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Is it possible to choose to grant Combat Advantage to an enemy? In 4e, a defender grants CA when dazed, stunned, or blind, for example. Could not a player replicate these states willingly?

Because of a particular build, I want to increase my chance of being hit but without hindering my own ability to attack afterwards.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This question stands alone. Stop arguing in comments. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Nov 19 '14 at 0:13
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I'm pretty baffled by the answers I see here suggesting elaborate behavior in order to make yourself grant combat advantage.

I would let any of my players grant combat advantage to anyone at any time they choose.

There isn't an action provided in the rules for this anymore than there is one for blinking, raising your arms, or doing any number of other simple things your character can do by virtue of being a bipedal humanoid.

If your playgroup won't let a player declare that they're blind because their eyes are closed because 'Close Eyes' is not an action in the Rules Compendium, then this answer probably won't work for you. I submit that that attitude is absurd, but if you think it's fun, then great.

From the Rules Compendium:

Combat Advantage
One of the most common attack roll modifiers is combat advantage, which represents a situation in which a target can't give full attention to defense.

Combat advantage represents a lack of attention. It's up to you how much attention you pay something. All the justification a player needs is "There's a shiny and I'm not paying as much attention as I should be. I grant combat advantage."

Following that line is a list of ways that a character might be forced to grant combat advantage:

The target is pressed by multiple enemies at the same time, stunned, distracted, or otherwise caught off guard.

But these are things that might cause a character to lose focus even when trying to keep it, not prerequisites for the condition. Even if they were, the list includes 'distracted' and 'otherwise caught off guard'.

Being distracted is an internal mental state. If a player says that their character is distracted, then their character is distracted. To insist otherwise seems absurd.

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First let me start by saying that if your ultimate end goal is it be hit more often, talk to your DM. With their consent, you could reskin Total Defence. Instead of bolstering your defences, you drop them, giving them a -2 rather than +2 which might entice an enemy to attack. Also consider rethinking your build. Enemies don't HAVE to do anything and any (even half) intelligent creature is likely only going to fall for the same trick once, maybe twice, before they learn that hitting you may not be the best option. And if you try to pull BS pocket sand stunts, your DM is eventually going to find a way around it.

Whilst there may not be any RAW that cover imposing conditions on yourself, let's look at what actually grants CA and whether it would be mechanically possible, via the table on page 280 of the PHB.

TL;DR: I would say no, for the most part you can't simply "replicate these states willingly" (especially dazed and stunned) mostly because certain "environmental" conditions need to be met in order to impose the "physical" condition that grants CA.

Balancing (Page 180 PHB or 131 RC):
Yes technically standing on one leg would probably unbalance you in the heat of combat, but it should require an athletics check, I don't thinks there's rules for choosing to fail a skill check but if your DM allows it, whatever. On a save you stay standing, failing means you fall prone. Marbles/ball-bearings would only work if you tried to walk over them, but again, should require an athletics check.

Blinded/Unable to see the attacker: (PHB 277/281, RC 229/221)
I believe blindfolding yourself, and yes I guess simply closing your eyes, would work. Again, however, I'd say with limited use. Creatures are either going to start trying to pull the blindfold off with a thievery check or simply move away from you, since blinded also gives other creatures Total Concealment they might be willing to provoke an opportunity attack given that you have -5 to the attack roll.

Climbing: (PHB 182, RC 136)
Can be done but highly situational.

Dazed/Stunned: (PHB 277, RC 229/234)
Are usual imposed by a powerful mental attack or physical blow. Unless you already have a power that can do this, you're not going to be able to willingly become dazed or stunned. No, not even if you hit yourself really hard on the head because that would be game breaking if any attack could daze or stun "just because you hit really hard".

Dominated: (PHB 277, RC 230)
See dazed. And let's face it, if you're dominated, you're not doing anything willingly.

Flanked: (PHB 285, RC 218)
Can easily be done but can be situational as it requires two enemies.

Helpless: (PHB 227, RC 231)
Let's look at the definition of helpless. "Unable to help oneself; powerless or incompetent;" if you are able to defend yourself but simply unwilling, can you be considered helpless? Probably going to be the DM's call at that point, but the way I see it, you're throwing yourself at their feet yelling "attack/kill me" at which point they're going to try to coup de grace you.

Prone (melee only): (PHB 277, RC 232)
You can drop prone as a minor action so, easy to do but the incoming attack needs to be melee and you take a -2 to your attack rolls.

Restrained: (PHB 277, RC 233)
Unless you can manacle or tie yourself to the floor/wall, you're more likely to simply immobilise yourself rather than properly restrain yourself. It would be a stupid idea and extremely difficult, but I guess you could do it.

Running: (PHB 291, RC 248)
Can be done, but as with blinded you take a -5 to attack rolls.

Squeezing: (PHB 292, RC 249)
Can be done but high situational and again you take a -5 to attack rolls.

Surprised: (PHB 277, RC 234)
"I'm shocked at this, unforeseen turn of events". Being surprised is the general reaction to some unforeseen event I.E. being ambushed. You can't know that it's going to happen elsewise you wouldn't be surprised so you can't decide to become surprised.

Unaware of you or in this case you being unaware of them: (Generally via a Stealth check, PHB 188, RC 152)
See surprised. Have you ever tried to un-notice that fly on the wall, or that spot of dirt on your computer screen, it's almost freaking impossible isn't it?

Unconcious: (PHB 277, RC 234)
Similar to dazed/stunned unless you have a power that you can cast on yourself... I really don't think I need to explain. Also again enemies would try to coup you.

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In the height of fairness, I see no reason why you couldn't just opt to make yourself Helpless. Granted, certain things can change this, namely how the action demands that you defend. I think the best you can do in most circumstances is to use the lower of the traits associated with whatever defense you are doing.

However nothing stops you from:

  • Closing your eyes/blindfolding yourself (as Gregory states)

  • Finding/Buying/Creating an item that immobilizes until a key word is said (thus released as a free action)

  • Drop marbles on the floor to make you unbalanced and take a 5' step to get away from them

  • State that you wish to make yourself Helpless (if you feel really lucky)

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It depends on what you're granting CA against. There are a number of simple ways to grant CA:

  • Place yourself in a flanked position
  • Close your eyes or blindfold yourself, inducing blindness
  • Drop prone (provides CA for melee attacks)
  • Run

Most of these penalize your attacks as well. You may also be able to induce CA by various silly behaviors like standing on one leg to be imbalanced.

The general-purpose winner, though, is to place yourself in a flanked position. It does not penalize your attacks and should be possible in most combats. To increase your chances you can supplement your pro-CA build with attacks that move enemies so that you can align less strategic opponents into flanking position.

Any enemy fighting you should be suspicious of this behavior, as it's often demonstrated by Old Masters (tvtropes) and similar people who you probably shouldn't mess with.

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