Content of the article: "5e Flanking House Rule Concept"
I am looking at implementing a new house rule for flanking in DnD 5e which is a variation on the optional rule given on page 251 of the DM's guide. The mechanics would work something like this (when using squares):
"If two enemies occupy squares that are adjacent to and on opposite sides of a creature, and those two enemies are not within the reach of another creature that is hostile to them, that creature is flanked. While a creature is flanked, enemies that make melee attacks against them gain advantage on their attack rolls unless the flanked creature is focusing on them or they are within reach of another creature that is hostile to them.
When a creature becomes flanked, they immediately nominate one enemy to focus on. That enemy does not gain flanking advantage on their attack rolls against the flanked creature. Once per turn on their turn, the flanked creature may nominate a new enemy to focus on as a free action. If a nominated enemy becomes incapacitated or moves away from the flanked creature, the flanked creature may immediately nominate a new enemy to focus on as a free action."
It sounds a bit complicated but I think it could work well. It means that in the situation that there is a 1 vs 2 melee and the 1 is flanked, only one of the flankers gains advantage on their attack rolls. This simulates that the flanked creature is devoting more of their attention to one of the attackers over the other. On the game board, the nominated enemy could be denoted by facing the flanked creature's miniature towards that enemy.
In a 2 vs 2, flanking will generally be negated. Similarly, in larger combats, many of the flanking advantages will tend to be negated which would help to simplify the combat.
In combats where the party is fighting a single monster, they may be able to surround it and hence have multiple party members gain advantage on their attacks. However, assuming that at least one or two of the party members are ranged attackers/spellcasters, generally only one or two of party members will gain the flanking benefits. Also, the flanked creature will tend to focus on the most threatening members of the party such as the fighters/barbarians/paladins etc so it will still be necessary for those party members to make use of their special abilities that allow them to gain advantage.
On the flip side, if there are a large number of weak enemies they can become a much bigger threat when flanking comes in to play.
I'm interested to hear what people's thoughts are on this concept.
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