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PF2E Less Opportunity Attacks

If I understand correctly, Attacks of Opportunity were first introduced to keep PCs and monsters from running past all the front line defenses, and killing the spellcasters and BBEG right away (give or take right away).....

Now that PF2e has limited them some, what is your experience in play? Do the players run by the mooks and fodder and go for the boss-type right away? Do the monsters just go right for the spellcasters?

Etc....

thanks for your reply!
 

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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I can't speak for Pathfinder specifically, but I can say that I have noticed that AoOs generally only hold characters back at lower levels. Once the "basic attack" for a monster becomes fairly low in damage compared to the PCs resources they more frequently take those attacks to get at what they really want to do.

Which, I think, is probably a fair representation of a more experienced combatant.
 

I can't speak for Pathfinder specifically, but I can say that I have noticed that AoOs generally only hold characters back at lower levels. Once the "basic attack" for a monster becomes fairly low in damage compared to the PCs resources they more frequently take those attacks to get at what they really want to do.

Which, I think, is probably a fair representation of a more experienced combatant.
That's my experience also......
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Though note how Sabathius didn't speak for Pathfinder 2 specifically. (This is a PF2-specific thread) There are no "basic" attacks in PF2. A monster with an attack of opportunity generally gets to make its best one-action attack, which, since you're giving it a free attack, is painful enough.

(Obviously many monsters have more powerful attacks, but they cost two or even three actions)

I'd say you would only want to do this against low-level mooks regardless of your level in PF2. Even if they don't have Attacks of Opportunity (which most won't).

More generally, if you the GM isn't happy about heroes "disrespecting" the front-line monsters, the best solution is to start doing the same to your heroes. When the monsters reach the casters in the back, the fighters are going to regret leaving them behind.

Even more generally, Attacks of Opportunity or Opportunity Attacks were added to 3rd edition and retained in 5th edition because movement was and is free. In Pathfinder 2, every action you spend on movement is an action you're not doing something else, which makes PF2 a pretty different game. Whether Paizo made the right call in scaling back Attacks of Opportunity significantly remains to be seen, but it isn't as easy as just comparing the games as if they were created equal.
 

Though note how Sabathius didn't speak for Pathfinder 2 specifically. (This is a PF2-specific thread) There are no "basic" attacks in PF2. A monster with an attack of opportunity generally gets to make its best one-action attack, which, since you're giving it a free attack, is painful enough.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Even more generally, Attacks of Opportunity or Opportunity Attacks were added to 3rd edition and retained in 5th edition because movement was and is free. In Pathfinder 2, every action you spend on movement is an action you're not doing something else, which makes PF2 a pretty different game. Whether Paizo made the right call in scaling back Attacks of Opportunity significantly remains to be seen, but it isn't as easy as just comparing the games as if they were created equal.
Good point. I was more curious, I guess, to know what people are experiencing. Are the going around the fodder? Like, actual play experience.

I'm back to 5e, because the group I was playing PF with is no more.....but I have thought about getting rid of OA in 5e. In fiction, movies, whatever, people are always moving around........it seems odd that movement is so penalized to me.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
4E made fights too 'sticky' and you get all get caught up in a doorway unable to move away. It's a balance between that and dynamic, mobile combats. But the later means you can't protect your weaker members easily.
 

If I understand correctly, Attacks of Opportunity were first introduced to keep PCs and monsters from running past all the front line defenses, and killing the spellcasters and BBEG right away (give or take right away).....
IIRC, when Attacks of Opportunity were introduced in 2nd Edition's Combat & Tactics it was less about making front line defenders sticky and more about making disengaging from combat harder. It was a verisimilitude/ simulation factor. Backing up from enemies shouldn't be easy.

When MMOs were introduced and started work-shopping with how to handle tanking and threat generation in multiplayer games, D&D also started toying with the same ideas and paired it with AoOs. Which evolved into marking in 4e, which, as Morrus said, could make fights a little more static at times (although, in general, 4e fights could be pretty mobile with the right powers).

I haven't played PF2 but seen a few streams. It seems more mobile... at least at the beginning of fights. People can move fast with multiple actions: you can triple move and rocket across a battlemap. The tanks still have AoO or something similar, so it's just removing the free attack from rogues and monks and the like. It's more role or creature specific.
But because there's so many things that require an action, you don't want to move unless you have to. Even if you have a big penalty, it's always better to make an extra attack and hope for a 20 than just move or waste an action. Unless you're a mobile character with a move-and-attack action, you're always better planting yourself in a good position and unloading.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I'm back to 5e, because the group I was playing PF with is no more.....but I have thought about getting rid of OA in 5e. In fiction, movies, whatever, people are always moving around........it seems odd that movement is so penalized to me.
Well, 5E attacks of opportunity doesn't prevent heroes from maneuvering around monsters. It only triggers when you leave a combatant.

What I'm trying to say is that 5E movement feels pretty fluid as-is, and that the "stickiness" that made 3E combat so very static and boring wasn't a problem when I played 5E.

