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5E Keeping AoO for PC's, but removing AoO from enemies

BookTenTiger

Adventurer
In my experience...

Attacks of Opportunity are FUN for players. Players love to have that extra chance to hit enemies, and feats like Sentinel are super fun.

Attacks of Opportunity are NOT FUN for enemies. Players limit their options in combat for fear of being hit, even when facing weak enemies.

I am thinking of limiting Attacks of Opportunity to being available only to Player Characters.

How do you think this will effect combat?

I am hoping that as a result, players are more dynamic and creative in their movement and actions. I also think this will allow the Player Characters to face more difficult enemies and feel better about running away.

On the other hand, this means that the characters are going to get more attacks per combat than the enemies. So I'm thinking of giving all enemies something in exchange for taking away their Attacks of Opportunity. Here's my list of ideas:

Max HP.

A "Healing Surge" once per combat as a reaction.

Dodge as a reaction to taking damage.

Higher AC.


What are your ideas? Is this a crazy imbalance of action economy? Does it solve my problems?
 

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lhx

Explorer
Do you have a rogue? You just nerfed your rogue’s cunning action. I think you’re going to have balance issues and the extra mobility is going to feel weird.
Sometimes a monster’s goal is to dash to engage the caster even if it can’t attack this round.
 

BookTenTiger

Adventurer
Do you have a rogue? You just nerfed your rogue’s cunning action. I think you’re going to have balance issues and the extra mobility is going to feel weird.
Sometimes a monster’s goal is to dash to engage the caster even if it can’t attack this round.
"Nerf" is one way to look at it. But Cunning Action allows more than Disengage. Since the Rogue no longer has to use their bonus action to Disengage, they can now choose other Bonus Actions to take.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I always play that what works for the PCs works for the monsters. There's very limited tactics for positioning in 5E, I don't see a need to get rid of this. Yes, it sucks that the monsters get to attack and potentially kill a PC. But without that threat there wouldn't be much of a game.

If players are that concerned about it there are several options including the mobile feat, play a swashbuckler, use cunning action, misty step ... the list goes on.
 

MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
I don't think it would have a big enough impact that you need to give NPCs something in return. It will probably just make it easier for PCs to focus fire and do things like run past minions to take out the spellcaster.

I do agree that it takes away some of the tactical element of the game, but that's not everybody's cup of tea.

I also think there's a tendency for players to be overly cautious. There's plenty of times where it's worth it to get an attack of opportunity. You might demonstrate this by having NPCs provoke them to get in better tactical positions. Also as others have mentioned there are lots of ways mitigate AoOs and remember that it takes a reaction, so they can't do one if they used their reaction for anything else (including another AoO.)
 



"Nerf" is one way to look at it. But Cunning Action allows more than Disengage. Since the Rogue no longer has to use their bonus action to Disengage, they can now choose other Bonus Actions to take.
Yes, but now the Swashbuckler Rogue ability and Mobile become nerfed instead. Anything that negates/mitigates AoO from enemies is now weakened/worthless.
 


aco175

Hero
I have see PCs run up to meet the front line of the monsters who are blocking the evil caster. The fighter wanted to reach the caster, but is now blocked by a group of mooks. The evil caster gets to cast bad spell at the cleric knocking him down. The next round the fighter decides to take the AOO from the mooks in order to reach the evil caster. It becomes a trade-off for the player. You remove this by allowing the fighter to just move by the mooks, you remove a lot from the game and need to replace it with something cool.

A simple thing is that monsters stop PCs for one round even though they do not get an AOO. Not as cool as attacks. Maybe allow them to negate a hit once/rest. This will most likely make the players upset though. You can have them get a free move 1/rest, but players may still get mad if the monster moves just before the fighter rolls to his. I would think you need something easy like +2 to AC or max HP and just leave more options off the board.
 

MGibster

Legend
I don't think PCs need more advantages in 5E than they already have. The game is too easy on them as it is. It's not like I want my game to be a PC bloodbath, but, man, between all the expected rests and the way adventures are designed to be paced, this is the least risky edition of D&D ever.
 


Li Shenron

Legend
This causes more problems than it solves, which is none.
Only because everyone is thinking in terms of the whole game and community, which really isn't the case.

