Are You Willing to Provoke an Opportunity Attack?

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on June 29, 2011

One of the more difficult things that new players have trouble remembering is that moving away from an opponent will draw an opportunity attack. As soon as players hear that moving their character more than one square away from an adjacent creature will result in that creature getting a free attack, all tactics that involve moving are thrown out the window. It’s almost as if they believe that drawing an attack and possibly taking the hit is the absolute worst thing that they can do on their turn.

As an experienced DM I’m going to tell you that you need to be willing to take an opportunity attack once and a while. From a mechanics point of view all opponents know as well as you do under what circumstances they’ll get to make a free attack on you. If you move away they’ll attack you as soon as your back is turned. If you try to use a ranged attack while standing next to them, they’ll see the hole in your defenses and attack you. And if you try to crawl away while prone you bet that you enemy will kick you as you scurry away.

But so what if they do? In most cases a monster’s basic attack is just that – basic. It usually is a straight up weapon attack, be it a sword or claw. Yes, it has the potential to hurt you but you need to weigh that against the value of taking the action that draws the attack in the first place.

For example, in a recent game the PCs faced off against opponents that could entangle them and then pull them in opposite directions. The party’s Rogue used his move action to easily escape the grab. His initial tactic was to charge a different opponent which would put him in a flanking position and allow him to use his sneak dice with that attack. However, when I reminded the player that moving away from an adjacent monster would provoke an opportunity attack the player decided to stay put and go toe-to-toe with the adjacent foe despite not having combat advantage. By not moving away after freeing himself he severely limited his ability to be an effective striker.

Now in some circumstances I totally understand why you’d not want to provoke the attack. If you’re really low on hit points and the attack could drop you, then stay put. If the monster’s basic attack has some other kind of condition attached, like causing you to become dazed or knocked prone, then again I think you’re better off staying where you are. But if it’s early in the fight then tactically speaking you should seriously consider provoking that attack. In this specific example the monster did not inflict any additional condition on a hit and the Rogue was the Artful Dodger build so his defenses against the attack were incredibly high. Had it been me, I’d have risked it. But this action doesn’t seem to be commonplace.

As the DM running the monsters, I see opportunity attacks as a nuisance, and not a deterrent. Assuming the monsters are intelligent or have a competent leader that can shout commands, I’m happy to provoke opportunity attacks if there is a tactical advantage to doing so. This is especially true if the monster is only going to provoke one opportunity attack and if the PC is a class that does not typically have an exceptional Strength (like a Wizard for example).

Again it comes down to tactics (assuming that the monsters are intelligent enough to understand tactics – and this is the real determining factor). If the gains to “team monster” outweigh one possible hit then I’m provoking that opportunity attack as often as necessary. In a recent encounter all of the monsters gained additional damage dice if they had combat advantage (in this case +2d6 each for a heroic tier adventure). By moving one monster and provoking an opportunity attack in the process, three members of “team monster” were able to combine for an additional +6d6 damage to the party. This was a no brainier. I happily took the opportunity attack (which did hit and inflicted 5 damage) in order to pound the PCs and inflict over 20 extra points of damage that wouldn’t have been possible without that one monster moving to flank with his buddies.

Another tactic that I often employ when my monsters are marked by Fighters is to begin the turn by provoking an opportunity attack and trying to move away (not shift away, an important distinction). The Fighter takes his free attack and gets all the additional bonuses that come with Combat Superiority. Needless to say, my monsters get hit more often than not for taking this action. A hit inflicts damage and stops their movement. Then, as my standard action I charge away from the Fighter and attack someone else. Since the Fighter has already taken an opportunity attack against me I can now get away Scott free. Of course, the attack I make on the other end of my charge still has -2 from the Fighter’s mark, but I do get a +1 for charging so I’m netting out at -1. It frustrates the players running Fighters to no end, but I remind them that they do get a free attack on my monster in the process so it’s not all bad for them.

Of course all arguments for moving in order to gain positioning are completely moot if it will provoke more than one opportunity attack. I’m a lot less likely to take any kind of action that will provoke opportunity attacks if I’m adjacent to more than one opponent. In the end it’s a numbers game. If two opportunity attacks will likely inflict 15-25 damage and all I’m gaining for moving is +1d6 sneak dice then I’m staying put. My statement that players should be willing to provoke opportunity attacks should really be qualified with as long is you’re only provoking from one creature.

