2
\$\begingroup\$

Does shifting defense allow you to dodge all attacks as long as you have AoO:s left, including ranged attacks, attacks while flatfooted, attacks that hits your AC?

\$\endgroup\$
3
\$\begingroup\$

An attack roll "represents your attempts to strike your opponent. Your attack roll is 1d20 + your attack bonus with the weapon you’re using. If the result is at least as high as the target’s AC, you hit and deal damage" (PH 139), and, if you don't, you miss. This is important:

The stance Shifting Defense doesn't let a creature avoid attacks that have already been made

The 5th-level Setting Sun maneuver shifting defense [stance] (Tome of Battle 73) says

Your ability to read your opponents’ moves and use their strength against them allows you to shift your position during a battle. Each failed attack gives you the split-second you need to move without drawing attacks.

While you are in this stance, you can make an immediate 5-foot step each time an opponent attacks you. Moving in this manner consumes one of your attacks of opportunity in the current round. You cannot move in this manner if you have no attacks of opportunity remaining. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Emphases mine. Thus, that second paragraph should say, "While you are in this stance, you can make an immediate 5-foot step each time an opponent attacks you and misses," and it's really, really unfortunate that it doesn't instead say that because, other than that word failed, that paragraph reads like it can safely be ignored, as if it were italicized text even though it's not (see Descriptive Text on Tome of Battle 46).

That means the stance itself, despite its misleading name, provides no actual defense against attacks except insofar as the defender might've used the opportunity to step outside an attacker's reach (or outside the attacker's line of sight or effect) therefore, possibly, preventing the attacker from launching further attacks against the defender.

However, upshots remain. There's no limitation placed on the stance's effect's use due to the martial adept's distance from his attacker, so employing the stance's effect against ranged attacks is totally a go. Nor is there any limitation placed on whether or not the martial adept is flat-footed—although a flat-footed martial adept can't usually make attacks of opportunity, using the stance's effect isn't actually an attack of opportunity (despite the effect's use consuming one of the adept's attacks of opportunity), making it so the effect's use is unimpaired by that condition.

\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

I think there is a misconception here.

Shifting Defense (ToB, p. 73) is not about dodging attacks: it is about moving.

While you are in this stance, you can make an immediate 5-foot step each time an opponent attacks you. Moving in this manner consumes one of your attacks of opportunity in the current round. You cannot move in this manner if you have no attacks of opportunity remaining. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

There is no mention of this movement causing the attack to fail in the text description.


It is to be noted that the text itself is slightly ambiguous as to when you can move. The first paragraph only mentions moving on failed attacks, however it is fluffy. The second paragraph (reproduced above) does not have this restriction any longer and seemingly applies to all attacks, failed or not.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Descriptive Text: This portion of the maneuver description explains what the maneuver does and how it works. It begins with a sentence or two of italicized “read-aloud” text that gives players an image of how the maneuver does what it does" (ToB 46). The first paragraph of the Shifting Stance description in italics is fluff. The second and third paragraphs aren't, and that second 'graph is where the failed attack is mentioned. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 14 '16 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan: And yet, it seems fluff "Your ability to read your opponents’ moves and use their strength against them allows you to shift your position during a battle. Each failed attack gives you the split-second you need to move without drawing attacks." The first sentence is completely devoid of mechanics, and the second only mentioned "move without drawing attacks" which is repeated in the third paragraph, but the third paragraphs does not mention "failed". I honestly have no idea what the author intended here, it seems to me that both readings (only failed and all) are valid. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. Aug 14 '16 at 16:49
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ There's an unsourced CustServe Q&A that cites it as rules text; that may be the closest we can get to design intent considering the befouled errata. So we're kind of left with what's there unless switching to house rules. (Personally, I find off-turn movement a big enough deal without adding to 3.5 a TCG-style declare phase.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 14 '16 at 16:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.