Need suggestions for Flanking house rule


First Post
I've always had a problem with Flanking and the rogue's Sneak Attack, and I'm looking for opinions. Here's a hypothetical situation exaggerated to highlight the absurdity of the situation:

A 19th level rogue and 19th level fighter square off for a fight. Now, let's say the fighter charges the rogue and they start duking it out in Round 1. There's no surprise, no loss of Dex bonus, no Sneak Attack for the rogue. On the second round, the rogue's first-level follower rushes in behind the 19th level fighter and gives the 19th level rogue flanking. Now, the follower is a first-level NPC armed with a dagger. The 19th level fighter has seen this guy hanging around before. He knows the follower is pathetic. His chance to get through the fighter's +4 Full Plate is small and his damage is pathetic even if he gets lucky and hits. There's no way the 19th level fighter has anything to worry about from this guy. So, why does that justify the 19th level rogue gaining three primary and one off-hand attacks (he's fighting two-handed) each with full Sneak Attack damage (up to 40d6 extra damage depending on how many attacks hit), when in the first round, he didn't have the possibility of doing all that extra damage?

My view is that the fighter should just be able to say, "I totally ignore the 19th level rogue's flanker." If I allow such a thing, though, what "to hit" bonus should I give to the first-level follower who is flanking? I'm assuming it should be big, but not quite as big as if the 19th level fighter were "helpless", since he is still a moving target. I’m curious. What specifically do you think?

-- Malif

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El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
For what you want to do, I'd say the flanker that's being ignored would be able to attack the fighter as if the fighter was flat footed. As long as the fighter "ignores" the flanker, the rogue isn't able to apply any backstabs. But, anytime the fighter makes an attack against the flanker, the rogue can backstab for the duration of 1 round (that way, if the rogue goes first in a round, the fighter can't decide to attack the flanker on his turn and still enjoy the benefit of no backstabs from the rogue).


If the Fighter is truly ignoring the follower. Enough to not have to worry about flanking, the follower can do a coup de grace every round on the Fighter. To completely let your guard down, that seems fair. And anything less than that just makes it too easy in less extreme examples for monsters to deny a rogue flanking.

So...take literally ONE attack to kill/knock out the pesky follower, then devote all your other attacks in that full attack to the rogue for one measy stinking round...or risk a 5% chance of instant-death from a really lucky dagger prick every round. Your call. :)


First Post
You can't be serious. A coup de grace? Against an active, not-dying foe? Come on.

I'd either go with "he's flat-footed" or just give the follower a +4 bonus.


First Post
I'd say, keep the rules as they are. Rogues are deviously clever, when it comes to exploiting even the least distraction. A flanker - any flanker - qualifies, in 3e.


If the Fighter is truly ignoring the follower. Enough to not have to worry about flanking, the follower can do a coup de grace every round on the Fighter. To completely let your guard down, that seems fair. And anything less than that just makes it too easy in less extreme examples for monsters to deny a rogue flanking.

So...take literally ONE attack to kill/knock out the pesky follower, then devote all your other attacks in that full attack to the rogue for one measy stinking round...or risk a 5% chance of instant-death from a really lucky dagger prick every round. Your call. :)

Doesn't CDG provoke Attacks of opportunity (unless totally ignoring the L1 guy precludes threatening him)? As an aside, grapple the L20?

If I was to allow ignoring one attacker, the penalty would need to be huge (there really isn't an "ignore" rule other than not attacking) flat footed, plus +4 to hit would be minimum.

But, how does someone determine the threat level of a flanker?


First Post
Just wanted to thank everyone who took time to reply so far. This is a tough one for me. It's one of those, "Yeah, it might not fit reality, but what does changing it do to game balance?" kind of quandaries.

I found another thread here on invisible opponents flanking a target that, unfortunately, just makes it even more complicated:

A couple people point out that the rules only require you to threaten the opponent's square to be considered a potential flanker, and that means invisible opponents can be flankers. That pretty much throws out the whole, "I get a bonus to hit you because you're having to worry about the guy behind you hitting you too" thing.

That sort of leaves me thinking that either:

a) flanking is just some sort of quasi-mystical combat skill that can't be explained by any real-world circumstance, or

b) you can't be flanked if you don't know you're being flanked or if you choose to ignore your flanker

I think if I go with "b", I should take a clue from the whole "guy is surrounded by 8 thieves who all have Improved Invisibility" scenario from the other discussion and say that if you choose to ignore a flanker, the flanker is essentially "invisible" and gains whatever advantage an invisible attacker would have if they decided to just open up on you while you stood next to them.

