Opportunity Attacks: Bad for the Game?

I can only speak from my experience playing D&D and dojo training, so please share your experiences after reading.

I'm arguing Opportunity Attacks should at most be an option, rather than a core rule, because the game could be more engaging without them.

Opportunity Attack (OA) rules imply that everyone opens themselves to attack from a foe by moving quickly away from said foe. Read that sentence again; does that even make sense?
    Game-wise, OAs deny hit-and-run tactics and people running thru holes in the front line to attack the back party members.

Disengage is supposed to reflect that you can't effectively retreat and attack at the same time (which isn't always true: reach and ranged weapons challenge that claim).
    Game-wise, you disengage when you want to set yourself up to act outside of your current melee next round. It exists as a rule only because of OA rules.

What are the actual effects of these rules?
With OAs, most people don't want to spend their action disengaging, so when in melee with a foe, they don't move if they can help it. This applies to PCs and monsters with a Wis of 10+. Everyone's stuck in place. OAs are annoying inhibitors. Because everyone tries to avoid triggering OAs, abilities that bolster OAs feel dinky.
    Without OAs, people would likely approach, hit, and take distance (hit-and-run). Foes are likely to do the same, even pursue the attacker unless they flee behind allies. The battle field would be full of movement opportunities, new tactics and dangers, and more dynamism. Rogues could slip in and out of allied ranks, combatants could better herd each other into traps or lure them into other arenas. Formation would be more of a consideration, as it should be.
    Also, would you rather run a theater-of-the-mind combat with OAs or without OAs?

What about "sticky" defenders? How would you hold the line?
Multiple ways:
1. Fill the corridor with defenders so foes cannot pass. Formation is important.
2. Ready an action to attack anyone who moves past you. Concentrate on defense rather than rushing forward and attacking.
3. Who would want to commit suicide by diving in among the heavy hitters to get at the wizard, if they could even reach them and attack in a round? This isn't an edition where things can usually survive 5 rounds getting hacked to death, and without OAs, everyone can easily change their formation on their turns; the wizard moving to a safe spot, and the defenders changing their formation.

What about slow targets allowing fast enemies to hit-and-run with impunity from outside their attack range?
Assuming the target has no more reach or range than 5 ft, they can still ready an action to hit anyone coming within range, similar to setting spears against a charge. They can probably attack only one foe that way, but attacking one foe per round is standard.
    This is not the new face of combat, however; to hit-and-run each round with impunity, the target:
1. can't close to make an attack within a round, and
2. can't retreat beyond the attacker's ability to close to attack them within a round.
    They'd have to be more than 20 ft slower than the attacker: possible, but not common.

Agree? Disagree? What are the holes, if any, in this argument? Whose benefits and problems would you rather play with: OA or no-OA?
Wow, that's actually a pretty compelling argument.
  I've been so invested in the concept of opportunity attacks for so long that the topic title was off-putting, but you've definitely made some good points.

  I'm hesitant to simply say goodbye to them entirely... I support your desire for actual formation-driven combat, but if there are no opportunity attacks (or something to approximate them), then it becomes increasingly easy to just walk away from being surrounded by three attackers - or to breach those impressive formations in less than impressive ways.

  Maybe AO are not the best answer - but I like when there are more ways for weapon-proficient or combat-proficient characters to be able to take advantage of that fact against less potent combatants.  I very much like the idea that a non-proficient character might provoke free attacks from someone who lives by the sword, simply by taking up arms against a superior warrior - though that's not a part of the AO system in DDN yet anyways... is it? 
I'd simply see tactics being removed - moving around alot more <> tactics. It's just moving around alot more.

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I am personally not a fan of AoO, because any attacks outside of your normal turn tend to slow the combat down. Interestingly, movement in combat is better in Next than in 3E (and somewhat 4E) because you don't threaten when moving around an enemy. So if the fighter holds the front line, with a squishy wizard behind him, I can move up to the fighter, then circle him until I can hit the wizard.

