Are auto-Opportunity Attacks "sacred"?

EDITS: This looks nothing like it did before now. Encountered unforseen issues with understandability..

This same thing goes on at all of your tables and you know it: as combat progresses, the number of opponents on the field and rules for handling that gets in the way of the story, and the fun of the combat. Maybe at first it was even fun to dance the figures around, rolling and dodging, rolling and dodging, etc ad nausem. But more than once it has been because of combat rule permutations that are D&D that a D&D game suffers. Even iconic rules perhaps, like the Opportunity Attack. But I hope it is not sacred.

Why?

I like D&D, but I think XCOM just did the combat rules, and combat role development of the its archetypes better than D&D did with its own. Sorry, Wizards!

I modified the system used in XCOM for my D&D games late last year and ignored Next entirely at first because the first packet took out OAs - and it sucked. I basically ported over all the tactical rules from XCOM, and added in melee attacks. Made it medieval fantasy, stealing just about everything and reflavoring it.

I venture to say that part of the reason potentially longtime players looks back badly on D&D is the combat system: clunky as the heavy plate mail a Dex-based fighter wears, Next is held back by poor design of the Opportunity Attack as an always available action, and general action economy issues that arise from that. Also, the angle that classes get when Opportunity attacks are special, it really enhances the combat roles.



Basics

The rules for Actions in Combat would be thus:


  • you get two action points per turn. each action depletes an action point.

  • Movement is an action. you can move up to your Speed in a single movement

  • Making an Attack ends your turn, even if you have an action point left.

  • Basic actions besides Attack and Move: Overwatch: Ends your turn. Lets you make an Attack on the enemy turn as a Reaction. This reaction may trigger if an enemy moves while you can see it and it is in range of your weapon. Useful for locking down movement while another character attacks, or guarding a doorway from entry. Hunker Down: doubles defense bonus from cover while in cover. useful for hostages, or for soldiers relying on less than-perfect situations to stay alive. Dash: uses two action points. allows you to move your Speed x 2, and gain a bonus to Defense while you do it (dash covered no additional distance, but you could move without looking first if you wanted. dashing is mainly useful as a way to cross overwatched areas, since you get increased attack avoidance during the dash)

  • opportunity attacks (OAs)? yes but..




Yes but..
 


Yes, you can get OAs, but not without first taking an Overwatch action in place of your action to ready a Reaction (see Overwatch, above). Reactions trigger when an enemy moves while you can see it, and you are in range to attack it with your currently wielded weapon.

In addition to that basic change, to prevent backline rushes in D&D, I made sure to add the relevant XCOM abilities to fill that role. Ability role level separated access to abilities, and some required other abilities as prerequisites. The abilities were key for this to work, and do a great job of letting the players control position and movement very well without much interaction from me other than description, and it is these, reflavored as D&D class features shown below, that ensure combat isn't broke as hell, AND gets much better




Abilities relevant to granting Opportunity Attacks

Fighter? Rogue? Ranger?
* Close Combat Specialist: Confers a reaction shot against any enemy who closes to within 4 tiles. Does not require Overwatch. Limited to a number of reaction shots from this ability per turn equal to your Dexterity modifier (min: 1, max: 4). (this stopped most light rushes in their tracks, and makes the skirmisher type very valuable to have around)

Barbarian. Fighter. Paladin. or even a tanky Wizard (added protection through mage armor)
* Circular Strikes: make a special attack that deals damage to multiple targets that are in range of your attack and are within 10 ft of each other (positional control through area melee damage)
* Fireball (arcane version of Circular Strike): make a special attack that deals damage to multiple targets at medium range. targets a 10-ft radius. burns targets who remain in the vicinity at the end of the enemy's turn. limited use.
* Flush: Fire a shot that causes an enemy to move. The shot is easy to hit with, but does highly-reduced damage. If the target does not wish to move, then it may stand still but will take more damage than from a normal attack. (perfect combo with a front-liner, or when Overwatching allies are nearby)
* Arrow Swarm/Spell Fury/Divine Rush: Making an attack as the first action no longer ends the turn. let the character fire/cast, and still fire/cast again; or simply enter overwatch, or even move afterwards. note: this character role would, by default, lack training with any high critical weapons unless feats were spent to train that
* Martial/Arcane/Divine Suppression: Can make a special attack that doesnt damage yet, but grants a reaction attack at a single target if he moves. The target also suffers a -2 penalty to attack rolls if he doesn't move. (this gave some positional pinning down tactics oomph)
* Danger Zone: Increases hit area of Suppression and Fireball by 10 ft. (ouch)

Cleric, Warlord, Bard Abilities
* Sentinel: Allows two reaction shots during Overwatch, instead of only one. (this made support characters awesome right behind the front liner during a rush)
* Covering Shots: Allows reaction shot to trigger on enemy attacks, not just movement. (this made enemies behind cover less protected)
* Opportunist: Eliminates the Aim penalty on reaction shots, and allows reaction shots to cause critical hits. (reaction shots kind of sucked, but made sense once in a while. this made reactions just all around HURT)



How Did It Play

The ones trained for it were alwasy closest to the enemy line because that;s where they shined, attack wise, and ability wise. No amount of attribute difference made the fighter who trained for it a worse fighter than a stronger, untrained fighter. This is as it should be. 

