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Crane Style Power Level? Playtest Data (10 PFS Scenarios)


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A while ago, a lot of threads appeared about crane style (specifically crane wing). A few posters thought it was overpowered. I somewhat agreed with them, but most of the board disagreed, and they made a good point--the people who thought that crane wing was overpowered often referenced contrived situations where the crane wing character got an "auto-win", and they had no good actual playtest data on how it would play in a real game environment. Furthermore, the "crane wing isn't broken" posters argued that in a situation where one character is highly defensive, normally the enemies can ignore them and target the weaker members.

So now it's months later, and I've worked pretty hard to get some solid playtest evidence on the matter, with as standardized a play environment as we can manage over the internet--Pathfinder Society Organized Play. These should give a solid idea of a variety of realistic combat encounters that would occur in a typical PFRPG game (and it's a gateway for new players to PFRPG, so I believe it's the best source of playtest scenarios). To that end, I made a Monk/Fighter named Iakhovas and played him in a variety of scenarios (he's a Master of Many Styles, so he started with Crane Wing at level 1) under I think 4 different GMs. To those of you who aren't familiar with PFS, scenarios usually have various possible subtiers, and I played Iakhovas as a low-level character in the highest subtier when possible. For those of you familiar with PFS wondering how I managed to do that so often, I have other characters at the same level and I would just play the other characters if I wasn't playing up that day--it's one of the reasons it has taken me since August to gather this data. There are obviously spoilers for PFS scenarios.

I'll present the data first without my overall analysis until others get a chance to comment:

Shades of Ice 1--:
Iakhovas's debut as a starting level 1 character, and this was played at the normal 1-2 range. Then Venture Captain and now PFS Head Honcho Mike Brock GMed us through an interesting scenario with a lot of roleplay. This was actually one of the only three times that Iakhovas got KOed, when he failed an Acrobatics check to jump down from a window and took maximum falling damage. He was almost CdGed actually. Even aside from that, Iak rolled very badly on attack rolls and didn't really help that much in this mod. He got his act together for the rest of the mods though, I promise.

GM Credit--Gave him credit for the second scenario.
Black Waters--:
In this scenario, Iakhovas was level 1 playing at subtier 4-5. He was playing with a party of level 4s. Crane Wing was critical here--thanks to generally high AC from fighting defensively combined with the auto-deflection, Iakhovas basically couldn't be hit by this mod's enemies (which had low attack bonuses with extremely negative riders like ability drain and paralysis). Twice (due to bad saves on their part mainly) the other characters were taken out or crippled while Iakhovas soloed the remainder of the encounter (he only beat the incorporeal enemies by grabbing an ally's magic weapon). This would have been a wipe if not for Iak, the level 1 Monk playing with the level 4s.

Tide of Twilight--:
Iak was level 2 playing at subtier 4-5 with a group of level 4 and 5 and a level 1 summoner. This scenario was one of the other times Iakhovas got KOed. After rocking the early encounters without taking a single point of damage aside from an unlucky blow before he got his first turn (this becomes a recurring theme), he was treated to a quartet of druids with a no-save AoE damage spell. This nearly wiped the entire party, though once they got him back from negative and the druids didn't have this spell anymore, he tanked their shillelaghs without being hit and the party took them down.

Perils of the Pirate Pact--:
Iak was level 2 playing at subtier 3-4 with two level 4s and a level 1. The spiders, ettercaps, pirates, and traps in this scenario couldn't scratch Iakhovas, who managed to stand in the way and protect his allies from harm until the last encounter, when the level 1 paladin of iomedae took her oath to be "first into battle" seriously and charged after the BBEG. Considering how crappy the 3-4 BBEG is in Perils, the paladin won anyway, but she took some serious hurt.

Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch--:
Iak was level 2 playing at subtier 3-4. One of the encounters has some ridiculous insects, and the GM had dice aflame for them, rolling two nat 20s and a 19 in the same round (they needed an 17 to hit, I believe). This brought Iakhovas low and the rest of the party gave him a heal and then basically fled. At that point, though, Iakhovas dropped one of the insects (making the chance of being hit twice in a round tiny, since the insects had one attack each). He then soloed the remainder of the encounter. All the other encounters were trivial overall, though Iak did help a lot by grappling the invisible guy in the spice factory.

Mists of Mwangi--:
Iak was level 3 at subtier 4-5. At level 3 he got Crane Riposte and Evasion (important because Riposte ups his damage by a good amount). The party also had a level 5 sorcerer, a level 2 ranger, and a level 1 cleric. Unfortunately, the sorcerer had dice that hated him, and after becoming a monkey for a while (and thus unable to cast) he managed not to get off a single hit with a Scorching Ray until the fire protecting idols came out. The cleric was brand new and hung back with a crossbow for the most part. The ranger helped a bit, but his favored enemy wasn't around and he kept being taken out. The undead encounter had the archer ranger and the sorcerer as monkeys, who had to bash them in melee, so Iakhovas tanked and did 90% of the damage. The apeified scholars sort of just went down in a round or so. The vargouilles actually paralyzed the whole party except Iakhovas, who beat them all, though only after a few kisses to the others. The croc (which we actually fought after the final encounter was over) actually beat Iak in initiative and KOed him in one hit. The cleric woke up Iak though, and once Iak had an actual turn, it couldn't do anything and he soloed it (everyone else stayed out of the room and he blocked the door). If you're wondering at this point why initiative matters so much, Iak loses his fighting defensively AC bonus if he's flat-footed and can't use crane wing either. Anyway, the final encounter kept fearing the whole party, but eventually the idols ran out of fear and Iak blocked the huge ape at the doorway as well, tanking it while the ranger (and level 1 cleric) took potshots from the far end of the hallway, though I think the ranger only hit once on the ape. This would have been a TPK several times over without Iak, who admittedly wouldn't have soloed the whole mod due to the croc and needing the level 1 cleric's cure light wounds, but he came close. He surely could have done it as a two-man with the level 1 cleric.

Infernal Vault--:
Iak was level 3 and not playing up this time (3-4). Iak was hit by an invisible imp and was therefore flat-footed, but other than that, nothing touched him (evasion helped with that on the lightning trap). Overall, enemies weren't hard to deal with. In fact, Iak got few ripostes because they had trouble even hitting his AC.

Prince of Augustana--:
Iak was level 3 playing at subtier 4-5. The first fights were the typical easy fare with Iak standing in front and being unhittable, letting ranged allies go to town on the enemies. The final encounter was a bit more problematic, though, for everyone except Iak, since the demons managed to take out all but Iak and one ally (who focused on defending himself in this bad situation) with Stinking Cloud, for the entire fight. Not to be deterred, Iak dropped every demon himself, since they never hit him even once among all of them.

Voices in the Void--:
Iak was level 4 at subtier 6-7. This includes the most iconic example of Crane Wing usage for our PFS group (the t-rex, which I'll get to). We started with the gargoyles, which nearly slaughtered the other characters and even did deal some damage to Iak with multiple attacks at high bonus. The others used Acro and withdraws to keep at range while Iak tanked them and smacked them up, though the Gunslinger/Summoner added in a lot of good damage (including a Haste for Iak to help Iak's damage). Following this, however, came the elder pudding and gibbering mouther encounter. Most of the other PCs went mad (confusion), and the eidolon nearly started splitting the pudding. Fortunately, the enemy couldn't hit Iak at all, so once the eidolon was unsummoned during a moment of clarity for the summoner, Iak just took them down. Then we fought the T-Rex. It begun the fight by winning initiative and dropping Iak to 1 hit point (rolling like a 37 to hit me for plenty of damage). Then Iak got a turn. Everyone else stayed out of the room, the t-rex didn't fit out of the room and was mindless anyway, and Iak just kept blocking every attack until he killed the thing solo since it couldn't hit him anymore (once attack per round versus crane wing). We talked to the aucturnian fungi. For the final encounter, everyone contributed really well overall, though Iak's AoO disarm of Imrizade's scroll of Black Tentacles was pretty clutch.