I would rather use Movement penalties than AoO. If you move while within the reach of an enemy, it costs 5' extra for every 5' you move. Some enemies might have a Defender quality and increase it by another 5' or 10'. So you can withdraw without taking an action, but you're not going very far unless you spend your action to Hustle. This also would slow down someone from circling the fighter to get to the wizard.
There are Feats like Spring Attack and Tumbling Movement that you can take to mostly ignore AoO
Thoughts I'm seeing so far:
Whether no-OAs increases or merely changes tactics, at least you can move around more easily (that may make combat generally more shifty and better engage people's attention).

DDN's OAs don't give troops a bonus against the untrained; weapon bonuses and class features cover that. OAs as-is just disincentivize movement and attacks when moving farther from a foe.

I like Shiroiken's difficult-terrain reach-zone idea! Approaching or charging someone may be weird, tho'.

Here's another idea; see what you think:
OAs come into play only if you both enter and exit the same hostile's reach in the same turn (thru your own movement of course). This wins us a few things:
1. You can hold the line as now; running by a wall of troops is still dangerous.
2. This impedes hit-and-run tactics like OAs do now without inhibiting every retreat.
3. …meaning changing formation in battle is easier.
4. OAs come up a lot less, meaning less to keep track of during combat.

Hopefully this way, HomebrewSetting, you can create a satisfactory circumference of 3 troops by being looser with the ring. It will still have weak points like any circle of only 3 troops.

    Also, would you rather run a theater-of-the-mind combat with OAs or without OAs?


Without; I would only use them if someone was trying to flee from combat. If you're describing stuff in so much detail that you're pinpointing everyone's position to 5' squares as they move around, you might as well use a grid and be done with it.

Mind you, there are loads of other things I'd either drop or rephrase when running combat without a grid. Anything that says "within 5 feet", for a start. Change it to "engaged in melee" and you've got something workable. Maybe this might seem that you'll have clerics leaping 60' as a reflex action to protect someone using their shield or whatever, but so what? It's more heroic and more fun than "Sorry, you're one square too far away to save Grunthar, he's hit by a spear and dies."
After reading the movement rules I think AoO might not be much of a deterrent to a fluid field of combat as at first thought.  Right now near as I can tell the only activity which creates an AoO is turning and running away from someone.  Which means that without a proper feat you cann't sprint up to hit a bad guy and retreat all in one round. Nor can you run up to someone to attack them and run on by all in one round.  Right now those things should be achievable with feats and class abilities.  Rogues and rangers can do the later. 

The initially defined problem of becoming locked in place once engaged may have been taken care of with the disengage combat action.  It is poorly named but seems to be the same as a shift move.  I am unsure whether the Disengage takes up your move or your action.  If it takes up your movement then combat can remain fluid with lots of movement, if disengage requires an action then combatants are indeed locked in place as the OP points out.  My thinking is that disengage should be listed as an action and a similar shift move of ten feet should be an available use of our movement.  Thank you Op for bring this problem to light.
At one point I thought that AOs led to more static combats, but now that there are so many feats and abilties that give PCs ways to move in combat, I think AOs are not such a problem.   Some PCs will use Spring Attack, Weave through the Fray, or Tumbling Movement to move more freely through combat.  Others will Disengage.

I do like the idea of giving everyone a Shift maneuver/move action though.   The 5' step adds a lot to the movement choices in combat.  

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I don't think we should rely on Feats to "fix" OA problems. Feats like Hold the Line actually accomplish one of the goals of OAs without the undesireable move-kill of OAs. Other Feats like Warding Polearm can be slightly reworded to do OAs' job without OAs (and hence Disengage) being a separate rule to learn or track in play.
I like the idea of less combat options as default, and if you want them you either A. take a feat or B. argue with your GM and he agrees but you have disadvantage. Heck, I'm even against the Conditions setup, because except for that I could get through the whole game without checking the metaphorical PHB index. However, I see your point, especially with the following anecdote:

Although it wasn't in 5E, I was in a Savage Worlds game, which uses similar rules for combat withdrawal. #1. you're in melee with someone. #2. if you leave the enemy's space, they get a free attack on you. #3. Even more than D&D, they don't even have a "disengage" action to do it safely. 

A bunch of enemies swarm player A and she falls. Player B, in melee, thinks "oh, I'll go kill those bad guys since my friend is in trouble." Player B is good at roleplaying but bad at reading-the-entire-rulebook-beforehand-which-shouldn't-impact-your-fun. In game terms, it's the equivalent of shifting a 5 foot step. But what happens?

