AoO vs. Zones of Control

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I know that AoO have already been mentioned as present in 4e... but what I'd love to see as an alternative (for those who don't want to get bogged down in remembering what provokes an AoO)... is the concept of Zones of Control where your threatened area acts as rough terrain for enemies passing through it. One of the main reasons for keeping AoOs around is to keep characters from being able to waltz through enemy lines without some penalty... and so I wonder if this would help solve the issue and reduce the number of actions, which produce AoOs. Now I admit that some of the actions that provoke AoOs now are not movement based, but perhaps there are other ways to penalize these actions without AoOs... just a thought, but hopefully one that will be considered in order to simplify play.
An interesting idea, reminds me of Sabretooth Games' ill-fated LOTR minis game. Using a move penalty is simpler, but of course it lacks the fear-inspiring "you might get bloodied if you go that way" effect.

In any event, it sounds like fewer things will provoke AOO in 4e, maybe only spellcasting and similar 'unarmed' actions - they might ditch the movement-based AOO entirely.
I admit that I like Zones of Control but it is a more minature term as it is harder to visualize when playing without a board.

I do think that rogues and others that move close to a person should be moving more carefully and need to make a skill check to get by.

I personally rarely ever worried on AoO as a mage. Most small creatures only have a 5' reach which meant that you took a 5' step back and then cast your spell. No risk really. If you were entangled then it was cast defensive with a concentration check ( or wait to get rescued ). Anything with more than a 5' reach was usally a big single monster and the fighter would intercept and hold it up long enough for the mage to get back to a safe distance to once again cast spells.

I suppose clerics might be more effected but again, high concentration skill and casting defensively practically removed the threat of AoO.

It sounded like horrible things would happen to you but I rarely saw people getting hurt by this rule accept when they did something like charge a giant where the reach distance was high enough to get people.

Mind you, I knew of ways to use things like a chain fighter to really abuse this system and the first GM, first game session in 3.0, was amazed that I knocked down three of his charging humans thanks to the chain and combat reflexes. That though was the exception to the general rule.
AoOs are boring. Tactical, but boring. I have had one person argue why they can be useful when trying to be realistic in combat, but things get very blah if no one wants to move around for fear of provoking AoOs. I've had this happen.

There should be a better way.
AoOs are boring. Tactical, but boring. I have had one person argue why they can be useful when trying to be realistic in combat, but things get very blah if no one wants to move around for fear of provoking AoOs. I've had this happen.

There should be a better way.

How do you suggest you keep players or NPCs from just walking around the front-line fighters and going straight for the casters? Not all battles take place in a narrow corridor where a solid wall of bodies can prevent enemies from bypassing them. In an open battle field, it was hard enough to form a front-line with the threat of an AoO. Take that away and now you'll see casters die the first round of battle.

As for all the AoOs from standing up, picking something up, casting spells, whatever else...yeah, I don't mind seeing those go. The movement one, however, seemed to be the most useful one. I never found it that confusing (except for that silly spring attack).

I'm not familiar with "zones of control" so I can't comment on those. But I will say that 3E D&D is a miniatures game...it's combat is too tactical to play it otherwise, IMO.
As for all the AoOs from standing up, picking something up, casting spells, whatever else...yeah, I don't mind seeing those go. The movement one, however, seemed to be the most useful one. I never found it that confusing (except for that silly spring attack).

Good start. At least then they are easy to remember. It would at least encourage a few more unarmed attacks.

It's just that there have been various times where AoOs have made combat into "Is anyone going to move?". I think the first problem is that in real life getting hit hurts, and even when it's not real there are people who are just not about to take any sort of risk when they can see that they are likely to get hurt. I know that's part of combat, but it doesn't encourage the sort of heroics that some of us would like to see. I can't give any alternatives, though. Probably because I can't think of a compromise between our two positions.
AoOs are boring. Tactical, but boring. I have had one person argue why they can be useful when trying to be realistic in combat, but things get very blah if no one wants to move around for fear of provoking AoOs. I've had this happen.

There should be a better way.

*snip*

It's just that there have been various times where AoOs have made combat into "Is anyone going to move?". I think the first problem is that in real life getting hit hurts, and even when it's not real there are people who are just not about to take any sort of risk when they can see that they are likely to get hurt. I know that's part of combat, but it doesn't encourage the sort of heroics that some of us would like to see. I can't give any alternatives, though. Probably because I can't think of a compromise between our two positions.

This is not how any D&D game I've played has turned out. AoOs are absolutely crucial for meleers to control the battlefield and protect the squishies.

