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This came up in one of my games this past week:

A player rushed a combatant and used the Push maneuver to knock him prone. The combatant got up on their initiative pass and moved 4 spaces away. The players argued that I should have allowed a 'free attack' based on the rules for withdrawing from close combat. I ruled that the Push was not combat, just something that can happen in combat.

To be clear the player character was not previously engaged in close combat with this combatant. He ran up to him and pushed him.

So was I wrong? Should the player have had a chance to make a free attack? Savage worlds has no concept of an opportunity attack and either by accident or on purpose, they call it "Withdrawing from close combat" and the wording is rather specific about "engaged" characters.

More importantly does using Push constitute "melee" or "close combat" for the purpose pf "Withdrawing from close combat"?

A rules moderator on the Peginc forums had some clarifications about charging and fighting that can be found here.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are for clarifying and improving the question, not answers or related discussion. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 24 '15 at 14:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ To be honest that is exactly what I thought we were doing. \$\endgroup\$ – Pow-Ian Jun 24 '15 at 14:55
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You may want to specifically ask in the PEG Forum to get an answer from the experts as to whether Push specifically instigates Melee Combat.

I suggest looking at this post from the PEG forums, especially the section about "Defining 'melee'" (emphasis mine):

KingCrud wrote:

Can a character or NPC move past an enemy figure within melee range without attracting the 'Withdrawing from combat' free attack? So the character starts their move out of melee range, passes by the enemy, and ends outside melee range. Is coming within 1" (or 2" with Reach) considered 'in melee' irrespective of whether combat has been initiated (such as by 'First Strike')?

I know in other games, such as recent editions of D&D, if you pass through the squares around an enemy you have to cease you movement. Is Savage Worlds different?

Clint's response:

Yep. The character has to be leaving melee, simply passing adjacent to another character does not automatically place the mover in melee with them (though First Strike or a Hold action could).

Defining "melee" is up to the GM. In some cases it's obvious (making or being the target of a Fighting attack) while in others not so much (providing a Gang Up bonus even if no attacks are made at or by the character) and could be up to individual GM interpretation.

If a GM wanted to use an optional specific determination, they could say if a character begins or ends an action adjacent to a foe, they are considered to be "in melee" with that foe, regardless of whether any actual Fighting rolls take place (a Fighting roll would of course be an automatic inclusion into melee).

Hope that helps.

Push is also described under the "Situational Combat Rules" section in the Savage Worlds Deluxe book, and is also listed on the "Attack Options Summary" table. One could infer from its inclusion in these areas that a Push is considered Melee.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the link. This is helpful but does not site rules to back up my particular scenario. It does however make the distinction between other game's concept of an attack of opportunity and Savage Worlds concept of Withdrawing from close combat \$\endgroup\$ – Pow-Ian Jun 24 '15 at 15:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Prone and Defend are in the "Situational Combat Rules" section as well but neither of them imply melee. I think it ended up there because there is no other place it would make sense to put them. Also the fact that the Push entry in the book talks about an 'attacker' is for convenience and can easily be interpreted one way or the other. \$\endgroup\$ – Pow-Ian Jun 24 '15 at 19:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer is going to be the best you can get. The person quoted is the Savage Worlds Core Rules Brand Manager, and as he points out, it's up to the GM to decide whether or not someone is in "melee". The rules don't define it explicitly. \$\endgroup\$ – Zadmar Jun 24 '15 at 21:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ So RAW there is no answer other than, "it is up to the GM". Oh well. \$\endgroup\$ – Pow-Ian Jun 25 '15 at 11:01

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