Saga of the Northlands
This campaign uses combat facing, meaning that the direction your character is facing matters instead of assuming that characters can look anywhere they need to during a fight.
At any given time, a creature is facing a single direction. This may be towards either a face or a point of their current hex. Based on the direction they are facing, the hexes adjacent to them are considered to be to their front, to their flank, or to their rear.
Front: You take no penalty to attacks, checks, or movement involving front hexes. Your front flanks count as your front hexes for these purposes.
Flank: You take a -5 penalty to attack rolls and Spot checks against targets to your flanks and moving into a flank hex costs double movement. You cannot take attacks of opportunity against creatures to your flanks.
Rear: You take a -10 penalty to attack rolls and Spot checks against targets to your rear, and moving into a rear hex costs double movement. You cannot take attacks of opportunity against creatures to your rear or respond to visual readied action triggers that happen to your rear (though auditory triggers work normally), and you cannot move into difficult terrain to your rear. Your rear flanks count as your rear hexes for these purposes.
Front: You cannot take attacks of opportunity against a creature if you are in its front facing
Flank: You gain a +2 to hit a creature if you are facing their flank. Two or more characters attacking a creature’s flanks count as flanking it (thus triggering anything that relies on flanking, such as sneak attacks) even if they are not on directly opposite sides of the creature. Your opponent’s front flanks and rear flanks count as flanks for these purposes.
Rear: You gain a +4 to hit a creature if you are facing their rear, and they lose their Dexterity bonus to AC against your attacks.
To determine whether a creature more than one hex away is in your front, flank, or rear hex, simply draw a line from the center of your space to the center of its space and see which hex it passes through. If the line runs directly between a front and flank hex or a flank and rear hex, default to the front and rear hex.
Every time you move five feet as part of normal movement, you may change your facing by up to one point or one face; that is, if you are currently facing the blue dot in the following diagram, you may change to face any of the green dots:
If you wish to change your facing further than that, each additional point or face requires spending 5 feet of movement, so for instance turning 180 degrees to face your rear requires 15 feet of movement whether you are moving in a broad circle or just turning in place.
If you change your facing while within another creature’s threatened area such that they were in your front hex but are now in your flank hex, or were in your flank hex but are now in your rear hex, doing so provokes an attack of opportunity.
Non-Human Creatures and Facing
Some creatures are considered “faceless,” counting all hexes as front hexes. These include all Tiny and smaller creatures, creatures without a normal “front” like living air or animated trees, and any creatures like ettins that are for whatever reason capable of better all-around vision and all-around attacks than humans are.
Creatures of size Large or larger have larger than normal spaces and correspondingly larger fronts, flanks, and rears. The facing diagrams for Large and Huge creatures are given below, and diagrams for even larger creatures can be extrapolated from there:
Some natural attacks of Large and larger creatures are positioned on their bodies such that it is easier to attack into flank hexes (such as wing attacks) or rear hexes (such as tail attacks). In such cases, those attacks treat the appropriate hexes as front hexes for determining attack penalties, whether they can be used for attacks of opportunity, and the like.
Shields and Facing
A character wielding a shield can only protect himself from attacks coming from certain directions. Each time he changes facing, such a character determines which hexes he covers with his shield. For a right-handed character wielding a shield in his left hand, the following diagrams show which hexes may be covered by a shield; flip the diagram horizontally for a character holding a shield in his right hand:
Creatures attacking a shielded character do not gain the benefits of attacking from flank hexes if they attack from a direction that the shield covers.
5-foot Steps: You cannot change facing as part of a 5-foot step, but you can take a 5-foot step into your flanks or rear even though that would normally cost 10 feet of movement.
Focused Attention: As a free action on your turn, you may choose to focus your attention on a particular creature. Until you choose to stop focusing on it or to focus on another creature, whenever the creature moves you automatically change your facing to keep it in your front hexes. Changing facing like this can provoke attacks of opportunity from creatures threatening you, as described above.
Facing Feats: Certain feats grant extra benefits related to facing:
- The Combat Reflexes feat allows you to make attacks of opportunity into your flank hexes, though you still take the normal -5 penalty for doing so.
- The Cleave feat allows you to attack into your flank areas without penalty.
- The Blind-Fight feat reduces the Spot penalty for noticing things on your flanks to -0 and for noticing things to your rear to -5.
- The Whirlwind Attack feat allows you to attack into your flanks and rear without penalty.