • Using Marking gives advantage when doing OAs as well, so it's still not all the time, but it's more often that just rear attacks (and gives the tanks some love too).
  • Using Facing means people will be encouraged to think about their positioning & facing, for reasons 1 & 2 you mention above, which encourages a level of strategic playstyle.
  • Using Marking as well means that OAs are more likely to hit meaning they bump up in the threat assessment, so that movement taking advantage of Facing needs to be more considered.
To me there's just a whole bunch of synergies and elegance about things that play really nicely together that end up being more than just the individual parts.
Yep, you nailed it. This is exactly my thinking on the matter.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Let's say you're engaged in melee combat with an orc, and you are each facing towards each other at the top of the round. You can use 15 feet of movement (or 10 feet if you don't sweat diagonals) to maneuver into the orc's back arc. Now, the orc can use its reaction to turn around and prevent you from attacking with advantage, but you'll still have enough movement left to move around them again and get into their back arc, and the orc no longer has a reaction available to punish this maneuver with an attack of opportunity.
While I see your point I have to disagree unless you have two attacks or more.

The orc only need use its reaction if you attack. If you don't and continue moving around it, it never uses its reaction. If you have two attacks and have the speed and clear spaces to move around your target, then the orc would use its reaction to negate the first "rear" attack with advantage by facing you but your second attack would be with advantage since you are behind it.

(The whole scenario of running circles around your target is comical IMO, and a reason why moving more than 5 feet in a threatened space should still provoke an OA--but it doesn't, sadly).

Frankly, nothing you are doing would allow the orc an OA anyway (what I bolded) so why would you be concerned about it still having one?

By introducing the marking rule, the orc can change facing and still protect its back arc by threatening an opportunity attack.

In 5E as long as your are moving within the target's reach, your movement doesn't provoke an OA (you know this) so I fail to see how the above movement would provoke one or require the orc to protect its back arc?

Finally, it isn't moving away from you so you don't need your reaction to get an OA, either.

It doesn't directly address the second problem, no. The idea is that it indirectly addresses it, because with the difficulty of gaining the upper hand via tactical positioning under the facing rule as compared to the flanking rule, advantage becomes a more appropriate benefit relative to the effort required to gain it.
What effort? You move behind the target and attack it. If you use the facing rule and allow it to turn around, your ally can move to gain the advantage of a rear attack because it has no reaction left to turn. One of your or the other will benefit from the rear attack and the advantage it grants.

This is certainly better than flanking in that only one person can do it, but that all really (a big improvement--not knocking that). I don't really see it requiring much more effort, though. All I see is the reaction allows the DM to deny it to one player and thus grant it to another--sort of frustrating but possibly amusing as well. shrug
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
While I see your point I have to disagree unless you have two attacks or more.

The orc only need use its reaction if you attack. If you don't and continue moving around it, it never uses its reaction. If you have two attacks and have the speed and clear spaces to move around your target, then the orc would use its reaction to negate the first "rear" attack with advantage by facing you but your second attack would be with advantage since you are behind it.
Actually by the flanking rule in the DMG, the orc can respond to you moving around behind it by changing facing, but not to you attacking it from behind. That’s because the only trigger for using your reaction to change facing (at least by DMG RAW - you could house rule this if you wanted to) is when another creature ends its movement. Now, you could argue that your movement hasn’t really “ended” if you then go on to move back around to the other side of the orc, but those are reeds I have no interest in getting into. The way movement works in 5e allows you to split it up however you like during your turn, and I like that about it. I wouldn’t ask my players to declare when they’ve “ended” their movement for the turn.
(The whole scenario of running circles around your target is comical IMO, and a reason why moving more than 5 feet in a threatened space should still provoke an OA--but it doesn't, sadly).

Frankly, nothing you are doing would allow the orc an OA anyway (what I bolded) so why would you be concerned about it still having one?