The 3E problem was attacks of opportunity (or opportunity attacks, forget which edition used what term) in conjunction with "move and you lose your full attack". I would say it is only when you apply both rules combat bogs down to static slugfests.

So yes, being able to move around makes combat feel dynamic and fun. 4E had very fun martial combat, and the way game effects continuously pushed and prodded combatants made it feel very "realistic" in that sense.

Going back to PF2, the main problem (if you can call it that) I would say is heroes are strongly encouraged to play tactically and cautiously, meaning there is little space for the "kicking in the door" and just charging the foes mighty barbarian playstyle. Nothing wrong with tactical and cautious - if I'm playing a SWAT soldier on a drug bust, or any other semi-modern setting. It definitely dampens the larger-than-life fantasy hero vibe, though.

This is partially because movement costs actions, and so it's better that the monsters spend actions on movement than you doing it. But arguably more due to the general lethalness of monsters, and the way the three-action system can result in a single character getting absolutely shredded by lots of non-negligible attacks.

The fact Paizo didn't remove the Delay action (which works with almost boardgame-like exactness) like 5E did results in the heroes acting much more like a coordinated SWAT team that I personally prefer. Delaying actions to minimize the times when a single hero is followed in the initiative list by several monsters; using movement and cover to your advantage, and trying to get the enemy to come to you instead of you going to them.

The game is simply playing on a hard enough difficulty that the players aren't eager to just barge in. And if I as the GM don't play my monsters as bloodthirsty simpletons, you easily end up with stand-offs which kills off much momentum and excitement. While some forumists over at Paizo forums defend this, I myself far prefer 5E's take, that allows the heroes to act truly heroically, being proactive and courageous action-hero style.

(Do note: we're still enjoying PF2. I guess I just wish Paizo had deleted Delay, or at least made it carry an actual action cost. If you want to "wait and see" I believe it would be much better if you were asked to simply do nothing on your turn and act in the next round instead. Since this means losing actual actions, it would likely help spurring heroes into action)
 

CapnZapp

Legend
IIRC, when Attacks of Opportunity were introduced in 2nd Edition's Combat & Tactics it was less about making front line defenders sticky and more about making disengaging from combat harder. It was a verisimilitude/ simulation factor. Backing up from enemies shouldn't be easy.
Several games simply say when you flee from a melee combat, your foe gets to take a free whack at you. Warhammer FRP for instance.

So yes, the basic core reason was to make "entering melee" a significant decision. It wouldn't feel right if your foe could just leg it with you being unable to do anything about it.

I guess the problem is few games have found it worthwhile to separate the two cases:
a) you running away (because your foe is better than you, or because more orcs are on the way...)
b) you running past (because you don't care about the guard in front of you, you want at the evil Sir Lord behind him)

I guess you could try a blunt approach (much like how Incapacitation works in PF2):

If you're lower level than your foe, you must succeed at some check in order to leave combat, or your movement action is wasted. If your foe doesn't like the direction you're leaving in, you need a larger degree of success on that check of yours or your movement action is wasted.

If you're higher level than your foe, he must instead make a check to stop you from leaving combat, probably giving up an attack to do so.

If you're both the same level, you can "flee" for free (and your foe needs to actively stop you if he wants to), and if you want to leave in a direction your foe doesn't like, you need to make your check but you don't need a larger degree of success.

Or something :)
 

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
The one character in my PF2 experience thus far that does do the "zip past the mooks for the more important target" thing is an elf rogue that has used feat options to increase Speed and to prevent triggering reactions with movement if moving at half Speed.

The rest of the characters are still mostly behaving as if every monster has a reaction they might trigger. I assume because the players don't want to get into the habit of playing a particular way and then finally face an opponent with a reaction and have that blindside them... which I think isn't necessarily the smartest approach, but it seems to be working well enough for their tastes.
 

Jaeger

Adventurer
...Even more generally, Attacks of Opportunity or Opportunity Attacks were added to 3rd edition and retained in 5th edition because movement was and is free. ...
I think it is also an artifact of AC being a passive defense. There are really no rolls to Defend in D&D.

An enemy goblin runs at you, rolls to hit, then as they only used half their movement, they keep going past!

AoO is a way to not allow Monsters or PC's to get in a "free hit".


...So yes, the basic core reason was to make "entering melee" a significant decision. It wouldn't feel right if your foe could just leg it with you being unable to do anything about it.
...
It's interesting that in real life you opponent can do exactly that!

From a gaming perspective I understand the reasoning behind AoO. But IMHO, sometimes game designers overthink stuff a bit too much.

But having played many games that do not have AoO, I find it largely an artifact of D&D style systems.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
It's interesting that in real life you opponent can do exactly that!
Well, real life is simply not the desired ideal of some games or gamers.

In a movie, for instance, you don't expect the heroes to swashbuckle their way past the guards to reach the evil Cardinal without some sort of struggle. The role of the guards is to shield their employer.