Devil We Know IV--:
Iak was level 4 at subtier 6-7 again. First we fought some druids and rats. Iak just wasn't getting "hit" in order to trigger crane riposte and negate the attacks and counter, so he started blatantly moving to provoke AoOs to get more chances. This gave him a riposte or two, but he took no damage here. Then we had to fight a really powerful earth elemental. The thing was pretty terrifying, actually. It critted our level 6 Oracle of Battle out of the fight and smashed the eidolon to nothing. With its amazing to-hit and two attacks per round for heavy damage, Iak couldn't stand up to it for long, but fortunately Iak managed to bring it down, 100% due to crane wing blocking one hit a turn and crane riposte adding damage, preventing the TPK. Oh yeah, to make the Gunslinger/Summoner's day worse after his eidolon was banished, his pistol misfired on a 1, he used his tshirt to reroll and got another 1, and then he cursed, took out his backup pistol, and it misfired again. Then we had to fight a Ghast Barbarian whose tactics apparently told it to one-on-one someone at a chokepoint. Sadly for the Ghast, that was Iak, who beat it to a pulp with no damage taken. Finally, we fought a group of derro. We beat them all easily except for the leader who cast Darkness when we didn't have Daylight, but the Summoner summoned an Earth Elemental and we used Comp Languages to have it guide us (with its Darkvision and Tremorsense) to a victory.

I'll give my full analysis later, but make sure to pay attention to what subtier I play Iakhovas at when you read each description. Thanks for reading, and I hope this playtest data is valuable in any future discussions about Crane Wing!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Very interesting.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I just like to mention although PFS is a good format, I think it's an extremely easy format for the most part. This is even with 4 person tables.

I build optimized characters, and I've never really been close to death before except for the scenarios that are generally considered "hard" (somewhat subjective, but there are definitely certain scenarios were the fights were way tougher than normal). I used to think 20 point buys are a must, but I'm beginning to come around to 15 point buys. 20 point buys are really good for optimizing low level characters. It makes getting the 18 (or even 20) starting stat very easy, without any dumping needed at all.

I feel often times the writers try to use a strategy that's interesting, but ultimately not effective or efficient. Combined with being out actioned for the most part, lots of encounters are quite easy. The difficult ones are usually when the single opponent is over the top powerful or happen to have a good match up against PCs. Thankfully, new scenarios are better at encounters than the older ones. And I'm not just talking about the season 0 3.5 scenarios.


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps Subscriber

Correction on Devil We Know, Part IV as the GM: Iakhovas got hit by a rat when running around blatantly provoking AOOs, for 4 damage. He made his save for disease though. c_c


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Shouldn't this be an analysis of Master of Many styles. As that is what is letting you get a 5th level feat at 1st level.

The lower the level of the module, the harder it is to deal with crane wing because you have few attacks to throw around. That said monsters really need to stop attacking and start doing other things after they learn you can deflect attacks each round. I find my best tactic is often to grapple with no to hit roll to be deflected. And then as your grappled any other character can strike at you without your pesky dodge based defenses/deflection getting in the way.

Andoran

Harley Quinn X wrote:
Correction on Devil We Know, Part IV as the GM: Iakhovas got hit by a rat when running around blatantly provoking AOOs, for 4 damage. He made his save for disease though. c_c

Did he attack before moving? You cannot fight defensively without either attacking (as a standard or full-round, not as an AoO) or spending a standard action on it. This means if they move *before* attacking they CANNOT deflect an attack as they are not (at the time) fighting defensively. Also, their AC will be lower.

This is the main thing that keeps the crane style user cautious, actually. Unless your first action every turn is either an attack or the standard-action full-defense (which prohibits attacking, even as an AoO), you leave yourself open to prepared actions, AoOs, etc when not only unable to deflect, but also at less AC than normal.

Of course, being flat-footed sucks as well, but toss a couple levels of shadowdancer on there later and that's not an issue (or take 4 levels of rogue, I suppose).

Note: I'm currently playing a Barbarian/Monk/Rogue (martial artist archetype on the monk to remove alignment requirement, and urban barbarian to make the combo seem more plausible). My defenses are impeccable, but my offense is only okay and not versatile in the least. Every single member of the party out-damages me (in some cases gloriously so), but none out-live me. I stand in front and play the "leader" role to draw fire in the first round or two (depending on the enemy's int/wis), then do annoying tactics (like using stunning fist, or using disarm/sunder) once they stop paying attention to me. Outflank lets me be very helpful offensively even if not the target.


StabbittyDoom wrote:
Harley Quinn X wrote:
Correction on Devil We Know, Part IV as the GM: Iakhovas got hit by a rat when running around blatantly provoking AOOs, for 4 damage. He made his save for disease though. c_c

Did he attack before moving? You cannot fight defensively without either attacking (as a standard or full-round, not as an AoO) or spending a standard action on it. This means if they move *before* attacking they CANNOT deflect an attack as they are not (at the time) fighting defensively. Also, their AC will be lower.

This is the main thing that keeps the crane style user cautious, actually. Unless your first action every turn is either an attack or the standard-action full-defense (which prohibits attacking, even as an AoO), you leave yourself open to prepared actions, AoOs, etc when not only unable to deflect, but also at less AC than normal.

Of course, being flat-footed sucks as well, but toss a couple levels of shadowdancer on there later and that's not an issue (or take 4 levels of rogue, I suppose).

Note: I'm currently playing a Barbarian/Monk/Rogue (martial artist archetype on the monk to remove alignment requirement, and urban barbarian to make the combo seem more plausible). My defenses are impeccable, but my offense is only okay and not versatile in the least. Every single member of the party out-damages me (in some cases gloriously so), but none out-live me. I stand in front and play the "leader" role to draw fire in the first round or two (depending on the enemy's int/wis), then do annoying tactics (like using stunning fist, or using disarm/sunder) once they stop paying attention to me. Outflank lets me be very helpful offensively even if not the target.

When I said needless AoOs, I really meant needless. He attacked first (enemy was next to him), then ran around arbitrarily. He did try to set up flanks for the rogue though, but the rogue was a single weapon halfling rogue with no agile weapon yet, so damage from the rogue wasn't too high even though he was level 5.


Maezer wrote:

Shouldn't this be an analysis of Master of Many styles. As that is what is letting you get a 5th level feat at 1st level.

The lower the level of the module, the harder it is to deal with crane wing because you have few attacks to throw around. That said monsters really need to stop attacking and start doing other things after they learn you can deflect attacks each round. I find my best tactic is often to grapple with no to hit roll to be deflected. And then as your grappled any other character can strike at you without your pesky dodge based defenses/deflection getting in the way.

Surprisingly, the lower level mods included some of the main ones where Iak had trouble (low HP and losing initiative, plus AoE before he got evasion and the unavoidable AoE in the one mod). As for grapple, it doesn't actually make you flat-footed any more in PFRPG (just a -2 to AC from the loss of Dex). Granted they could try to pin him though, and the grappler herself can do some damage. Most PFS enemies aren't built to grapple though. Even the scary elemental would have gotten one attack per round on Iak by grappling (since it doesn't have Greater Grapple) versus two per round one of which was deflected by not grappling, so it would have been a wash save for the riposte (and the grapple would provoke an AoO to begin). Remember that the (improved) fighting defensive bonus does add to CMD, so the grapple probably won't be easy except for larger foes. A good number of things actually just wound up missing Iak flat out (or else he wouldn't have been anywhere nearly so safe).

Andoran

Gotcha. I'm going to agree with Maezer in that this is probably more of a problem with Master of Many Styles.

Normally you can't get this feat until 5th level, at which point nearly every enemy will have multiple attacks (either from BAB or from natural). Many will have multiple primary natural attacks, which means more than one attack at full bonus. Crane Wing by no means becomes a weak feat, but getting hit becomes much more common at this point.

The only reason my Crane Wing character doesn't get hit more often is that most enemies *stop attacking him* after the first round (sometimes before, if they've been spying). This relegates him to flanking buddy duty. Note that they stop attacking him as much because of the extreme AC as anything else, but even with that I've encountered enemies (at level 9) that could hit me on a 9 and had 5 primary natural attacks (and this assumes full-on rage-for-dex and fighting defensively). Not exactly something I can just take without getting some serious scratches. Oh, and those attacks all had grab, which screws the idea of crane wing entirely if even one lands.

Also note that Crane Wing only deflects *weapon* attacks, so combat maneuvers go straight through (unless performed with a weapon, I suppose). This means that mister big-and-bad can use a combat maneuver to ignore crane style.


StabbittyDoom wrote:

Gotcha. I'm going to agree with Maezer in that this is probably more of a problem with Master of Many Styles.