In 5E as long as your are moving within the target's reach, your movement doesn't provoke an OA (you know this) so I fail to see how the above movement would provoke one or require the orc to protect its back arc?
Ah, see, the way I interpret Facing, your back arc isn’t within your reach, since the text says you “normally can’t attack creatures in your back arc.” So by my reading, entering a creature’s back arc while within 5 feet of it (or 10 feet if it’s wielding a Reach weapon) would provoke an opportunity attack. That’s actually another point in favor of Facing for me, as it curtails the ability to move freely around a target while within its reach, without going back to the gridlock of 3e and 4e OAs.
What effort? You move behind the target and attack it. If you use the facing rule and allow it to turn around, your ally can move to gain the advantage of a rear attack because it has no reaction left to turn. One of your or the other will benefit from the rear attack and the advantage it grants.

This is certainly better than flanking in that only one person can do it, but that all really (a big improvement--not knocking that). I don't really see it requiring much more effort, though. All I see is the reaction allows the DM to deny it to one player and thus grant it to another--sort of frustrating but possibly amusing as well. shrug
It requires you to coordinate with your teammate rather than simply standing on either side of your target. For example, if the fighter approaches and attacks the orc from in front first, and then the rogue approaches the orc’s back, it will turn around to deny the rogue advantage, meaning neither character got an advantage attack in that round. If the rogue first approaches the orc’s back, it will probably turn around immediately to deny the rogue advantage, potentially giving the fighter the opportunity to attack with advantage. Useful, but not optimal since the rogue benefits more from advantage than the fighter does. If the rogue first approaches the orc from in front and Readies an action to attack if the orc turns around, and then the Fighter approaches the orc from behind, the orc is in a tricky position, as it has to decide if it should allow the fighter that advantage attack, or turn around, exposing its back to the rogue. There’s a lot more for both the players and me to consider to try and take advantage of the Facing rule than the Flanking rule, and in my opinion that makes the advantage feel much more earned than it does with flanking. YMMV.
 

TheOneGargoyle

Explorer
It requires you to coordinate with your teammate rather than simply standing on either side of your target. For example, if the fighter approaches and attacks the orc from in front first, and then the rogue approaches the orc’s back, it will turn around to deny the rogue advantage, meaning neither character got an advantage attack in that round. If the rogue first approaches the orc’s back, it will probably turn around immediately to deny the rogue advantage, potentially giving the fighter the opportunity to attack with advantage. Useful, but not optimal since the rogue benefits more from advantage than the fighter does. If the rogue first approaches the orc from in front and Readies an action to attack if the orc turns around, and then the Fighter approaches the orc from behind, the orc is in a tricky position, as it has to decide if it should allow the fighter that advantage attack, or turn around, exposing its back to the rogue. There’s a lot more for both the players and me to consider to try and take advantage of the Facing rule than the Flanking rule, and in my opinion that makes the advantage feel much more earned than it does with flanking. YMMV.
I love everything about this.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Actually by the flanking rule in the DMG, the orc can respond to you moving around behind it by changing facing, but not to you attacking it from behind. That’s because the only trigger for using your reaction to change facing (at least by DMG RAW - you could house rule this if you wanted to) is when another creature ends its movement. Now, you could argue that your movement hasn’t really “ended” if you then go on to move back around to the other side of the orc, but those are reeds I have no interest in getting into. The way movement works in 5e allows you to split it up however you like during your turn, and I like that about it. I wouldn’t ask my players to declare when they’ve “ended” their movement for the turn.
I think you meant "facing" not flanking?

Correct, I misread that earlier. But (as you'll read below) unless you attack your movement hasn't ended and thus the orc won't use its trigger.

I was thinking about the "ending" movement. Technically, if you have two attacks you are ending your move twice, so I don't see any issue with that and how your scenario plays out--so nothing to get into on that IMO.

But without an attack (which is the only way you can split your movement, unless you dash or something maybe 🤷‍♂️), you are still moving and it wouldn't have ended yet (so, no triggering event for the orc). 5E doesn't allow you to split it [movement] up however you like turning your turn.

Ah, see, the way I interpret Facing, your back arc isn’t within your reach, since the text says you “normally can’t attack creatures in your back arc.” So by my reading, entering a creature’s back arc while within 5 feet of it (or 10 feet if it’s wielding a Reach weapon) would provoke an opportunity attack. That’s actually another point in favor of Facing for me, as it curtails the ability to move freely around a target while within its reach, without going back to the gridlock of 3e and 4e OAs.
LOL that's a pretty loose interpretation IMO and as I player I would not be cool with that, personally. After all, the attacker is moving into your blind spot so making an attack against it as an OA (especially with advantage via marking) seems a bit far-fetched.