But then again, maybe "a" is better for the game.

Thanks again, guys!

-- Malif


First Post
It doesn't matter if attacker "knows" he's being flanked or not, its just that he is and the bonuses apply accordingly.

On the other end of the spectrum, an Illusion (figment) of a dragon on opposite side the rogue doesn't provide a flanking bonus since isn't not "threatening" with a weapon (natural or otherwise). But I'm sure that fighter will not ignore the dragon. Just play with it as a mechanic and have fun. Much like how evasion allows you to ignore 100% damage from a fireball that fills up a 5' wide corridor.

If you want to make the rules more complicated as they are try this: ignoring other combants makes you flat footed, +4 bonus to hit and you no longer have a threat zone with your weapon. I would make it all or nothing, not just picking which one or 2 combants you wish to ignore that round.


Doesn't CDG provoke Attacks of opportunity (unless totally ignoring the L1 guy precludes threatening him)? As an aside, grapple the L20?

The Fighter can't take the AoO, and in fact doesn't threaten the L1 guy, by virtue of the fact he's IGNORING him completely. :)

And yes, Kerrick, I'm serious. To totally disregard a foe threatening you is a grevious laxitude. If you really want to get technical about the whole "what if the guy has no chance at all of harming me?" scenario, he's still at least a nuissance. If someone kept jabbing me in the spine with a plastic knife, it wouldn't really hurt, but I wouldn't be able to just ignore it for long without turning around and strangling the little bastard.

And from a game balance perspective, it's important to make sure the rogue gets his flanking benefit in melee. Even with it, he generally gets pulverized by an equal level fighter in a full attack exchange. And there could be many situations where mathematically if the penalties were minor, it would be very much worthwhile to ignore the rogue's flanking buddy.

And again, this is all not taking into account the point another poster made (I forgot to, glad he did): awareness has nothing to do with getting flanked. Invisible attackers can flank you, even if you don't realize one of them is there. Flanking in 3E is some weird mish-mash of abstracted facing rules + coordinated teamwork + other stuff all rolled into one simple condition.

Back to the coup de grace thing. I think if the fighter truly were ignoring the L1 guy completely and not caring to leave his defenses wide open, it makes perfect sense for the L1 to line up a coup de grace. What the OP is talking about goes beyond "not seeing" the weak ally. The fighter is actively choosing to not even try to defend himself.


First Post
I'd say as some others have already said: Consider him flatfooted, and the ignored character gets flanking bonus.

And I'd like to add: Once the ignored flanker has inflicted at least 1 point of damage or ANY other sort of negative effect on the fighter, he can't be ignored anymore.

I don't agree with coup de grace though. Even if you invisible, inside a Silence spell, and sneak up to someone without sense of smell from behind when he's eating dinner, you don't get coup de grace as he's not per the rules helpless (as I see them in the PHB at least). He'll still be a moving target in full plate, and automatically hitting him is weird. Actually, it's pretty much impossible to hit someone wearing full plate with a dagger from behind. I mean, THIS stuff is hard to get through.

Something that the ignored guy CAN do with great success though, and a thing that was used IRL to combat warriors in full plate, is simply tripping him.

Consider the fighter (Level 19 Fighter Str 20, Dex 13, Con 16, +4 full plate, some magic giving +3 AC thus 10+12+1+3=26 AC, 14 Touch AC, 25 FFAC) and the follower (Level 1 Rogue, Str 11, Dex 13, Con 10).
If the rogue attempts to trip the fighter, he must make an touch attack roll against the flat-footed fighter.
He gets 1d20 + 2 (for flanking) versus an AC of 13 (neither armor nor dexterity counting). He's got 50% chance of succeeding at this. After that, he has to roll
1d20 and beat 1d20+5. He's got a 30% chance of succeeding at this (120/400).
I'd of course rule that if you can't take an attack of opportunity, you can't respond to the trip attempt by trying to trip the attacker. This I'd do regardless of the situation.
This means he's got a 15% chance of succeeding to trip the fighter. In a prolonged fight, it's DEFINATELY in the fighters best interest to get rid of the flanker ASAP. Should he fall prone, not only will the rogue get sneak attack bonus - the fighter would also gain -4 on AC and if trying to stand up, provoke an AoO.

