Testing a change to Flanking

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Despite the fact that I’ve used it in every game, Flanking is an optional rule in 5E that grants advantage onto an attack roll.

The Change

While I’m testing this, Flanking will grant a +2 to attack rolls, but not grant Advantage. Otherwise Flanking will work as written.

OPTIONAL RULE: FLANKING
If you regularly use miniatures, flanking gives combatants a simple way to gain +2 advantage on attack rolls against a common enemy.
A creature can’t flank an enemy that it can’t see. A creature also can’t flank while it is incapacitated. A Large or larger creature is flanking as long as at least one square or hex of its space qualifies for flanking.

Flanking on Squares. When a creature and at least one of its allies are adjacent to an enemy and on opposite sides or corners of the enemy’s space, they flank that enemy, and each of them has +2 advantage on melee attack rolls against that enemy.

When in doubt about whether two creatures flank an enemy on a grid, trace an imaginary line between the centers of the creatures’ spaces. If the line passes through opposite sides or corners of the enemy’s space, the enemy is flanked. – DMG, 251

Where: I’m testing this in my Curse of Strahd game, as well as my Lost Marches game for a couple of sessions, then I’ll decide if it sticks.
Some Rationale:
  •  Flanking was giving Melee combatants with mobility a huge edge over any other character combo/build.
    • Effectively it was giving them something akin to a +5 to hit, but saw diminishing returns in extreme cases.
    • That works in the favour of the PCs and the enemy but far more in the favour of the enemy.
    • The bonus from Flanking was encouraging risky gameplay at times and seemed to ‘penalize’ anyone who didn’t take the risks. ‘Smart’ play was seen as sub-optimal and encouraged party wipes.
  • Flanking not having an action ‘cost’ was breaking the action economy of 5E.
    • Effectively, anyone using the Dodge action paid for it (as they needed to give up all other full actions) but it could be countered for ‘free’ by flankers.
  • Ranged combatants rarely could achieve Advantage as they would never benefit from Flanking.
  • A number of Sub-class abilities also granted Advantage but seeing as how Advantage never stacks, they were effectively nerf’d.
Related stuff worth pointing out:
Help
You can lend your aid to another creature in the completion of a task. When you take the Help action, the creature you aid gains advantage on the next ability check it makes to perform the task you are helping with, provided that it makes the check before the start of your next turn.
Alternatively, you can aid a friendly creature in attacking a creature within 5 feet of you. You feint, distract the target, or in some other way team up to make your ally’s attack more effective. If your ally attacks the target before your next turn, the first attack roll is made with advantage. -PHB 192
Help can also be used to assist friends who are attacking your ‘target’ from range. Help also stacks with Flanking.

Here’s an example!

In this example, we have a party of three Adventurers fighting one Iron Golem.

Situation #1: Adroil the Monk and Elian the Paladin have assumed a Flanking position on the Iron Golem. This means that either or both of them would have a +2 to hit the Iron Golem with a Melee Attack that turn. Adroil declares that he will use the Help action to assist Elian’s first attack. This will give Elian Advantage on his first attack on the Iron Golem that turn. In this case, Aria has no bonuses to her Ranged Attack.
Situation #2: Alternatively, Adroil could declare that he is using the Help action to assist Aria in attacking the Iron Golem. Elian would still have the +2 bonus from Flanking, but Aria would have Advantage on her first attack on the Iron Golem.

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