Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Can you declare Power Attack at any time during a full attack?


Rules Questions

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Let's say I have a fighter with Power Attack and +11 BAB. I'm fighting something with a pretty high AC, and although I'm confident my first attack will hit if I don't use Power Attack, and I know my second attack has a chance, I'm pretty sure my last attack will miss unless I roll a natural 20.

Can I make my first two attacks without Power Attack, and then turn it on only for my final attack?


Mergy wrote:
Can I make my first two attacks without Power Attack, and then turn it on only for my final attack?

Power Attack (Combat): "You must choose to use this feat before making an attack roll, and its effects last until your next turn."

As long as it's before an attack roll, you can choose to use Power Attack. Once you do, it lasts until your next turn.

So if you turn it on before your last attack in a full-attack, it stays on for AoOs etc until your next turn begins.


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

Power Attack (Combat)

Quote:

You can make exceptionally deadly melee attacks by sacrificing accuracy for strength.

Prerequisites: Str 13, base attack bonus +1.

Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +2 bonus on all melee damage rolls. This bonus to damage is increased by half (+50%) if you are making an attack with a two-handed weapon, a one handed weapon using two hands, or a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls. This bonus to damage is halved (–50%) if you are making an attack with an off-hand weapon or secondary natural weapon. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every 4 points thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the bonus to damage increases by +2. You must choose to use this feat before making an attack roll, and its effects last until your next turn. The bonus damage does not apply to touch attacks or effects that do not deal hit point damage.

It doesn't say you must choose before your first attack roll, just that once you choose which attack roll to turn it on with, all attacks before your next turn are affected by it.

So yes.

You can even turn it on during an AoO.

Grand Lodge

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

Reread the text. you must chose to use the feat before making an attack roll AT ALL. It's pretty much all or nothing.

You however can use Furious Focus to negate the penalty for the first attack.


LazarX wrote:
Reread the text. you must chose to use the feat before making an attack roll AT ALL. It's pretty much all or nothing.

I use a full round action to full-attack.

I make my first attack. Before I make the attack roll, I choose not to use Power Attack.

I make my second attack. Before I make the attack roll, I choose not to use Power Attack.

Before my third attack, I choose to use Power Attack. I am choosing to use the feat before making an attack roll.


No. RAW, Power attack affects all melee attacks in any given round until your next turn. There is a 3rd party feat that allows this called Adjust Power Attack. But as is, no, you cannot. May I suggest Furious Focus to negate the penalty for the first attack with Power Attack. Then the Vital Strike tree if feats to deal additional weapon damage when using a single attack. This also increases your mobility since vital strike uses only a standard action.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sean talked about this here.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think it COULD be interpreted either way, but I don't think the reason for that sentence is "before making any attack at all" - if that were the case it would say that, or at least refer to it based on turns ("before making an attack roll this turn" or whatever). Because otherwise, you can never use it if you've EVER made an attack roll.

I think the reason for the sentence is to explicitly disallow people from first rolling, realize they hit by a wide margin, and THEN activate power attack to take the penalty. It's of course obvious you can't do that to us who've played the game for quite some time, but they tend to be more explanatory with low-level feats and abilities so new players understand them.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thanks Cheapy. I was looking into Power Attack and the manoeuvre master monk, and wondering if Power Attacking would cause him to take the penalty on his flurry of manoeuvres. Turns out it doesn't have to as long as he makes his manoeuvres first.


Dawsjax wrote:
No. RAW, Power attack affects all melee attacks in any given round until your next turn.

There is nothing in RAW that says this or even suggests it. RAW says "you can choose" and "before making an attack roll".

Meaning you choose which attacks, if any, the feat affects. Once you turn it on, however, it affects every attack after that until your next turn.


Barry Armstrong wrote:
Dawsjax wrote:
No. RAW, Power attack affects all melee attacks in any given round until your next turn.

There is nothing in RAW that says this or even suggests it. RAW says "you can choose" and "before making an attack roll".

Meaning you choose which attacks, if any, the feat affects. Once you turn it on, however, it affects every attack after that until your next turn.

The word "all" in the feat description seems pretty clear to me.


Besides, if it did not affect everything, the feat Furious Focus would be completely useless.


