Uggghh.. Flat Footed made it into 4th edition

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'Flat footed' is great for full surprise scenarios, but terrible for a non-surprise fight.

Two warriors are facing off, and will engage in a sword fight to the death.
Both are well trained in fencing and have seen countless bloody battles.
One is a 'Fighter' and one is a 'Rogue'

When the battle begins, with both combatants standing with drawn blades, ready to skewer each other...The rogue somehow 'sneak attacks' the fighter.
Why? because the fighter has not acted yet. That seems quite illogical to me.

It seems all non rogue characters have brain damage, and must stand still with drool hanging from their mouths until the rogue impales them to wake them up.

Now, if the battle started with the fighter unaware of the rogue, or if he was not prepared for battle, it might make sense for a rogue to get in a cheap shot, if that's what rogues are good at. Still silly, because fighters certainly would know how to get in cheap shots as well.

My point here is not that I like fighters better than rogues.
I just never thought the flat footed rules made any logical sense.
I am very dissapointed to see such a bad game mechanic survive into 4th edition.
The example combat you cited (sounds like a gladitorial match) probably should assume that both combatants are 'readied' before either combatant goes, and as a DM I'd probably enforce that. Say that both of them are in initiative and holding their actions until the fight actually starts.

The flat-footed condition of 3rd edition and the First Strike ability of the 4th edition Rogue are both intended to simulate an encounter where a surprise round might occur and the combatants haven't been staring at each other for several rounds straight with the intent to kill.
I agree with both posters. Flat-footed situations can be silly, but there's a way around it that doesn't seem to require house rules.
I rather like the mechanic, although some tweaking could be needed, but not much. As for the fighter vs rogue issue, well, I may not be a battle hardened fighter, but I've been in enough fights to know that sometimes making the first move can be better and doesn't always start by who physically moves first.

If two combatants are standing at the ready and can clearly see each other, often or not it comes down to perception. The fighter may be a seasoned warrior, but if initiative represents both physical and mental readiness, then it could easily show the the fighter didn't anticipate the precise moment the rogue would act, which is a huge combat advantage. I think combat advantage is used to really let the rogue do what it does best, take even the smallest weakness, even when prepared, and exploit it to no end.

A good fighter knows to attack a rogue first and keep the pressure up, his martial prowess and survivability should keep him going, while not allowing a rogue time to observe or study. Every moment you spend watching an opponent, is a moment he is watching you as well.

Just my thoughts.
Okay, look at any comic book or novel where two people are having a confrontation, staring each other right in the face, when one of them attacks. What does the other guy always say?

"I didn't realize he was that fast!"

That's what flat-footed before you act is. You weren't expecting the opponent to move so quickly.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
4e has rather toned it down though... it would seem that only rogues get combat advantage vs an opponent who hasn't gone yet, other characters don't.
The example combat you cited (sounds like a gladitorial match) probably should assume that both combatants are 'readied' before either combatant goes, and as a DM I'd probably enforce that. Say that both of them are in initiative and holding their actions until the fight actually starts.

That's exactly how I've always seen that type of combat. The fighter and the rogue have been acting, but due to the rules of the combat, they have been taking no actions to fight each other yet. The rogue would not get his combat advantage for being the first to attack, because the fighter has already acted, but has not attacked.
The example combat you cited (sounds like a gladitorial match) probably should assume that both combatants are 'readied' before either combatant goes, and as a DM I'd probably enforce that. Say that both of them are in initiative and holding their actions until the fight actually starts.

The flat-footed condition of 3rd edition and the First Strike ability of the 4th edition Rogue are both intended to simulate an encounter where a surprise round might occur and the combatants haven't been staring at each other for several rounds straight with the intent to kill.