Still, I don't have a problem with a 19-th level warrior with almost superhuman strength and magic protection and full plate being able to ignore the threat of a 1-st level rogue for a couple of turns. On the other hand, if there's three of the first-level rogues, you're in for a problem. They can simply push you to the ground and do their work in whatever time they wish, two people grappling and one removing the helmet. Past that, I feel sorry for the fighter (except that dealing 1d6+1d4 damage to a grappled fighter means it will take an average of 28 turns for him to hit "dying", not including criticals.)

If you've got a full plate, the guys dagger is seriously NO threat at all. The risk consists of him throwing all his weight on you.
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El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
... If someone kept jabbing me in the spine with a plastic knife, it wouldn't really hurt, but I wouldn't be able to just ignore it for long without turning around and strangling the little bastard. ...

LOL!:lol: I loved this part.

If it was me, I'd just poke him in the eye ... but strangling works too.;)


This isn't the first time the question has come up.

Generally speaking, I side with those that say deliberately choosing to not defend yourself is the same as being helpless, and as such someone you've deliberately chosen to ignore can attempt a coup de grace.

I should point out that in the extreme case of a 20th level fighter facing a 20th level thief with a 1st level ally that is providing flanking, the 20th level fighter probably has less to fear from the 1st level attackers coup de grace than he does from the 20th level rogue's sneak attacks.

If I would make any concession to the 'you are just flat footed' crowd, it is that there is one difference between ignoring and being helpless and that is that the attacked character is actually moving (probably vigorously) at the time, albiet not moving to defend himself from the attack. The situation the character wants isn't actually described by the rules, so it should be surprising that the resolution isn't described by the rules either. I think it's reasonable to suggest that ignoring an attacker completely is somewhere between being flatfooted and helpless in terms of the vulnerability involved. So, eligible for a 'coup de grace', but perhaps a coup de grace that does not automatically hit because you've no time to 'line it up' and so must roll to hit as a normal attack on a 'helpless' target.


First Post
One should think about what helpless and flat-footed really means in the context.
A typical picture of a helpless fighter is one for example held, sleeping, or bound. To him, the ally could remove his helment (unless he wakes, but that's a whole different issue) and drive his knife through the eye of the fighter. That hurts, a lot.

A flat-footed person is one who isn't immobile, but doesn't defend himself. Examples are when the fighter's facing an invisible backstabber when he is deaf and have a cold, and the backstabber hasn't been noticed in any way. He can't possibly defend from him by actions - the only thing protecting him is his armor, but it can protect him pretty good.

I think ignoring someone is MUCH more like being flat-footed. Even if you're ignoring him, that doesn't mean he can remove your helmet without anything happening. You're not immobile, your constantly moving in your fight with the other person. A coup de grace represents slitting the throat or whatever - and you can't do that on a person engaged in anything, not without first grappling the person. And grappling is a whole different matter. Ignoring someone is "not performing any actions specifically to hinder them", not "laying very still and allowing them to do anything to you".


Stringburka: The basic problem here is the prohibition against coup de grace attacks except when the character is helpless is sacrificing realism for playability. Realistically speaking, if you are completely unable to detect my presence and I'm in any way compotent with my weapon, I ought to be able to make a killing stroke. In such a situation, a swung battle axe is no less effective than a .45 caliber pistol placed an inch or two from the back of the head. That one can't do so in the game has nothing to do with what is realistic and everthing to do with keeping down the overall lethality of the game by allowing character to have a reasonable chance of surviving.

The challenge raised by a player unhappy with the fact that any creature that threatens him, regardless of how small the threat, grants the rogue a huge bonus on his attacks is essentially that "It's not realistic." But, appealing to realism isn't much of a help in this case, and appealing to the rules as if they offered realistic alternatives is missing the point entirely. The coup de grace rules exist to provide realism that would otherwise be missing, but they are unrealisticly narrowed to the most egregious situation.


First Post
@Celebrim: Yes, that is a valid point of the invisible attacker. However, even punching someone with a battle axe wouldn't necessarily kill someone if that person had full plate armor. [sblock=Rant from an amateur at medieval history]Full armor gave enough protection to withstand nearly any attack except some missile weapons at short range as well as heavy piercing weapons such as picks and some piercing swords (particulary the estoc), and then it only didn't work some times.