Whether a guard is powerless to prevent you from exiting the duel (in either direction) in real life is simply not a concern in many aspects of a ttrpg - namely the "game" aspect and the "story" aspect.

Cheers
 

Schmoe

Explorer
But because there's so many things that require an action, you don't want to move unless you have to. Even if you have a big penalty, it's always better to make an extra attack and hope for a 20 than just move or waste an action. Unless you're a mobile character with a move-and-attack action, you're always better planting yourself in a good position and unloading.
I realize I'm a little late to the party here, so apologies for the late reply. I still haven't had a chance to play, but my impression from reading quite a few play reports is that actually movement is critical to doing well in the game. Since you are often outmatched, an opponent's 2nd and 3rd attacks are much more likely to land than yours, which makes it more worthwhile to move away and force the opponent to waste actions following you around than to stick around and crit-fish on a long-shot while taking much greater damage in return. All of the playgroups I've read who say they finally feel like they are doing well in encounters mention how critical movement is to the gameplay.

<shrug> Just thought I'd pass that along, in case your experience is different.
 


Jaeger

Adventurer
Well, real life is simply not the desired ideal of some games or gamers. ...
Like I said, I understand the reasoning behind AoO.

I just think having played many game systems without it, that it is largely unnecessary.

In a movie, for instance, you don't expect the heroes to swashbuckle their way past the guards to reach the evil Cardinal without some sort of struggle. ...
Running an on and off Swashbuckling game right now between 5e sessions. The system has no AoO.

And the above scenario you highlight (which I had occur in game) is simply not an issue because I had the NPC guards move and position themselves in an intelligent manner.
 

Like I said, I understand the reasoning behind AoO.

I just think having played many game systems without it, that it is largely unnecessary.



Running an on and off Swashbuckling game right now between 5e sessions. The system has no AoO.

And the above scenario you highlight (which I had occur in game) is simply not an issue because I had the NPC guards move and position themselves in an intelligent manner.
I'm not arguing with you on any of that, btw.....
 

Jaeger

Adventurer
I'm not arguing with you on any of that, btw.....
Personally, I think AoO is just an artifact of the way D&D chooses to do combat since 3e.

No other game system really uses it. And you don't hear of issues with those combat systems.

PF2 just changed the way character actions are done in combat and they were largely able to just drop AoO.

As Much as 5e caters to theatre of the mind - AoO is still in there due to the standard 5' square grid combat structure that is still very much a part of the underlying combat rules.

.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
And the above scenario you highlight (which I had occur in game) is simply not an issue because I had the NPC guards move and position themselves in an intelligent manner.
Can I ask you to not phrase it like others are running their NPCs in a less intelligent manner? This isn't about GMing it wrong.

If you have a game where a hero somehow "sticks" to an enemy as soon as he comes into contact with it, that helps the fiction where you can't simply run past opponents (and monsters can't run past your fighter character either).

If you don't, then three guards in a passage four squares wide simply can't do anything about a hero using all his movement to move past the guards. There's no intelligent positioning to be had, unless by "intelligent" you mean "not using a battlemap" and essentially not using the rules of the game by saying "the three guards can easily prevent you from running past them". How do they do that? In game-mechanical terms, I mean?

This is the scenario attacks of opportunity are created to mitigate.

Regards
 

CapnZapp

Legend
No other game system really uses it.
Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play already in its first edition gave creatures a free whack at people moving away from them in combat. I'm sure many fantasy games make an attempt at preventing/mitigating the "run past" issue inherent in any "i go you go" combat model.

The similarities to formalized attacks of opportunities are clear.
 

Jaeger

Adventurer
Can I ask you to not phrase it like others are running their NPCs in a less intelligent manner? This isn't about GMing it wrong.
Can I ask you not to project things into what I wrote that aren't there?


If you have a game where a hero somehow "sticks" to an enemy as soon as he comes into contact with it, that helps the fiction Genre Emulation where you can't simply run past opponents (and monsters can't run past your fighter character either).
If not being able to run past your opponents is something the game designer wants to emphasize, than AoO helps with this.

D&D does this. Other games do not.

PF2 does not have universal AoO - and if reading peoples experiences with the game on this site is any indication, it is simply not an issue.

If you don't, then three guards in a passage four squares wide simply can't do anything about a hero using all his movement to move past the guards. There's no intelligent positioning to be had, unless by "intelligent" you mean "not using a battlemap" and essentially not using the rules of the game by saying "the three guards can easily prevent you from running past them". How do they do that? In game-mechanical terms, I mean?
....
I will venture a guess that you see a PC or Enemy just being able to run past or away from an opponent on their turn is an issue.

Some games do not see it as an issue at all.


... I'm sure many fantasy games make an attempt at preventing/mitigating the "run past" issue inherent in any "i go you go" combat model.
...
I'm sure they do as well, but a D&D style AoO is not the only way to deal with such an issue - assuming of course that the game designer sees it as an issue with his combat system at all.

.
 
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