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Cleaving finish


Rules Questions

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Ok, here's the situation:

I strike with an unarmed strike, I hit.
I am holding a polearm in my hand as well, so I cleave to someone at range.

Can I do this? Rules Reference?

Thanks.

Grand Lodge

Anyone?


Well, there's no hard rule to apply here for or against it.

To me it doesn't seem unbalancing as you're not actually getting any more attacks than you should, just stretching the versatility of your feat a bit.

However, it definitely violates the flavor of the feat.

Cleave: "You can strike two adjacent foes with a single swing."

Cleaving Finish: "When you strike down an opponent, you can continue your swing into another target."

And, it seems like it might fall into "rechecking conditions" from the editor's note:

"Can I take a 5-foot step in the middle of my attempt to use the Cleave feat, to bring another foe within reach?

No. Cleave is a special action and the conditions for that action are checked at the moment you begin your action. At that moment, all of the available targets are checked to make sure they adjacent to each other and within reach. You cannot take a 5-foot step in the middle of the action and check conditions again. If you do not have two targets within reach, adjacent to each other at the start of the attack, you could not even attempt to make an attack using Cleave."

You could argue that because Cleave et al. are meant to build off of a single standard action, you can't try and switch weapons in between from an unarmed strike to a polearm, even if you are already holding the polearm.

Ultimately, I think this just has to be GM's call. I'd probably allow it myself after looking at your build to make sure it doesn't do something else inadvertent.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

My feeling has always been that cleave is a continuation of a hitting attack, so you have to cleave with the weapon that struck the initial blow.


It doesn't violate the wording of the feat at all. I would only say that if you are fighting with it in one hand and the reach weapon in the other it begs the question of needing to have 2 weapon fighting. Does it incur those penalties and could a monk flurry like this. If only holding it I would say it was fine, if trying to sneak in the extra attack...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

By RAW there's no conclusive answer one way or another. I wouldn't allow it though because it goes against whan I believe the feat intends.

Short answer? Ask your GM.

Grand Lodge

Well, I have a level in Monk, so based off that the first attack can be made with anything: A monk's attacks may be with fist, elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk may make unarmed strikes with his hands full.

I gave up flurry though, so thats a non-issue.

Yes, the flavor text obviously says no, but the wording of cleaving finish seems like it would allow it, though Cleave does not seem like it would work.

Ok, I forgot to mention (and probably posted this in the wrong place) this is for society play, which is why I ask. Some GM's seem fine with it, but last night was the first time an issue came up. He argued the flavor text while I argued the mechanical purpose. As its Society I believe RAW is king unless stated otherwise.

Thanks.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Not at my table basically.


Doesn't pass the cheese test. The whole idea of cleave is that it is one mighty swing that hits / kills a bunch of enemies.

Looking solely at the rules: Nothing in cleave says that you can't do as you say. However, I would also apply a two-weapon fighting penalty to this maneuver since you are using both unarmed combat and a weapon. So in the end you are actually punishing yourself more by doing this.


Lab_Rat wrote:
However, I would also apply a two-weapon fighting penalty to this maneuver since you are using both unarmed combat and a weapon.

I'm sorry but this has absolutely nothing to do with two-weapon fighting what-so-ever.

A fighter with 5 attacks could make an attack with 5 different weapons and not be 'two-weapon fighting' let alone whatever you might call 'five-weapon fighting'.

-James


james maissen wrote:
Lab_Rat wrote:
However, I would also apply a two-weapon fighting penalty to this maneuver since you are using both unarmed combat and a weapon.

I'm sorry but this has absolutely nothing to do with two-weapon fighting what-so-ever.

A fighter with 5 attacks could make an attack with 5 different weapons and not be 'two-weapon fighting' let alone whatever you might call 'five-weapon fighting'.

-James

The fighter with five different weapons wouldn't be able to get more then one attack with one weapon if he wants to switch weapons, because getting the second weapon out is a move action and that limits his attack to a standard action.


I say who cares about the flavor text. If your doing the attacks on multiple opponents, whether it's multiple strikes or one big swing. It's not their business telling you how you have to do something, because the game is supposed to be abstract.

Silver Crusade

Ed Wiscombe wrote:
james maissen wrote:
Lab_Rat wrote:
However, I would also apply a two-weapon fighting penalty to this maneuver since you are using both unarmed combat and a weapon.