Selecting which abilties would synergize well was a no brainer, and it was easy to figure out which combos might lead to unexpected action possibilities. Actually having all that happen was a bit difficult, if for no other reason than they involved sets of abilties used back to back, and the enemy to play right into it.

The wizard is rewarded for being in the correct position for his chosen role (usually wizards are damage dealers, but some are support and work better in the middle). The fighter dished out moderate amounts of damage per target, but in doing so dealt a lot of very useful damage - which helped to control combats; can restrict forward movement by the enemy. In combat, the cleric can do things like move faster, and save people's **** more often; could also be more of an arcane-ish cleric and throw down effects that protect the party and ward off attacks. Unless the caster got isolated, noone could ever get close to him without taking significant risk when good tactics and ability choices combined. Could lead to the wizard dying if bad tactics and poor roles combined (as it should be).



It seemed like ...combat action economy ("you get one.") and role portrayal through abilities in D&D had reached its nirvana with this mod in place. DMing a combat became quite simply, a breeze (comparively to D&D any edition). Call me crazy (someone will :D ) if for no other reason than it breaks your heart to see OA's become special, but I think that a similar system could be reworked to make D&D combats way more fun, faster, and more strategic all at once.

Thoughts?

TL; DR version: Are Opportunity attacks sacred, or could they be replaced by abilities that grant the same basic thing, but in ways and situations that match the classes role
Locke: [after mugging a merchant for his clothes] It's a little tight, but the price was right.
You are crazy! (best get it out of the way first :p)

 The xcom system works great for xcom because its mainly shooting based and it doesnt have tanks whos job it is to protect the weak people in the back. I would use the above for a next modern setup but its not melee, mobility or formation friendly.
 I will link in a post below to a topic that answers why its bad to remove OAs from DND as I cant link in this post (stupid phone). 
 
There was no OA's in the first packet, and people ran willy-nilly all over the place.  You'd do stuff like run up to someone, attack, and run back.  You'd also have things like everyone charging past the fighter to get to the wizard.

X-com could work that way because X-com had guns, melee was rare, cover very common, and line of sight very exact/importaint.

So OA's, while not sacred, are needed for this style of play. 

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Opportunity attacks are really useful in my opinion. It really makes you think what you want or can do when you are in melee.

XCom style fighting is simple, but that's because there's no difference between melee and ranged combat in that game and it's really cover-based, not positioning based like DnD. Vision plays a much larger role in XCom than it does in DnD, so it's obvious, that sacrificing your turn to set up an attack when an enemy shows itself, is a valid strategy. Whereas in DnD you rarely need to worry about vision, and more about where you're positioned.

The basics are the same, but the application is different.

EDIT : Damn you, mellored! Cursed ninja..

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

I guess it depends on your playstyle, but since we play 'theater of the mind' style rather than 'tactics' style, 'action economy' rarely comes into play.  Yeah, we have reactions or 'opportunity attacks' but they come into play in a fairly free-form manner, basically to support the flow of battle or as a story-telling mechanic.

Player: Can I run past these kobolds to engage that caster in the back?
DM: Sure, but they'll get to take a swing at you as you run by, still want to do it?
Player (with wild gleam in his eye): Sure, I can take it! 
I guess it depends on your playstyle, but since we play 'theater of the mind' style rather than 'tactics' style, 'action economy' rarely comes into play.  Yeah, we have reactions or 'opportunity attacks' but they come into play in a fairly free-form manner, basically to support the flow of battle or as a story-telling mechanic.

Player: Can I run past these kobolds to engage that caster in the back?
DM: Sure, but they'll get to take a swing at you as you run by, still want to do it?
Player (with wild gleam in his eye): Sure, I can take it! 



Interesting... that could have been the exact same conversation heard at at a grid table. Just want to dispell the general illusion that all roleplaying and free form flexibility flies out the window once the minis hit the table ;)
When I ran the first playtest package, I limited people's movement by making them make ability checks to accomplish movement in combat. It added a new dimension to the game and let players move more freely. We liked it.

At that point, I just ruled anytime a PC or creature wanted to move past a foe, he or she had to describe how he or she was trying to get by and then make an ability check. Players could use strength to try to push by. They could use dexterity to tumble or dodge. They could use intelligence or wisdom to predict how foes would react. They could use charisma to bluff or distract. If they failed a check, I had them end movement in the first threatened square they moved into, or I didn't allow them to move out of combat if they were retreating (unless they used full move to take a 5' step). Yes..this was houseruling, but we really enjoyed the flavor and fluidity of combat using ability checks.