"Alright, the enemy you were fighting attacks you when you go to help your friend. Oh, crap...Sorry, you have died."

Opportunity attacks. Just a rule to kill roleplaying and harm newcomers.  
I can only speak from my experience playing D&D and dojo training, so please share your experiences after reading.

I'm arguing Opportunity Attacks should at most be an option, rather than a core rule, because the game could be more engaging without them. 



They have been in the game in versions 2e, 3e and 4e.. .disengaging from an enemy fast without exposing yourself is also difficult realistically... if the enemy is suitably distracted (like via allies in concert so they have in effect they end up giving up there reaction and you saved your action for when they are distracted? no biggy. )

 
[i] 

Opportunity Attack (OA) rules imply that everyone opens themselves to attack from a foe by moving quickly away from said foe. Read that sentence again; does that even make sense? 


yes yes it does... it makes perfect sense. Your weapon (and its threat is your best defense ) the number of effective attacks you could have against an enemy accelerates massively if they dont have it. The standard option when someone starts to move away is to at minimum maintain reach to hit them... and in order to move fastest involves not keeping your weapon trained on the enemy you were fighting.... choosing not to maintain reach is a specail case (like if you are formation fighting).
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
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At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
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I understand what you're saying, Garthanos, but my take is:
The rules don't assume in default movement that PCs walk straight up to enemies unguarded, so why should they assume PCs turn straight around to walk away unguarded? If watching our backs is not assumed by our AC rating, why don't we provoke OAs from being surrounded, from being in melee with two or more foes?

Reflecting the simultaneous aspects of combat (such as maintaining distance) in a turn-based game can be tricky, but wouldn't following an opponent just be…following an opponent?
The way the AOs work in this game seem to work well in conjunction with other abilities and feats.   In our latest playtest (10th level), the fighter used combat reflexes, and hold the line, to control positioning and give himself a few more AOs.   He also made some tactical decisions to move out of threatened positions and take AO at times since he had a 20 AC.   Some players used 10' disengage when they felt as if they needed to get out of the fray (especially the cleric because he could use the 10' disengage action and also cast a swift spell cure).   In one situation, the wizard needed to move out of a combat quickly, but since he was next to one of the shield users (and that PC had Interposing Shield) the shield blocked one of the AOs and made everyone really happy.

We didn't have a ranger or a rogue in the group, but if we did, they have plenty of ways to move around and negate or defend against AOs.   

I'm liking it.      


  

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Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

Weren't there not opportunity attacks in an earlier playtest packet, and many people were upset about the negative effect on tactics caused by their absence?

The metagame is not the game.

I think a lot of this gets fixed by limiting all parties to 1 reaction.

A fighter will choose to not bog down the game with an opportunity attack if he's at 5 HP and are saving your Reaction to use Nimble Dodge in case you get hit. 

Alternative: do what 5E does with other combat bloats. Make it into a feat, rather than a rule!

"Opportunity Attack: When opponents move out of melee with you, you may use your reaction to make a basic attack or cast a cantrip spell." 
I'd rather see OAs replaced by some sort of penalty. Limiting attacks to "on turn" would speed the game up. Perhaps if you do something that provokes, you take an AC penalty for that action. This means ranged attackers could take advantage of openings too, without suddenly firing an arrow that they wouldn't have fired.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

The purpose of AOO seems to be "don't rush the wizard" and little else.
It's both a half-assed way for the fighter to "protect" the wizard, and less-than-subtle way to keep everyone from ignoring the nameless minions and dogpiling the BBEG.
Weren't there not opportunity attacks in an earlier playtest packet, and many people were upset about the negative effect on tactics caused by their absence?

I don't pretend to know the whole story, but in my case Ray of Frost set the target's speed to 0 until the end of the caster's next turn with no action to fight out of it early, allowing people to run up to, attack, and retreat from the target who was iced to the ground (the target's only defense was readying an action to attack an approaching attacker). As long as the at-will Ray of Frost hit that round, everyone could repeat.