Players forget that they’re working together on the battlefield. They forget that the party is a team and not just a bunch of guys travelling the countryside in search of a party. Most players are so concerned with their own well-being that that often forget to look at the entire battle. Every PC fulfils a role. Sometimes it’s necessary to take one for the team so that someone else can fulfill their role.

Provoking an opportunity attack to give the Rogue a flanking bonus lets him do his job better. If your standard action was just going to be a basic attack anyway, why not look at the bigger picture and help the party emerge victorious. By working together in this way the combat ends sooner which helps everyone. You may take an extra hit or two (or at least risk it by provoke an opportunity attack) but if the monsters are defeated more quickly, the party’s leader can focus on healing you first for making such a heroic sacrifice.

As I said at the outset more players need to be willing to provoke an opportunity attack. This fear that every monster will hit when they make the opportunity attack and the fear of taking damage if they actually connect is removing tactical options from the minds of many players. PC are being left in place for fear of one hit and the monsters are gaining huge advantages over the heroes because of it. You need to look at the bigger picture and see that taking a hit now will have large implication for the entire party as the encounter continues to play out.

What are your feelings about provoking opportunity attacks? Are you willing to take a hit and move to a more advantageous position or do you feel that any action that gives your opponents a free attack against you is a bad idea? How many DMs move the monsters as they see fit and are willing to provoke those opportunity attacks in the process?

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris June 29, 2011 at 10:21 am

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I once played a Barbarian/Warblade whose major tactic in a large melee would be to plow through the enemy lines, drawing all of their opportunity attacks which allowed his allies to position freely. He would especially do this against creatures with a long reach which would otherwise cause the other melee combatants in his party to pause with uncertainty.

I’m definitely keeping your Mark tactic in mind though for when I next run a sufficiently intelligent Defender-type opponent though, that’s rather smart.

2 JR June 29, 2011 at 10:41 am

Remember that altruism and “taking one for Team Monster” is not normal behavior for every kind of creature. There is a particular niche of creatures who are smart enough to employ weapons and understand the threat, but are still cowardly or individual enough that they won’t take one for the team.

A mob of poorly trained conscripts or mercenaries might stay close to avoid provoking, and then when bloodied, take the OA in order to double-move-run to maximize their fleeing distance. Goblins, kobolds, and other small intelligent creatures whose lives hang in the balance whenever they go toe-to-toe with a larger enemy, might well close in, take one wallop, and spend the rest of the encounter trying to disentangle themselves from an overpowering foe.

On the other hand, a mob of religious zealots, esp. if they believe in an afterlife, might deliberately ignore everything but their primary objective and lose four or five members of their team just trying to surround their quarry. This is similar to the behavior of a wolf pack or a swarm of rats — no social commentary intended.

3 Kilsek June 29, 2011 at 10:53 am

Monsters will risk some OAs/AOOs, based on the tactical situation, their intelligence and their goals in the context of the encounter and adventure.

You’re right on about players though. Some players hate taking them – maybe most.

Me, when I’m a player, I take them sometimes, especially if I’m not bloodied and it means a far “cooler” turn than just shifting and making a more ordinary attack.

When DDM was all the rage, including pre 4e, I use to take AOO’s constantly! I almost always believed the risk worth the reward – I liked that aggressive style of play back then.

In D&D 4e, I play aggressive, especially as a striker, and will take some OAs – but not as many as DDM, simply because it’s a different sort of game and dynamic between the two.

4 Dungeon Maestro June 29, 2011 at 11:04 am

One of our favorite tactics is to Provoke AOO’s from mobs who are MARKED by our fighter/paladin. Because if they attack us and don’t include them, Not only dothey suffer a -2 to attacking us, but the fighter/paladin get to attack/do damage to them!!!

This can be pretty intersting with bonuses in place. You can also do it so that a rogue gets an attack with combat advantage if you move in the correct spot as well! Fun fun!

5 Dixon Trimline June 29, 2011 at 11:11 am

While I acknowledge hit points are a precious resource, I’ve seen some (most?) players treat them like they’ll never come back, and tiptoe around the battlefield with an absurd amount of care. They are transforming all enemies (even minions!) into controllers, allowing their movement and tactics to be changed by environmental factors. That’s nuts.

And I say this as a player who regularly provokes and usually suffers a critical hit for my effort. Cursed dice!

6 Svafa June 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I think it’s more something I’ve learned from DMing than playing. When I played I was less likely to provoke an AoO. Now that I’ve spent several years DMing, I’m all for it if there is an advantage in doing so. I think having less attachment to the combatants has led to that acceptance and now bleeds over into regular play as well.