Normally you can't get this feat until 5th level, at which point nearly every enemy will have multiple attacks (either from BAB or from natural). Many will have multiple primary natural attacks, which means more than one attack at full bonus. Crane Wing by no means becomes a weak feat, but getting hit becomes much more common at this point.

The only reason my Crane Wing character doesn't get hit more often is that most enemies *stop attacking him* after the first round (sometimes before, if they've been spying). This relegates him to flanking buddy duty. Note that they stop attacking him as much because of the extreme AC as anything else, but even with that I've encountered enemies (at level 9) that could hit me on a 9 and had 5 primary natural attacks (and this assumes full-on rage-for-dex and fighting defensively). Not exactly something I can just take without getting some serious scratches. Oh, and those attacks all had grab, which screws the idea of crane wing entirely if even one lands.

Also note that Crane Wing only deflects *weapon* attacks, so combat maneuvers go straight through (unless performed with a weapon, I suppose). This means that mister big-and-bad can use a combat maneuver to ignore crane style.

These scenarios often did have a good number of attacks (it isn't a spoiler to say that PFS is famous for its overuse of ghouls and ghasts), but usually at a lowish bonus (which is why in Many Fortunes Iak got in big danger when the GM rolled a very lucky 20 20 19). For weenie mobs of enemies with many many low attack bonus attacks, the crane wing is mainly used to prevent the flukish high rolls and up your odds of going unscathed (but not guarantee them), rather than to make you invincible against a single attack from a single opponent. For a good statistical model, if you are being threatened by 12 attacks per round that need a 19 to hit you, you have a 28% chance of avoiding all the hits without crane wing but a 66% chance of avoiding all hits with crane wing.

There were only two encounters in my sample set with a large number of attacks at a high enough bonus to consistently hit my (underleveled) character. Note that while Iak himself never gets to level 5, he is fighting enemies from level 6-7 subtier near the end (and he once fought level 4-5 enemies at level 1!).

As to the crane style user not being attacked, positioning is key, but it obviously works best if you have the right team (read: a ranged team or a team that is willing to let you take a chokepoint even if it means they might not be able to get into melee). This came into play more and less in some scenarios (though in Mists of Mwangi, you're in a museum with small doors out into a narrow hallway, so we had this every time).

Also even without chokepoints, sometimes enemies with a lot of attacks on the full attack will not be willing to leave my threatened area (taking an AoO from me) to make a single attack on another ally (forfeiting its full attack) when it doesn't know quite how good my defenses are yet. This also doesn't work if you have another melee, but Iak rarely had another melee except the aforementioned rogue, who was very cautious and willing to hang back to preserve himself in lieu of dealing damage. When all else fails, there's also the case where the monster really does ignore Iak and drop all other allies so Iak has to solo it (and by that point it is forced to attack him as he's all that's left).


BYC wrote:

I just like to mention although PFS is a good format, I think it's an extremely easy format for the most part. This is even with 4 person tables.

I build optimized characters, and I've never really been close to death before except for the scenarios that are generally considered "hard" (somewhat subjective, but there are definitely certain scenarios were the fights were way tougher than normal). I used to think 20 point buys are a must, but I'm beginning to come around to 15 point buys. 20 point buys are really good for optimizing low level characters. It makes getting the 18 (or even 20) starting stat very easy, without any dumping needed at all.

I feel often times the writers try to use a strategy that's interesting, but ultimately not effective or efficient. Combined with being out actioned for the most part, lots of encounters are quite easy. The difficult ones are usually when the single opponent is over the top powerful or happen to have a good match up against PCs. Thankfully, new scenarios are better at encounters than the older ones. And I'm not just talking about the season 0 3.5 scenarios.

BYC--great insight. Thanks for this and sorry for skipping you for a bit. I would imagine that given the overall easiness of PFS scenarios in your experience, the most salient data points for you would be the ones where there was a TPK minus Iak and then he soloed the encounter, right?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Combat manuvers use hands, claws, tentacles, and the like, which all fall under the heading of weapons, and Crane Wing works fine against them. the feat does not say "manufactured" weapons, after all.

You can proclaim Fighting Defensively and not move or attack (I attack the air!). You get a lesser defensive bonus, but you can still take AoO's.

Full Defense is basically inverted Full Attack. You can't do ANYTHING but defend and take a 5' step.

I'll second the observation that getting this feat early does indeed help tons.

However, it's still valid at higher levels, if you have the feats to limit something to a standard attack action and deny them second attacks. Too, if you have a decently high AC, there's a good chance that you won't be hit anyways, so you're basically blocking the attack that does manage to hit you...and monks can get stupidly high AC by blowing a Ki point.

==Aelryinth

Andoran

Interesting. It sounds like you often had relatively optimal conditions for use of crane wing.

Once you get to the CR9+ range (which can happen even for a level 5 toon, though it's uncommon until level 7+) you run into very few medium or smaller melee mobs, giving them all reach and the ability to work around the defensive character rather easily.

Again, I'm not saying Crane Wing isn't good, but if you keep running into the nice situations to use it and you are okay with the loss in offense, you'll do MUCH better than normal with it.

My Crane Wing character got Crane Wing at level 7. They are now level 10 and I have still not hit double-digit deflections (note that this was like 4 months of weekly play, meaning <1 deflection per session on average). Enemies would attack with spells, use maneuvers, plain ol' miss or just attack the other party members first. I anticipate that its usage will actually drop over time as more and more enemies get crazy special abilities and spells.

A good feat, but not crazy. However, DEFINITELY better if you can get it early like the Master of Many Styles can. My character had to wait until level 7 to meet the BAB requirement.

Given the low number of deflections my character has done, and how good their to-hit is, I'm probably not gonna pick up Crane Riposte at 11 and instead go for something else.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I mean hey, negating the attack that's most likely to hit anyways is of tremendous use at all levels of play.

Anyways, to back up Aelryinth's bit about manufactured weapons

But to then bring it down...

Quote:
Disarm, sunder, and trip are normally the only kinds of combat maneuvers in which you’re actually using a weapon (natural weapons and unarmed strikes are considered weapons for this purpose) to perform the maneuver, and therefore the weapon’s bonuses (enhancement bonuses, feats such as Weapon Focus, fighter weapon training, and so on) apply to the roll.

From here.

Again, thanks for the information Rogue Eidolon, and for sticking your neck out for what surely will become an ugly post.

Andoran

Aelryinth wrote:

Combat manuvers use hands, claws, tentacles, and the like, which all fall under the heading of weapons, and Crane Wing works fine against them. the feat does not say "manufactured" weapons, after all.

You can proclaim Fighting Defensively and not move or attack (I attack the air!). You get a lesser defensive bonus, but you can still take AoO's.

Full Defense is basically inverted Full Attack. You can't do ANYTHING but defend and take a 5' step.

I'll second the observation that getting this feat early does indeed help tons.

However, it's still valid at higher levels, if you have the feats to limit something to a standard attack action and deny them second attacks. Too, if you have a decently high AC, there's a good chance that you won't be hit anyways, so you're basically blocking the attack that does manage to hit you...and monks can get stupidly high AC by blowing a Ki point.

==Aelryinth

You have a couple mistakes here.

1) Combat Maneuvers do NOT use weapons, even if you have natural attacks or IUS, unless you explicitly declare you are using that weapon for it (which has restrictions, generally sunder, disarm or trip only, but some weapons can do others). That said, if you use a weapon to perform the maneuver (like when sundering), I feel deflection would be valid in that case. I also agree that natural weapons can be deflected.

2) Full Defense is a standard action. Seriously. Go look at your book. Calling it a full-round is a very common mistake.


StabbittyDoom wrote:

Interesting. It sounds like you often had relatively optimal conditions for use of crane wing.

Once you get to the CR9+ range (which can happen even for a level 5 toon, though it's uncommon until level 7+) you run into very few medium or smaller melee mobs, giving them all reach and the ability to work around the defensive character rather easily.

Again, I'm not saying Crane Wing isn't good, but if you keep running into the nice situations to use it and you are okay with the loss in offense, you'll do MUCH better than normal with it.

My Crane Wing character got Crane Wing at level 7. They are now level 10 and I have still not hit double-digit deflections (note that this was like 4 months of weekly play, meaning <1 deflection per session on average). Enemies would attack with spells, use maneuvers, plain ol' miss or just attack the other party members first. I anticipate that its usage will actually drop over time as more and more enemies get crazy special abilities and spells.