That's my point! Flat footed needs to be used for surprise only. That is NOT what they are planning to do.
I'm rather intrigued by the possibilities of the "combat advantage" state. The rogue gets it against a flat-footed opponent, but other classes could get different benefits for different situations. For example, a mounted fighter and/or paladin could get combat advantage against any non-mounted opponent, or a barbarian could get combat advantage against any foe who caused him damage in the preceding round. I imagine arcane and divine classes could have some truly weird options with combat advantage...
I rather like the mechanic, although some tweaking could be needed, but not much. As for the fighter vs rogue issue, well, I may not be a battle hardened fighter, but I've been in enough fights to know that sometimes making the first move can be better and doesn't always start by who physically moves first.

If two combatants are standing at the ready and can clearly see each other, often or not it comes down to perception. The fighter may be a seasoned warrior, but if initiative represents both physical and mental readiness, then it could easily show the the fighter didn't anticipate the precise moment the rogue would act, which is a huge combat advantage. I think combat advantage is used to really let the rogue do what it does best, take even the smallest weakness, even when prepared, and exploit it to no end.

A good fighter knows to attack a rogue first and keep the pressure up, his martial prowess and survivability should keep him going, while not allowing a rogue time to observe or study. Every moment you spend watching an opponent, is a moment he is watching you as well.

Just my thoughts.

The fighter should be able to take the rogue by surprise just as easily if both are ready. If surprised, I can live with the rougue getting a bonus. Its still illogical, because a fighter would destroy somene they caught unprepared as well.
I will rephrase my point.

Flat footed type rules are ok with surprise.

Flatfooted is not logical when there is no surprise.

The start of a fight is not a logical time to allow flat footed UNLESS there is surprise.

Surprise is not AUTOMATIC every time any fight starts!

That is what they are doing in 4th, and it makes no sense.

Explain to me why a rogue, or anyone for that matter, should automaticly surprise every foe he fights regardless of how the fight starts every single time...but wait! even more illogical..only the first round! you forget how to do it after the fight starts!

It defies logic.


I would also debate that not knowing the precise moment your foe plans to attack is a 'huge combat advantage'.
Are you saying that after the first swing the combatants then DO know the precise moment of each attack to follow for the rest of the battle? I do not see the logic there.




The fighter should always have the advantage in a straight up fight.

The rogue should always have the advantage when he sneaks up and or takes his enemy by surprise.
Iaijitsu anyone?

You'll note that this isn't just a lame status effect anymore. This is an ability of the rogue class. If he is faster then you, he has advantage. Why? Because he's skilled at taking the advantage. And it doesn't matter how much you 'were totally ready for him.' Just like he doesn't get to auto dodge because he knows you're going to attack him with your weapon. You lost the roll which means you messed up.
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
The fighter should always have the advantage in a straight up fight.

No fight against a rogue is a straight up fight.
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
Iaijitsu anyone?

You'll note that this isn't just a lame status effect anymore. This is an ability of the rogue class. If he is faster then you, he has advantage. Why? Because he's skilled at taking the advantage. And it doesn't matter how much you 'were totally ready for him.' Just like he doesn't get to auto dodge because he knows you're going to attack him with your weapon. You lost the roll which means you messed up.

What are you talking about with 'auto dodge'? I dont follow that part. I am objecting to NON surprise sneak attacks when both combatants are ready to fight. I woul expect both foes attack and dodge normally, as there is no surprise. Why would anyone auto dodge?

I would reccomend that all combatants keep their weapons at the ready; it's not faster to attack from the sheathe. Thats funny!

Not to mention the Samarai were perhaps ...Fighters? must have been rogues.

Yup, people just stand there drooling, helpless waiting to be hit when ready for combat.
No fight against a rogue is a straight up fight.

I agree that the rogue may prefer it that way, but so would a fighter that is not 'chivilrous'

Many fighters would seek to end a fight quickly by surprising their enemy with a fast attack, wouldn't they?
I think you're missing the point here. Flat-footed don't make it in, combat advantage. Yes, the may behave almost identical, but it seems so far that combat advantage is rogue only, why else list it with the class and not in another section.

You're still applying 3rd ed mindset to 4th, all we can really do right now is look at it objectively as a stand alone setup.

