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D&D 3E
Hiding, touch attacks, grappling, and staggered 
14th-Nov-2006 11:36 am
fox
Okay, we came up with quite a few questions last night. Please help me figure these out, with examples to show the rules lawyers.

1. If a living humanoid creature is reduced to 0 hit points, it gets a partial action. That action can be a movement, or an attack action, but not both. They also, I would assume get a free action. Can they take a 5' step?

The SRD says only this as far as I can find: "If you move no actual distance in a round (commonly because you have swapped your move for one or more equivalent actions), you can take one 5-foot step either before, during, or after the action. "

2. A rogue who is hiding can sneak attack her opponent - This is something I've always held true, but I can not find rules governing it. So...

If a rogue is hiding and attacks an opponent who is neither flat footed or aware of the rogue's presence, are they denied their dexterity bonus? Does this mean the rogue can make a sneak attack? Does this mean their dexterity does not count towards their armor class?

The SRD has nothing specific to say about hiding, however it says this about being invisble: "Visually undetectable. An invisible creature gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls against sighted opponents, and ignores its opponents’ Dexterity bonuses to AC (if any). (See Invisibility, under Special Abilities.) "

3. A character has a touch spell active, produce flame for example. The character with it active attempts to begin a grapple with an ogre. Does the spell damage the ogre?

There are a couple situational factors here. First, take this for example from the SRD "To start a grapple, you need to grab and hold your target. Starting a grapple requires a successful melee attack roll. If you get multiple attacks, you can attempt to start a grapple multiple times (at successively lower base attack bonuses). " This suggests that you need to have your hand free. Does a touch spell mean you do not have a hand free, and thus can not innitiate a grapple?

Under the produce flame description it says "You can strike an opponent with a melee touch attack, dealing fire damage equal to 1d6 +1 point per caster level (maximum +5). "

And finally for touch attack it says: "If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges"

Remember, I have rules lawyers, please site your sources if possible. Thanks in advance!
Comments 
14th-Nov-2006 04:44 pm (UTC)
1. If a living humanoid creature is reduced to 0 hit points, it gets a partial action. That action can be a movement, or an attack action, but not both. They also, I would assume get a free action. Can they take a 5' step?

They get as many free actions as they want. As long as they are non-strenuous actions (Pure movement, mostly, but really anything that doesn't attack or provoke an AoO may qualify. Quickened/swift Spells are an instesting question for here, but I assume those are considered strenuous), they don't cause bleeding/the disabled state. So, yes. a 5ft movement is allowed, as long as they make no other movement in that turn.

And this applies to any living creature at 0 HPs. its not just the preogative of humanoids.

2. A rogue who is hiding can sneak attack her opponent - This is something I've always held true, but I can not find rules governing it. So...

You must be aware of a creature to get your dex bonus to AC against it (barring Uncanny Dodge or equivelent). Same as invisable creatures. Opponents of a hiding rogue are usually unaware of the rogue's presence, and get no dex bonus against the rogue.


3. A character has a touch spell active, produce flame for example. The character with it active attempts to begin a grapple with an ogre. Does the spell damage the ogre?

Does it automatically damage? No. If I put a arm lock on you, you don't hit me in a way to do damage. However, you are armed for purposes of provoking an AoO if I don't have improved grapple. And if you do get grappled, you are armed (with that spell) adn can attack. I still get my dex bonus against you (as we're both in the grapple).
14th-Nov-2006 06:12 pm (UTC)
From the SRD, about being disabled:

Disabled

A character with 0 hit points, or one who has negative hit points but has become stable and conscious, is disabled. A disabled character may take a single move action or standard action each round (but not both, nor can she take full-round actions). She moves at half speed. Taking move actions doesn’t risk further injury, but performing any standard action (or any other action the game master deems strenuous, including some free actions such as casting a quickened spell) deals 1 point of damage after the completion of the act. Unless the action increased the disabled character’s hit points, she is now in negative hit points and dying.




The SRD specifically mentions taking a free action (Although, one that is probably strenuous). So, yes. free actions happen> Also, characters normally limited to partial action (Zombies, Slowed, etc.) still get free actions.