A good feat, but not crazy. However, DEFINITELY better if you can get it early like the Master of Many Styles can. My character had to wait until level 7 to meet the BAB requirement.

Given the low number of deflections my character has done, and how good their to-hit is, I'm probably not gonna pick up Crane Riposte at 11 and instead go for something else.

I had supportive teams that knew I had crane wing and planned accordingly. I don't want to give my full opinion on Crane Wing in the playtest data, but suffice to say I do agree that Crane Wing will probably become less useful as time goes by (fortunately, Iak also has reasonable saves from the monk levels as well as Deflect Arrows for arrows and Snake Style for rays, even though he's never used Deflect Arrows due to lack of archer enemies and Snake Style he used successfully only once).

We did fight CR 9+ encounters (remember, Iak was level 4 but playing scenarios meant for level 6-7 characters). Still, your playtest data goes up to a higher level and is very useful. I think your character may have lower AC than Iak, though, since I think it would take an average CR 11 enemy to hit Iak's full AC on a 9 like you described for your Barb/MartialArtist (and hopefully Iak will have better AC than he currently does by the time he fights his first CR 11 enemy).


Cheapy wrote:

I mean hey, negating the attack that's most likely to hit anyways is of tremendous use at all levels of play.

Anyways, to back up Aelryinth's bit about manufactured weapons

But to then bring it down...

Quote:
Disarm, sunder, and trip are normally the only kinds of combat maneuvers in which you’re actually using a weapon (natural weapons and unarmed strikes are considered weapons for this purpose) to perform the maneuver, and therefore the weapon’s bonuses (enhancement bonuses, feats such as Weapon Focus, fighter weapon training, and so on) apply to the roll.

From here.

Again, thanks for the information Rogue Eidolon, and for sticking your neck out for what surely will become an ugly post.

I agree with you on the maneuvers Cheapy, rather than Ael.

I hope this thread doesn't get too messy, as I know the other threads were messy in the past but mainly due to requests of "see how it works in actual play" which could not be answered. Let's stay focused on adding and commenting on playtest data (like StabbityDoom's great contributions!) and I hope we'll do fine, in the spirit of the playtest thread I made for the Magus to separate out arguments with data that started the trend for the two separate subforums in future playtests. That thread gave me a lot of hope that Paizoians, even those with strong opinions who want to make sure their point as heard, can rally together and focus on playtest data analysis if you ask them to up front.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rogue Eidolon wrote:

As for grapple, it doesn't actually make you flat-footed any more in PFRPG (just a -2 to AC from the loss of Dex).

I apologize, I should have remembered that errata did actually occur. Still it forces your character to either not escape the grapple and have a reasonable chance of getting pinned (which would prevent your fighting defensively) vs the +5 penalty next round, or attempt to escape the grapple which would preclude you from fighting defensively.

And you really don't have to be designed to grapple to grapple. The T-Rex could have easily grappled you by using the grapple action rather than the attack action. Any Str based npc capable of hitting your AC is going to have a reasonable chance of sucessfully grappling.

Rogue Eidolon wrote:


A good number of things actually just wound up missing Iak flat out (or else he wouldn't have been anywhere nearly so safe).

I think this an issue of high AC rather than the crane style. Crane style does render the odd auto-hit null and void, but the fact is if your opponenents needs a 18+ to hit you, its probably not really a threat even if it does occasionally connect.


Maezer wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:

As for grapple, it doesn't actually make you flat-footed any more in PFRPG (just a -2 to AC from the loss of Dex).

I apologize, I should have remembered that errata did actually occur. Still it forces your character to either not escape the grapple and have a reasonable chance of getting pinned (which would prevent your fighting defensively) vs the +5 penalty next round, or attempt to escape the grapple which would preclude you from fighting defensively.

And you really don't have to be designed to grapple to grapple. The T-Rex could have easily grappled you by using the grapple action rather than the attack action. Any Str based npc capable of hitting your AC is going to have a reasonable chance of sucessfully grappling.

Rogue Eidolon wrote:


A good number of things actually just wound up missing Iak flat out (or else he wouldn't have been anywhere nearly so safe).
I think this an issue of high AC rather than the crane style. Crane style does render the odd auto-hit null and void, but the fact is if your opponenents needs a 18+ to hit you, its probably not really a threat even if it does occasionally connect.

The T-Rex was a skeleton, a mindless undead (i.e. Intelligence of -). Deviating from its tactics as listed in the module to grapple or something like that is majorly playing out of character on the part of the GM. As for the 18+ needed to hit--As I mentioned in my math for Stabbity above, even with 12 enemy attacks per round (more than you would usually encounter) that need a 19 on the d20 to hit me would have almost a 75% chance to get at least one hit without crane wing, dropping to 33% with crane wing. This gets better in favor of crane wing the fewer attacks per round.

This is really and truly an important drop when soloing an encounter at a particularly low level. Consider an enemy (or group of enemies) that attack six times per round and need an 18 to hit for like 10 points of damage per hit. Let's say it takes me 10 rounds to end the encounter myself (what with missing and the enemy being pretty high level, or maybe there are six different foes without a guaranteed one shot). On average, I will take 90 damage from this encounter before I can end it if I don't have Crane Wing (10 damage x 3/20 chance to hit x 6 attacks x 10 rounds). With Crane Wing, I expect to be hit slightly less than once every 4 rounds for a total of 22.5 damage over the 10 rounds. I can survive that 22.5 damage, but the 90 is just too much. So despite the 3/20 chance to hit, that encounter would be a very credible threat without Crane Wing, and let me tell you those numbers I quoted aren't too atypical.

Or I guess what I'm saying is that Crane Wing isn't just for the situations in previous threads where you use it on a single attack enemy to negate all attacks--it's a huge gain against a lot of inaccurate attacks that would eventually wear you down.


Maezer wrote:


Any Str based npc capable of hitting your AC is going to have a reasonable chance of sucessfully grappling.

Big strong monsters? Yeah, they could do it easily, but they usually lose more from grappling me (since they make only one attack per round instead of several) or have been mindless, at least so far.

But NPCs? Most NPCs get a reasonable amount of boost to their normal melee accuracy from their weapons (and possibly weapon focus or other such goodies) so their CMB for grappling will be lower than their to hit. My CMD is lower than my AC as well (for now at least), so that's probably a wash. However, even with a +5 that won't be such a sure thing for a non-grappler except maybe a raging barbarian, and if they fail that check at a +5, they lose the whole grapple. The pin is definitely a possibility. Trust me, some enemies have tried and I literally have feared it this whole time, so I know it's out there. But it hasn't happened yet.

Andoran

Thanks RE. I know people are still going to come in with their fingers in their ears going on about how this proves nothing and Crane Style is balanced.

As the examples show, he had more trouble at lower levels than higher. Even then, at Crane Style is a ridiculous feat at level 5 too. Note the number of times he solos entire encounters.

Andoran

Feral wrote:

Thanks RE. I know people are still going to come in with their fingers in their ears going on about how this proves nothing and Crane Style is balanced.

As the examples show, he had more trouble at lower levels than higher. Even then, at Crane Style is a ridiculous feat at level 5 too. Note the number of times he solos entire encounters.

I would like to see some playtests from an AP before I judge based on soloing encounters. As noted before, PFS encounters aren't that hard. Even with Crane Wing there aren't many encounters I would be okay with my character attempting to solo in the APs, and those are because it's lots of little dudes who will whiff all the time. The big guys? Yeah, not happening.

We recently fought a Froghemoth, for example, and without my party members I would have been a fine paste and done maybe 1/4 its HP. (Then again, I might have become a smear even with my party members if they didn't have such nice debuff/control abilities.) Even if I were level 13 (to match it's CR) I would be hesitant.

This character did (almost) solo a high CR encounter once, but that was prior to having Crane Wing and they *should* have lost horribly if not for really REALLY lucky rolls (something like: hit, crit, crit, hit, hit, hit, crit, crit, with the enemy failing the stunning fist save even with a great fort save). Even then there was *some* help from party members (buffs and debuffs that could be done without making the cheat obvious). Crane wing would have probably taken the fight from "Yup. You're dead." to "Well, you're probably dead."

They have not tried to solo anything since getting crane wing, for the very reason that it's a very dumb idea due to the lack of DPS on my character's part. Sure, it'll take them a few rounds, but they'll probably get me. Unless they're a caster (it's a superstitious barbarian toon).