Ray of Frost doesn't do that this packet. You could restrain your target by grappling him and allow your friends to beat up on him, but he has continued chances to escape your grapple, and he can still ready an attack to hit an approaching attacker.
Dreamstryder:  Let me first say that I found this to be a very compelling topic at first.  Then it kind of lost steam, near the end of page one.  You managed to get bogged down in mechanical arguments.  Two in particular stand out to me.

I understand what you're saying, Garthanos, but my take is:
The rules don't assume in default movement that PCs walk straight up to enemies unguarded, so why should they assume PCs turn straight around to walk away unguarded?



The rules should assume it based on two factors.  A) guarding is a directional action.  B) walking forwards is much easier than walking backwards.  B is not even debatable.  It's innate in the physics of human locomotion, primarily the fact that the knee bends a particular way, and the hip socket has a particular shape.  I can understand A being debatable, but I also think that there's a physical element to it, given that the elbow also bends a particular way, and the shoulder socket has a particular shape.

If a humanoid creature walks away from an enemy guarded, they are going to move slower than when they walk towards an enemy guarded.  Wizards decided that slower meant a 10' disengage in this edition, compared to 5' shift in 4E.  I could see disengage going as high as half speed.  But full speed does not make physiological sense.

I don't think we should rely on Feats to "fix" OA problems. Feats like Hold the Line actually accomplish one of the goals of OAs without the undesireable move-kill of OAs. Other Feats like Warding Polearm can be slightly reworded to do OAs' job without OAs (and hence Disengage) being a separate rule to learn or track in play.



I think arguing about the usage of feats is a wash, when you look at the debate from a neutral perspective.  The exact same point can be made from both sides.  You see mobility feats that prevent OAs as a "fix" to OA problems.  But it's just as easy to say that defensive feats like Hold the line are a "fix" to not having OAs.  It's the same thing.  Either way, you have assumed a default position within the rules, then used feats to provide exceptions to the rules.  That's going to happen, regardless of the default rules position.  So it's not a very convincing argument.

To conclude, I reiterate that I like this topic.  I think the productive discussion revolves around how OAs relate to the feel of the game and how they affect tactics.  Much of Wizard's playtest documents focus on feel.  So I think that's more convincing than the mechanical points you present.
Disagree.

OA may not be perfect, but I feel it's a decent option for PnP RPG's.  They give combat a small sense of realtime combat by allowing reactions to be taken between turns. And whether you're not moving out of fear of an OA, or because you've readied an action, you're not moving.  But at least with OA's, you can use your turn to attack whoever or whatever.

And personally, I most often picture combat in typical circumstance as weapons clanging off weapons and shield, pushing, shoving, tripping, etc.  The classic battles you see in movies and read in books.  I don't picture it as constant and annoying hit and run with combatants from both sides running back and forth down a hall or across a field and playing waiting games on the chance an opponent will come close enough for an attack.  I don't want to see video game and MMO style bunny hopping and circle strafing.  The focus on MMO style combat balance on class and role development is bad enough as it is.

I think OAs work well enough, as long as WotC don't add a bunch of class features and feats that allow OAs to be exploited.

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What about "sticky" defenders? How would you hold the line?
Multiple ways:
1. Fill the corridor with defenders so foes cannot pass. Formation is important.


This is only possible/viable with very narrow corridors relative to your party. Or maybe with a party consisting primarily of defenders.

The "iconic" D&D party is fighter/rogue/wizard/cleric. Only 1-2 of those is a defender, so at most you are talking 10' corridors. What do you do in the huge number of situations that aren't narrow corridors?

In practice, lacking OAs will mean that in most situations formation -isn't- important, because there isn't anything you can do with formation. Anyone who wants to will just walk past you, because you don't have enough bodies to fill the space.

With OA, each melee oriented combatant gains a zone of control around them, where just walking past is inhibited.     

2. Ready an action to attack anyone who moves past you. Concentrate on defense rather than rushing forward and attacking.


Trading your attack on your turn for a possibility you might get that attack off turn is, typically, a very bad stupid trade. Certain situations might make it worthwhile on a case by case basis, but 99% of the time it's so obviously bad as to be a non-option. (this could be changed by adding a conciderable perk to doing it. Like if readied action attacks interrupt the action you readied for and prevent it from continuing, ending movement and cancelling attacks/spells. Though that could easily be so overpowered as to grind the game to a halt.)