The primary way to kill someone in plate armor wouldn't ever be to try to chop of his head with an axe - it's going for the weak spots with a piercing weapon such as an estoc or a warhammer (which is a piercing weapon, not a blunt one thankyouverymuch D&D designers) or simply denting the armor enough to crush the person below. This was done either with again - a warhammer, or any really heavy weapon. There the battleaxe MIGHT work, however, it wasn't usually "one hit kills" then, but rather bashing the hell out of them when they had been beaten to the ground.[/sblock]

And with a +3 magical armor, I think you could safely say that he's decently protected even at these "weak spots" where a piercing weapon might work.

While a naked person standing like that would indeed be very vulnerable to a battle axe chop, he'll still be staggering back as soon as he gets hit whether he likes it or not, lessening the damage compared to someone held or tied up.

So yes, in general you might be right that there are cases where a coup de grace should be possible when it's currently not, but in this case where we're talking about a guy wearing armor making him almost immune to slashing and light piercing weapons being threatened by some goon with a dagger, I think allowing a coup de grace (even if the goon was invisible) would be at least as wrong as not allowing it when he's naked.
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Seems to me the rules on invisibility would be appropriate. I mean, what's the difference between not being able to see a guy, and simply not looking at him (rhetorical - don't answer that).

In essence, it would mean the ignored critter gets +2 on attack rolls, and treats the PC as flat-footed (no Dex bonus). Unfortunately, adapting the invisibility rules doesn't quite answer the question of flanking.

Coup de race doesn't quite cut (pun intended) it here. there are, after all, several degrees of helplessness.

* knife to the throat - RAW coup de grace fails to work here; this should be an instant kill, albeit one that takes times to prepare in order to expose a weak spot.
* execution - coup de grace; you're standing over a motionless body and swing your weapon down. RAW Coup de grace works ok for this, a grittier variant would be to grant sneak attack damage to all classes (and rogues get to apply SA damage twice).
* flat-footed - he knows you are there, but is too caught by surprise. Reflected in RAW by loss of ability to make attacks of opportunity, and loss of Dexterity bonus.

So, we need something between "execution" and "flat-footed" :hmm:

How about the fighter makes his attack roll normally, but can apply sneak attack damage as if he were a rogue (and a rogue would get to apply SA damage twice). Plus of course, he should be treated as invisible (+2 on attack roll), since the hero is intentionally not watching him. I liken this to a crazy axe maniac entering a dance hall and swinging at people who are dancing and carry on dancing despite him - they are moving about, but not in a fashion intended to avoid the attacks.
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First Post
Stringburka: The basic problem here is the prohibition against coup de grace attacks except when the character is helpless is sacrificing realism for playability. Realistically speaking, if you are completely unable to detect my presence and I'm in any way compotent with my weapon, I ought to be able to make a killing stroke.
That's called a sneak attack. At most, I'd let the attacker get an auto-crit, if he can't SA/DA, but not have the target make a Fort save.

For "flanking" to be effective, the defender must be distracted by something opposite the attacker. The rogue/follower is a good example - the fighter knows the rogue is there and is defending against him. Whether or not he knows about the follower, the follower is still flanking him. Therefore, it makes no difference if he's ignoring the follower. Let's say the follower snuck up invisibly - would he get to make a coup de grace just because the fighter doesn't know he's there? The fighter is ignorant of the threat, not completely helpless.

Stream: Your point about the guy poking you with a plastic knife is valid, but it doesn't count as a coup de grace. Sure, the fighter will eventually get annoyed and turn around to bash the guy, giving the rogue a free sneak attack. At best, I'd rule it a distraction, which gives the follower a +4 to hit and the rogue a +2 (since the fighter's full attention is not on the rogue).

In the case of the invisible rogues, I'd say that the direction of the last attack, or the direction in which the target made his last attack (whichever comes last in the round) is where the target would be "facing" - any attacks from the opposite direction are therefore made from a flanking position.


That's called a sneak attack.

Are you saying that everyone is a high level rogue?

The basis of the objection is, "This isn't realistic." Of course it isn't realistic. Sneak attacks, coup de grace, and flanking are all unrealistic abstractions.

