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According to the AcrobaticsDDI skill you can use an Acrobatic Stunt to "somersault over an opponent", amongst other things . It gives a base DC of 15, and "the DM sets the DC based on the complexity of the stunt and the danger of the situation."

Rather than using a static DC for all opponents, I am thinking of using the enemy's reflex defense as the DC. Would this be a balanced DC that scales appropriately as the PCs and enemies level up? If not, what would be a better value to use?

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4 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

This is of the Acrobatics skill is now a hard DC check by rule thanks to errata. I believe this originated with the Rules Compendium.

The listing in DDI has also been updated:

Improvising with Acrobatics

  • Slide down a staircase on a shield while standing (hard DC)
  • Somersault over a creature of the same size (hard DC)
  • Swing from a chandelier (moderate DC)
  • Impress onlookers with an acrobatic performance (moderate DC)

Note that the creature now has to be the same size, leaving open the question of how to handle a larger oppenent. If it is a humanoid shaped creature I'd probably allow a check based on the hard DC to scoot between/around its legs. With something like a Gelatinous Cube, the check would be a bit more difficult :)

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The best value to use is the difficulty chart (updated again and again... recent link) with a moderate or hard roll, depending on number of monsters around.

Mathematically speaking, Monsters will have Level+12 or so in defenses versus Stat+half-level for skills. You'd be disproportionately biasing against higher level monsters. The published (newest) skill DCs take normal skill growth into account. Rules-wise, treat it like a shift 2 (on successful roll) or move 2 (on failed roll) through the monster (which there are some at-wills for, so it's fairly balanced) for purposes of monster traits that can counter.

I think moderate is fair considering the risk of quite a few opportunity attacks. If you make it a failed roll generates OA with combat advantage targeted in the monster's square it creates a "risky move with good payoff."

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RE: okeefe's comment on OA, you do call it a shift rather than a move, which would not give an OA. You could edit to change Shift 2 to Move 2 if you want to indicate that enemies do get OAs. –  shimonyk Oct 19 '10 at 13:32
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You could use Sudden Leap[DDI] as a baseline.

Sudden Leap is a level 6 skill utility power from PHb3 (page 166) that allows you to jump to any adjacent square of a creature (without provoking) with an Athletics check whose DC is based on the creature's size. The DC starts at 15 for small/medium creatures and increases by 5 for each size above that.

To avoid stepping on the power's effects you could rule that the DC for the Acrobatics check is 5 higher than the equivalent DC for the Athletics check required by the power (so it would start at 20 for small/medium creatures) and that a failed check still moves you to your target square but leaves you prone and provokes an OA as normal.

This makes it a high reward/high risk type of skill usage. If you succeed you can move around a large/huge/gargantuan creature in ways that weren't easily possible before but you risk provoking an OA and end your turn prone, which may not be the best idea in case of lurkers or brutes.

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Sigh! PLAYERS! USE Combat item TRICKS, Trips, Line of sight Obstruction or melee Feints (If In 4e) first to reduce Chances of any OA Melee hit!, then try next round your Acrobatic "Glory movement" Trick.

Forward momentum and natural Size mobility class change effect to your own body to small size. Dive forward, The "Tuck and Roll" on the floor under their or around there legs (be it between or on the outside of their legs, Ascetic's of story telling for movement) Action Example: A Highway motor cycle Cuts the Yellow line between 2 cars or semi-trucks. Same concept basics.

OR Use your stationary "jump/'sault" momentum to "CART-Wheel" Over their Lowered Weapon, or the side farthest from, as a pass thru Square acrobatics. I suggest Anything 4e Legal, to lower their Hit chances and likely OA odds. Kicks (armed generic OA's) from an adjacent foe means a balance fail & down on hands/back prone.

Contrast AN Effect Equal to this likely Is Acrobatic also do to Spinning Dizziness Factors & (lack of)resistances: A Monks "slide of" Block, spin step forward, Block, spin stride move through their hex/square by Close-est of Close-Combat into their standing body space (stepping behind their forwarded leg with his own ect.) to arrive behind them or THE leg grapple at Hips-jump and bend sliding between obstacles legs arch. Or acrobatic hands dive past obsticals side and low hand-stand kick into roll unto non-prone footing.

Somersault Requires Strong up-jump momentum + Acrobatics skills to Execute. Action implies a Top Over jump-Dive while Executing one forward head-over legs flip stick the landing behind the foe for a "pass-thru". I'd rather not fall from Height (at perhaps half dmg for 5-6 foot falls) and get multi OA hit while flat-back & winded this and next round.

