Can a combatant using Total Defense flank an opponent? Is a combatant using Total Defense threatening its surrounding?

I'd say yes, but I am not sure, so I thought I'd better ask you.


I would say no. A combatant cannot make attacks of opportunities, and does not threaten any squares.

Total Defense You can defend yourself as a standard action. You get a +4 dodge bonus to your AC for 1 round. Your AC improves at the start of this action, so it helps you against any attacks of opportunity you incur during the round. You can’t combine total defense with fighting defensively or with the benefit of the Combat Expertise feat (since both of those require you to declare an attack or full attack). You can’t make attacks of opportunity while using total defense.

Flanking, it specifically states :

When making a melee attack, you get a +2 flanking bonus if your opponent is threatened by a character or creature friendly to you on the opponent’s opposite border or opposite corner.

The combatant needs to be threatening the opponent, and while using total defense, the combatant is not threatening.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Uhm... it really makes sense. If you can't attack (even if it is not explicitly worded) and cannot make attacks of opportunity (this one is explicitly worded) is hard to consider you threatening someone, even if it is not explicitly worded in the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Burigo Jan 15 '11 at 0:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, since total defense takes away your chance to attack (since it's a standard action which leaves only a move action in which you can't attack) and you can't make AOOs either while using Total Defense, you're not threatening? Sounds reasonable, yet flanking seems to rely on the flanked opponent having to divide its attention, and it may not be aware of the fact that one of its attackers is using TD. (I hope that makes sense. :)) Would require some kind of roll on the flanked(?) opponent's part to realize it's not really flanked? \$\endgroup\$ – OpaCitiZen Jan 15 '11 at 0:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ The flanker will need to make a (bluff-4) check against the opponent's (sense motive+BAB). The problem is that the bluff is a standard action. \$\endgroup\$ – jaye1234 Jan 15 '11 at 1:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree... Even if he -realizes- that one of his attackers is using TD, the defendant would still have to divide his attention to make sure that the TD flanker is, in effect, -still- using TD. The defendant could, of course, assume that the TD keeps doing TD for the rest of the combat and ignore him completely, denying the other attacker any flanking bonuses, but that would leave him wide open to a surprise attack from the TD negating any dex bonus to his ac. Which is actually an interesting choice that I must remember when my PC is flanked by the big boss and a goblin. \$\endgroup\$ – Jan Van Herck Jan 24 '14 at 18:04

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