As for samurai, well as far as I can tell, they were more like rogues tehn fighters in many aspects, but that's a whole new topic all together.

Acting first still makes a huge difference, getting hit right away actually hurst more then getting injured halfway into a fight. Your body is still colder, less flexible, and less reactive at first. Adrenaline may seem to work fast, still takes a bit of time and mental assessment before it gets all the way up.

Just being able to see and recognize your opponent doesn't mean squat. From roman gladiators to florentine fighting to samurai to most martial arts, all have many ways to catch your opponent off guard or "suprise" them even when they think they know what's going on.

You're lucky they don't let rogues have ways to keep combat advantage up every round just by default, becouse their are many martial arts out there that once they start, well....good luck.
What are you talking about with 'auto dodge'? I dont follow that part. I am objecting to NON surprise sneak attacks when both combatants are ready to fight. I woul expect both foes attack and dodge normally, as there is no surprise. Why would anyone auto dodge?

You character doesn't want to be hit right? Well that's too bad, because the opponent rolled higher then your AC.

Your character didn't want to be surprised right? Well that's too bad, because the Rogue rolled higher on his initiative.

I would reccomend that all combatants keep their weapons at the ready; it's not faster to attack from the sheathe. Thats funny!

Not to mention the Samarai were perhaps ...Fighters? must have been rogues.

Yup, people just stand there drooling, helpless waiting to be hit when ready for combat.

You missed the point.

The priciple of the iaijitsu duel is that both sides are aware of their opponent, planning to attack, and because they both have thier swords in their sheaths know the possible angles of attack.

And still it is possible to surprise your opponent with the angle, style or speed of your cut and win the duel. And you had better surprise your opponent, because if you don't he's going to counter cut and take off one of your arms.

Thus the entire premice that it's impossible to surprise an opponent who knows your there is flawed.

I agree that the rogue may prefer it that way, but so would a fighter that is not 'chivilrous'

Many fighters would seek to end a fight quickly by surprising their enemy with a fast attack, wouldn't they?

Yes sadly we have no idea if Fighters get a bonus like that, or perhaps some other ability to gain combat advantage.

You're lucky they don't let rogues have ways to keep combat advantage up every round just by default, becouse their are many martial arts out there that once they start, well....good luck.

Like say this. I could totally see Fighters getting combat advantage over anyone who they hit who hasn't hit them back. A steady stream of beatdown seems like the fighters thing. Or maybe they don't even need combat advantage to work you over. Who can say?
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
Explain to me why a rogue, or anyone for that matter, should automaticly surprise every foe he fights regardless of how the fight starts every single time...but wait! even more illogical..only the first round! you forget how to do it after the fight starts!

It defies logic.

You're missing quite a bit here. There is no "surprise" involved. If the Rogue goes before you, he gains combat advantage over you. This is a function of his Rogue training, specifically "First Strike". Combat advantage is not surprise and it is not a sneak attack. As a matter of fact, the only thing it does on it's own (if we extrapolate from DDM) is give you a +2 to hit.

However, when a Rogue has combat advantage over you, he can use his Sneak Attack ability. How does he gain combat advantage? By going first (First Strike), by getting behind you (Flanking), by being invisible (per DDM), by gacking you and circling in for the kill (Crimson Blade) and probably by other methods as well.

Other classes can also gain combat advantage, but we don't know what that does for them as of yet beyond the +2. Basically, a Rogue is trained to more fully utilize any openings he gets, and the ability to create an opening if he's quick enough "on the draw" (so to speak).
It is a simplified suprise round that works far better than any old version.

You act before they have a chance to. If you act then before they do you get advantages. After that they are fully operational. This opens options for ambushes that don't require annoying suprise/flat footed rules.

I don't see the problem with this rule and I am getting tired of BS complaining about rules and elements that are absolutely and clearly far better.
Crossbows grant first strike, according to Races & Classes. So PCs can carry loaded crossbows around and gain combat advantage against opponents yet to take their turn.