I'm sorry but this has absolutely nothing to do with two-weapon fighting what-so-ever.

A fighter with 5 attacks could make an attack with 5 different weapons and not be 'two-weapon fighting' let alone whatever you might call 'five-weapon fighting'.

-James

The fighter with five different weapons wouldn't be able to get more then one attack with one weapon if he wants to switch weapons, because getting the second weapon out is a move action and that limits his attack to a standard action.

You could with Quick Draw!

I'm confident that James had Quick Draw in mind the whole time!

: )


I still wouldn't allow more then a second weapon being used, maybe a third if i'm feeling generous. even with quick draw it takes some time to draw that weapon


Malachi is correct. I can make 5 iterative attacks with 5 different weapons if I chose to (and had the proper BAB).

Example:
Level 16 fighter with Haste would have BAB: 16/16/11/6/1.

Attack with first weapon
Drop (free action)
Quickdraw second weapon(free action)
Attack with second weapon
Drop
Quickdraw third weapon

etc etc.

- Gauss


Ed Wiscombe:

Then you are using a houserule. It has been FAQd that multiple weapons are fine when using iterative attacks.

Also, how would you deal with quickdraw throwing weapon builds? If you are limiting the number of Quickdraws to 3 'if generous' then you are nerfing those builds.

Now, that is not to say you can use multiple weapons on a cleave. I agree that the flavor is 'one weapon'. However, I think the RAW makes no such restriction. But I can see a GM going with the fluff in this case and limiting it to a single weapon.

- Gauss


My answer is yes, a monk could cleave an adjacent foe with a polearm after hitting one with an unarmed strike, since they can use lots of things for their unarmed strikes. Normally just their body; but my test for flavor is, what would work in a movie? And since we're talking about a monk, in a martial arts movie, you could swing your longspear (or whatever you have proficiency with from your other class) to knock out one guy with the handle, then continue on to stab a guy next to him (but a little further away). And it doesn't hurt anything if the blow with the polearm's handle JUST HAPPENS to use the same stats as an unarmed strike.

So that's how I'd roll if someone argues flavor text, when the RAW is on my side. Hit them with cinema. ;)


Like I said earlier, I'm inclined to go with it since I'd have to really nitpick to disallow it. But if I saw a build that somehow abused it (not that I can imagine one off the top of my head), I could make a RAW argument against it.

Cleave

Editor's Note wrote:

Can I take a 5-foot step in the middle of my attempt to use the Cleave feat, to bring another foe within reach?

No. Cleave is a special action and the conditions for that action are checked at the moment you begin your action. At that moment, all of the available targets are checked to make sure they adjacent to each other and within reach. You cannot take a 5-foot step in the middle of the action and check conditions again. If you do not have two targets within reach, adjacent to each other at the start of the attack, you could not even attempt to make an attack using Cleave.

So in the case of your cleave attempt, conditions for your action were checked when you attacked with an unarmed strike and valid targets were checked per an unarmed strike, not per a polearm attack. In other words, you can't change your primary attack method and check again, quick draw/free actions/whatever be damned when doing cleave attacks.

But yes, from a what makes sense in reality and adds to the fun and flavor of the game, I think it should work and the feat itself says nothing directly contradictory. If it's not breaking the game, I see no reason to call you on it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber
Sauce987654321 wrote:
I say who cares about the flavor text.

Me.


Well now, don't dismiss me out of hand. You want more reasoning? When you start an attack, you've got to pick your primary attack if you're fighting with more than one weapon, yeah? Naturally you've got to pick that at the start of your attack or you could just just say I made my primary attack with my polearm, now I'm making my primary attack with my unarmed strike. Doesn't work. So since you've declared that, those are the conditions we're under. You could say that we're threatening with our off-hand pole-arm, I suppose, but that would destroy your attack bonus.

I realize it's a bit of a stretch, but I think it's a valid point. This whole situation is reaching one way or another.


OneHandedSquire wrote:
So in the case of your cleave attempt, conditions for your action were checked when you attacked with an unarmed strike and valid targets were checked per an unarmed strike, not per a polearm attack. In other words, you can't change your primary attack method and check again, quick draw/free actions/whatever be damned when doing cleave attacks.