3. Who would want to commit suicide by diving in among the heavy hitters to get at the wizard, if they could even reach them and attack in a round? This isn't an edition where things can usually survive 5 rounds getting hacked to death, and without OAs, everyone can easily change their formation on their turns; the wizard moving to a safe spot, and the defenders changing their formation.


well, especially with no OAs those heavy hitters can easily get to you and hit you if you are anywhere near the battlefield anyways, so really what do you lose by being 10' from them instead of 30'? And the mage is generally an even-heavier-hitter, all told, who can hit you from even farther away.. but may have some reason to avoid hitting you if all his AOEs would have to include half his party to get you.

On the other hand, if diving in among the heavy hitters involves taking OAs on the way in on top of everything, maybe it really is suicide. 


What about slow targets allowing fast enemies to hit-and-run with impunity from outside their attack range?
Assuming the target has no more reach or range than 5 ft, they can still ready an action to hit anyone coming within range, similar to setting spears against a charge. They can probably attack only one foe that way, but attacking one foe per round is standard.


Well for one, a ranged attacker with even a little more movement can 'kite' as far as the terrain will allow. They just have to attack and end each turn outside the enemy's movement range + reach. If the enemy retreats, the ranged attacker moves forward, if the enemy moves forward the ranged attacker retreats.
Part of the function of OAs is to "trap" ranged attackers so they can't kite well once the melee closes on them.  

As for readying vs the hit-n-run coming into range: it can work, but it can also be worked around often. At best, since readies are reactions in this edition you lose initiative in the process, so when it comes down to the last blow you drop before swinging, having lost a turn. You also lose your reaction, which for PCs especially means losing a valuable part of action economy. (less universal for NPCs) You also could have your action lost: you commit in advance to your readied action and then if the opponents don't comply you just lost your action. For example, if an all-skirmishing-force is facing an all melee opposition, the all melee could all ready their actions to smack whoever comes in range. Then the all skirmishing force all pick on one guy. Focus-fire is smart anyways, but now it meant the all-melee force got only one action instead of one per creature.
(This is an extreme example, though reality is likely to be closer to 2-3 melee combatants getting 1 action between them because of this sort of thing.)  


    This is not the new face of combat, however; to hit-and-run each round with impunity, the target:
1. can't close to make an attack within a round, and
2. can't retreat beyond the attacker's ability to close to attack them within a round.
    They'd have to be more than 20 ft slower than the attacker: possible, but not common.


More than 20ft difference comes into play a lot more often when you or your allies are imposing movement penalties.



Agree? Disagree? What are the holes, if any, in this argument? Whose benefits and problems would you rather play with: OA or no-OA?


I definitely prefer OA to no-OA, personally.
I think there's some confusion here.

You don't get attacks of opportunity unless the attacker starts moving within your reach. So for a standard, non-polearm carrying, figther with a longsword/shortsword combo, the goblins can get to them without either figther getting AoO (without special feats!).

We imagine this : 2 figthers armed with swords blocking off a 10' wide tunnel. In front of them, goblin swordsmen are closing in. They get to melee range without problems or provoking AoO


If the goblins, from melee range, decide to split on their next round, they can, as an action use "Disengage" and withdraw 10' without provoking AoO from anyone and THEN use their movement to run 30' as fast as their small legs will carry them away in that round.


Situation 2: If both the figthers were wielding reach weapons like polearms, the goblins would have provoked 1 AoO each as they moved from 10' range to 5' range (melee range) of the figthers. The goblins survive the AoO and the PC's round.
On their turn the goblins decide to run. They can, as an action use "Disengage" and withdraw 10' without provoking AoO from anyone and THEN use their movement to run 30' as fast as their small legs will carry them away in that round. The 10' is long enoguh to take them outside the polearms' reach, and so they can move without problems.

What I find troublesome is that, in theory, had a goblin snuck up behind the figthers with polearms, it would have have gotten 2 AoO's in the face from the figthers.

What's clever about this is that with the AoO system as it is, those who get/take feats for it can do awesome stuff.

If a goblin hero with feats had come up against the 2 polearmed figthers, he could have stood at 10' range at the start of the turn, done 10' Spring Attack move and attacked as usual without provoking AoO. If he survived to his next round, he could've made his attack, done 10' Spring Attack move and then 30' regular move without provoking AoO.