I mean, it seems like you are trying to create a more realistic and tactical situation, but I don't see how (realistically) it makes sense that if someone is moving behind you, you get a chance to attack them. shrug

It requires you to coordinate with your teammate rather than simply standing on either side of your target. For example, if the fighter approaches and attacks the orc from in front first, and then the rogue approaches the orc’s back, it will turn around to deny the rogue advantage, meaning neither character got an advantage attack in that round. If the rogue first approaches the orc’s back, it will probably turn around immediately to deny the rogue advantage, potentially giving the fighter the opportunity to attack with advantage. Useful, but not optimal since the rogue benefits more from advantage than the fighter does. If the rogue first approaches the orc from in front and Readies an action to attack if the orc turns around, and then the Fighter approaches the orc from behind, the orc is in a tricky position, as it has to decide if it should allow the fighter that advantage attack, or turn around, exposing its back to the rogue. There’s a lot more for both the players and me to consider to try and take advantage of the Facing rule than the Flanking rule, and in my opinion that makes the advantage feel much more earned than it does with flanking. YMMV.
Ok, let's see if I have this right...
  1. The fighter moves into the rear position (red). The orc can either make an OA (with your interpretation) or change facing. Note: the orc has not attacked yet, so hasn't marked the fighter, so the OA won't be free or with advantage. So...
  2. The orc changes facing to deny the fighter advantage. Turning to keep the fighter and rogue both on its sides (yellow).
  3. The rogue then moves into the rear position (red) to attack with advantage as an unseen attacker since the orc cannot turn again.
1609683290091.png

Now, how is this ANY different from the set up for normal flanking without worrying about facing:
1609684159861.png

Honestly, it seems more like you are making things convoluted with only the semblance of tactics.

Now, I understand compared to normal flanking rules, only one PC would gain advantage with via the facing rules. I think that part is great because a big issue with flanking for many people is that its too easy for everyone to get advantage on their attacks.

But, what am I missing? I am not concerned about marking, frankly, as I would never use it without some sort of action cost, but that is just my personal preference. So, other than limiting "flanking" advantage to the rear position only, what does all this accomplish?
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
@Rockyroad

Here's a crazy thought: instead of the attackers gaining a direct benefit when flanking, what about imposing a penalty on the flanked creature?

I am just spit-balling stuff here, and thinking in terms more of the narrative:

If an orc is being attacked by a fighter and rogue, it has to divide its attention between them, basically increasing its defensive stance (so to say). In my mind, this lessens its offense, so maybe imposing disadvantage on its attacks would work well? It isn't going full on Dodge, but it is holding back its attack a bit.

If the orc wanted to ignore the situation and focus solely on one target (fighter or rogue), then allowing the other PC something (advantage or whatever...) a bonus of some sort makes sense to me. The orc is trying to kill one foe quickly so it can focus on the other.

This would nicely translate into the concept of two or more allies harassing a foe IMO.

It also allows attackers to benefit from other sources of advantage, which was something you wanted, when the orc accepts disadvantage on its own attacks. True, if it ignores one threat and attacks the other, you are stuck with advantage for the other attacker or something else. This is where my idea before of +1 per extra attacker might work? shrug

Ex. A party is facing a hill giant. Three PCs move to engage in melee and surround the giant. Depending on the giant's actions:

1. If the giant focuses its defenses, turn and such to keep an eye on its foes, it accepts disadvantage on its own attacks.
2. If the giant focuses on one PC and attacks it normally, the other PCs would get a +2 on their attack rolls. The PCs that stayed back and are attacking at range (say a caster with cantrips and an archer maybe?) would also get the +2 bonus I would think, but they don't count towards increasing the bonus.

Just a thought.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I think you meant "facing" not flanking?
I did, yeah.
Correct, I misread that earlier. But (as you'll read below) unless you attack your movement hasn't ended and thus the orc won't use its trigger.

