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D&D 5E Flanking

Well, of course, but that is pretty realistic isn't it? To have a game where having extra numbers in battle isn't a contributing factor is pretty poor design. I agree for many tables advantage is too strong, so my idea offers a method where numbers can still matter, but not as much as normal flanking would.

Anyway, also with my idea you would need a large number of allies to come close to giving you the same increase advantage does. Given the numbers above, of a 6-4 battle, if things happen to get "spread out" more evenly (2-1, 2-1, 1-1, 1-1) then two ogres would get a +1 and that's it. Not as big a deal, is it? ;)
A high AC front liner is not necessarily high strength. High Dex can also come to play. An elven eldritch knight can reach high AC and not be trained in athletics.

The big deal with your method, is that flanking bonus with advantage becomes much more powerful than normal. Again, 4 ogres against a PC will get a +3 bonus. Now, if the PC has a high enough AC so that the ogres have trouble to hit; they will try something. So two of them will help the other two. In normal circumstances it means that they simply have advantage and their normal bonuses to hit. If the character actively dodge, then only get their normal bonuses to hit.

With your method, they will have +3 to hit (as the helping ogres are still a threat so warrant the flanking bonuses) and will have advantage and their normal bonuses to attack. If the character dodges, then they are still with a +3 to hit in addition to their normal bonuses. That is a lot.

And the higher the players are, the more dangerous and unbalanced your approach becomes for one PC.
Imagine trolls, giants, glabrezu, Four of these can surround a PC in no time in an open space.
What about a few gladiators where a cleric is blessing them? Or even worse, high level thieves or assassins? The more varied the monsters, the more swingy a battle can become. 5ed removed the +"x" without concentration approach for a good reason. 3ed was a nightmare in bonuses calculation and with so many different spells to boost both sides...

But maybe it's just me. What I know is that since I have removed flanking, players are now reaching much higher levels and TPK are much rarer (but still present).
 

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6ENow!

The Game Is Over
A high AC front liner is not necessarily high strength. High Dex can also come to play. An elven eldritch knight can reach high AC and not be trained in athletics.
Fine, then they probably have Acrobatics and DEX. Either way, IME front-liners usually have one or the other. :)

The big deal with your method, is that flanking bonus with advantage becomes much more powerful than normal. Again, 4 ogres against a PC will get a +3 bonus. Now, if the PC has a high enough AC so that the ogres have trouble to hit; they will try something. So two of them will help the other two. In normal circumstances it means that they simply have advantage and their normal bonuses to hit. If the character actively dodge, then only get their normal bonuses to hit.
Ok, if someone is helping the other gain advantage, they aren't attacking, which reduces the damage the PC will likely take--it is a losing strategy unless the AC is super high. I'll give you another example:

Two orcs attack a PC with AC 16. They are flanking, so one of them gets a +1 bonus. The other, call it the primary , doesn't get the bonus because that is the one the PC is focused on. They don't both get +1, just one of them. Maybe I didn't make it clear enough before and if I caused confusion, I apologize.

Now, an orc is normally +5 to attack for 9 (crit 16) damage. Against AC 16, an orc hits on 11 or higher or 50/50. With advantage 75/25.
Orc A does 4.85 (0.45 x 9 + 0.05 x 16) damage per round. Orc B, with the +1 flanking bonus, does 5.3 (0.5 x 9 + 0.05 x 16). So, if both attack they do 10.15 damage per round.

But, if Orc A helps, he does no damage. And Orc B's, with advantage, does only 7.86 (0.7 x 9 + 0.0975 x 16) damage per round.

So, both orcs attacking yields higher damage than Orc A helping Orc B.

Now, it certainly, either way, isn't more powerful than flanking as normal, with both orcs attacking with advantage! If, by "normal", you mean both orcs attacking with no bonus (nor advantage for flanking), you would be wrong:

Each orc does 4.85 damage per round "normally", so 9.7 damage together. Orc A helping Orc B (who's attacking with advantage) is again only 7.86. So, this:

flanking bonus with advantage becomes much more powerful than normal
is not correct, regardless of what your meaning of "normal" is.

At any rate:
But maybe it's just me. What I know is that since I have removed flanking, players are now reaching much higher levels and TPK are much rarer (but still present).
Which is entirely logical. You've removed one of the biggest advantages (pardon the pun) mooks, etc. can get in the game. You've also removed one of the PCs greatest tactics against solitary foes (such as that Dragon, which is the other part of the name of the game... ;) ).