If you are going to make the objection, "This isn't realistic", you can't appeal to which of them is less realistic as if one of them somehow captured a realistic standard and one didn't. They are all abstractions used for ease of play.

The real question not being answered by the people who don't think this is worthy of a coup de grace is, "If you maintain that the penalty for ignoring a flanker is not really that much worse than being flanked to begin with, what's to stop this from becoming in effect, 'Everyone is immune to flanking'."

You better believe every monster you face is now going to 'ignore' the fighter and face the rogue from here on out if you think the only penalty should be 'he's flatfooted with respect to the fighter but not flanked by anyone', because what the fighter can do with the tiny edge involved there is nothing compared to what the monster gains by not taking sneak attack damage.

All the arguments about what is realistic - all these attempts at resolving which is more realistic based on the power of imagination - completely miss the point. Unless you want to rebuild the rules from the ground up, allowing someone to ignore the rules must carry a hefty penalty or else they'll do it all the time.

Let's say the follower snuck up invisibly - would he get to make a coup de grace just because the fighter doesn't know he's there?

Realisticly, yes he would. Being completely ignorant of a threat is realisticly in many if not most cases the same as being helpless. If Bruce Lee doesn't know that I'm there and can't hear me coming, all his reflexes won't help him because by the time his nerves know about the attack, he's already taken a mortal wound. That it is not that way in the game is purely to avoid frequently having 'die no save' situations, and not because it is actually realistic to assume that characters somehow defend themselves from attacks they are unaware of at the moment that they are made.

Hense, all the appeals to realism here are pointless.


Thanks, Celerium, you stated that much better than I could. My preference is to just not allow such a houserule. BUT, if you were determined to realistically portray the ability to completely ignore an opponent as a threat, then I would insist on not only accepting the good parts. You want to pay no attention to him? Cool. Every single round he's lining up a stab to your jugular.

Which makes me want to create a little theater script, enjoy:

Player: Ok, so no way that warrior guy can hurt me much, I want to ignore him and focus completely on the rogue so he can't sneak attack me. You told me that's acceptable, right?
DM: Alright, if you insist. It's really not a good idea to do that...
Player: Surely nowhere near as bad as getting sneak attacked constantly. :)
DM: As you turn your back to the village guard, he takes careful aim and slits your throat with his short sword. *rolls crit damage* Fort save to avoid instant death, please.
Player: ....What?!!!
DM: You're letting him attack you at his leisure, what did you expect? He can do a tiger claw grab to your groin and see what souveniers he can take home, if you prefer.
Player: No....I'd rather choose option c) none of the above...
DM: Ooh! I know! He'll grab you, locking both his arms under your armpits, hands on your shoulders, to keep your motion nice and restricted.
Player: If he grapples me, the Rogue can sneak attack anyway!
DM: That is true...
Player: No way! I fight him off! *rolls grapple check*
DM: *rolls* Yeah, your 38 beats his...7. You easily manage to throw him off of you. *rolls* As you do so, the opportunistic Rogue attacks your weak spot for massive damage!
Player: Wait, what? he can't sneak attack me, I'm completely focused on him!
DM: How are you both ignoring the other guy AND throwing him off of you? The rogue's just taking advantage of your momentary lapse of guard. That's...what sneak attack IS.
Player: This isn't what I had in mind when I suggested the houserule...
DM: Oh, then what? You wanted some minor penalty to completely deny the rogue his primary class ability?
Player: It's not that bad... The rogue can still try to catch me flatfooted. Granted, that's hard to do and often requires set up rounds after combat's begun, but it's not like I'm completely taking away his main ability. Besides, he's still high level, with his magic items and skills and such.
DM: You know're absolutely right. I had my doubts, but you've convinced me it's not as bad as I thought. I've seen the light, thank you. You can feel free to ignore the other guy. He'll be invisible to you, but not like he can do much to you anyway, so whatever.
Player: Halleluyah!
DM: Amen! Thank you, I never looked at it like that before. Ok, you've gone. Rogue's turn. He 5 ft steps back, pulls out a scroll, and uses his skill with magic items to cast it.
Player: Hmm, what'd he cast?
DM: You don't have spellcraft, you wouldn't know.
Player: Yeah, but I'm just curious. Can't you tell me? I wont metagame, I just want to know.
DM: Ok. It's a spell called "Pen is mightier than the sword."
Player: ...what's that?
DM: It's a spell i just made up now, inspired by your superior reasoning.
Player: ....
DM: It's a 20 ft radius emanation from the caster. Within the emanation, creatures, including the caster, lose access to all of their feats.
Player: That's not fair! I'm a Fighter! Feats are my main class feature!
DM: But you're still high level. You've got a full BAB, and I'd hope a backup ranged weapon, not to mention all your magic gear and hit points. You're not completely gimped....
Player: power attack! My weapon suprememacy! My attacks are almost nothing without them!
DM: Come on now. You still have a giant sword. You can always hang back at range and take shots with your bow. You're about as well off as the Rogue is without reliable sneak attack. Fear the d4 +2 damage!
Player: ...Screw it. I spend the first of my 4 iterative attacks to kill the stupid henchman. Full power attack. *rolls* 35 to hit, 46 damage.
DM: He dies! Congratulations, the Rogue can no longer flank you now!