StabbittyDoom wrote:


I would like to see some playtests from an AP before I judge based on soloing encounters. As noted before, PFS encounters aren't that hard.

If you feel PFS encounters are easy, you'll want to pay most attention to the data points where the on-level PCs nearly TPKed (who aren't chumps, though in Black Waters case the awesome Heavens Oracle got screwed by a worst-case setup vis-a-vis Color Spray) and then underleveled Iak still persevered, since those obviously were the harder ones. In my experience from APs, APs are not enough more difficult that they aren't more than countered by the amount to which Iak was playing up (for instance level 1 vs a scenario for 4-5 level PCs, level 3 on a 6-7, etc should be harder than an encounter for a 1st or 3rd level PC respectively in an AP).

Andoran

I'm pretty sure there is some kind of factor we're missing here. Obviously we have the factor that they're getting it very early.

Exactly how much did Iak push into dex to get their AC up? And how are they keeping their offensive options up?

A few disadvantages I see in Crane Wing (as compared to deflect, a widely considered fair feat I believe):
* The very action that is required to enable it makes it less likely to be needed.
* The enabling action forces a -2 attack penalty (reduced to -1 later).
* The character will not always have it on, leaving the feat dormant during surprise rounds and during movement (unless they strike something or do full defense first).
* Many creatures with melee attacks get multiple at full bonus (as opposed to ranged where they only get 1 or have lowered bonuses after the first).
* More pre-requisites, including one that makes it less likely you'll need the deflection (Dodge).

A couple advantages:
* Melee attacks are quite common, giving you more chances to use it.
* Does not have a size limit.

Looking at the above, it's hard to see the feat Crane *Wing* as the notably overpowered one, though its effect is the one that stands out.

But what about the other two feats:
* Crane Riposte reduces the to-hit penalty by one AND allows an AoO. Since you almost certainly will be fighting defensively, that's effectively a +1 to-hit with all weapons and a free attack every fight or so. Not bad compared to, say, weapon focus.
* Crane Style reduces the to-hit penalty of fighting defensively by 2, and increases the AC benefit by +1. This instantly turns the act into a better-than-even trade (as compared to Combat Expertise, which is an even trade and requires a feat as well). Having 3+ ranks of acro improves the trade-off to 2:1 (before counting Crane Riposte).

Even chalking some of the extra benefit to circumstance, the feats are probably 20-30% better than baselines like Weapon Focus. Each one of the three, that is. So if you take all three you're doing pretty good, at least on the surface.

The problem is that the Wing/Riposte pairing and the base style feat sort-of cannibalize each-other. Crane Wing/Riposte require that you fight defensively, which means the riposte is less likely to hit than another character's normal attack and it improves your AC, making the maneuver less likely to be an option in the first place. Not to mention that you are required to take Dodge, which makes it even less likely to have the maneuver be an option.

The anecdotes of this character soloing encounters are interesting, but I've seen 5th level characters luck out and beat up CR8s by themselves before. Sheer dumb luck helps a lot. Also, we aren't hearing how much damage your team had been doing to the creatures before they decided to flee. If they were all at half-health, it's hardly fair to say that you solo'd the whole thing. For example, one "solo" encounter you describe getting knocked out but healed up before the party fled, with those heals effectively negating the only non-melee asset of your opponents. That certainly affected things. It's not unheard of for a character to solo a weakened version of a CR+2-3 encounter that is practically tailored to attack their strengths instead of their weaknesses. Even relatively low-level spells, like Sound Burst, have a fairly good shot of screwing up such a character's day. 1 round of stun? Pretty brutal for this character (would probably drop their AC to 11-ish for the round about 50% of the time).

TL;DR - I'm not really convinced either way on this. They seem a tad strong, but not overwhelmingly so. I certainly don't see it exceeding the Power Attack bar. I'm pretty sure the main problem here is circumstance and the low level the character got the ability.


Great stuff Stabbity. I have answers and responses, but I'm GMing for PaxEast PFS today so don't have time to give them yet.

Cheliax

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

The other thing with Crane Style and combat maneuvers is this:

Once per round while using Crane Style, when you have at least one hand free and are either fighting defensively or using the total defense action, you can deflect one melee weapon attack that would normally hit you. You expend no action to deflect the attack, but you must be aware of it and not flat-footed. An attack so deflected deals no damage to you.

Crane Wing allows you to cause an attack that would hit you to do 0 damage. By RAW, that's all it does. A CMB check to grapple doesn't do damage, so I don't see how Crane Wing helps you against it. Same with other combat maneuvers, really.

You could also argue that attacks with a rider can be reduced to 0 damage, but may still apply the rider. Poison not so much, but energy drain...

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The only scenarios I haven't played on your list is Many Fortunes and Voice in the Void.

Every other listed scenario was easy. I was concerned by the huge croc in Mists, but it ended up being really easy.

Infernal Vault has tough parts, but it's really the final boss that's a problem if your party are all low levels.

Black Waters can be difficult without a cleric or a good fighting class, but otherwise it's not hard.

Party build matters a lot, and I'm not just talking about character selections but competence of players and characters.

2 Hydra's Fang's final encounter was extremely difficult, but my party also wasn't up to it.

Spoiler:
I basically did a Resident Evil replay since I was a gunslinger, and I was the only one left alive, but was still taking out ghouls left and right. I didn't care about dying. I wasn't going to let my pride take a hit because my party sucked. So I stayed back, maneuvered correctly, took some chances, and we all got 1 prestige and finished the scenario, although I was the only 1 actually alive. Everybody else died to ghouls.


BYC wrote:

The only scenarios I haven't played on your list is Many Fortunes and Voice in the Void.

Every other listed scenario was easy. I was concerned by the huge croc in Mists, but it ended up being really easy.

Infernal Vault has tough parts, but it's really the final boss that's a problem if your party are all low levels.

Black Waters can be difficult without a cleric or a good fighting class, but otherwise it's not hard.

Party build matters a lot, and I'm not just talking about character selections but competence of players and characters.

2 Hydra's Fang's final encounter was extremely difficult, but my party also wasn't up to it. ** spoiler omitted **

Tide of Twilight was easy on subtier 4-5!? It's one of the hardest scenarios I've seen in subtier 4-5. 1-2, not so bad (I've run it 1-2 no prob). 4-5, way harder. Also Voices is pretty darn easy at the lowest tiers but is actual not so easy at all at 6-7. All the other ones on my list weren't bad overall, per se, but if you look at the parties in total, they were often playing up at the minimum possible level (average level 2.5ish party playing 4-5, etc), which should explain to you why there were so many near-TPKs on the less-difficult ones.

Also Hydra's Fang on 1-2 was a cakewalk, so I'm guessing you mean a different subtier. It's important to know what subtier you played at when analyzing the scenario's difficulty, since sometimes one subtier is way off from the others (Subtier 3-4 of Perils for instance was not leveled up nearly enough from 1-2 and was a complete joke, whereas 6-7 seemed like it might have some actual challenge to it, perhaps).

On a completely unrelated note, @Stabbity--will respond later when I have enough time to give your long post justice.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Tales Subscriber

I plan to play my Master of Many Styles (Crane) monk through a number of scenarios this weekend so I will try to post my thoughts next week.


StabbittyDoom wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
Combat manuvers use hands, claws, tentacles, and the like, which all fall under the heading of weapons, and Crane Wing works fine against them. the feat does not say "manufactured" weapons, after all.

You have a couple mistakes here.

1) Combat Maneuvers do NOT use weapons, even if you have natural attacks or IUS, unless you explicitly declare you are using that weapon for it (which has restrictions, generally sunder, disarm or trip only, but some weapons can do others).

I would clarify this further...

I don't believe SD is correct re: Sunder/Disarm/Trip 'not using weapons... unless you explicitly declare so'. All of those are 'in place of attack' maneuvers... That means that you must be making an attack with a 'weapon' in the first place, in order to replace the 'normal' damaging attack with the maneuver attack... Attacks don't exist in some form-less generic state, they only exist with a specific form. If you aren't holding a weapon, those maneuvers would be delivered with UAS.

EDIT: Since Grapple/Bull-Rush/et-al (non-attack-substituted-maneuvers) DO count as 'attacks', I suppose it's plausible to use the appropriate action to initiate a Grapple/etc, and substitute a Trip/Disarm/etc for that attack... Which thus yields a 'weaponless Trip/etc'. Aside from that thouhg, you would be using a weapon/nat.weapon/UAS to deliver Trip/etc.