Finally, you removed flanking completely. The OP wanted something other than advantage that flanking can do, which is what I presented. Using my method with helping is not more powerful than just using my method and each creature attacking. I've shown you that twice, now. But my method is not as powerful as RAW flanking with advantage. It is obviously stronger than "normal" (i.e. no bonus nor advantage) but weaker that RAW flanking.
 

Rockyroad

Explorer
Certainly the flanking mechanic can make combat more swingy, but I would think that if a party faced the grapple and surround tactic on a regular basis, it would behoove them to come up with some counter strategies. Being cognizant of the possibility and not getting yourself into that position would be the first strategy. Teleporting out or shoving the blocking enemy out of the way to get allies into the fray to get flanking bonus themselves are others. We use the tumble and overrun optional rules as well to give even more options to get past the blocker. The bottom line is there's almost always going to be counters to any tactic and the party should be adapting to the DM's tactics. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice...
 

Certainly the flanking mechanic can make combat more swingy, but I would think that if a party faced the grapple and surround tactic on a regular basis, it would behoove them to come up with some counter strategies. Being cognizant of the possibility and not getting yourself into that position would be the first strategy. Teleporting out or shoving the blocking enemy out of the way to get allies into the fray to get flanking bonus themselves are others. We use the tumble and overrun optional rules as well to give even more options to get past the blocker. The bottom line is there's almost always going to be counters to any tactic and the party should be adapting to the DM's tactics. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice...
It is not always the case. Just as the monsters do not always have a perfect response to players' strategies. Not all characters have access to teleport, tumble or whatever. And when a monster drops you from its grab, you might be prone, so it will be half your movement just to get up. Just getting away might only get you past one ogres/opponents and they can still move to surround you and you might have provoked OA in moving away...

Depending on the level, such a gang up on one character can mean death in barely two rounds. Flanking might be a very realistic simulationistic rule, but it is not a heroic leading one.

High end damage monsters will make short work of a character that is unfortunate enough to fall on such a tactic. In addition, do not forget the size advantage such creatures have. I would not recommend to use this tactic often as a DM, but once I a while it does make for interesting combats. It is a matter of pacing.
 


tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
Adding prof bonus to damage vs. flanked target seems good enough and it does not step on toes of a class that can grant advantage.
it also massively throws off the damage calculations & advances damage output of martial classes with extra attack beyond casters than magic weapons already do.
 

CydKnight

Explorer
As long as you include flanking in your game it should work both ways and that should be the balance preventing it from being "OP". If it still seems too one-sided for the party, then make some adjustments to your encounters so that the enemy can take advantage of the flanking too. This could be as simple as adding a few low level minions to the battle. Where this isn't an option, consider making some terrain adjustments that make flanking more difficult to achieve.

If the party is the only side getting the benefits of flanking all or most of the time, then it will seem OP just like any other rule (official or house). I'm not saying this is the case here but it seems like we often want to design better rules when perhaps we should be designing better encounters that work with the rules we have. For those that disagree with this opinion of mine, I'm not going to defend ad nauseam. As with anything there are always exceptions. In short, do what works best at your table.
 


tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
Which is entirely logical. You've removed one of the biggest advantages (pardon the pun) mooks, etc. can get in the game. You've also removed one of the PCs greatest tactics against solitary foes (such as that Dragon, which is the other part of the name of the game... ;) ).

Finally, you removed flanking completely. The OP wanted something other than advantage that flanking can do, which is what I presented. Using my method with helping is not more powerful than just using my method and each creature attacking. I've shown you that twice, now. But my method is not as powerful as RAW flanking with advantage. It is obviously stronger than "normal" (i.e. no bonus nor advantage) but weaker that RAW flanking.
Actually no, @Helldritch didn't remove anything from the game of d&d, wotc removed flanking from d&d then balanced monsters against the lack of flanking, magic items, or feats. Not continuing to add a broken half finished rule is different from removing it.
1610660134428.png
 


tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
I've run a lot of fate & the links of that to fate are obvious right down to the index cards for aspects, but that manages to be even lower cost than invoking aspects in fate literally for the same +2 bonus. In fate there are two ways to invoke an aspect as the link describes (either yours or the fate one).

The first is to spend a fate point to make use of an aspect you or an ally didn't create or an aspect that has expended all of the free invokes. Fate poinys are not always easy to get & obtained in ways that are likely in conflict with d&d explaining why it has absolutely no mechanics for something similar unless you realllllly stretch to use inspiration.

The second is to use your action to create an advantage granting one or potentially more free invocations of that aspect but obviously not on the same action you used to create it or it would be like using one action to do two things.