I was thinking about the "ending" movement. Technically, if you have two attacks you are ending your move twice, so I don't see any issue with that and how your scenario plays out--so nothing to get into on that IMO.

But without an attack (which is the only way you can split your movement, unless you dash or something maybe 🤷‍♂️), you are still moving and it wouldn't have ended yet (so, no triggering event for the orc). 5E doesn't allow you to split it [movement] up however you like turning your turn.
The thing is, the way the rules for movement in 5e are written, it isn’t a discrete activity with a start and an end. It’s a resource you expend to change your character’s position. It’s actually something I find to be a bit of a flaw in the way the Facing rules are written, since short of a creature running out of movement, there’s no mechanism in the rules to indicate when they’ve “ended their move.” My interpretation is that, when a creature stops moving, you can use a reaction to change facing. If the rogue spends 15 feet of movement to get behind the orc and then stops, the orc has an opportunity to use a reaction change facing. The can either take that reaction, in which case it will turn around and then the rogue can spend 15 more feet of movement to get behind the orc again and attack, or the orc can not take that reaction, in which case the rogue will simply stay where they are and attack. Either way, the rogue can attack the orc with advantage.

With marking though, (assuming the orc has made a melee attack against the rogue since its last turn), the orc can at least make an opportunity attack against the rogue - with advantage - when they try to move behind its back, making this rather silly tactic no longer viable.

Now, you may not agree with my interpretation of the rules, and that’s fine. But that is how I interpret them.
LOL that's a pretty loose interpretation IMO and as I player I would not be cool with that, personally. After all, the attacker is moving into your blind spot so making an attack against it as an OA (especially with advantage via marking) seems a bit far-fetched.

I mean, it seems like you are trying to create a more realistic and tactical situation, but I don't see how (realistically) it makes sense that if someone is moving behind you, you get a chance to attack them. shrug
Makes about as much sense as getting a chance to attack someone when they’re moving away from you, in my opinion. But regardless, “more realistic” is not my goal. More tactically engaging, yes; more realistic, no. I don’t think realism is a useful goal in game design.
Ok, let's see if I have this right...
  1. The fighter moves into the rear position (red). The orc can either make an OA (with your interpretation) or change facing. Note: the orc has not attacked yet, so hasn't marked the fighter, so the OA won't be free or with advantage. So...
  2. The orc changes facing to deny the fighter advantage. Turning to keep the fighter and rogue both on its sides (yellow).
  3. The rogue then moves into the rear position (red) to attack with advantage as an unseen attacker since the orc cannot turn again.
View attachment 130854
I would say the orc made a bit of a tactical error by using its reaction to turn and face the fighter in fig. 2. By doing so, it has exposed its back to the rogue, which the rogue exploits for advantage in fig. 3. The orc can see that there are two opponents poised to flank it, so it knows one way or another, one of them will be able to get behind it and exploit its blind spot. That means the orc has to decide which opponent it’s going to allow to get at its back. Now, maybe if the fighter has multiple attacks it would be better to expose its back to the rogue, but if not, it’s probably smarter to let the fighter attack its back in order to keep an eye on the rogue. Especially since doing so would free up it’s reaction to make an opportunity attack against the fighter as they pass, which would also mark the fighter until the end of the orc’s next turn, giving the orc more options to punish the fighter’s next move.
Now, how is this ANY different from the set up for normal flanking without worrying about facing:

View attachment 130855
The end positioning you arrived at isn’t any different (though again, I would argue the positioning you reached in the first example was due to a tactical error on the orc’s part), but the former has several more decision points involved. The orc has to consider whether to make an attack of opportunity against the fighter or to save its reaction to turn. It has to consider whether it should allow the fighter to get into its blind spot or expose its blind spot to the rogue. And the fighter and the rogue have to try and anticipate what the orc will do if they want to take the most advantage of their own positioning.
Honestly, it seems more like you are making things convoluted with only the semblance of tactics.

Now, I understand compared to normal flanking rules, only one PC would gain advantage with via the facing rules. I think that part is great because a big issue with flanking for many people is that its too easy for everyone to get advantage on their attacks.