If it does NOT refer to "before any one attack" and instead refers to "before any attack at all", since it doesn't mention turns it can only work once ever at all. Because then it's not before any attack at all.

Dawsjax wrote:
Besides, if it did not affect everything, the feat Furious Focus would be completely useless.

EDIT: Didn't read FF closely enough. But it's still not useless, though it encourages you to have PA on the entire round.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dawsjax wrote:
The word "all" in the feat description seems pretty clear to me.

So you're saying you can never turn it off? That's ridiculous.

It affects all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks from the point in which you choose to use the feat, until the start of your next turn.

The RAW is clear, you can turn it on before an attack roll. As long as it's before an attack roll, you can turn it on.

And we know that's the RAI, too, because SKR said so.

Dawsjax wrote:
Besides, if it did not affect everything, the feat Furious Focus would be completely useless.

Except if you don't turn on power attack before your first attack, you don't get the damage bonus.

And if you do turn it on before that first attack, because you want the damage bonus, then Furious Focus means you don't take the penalty on that attack.

Option A) Three attacks, activate PA before third attack. Result: Only third attack takes PA penalties and gains PA damage bonus. With this option, FF doesn't do anything.

Option B) Three attacks, activate PA before the first attack. Result: All three attacks gain PA damage bonus. FF means the first attack takes no PA penalty, but the other two attacks do.

In both cases any AoOs made before the start of your next turn will suffer the PA penalty, and gain the PA damage bonus.


Agreed, the AoOs are affected either way. And point taken on furious focus. My point is the Power Attack feat description has the word "all" in it. Yes, you can turn it off, on your next turn. But it's all or none. It never says at any point during a full attack, it just says "all".


It doesn't say you can turn it off on your next turn. If one interprets "all" that way (as in "all you make" rather than "all that are affected by the feat") it affects all attacks you make - now and in two years time.


Dawsjax wrote:
My point is the Power Attack feat description has the word "all" in it. Yes, you can turn it off, on your next turn. But it's all or none. It never says at any point during a full attack, it just says "all".

You don't turn it off, it has a duration. "its effects last until your next turn."

The feat does what it says from the time you choose to use the feat until your next turn. During that time, all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks take penalties and you can a bonus on melee damage rolls.

You don't take those penalties or gain those bonuses before you choose to use the feat.

You don't take those penalties or gain those bonuses after the effects of the feat have ceased.

Did you miss SKR saying how it worked that way? Here it is again:

I can't find anything in the rules that says you have to activate PA before your first attack of your turn, or on your turn at all. Thus, you could activate it between your primary attack and your offhand, or your primary and your 1st iterative, or between your last iterative and an AOO. All are valid options. Some are poor choices, but they are still valid choices.


Ilja, the fear also says "the effects last until your next turn". All is all in one turn.


Dawsjax wrote:
Ilja, the fear also says "the effects last until your next turn". All is all in one turn.

Cleave (Combat): "When you use this feat, you take a –2 penalty to your Armor Class until your next turn."

That penalty lasts until your next turn.

It doesn't apply before you use the feat. If you start your turn, take a move action, provoke, you don't take a -2 penalty on AC for that AoO, because you haven't yet used the feat. Once you do use Cleave, then you take the penalty, and it lasts until your next turn.

Power Attack is exactly the same way. Once you use the feat, you take the penalty (and gain the bonuses) until your next turn.


If they are the same, why are they worded differently? I may be wrong, and that's okay, but I still read all as all. You either turn it on at the start of your turn, or before you make a standard attack action, or you don't. Cleave is differen because it affects both attacks and AC. Power Attack only affects attacks.


Dawsjax wrote:
I still read all as all. You either turn it on at the start of your turn, or before you make a standard attack action, or you don't.

Is there a particular reason you're interpreting "all" to mean every attack from the start of your turn to the start of your next turn, instead of meaning every attack from the time you choose to use the feat until the start of your next turn?

It works both ways.

And since it specifically says you can choose to use it before making an attack roll, that means you can choose to use it before making any attack roll.

That only works one way.

So: SKR's version works both with "all" attacks and with "Before an attack" while your version has extra unprinted rules that say it only works with the first attack roll each round.