This is a neat idea that is missing pieces, doesn't really mix with d&d, & potentially makes it difficult to narrate combat without replacing "does 17 hit> yes>I got a 7 & let go of the light>Alice you do 7 damage to it bob your turn" with "if I swing from the chandelier to attack it does that grant advantage>yes>cool dos a 17 hit>yes?> got a seven>alice you hit for 7 bob your up>if I swing from the chandelier to attack it does that grant advantage". Giving players the ability to make fate style aspects & make use of the fate fractal would destroy d&d into a heretically broken mess because it's just backwards of the assumptions made by every other part of he system
 

DM Dave1

Hero
This is a neat idea that is missing pieces, doesn't really mix with d&d, & potentially makes it difficult to narrate combat without replacing "does 17 hit> yes>I got a 7 & let go of the light>Alice you do 7 damage to it bob your turn" with "if I swing from the chandelier to attack it does that grant advantage>yes>cool dos a 17 hit>yes?> got a seven>alice you hit for 7 bob your up>if I swing from the chandelier to attack it does that grant advantage". Giving players the ability to make fate style aspects & make use of the fate fractal would destroy d&d into a heretically broken mess because it's just backwards of the assumptions made by every other part of he system
You're forgetting the part where the DM determines if a thing is possible and then sets a DC. If everyone wants to swing on a chandelier, fine. It may only grant advantage for the first PC, or the DC might increase, since the chandelier is now swinging and not as easy for the next PC to try the same. It's only messy if the players are trying to "game" the system and the DM is not paying attention to how the fiction might change.

Works well, IME.
 



tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
You're forgetting the part where the DM determines if a thing is possible and then sets a DC. If everyone wants to swing on a chandelier, fine. It may only grant advantage for the first PC, or the DC might increase, since the chandelier is now swinging and not as easy for the next PC to try the same. It's only messy if the players are trying to "game" the system and the DM is not paying attention to how the fiction might change.

Works well, IME.
not really forgetting so much as couldn't imagine someone would think any players would use their action this round to get +2 on the attack roll they make next round since thats even worse than truestrike. The idea of adding a second free action this round to do it all like that in one round falls victim to d&d being very different from fate & it would fall into much the same very little risk/it's not hard that it mentions after the bit about twitter.

People have been dancing around the last 7 years making tweaks to an unfinished flanking rule rather than adding the missing parts on the theory that it was fear of AoOskeeping players from moving around too much &not bothering to try for five foot steps around opponents to always get flanking if they didn't think the monster would last long enough or have high enough ac to be worth always trying it or coming up with convoluted overengineered alternatives that are lacking in new ways rather than just accepting that frequently it was a deliberate choice to go for the optimal option of not flanking with many baddies because of
1610670098623.png
I like fate & applaud the attempt that slyflourish made in the link but d&d is too different from fate to pull aspect tagging over that unchanged without introducing new problems or creating a system that designs itself into being unused.
 

DM Dave1

Hero
not really forgetting so much as couldn't imagine someone would think any players would use their action this round to get +2 on the attack roll they make next round since thats even worse than truestrike. The idea of adding a second free action this round to do it all like that in one round falls victim to d&d being very different from fate & it would fall into much the same very little risk/it's not hard that it mentions after the bit about twitter.

People have been dancing around the last 7 years making tweaks to an unfinished flanking rule rather than adding the missing parts on the theory that it was fear of AoOskeeping players from moving around too much &not bothering to try for five foot steps around opponents to always get flanking if they didn't think the monster would last long enough or have high enough ac to be worth always trying it or coming up with convoluted overengineered alternatives that are lacking in new ways rather than just accepting that frequently it was a deliberate choice to go for the optimal option of not flanking with many baddies because of


Your highlighted spoiler is not from 5e, which is what this thread is discussing. That highlighted rule does not exist in 5e.

I like fate & applaud the attempt that slyflourish made in the link but d&d is too different from fate to pull aspect tagging over that unchanged without introducing new problems or creating a system that designs itself into being unused.

What problems are introduced? If players are playing in good faith, there are no problems that I see or have experienced. They are simply adding a movement flourish (pun intended) to their attack action. It's not an extra action, it's simply an approach that requires an ability check to succeed, adding risk to the PC's regular action in exchange for the potential reward of advantage. Or, if the DM so desires, said flourish might need to cost the PC a bonus action to carry it out in addition to the ability check. Or the DM could just say it's not even possible if the stated approach goes too far, so the player needs to come up with something else or risk auto-failing.