(Deleted comment)
14th-Nov-2006 04:49 pm (UTC)
1. If a living humanoid creature is reduced to 0 hit points, it gets a partial action. That action can be a movement, or an attack action, but not both. They also, I would assume get a free action. Can they take a 5' step?

The SRD says only this as far as I can find: "If you move no actual distance in a round (commonly because you have swapped your move for one or more equivalent actions), you can take one 5-foot step either before, during, or after the action. "


In my group we play it as exactly that - a partial action. You can either move a 5-foot step, move from prone to your knees (not to standing), etc. If you move or preform a full action, you collapse and fall unconscious because of the strain on your body.


2. A rogue who is hiding can sneak attack her opponent - This is something I've always held true, but I can not find rules governing it. So...

If a rogue is hiding and attacks an opponent who is neither flat footed or aware of the rogue's presence, are they denied their dexterity bonus? Does this mean the rogue can make a sneak attack? Does this mean their dexterity does not count towards their armor class?

The SRD has nothing specific to say about hiding, however it says this about being invisble: "Visually undetectable. An invisible creature gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls against sighted opponents, and ignores its opponents’ Dexterity bonuses to AC (if any). (See Invisibility, under Special Abilities.) "


My favorite class is Barbarian so I cannot be flat-footed ever (well, not after reaching that level anyway).

Having been attacked by a rogue, who was trying to sneak attack me while I wasn't aware of them. I kept my DEX bonus so they had to hit a higher AC but they got to roll their sneak attack dice on the damage.

I don't grapple often enough to weigh in on it, sorry.
14th-Nov-2006 05:00 pm (UTC)
"In my group we play it as exactly that - a partial action. You can either move a 5-foot step, move from prone to your knees (not to standing), etc. If you move or preform a full action, you collapse and fall unconscious because of the strain on your body."

That's the question really. If you take a movement action, you can't take a 5-foot step, but you can take a 5' step during a full attack(even between attacks!). So if you are limited to a partial action, and you choose to make a single melee attack your partial action, you obviously can not move, and are thus entitled to a 5' step...
14th-Nov-2006 05:03 pm (UTC)
My favorite class is Barbarian so I cannot be flat-footed ever (well, not after reaching that level anyway).

You never loose your Dex Bonus to AC. Not quite the same (you don't get to make AoO before your first action, for instance, unless you also have Combat Reflexes).

Having been attacked by a rogue, who was trying to sneak attack me while I wasn't aware of them. I kept my DEX bonus so they had to hit a higher AC but they got to roll their sneak attack dice on the damage.

That's wrong. You cannot be sneak attacked if you have your dex bonus to AC< unless you're also flanked. Even by an invisible or hidden attacker.
14th-Nov-2006 05:24 pm (UTC)
But.... "Visually undetectable. An invisible creature gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls against sighted opponents, and ignores its opponents’ Dexterity bonuses to AC (if any). " (SRD).

Invisible you can sneak attack because you ignore your opponent's dex bonus right?

Or is that just Barbarians?
14th-Nov-2006 05:32 pm (UTC)
Its how Uncanny Dodge interacts with Sneak Attack. (SRD definitions below).

In order to Sneak Attack, your opponent must be denied their Dex Bonus (Immobile, flat footed, unaware, etc.) or be flanked. With Uncanny Dodge, you're never Unaware or denied your dex bonus due to being flat footed. The invisible attacker would still get a +2 to hit, though.


Uncanny Dodge (Ex)

At Xnd level, a <class> retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if he is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, he still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. If a <class> already has uncanny dodge from a different class, he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead.
(Emphasis mine.)

Sneak Attack (Ex)

If a <class> can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

The <class>’s attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the <class> flanks her target.
14th-Nov-2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
(Also, Feint still works. That's actively distracting the creature, in order to Sneak Attack.)
14th-Nov-2006 06:26 pm (UTC)
Oic.. i thought you meant in general.
14th-Nov-2006 05:16 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
Cite. One cites sources.

1. Partial actions are defined as a move or a single attack action, not both. Ergo, you could take a five-foot step, or you could move. Not both.