For example, BookTenTiger's house rule nerfs the mobile feat. Who cares? Only a group where some PCs have that feat. If BookTenTiger has a PC with the feat, good to point out that the player might complain. If not, it is irrelevant. It's not like everyone else's game will be affected.

To the point... @BookTenTiger if you remove OAs from the game you need to be aware of at least 2 possible big changes tactically.

The first is that's it's much easier to run away from combat. IMXP most players don't run away, they rather die and complain that the battle was too hard. However in my own games I sometimes have a very strong or even impossible opponent (because I run semi-sandbox games), even though I inform the players if that's the case. With the current 5e rules it is not easy to run away, you need to know how to minimize the damage and even think out of the box. You need to consider, does it happen that your PCs have to escape a battle, and are you ok that it will be easy to do so?

The second scenario is more tricky. OAs make it difficult to move past the enemies, for example to attack their boss or save the prisoners or catch the mcguffin or press the magic button or... you get the point! This is also a fairly rare situation, but you need to be aware that if you have it in your game, some savvy players can bypass the enemy line more easily if there are no OAs. Nothing that you can't still fix with careful placement of the monsters, but keep this in mind.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Good god no, not for my players. If anything I would do the opposite, to better challenge them, but that breaks verisimilitude for me.

AoO are important to make the game have more tactical and interesting choices. Already D&D 5e can too easily become a slog of roll to hit, roll to dame, deduct form back of hit points, rinse and repeat.

Maybe it is because my players are well seasoned and play very tactically. They would be bored and I would find it even harder to challenge them.

Not only to I have monsters take advantage of AoO, but I use crit decks for the monsters as well as for the players.

I regret not using the optional flanking rules in my current campaign. In my first 5e campaign I found my players were using flanking much more effectively and it was just making getting advantage to easy. But now that I'm better at running 5e, I really wish my monsters could take advantage of flanking.

It should be dangerous to enter combat, even at high level against underpowered adversaries. There should always be a risk. For many players that makes the game MORE fun.
 

I regret not using the optional flanking rules in my current campaign. In my first 5e campaign I found my players were using flanking much more effectively and it was just making getting advantage to easy. But now that I'm better at running 5e, I really wish my monsters could take advantage of flanking.

It should be dangerous to enter combat, even at high level against underpowered adversaries. There should always be a risk. For many players that makes the game MORE fun.
We use flanking rules. It really adds interesting complexity. Makes both sides think about exactly which square to move to.
 


Nebulous

Legend
I don't think PCs need more advantages in 5E than they already have. The game is too easy on them as it is. It's not like I want my game to be a PC bloodbath, but, man, between all the expected rests and the way adventures are designed to be paced, this is the least risky edition of D&D ever.
Yes, I've had to modify it some just so it has a semblance of danger, but even by 9th or 10th level that gets strained.
 



Monsters don't need anything to make up for it. Unless you as the DM are constantly moving monsters out of range without using Disengage, the difference between the players and monsters shouldn't really affect the balance between them. If it's only occasional, it won't make a difference. If multiple PCs are getting OAs every round, then it would shift in the PCs favor.
I think it would likely have one of two outcomes, either PCs don't take advantage of it and just stay in contact with the enemy. Or the PCs are constantly doing hit and runs, in which case the enemies are free to move around at will and hit whoever they want. Which would likely make the PCs revert to staying in contact with the enemy in order to take advantage of OAs and prevent enemies from getting near the weaker party members.
It would definitely change the effectiveness of rogues' cunning action, swashbucklers, mobile feat, monk's step of wind. If you already have a part with those things, I'd be hesitant to change or at least try to find ways to give them other options to make up for it. If you are starting a new game with this option, I would make sure players know that and the effect it would have.
Dual wielding rogues, for instance, would now become more common. After hitting and doing sneak attack on their first attack, there is no longer a choice of a second hit for a little more damage or using a bonus action to disengage to avoid a hit. They can now do both.
It's not something I would do or want to play with, but if it makes it more fun for your group, then go for it. But definitely make sure that it isn't negating a player's build/style. If one of your players made their character to optimize those hit and run tactics, doing this will make them feel less special and could make the game no longer fun for them.
 

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