Ninjaguana wrote:
rules wrote:
Once per round while using Crane Style, when you have at least one hand free and are either fighting defensively or using the total defense action, you can deflect one melee weapon attack that would normally hit you. You expend no action to deflect the attack, but you must be aware of it and not flat-footed. An attack so deflected deals no damage to you.
Crane Wing allows you to cause an attack that would hit you to do 0 damage. By RAW, that's all it does. A CMB check to grapple doesn't do damage, so I don't see how Crane Wing helps you against it.

The FIRST bolded part is the relevant part, not the second (which just describes the effect, not 'what you can do' with the feat). The reason Grapple bypasses Crane Wing is NOT because it does not damage (Trip does no damage, and it can be deflected by CW), but because it isn't delivered by a weapon (including UAS). I believe the Whip Mastery Feat lets you make a Grapple attack via the Whip, and CW would be able to deflect that. Likewise, the Man-Catcher could be defleccted by CW, although the mechanic for that is an initial Touch Attack (which CW deflects) before the CMB check.


Correct me if I am reading that wrong, but using this logic you could use Crane wing to deflect melee touch spells coming at you because they require an attack roll as part of their casting. I certainly don't believe that this feat would encompass touch spells, just as I do not believe it is made to block CMs unless it was attached to a special attack like grab.


Matthias wrote:
Correct me if I am reading that wrong, but using this logic you could use Crane wing to deflect melee touch spells coming at you because they require an attack roll as part of their casting. I certainly don't believe that this feat would encompass touch spells, just as I do not believe it is made to block CMs unless it was attached to a special attack like grab.

Hey guys--the combat maneuver discussion is an interesting one, but I think it probably deserves its own thread. For the record, in my opinion, the only combat maneuvers you can block (excluding the grab ability and the like as you point out Matthias) are Sunder, Disarm, and Trip, as those are called out as using a melee weapon. No one has tried to sunder, disarm, or trip Iakhovas, though, so whichever way the ruling would go, it doesn't matter, and I wouldn't fault GMs if they wouldn't let him block those.

In any case, you certainly can't block a touch spell with Crane Style unless it's delivered via a weapon/natural attack (take that Magus!).


StabbittyDoom wrote:

I'm pretty sure there is some kind of factor we're missing here. Obviously we have the factor that they're getting it very early.

Exactly how much did Iak push into dex to get their AC up? And how are they keeping their offensive options up?

Iakhovas has 14 Dexterity and currently has 21 Strength (1 from a stat raise, 2 from a magic item--he started with 18).

Quote:

A few disadvantages I see in Crane Wing (as compared to deflect, a widely considered fair feat I believe):

* The very action that is required to enable it makes it less likely to be needed.
* The enabling action forces a -2 attack penalty (reduced to -1 later).
* The character will not always have it on, leaving the feat dormant during surprise rounds and during movement (unless they strike something or do full defense first).
* Many creatures with melee attacks get multiple at full bonus (as opposed to ranged where they only get 1 or have lowered bonuses after the first).
* More pre-requisites, including one that makes it less likely you'll need the deflection (Dodge).

The deflection is truly gravy, and as I've explained the point is to get yourself into the range where they need a high roll to hit you, so Dodge is actually very synergistic in that regard. I agree with everything else you say here.

Quote:


A couple advantages:
* Melee attacks are quite common, giving you more chances to use it.
* Does not have a size limit.

The bolded benefit blows away all the disadvantages by a landslide. I don't think Iakhovas has ever been attacked by something for which he can use his Deflect Arrows feat, which he also has (he got it at level 3). There was one bow-toting enemy just before he leveled up to 3, but she was like a druid with a bow or something weird like that and she had no accuracy, missing everyone. The difference between being usable in every encounter he has faced so far (even casters have had melee minions) and one encounters he has faced so far is stark indeed. Obviously, this is nearly the extreme case of 0/100%, but I wasn't even the one picking out these scenarios, so the rate of archery must be low enough that getting no arrows shot at you is possible. To be fair, I do know that some of the scenarios he was in had enemies with a back up bow or thrown weapon who were much better at melee but would shoot if the PCs were flying or keeping distance or whatever. We just never were really shot.

Quote:
Looking at the above, it's hard to see the feat Crane *Wing* as the notably overpowered one, though its effect is the one that stands out.

The problem is that the bolded advantage more than makes up for the disadvantages. However, you are right that the other two feats are also powerful.

Quote:

But what about the other two feats:

* Crane Riposte reduces the to-hit penalty by one AND allows an AoO. Since you almost certainly will be fighting defensively, that's effectively a +1 to-hit with all weapons and a free attack every fight or so. Not bad compared to, say, weapon focus.
* Crane Style reduces the to-hit penalty of fighting defensively by 2, and increases the AC benefit by +1. This instantly turns the act into a better-than-even trade (as compared to Combat Expertise, which is an even trade and requires a feat as well). Having 3+ ranks of acro improves the trade-off to 2:1 (before counting Crane Riposte).

Even chalking some of the extra benefit to circumstance, the feats are probably 20-30% better than baselines like Weapon Focus. Each one of the three, that is.

Ripose and Style certainly are better than Focus--heck, Riposte is better than Focus for my character even if you never get to make a counterattack (since he always fights defensively, so it grants a +1 to hit with any weapon).

Quote:
The problem is that the Wing/Riposte pairing and the base style feat sort-of cannibalize each-other. Crane Wing/Riposte require that you fight defensively, which means the riposte is less likely to hit than another character's normal attack and it improves your AC, making the maneuver less likely to be an option in the first place. Not to mention that you are required to take Dodge, which makes it even less likely to have the maneuver be an option.

Compared to the deflection, in normal circumstances the counterattack is a frill--a vanity. If your team is fine and well, you probably don't need to be getting that extra attack unless you like to compare DPS. If your team is all dead or incapacitated in the early fight, then chances are you'll be deflecting attacks since everything is attacking you at once. Which is good, since this is when you need the extra attacks.

Quote:


The anecdotes of this character soloing encounters are interesting, but I've seen 5th level characters luck out and beat up CR8s by themselves before. Sheer dumb luck helps a lot. Also, we aren't hearing how much damage your team had been doing to the creatures before they decided to flee. If they were all at half-health, it's hardly fair to say that you solo'd the whole thing.

It certainly isn't fair. So when the monsters were being damaged by my allies (like that earth elemental was) or they took any much-needed hits (again, like the earth elemental), I let you know in the descriptions by not mentioning soloing it. When I said I soloed it, I either did pretty much all the damage or else I tried to let you know how the others were adding to that (for instance, in one scenario, which I won't name to avoid spoilers, I mentioned that the ranger hit the ape--I think it was for about 4 of its Subtier 4-5 hp, which isn't much, and I wound up taking it far enough negative with my last hit that it wasn't needed).

Quote:
For example, one "solo" encounter you describe getting knocked out but healed up before the party fled, with those heals effectively negating the only non-melee asset of your opponents. That certainly affected things.

There was just one heal. Enough to get me up to positive. And I mentioned it in the description.

Quote:
It's not unheard of for a character to solo a weakened version of a CR+2-3 encounter that is practically tailored to attack their strengths instead of their weaknesses.

The problem is that almost every encounter is tailored to attack the strengths of a Crane Style character. Some of them were unweakened (for instance the skeletal T-rex he literally took on by himself while the others drank and joked, though they were there to back me up on the first round if things had gone worse) and probably more than CR +2 or 3 for him (since he was playing the scenario at a lower level than intended).

Quote:
Even relatively low-level spells, like Sound Burst, have a fairly good shot of screwing up such a character's day. 1 round of stun? Pretty brutal for this character (would probably drop their AC to 11-ish for the round about 50% of the time).

Save or sucks are certainly not fun, like the time he failed against the fear effect in the examples above. He's definitely not invincible or anything, particularly against such effects. However, with his two Monk levels multiclassed into Fighter, he has pretty much the best Fort saves in almost any party (barring a high Cha Paladin) and has non-terrible Will, and those are the two saves most often targeted for save or sucks (his Reflex is actually quite good, and with Evasion it avoids AoE damage).