It's deterrence of certain actions, and it doesn't use something like aggro to do it.

If you can't take a single hit on an AoO from the fighter in front of you, how are you going to take his full attack routine? AoOs are, if anything, less of a deterrence than they could be.
If you can't take a single hit on an AoO from the fighter in front of you, how are you going to take his full attack routine?

One of the things I thought of while writing that last paragraph was that there's something about AoOs that makes them much more fearsome seeming than any regular attack. It's just a mindset thing, I don't actually understand it. Maybe it's because I've never managed to get to the point in a D&D game where anyone had a full attack. Maybe because they get mentioned so often.

Or maybe it's because when I get hit while moving it feels like I'm being punished for moving, whereas a regular attack makes me feel like I'm being punished for not moving. Since I can choose not to provoke an AoO but can't really choose when the guy next to me attacks (barring a few circumstances) I blame myself for the AoO. Not a good feeling.

Here's one idea I had once: out-of-turn attacks. That's pretty much what AoOs are, right? You only get one unless you have a feat or special abilities (same as AoOs). Yeah, it takes out the tactical element: you don't provoke any more than you provoke a regular attack. But it takes out the self-blame. That's all I care about.
One of the things I thought of while writing that last paragraph was that there's something about AoOs that makes them much more fearsome seeming than any regular attack. It's just a mindset thing, I don't actually understand it. Maybe it's because I've never managed to get to the point in a D&D game where anyone had a full attack. Maybe because they get mentioned so often.

Or maybe it's because when I get hit while moving it feels like I'm being punished for moving, whereas a regular attack makes me feel like I'm being punished for not moving. Since I can choose not to provoke an AoO but can't really choose when the guy next to me attacks (barring a few circumstances) I blame myself for the AoO. Not a good feeling.

Here's one idea I had once: out-of-turn attacks. That's pretty much what AoOs are, right? You only get one unless you have a feat or special abilities (same as AoOs). Yeah, it takes out the tactical element: you don't provoke any more than you provoke a regular attack. But it takes out the self-blame. That's all I care about.

You are a head case.

Seriously, I don't think anyone else has this kind of psychological problem. If I stick with the fighter and wail on him, I am CHOOSING to have him wail back on me next round.
If I stick with the fighter and wail on him, I am CHOOSING to have him wail back on me next round.

It's not the same sort of perception: AoOs get mentioned so often that sometimes some of us think that they always get provoked, not just only once per round, barring special abilities. But who knows what the fighter is going to do: attack, trip, grapple, move away. Because you don't know you're willing to take a risk. That's what the out-of-turn attack idea was about.

And yes, I am a head case.
I was thinking on this and one thing to speed up game play for AoO when it comes to monsters.

Monsters have a set skill/DC value with a set damage value.

Players moving into a monster's AoO must then use a skill like Jump or Tumble to match the required DC or suffer the damage.

This system eliminates one of the dice rolls and increases slightly the fear from AoO as it moves this to a straight Saving Throw system instead of a save first, then the monster rolls to hit, and then the monster rolls to damage.

The new system has the player roll the save for moving where the AoO works and if they fail their save they take the set damage. Recklass fighter might even budget their health saying that they can take the damage that a couple of goblins can dish out and charge ahead to get to the major villian.

I think this would make the AoO more simple, more faster, and more fluid in game play.
I think AoO's could be replaced with a more generic "interrupt" system, where you can take a short (swift?) action when it's not your turn. For a fighter, this could mean diving in front of someone else and blocking them, or attacking them as they run by, or counterattacking if they're attacked. A wizard could have an instant dimension door, or a cleric a spell that adds a last minute armor bonus to someone as they're getting hit. It could certainly make things more tactical and interesting, but it might also make it too complicated. It sounds like they're considering these out-of-turn actions in the combat example we've read, so I'd like to see if they can streamline it enough to make it fun without being overwhelming.
I think AoO's could be replaced with a more generic "interrupt" system, where you can take a short (swift?) action when it's not your turn. For a fighter, this could mean diving in front of someone else and blocking them, or attacking them as they run by, or counterattacking if they're attacked. A wizard could have an instant dimension door, or a cleric a spell that adds a last minute armor bonus to someone as they're getting hit. It could certainly make things more tactical and interesting, but it might also make it too complicated. It sounds like they're considering these out-of-turn actions in the combat example we've read, so I'd like to see if they can streamline it enough to make it fun without being overwhelming.

I like these ideas. :D