Provoking attacks for combat advantage is likely the most common situation, but I’ve also done so to concentrate on (or hassle) a specific target (take out the healer first) or to gain some terrain advantage (positioning to push into a pit, or similar).

@Dungeon Maestro: I’ll have to look over the rules to marking again, but I didn’t think provoked attacks violated the mark. I’ve always ruled it as, if they have the option to attack the marking character then they must or be vulnerable to an AoO, but if the marking character was not an option, then they were not vulnerable to the AoO (though other penalties apply).

7 Dungeon Maestro June 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm

@Svafa, I should have clarified, but specifically in the case of a Fighter Challenge, the fighter should be able to attack him if he makes “any attack which does not include” the fighter as a target. Regular Marking does not let you do this, you are correct. In the Paladins case, Divine challenge sends out Radiant damage. Either way, if they are marked they have a -2 to attack you.

Example: Fighter is next to Mob A. ranger is next to Mob A. Ranger moves around mob A who take an AOO at the ranger. -2 to hit, and since the attack did not include the fighter, the Fighter gets an AOO against mob A.

make sense?

8 8one6 June 29, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I think that if you want people to be more mobile on the battlefield you need to remove deterrents to that mobility. Opportunity Attacks are one such deterrent. No one likes th get attacked, even if they know that the attack might not drop them (and unless they’ve faced an opponent before they can’t know that until they provoke said OA)

9 Lugh June 29, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Fantastic post! I’m definitely sharing it with my group.

I will frequently intentionally provoke an AOO specifically to free up the other characters (similar to Chris’ character above). When I’m doing this, I’m usually either playing a dextrous rogue-type or a heavily armored tank, and can probably avoid the blow.

One house rule that I’ve considered for a while is giving the character a choice after the AOO is rolled. If the AOO is a successful hit, the character can either take the damage and complete the action, or abandon the action and avoid the damage. While it waters down AOO’s a bit, I think it will free up players to know that they can risk the action, but bail if things look too hot. (Obviously, the choice must be made before damage is rolled.)

10 iserith June 29, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I might add that when you’re in the DM’s seat, having monsters provoking opportunity attacks is also a good way to knock their hit points down faster, which results in faster fights. So if you’re using an elite brute or something, have them provoke opportunity attacks whenever it’s interesting to do so or appropriate in context – it’s fun for the players and ultimately saves you time. Let the players get full use of their characters’ range of attacks every combat and they’ll have a great time doing it. You’ve never seen a happier fighter than the one who slays the beast just before it claws the wounded cleric.

11 OnlineDM June 29, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I found myself writing about opportunity attacks as well recently (see here), though mine was about opportunity attacks that are provoked from using ranged or area attacks in a threatened square. Specifically, I’m annoyed by how easy it can be with certain items or feats to ignore this part of the game.

As for movement-provoked opportunity attacks, I’m with you. Sometimes it’s worth it, and some players are too unwilling to risk it – but certainly not all.

12 Ameron June 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm

@Chris
I assume this tactic was used while playing a previous version of D&D since creatures in 4e can take an opportunity attack against every opponent that provokes one. If the Barbarian draws an opportunity attack from a monster, the Rogue and Wizard will too if they move, regardless of whether or not the monster has already taken an opportunity attack against another opponent that round.

I’m constantly arguing the point about the movement and the Fighter mark with a few players. They don’t think monsters should be able to do this. I remind them that no matter what a monster’s intelligence is, it always knows that it’s marked and what the detrimental effects of the mark are. Of course, mindless creatures are a lot more likely to just pound the Fighter over and over again in which case movement isn’t an issue.

@JR
As I mentioned in the article, and as you’ve pointed out, monsters that aren’t intelligent enough to understand the finer points of tactical advantages are not nearly as likely to intentionally provoke opportunity attacks in favour of better positioning because they’re just too dumb to realize it’s an option. I rarely use mindless or instinctual creature. I favour intelligent humanoid opponents.

@Kilsek
When I’m a player I too use the rule of cool to help me decide if I should consider provoking an opportunity attack. Gaining an advantageous position is good, but looking cool and being spectacular in the process is awesome.

@Dungeon Maestro
Remember that marked monsters will know that taking those opportunity attacks will put them at risk of a retributive hit from the Fighter (or automatic damage if it’s a Paladin). I usually use the same decisions making process for taking the bait and making that attack as I do for moving away for better positioning. If I think my output will outweigh the damage I may take then I do it, if not I hold the attack. But again the monster’s intelligence is called into question. Mindless creatures are a lot less likely to take the attack if they realize it will come back to bit them. But that’s just the way I do it.