But, what am I missing? I am not concerned about marking, frankly, as I would never use it without some sort of action cost, but that is just my personal preference. So, other than limiting "flanking" advantage to the rear position only, what does all this accomplish?
It gives the players (and me) more factors to consider in positioning our characters. More decision points, more need to try and anticipate your opponent’s moves. As you said, it limits one attacker to gaining advantage rather than both, which is a significant plus. It also makes hiding in combat a more viable option for rogues, which as a big rogue fan I appreciate.
 

Rockyroad

Explorer
We didn't necessarily have any issues with interpreting the facing rules or implementing them in the VTT. We interpreted the facing rule as at the end of your turn you get to chose where you want to be facing. Then as a reaction you can change the direction of your facing. The problem was it took people a bit of time at the end of their turn to decide how they want to be oriented and then later if they wanted to change it using a reaction. Multiplied by the number of players and the number of rounds the combat took, the time added up so we decided to ditch it. I like the idea of facing but not the time involved. Taking the decision out of the player's hand as to where you're facing as well as taking the reaction change is what I'm thinking about doing to speed things up. Therefore, the idea is you're defined as either facing the first attacker against you or the last target you attacked, something like that. No decision needed and no changing during the round, simple and sweet.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
First off, thanks for the reply. I know it is a lot to digest sometimes (at least, it feels that way to me LOL!).
The thing is, the way the rules for movement in 5e are written, it isn’t a discrete activity with a start and an end. It’s a resource you expend to change your character’s position. It’s actually something I find to be a bit of a flaw in the way the Facing rules are written, since short of a creature running out of movement, there’s no mechanism in the rules to indicate when they’ve “ended their move.” My interpretation is that, when a creature stops moving, you can use a reaction to change facing. If the rogue spends 15 feet of movement to get behind the orc and then stops, the orc has an opportunity to use a reaction change facing. The can either take that reaction, in which case it will turn around and then the rogue can spend 15 more feet of movement to get behind the orc again and attack, or the orc can not take that reaction, in which case the rogue will simply stay where they are and attack. Either way, the rogue can attack the orc with advantage.

With marking though, (assuming the orc has made a melee attack against the rogue since its last turn), the orc can at least make an opportunity attack against the rogue - with advantage - when they try to move behind its back, making this rather silly tactic no longer viable.

Now, you may not agree with my interpretation of the rules, and that’s fine. But that is how I interpret them.
I am not thrilled with movement in 5E, either. :)

But as written it is a discrete activity on your turn--that is when you get to move. In order to get an actual "break" in your movement, you need to take some form of action. So, a PC can move, attack, and continue moving or move, open a door, and continue moving, etc. but you need an action of some kind.

The part that is bolded is what I don't agree with. If the rogue stops, and then continues moving without doing an attack, he didn't really "stop his movement"--he continued it. With your interpretation, the rogue is always guaranteed an attack with advantage--which is the same as flanking. shrug

I don't think the orc getting an OA via marking would really stop such tactics, since as well PCs get to use them against other creatures, but I could be wrong.

I would say the orc made a bit of a tactical error by using its reaction to turn and face the fighter in fig. 2. By doing so, it has exposed its back to the rogue, which the rogue exploits for advantage in fig. 3. The orc can see that there are two opponents poised to flank it, so it knows one way or another, one of them will be able to get behind it and exploit its blind spot. That means the orc has to decide which opponent it’s going to allow to get at its back. Now, maybe if the fighter has multiple attacks it would be better to expose its back to the rogue, but if not, it’s probably smarter to let the fighter attack its back in order to keep an eye on the rogue. Especially since doing so would free up it’s reaction to make an opportunity attack against the fighter as they pass, which would also mark the fighter until the end of the orc’s next turn, giving the orc more options to punish the fighter’s next move.
Well, it didn't face the fighter, it put the fighter on its side (yellow) so the fighter was no longer in the rear (red). Anyway, I wouldn't say it made an error because one foe or the other will be at its back and it has no way of "knowing" who is fighter or rogue or whatever, so it moved to try to position itself to the current threat after the fighter moved.