Dawsjax wrote:
My point is the Power Attack feat description has the word "all" in it. Yes, you can turn it off, on your next turn. But it's all or none. It never says at any point during a full attack, it just says "all".

Yes you "can" interpret it that way, but it doesn't explicitly say that you HAVE to turn it on before you make a full attack action - meaning that "all" could ALSO be interpreted as "all attacks you make from now until the beginning of your next turn."

RAW doesn't specify either of these as being true, so it can reasonably be interpreted either way. HOWEVER, as Cheapy pointed out, SKR who is a Pathfinder GAME DESIGNER, confirmed that you CAN choose when to activate it during your attack sequence, meaning that Grick's explanation is correct. If you want to ignore the ruling of a game designer, that's fine, but the ACTUAL final verdict of the ruling is basically non-debatable now with that confirmation.


Dawsjax wrote:
Ilja, the fear also says "the effects last until your next turn". All is all in one turn.

Yes, so which is more specific? The sentence dealing with activation/deactivation or the sentence saying "all"? I vote for the latter. Which means activate before any attack.

Silver Crusade

Dawsjax wrote:
No. RAW, Power attack affects all melee attacks in any given round until your next turn. There is a 3rd party feat that allows this called Adjust Power Attack. But as is, no, you cannot. May I suggest Furious Focus to negate the penalty for the first attack with Power Attack. Then the Vital Strike tree if feats to deal additional weapon damage when using a single attack. This also increases your mobility since vital strike uses only a standard action.

It would be helpful to see this 'Adjust Power Attack' feat.

I came to Pathfinder from all previous editions. From 3.0, where Power Attack was introduced, it was always 'all or nothing'. Nothing in the wording or the PF version of PA made me think it was different. It's quite a surprise to see another interpretation.

Furious Focus seems to support the all or nothing stance. If the author of FF thought you could start PA in the middle of a full attack, surely FF would work on the first power attack?


Well, after reading the forum Cheapy posted (thanks!) and seeing Sean's interpretation. I humbly stand corrected. Agitated as well though since I've been playing this wrong for a while. Though I wish the first sentence left out the word "all" to avoid future confusion. Thank you all, sorry to waste your forum space.


Dawsjax wrote:
Though I wish the first sentence left out the word "all" to avoid future confusion.

If it didn't say "all" then you could choose individually which attacks use the feat and which attacks don't. The design is that, once you decide to use power attack, all further attacks that turn take the penalties and gain the bonuses.

Otherwise people would want to use PA for their first attack (which is likely to hit even with the penalty) and then not use PA for the other attacks (which need the extra chance to hit).

Shadow Lodge

Power Attacking on your first attack is the largest return on investment. Deciding to start Power Attacking later will generally only hurt you. Since there's nothing in the description that prevents activating later on, it lasts the rest of your turn, and it's generally a bad idea, I see no problem allowing it.


It's a close case, but I think the RAW stands on the side of "you can activate it on any particular attack roll" rather than "you can only activate it on the first attack roll of your turn". So, say you have 3 iterative attacks. You could activate it on the first attack and gain the benefit through all 3 attacks and any AoOs until your next turn starts. Or, you could wait until your second iterative to activate it. Furious Focus eliminates the first power attack penalty that applies so if you wait until your third iterative before activating Power Attack, Furious Focus will remove the penalty from your third iterative (first attack using power attack). If it were intended to be used at the beginning of your attack, it would specify something along the lines of "Must be declared before your first attack roll of the turn."


How are you guys ignoring the first part that says "YOU CAN CHOOSE" ?!? The word "all" in that context means all melee attacks following the activation. Otherwise, what's the point of a choice at all?

If it meant the other way around, it would say "You take a ...." in the first sentence, not "You can choose to take a ...." which would clearly make it apply to every attack.

Or, alternatively, the last sentence would say "You must choose to use this feat before ANY attack rolls are made (or before your first attack roll is made)".


Barry Armstrong wrote:

How are you guys ignoring the first part that says "YOU CAN CHOOSE" ?!? The word "all" in that context means all melee attacks following the activation. Otherwise, what's the point of a choice at all?