@Dixon Trimline
I agree that the reluctance to move and possibly take a few points of damage is making all monsters in effect more powerful because any creatures, even minions as you pointed out, now have the added ability to exercise some control on the heroes. This is a symptom of a related problem – players that don’t have enough healing surges to last an entire work day. Players need to learn that a balanced build is better than a min/maxed one.

@Svafa
I agree that my total detachment form having any ownership of these monsters as long-term participants absolutely presents a freedom to try things that do provoke opportunity attacks. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not the correct action in some circumstances.

@8one6
I don’t know if I’d completely do away with opportunity attacks, but if we did it would certainly open things up a lot. I see opportunity attacks in general as a problem that players need to work to overcome. They need to find powers or items that let them shift multiple squares or work together with a defender. To me the best way to overcome this problem is to a) play smarter or b) be willing to take more risks. That’s not to say that players should be reckless, but provoking one opportunity attack every encounter isn’t that much. If taking that hit means the difference between life and death then you need to seriously retool your character.

@Lugh
I’m with you 100%. When I’m a player If I’ve got a really high AC or I have feats or powers that will apply to my defenses against opportunity attacks then I’m not going to worry about those hits nearly as often. Sure it’s possible for the creature to hit me, but if he needs an 18-20 then I’m willing to accept that and do what I want rather than be limited by fear of the DM rolling those numbers.

I really like your house rule. I think it’s a wonderful way to give the player more control and it encourages more dynamic actions and movement. I may have to try this and see how it works in an actual play scenario. Thanks for the tip.

@iserith
I honestly never thought about provoking the attacks to deplete the monsters resources, but that’s certainly an added bonus. In fact I’m probably more likely to intentionally provoke opportunity attacks now that you’ve pointed that out. Players at my table beware; the monsters will be coming for you!

@OnlineDM
I’m ok with a lot of the items that negate opportunity attacks, but the new Essentials feat Staff Expertise is, in my opinion, way too overpowered for heroic tier. Why would a Wizard ever take an implement other than staff if they know that this feat is available?

13 Philo Pharynx June 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Every defender class has some sort of way to punsih opponents who violate the mark (under the right circumstances). That’s one of the big points of a defender – they make the monsters think about if it’s worth it to attack the softer targets.

Actually I feel a bit this way about marks. Some GM’s will never choose to have a marked opponent attack anyone but the person who marked them. Once again, it depends on the psychology of the opponent and a judgement if it’s worth taking the consequences in order to get a better benefit.

Or, with some creatures, if it’s worth taking some pain to hurt that pesky little striker. :)

14 Seb Wiers June 29, 2011 at 11:13 pm

If its worth it, yeah, I’ll provoke. I did so tonight, climbing up onto a roof; the only way to reach the top was provoke from TWO enemies. But once in place, I was able to pretty much change the course of the fight. However, I generally will not provoke just to (for example) set up flanking.

I pretty much assume that if I provoke, I’m gonna get hit, and its gonna be a critical hit. If its still gonna be worth it after that, then yeah, I’ll do it. That’s probably overly cautious, but really, there aren’t to many times I can think of when it was a problem. Then again, I’m playing a sentinel druid, so I’ve got more movement and tactical options than, say, a slayer would. As a slayer, I provoked pretty often, since I was pretty much wasting my time if I didn’t attack a high-HP target. If that meant provoking, so be it.

15 j0nny_5 June 30, 2011 at 12:01 am

I think a lot of Warlock pacts are built to provoke, really fun in play. As a player, I think it’s fun to have the choice. I’ll take one if necessary, but unless it’s a minion, I won’t provoke more than one attack. As a halfling ranger/seeker, I think it’s fun to try and avoid them all, without cheap items (http://onlinedm.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/i-wish-opportunity-attacks-would-continue-to-matter/).

As a DM, I’ll provoke unless bloodied. In epic tier though, provoking from a melee character is near suicide. The fighter in my group has Pinning Challenge, immobilizing nearly everything he touches. Mixed with the huge number of “when you would make a basic attack” powers, creatures don’t usually have the option after they’ve learned the consequences.

16 mbeacom June 30, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Great article and lots of really good comments. I personally take OAs a lot as I like to move around, skirmisher if you will. Generally, when I build PCs, I look for feats that give me bonuses to AC against OAs, or other buffs against them. As a DM, I try to think if the monster would understand the mark in order to respect it. For example, if a monster is marked by the defender and he gets hammered by a sneak attacking rogue, he may take all that damage and then re-evaluate the rogue as that bigger risk, thus provoking on his next turn.