Edit-addon AN OVER THE TOP OF AN OBSTACLE"S SOMERSAULT A Jump utilizing LEVER Physics as one prime part of success, including both hands (or 1 or more sword held fists knuckles down, or 2 empty Hands) on the "Obstacle's/Foe's" TOP Parts or Shoulders AS a SHOULDER-to-Arms from Hands LEVER action (touch attack) required to add lift, Push Acrobat's HEAD/BODY past obstacle adding push-off momentum providing clearing for acrobats HEAD from obstacle/Foe in the Required Mid-AIR Roll to place feet firm under body & if success Landing facing back-to-back. Then Number of factors that can go wrong BEFORE your feet/body touches the ground? .. ? ..? ;)

... Ugg umm Ceiling height? Pole-Vault Acrobatics, by official vault pole. or use a lever-jump style off a Pole Arm, tho at likely at some extra DC penalty. Mechanical tool assisted Jump of a Somersault = Pole Vaulting and it's DC is much Harder - as effect is more effective height and distance covered.

Depending on the Ground type, smooth/rough, stone/ice-glass, Sloped/Angled, Examples: Mild hindrances add 2-5 extra DC each. Polished church floors/flat DC+2 to 5, Cave Floor with normal tiny rocks/bumps slick(wet/slimy-ish) +2 to 5 upto 10 DC. Semi-Smooth Sloping Up or down tunnels DC+15 to 20 DC Epic level stunt. ON an Angled 40 to 45 degree House Roof/Dry dc+10 or more+ for lose tiles Epic DC level.

Ground surface type (slope & wet/slickness), A Monster's Horns/spikes & tails obstacles might affect DC factors as "a floor surface". It's height &/or body TYPE, length(s) Are VERY KEY non-combat based environmental factors acting the DC too.

Search the D&D second edition 3E 3.5e and a smattering of Modules, Martial Arts ect. & old Dragon published material's like "Pirate's, A Prestige class" give helpful concepts for acrobatics "styles" for possible Acrobatic use actions and Rule assessment suggesting.

-Edited- "the DM sets the DC based on the complexity of the stunt and the danger of the situation." The abstract Key idea: Complexity = is Detail level orientated. 4E Notes: Only player gain from this in combat is for getting FLANKING a trivial -2 status change or to flee.

Shimonyk, What your question is literally asking is not the DC total of this "feat, stunt, maneuver" itself but for an ADD-on DC TO THE BASE DC15 for EXTRA ATTACKERS ( reflex score? multi stunt rolls then for each if hit for success? :P ) & for EACH OA to have differing or added hit problem to the TOTAL STUNT's DC!!. While initially fumbling around with possibles of adding Extra game mechanics to 4e thinned basics. Original D&D upto 3.5e basically said, Any normal Hit DMG during the "Acrobatic maneuver Somersault" = Stunt = Blocks the motion's feet landing = Failed and acrobat Falls prone in hex moved to (and likely option to GM for Fall Damage). If I Remember Correctly the Errata, been a few years.

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-1 Shimonyk is asking for a 4E rules suggestion, and you don't provide any 4E rules in your answer. While you give a number of helpful alternatives to somersaulting, you don't mention 4E rules once. –  DuckTapeal Mar 18 '12 at 19:28
Yes, while this is an excellent discussion of how to do this in the "real world" it does not answer the question looking for rules or mechanical suggestions. Furthermore the mechanics you posit are all for earlier editions. While answers grounded in the "real" are all well and good, they should be for suitable questions. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Mar 18 '12 at 21:00
I'll be happy to upvote my question if you can attach 4e mechanics to the various ... bold headers you have? Though I'm not quite sure what "ugg umm Ceiling height" actually means. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Mar 18 '12 at 22:35
4e uses blanket-concept word terms for former "scope" of D&D actions. Concepts: Somersault = one or more rotation of your rear in rotation over your head, implied you're going to TRY to land on your feet. NEXT: Somersault "Over" (where "over" means the square itself, by-passing thru by Rotation of body said "body" of obstacle) Just Ignore the Pole-Vaulting, it's as far out of 4e's capacities league as a motorcycle would be. –  Drace88 Mar 19 '12 at 9:28
Reading your edit... Perhaps you would be better suited to answering non 4e questions if 4e aggravates you so much. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Mar 19 '12 at 12:59
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