5' Step and AoA - AE does not clarify!

Horishijin

Mongoose
I know that this topic has been kicked around like a football, but I just got the Atlantean Edition today (and it arrived very safely packaged, with no damage, thank you very much!) and this was the first topic I looked to for clarification. However, the rule does not seem to match the example.

Rule: (162 AE) "Taking a 5-foot step does not provoke an attack of opportunity unless it is combined with another action in the which does.

Similar wording is found on page 152.

The example at the top of the page shows Valeria taking 5-foot step, thereby leaving a square threatened by a pict. She then fires her bow in the same round. The caption reads that "Both Valeria and Conan (who is performing an entirely different action) use 5-foot steps to avoid attacks of opportunity."

However, the table on page 155 states that making a ranged attack provokes an attack of opportunity.

Clearly, the example is combining a 5-foot step from a threatened square with an action which provokes an attack of opportunity. Please explain what 5-foot step provokes an atack of opportunity if this does not?

She 5' steps out of the square. She's then safe to shoot.

If she were trying to shoot next to the Pict, it would generate an AOO, but she 5' steps away.

Sutek said:
She 5' steps out of the square. She's then safe to shoot.

If she were trying to shoot next to the Pict, it would generate an AOO, but she 5' steps away.

And how is that not combining a 5-foot step with a action which otherwise would provoke an attack of opportunity?

Horishijin, I see your point. The book is clearly ambiguous. For my part, I'm going to follow the SRD. IE: taking a 5' step (adjust) is always *safe*.

The one way I can see this rule working is as follows:

As you have 2 actions in a round, you can take a 5 ft. step as your move action, then fire a single bow shot as your standard action. This would not provoke an AoO.

However, if you take a 5 ft. step as part of a full attack action (i.e. firing multiple shots), you provoke the AoO.

Opinions?

Opinions?

Just what we don't need -- another perfectly legitimate interpretation to consider. :?

Sorry :?

I think we need a Bob ruling on this one to sort it out...

Here's some examples, and keep in mind that it'll be a little tough to explain without drawings, but try to bear with me here.

1. Two combatants, not adjacent, one armed, one not armed. The unarmed combatant takes a 5 ft step and attempts to punch the armed combatant which provokes an Attack of Opportunity. The Step does not, but the punch does, so the AOO is provoked.
2. Two combatants, not adjacent, one armed, one not armed ... yet. The unarmed combatant takes a 5 ft step and draws a sword. The Step does not provoke and nieither does drawing a weapon. No AOO.
3. Two combatants, adjacent, one armed, one not armed ... yet. The unarmed combatant takes a 5 ft step away from the other combatant and draws a sword. The Step does not provoke and nieither does drawing a weapon. No AOO.
4. Two combatants, adjacent, one armed with a sword, one armed with a loaded cross bow. The x-bow armed combatant takes a 5 ft step away from the other combatant and shoots. The Step does not provoke and because the shooting attack takes place in a now non-threatened space, No AOO is provoked.
5. Three combatants, adjacent, A and B armed with a sword, C armed with a loaded cross bow. The x-bow armed combatant (C) takes a 5 ft step away from combatant A such that she is no longer in one of A's threatened squares, but unfortunately she is only able to do this by moving into one of B's threatened squares. This 5 ft step in and of itself provokes no AOO, but she now decides to shoot her x-bow at A, provoking an AOO from B in the process. The Step does not provoke and because the shooting attack takes place in one of A's non-threatened spaces, No AOO is provoked from A.

Is that more clear?

spydacarnage said:
The one way I can see this rule working is as follows:

As you have 2 actions in a round, you can take a 5 ft. step as your move action, then fire a single bow shot as your standard action. This would not provoke an AoO.

However, if you take a 5 ft. step as part of a full attack action (i.e. firing multiple shots), you provoke the AoO.

Opinions?

It also makes more of a difference if there's more opponents around too, but essentially that's the gist, spydacarnage.

However, there are things, like drawing a weapon, that can be part of a 5ft step and not have it provoke, while multiple opponents can cause otherwise safe steps to suddenly provoke rather than not. It all depends on what's going on in the grid.

This is one reason I was a little shocked that Reach Weapons don't exist in Conan. I mean, pole arms are there, but there's no rules for Reach. This is the lynch pin of defeating the high AC (or DV in Conan) character that goes Full Defense and 5 ft steps right through a line of spearmen. I suppose it's a cinematic approach that the creators of ConanRPG were going for, but being able to have zones of threat beyond the first 5 feet changes the 5 ft step and how AOOs play a role in tactical combat drastically.