There's a reason you should fear packs of mobs with Reach weapons and I don't think it's unfair for them to have some reasonable advantage in attacking. Remember that most of them only get 1 AoO for the entire duration and then they have no reaction left in case a caster or someone else gets creative.
A clever and well-armored/nimble character should take advantage of this fact and draw out AoO's against them, so that other, less armored/nimble, characters get a chance to move.

Also remember that there's no more flanking in the game. You don't have to stand on opposite sides for rogues to get sneak attacks (If they're THAT kind of rogue!)
In 5e, you get to OA only if a hostile creature you can see moves out of your reach. To OA an approaching enemy, there's a feat.

OAs are useful for moving into melee with an opponent to keep them "covered", even if we don't have :
A) a field conducive to the traditional D&D "fighter in front, armored cleric in back, wizard in the middle" formation,
B) enough strong meleers for a more encapsulating formation.

Unfortunately, trading your attack on your turn, only to have your opponent double-move to put you into the same predicament next turn, happens all the time unless you use the following strategy: keep far back if you're soft, and actively engage if you're tough.

It's a valid strategy, but my main complaint is that things are too sticky; people move into position and just sit there exchanging blows (speaking of MMO games). You generally can't switch who you're meleeing in a turn without OA, such as when another target takes priority (ie cleric comes to the aid of a nearby ally), or you simply want to attack and gain distance (ie attacking your pursuer while edging closer to allies). If disengaging were a move, not an action as it is now, this would be solved.

The above stay-back-or-engage strategy would also stand unaffected. You could only move 10 ft while attacking, after all. Side effects?
Unfortunately, trading your attack on your turn, only to have your opponent double-move to put you into the same predicament next turn


That's not the same predicament at all.  By trading your attack action to disengage, you've created a new situation.  If your opponent then chooses to trade his attack action for double-move, he recreates the original situation, 35' to 45' away.  That's his choice.  Your action is not the cause of the same predicament, it is the opponent's response.  His action on his turn causes the situation to return to its previous state.  Your opponent is of course free to not recreate this state, and instead take another action on his turn.

That's a pretty absurd tactical analysis.

If disengaging were a move, not an action as it is now, this would be solved.

The above stay-back-or-engage strategy would also stand unaffected. You could only move 10 ft while attacking, after all. Side effects?


Side effects?  The fact that the disengage maneuver would no longer let you disengage from an enemy.  This is not 4th edition.  Specifically, you can not trade standard actions for move actions.  Everything that simulates the effect of a traded action, eg. disengage and hustle, are in fact their own things.

So if disengage were a move, you would not be able to turn tail and run.  You would only be able to move 10' total.  At that point you would be attacked on the next turn, exactly the same as if you had stayed still.  The situation detailed in the first half of this post could not even happen if disengage was a move.  Attack avoidance was the primary purpose of disengage; the reason it exists in the first place.  And as the first half illustrates, it actually does that job.



Really, I feel like you've gotten so far afield from your original topic that you've forgotten the starting point.  And specifically, you've forgot what's in the packet already.  What you're requesting, a 10' move without OA then the opportunity to attack, is Spring Attack.  Definitively.

Your original objection was not that the designers didn't account for the type of maneuver you want to perform.  It's that they made you pay for it with a feat.  Your objection was to implementation and cost.  Not design.
I never meant to imply combatants automatically re-engage; I meant to compare "losing a turn to an untriggered readied action" to "losing a turn due to re-engagement": both are common situations resulting from a gamble on the opponent's choice. Sorry that wasn't clear.

Yes, disengage-as-move, basically 4e's "shift", uses 4e's action break-down, but 5e's approach is simpler and friendlier for TotM, so switching to 4e actions is self-defeating in pursuing simplicity.

A better way would be Passive Disengage: if you move half or less your total speed on your turn, you provoke no OAs. In other words, moving more than half your speed provokes OA if you leave hostile reach during your turn.

Another way: Indivisible Move
People can't divide their move, only act, then move, or move, then act. (Several tactical war games like Tactics Ogre use this method; as I recall 3e does too.) (PS: Using this method, OAs don't exist.)

