View Full Version : Flanking and Types (3.5)

2010-03-24, 08:57 AM
I recently noticed that Elementals, Oozes, and Swarms all have, "Not subject to Critical Hits or Flanking," in their Type (subtype in the case of Swarms) description. Now, immunity to critical hits I understand. But flanking?

The way I understand it, the flanking bonus (+2 to attack) is meant to represent the difficulty that creatures have defending themselves from attackers surrounding it. It's just harder to defend when one person's attacking you from the front and the other is attacking from behind.

So what gives here? The Rogue's Sneak Attack ability is turned off whenever the target is immune to critical hits, so it's not that. I can understand that oozes or swarms might not be taking any particular defensive actions on any front, so it might not be particularly easier to hit them no matter how many people are surrounding it. But then what about Elementals? Why would (for example) a Thoqqua or a Belker not be easier to hit when it's surrounded? Or is this just an odd carry-over from previous editions?

2010-03-24, 09:01 AM
The flanking bonus is, in my eyes, mainly an issue of "You can't look left and right at the same time" - you cannot react to two attackers at the same time. Oozes and such, however, have omnidirectional senses - they have none of the forward facing eyes that humanoids do. Due to this, they can sense in any direction, and are equally able to sense both sides of a flanking pair of characters.

2010-03-24, 09:11 AM
Creatures with "universal vision" (or some reasonable equivalent) are usually immune to flanking.

Elementals and oozes do not have any discernable anatomy that could be identified as "sensory organs", thus they see with their entire body. Their bodies also tend to be amorphous, so they can form an appendage and attack in any conceivable direction without having to worry about issues with anotomical physiology.

2010-03-24, 09:18 AM
For the standard "elemental" foe, I can understand that. For monsters that have the Elemental type but clearly have eyes, like Belkers and Magmins, it kind of breaks down for me. Are the eyes just decoration?