2. From the Hide Skill description:
Sniping: If you've already successfully hidden at least 10 feet from your target, you can make one ranged attack, then immediately hide again. You take a -20 penalty on your Hide check to conceal yourself after the shot.
In the combat rules in the PHB it addresses the rnaged sneak attack. If the opponent is unaware of your presence at the start of combat, he is Flat-footed.

3. I'd rule it case by case, but I'd say so.
14th-Nov-2006 05:56 pm (UTC)
1) Free actions are allowed per the rule that a PC gets as many as a DM allows.

While disabled, you may take a 5 foot move if you "If you move no actual distance in a round".

2) The rules regarding hiding are extremely unclear as to their effect. For example, does a rogue that is hiding gain full concealment or do they only have the concealment of the prevailing conditions? For example, a rogue hides in a shadowy corner (20%) concealment. I can't see him (I fail my spot check) to target him, but I suspect he's in that corner. So I fire an arrow at the 5 foot square I suspect he's standing in. Do I roll against a 20% miss chance or a 50% miss chance? We could go on.

Reasonably, it is at least allowed that if the rogue is (successfully) hiding when he attacks a target, his first attack will be a sneak attack - this is implied by the sniping clause of hiding.

As far as invisible, a character is not "invisible" - as per the spell - while hiding, so I would not give them the +2 bonus on attack rolls. I would only count the target as flat-footed and let the rogue roll sneak attack on his first attack out of hiding.

3) A touch attack fires after a successful "melee touch attack". Since a melee touch attack is the only prerequisite to trigger a (non-ranged) touch spell, I would rule that the moment the melee touch attack was made and if it hit then the spell fires. This would be immediately after "Step 2. Grab" of initiating a grapple.

And by the rules, it's vary ambiguous as to whether or not you need a "hand free" to initiate a grapple. It is not unrealistic to imagine that a person can grapple with both hands occupied - grabbing with the arms, legs, or just boxing the person in with your body are all possible. You can argue either side with just as much effect. Just remember that if you rule that something has to have a "hand free" to grapple then creatures without hands (snakes, whales, etc.) can't grapple. ;-)
14th-Nov-2006 10:22 pm (UTC)
Yes on the five foot step. Since the five foot step is part of another action (such as an attack action) rather than a move action unto itself, it does not count as both moving and attacking even though the character moved. That is, movement is a move-action while attacking is a standard action, both are partial actions, but a five foot step during an attack does not count as movement in this sense.

If a Rogue is hiding and an opponent is not aware of the Rogue's presence, then they are considered flat-footed. If the subject of the potential Sneak Attack has Uncanny Dodge, then they are flat-footed for the purpose of the Sneak Attack, but not for purposes of being denied their dexterity bonus.

Unless the spell expells charges, then you could maintain a touch spell so long as you could maintain concentration.
14th-Nov-2006 11:41 pm (UTC)
"Unaware combatants are flat-footed because they have not acted yet, so they lose any Dexterity bonus to AC." That applies to the start of combat against the entire group; but it indicates that unaware=flat footed.



If the character with the spell is starting the grapple it probably should go off, they are both melee touch attacks. [There is a lot of confusion with this when related to unarmed attacks, where apparently it doesn't work(FAQ). ] If the character is the one being grappled then on their turn they can touch the attacker (possibly a grapple check first by straight reading of the rules).
15th-Nov-2006 03:44 am (UTC)
1: No. At 0 hp, you can *take* only partial actions. The 5-hp commoner who gets hit for 5 hp does not immediately get to make a free partial action.

However, on his turn, that commoner can cry for help (partial action) and take a 5' step.

2: If you are not aware of your opponent, you are flat footed. If you are flat footed, you lose your dex bonus. And, hence, you can be sneak attacked.

3: Yes. You touch someone, the spell discharges. Touch-range spells, by design, include a restricted standard attack action in their description. Since you do not have anything in your hand, your hand is free and you can, in theory, start a grapple with it.

4: The first rule in any D&D game is "I'm the boss." Feel free to make arbitrary decisions in the middle of the game -- just be consistent, and let them alter their PCs if they made them thinking you would work the rules differently. They'll have nothing to complain about.
15th-Nov-2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
And that is what I did... I just wanted to be prepared for next time.

thanks everyone!
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