When using a battle mat with either method, pay more attention to distance between you and enemies when out in the open. If enemies get too close, move to gain (or close) distance. With Passive Disengage, sticking and distance share importance; with indivisible movement, controlling distance is more important, not sticking yourself to people. This is also a valid tactic.

I'm not a fan of being unable to split movement with an action (there'd likely be a feat for that like there is in 3e), but I haven't kept track how often I currently split my move.
I like attacks of oppurtunity for stupid things like drinking potions in combat.  I think they got carried away with them, but in certain circumstances i like them.
I understand what you're saying, Garthanos, but my take is:
The rules don't assume in default movement that PCs walk straight up to enemies unguarded, so why should they assume PCs turn straight around to walk away unguarded? If watching our backs is not assumed by our AC rating, why don't we provoke OAs from being surrounded, from being in melee with two or more foes? 



Not a terrible argument... someone has pointed out that moving backwards is more impeded in and of itself and my gambit of pretending a charge and keep on keeping on when they dodge, is perhaps not a standard form of retreat (a charge is a pretty believable bluff).

D&D movement is somewhat slow already I generally do assume its because  the characters enter a fight context and caution impacts the movements. So that when a warlord points out an opening for somebody to move safely they get extra move on top of the standard speed... ie they can trust the warlords timing and perception and are then moving in total closer to the real maximum speed (an athlete running 180 feet in 6 seconds can be quite reasonable for instance). 

Fighting two or more adversaries ought to indeed induce issues of defense though....  its less interesting if it dont. Then when the fighter advances and is no longer affected by it... then its cool. Similarly with the triggering opportunity attacks - My fighter is more awesome at battlefield mobilty if the normal includes issues.

note - Parrying may actually cover that defense difficulties... but wont it be awesome if a high level fighter can parry multiple enemies with ease? personally I prefer the damage resistance parry by far (give me reliable). 

  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

What are the actual effects of these rules?

With OAs, most people don't want to spend their action disengaging, so when in melee with a foe, they don't move if they can help it. . . 
Without OAs, people would likely approach, hit, and take distance (hit-and-run). Foes are likely to do the same, even pursue the attacker unless they flee behind allies. The battle field would be full of movement opportunities, new tactics and dangers, and more dynamism. Rogues could slip in and out of allied ranks, combatants could better herd each other into traps or lure them into other arenas. Formation would be more of a consideration, as it should be.


This is all true. If you want to see how D&D without OAs would work, take a look at the 2E rules, which did very little with the concept. 2E managed to have amazing tactical depth without reliance on OAs because of two important concepts: facing and half-moves.

FACING: Instead of threatening everyone around them, characters only threatened enemies in the front left, front, and front right squares. Attacking an enemy from the side gave a bonus to hit. Attacking from directly behind an enemy doubled the flank attack bonus and negated enemy DEX bonuses to AC.

HALF-MOVES: You could move half your combat movement rate and still make an attack that round. Characters in melee range at the start of a round could use that free movement to hit and run, or they could use it to circle around and get a flanking bonus on an enemy. Keeping enemies off your caster line required a party to be on its toes with regards to crowd control, formation, positioning on the tactical map, use of environmental hazards and chokepoints, trips/knockdowns/grappling attempts, and avoidance of friendly fire.

What about slow targets allowing fast enemies to hit-and-run with impunity from outside their attack range?


CHARGING AN OPPONENT largely solved this problem. A charge would let you chase down distant opponents at 150% of your combat movement rate and end with a boosted attack. The drawbacks of this are that the attack vector was always head-on (can't use your charge movement rate to get behind an enemy before striking), and the enemy got certain bonuses for bracing for charge.

Agree? Disagree? What are the holes, if any, in this argument? Whose benefits and problems would you rather play with: OA or no-OA?


I prefer this style of combat over interlock-style, OA-centric melees, but let's be realistic. It's a lot for new players to handle and many existing players are accustomed to 3E and 4E. Different guidelines for OA are "optional rule" status at best. D&D's strength has always been its story, and more complicated combat rules just bog players down in combat longer. D&D Next's combat has plenty of depth - players are in no danger of running out of novel tactical plays to bring smiles to their faces - and you know someone's going to come up with a new supplement designed to appeal to the grognards among us.
Disagree.