The ideal rogue combat involves two hits - they hit, then the opponent hits the floor. For that to happen, going first helps a great deal, as does getting a bonus when it occurs. Sometimes, PCs of other classes get first shot, but the rogue is the one who knows what to do with it.
The ideal rogue combat involves two hits - they hit the opponent, then the opponent hits the floor.

I like that

For that to happen, going first helps a great deal, as does getting a bonus when it occurs. Sometimes, PCs of other classes get first shot, but the rogue is the one who knows what to do with it.

Agreed.

For Fighters and such, the advantage of going first in a "stand-up" fight is that you get to take the first swing, and that's not an unsizable advantage, given the new "bloodied" mechanic. Hit hard enough before the other guy gets his shot, and he starts off at less than 1/2 hp, and . . . well, we don't know what bloodied does, but it's probably bad.

Rogues, on the other hand, sidle up to you looking like they're getting ready for a stand-up fight, then all of a sudden boom boom boom, you were looking at the sword in his right hand and you've got a dagger in your neck from the knife he was slipping into his left.

I'm sure there will also be rules for attacking people who have no idea that you are there, and that'll cover your "flat-footed" scenario. The Rogue power, on the other hand, is more of the, "You see me coming, but there's still nothing you can do about it" flavor.

I like it.
I think this was something that wasn't explained well in 3e, and hopefully will be explained better in 4e. The assumed typical start of a fight in 3e was not supposed to be "two people staring at each other with blades drawn". The typical, non-surprise round fight was supposed to start with essentially all parties involved "surprised": that's what flat-footed represented. It assumed you open the door to the next room, and you and the orcs both see each other and everyone involved is "surprised", with people becoming non-surprised when their initiative comes up. Remember, initiative does not start when all people involved declare "OK, let's start fighting now". You are supposed to roll initiative as soon as the two parties become aware of each other.

If you want to model a scenario where two people are staring at each other with blades drawn before a fight, you should have rolled initiative a long time ago: as soon as one of them saw the other one. Then, they each have been spending the last X number of rounds "delaying". Neither of them is flat-footed anymore. 3e was never too clear on how to represent certain things, but going from a conversation or other situation where everyone is "aware" into a combat should probably depend on what the scene was like before initiative is rolled. If it's a tense shouting match where everyone has their weapons out and is at the ready, I'd make everyone roll initiative, assume that no one is flat-footed. I'd basically be retroactively saying the combat already started, and so far everyone has been spending their actions yelling at each other. If it's a friendly conversation and one person suddenly pulls out a knife and stabs another person, I'd either give the sudden knifer a surprise round with everyone flat-footed as they fumble for their weapons, or roll initiative for everyone and just give the knifer automatic highest initiative count.

4e's got new rules and we don't know for sure how initiative works, but I definitely think they should explain how to run different combat start scenarios, since the misunderstanding of initiative and surprise is very common in 3e.
I agree that the rogue may prefer it that way, but so would a fighter that is not 'chivilrous'

Many fighters would seek to end a fight quickly by surprising their enemy with a fast attack, wouldn't they?

Yes, they would. That's why they roll for Initiative... ;)
I am very dissapointed to see such a bad game mechanic survive into 4th edition.

Well, does anyone know for sure if its going to work exactly the same way in 4th as it does in 3rd?

You made many a valid point about the currently existing form of the rule but something tells me there will be some changes as it jumps to the next edition.
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I've done enough of standing around with my sword drawn aware of my opponent to know that making the first move has a substantial impact on that move's efficaciousness. It sets up the sequence of the combat.

Though fencing may not be an exact simulation of medieval fantasy combat, the tenet probably holds true.
My point here is not that I like fighters better than rogues.
I just never thought the flat footed rules made any logical sense.
I am very dissapointed to see such a bad game mechanic survive into 4th edition.