With your ruling, the only thing that would be good would be to hold the reaction to get an OA as the fighter passes, but if there is room to move he can move into the rear position and never pass through the orc's reach until that square--so no OA for that then.
1609698066724.png

And now the orc as either to change its facing or allow the fighter to attack with advantage. Now, this is true only in this case. In other cases with your idea of the rear "leaving your reach" the orc might get an OA. It just depends. It still doesn't make sense to me to allow an OA when some is moving behind you, but you see it that way so okay. 🤷‍♂️ I'm not here to try to change your mind. :D

but the former has several more decision points involved
Several more decision points to arrive at basically the same thing isn't a good thing IMO, especially since 5E is supposed to be simpler when possible.

It gives the players (and me) more factors to consider in positioning our characters. More decision points, more need to try and anticipate your opponent’s moves. As you said, it limits one attacker to gaining advantage rather than both, which is a significant plus. It also makes hiding in combat a more viable option for rogues, which as a big rogue fan I appreciate.
Since it appeals to you, kudos!

I do think limiting the advantage to few allies helps balance out flanking (however it is achieved) so I am totally onboard with that. Facing does help with "hiding" for rogues, so I, too, am all for that. :D

FWIW, we already use facing in our VTT and the rear advantage mechanic. For flanking, you have to use your bonus action to grant your ally advantage on their next attack (not all of them, just the next one). Those have balanced it out well for us, but thanks again for providing more detail. Much appreciated. :)
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Therefore, the idea is you're defined as either facing the first attacker against you or the last target you attacked, something like that. No decision needed and no changing during the round, simple and sweet.
Which is how we deal with facing. You are facing the last creature you attacked or such. Until your next turn, that is your facing. Works easily for my groups. shrug
 

Rockyroad

Explorer
I did, yeah.

The thing is, the way the rules for movement in 5e are written, it isn’t a discrete activity with a start and an end. It’s a resource you expend to change your character’s position. It’s actually something I find to be a bit of a flaw in the way the Facing rules are written, since short of a creature running out of movement, there’s no mechanism in the rules to indicate when they’ve “ended their move.” My interpretation is that, when a creature stops moving, you can use a reaction to change facing. If the rogue spends 15 feet of movement to get behind the orc and then stops, the orc has an opportunity to use a reaction change facing. The can either take that reaction, in which case it will turn around and then the rogue can spend 15 more feet of movement to get behind the orc again and attack, or the orc can not take that reaction, in which case the rogue will simply stay where they are and attack. Either way, the rogue can attack the orc with advantage.
In this situation I don't see how you would say that the rogue stopped after spending 15 ft to get behind the orc. It would still be the rogue's turn and either it continues to move or make an attack or do some other action. We always played it such that you could take your reaction to change facing right before the moment you were attacked.
 

tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
The thing is, the way the rules for movement in 5e are written, it isn’t a discrete activity with a start and an end. It’s a resource you expend to change your character’s position. It’s actually something I find to be a bit of a flaw in the way the Facing rules are written, since short of a creature running out of movement, there’s no mechanism in the rules to indicate when they’ve “ended their move.” My interpretation is that, when a creature stops moving, you can use a reaction to change facing. If the rogue spends 15 feet of movement to get behind the orc and then stops, the orc has an opportunity to use a reaction change facing. The can either take that reaction, in which case it will turn around and then the rogue can spend 15 more feet of movement to get behind the orc again and attack, or the orc can not take that reaction, in which case the rogue will simply stay where they are and attack. Either way, the rogue can attack the orc with advantage.

With marking though, (assuming the orc has made a melee attack against the rogue since its last turn), the orc can at least make an opportunity attack against the rogue - with advantage - when they try to move behind its back, making this rather silly tactic no longer viable.

Now, you may not agree with my interpretation of the rules, and that’s fine. But that is how I interpret them.

Makes about as much sense as getting a chance to attack someone when they’re moving away from you, in my opinion. But regardless, “more realistic” is not my goal. More tactically engaging, yes; more realistic, no. I don’t think realism is a useful goal in game design.