If it meant the other way around, it would say "You take a ...." in the first sentence, not "You can choose to take a ...." which would clearly make it apply to every attack.

Or, alternatively, the last sentence would say "You must choose to use this feat before ANY attack rolls are made (or before your first attack roll is made)".

Well, if it said "You take a", then it would be always on. That's what the Choose part is about. You can either attack using Power Attack or without.

I'd always read the "You must choose to use this feat before making an attack roll" to mean before making any attack. It's valid English to read it that way. The other interpretation also seems reasonable.

In 3.x it was "before making attack rolls for a round". I suspect that was still the intent, but I don't think it's game-breaking. As the OP said, a minor advantage when your last attacks need a 20 to hit anyway.

I don't think SKR spoke to intent, just that he'd looked at the text and didn't see anything requiring to be before the first attack, so I could still go either way.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:
In 3.x it was "before making attack rolls for a round". I suspect that was still the intent, but I don't think it's game-breaking.

Pathfinder is not 3.X. But you're right. Either way is not game-breaking.

SKR most definitely spoke to intent when he said you could use it "between" your primary and iterative attacks. But if you guys are going to pick apart the semantics of RAW and shoot down the RAI from the game designer, then I'm done arguing.


Barry Armstrong wrote:
thejeff wrote:
In 3.x it was "before making attack rolls for a round". I suspect that was still the intent, but I don't think it's game-breaking.

Pathfinder is not 3.X. But you're right. Either way is not game-breaking.

SKR most definitely spoke to intent when he said you could use it "between" your primary and iterative attacks. But if you guys are going to pick apart the semantics of RAW and shoot down the RAI from the game designer, then I'm done arguing.

When I said he didn't speak to intent, I meant he didn't say "Yeah I remember we wanted to change that from 3.5", he said "I can't find anything in the rules that says..."

IOW, he's doing the same thing we're doing. Looking at the text and interpreting it.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Why is this thread still going full-force? This has been answered by the devs, and matches what's written. There is no need for a FAQ or re-wording. Cheapy already posted this link once higher up the thread. Let it go.

Shaun K Reynolds says the answer is YES


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Cheapy wrote:
Sean talked about this here.

Interesting. I've always interpreted it as all or nothing.

Learn something new every day.


Dude. He's the effing game designer. His interpretation may as well be written down as either official clarification or errata.

Take this as you will, but quoting old data from old versions does not speak to intent either. Trust me, I interpret regulations for a living. I get paid to pick apart semantics and read into context. For my particular job, I am the interpretation authority when something is "fuzzy".

For Pathfinder, that man's name is Sean Reynolds.

Taking cartmanbeck's advice and letting it go. RAW and RAI have been answered.

Andoran

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

It is worth keeping it in the first page for a while.
I, like RD, have always used it the other way, as a all or nothing decision you take before the first attack in your round.
Discovering that it work differently, especially that it can be activated during a AoO, make a big difference.

Combine it with the clarification about two weapon fighting, with the penalty that don't apply to AoO.

And the possibility to use a appropriate double weapon as a two handed weapon during an AoO.

That make a lot of difference.

Sczarni

Dawsjax wrote:
Well, after reading the forum Cheapy posted (thanks!) and seeing Sean's interpretation. I humbly stand corrected. Agitated as well though since I've been playing this wrong for a while. Though I wish the first sentence left out the word "all" to avoid future confusion. Thank you all, sorry to waste your forum space.

I'm in the same boat as you - I've been deciding before my first attack roll on a full-attack whether or not to apply Power Attack - but I wouldn't call our intrepeation wrong. It's still a valid option.

This thread has shown me that it's not the only option.

However, my gut tells me that it's still most beneficial to use the feat on your first attack at the highest iterative BAB. I'm sure there is someone better at Math then me or my gut who could lay out the scenarios when turning it on for the last iterative attack only is the best option (or a better option)...


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

Krodjin, the first attack will generally be the best use of this feat...except in the situation that spawned this question: maneuver master monk who didn't want to take the penalty to the attack rolls for his CMs.


yup, or anybody else using full-attack-able CMB's.


I'm relieved, at least, to see I wasn't alone in the way I was playing it. Lol

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Rules Questions / Can you declare Power Attack at any time during a full attack? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.