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First Post
Well, grabbing someone for the rogue to sneak attack isn't a coup de grace, it's a grapple. And as said before, slitting someone's throat when that person is wearing full plate, or even a helmet, or is moving to combat someone else, is definately not an auto-success. Sure, if he's lightly armored you CAN, but since he's moving it shouldn't be an automatic success. Also, he can still distract the character via the Aid action, so the rogue gets a higher attack bonus.

You can do a coup de grace against a person who is adjacent to you with a bow, but you don't automatically hit an inanimate objects (you get a +5 to hit bonus, and can still roll natural one). It feels weird to give the ignoring fighter less chance than the wooden door of "avoiding" the attack.

And grappling and all those examples still work. And how are you supposed to slit someones throat if he wears plate armor AND has his back to you?

One simple fix could be to state that when you're flat-footed, you don't get your strength modifier to opposed rolls for the same reason you don't get your dex modifier; you don't have time to brace yourself/dodge. This would, game balance-wise, make someone in full plate ignoring a 1-st level commoner VERY vulnerable to what would probably be the most effective tactic IRL; Throwing yourself at the person, or attempting to hold him still. While a first level commoner can actually be seen as a no-threat-situation to the fighter in full plate, we could use a 1st level warrior with 13 strength as an example instead, as he's much more likely to actually be in the situation (as a town guard or whatever). He has a 35% chance of tripping the fighter on the first try. And, quite frankly, I would see it as slight rule abuse of a 19-th level rogue to carry along a first level fighter as flanker. If he's evil, I might accept it once or twice, but anyone non-evil wouldn't be allowed at all to bring a baby into the mouth of a dragon.

While you can't reach a hundred percent realism, it's pretty good to favor the kind of action that would be the best IRL, at least not since it makes it easier for players to know how to combat a certain situation.

And about monsters: Yes, it's a bigger problem there, because you can't grapple or trip a Gargantuan dragon. However, I don't really like it either that if the rogue faces of alone vs. the dragon, summoning a fiendish hawk on the other side is enough to give the rogue five times his regular damage.

So, my suggestion is:
When you're flat-footed, you loose your strength bonus to opposing rolls in cases like trip, grapple etc. This is always the case, not only when ignoring flankers.

Ignoring a flanker makes you flat-footed, and of course the ignored combatant gains the flanking bonus as well.
The ignored combatant gets an attack of opportunity each turn against the ignoring each turn.
Once an ignoring combatant has suffered at least 1 point of damage or another negative effect from the ignored combatant, he can't ignore him anymore due to simple survival instinct.

So yes, if you're in a full plate armor and a commoner is threatening you with a knife, you CAN ignore him for a turn or two and focus on the real threat. A dragon CAN ignore the hawk since it probably can't even get through it's scales. However, it can still be disruptive - via the Aid action. Also, once the commoner or hawk has done some harm, you can't ignore it anymore because of the pain.


If we look at what situations might actually come up that closely resembles this, what we have seen when actually playing and such, the closest I can think of is when our 9th level rogue faced off with a 10th level blackguard, and the rogues 7th level barbarian/fighter cohort flanked. And I can tell you, if the blackguard had ignored the cohort, he'd been on the ground in two seconds.

On the other hand, more than once I've seen a rogue gain his sneak attack versus a huge or larger opponent due to the caster summoning a tiny animal on the other side of the demon/purple worm/whatever.

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