Have you ever watched two martial artists? Or even two boxers? Both fighters were aware of each others presence. Both had their guards up, and were "ready". Yet more than once, one of the other managed to catch the other one of guard by attacking a split second before the other.

The flat-footed rules make sense, in my opinion. *Shrugs.*
Combat Advantage is not just Flat-footed.

Combat Advantage can be (but is in no way limited to); Tunnel vision, Flat-footed, Distracted, Luck, Knowing how to slip a blade under a berk's shield, etc.

An encounter starts when the combatants become aware of their foes. If they becomes aware of their foes becuase they are introduces and are told to bump knuckles and wait for the bell the have both already acted that encounter and First Strike is nullified.
Have to side with the "it makes sense" school sadly. I might not be very professional, but speaking from fencing experience? Attacking first can cause a serious advantage. You become the leader of the fight.

This is a huge deal. You get control of the pace and tempo. You limit your opponent's options.

Think of it this way. By attacking first, even if you both knew you were going to be fighting, you've forced your opponent to play by your rules. His options have become limited by sheer virtue of you striking first: whereas earlier he had the option to do whatever, now he is forced to deal with your attack before he can change the tempo back in his favor.

The Rogue? He's good at taking advantage of this. By forcing his opponent to become reactionary, he gains combat advantage and is able to seize further advantage to deliver with his sneak attacks.
It is a simplified suprise round that works far better than any old version.

You act before they have a chance to. If you act then before they do you get advantages. After that they are fully operational. This opens options for ambushes that don't require annoying suprise/flat footed rules.

I don't see the problem with this rule and I am getting tired of BS complaining about rules and elements that are absolutely and clearly far better.

That is your right. Fortunately I do not have to share your opinion about what is 'clearly far better'

Of course, it is common to call any opinion other than your own 'BS'

I will continue to question anything that seems off to me, and I welcome any debate. I admit I am opionated, but I would prefer to debate with you than trade insults.
Have to side with the "it makes sense" school sadly. I might not be very professional, but speaking from fencing experience? Attacking first can cause a serious advantage. You become the leader of the fight.

This is a huge deal. You get control of the pace and tempo. You limit your opponent's options.

Think of it this way. By attacking first, even if you both knew you were going to be fighting, you've forced your opponent to play by your rules. His options have become limited by sheer virtue of you striking first: whereas earlier he had the option to do whatever, now he is forced to deal with your attack before he can change the tempo back in his favor.

The Rogue? He's good at taking advantage of this. By forcing his opponent to become reactionary, he gains combat advantage and is able to seize further advantage to deliver with his sneak attacks.

A good argument for the sneak attack...but...It seems wrong to me that a fighter would not be even better at that than a rogue, or at least equal. A warrior that is a master fencer can't control a fight???

As a fencer, you can tell me this: Every time you fought, the person that attacked first got a 'combat advantage' ? The early attack is never a mistake that opens you up to a counter? I do not know how to fence, so you can educate me on this. So were the fencers, and yourself 'Fighters' or 'Rogues' ?

wouldn't someone who is very fast naturally get that advantage? how does a 'slow' rogue manage his quick attack?

I just have issues with NON SURPRISE flatfoot rules.
No one ever said the rogue was better then the fighter overall. If the fighter goes first he would have the advantage, but most likely his rules are going to function differently. A tactical fighter is more about the control and pace of a fight, limitinting movement and such.

A rogue is just more adept at making sneak attacks at vital areas when ever he has the advantage. If the fighter goes first, the rogue is now at a disadvantage because he can sneak attack and deal more damage. Rogues like quicker fights because drawn out battles are left to fighters with the higher HP and stuff.

So, both sides can get the advantage, what they can do with it mechanically is going to be vastly different.

No one ever said the fighter coulnd't do it, but we only know the rogue side of the rules and you're still theorycrafting with only partial information.
No one ever said the rogue was better then the fighter overall. If the fighter goes first he would have the advantage, but most likely his rules are going to function differently. A tactical fighter is more about the control and pace of a fight, limitinting movement and such.