I would say the orc made a bit of a tactical error by using its reaction to turn and face the fighter in fig. 2. By doing so, it has exposed its back to the rogue, which the rogue exploits for advantage in fig. 3. The orc can see that there are two opponents poised to flank it, so it knows one way or another, one of them will be able to get behind it and exploit its blind spot. That means the orc has to decide which opponent it’s going to allow to get at its back. Now, maybe if the fighter has multiple attacks it would be better to expose its back to the rogue, but if not, it’s probably smarter to let the fighter attack its back in order to keep an eye on the rogue. Especially since doing so would free up it’s reaction to make an opportunity attack against the fighter as they pass, which would also mark the fighter until the end of the orc’s next turn, giving the orc more options to punish the fighter’s next move.

The end positioning you arrived at isn’t any different (though again, I would argue the positioning you reached in the first example was due to a tactical error on the orc’s part), but the former has several more decision points involved. The orc has to consider whether to make an attack of opportunity against the fighter or to save its reaction to turn. It has to consider whether it should allow the fighter to get into its blind spot or expose its blind spot to the rogue. And the fighter and the rogue have to try and anticipate what the orc will do if they want to take the most advantage of their own positioning.

It gives the players (and me) more factors to consider in positioning our characters. More decision points, more need to try and anticipate your opponent’s moves. As you said, it limits one attacker to gaining advantage rather than both, which is a significant plus. It also makes hiding in combat a more viable option for rogues, which as a big rogue fan I appreciate.
I still feel like your facing/flanking mechanic is overengineered & too easy to obtain without cost but your right about the design of movement mechanic in 5e... the move attack object interact attack some more move finish your "attack" move bonus action is a seriously boneheaded design that should never have gotten printed in the end as it did
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
First off, thanks for the reply. I know it is a lot to digest sometimes (at least, it feels that way to me LOL!).
No problem!
I am not thrilled with movement in 5E, either. :)
I actually am thrilled with it lol. It’s one of the design moves 5e made that I think was really clever and great. To each their own though.
But as written it is a discrete activity on your turn--that is when you get to move. In order to get an actual "break" in your movement, you need to take some form of action. So, a PC can move, attack, and continue moving or move, open a door, and continue moving, etc. but you need an action of some kind.

The part that is bolded is what I don't agree with. If the rogue stops, and then continues moving without doing an attack, he didn't really "stop his movement"--he continued it. With your interpretation, the rogue is always guaranteed an attack with advantage--which is the same as flanking. shrug
We just aren’t going to agree on this. That’s cool, you do you.
I don't think the orc getting an OA via marking would really stop such tactics, since as well PCs get to use them against other creatures, but I could be wrong.
Well, assuming my interpretation, the advantage on opportunity attacks against marked targets is what really makes the runaround tactic not worthwhile. If the orc only got a regular opportunity attack, that’s a net gain, or at least net neutral in exchange for an attack with advantage. But the orc getting an opportunity attack against you with advantage really isn’t worth the advantage attack. IMO.
Well, it didn't face the fighter, it put the fighter on its side (yellow) so the fighter was no longer in the rear (red). Anyway, I wouldn't say it made an error because one foe or the other will be at its back and it has no way of "knowing" who is fighter or rogue or whatever, so it moved to try to position itself to the current threat after the fighter moved.
Depends how “smart” you play the orc, I guess. I would assume an orc is a savvy enough combatant to recognize that the lightly armored opponent with the short swords is not someone you want to have behind you. Obviously you don’t want either behind you if you can help it, but since it should be able to recognize that it can’t guard its blind spot from both opponents at once, and tank n’ spank is a familiar enough tactic that the orc is going to want to try to avoid getting sneak attacked. Maybe a less intelligent foe like a troll would behave more like the one in your diagrams though.
With your ruling, the only thing that would be good would be to hold the reaction to get an OA as the fighter passes, but if there is room to move he can move into the rear position and never pass through the orc's reach until that square--so no OA for that then.
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Oh, sorry, I should have clarified I use 3e style diagonals, so that maneuver would cost a total of 35 feet of movement. If the fighter started their turn 5 feet closer (or if they’re a wood elf) that would be a viable tactic though. And I would consider that smart play. That limits the orc’s options for how to respond, which is just good tactics.
And now the orc as either to change its facing or allow the fighter to attack with advantage. Now, this is true only in this case. In other cases with your idea of the rear "leaving your reach" the orc might get an OA. It just depends. It still doesn't make sense to me to allow an OA when some is moving behind you, but you see it that way so okay. 🤷‍♂️ I'm not here to try to change your mind. :D
👍
Several more decision points to arrive at basically the same thing isn't a good thing IMO, especially since 5E is supposed to be simpler when possible.
Ah, see for me, decision points are the name of the game. Having to choose between two or more mutually exclusive things you want (or to choose to prevent one of two or more things you don’t want), and imagining how your character would make that choice, is the very soul of roleplaying to me. Sure, this is a very small case of that, but I still find it appealing.
Since it appeals to you, kudos!