As an aside, the equipment section says there's different sizes of weapons, but then the charts don't list it.

That depends...

As far as I can see from your description, the 5 ft. step is never provoking the AoO, just the action (that would normally provoke an AoO anyway).

The way the rule is written, the 5 ft. step provokes the AoO, not the action.

It's meant, I belive, to clarify that even though one rule says "never provokes", in fact that is not the case if the action provokes. The 5 ft move never provokes, but an action that provokes, when combined with the 5 ft move or not, does provoke and that overrides the "never" as stated in the 5ft rules.

I always thought the rule was there to stop an archer from taking a 5 ft. step away from his enemy and unleashing a full attack of arrows, something that could never realistically be done.

In actuality, if an archer tried that, the warrior would follow with him, but the d20 combat system doesn't allow that due to "turns". This rule brings back a small semblence of reality to d20 combat...

Well, first of all, you gotta think of the Initiative count as all being simultaneous in real life, but just subdivided down for our gaming purposes. I like inverted INIT, low goes first, because it allows the faster INIT characters to "react". To do that though, you have to do all MoveEq actions first, then do Standards (or vice versa). You can't allow each individual both actions each INT. But anyway, that's a tangent.

The real issue is shooting an arrow that close. It's not practical and would probably not have ever happened because the archer would have taken that snap shot as the opponent closed. That's my beef. However, the slower act of spell casting needs for the 5ft safe step to exist and I think that's largely why it was invented. It both alows a caster a way out and that's crucial in D&D because they are typically so weak.

Bearing that in mind though, "point blank range" for shooting is there and is a valid option. 0'-30' range is a bit generous because reaction time becomes increasingly impared. I could see an archer that has INIT over the adjacent potential target easily making a 5' step and shooting, whereas if the target had INIT, he goes first and can get an AOO when she tries to make the move. However, that's also why an AOO is not provoked on a Withdraw (double move, directly away). It's intended to get lots of distance between you and your foe - perfect for an archer trying to set up a shot. A standard move away provokes, and a 5ft does not.

I could see instituting a -2 proximity penalty for each 10 feet under 30 to simulate the hectic nature of close combat and trying to shoot while in that fray. In other words, an enemy 5' away would cause an archer to suffer a -6 to hit (being within the third 10' increment of the 30' PB range). Simply agreeing that shooting whil ein close combat always provokes is another solution. However, and this is the main thing, Attacks of Opportunity are provoked while in melee with an ememy and that means that you are in one of thier threatened squares. If you aren't, no AOO can be provoked. That's in the first sentance of the AOO rules and I think the backbone of AOOs in general.[/i][/b]

Sutek: Your examples all agree exactly with the SRD, D&D 3.0 and D&D 3.5. These sources, however, differ from the description of a 5' step as quoted initially in this thread.

If your interpretations are correct, why is the 5' step worded differently, and -- most importantly -- more abstractly in Conan? This difference in wording implies strongly a difference in intent. Yet, that actual intent is less than clear. Your examples agree with the example given in this thread from AE Conan, but not with the 5' step's actual wording as quoted above.

Page 162 of the non-AE book:

1. collumn 2, paragraph 1:
"...a Games Master can shoose to treat attacks of opportunity […] as an optional rule." This should be step one: do you want to use them or not and under what conditions.
2. Threatened Squares, first sentance:
"You threaten all sqaures into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your action." So by definition, taking a 5th step the way the illustration in question says it happens puts Valeria out of melee range.
3. Provoking an dAttack of Opportunity, Performing a Distracting Action:
"Some actions, when performed in a threatened square, provoke [AoOs]." Note that AoOs are stated again as only being provoked from within a "threatened square". This is key.

All this makes the 5ft move into a non-threatened square a "safe step". A ranges attack from a threatened square provokes, by the 5ft step eleminates that occuring in the example given concerning Valeria. Keep in mind that the 5ft step rules states that Taking a 5-foot step does not provoke an attack of opportunity unless it is combined with another action in the which does. This, paired with the normal AoO rules means that any action that might provoke still does so only if in a threatened square.

For reference, the rule in question (and, hopefully, the grammatical error was the original posters):
Taking a 5-foot step does not provoke an attack of opportunity unless it is combined with another action in the which does.

All this makes the 5ft move into a non-threatened square a "safe step".

Perhaps. But the rule certainly doesn't make that clear. In fact, that is in direct contrast to normal movement rules, where it doesn't matter where you move to, only where from. Where do you get the idea that it is safe into a non-threatened square, but not otherwise?

