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Updated with fixes to version 2

1. Summary
2. Compatibility
3. Details
4. Tips
5. Money for me

1. Summary.

This mod gives sides and back side to creatures and lets players make use of flanking and rear attacks in close combat. Combatants are considered to be flanking an enemy while they stay on his sides or a little behind, and they are taking advantage of the rear when they are almost directly at his back.

2. Compatibility.

Only the Enhanced Edition. Although the mechanics might work in "classic" setups, with this mod invisible projectiles constantly fire, and only EE allows saving the game while projectiles are on the way.

3. Details

For brevity let's call getting on the flanks and into the rear outmaneuvering. Red-circle enemies outmaneuver the party and its helpers and minions as they position themselves or close in to attack, and the party outmaneuvers them - intentionally or just by being on their blind sides. Combatants on the same side do not outmaneuver (do not hinder) each other, and neutrals do not hinder either fighting side, nor are they hindered by anybody so long as they are neutral. Some creatures cannot be outmaneuvered with any gain, either because they have 360-degree vision or because they have no specially vulnerable spots, organs or body parts to protect. This category includes undead, golems and other machines, slimes, elementals and beholders. (The mod also makes them all immune to backstabbing, which, by the way, is in accordance with AD&D rules.) Although these creatures cannot be usefully outmaneuvered, nothing prevents them from doing this to the party - that is, getting in the PLAYER's rear or flanks. Non-combatants, that is, commoners and other bystanders, cows, horses etc. can neither outmaneuver anybody nor can they be outmaneuvered themselves. There is not much point to running the effects on them, and this will save performance.

Not counting those exceptions, most creatures have flanks and rear of about this size and position relative to their figure:

Zones.jpg.1346e626fc4858a2da8dfe83bab604d9.jpg

Enemies on the flanks inconvenience the creature or character, lowering his Armor Class by 2 points and slowing him slightly - for every flanker present.

Those in the rear do not hinder the character, but their chance of scoring a critical hit improves by 2 and they receive +4 to hit as well. This is not cumulative with the attack bonus from invisibility and stealth. The number of enemies in the rear does not matter, each receives the bonuses individually.

There is no exact science with these bonuses and penalties, both because it is impossible to calculate precisely when they will apply and because the engine is not too accurate in releasing the effects. In the fractions of a second, sometimes the total bonuses and penalties may be considerably higher, sometimes they may be lower or even amount to nothing. Generally, however, those are the numbers you can expect.

The AI is not going to be able to make intelligent use of tactics, and the party often has a numerical advantage, especially if it is bringing summoned minions. To compensate the computer receives considerable extras. It is very important now to keep enemies off your back, especially if the party characters cannot wear helmets to protect them against criticals. And a throng even of very weak enemies parking on the flanks can quickly bring down an excellent AC.

420872904_Quaylerunning.jpg.cf1aa15a6c4fac4d1e6bf02abf9723dc.jpg

Larger creatures have proportionally longer zones, but not much broader. It is mostly circumference that increases. There is a little more depth to move around in the zones, but weapon melee range remains the same, so attackers still have to come close. 

1833663521_Agiantszone.jpg.5ff9322cf58755e56a46247ec7cff78a.jpg

4. Tips

Here is an example skirmish.

Skirmish.jpg.2bcaacc855d90aa1c71b0e19a4e95bbe.jpg

This may seem confusing at first, but will become natural very quickly. A little advice:

0) It is usually worthwhile to go the extra meter.

1) Do not send a single tanking fighter against a squad of enemies, especially if they are man-sized or smaller and can surround him. They are no longer all rolling helplessly against full plate +5, and flanking slows an escape as well. If you have to retreat, either send in another character as a distraction or click a short distance behind so that the fighter backs up without turning.

2) Missile weapons also get the bonuses, but only if fired point-blank into someone's back or sides. If all you can do is run away from a shooter, put some distance between the two of you, at least.

3) A character directly behind someone is considered to be preparing or thinking about a rear attack. This precludes flanking. You can "taunt" an enemy with the open back of a free character to get him out of a flanking position. On the picture Xan could try and turn around, if the advancing bandit decides to flank Imoen instead of pouncing on her sexy rear.

4) It is common to be flanked by someone while flanking someone else, so the AC is rarely a straight number.

5) It is also possible to complicate the life of two enemies at once by getting between them and flanking both. I call it the Trafalgar maneuver:

1540822189_Gettingbetween.jpg.27a4ff2dbd899314a6c63a675ea6b495.jpg

6) No-roll attack defenses such as Protection from Normal Weapons, Mantle and so on become more valuable, because you can ignore all the people raising hell on the sides and behind.

7) Minions do a great job at pulling very large monsters down by their hind legs. For example, you can put some here while your frontline is keeping the dragon's attention fixed:

2034265849_VulnerableFirkraag.jpg.ae2557dd7e86323b1b27668675b9b58e.jpg

5. Money for me

Making modules that go beyond shmaltzy romances is not easy. If you think this one deserves a few dollars into my hat, fly me a paper plane.

Download

Edited by temnix

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Seems pretty good. Could you tell me a little more about extra spawns? Will additional higher level enemies such as mind flayers spawn too, or casters?

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Would be cool to have a visual on screen indicator of the rear and flank cones with a hotkey/keypress - similar to the "Show AOE" hidden game option.

Might be possible in EEex to do that using CInfinity::AddAOECone rotated (maybe with CAIGroup::RotateOffsets) to show the rear and flank: 2 AOE flank cones with yellow color and 1 AOE rear cone with red color. Not sure how feasible it is or if it would only apply to the selected character rather than all on screen. And dont know how much work that would entail. Just a random thought about this really.

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On 11/17/2019 at 8:54 PM, bob_veng said:

Seems pretty good. Could you tell me a little more about extra spawns? Will additional higher level enemies such as mind flayers spawn too, or casters?

You have misunderstood something. There are no spawns.

As for a hotkey indicator, I don't know how to do that. If you want to join me and contribute, this may be worth my time. The zones are not always there, though. They fire at a very high frequency. Besides, their extent is always the same and just as the pictures show, so you will get a sense for them without an indicator before long. There are three different sizes: normal, then larger-circle creatures like the giant on the screenshot or an otyugh and the biggest creatures, most of whom are dragons.

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I understood the following:

Quote

The AI is not going to be able to make intelligent use of tactics, and the party often has a numerical advantage, especially if it is bringing summoned minions. To compensate the computer receives considerable extras.

as extra spawns for some reason... what are the extras?

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Skirmish.jpg.2bcaacc855d90aa1c71b0e19a4e

 

Picture has great historical value becasue it is clearly visible that Quayle has finally managed to hit something in melee. After more than 20 years it is finally done. Gratz Quayle but don't forget to thank the charname!

Spoiler

Yeah, the archer probably missed the midget and killed his own comrade but just be positive here.

but I must correct some misconceptions. Who is actually too far to make use of the rear? Archer or Quayle? I'm not sure if the archer is too far to make use of the rear at least as long as he plan to shoot Quayle, not punch him with his bow. Also don't forget that if archer will get too close to the enemy he will receive -4 penalty to ranged attack and defence. Both Quayle and Imoen are in danger, the Gnome's rear is defenceless against arrows and Immy's rear is at the mercy of bandit's fists (he replaced bow with his fists when approching the rear, smart move!). Xan seems to be fairly safe but he is doomed anyway so archer will probably kill him with arrow to the rear, he will stab him with the arrow like a true archer should. Charname is looking at something - the 2.6 patch???

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