If you really want to go RAW RAW, they don't say anything about the same attack method. Just "within reach". And a monk with a long polearm has two different reach distances.

Edit: It appears that you caught my off-hand comment before I regretted it and deleted it. Apologies.


Ed Wiscombe wrote:
I still wouldn't allow more then a second weapon being used, maybe a third if i'm feeling generous. even with quick draw it takes some time to draw that weapon

You don't even need Quick Draw to attack with five different weapons in a single round, you just need to be a fighter level 20 with haste, a weapon in each hands, armor spikes, a barbazu beard and the ability to perform unarmed strikes.

Also, I believe that your house-rule that is all about nerfing Quick Draw is a very bad idea. According to this house-rule, a character specialized in throwing daggers wouldn't be able to throw more than 2 or 3 daggers per round. Why do you want to nerf Quick Draw so much? Why? :\


No worries. Believe me, I really don't want to go RAW RAW.

Yeah, thinking about it there's nothing that says "same attack method," but I do think that block throws a little bit of doubt on the notion. I do think the RAI should allow this, I'm just trying to point out the benefits of being a wary GM, I guess.

Grand Lodge

See, I had assumed that with the editors note on Cleave that you couldn't change attack methods in the middle of a cleave, but cleaving finish actually has very different wording.

LOL, I don't think its really got any broken cheese. The build I'm going for took a lot of finagling in PFS, with the limited levels and all, but basically its a Fighter type rogue (skulking slayer/scout) who use Surprise follow through/Charge/feint to get lots of sneak attacks, though he doesn't actually get his first rogue level till next level, because it took so many feats. Now, if Surprise Follow through could be used on Cleaving Finish, I do see how it could "potentially" be broken, unfortunately surprise follow through specifically says Cleave only.

So RAW (and probably RAI) I see no reason that it shouldn't be allowed on cleaving finish. I was actually going to get quickdraw so at some point I could potentially drop my falchion and continue swiping at mooks with the bec de corbin, or vice versa. Luckily I see now that apparently quickdraw is considered broken by some as well, so I might skip that path as well.

I was just hoping for some closure. Thanks for all the input so far.

Grand Lodge

From Core rule book FAQ

Multiple Weapons, Extra Attacks, and Two-Weapon Fighting: If I have extra attacks from a high BAB, can I make attacks with different weapons and not incur a two-weapon fighting penalty?
Yes. Basically, you only incur TWF penalties if you are trying to get an extra attack per round.
Let's assume you're a 6th-level fighter (BAB +6/+1) holding a longsword in one hand and a light mace in the other. Your possible full attack combinations without using two-weapon fighting are:
(A) longsword at +6, longsword +1
(B) mace +6, mace +1
(C) longsword +6, mace +1
(D) mace +6, longsword +1
All of these combinations result in you making exactly two attacks, one at +6 and one at +1. You're not getting any extra attacks, therefore you're not using the two-weapon fighting rule, and therefore you're not taking any two-weapon fighting penalties.
If you have Quick Draw, you could even start the round wielding only one weapon, make your main attack with it, draw the second weapon as a free action after your first attack, and use that second weapon to make your iterative attack (an "iterative attack" is an informal term meaning "extra attacks you get from having a high BAB"). As long as you're properly using the BAB values for your iterative attacks, and as long as you're not exceeding the number of attacks per round granted by your BAB, you are not considered to be using two-weapon fighting, and therefore do not take any of the penalties for two-weapon fighting.
The two-weapon fighting option in the Core Rulebook specifically refers to getting an extra attack for using a second weapon in your offhand. In the above four examples, there is no extra attack, therefore you're not using two-weapon fighting.
Using the longsword/mace example, if you use two-weapon fighting you actually have fewer options than if you aren't. Your options are (ignoring the primary/off hand penalties):
(A') primary longsword at +6, primary longsword at +1, off hand mace at +6
(B') primary mace at +6, primary mace at +1, off hand longsword at +6
In other words, once you decide you're using two-weapon fighting to get that extra attack on your turn (which you have to decide before you take any attacks on your turn), that decision locks you in to the format of "my primary weapon gets my main attack and my iterative attack, and my off hand weapon only gets the extra attack, and I apply two-weapon fighting penalties."

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