Feb 13, 2013

Circling in Combat Houserule

So my group has recently voiced some complaints about flanking and attacks from behind in combat.

The argument goes something like this:
It is unreasonable that combat should turn into a contest of running around a person's back for a bonus and then him doing the same spinning off ad infinitum, where in reality one should reasonably be able to turn with his opponent, if any opponent would even attempt this.

While I believe that back attack and flanking bonuses are important for the level of depth they add in strategic movement, and such attempts are not unknown in real combat, as in the fencing move the "fleche", wherein a fencer attempts a running strike to catch an opponent unawares and strike the ill-guarded side or back in passing.
There are unfortunately few good pictures.
I do however concede that it is more likely in single combat for a fighter to be able to turn with his opponent. In all the time I fenced, I never used the fleche and rarely saw it meet success, perhaps represented in DnD with chances equal to a normal attack.
So I've devised the following rule, with efficacy to be tested at this week's game:

The Combat Circling Rule
 In a combat encounter, when a player has attempted to strike a given opponent, he may, in that opponent's next attack phase, choose to turn with the opponent's movement so as to keep his back turned away, if he is capable of such movement.
This action may also be taken by a player who has not attacked at all in his most recent attack phase, granted the opponent he turns to face has been within the line of sight established at the end of the player's most recent turn.
I reason that this rule is justifiable because it adds its own layer of strategy in the option to attempt to make an opponent turn his back to other attacking players, or away from other events, as this rule will obviously also apply to non-players.

My example of combat maneuvering brings to mind another possibility: that of a Fleche attack as a combat maneuver, akin to grappling, disarming, or more nearly the charge.
The Idea:
A fleche attack that works similarly to a charge. You may circle around your opponent without the opponent being able to turn, and thus receive your back attack bonus, but at the charge's cost of -4 AC for one round, and also, because in theory you have run past/through your opponent's space, your back is turned as well.
There could maybe be a DEX check for the speed to do this? Though that seems to heap more reasons not to do it on top of the existing penalty, so I think I'll leave that out.

The Rule is a rule, the Fleche attack is just an idea at the moment, so I would like to hear any opinions about either.

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