OA may not be perfect, but I feel it's a decent option for PnP RPG's.  They give combat a small sense of realtime combat by allowing reactions to be taken between turns. And whether you're not moving out of fear of an OA, or because you've readied an action, you're not moving.  But at least with OA's, you can use your turn to attack whoever or whatever.

And personally, I most often picture combat in typical circumstance as weapons clanging off weapons and shield, pushing, shoving, tripping, etc.  The classic battles you see in movies and read in books.  I don't picture it as constant and annoying hit and run with combatants from both sides running back and forth down a hall or across a field and playing waiting games on the chance an opponent will come close enough for an attack.  I don't want to see video game and MMO style bunny hopping and circle strafing.  The focus on MMO style combat balance on class and role development is bad enough as it is.

I think OAs work well enough, as long as WotC don't add a bunch of class features and feats that allow OAs to be exploited.

I agree with Krynos.

I note in 5e you are not trapped in a single square like in 4e (I think? Not sure now i am remembering right). In 5e, as long as you dont leave the opponent's reach, there is no OA. So you can run a ring around the fighter (but not go more than 5' from him) and there is no OA.

In our game last weekend, the PCs and monster all moved around in this manner, and we gave advantage if you ended up flanking someone. I dont know if that was too generous or what, but everyone was trying to manouver for position in our combats and would risk OA's occasionally to get it.

I also agree with Hey-Wizard-Man about facing and some minor bonuses/penalties for being attacked from the side/rear should be hard coded. But it is not hard i guess for a DM to houserule a +1 or advantage here and there. Its just... combat... it's a m,ajor part of DnD? An optional module with more complicated combat options would also be sweet.
The problem i'm seeing here is that you are assuming that tactics are just choices you make furing combat. But tactics are also used when you design your character. Some will choose feats and abilities to help them with combat tactics to avoid getting attacked with AoO while others worry more about other things, like offensive capabilities. Why shouldn't the defensive character that spent feats and ability choice to be more defensive and not open up his defenses to free attacks be rewarded for his choices, and poeple that choose to not do these things are rewarded with more damage from their choices. I think tactics just need to be applied to choices during character generation as well as during combat. If you take feats to avoid AoO you can move freely around the battlefield, representing your level of training and comfort on a field of battle among enemies while maintaing your defenses. While people who choose not to take these feats are not battle hardened veterans in warfare & tactics and have to be more careful while moving around the battlefield and maybe even rely on the previous character for some protection. If the wizard or cleric in my group needs to retreat from an enemy help someones else or for whatever reason, I have sacrificed my feat choices to help them do these things. I am the protector. I interpose my shield while they retreat. I hold the line so enemies can't get to my waizard. Makes perfect sense to me. You don't want to get attacked moving around the battlefield, make better choices on feats, otherwise, take the hit or get a guardian.
The thing that is bad about OAs is just that ..everyone is getting them.

I wrote a blog post in support of removing them, and giving them back as class features/feats. Requires some changes, but simplified my combat so much to go with a single action-type system. And to those nay-sayers, it did NOT remove any of the characters' ability for tactical use of positioning. To the contrary, it enhanced the individual combat roles quite a bit and I wish I could make the Next team (and this forum) see the light.

community.wizards.com/babyj/blog/2013/05... 
Locke: [after mugging a merchant for his clothes] It's a little tight, but the price was right.
I've always assumed that the real design motivation for the existence of the opprtunity attack when it was introduced in 3E was an incentive for spellcasters to avoid melee combat. In a way it makes sense. Let's say I'm a wizard and I have no weapons or anything in my hands. I start chanting and gesturing to cast a spell, but there's an orc right next to me with a sword. Of course he's going to whack me so I can't get my spell off.

It's strange for me to think that in DDN, this application of opportunity attacks was removed, because I always saw it as the strongest argument for keeping the rule.

Now I see the Wizard's powerful Ray of Frost cantrip, and I think maybe the era of spellcasters hiding in the back line might be coming to an end. However, that's just an imporession from reading the rules. I have not actually had the chance to play DDN yet, so perhaps in practice that's not what happens. After all, arcane casters do still seem to have low AC and hit points.