A rogue is just more adept at making sneak attacks at vital areas when ever he has the advantage. If the fighter goes first, the rogue is now at a disadvantage because he can sneak attack and deal more damage. Rogues like quicker fights because drawn out battles are left to fighters with the higher HP and stuff.

So, both sides can get the advantage, what they can do with it mechanically is going to be vastly different.

No one ever said the fighter coulnd't do it, but we only know the rogue side of the rules and you're still theorycrafting with only partial information.

Not that I think there's a problem with the rules, but I should point out that only Rogues get combat advantage for going first. (Well, others might, but they would require their own special ability).

That said, to Bill4747, don't think of it as surprise. Think of it as reinforcing the Rogue's "hit 'em hard and fast" theme. And don't get caught up on the names. In combat, a Fighter and Rogue are both "people who fight", so the "shouldn't the Fighter have the same or better advantages in combat than a mere Rogue" argument isn't useful.

The above doesn't quote you, of course, it's my interpretation of some of what you've said.
Yeah, basically flat footed only applies on the first round the two sides notice each other. Even if the other sides do stuff other than attacking, then the flatfooted restriction is over as both sides are still aware.

The main problem I've always had with flat-footed isn't the initial awareness, but rather the adjudication of in combat or after. That is, how long do you have to disappear to once again force flat footed status on a target. Say you round a corner and gain total cover, then ready an action to stab an enemy who comes around the corner. Is this enemy still flat-footed even if he was aware of you earlier? How much time must pass?
*snip*

What he said. No one is saying that the rogue will kick the fighter's ass anytime, anyplace, with one hand tied behind his back (though if he uses a single-hand weapon, that might make for a funny fight).

All we're saying is that if a rogue is faster than the fighter, even if the fight was expected to happen, he'll manage to stick his puny little dagger in a place that really, really hurts.

OR, seeing as HP isn't just about physical damage, the rogue will attack so fast that the fighter will have to make a clumsy parry, or stumble backwards, or something like that, and his resolve to fight will be shattered (losing "mental" HP, so to speak).

Anyways, that won't always happen, since the fighter could win Initiative. Then, even if he delays ("I'm going to wait for the rogue to attack, so I don't have to move and can then use my killer ability that requires me to stand still"), the rogue won't get Combat Advantage, since he has already "acted" (even if his action was a "non-action").
Think about it this way: the fighter who rolls better on initiative already has the advantage. HE GETS TO GO FIRST. That means that if he gets in a solid hit, there's a good chance that his enemy is going to be bloodied, or down, or in any case has lost hit points and is starting off at a disadvantage. The Rogue gets an extra advantage because he's had practice in stabbing people by surprise.
An example combat, based on what I've learned about 4E:

Round 1
Party A ambushed Party B. Party A has combat advantage because Party B is surprised. Rogue A can sneak attack.

Round 2
Party B rolls initiative. Only Rogue B beat Rogue A's init, so Rogue A only has combat advantage from First Strike against Party B's other members, and can thus sneak attack Fighter B, Cleric B, or Wizard B, but not Rogue B. Rogue B doesn't get combat advantage from First Strike because all members of Party A have already acted.

My point? First Strike =! surprise.
An example combat, based on what I've learned about 4E:

Round 1
Party A ambushed Party B. Party A has combat advantage because Party B is surprised. Rogue A can sneak attack.

Round 2
Party B rolls initiative. Only Rogue B beat Rogue A's init, so Rogue A only has combat advantage from First Strike against Party B's other members, and can thus sneak attack Fighter B, Cleric B, or Wizard B, but not Rogue B. Rogue B doesn't get combat advantage from First Strike because all members of Party A have already acted.

My point? First Strike =! surprise.

Yeah, that sounds just about right, from what I understood of the rules.
Yeah, basically flat footed only applies on the first round the two sides notice each other. Even if the other sides do stuff other than attacking, then the flatfooted restriction is over as both sides are still aware.