I believe Iak's Stunned AC is generally 21 (22 once he gets a Ring of Protection +1, which is next on his list and I think he gets next scenario), though you get a +2 to attack a stunned opponent, so it would be effectively 19. Remember, he's a Monk/Fighter. He wears (enchanted) light armor and just loses out on the Wis to AC (a good tradeoff), Fast Movement (he doesn't have that), and Flurry of Blows (the archetype doesn't grant it).

Andoran

Yeah, I think when you round everything out, the part that makes crane style overall feel broken is the crane wing deflection. If you had just the style + riposte feats (and reworded riposte to "counter when the opponent misses you, uses up an AoO, max 1/round"), they would be strong but not solo-the-encounter inducing.

I suppose if archery were more common on the part of BBEGs, we might see Deflect Arrows getting more scrutiny as well. Sadly, however, nearly every BBEG ever is either a melee guy or a caster guy, and the occasional one is both. The only non-caster ranged BBEG I can remember seeing was one I foisted on my own players a few years back, and they were pretty good at melee too (and reverted to that when the players caught up a few rounds into the fight).

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

StabbittyDoom wrote:

I suppose if archery were more common on the part of BBEGs, we might see Deflect Arrows getting more scrutiny as well. Sadly, however, nearly every BBEG ever is either a melee guy or a caster guy, and the occasional one is both. The only non-caster ranged BBEG I can remember seeing was one I foisted on my own players a few years back, and they were pretty good at melee too (and reverted to that when the players caught up a few rounds into the fight).

Maybe try out The God's Market Gamble.


Jiggy wrote:
StabbittyDoom wrote:

I suppose if archery were more common on the part of BBEGs, we might see Deflect Arrows getting more scrutiny as well. Sadly, however, nearly every BBEG ever is either a melee guy or a caster guy, and the occasional one is both. The only non-caster ranged BBEG I can remember seeing was one I foisted on my own players a few years back, and they were pretty good at melee too (and reverted to that when the players caught up a few rounds into the fight).

Maybe try out The God's Market Gamble.

You know Jiggy, I was just about to post that too.

Stabbitty, I agree with your assessment.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I played it a few weeks ago. Had a group of seven PCs (levels 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, and 3) playing up into subtier 4-5. Had someone drop on each of the first four rounds. My wife's "sacred touch" trait suddenly got a lot of use. :P

Cheliax

Heh, I ran that last weekend. The party even included a monk with Crane Style. Oddly enough, I didn't find his feat selection to be overpowered in the slightest...


Ninjaiguana wrote:
Heh, I ran that last weekend. The party even included a monk with Crane Style. Oddly enough, I didn't find his feat selection to be overpowered in the slightest...

Heh, in that scenario Deflect Arrows would instead be a huge power boost. That's why Iak has both, just in case something like that should happen. He actually also has Snake Style to give himself a chance to avoid touch spells by rolling Sense Motive (in theory it can avoid non-touch attacks as well, but in practice if an attack hits my full AC, my Sense Motive bonus isn't high enough to beat that attack).

Grand Lodge

How did you manage to get Crane Riposte at level 3?

"At 1st level, 2nd level, and every four levels thereafter, a master of many styles may select a bonus style feat or the Elemental Fist feat. He does not have to meet the prerequisites of that feat, except the Elemental Fist feat. Alternatively, a master of many styles may choose a feat in that style’s feat path (such as Earth Child Topple) as one of these bonus feats if he already has the appropriate style feat (such as Earth Child Style). The master of many styles does not need to meet any other prerequisite of the feat in the style’s feat path. "

This does not say you may ignore feat requirements for regular leveling up feats, only for your bonus feats at 1st 2nd and then 6th and so on.

Am I wrong in this? If not, do you think this notably changes your experience with crane style?

Hmm.. Could you instead play a human monk, take dodge as your level 1 feat, crane style as bonus human, crane wing as monk bonus feat, and then crane riposte at 2?


Jerus wrote:

How did you manage to get Crane Riposte at level 3?

"At 1st level, 2nd level, and every four levels thereafter, a master of many styles may select a bonus style feat or the Elemental Fist feat. He does not have to meet the prerequisites of that feat, except the Elemental Fist feat. Alternatively, a master of many styles may choose a feat in that style’s feat path (such as Earth Child Topple) as one of these bonus feats if he already has the appropriate style feat (such as Earth Child Style). The master of many styles does not need to meet any other prerequisite of the feat in the style’s feat path. "

This does not say you may ignore feat requirements for regular leveling up feats, only for your bonus feats at 1st 2nd and then 6th and so on.

Am I wrong in this? If not, do you think this notably changes your experience with crane style?

Hmm.. Could you instead play a human monk, take dodge as your level 1 feat, crane style as bonus human, crane wing as monk bonus feat, and then crane riposte at 2?

Jerus, I did exactly as you've suggested except that my second level was Fighter for flavor reasons. Hence, I got Monk 2 (and thus Riposte) at level 3.

Shadow Lodge

Thanks for the information . I am playing an urban barbarian who is mimicking a duelist using these feats and Dervish Dance. At level 9 I will be taking Ripost. I am level one right now so I don't have any of it yet. It is nice to know its advantages and disadvantages. (though I am looking forward to combining it with Come and Get Me at high levels). I may post a over view of it in a few months when I get higher level. I think it will be fun.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Necro!

I played with Crane Style just this past Saturday, so I wanted to chime in on this.

I signed up for a game day which I later noticed was only seating one table. I asked about levels and determined that my 4th-level cleric I was hoping to play would end up having to play down into subtier 1-2, as it was a four-man party with two 1st-level PCs (one of them brand-new to the Pathfinder system, the other with a whopping two scenarios under his belt) and a 3rd-level oracle.

So, I took a GM Credit Baby slot and built a 2nd-level melee guy. Fun fact: for any Style feat path that doesn't involve Elemental Fist, you can complete it in exactly three levels by starting with one level of Unarmed Fighter and then two levels of Master of Many Styles Monk. Without spending any of your normal feats.

So, I made a half-elf (using alternate racial traits for +2 Will and the ability to activate wands/scrolls as a 1st-level sorcerer) Fighter1/Monk1 with the aforementioned archetypes.

STR 18
DEX 14
CON 12
INT 10
WIS 12
CHA 11

I was wearing a masterwork chain shirt, so I had an AC of 19 while fighting defensively. I fought with a temple sword, attacking (defensively) at +4 to hit for 1d8+4.

We played Severing Ties.

Severing Ties:
The first fight was against some reefclaws (on land). I stood in the front and never got hit. There was a natural 20 on a death spasm attack, but I just said "no thanks". I was also the main damage dealer in that fight. (The relative newbie is probably about to get a lot stronger, though - he had apparently been unaware of the existence of Weapon Finesse, and was playing a DEX rogue with 8 STR.)

Then there was the basilisk (can't deflect a gaze!). Fortunately, the GM was lenient on that, due to not wanting to squash a couple of newer players. The oracle's obscuring mist didn't hurt, either. ;)

And finally, there was a statue. A statue which, at subtier 1-2, scaled down for 4 players, has two slam attacks at +10 (!) to hit for 1d8+OhCrap damage.

The 1st-level cleric took an AoO and went straight from full HP (8) to -3. The oracle played healer, and the 8 STR rogue made a couple of 1d4-1 sling attacks before moving into the flank for some dagger attacks at +1 (after adding the flanking bonus) for 1d4-1+1d6.

Meanwhile, the statue mysteriously focused all its non-AoO attacks on the guy who could deflect one per round. *cough*mercifulGM*cough* A couple rounds in, the statue managed to get both d20s to roll a 9 or higher, and I dropped from full HP (17) to somewhere around 5 or 6 HP. The oracle rolled high on a cure spell, I took a slightly smaller hit, and then the GM finally went back to keeping one d20 per round at 8 or lower, so I took no further damage. I did most of the damage, but the rogue managed the killing blow with his very first sneak attack of the session. :)

So on the one hand, it felt incredibly strong. On the other hand (the one with all the bruises from deflecting a statue's slam attacks!) we'd have TPK'd without my Crane Wing...ing. (In fact, even WITH it, we'd have TPK'd without the oracle keeping me up.)

So, do with that info what you will. :P


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thanks for the info.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

No problem. I'm curious if anyone else has data to add, particularly Rogue Eidolon.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm currently playing a MoMS in a non-PFS low magic campaign. Because it's low magic, we were given a LOT of points so this may have given an advantage to the MAD classes (we have this monk and a paladin).