More importantly, if your interpretation is correct, Sutek, why does the rule even include references to combining the Step with an action that attracts AoOs? By doing so, two things are being implied:

1. This is an unusual circumstance. An armed melee attack action does not attract an AoO. The rules don't bother to mention that an armed melee action will attract an AoO if combined with an action that does (eg, drink a potion and attack). The same is true of virtually every other action that doesn't normally attract AoOs. No specific mention is made of combining them with AoO attracting actions. So, the very strong implication, as mentioned, is that this is a different circumstance, yet your ruling means the 5' step, quite simply, does not attract an AoO (which could be expressed much more simply by stating "A 5' Step never attracts an AoO, although actions combined with it may attract AoOs in the normal fashion).

2. Normal movement is an exception to what I mention in point one -- there is a reference to combining the move with other actions for the purposes of AoOs. Movement out of a threatened square, combined with another action, will attract an AoO. This rule is the one most similar to the AoO ruling as written. Thus, it seems a good bet that the intent is similar. Move 20', fire a bow in an unthreatened square, attract an AoO for combining movement with bow fire. 5' step to an unthreatened square, fire bow, attract AoO.

You may well be right Sutek, but I don't think the rules themselves are remotely clear enough to back you up comprehensively.

Oh, and this doesn't support your argument:

Threatened Squares, first sentance:
"You threaten all sqaures into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your action."

So by definition, taking a 5th step the way the illustration in question says it happens puts Valeria out of melee range.

Any movement out of a threatened square attracts an AoO by default. The only reason the 5' Step does not as written in the SRD is because it is given a clear and explicit exemption. It is my understanding that the rules regarding normal movement and AoOs in Conan are straight from the SRD. Thus, short of an equivalent exemption for the 5' Step in Conan, stepping out of a threatened square and then doing something will attract an AoO.

Unfortunately, the exemption that we have is the ambiguous one we are now discussing.

Firstly I should say that I don't have AE yet, so my answer comes from 1st ed, but I think it's such a simple point that it surely wouldn't need amending. Obviously I haven't seen the Valeria example, but it has been well set out, and it can be explained with 1st ed.

Nowhere that I can find does it say that a standard action can be combined with a 5' step. This is a very important distinction. I think that is a mistake you are all making.

5' steps can only be combined with an action when you take a full round action, or exchange your move action for a move-equivalent action, thereby leaving you with no movement in the round. Or just if you don't take any movement.
What Valeria seems to be doing is taking a 5'step (not combined with anything, just a 'no-action' from the table on page 165) to avoid an AoO.
If she'd used a move action to move 5', she would attract an AoO, if she withdrew she wouldn't have an action left to shoot.
She then uses a standard action to shoot from a non-threatened square.

If she had taken a full attack, she would not have a move action, but could combine it with a 5' step, which would then attract an AoO.

In combat you can make a move action and a standard action. If you forego all movement, you can make a 5' step. This does not provoke an AoO. Then for your standard action (now that you are not in a threatened square) you can fire a standard shot without attracting an AoO.
Because this 5' step is not combined with the standard action (you can't), it won't attract an AoO.

On p.162 the paragraph under Provoking an AoO states that you can avoid an AoO with a 5'step if no other action is taken. This is in the Moving paragraph rather than the Performing a Distracting Act paragraph, so I believe it only applies to Move-equivalent actions, as these can be combined with a 5' step. It can't apply to standard actions as they cannot be combined with a 5' step.
The if no other action is taken must mean in that action, which is the move action.

I hope I've made my thoughts clear and that I haven't missed something, I'm sure you'll let me know if I haven't, but I think it is the term combined that is causing the confusion.

Ralph

Wow. That one comes out of left field.

And might have merit. Short of having an actual rulebook myself, I won't weigh in on this one, as it's starting to get a little too specific. On the surface though, after some thought (which was initially incredulous), I can see why you might have a damn fine point.

Thank you Sable. It was kind of hard to put into words, but thankfully it seems to have come across.
To be more succinct, combined doesn't mean 'during the same round', but 'as part of the same action'.
Ralph

Ralph said:
If she had taken a full attack, she would not have a move action, but could combine it with a 5' step, which would then attract an AoO.

This might very well be the case. If this really is a rule which is distinct from standard d20/3.5 rules, they should have given an example which showed the 5-foot step provoking and AoO when it would not have done so in the standard rules.

In fact, if this is the proper interpretation, this could be hugely clarified if they had simply added these words to their example diagram: "However, if Valeria makes a full-attack action and fires two arrows, this would provoke an attack of opportunity."

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