Most of the time, I'd set a DC at 10, but if the creature had reach or someone wanted to move past more than 1 foe, I'd give DC 15 or even 20.

I see a lot of potential in a system like this. It would be easy to add "facing or flanking" attempts so that you would not need to play on a grid. It would be easy to add missle fire and spellcasting in a threatened square (make an ability check to see if you can get the shot off).

With the ability check system, some groups could also add Opportunity Attacks if they like them - make it so that any failed check doesn't stop movement, but instead it gives the foe an attack.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

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

 

 

Interesting... that could have been the exact same conversation heard at at a grid table. Just want to dispell the general illusion that all roleplaying and free form flexibility flies out the window once the minis hit the table ;)


Very true, however in 3.5 (w/ 5 foot step) and even more so with 4e (push/pull/slide etc) the grid and 'tactical movement' along with 'flanking' being very precisely defined, opportunity attacks seem to be more prevelant and come to the fore a bit more imho.

With 1e / 2e and DnD-Next, it's more of a flavor bit than a specific tactical item, in my opinion. 
Decided to just clarify what I am talking about here in the OP.

I might blog about it if I can get an indication that there is any desire for something easier to run, and less riddled with interrupt abilities and if-then combat rules built in. I know my players appreciated. I guess I just never thought to share until Next failed so hard and brought back OAs.

(EDIT: appears that not everyone can blog here - d'oh! >_< )
Locke: [after mugging a merchant for his clothes] It's a little tight, but the price was right.
The mechanical purpose of opportunity attacks is "don't dogpile the wizard"
The mechanical purpose of opportunity attacks is "don't dogpile the wizard"


Okay this is getting misunderstood way too much: my idea is to HAVE opportunity attacks, just not free ones when you've attacked unless you also have special training to do that.

Back to the OP with me..just added the following:

[spoiler=What I added]


  • opportunity attacks?  yes but..


Only when you take an Overwatch action in place of your action to ready a reaction. To prevent backline rushes in D&D, I made sure to add the relevant XCOM abilities as well. Ability role level separated access to abilities, and some required other abilities as prerequisites. The abilities were key for this to work, and do a great job of letting the players control position and movement very well without much interaction from me other than description, and it is these, reflavored as D&D class features shown below, that ensure combat isn't broke as hell, AND gets much better:

Fighter? Rogue? Ranger?
* Close Combat Specialist: Confers a reaction shot against any enemy who closes to within 4 tiles. Does not require Overwatch. Limited to a number of reaction shots from this ability per turn equal to your Dexterity modifier (min: 1, max: 4). (this stopped most light rushes in their tracks, and makes the skirmisher type very valuable to have around)
* Aggression: bonuses to damage when multiple enemies are visible (makes it more tempting to hold position even when multiple enemies show up)
* Low Profile: half cover is treated as full cover (to avoid more attacks while advancing when cover is around)
* Close and Personal: bonuses to critical chance for being adjacent (to make melee attacks that much more deadly

Barbarian. Fighter? Wizard?
* Circular Strikes: make a special attack that deals damage to multiple targets that are in range of your attack and are within 10 ft of each other (positional control through area melee damage)
* Fireball (arcane version of Circular Strike): make a special attack that deals damage to multiple targets at medium range. targets a 10-ft radius. burns targets who remain in the vicinity at the end of the enemy's turn. limited use.
* Flush: Fire a shot that causes an enemy to move. The shot is easy to hit with, but does highly-reduced damage. If the target does not wish to move, then it may stand still but will take more damage than from a normal attack. (perfect combo with a front-liner, or when Overwatching allies are nearby)
* Arrow Swarm/Spell Fury/Divine Rush: Making an attack as the first action no longer ends the turn. let the character fire/cast, and still fire/cast again; or simply enter overwatch, or even move afterwards. note: this character role would, by default, lack training with any high critical weapons unless feats were spent to train that
* Martial/Arcane/Divine Suppression: Can make a special attack that doesnt damage yet, but grants a reaction attack at a single target if he moves. The target also suffers a -2 penalty to attack rolls if he doesn't move. (this gave some positional pinning down tactics oomph)
* Danger Zone: Increases hit area of Suppression and Fireball by 10 ft. (ouch)

Relevant (insert healer or support class name here) Abilities
* Sentinel: Allows two reaction shots during Overwatch, instead of only one. (this made support characters awesome right behind the front liner during a rush)
* Covering Shots: Allows reaction shot to trigger on enemy attacks, not just movement. (this made enemies behind cover less protected)
* Opportunist: Eliminates the Aim penalty on reaction shots, and allows reaction shots to cause critical hits. (reaction shots kind of sucked, but made sense once in a while. this made reactions just all around HURT)

Locke: [after mugging a merchant for his clothes] It's a little tight, but the price was right.
A lot of replies got bypassed when I saw Qmark's post about backlines.