I actually had some more thoughts on this which posted on my blog here:

http://huntersquarry.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/can-opportunity-attacks-make-dd-more-fun/

Thanks for the great food for thought!

17 Rico June 30, 2011 at 9:49 pm

@Ameron
In your response to Chris you stated, “creatures in 4e can take an opportunity attack against every opponent that provokes one. If the Barbarian draws an opportunity attack from a monster, the Rogue and Wizard will too if they move, regardless of whether or not the monster has already taken an opportunity attack against another opponent that round.”

I asked WOTC about this, and that is not correct. Monsters are subject to the same limitations on Opportunity Attacks (and other immediate actions) that players are, i.e., they can only take one per round (unless they have a feat, object or ability that specifically allows them to take more than one). If a monster makes an opportunity attack against a character, it cannot make another opportunity attack against any other player during that round. So other members of the party could position themselves around the monster (to set up a flank for instance) without fear of provoking an opportunity attack if they move through a square adjacent to that monster during that round.

18 mbeacom June 30, 2011 at 10:29 pm

@Rico,

I think you may be confused.

From the compendium on DDi,
“Trigger: Opportunity actions allow you to take an action in response to an enemy letting its guard down. The one type of opportunity action that every combatant can take is an opportunity attack. Opportunity attacks are triggered by an enemy leaving a square adjacent to you or by an adjacent enemy making a ranged attack or an area attack.

Once per Combatant’s Turn:
You can take only one opportunity action during another combatant’s turn, but [i]you can take any number during a round.[/i]“

19 Rico July 1, 2011 at 12:26 am

@mbeacom,

WOTC definitely told me that the monster could only make one opportunity attack per round, but it’s possible that they thought I was asking about 3.5 not 4e (which was my fault for not being clear). I will follow up again with WOTC.

20 mbeacom July 1, 2011 at 12:37 am

@Rico,

Yeah, I used to play that way, only one per round but then we had a disagreement at the table and someone had the book (PHB1). It seems pretty clear from the DDI entry that you can do it once for each combatant. HoFL clarifies it further:

“A creature can take no more than one opportunity action on each turn and can’t take an opportunity action on its own turn.”

You’d think if they were telling people different, they’d update the compendium, but stranger things have happened over there lately. :)

My guess is that you’re thinking of IMMEDIATE actions rather than OPPORTUNITY actions. Immediate actions (interrupts and reactions) are only allowable once per ROUND.

21 Rico July 1, 2011 at 1:18 am

Well, here’s exactly what I asked originally them:

“On my turn I move out of a square adjacent to a monster, provoking an opportunity attack from that monster. The monster attacks me. After the monster makes its opportunity attack against me, in the same round, other members of my party move into and out of a square adjacent to the same monster (maybe to set up a flank). That monster cannot make an attack of opportunity against those other party members. Correct?”

I was as explicit as I could be.

Their response:

“Yes, the Monster is subject to the same rules of actions per turn as PCs are, provided some feat, object, ability, etc doesn’t overrule that. Sounds like you have it well in hand.”

But like I said, it’s possible they thought I was talking about 3.5, not 4e. So I’ve sent them another follow up, and we’ll see what they say.

22 mbeacom July 1, 2011 at 8:41 am

Ok, that’s interesting. If you get a response, please post it here.

23 Wimwick July 1, 2011 at 9:07 am

@ Rico & mbeacom
Here is what the Compendium has to say about Opportunity Actions, also remember that Opportunity Actions and Immediate Actions have different rules.

Opportunity Action
Trigger: Opportunity actions allow you to take an action in response to an enemy letting its guard down. The one type of opportunity action that every combatant can take is an opportunity attack. Opportunity attacks are triggered by an enemy leaving a square adjacent to you or by an adjacent enemy making a ranged attack or an area attack.

Once per Combatant’s Turn: You can take no more than one opportunity action on each other combatant’s turn. You can’t take an opportunity action on your own turn.

Interrupts Action: An opportunity action interrupts the action that triggered it.

24 Chris July 1, 2011 at 10:15 am

@Ameron

To answer your question we were playing 3.5 Edition, not 4th, that’s why the tactic worked. :)

25 Rico July 1, 2011 at 7:18 pm

OK. I just got a response from WOTC. Here is what I asked them:

‘My question is actually about 4th ed. I think the rule is different for 4th ed. The PHB, p. 290 says the following in regards to Opportunity Actions/Attacks, “One per Combatant’s Turn: You can take only one opportunity action during another combatant’s turn, but you can take any number during a round.”