Any way you stack it, IMO, it's far more interesting narratively to try to gain advantage "cinematically" instead of the nearly automatic "I run around to the other side of the monster to flank". YMMV.
 

tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
Your highlighted spoiler is not from 5e, which is what this thread is discussing. That highlighted rule does not exist in 5e.



What problems are introduced? If players are playing in good faith, there are no problems that I see or have experienced. They are simply adding a movement flourish (pun intended) to their attack action. It's not an extra action, it's simply an approach that requires an ability check to succeed, adding risk to the PC's regular action in exchange for the potential reward of advantage. Or, if the DM so desires, said flourish might need to cost the PC a bonus action to carry it out in addition to the ability check. Or the DM could just say it's not even possible if the stated approach goes too far, so the player needs to come up with something else or risk auto-failing.

Any way you stack it, IMO, it's far more interesting narratively to try to gain advantage "cinematically" instead of the nearly automatic "I run around to the other side of the monster to flank". YMMV.
aspects are not just flourish as interacting with the environment changes it if not creating things outright. Take this simple example from fate commonly used to illustrate a few things.
  • APlayers get in a fight with some bad guys while looking for a macguffin.
  • BFire gets started during the fight allowing the bad guy to get away while everyone focuses on putting out the fire so they don't wind up destroying the macguffin in the burning building
  • Cplayers declare a maid/janitor/etc left behind a mop bucket of water & use that to help them put out the fire
  • DPlayers think they have the bad guys cornered later
  • Ebad guys duck around the corner and emerge with the maid/janitor/etc the playas a hostage by tagging the aspect the players made to create the maid/janitor/etc
D&d lacks the ability to compel aspects against someone making it even worse & if you add compels it's even worse because every ability magic item & spell in 5e assumes both a much more top down gm to players concrete world than the fuzzy one aspects create.

Yes that rule I pointed out is from 3.5, wotc wrote 5e in such a way that it goes out of it's way to just say
1610676357790.png
is silly & creates a huge mess but some of the problematic aspects can be resolved by using the old flanking/AoO rules if not for 5e going out of it's way to make doing that difficult rather than just a one sentence "you could ignore these rules if you want."
 

DM Dave1

Hero
aspects are not just flourish as interacting with the environment changes it if not creating things outright. Take this simple example from fate commonly used to illustrate a few things.
  • APlayers get in a fight with some bad guys while looking for a macguffin.
  • BFire gets started during the fight allowing the bad guy to get away while everyone focuses on putting out the fire so they don't wind up destroying the macguffin in the burning building
  • Cplayers declare a maid/janitor/etc left behind a mop bucket of water & use that to help them put out the fire
  • DPlayers think they have the bad guys cornered later
  • Ebad guys duck around the corner and emerge with the maid/janitor/etc the playas a hostage by tagging the aspect the players made to create the maid/janitor/etc
D&d lacks the ability to compel aspects against someone making it even worse & if you add compels it's even worse because every ability magic item & spell in 5e assumes both a much more top down gm to players concrete world than the fuzzy one aspects create.

Yes that rule I pointed out is from 3.5, wotc wrote 5e in such a way that it goes out of it's way to just say
is silly & creates a huge mess but some of the problematic aspects can be resolved by using the old flanking/AoO rules if not for 5e going out of it's way to make doing that difficult rather than just a one sentence "you could ignore these rules if you want."
Who said anything about the players being able to create objects that weren’t in the DM’s description of the environment? That’s not what is being proposed at all. There are no “compels”. Fate-like =/= Fate.
 

tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
Who said anything about the players being able to create objects that weren’t in the DM’s description of the environment? That’s not what is being proposed at all. There are no “compels”. Fate-like =/= Fate.
"is there a ..." is all it takes Yes there are no compels, those generally act as a check allowing the gm to keep things on track. It's not just fate-like though, it's practically the invoke for effect rule itself. If I created a system that was almost exactly like Thac0 but called it something els.. it's still basically Thac0 any strengths/weaknesses/incompatibilities with Thac0 are still going to apply
 

I think the intent with the Sly Flourish rule is for the players to make use of aspects of the environment that have already been established.

I used to do similar things with 4E. Even to the extent of making say a bubbling cauldron of acid that the player could overturn the equivalent of a daily power in effect and damage.

It's very different from Fate.

In 13th Age I made use of the save system if something was uncertain. So if it something might be there I would roll on a D20 usually against an 11 and if it was equal or higher then it was there. But the player had no power to decide if something was there (well not unless they used an icon relationship in some way, but that's a different thing).
 
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