I did not take Deflect Arrows. I did not start with a level of Fighter(unarmed) so I still don't have Crane Riposte at level 6, but I'm planning to take it at level 7. I don't have Stunning Fist OR Flurry (archetypes traded them away).

The nutshell version is that I just don't do very much damage (except for the one good smack I sometimes get in by winning initiative and using dragon style) especially compared to the paladin, so my usual role is to provide a flanking buddy for the rogue or to guard the paladin's back. I have a magic item that will cast shield once a day that has saved my bacon at least once when the bad guys had a spell-caster who figured out that Magic Missile was his best hope to take me down (after he'd taken care of our sorceror and decided to ignore the cleric who was stuck on the other side of the raging torrent we'd been trying to cross). Blasted fellow also got away because he could fly.

I've found that I'm vulnerable in the surprise round or if I've charged in the first round of combat (because I used Dragon Style instead of activating Crane Style). However, this limitation will disappear at 8th level when I can activate more than one style in the same swift action. In one battle I was rear-guard and was held up for almost six turns trying to dispatch a lowly mook who couldn't hit me, but I couldn't hit either (because of the fighting defensively penalty combined with lousy rolling).

EDIT: There was also a room full of burning skeletons that did fire damage to you simply by proximity. We fled from them until we could come back with the cleric loaded with "resist energy" spells. And a trap that the Paladin found the hard way that would have killed my monk if I'd have been the unlucky one to trigger it. Oh, and the vanishing ninjas that attack from invisibility. Can't deflect what you can't see, and I haven't been able to spare a feat for blindfight. And the spider swarms. The rogue now has arachnaphobia.

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I had thought that I'd have issues hitting, too. After all, +4 to hit at 2nd level is fairly low. (Luckily, I was rolling hot on attacks, consistently hitting ~15 on the die.) But now, at 3rd level, my penalty went down (thanks to Crane Riposte), I gained a point of BAB, and I took Weapon Focus. Now I'm at +7 to hit, which is pretty darned solid for 3rd level, especially considering the extra attacks I get via Crane Riposte.

So much for that being a drawback. :/

Oh, and I can activate sorc/wizard wands, and low-level sorc/wiz scrolls.

And starting next level, I can take high-skill classes if I want, so that I can be a skill-monkey too.

And my saves are fantastic, and I have Evasion.

So... Yeah.


I should point out that both exemplar characters are pretty damn tricked out (in the optimisation stakes)...

...anyone used Crane Style on a single class core Monk?

(Snake Style tree on a Monk-Shadowdancer is nice, 100s od AoO but its still an issue to hit anything...)


I've been unable to get Iak up to level 7 yet, which is when he gets a large offensive boost to the tune of +4 to hit (due to qualifying for those Duelist Gloves). Thanks for the interest, Jiggy! I don't have too many more stories of Iak, due to confounding data (unlike many of my data points above and your own Severing Ties datapoint, some of Iak's more recent playing-up adventures involved a very competent party that would have probably won if I hadn't shown up that day, with or without me). But his journey to the Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment was particularly...well, enlightening.

Iak was played up whenever possible. I never pressured a team to play up because I have 10 characters, so I just played Iak when playing up would make a legal table and played someone else otherwise. I intentionally didn't play up Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment because we were near APL 3 and I had previously TPKed a team on that scenario, so I wanted to protect my poor poor party. And well that I did.

ToEE:
Most of the scenario is roleplay. That went well enough, but then we made it to the zombies. The GM was...something special. We started by opening the boarded door to the crypt as the GM would not allow us to remotely trigger the statue trap with rocks or the like, which we found but could not disarm. When we saw the zombies, Iak took the chokepoint and told everyone not to go past him into the room. The greatsword fighter ignored Iak and barreled in, cut down immediately. Iak then held the door for one round (and the zombies rolled low and should have had no reason to suspect Crane Wing yet) at which point, the GM essentially had the zombies somehow auto-disarm the trap instantly, auto pry open the door to the garden from the statue hall instantly, and come behind the party. This despite that the area with most of the cultists overlooked the garden, and they could now clearly see the zombies, who were ordered to stay out of sight. I told everyone to go past me into the room, and I held the outside of the door to the garden. The GM had the zombies just go back into the crypt to attack the others. Now I was the only one hurting them. The others were all just hiding. But the GM really wanted his zombies to do some more damage, I guess. The ignored the only person attacking them and tried to get the squishies. I moved to guard the other door, and the zombies headed back to the garden. If you're wondering how they moved about so fast, the GM gave them extra movement I think--in fact, the GM was also giving them an attack each time they moved like this, despite the distance involved. I was just deflecting and dodging the attacks, and making AoOs when they tried combat maneuvers. Anyways, at this point I switched doors and had them bar the other door. The GM started bashing down the other door. So I had them huddle in a corner and stood where I could threaten any zombie who went to the corner. We finally took them down. Certain TPK without Iak, but with Iak we literally took no damage except the impetuous fighter. Later Iak pulverized the BBEG with a well-timed auto-confirm crit courtesy of bless weapon.

Devil We Know 3 had a very unfortunate battlefield for a certain boss...

DWK3:
Iak was level 4 playing up to 6-7 here. Our team also had a level 3 Barbarian and a level 6 Oracle and then someone else I can't remember doing anything. Nothing in the early encounters could hit through Crane Style and Crane Wing, so we made short work of them. The little crypt full of mooks (just before the last room) was particularly egregious because it had a chokepoint.

But the crown jewel of Crane Style unfairness was comboed with the oracle. I ran up to Ghoulirio Teppish, and he full attacked me, learning the error of that choice due to Crane Wing. Ghoulirio is pretty strong in melee otherwise, and he also has some nasty spells. If you own the scenario, check the map. The fact that I went after him in melee pinned him into a single square on the map, a perfect dead-end. The Oracle cast silence on me, and at that point, Ghoulirio lost all his spells and spell-likes as well and the battle was over. He tried to get past me to no avail.

Our Lady of Silver:
This adventure is already trivial except the Erinyeses. However, Iak was a level 5 playing up to 8-9. Deflect Arrows helped vs the Erinyeses, who decided to use unholy blight, since that actually hurt Iak. It couldn't keep up with cleric channeling and we eventually won. We certainly needed Iak that time, but mainly for Deflect Arrows since the real threats were archers. Before that, I crane style tanked the entire eight dervishes with no damage taken. The ogres were so crappy they couldn't hit me anyway, so I wound up grappling the sorcerer.

GS we just didn't need me.

Golden Serpent:
Also played up as a level 5 in an 8-9. They could have won this without Iak. Iak was never in danger, and he did take the point, but no one was really in too much danger. The final boss took a while to kill but never had people in any real threat, despite her debuffs. Her damage wasn't high enough.

For the Heresy series, there is either better or worse evidence from a confound--Iakhovas inspired a disciple, a Dawnflower Dervish bard who also had Crane Riposte, and she joined him.

Heresy Part 2:
Level 6 in the 8-9. The whole scenario we curbstomped with two crane stylers. Even though this one I know to be deadly (I killed 4 when I ran it) and a favorite of the infamous Kyle Baird, the opposition just had no chance. I angered Verdizaam Charaad, and even with incredible rolls on the GM's part, I didn't go down (though I did need healing once mid fight, for the third time in Iak's career, since she rolled 19+ on all three attacks first round).

Heresy Part 3:
We easily took care of the fights up to the end with two Crane Stylers. Iak finally failed an important save vs blasphemy despite a reroll, and didn't participate there, since he was only level 6 so paralyzed the whole fight. The wizard just filled the Cruelest Cut with the enervates he had saved for the whole adventure due to previous curbstomping and that was that.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Funky Badger wrote:
I should point out that both exemplar characters are pretty damn tricked out (in the optimisation stakes)...

Dunno the details of Rogue Eidolon's build, but mine sure doesn't feel "tricked out". It's almost exclusively Core/UC (i.e., no obscure splats or anything), there are no corner-case/gray-area rules interpretations required, no clearly unintended interactions happening, etc.

It's just "Hey look, these feats exist. I'll use them. Hey look, these archetypes in the same book give me those feats for free. I'll use them."

Aaaaaand that's about it. No mental gymnastics or other telltale signs of "tricked out" builds required. Just using content for exactly what it was intended for. Seriously, I threw this build together in an evening.

Which perhaps says something about those feats/archetypes...?

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