You are crazy! (best get it out of the way first :p)

 The xcom system works great for xcom because its mainly shooting based and it doesnt have tanks whos job it is to protect the weak people in the back. I would use the above for a next modern setup but its not melee, mobility or formation friendly.
 I will link in a post below to a topic that answers why its bad to remove OAs from DND as I cant link in this post (stupid phone). 
 



Got news for you: Works for other settings as well. Oh ye, of little insanity ;)

Btw, thanks - but that thread you linked tries to do away with Opportunity Attacks in a more complete way than I am proposing. Close, but not the same at all, in other words. I want them in the game but want lots of abilities that creatively reintroduce them.

There was no OA's in the first packet, and people ran willy-nilly all over the place. [...]
So OA's, while not sacred, are needed for this style of play. 



I never experienced that with the combat and abilities mod I am proposing; my games using this combat mod are nothing like that early Next disaster. And were far better off for strategic play.

Opportunity attacks are really useful in my opinion. It really makes you think what you want or can do when you are in melee.

XCom style fighting is simple, but that's because there's no difference between melee and ranged combat in that game and it's really cover-based, not positioning based like DnD. Vision plays a much larger role in XCom than it does in DnD, so it's obvious, that sacrificing your turn to set up an attack when an enemy shows itself, is a valid strategy. Whereas in DnD you rarely need to worry about vision, and more about where you're positioned.

The basics are the same, but the application is different.


Finally someone who has played XCOM. But ..I can't see how you are coming to that conclusion: You got OAs outside of the basic Reactions in that game too. The main difference between that and D&D was that, in XCOM, they were granted by your training and relevant attributes instead of falling under common combat ability.

I disagree. It's "simple" because its simple, not because of the melee and ranged combat being no different. In that game, your closest thing to melee was the shortest range (3) weapon: the arc thrower. It had the ability to one-shot stun enemies, but had a low chance to work on a full health creature. How I added it in: I figured I would let melee into the XCOM-D&D-monster-I-created, by making such attacks more effective due to the added risk of having to close to an adjacent square, and justified it with the added interaction of your attributes during criticals (my mod's ranged weapons never added damage for one's attribute - attribute affected accuracy bonus only).

I disagree with your other points as well. Position, cover, and vision plays no less of a role in my D&D games than it does in XCOM; haven't you (mellored, or bloodmoon666, since you both seem to be arguing the same point) ever readied an attack at a choke point in D&D? or advanced to remove a ranged attacker's cover? or moved forward to get line of sight? (pretty common at every table at which I have been) - these tactics are not going to be drastically affected in terms of their usefulness because of this change. Sounds like I failed to communicate what I meant, so it is creating the illusion of problems.

I guess it depends on your playstyle, but since we play 'theater of the mind' style rather than 'tactics' style, 'action economy' rarely comes into play.  Yeah, we have reactions or 'opportunity attacks' but they come into play in a fairly free-form manner, basically to support the flow of battle or as a story-telling mechanic.

Player: Can I run past these kobolds to engage that caster in the back?
DM: Sure, but they'll get to take a swing at you as you run by, still want to do it?
Player (with wild gleam in his eye): Sure, I can take it! 



Just the person to which I wanted to talk! Someone who uses combat positioning in their TotM combats: This is better for TotM than D&D is currently or ever has been. Think about it: You can actually make a confident call in more cases about OAs being allowed or not due to the need to use an action or have an ability to get one. This has the side effect of making it simpler to run complex combats because there's no reason to consider OAs like that when its not explicitly said in an action or ability. Running combat in TotM very closely to what would have happened in a grid combat becomes much more feasible with this setup as a result.

[snip] With the ability check system, some groups could also add Opportunity Attacks if they like them - make it so that any failed check doesn't stop movement, but instead it gives the foe an attack.


See how many additional checks and player decision points that added? How much DM adjudication time did you need to determine relevant attribute, skill, and appropriate modifiers? What if they don't like the idea to attack, and instead want to trip, or shove? (now you have to recalculate for each of those..ugh!)

This same thing goes on at all of your tables and you know it: as combat progresses, it gets way slower to factor in all the twists and tursn that D&D is trying to squeeze in behind its poor design of the Opportunity Attack. Every combatant can get an additional turn, and there are more chances for additional turns between combatants as well with everyone getting opportunity attacks for simply moving. Turns begin becoming character discussions about the benefits of one slight bonus or another - so I decided to take the best combat system I could find, and wrap D&D around it successfully. The result might be dubbed D&D 4.Mark..
Locke: [after mugging a merchant for his clothes] It's a little tight, but the price was right.