I do think limiting the advantage to few allies helps balance out flanking (however it is achieved) so I am totally onboard with that. Facing does help with "hiding" for rogues, so I, too, am all for that. :D

FWIW, we already use facing in our VTT and the rear advantage mechanic. For flanking, you have to use your bonus action to grant your ally advantage on their next attack (not all of them, just the next one). Those have balanced it out well for us, but thanks again for providing more detail. Much appreciated. :)
Yeah, no problem! It’s been an engaging conversation.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
We didn't necessarily have any issues with interpreting the facing rules or implementing them in the VTT. We interpreted the facing rule as at the end of your turn you get to chose where you want to be facing. Then as a reaction you can change the direction of your facing. The problem was it took people a bit of time at the end of their turn to decide how they want to be oriented and then later if they wanted to change it using a reaction. Multiplied by the number of players and the number of rounds the combat took, the time added up so we decided to ditch it. I like the idea of facing but not the time involved.
A very common complaint with the facing rules, and totally understandable.
Taking the decision out of the player's hand as to where you're facing as well as taking the reaction change is what I'm thinking about doing to speed things up. Therefore, the idea is you're defined as either facing the first attacker against you or the last target you attacked, something like that. No decision needed and no changing during the round, simple and sweet.
That’s... A very good idea! The drawback for me would be that your facing is then undefined until you’re being flanked, which means ranged attackers and stealth users can’t exploit your blind spot, which is something I like about facing. But in the other hand, this would be much easier to translate into TotM. I’ll have to consider this.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
In this situation I don't see how you would say that the rogue stopped after spending 15 ft to get behind the orc. It would still be the rogue's turn and either it continues to move or make an attack or do some other action.
I think about it in terms of the conversation at the table. The rogue’s player moves their token to the orc’s back arc and says “does the orc turn around?” If I say no, they attack. If I say yes, they use their remaining movement to get to the other side. Yes, there is an argument to be made that the rogue didn’t really “finish their movement” if they then continued moving without taking an action first, but that’s not really an argument I want to get into. I would rather just rule on the permissive side for the player.
We always played it such that you could take your reaction to change facing right before the moment you were attacked.
That’s a reasonable ruling, though the RAW does say you take the reaction when a creature ends its movement and doesn’t provide any other triggers for it.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
That’s... A very good idea! The drawback for me would be that your facing is then undefined until you’re being flanked, which means ranged attackers and stealth users can’t exploit your blind spot, which is something I like about facing. But in the other hand, this would be much easier to translate into TotM. I’ll have to consider this.
Yep. I run a lot of TotM play and it works easily for it. But, we use it for VTT as well with no issues.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I still feel like your facing/flanking mechanic is overengineered & too easy to obtain without cost
It isn’t really “my” mechanic. It’s straight out of the DMG - though I suppose there are some points where my interpretation of the mechanic’s interactions with other mechanics might be different than others’.
but your right about the design of movement mechanic in 5e... the move attack object interact attack some more move finish your "attack" move bonus action is a seriously boneheaded design that should never have gotten printed in the end as it did
See, I love that you can break up your movement however you want on your turn. I do think the “object interaction” thing is rather silly, but the way 5e handles movement is brilliant in my opinion. That probably colors my interpretation of the way movement interacts with those reaction triggers though.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
I don't mind breaking up your move, what bothers me with it is the way initiative works in D&D. Fortunately, with CIV it works a lot better so I am pretty happy with it in that respect.

What I don't like are things like the lack of a 5-foot step, moving through threatened spaces without provoking OAs, etc.
 

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