The main problem I've always had with flat-footed isn't the initial awareness, but rather the adjudication of in combat or after. That is, how long do you have to disappear to once again force flat footed status on a target. Say you round a corner and gain total cover, then ready an action to stab an enemy who comes around the corner. Is this enemy still flat-footed even if he was aware of you earlier? How much time must pass?

I think this is probably pretty simple. If you roll initiative again, he can do it again. When do you roll initiative again? I don't know. That's a different issue.

Although, in your example of hiding around the corner and stabbing the enemy, if we extrapolate from DDM, hiding (successfully) counts as "invisibility" which grants combat advantage which allows sneak attacks.
'Flat footed' is great for full surprise scenarios, but terrible for a non-surprise fight.

Two warriors are facing off, and will engage in a sword fight to the death.
Both are well trained in fencing and have seen countless bloody battles.
One is a 'Fighter' and one is a 'Rogue'

When the battle begins, with both combatants standing with drawn blades, ready to skewer each other...The rogue somehow 'sneak attacks' the fighter.
Why? because the fighter has not acted yet. That seems quite illogical to me.

It seems all non rogue characters have brain damage, and must stand still with drool hanging from their mouths until the rogue impales them to wake them up.

Now, if the battle started with the fighter unaware of the rogue, or if he was not prepared for battle, it might make sense for a rogue to get in a cheap shot, if that's what rogues are good at. Still silly, because fighters certainly would know how to get in cheap shots as well.

My point here is not that I like fighters better than rogues.
I just never thought the flat footed rules made any logical sense.
I am very dissapointed to see such a bad game mechanic survive into 4th edition.

Not sure if anyone is even still interested in this thread but here is some info:

Alertness
• Tier: Heroic
• Benefit: You don’t grant enemies combat advantage in surprise rounds. You also gain a +2 feat bonus to Perception checks

This was posted somewhere as 1 of the 4th edition feats. It looks like there is a suprise round, and it looks like this feat counters the rogues ability to gain combat advantage from it (though he still gets to strike first). Do what you will with this info.
Flat-footed in a duel scenario would mean that in your duel weapons are not drawn.

In that case, the Rogue rushes in and strikes at a soft spot on the fighter just as the fighter is beginning to draw his weapon.

If weapons are already drawn and the two combatents are aware of each other, then neither is flat-footed by the rules themselves.

Your scenario doesn't prove your point.

If two combatants are standing at the ready and can clearly see each other, often or not it comes down to perception. The fighter may be a seasoned warrior, but if initiative represents both physical and mental readiness, then it could easily show the the fighter didn't anticipate the precise moment the rogue would act, which is a huge combat advantage.

Boy, he's not much of a seasoned fighter. If anything, it should be the fighter who gets sneak attack catching other 'unseasoned' sods unawares. In any 1v1 battle a fighter even of half the rogue's level should mop the floor with a rogue. Period. What your describing is like saying Conan gets taken for a cheap shot by the court dandy. More often than not it wouldn't really be the fighter saying 'I didn't know he was that fast', it would be the rogue saying 'I never saw...someone parry so fast...he moved like lightni-*urk!'
Boy, he's not much of a seasoned fighter. If anything, it should be the fighter who gets sneak attack catching other 'unseasoned' sods unawares. In any 1v1 battle a fighter even of half the rogue's level should mop the floor with a rogue. Period. What your describing is like saying Conan gets taken for a cheap shot by the court dandy. More often than not it wouldn't really be the fighter saying 'I didn't know he was that fast', it would be the rogue saying 'I never saw...someone parry so fast...he moved like lightni-*urk!'

Since Conan is a higher level, he would (presumably) get a bonus (1/2 level) to initiative. Thus, when this low-level would-be assassin strikes, he actually wins initiative, and is not flat-footed. Plus, while there's no guarantee of this in 4e, remember than Uncanny Dodge did seem to represent what you mentioned in that example.
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