What are your thoughts on flanking in D&D?

3 thoughts on “What are your thoughts on flanking in D&D?

  1. Terry Kandel says:

    So in 3 Rd edition and 3.5 it wasn’t all that hard to flank. If you had a dedicated pair say a fighter and a rouge you could wipe out opposition fast and quick then next round reposition one or both characters and start all over . 5e doesn’t appear to be anymore challenging except that it will take longer to dispatch the opposition since you only do a fraction of the damage you could do in 3.5 . I like flanking attacks and encourage the use of them . It allows the rouge to feel like a useful part of the team . And gives the fighter types a well deserved break .

  2. Everything in the game is set up to favor ranged attacks, the ease of flanking is that only thing giving anyone a reason to play melee. You create a worse problem by not using the flanking rules.

  3. D. Walker says:

    The point of the advantage system is that is simplifies things and cuts down on math and bookkeeping.

    In 3E, you had a bunch modifiers that you had to keep track of and add together every single time you wanted to do something. Some people didn’t mind it, but it made things less approachable for less experienced players.

    You might be flanking, while trying to make a touch attack, while the enemy has partial cover, plus a dodge bonus from somewhere, plus two different “untyped” bonuses from magic items, and now you’ve got a half dozen different modifiers to keep separate and remember properly, and you have to add them all together for every attack, but then half the modifiers will probably change for every different target you’re trying to hit, even if your enemies both have the same base AC…

    The advantage / disadvantage system throws out all that complexity entirely. Are you in an advantageous position over an enemy? Then you get to roll twice and take the higher result. It’s quick, easy to remember, and feels good. It keeps the pace of combat up, especially for newer players, and it allows the game to keep a solid pace and focus less on number crunching combats and more on telling a story and roleplaying.

    Now, there’s nothing wrong with a super crunchy game system, if that’s what you’re into. If your table is full of players who don’t mind all the extra bookkeeping and have every single modifier perfectly seared into their brains and can both remember and calculate every possible variable for an attack without the game slowing to a crawl, that’s great!

    But D&D is currently the most popular it has ever been, and that’s almost entirely because 5E was built on player feedback that showed most people didn’t like all the crunch of previous editions, and wanted a simpler, more streamlined system – and that increased simplicity made the game wildly more approachable to new players, which the system very badly needed.

    More people are playing D&D than ever before, and a large part of that is due to the reduced complexity and the de-emphasizing of crunching numbers. If the price of that is a loss of granularity in the combat system, and advantage being a little too powerful, oh well – you can DM around that issue easily.

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