So, if that’s true, the monster can’t make more than one opportunity attack against the same target in the same round, but it can make more than one opportunity attack per round if different targets provoke one. Am I correct now?’

Here is the response I got:

“You have it now. On page 196 of the Rules Compendium, it states about Opportunity Actions: “…similar to an immediate interrupt, but it can be taken once per turn, rather than once per round.” Basically, an opportunity action is a special type of action, and you can take one on each combatant’s individual turn. If I stand alone versus four goblins, and they all try and run past me, because they each move on their own separate turn, I can take one opportunity action per goblin; its a total of four attacks. On the other side, if I am in close combat with a goblin, and he uses a ranged attack, I make my one opportunity attack against him. If he then decides to move away (which would provoke another attack), I do not get to make that attack, because I took mine already for the turn.”

So, I was wrong. Ameron please accept my apology. You were 100% correct.

26 RedNightmare July 2, 2011 at 10:27 am

Hell yes do I provoke attacks of opportunity. I play a Dragonborn Bravura Warlord in a party with both a Paladin and a Fighter (Greataxe user). aside from granting attacks with my powers, I sometimes intentionally provoke the attack, letting them use their powers that trigger when their marks attack someone else.

2 weeks ago I went so far as to a detour past the guy the paladin was marking (AoO, 7 radiant damge and the guy misses), went to flank with the Fighter and used Brash Assault (the enemy took the bait). I got to attack, the monster wanted to attack back, which triggered the Fighters mark ability, monster misses (AC 19), and the effect of Brash Assault lets the Fighter swing once more. Not bad for a round in which I just move and use a At-Will.

My advice, don’t be afraid to provoke the attack, sometimes it’s exactly what you want them to do.

27 *the* Brian from Level Up episode 13 July 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm

I very much enjoyed this topic (and was surprised at the many responses). As mentioned, it comes down to tactics. All other things being equal, you want to take numerical advantages where you can get them — your dice will not always be hot.

“They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.” This plays on both sides of the screen too — as a DM you have an advantage of controlling more than one token. As a PC, you can discuss tactics and play off of each other’s maneuvers rather than trying to be the one man army some try to be.

Regarding OAs specifically, I think it’s possible for most any class to be good at avoiding them (I’m not going to wrack my brain going over each class to prove the point, though) while still being too tempting NOT for the DM to take at least once (if they can take them at all). Recast the typical “stand in the back and lob fireball/daggers/arrows/holy fire” ranged guy and walk him up in the mix where he can drop those blasts and close bursts. Class features, feats, and/or gear turns what was a disadvantage and self-imposed controlling aspect of terrain into a advantage swing for Team Good Guy.

28 Drew November 26, 2012 at 6:19 am

I’m playing a 6th level two-handed ranger and considering how I will spend the rest of my feats to build my character. I see two routes- one is damage output focused, and the other tactically focused to actually seek out attacks of opportunity. First of all, I move much faster than the rest of my team, so I’m inclined to take AoOs anyway and since monsters only get one per round, they can move in freely without taking any AoO.

Dodge- +1 to dodge w/dodge partner

Mobility- +4 to dodge against AoO. If they have a lesser chance to hit, then i should be taking them instead of my allies.

Elusive Target- Other benefits, but includes a Free trip attempt from a missed opponents on Aoo- so if I make him miss, I can make him prone- which will give my whole team bonuses and AOO on the enemy if they choose to stand up.

Combat Expertise- relatively useless on its own, but the etra dodge could be beneficial with other feats.

Defensive Strike- If an opponent attacks and misses while using total defense, gain a +4 to attack rolls on next round of attacks. Imagine this- If I take total defense (standard action) and move in to provoke an attack of opportunity, I will become more lethal on the next round when I can take a full attack action. Chances to hit me will be pretty low as I will have the +1(dodge) +4(mobility) +4 total defense.

For what its worth- this is the other build I was looking at:
First, I would make sure I was using the same weapons to gain the greatest benefit:

Weapon Focus- +1 to attack rolls
Improved Critical- 17-20 threat range instead of 19-20.
Power Critical- +4 to confirm critical rolls.
Improved favored enemy- more damage against all favored enemies.
close quarter fighting- force AOO on grapple checks to resist the grapple. Even if the creature has improved grapple, the attack is added to resist grapple.

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