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Why are Combat Maneuvers so frowned upon?


Advice

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Quote:
The difference between CMB scaling and CMD scaling? Less than 7%

Except your build right there assumes some pretty meaningful investment into CMB to pull that off... and even then barely managing to keep up while doing it. Not exactly impressive.

Without special investment it looks a lot worse too. A level 1 full bab character with 18 strength and no other investment can hit that 14 CMD on a 9 and successfully, let's say grapple, the target.

At level 20 that same character needs a natural 20 to grapple the 52-54 CMD.

9 vs 20. Orfamay's assertion seems pretty clear to me.

In other words, using your numbers CMD rises by about 40 points going from level 1 to level 20. In that same time frame a character's attack bonus is only going to rise by 27 or 32 for weapon based maneuvers (which turns into 23 or 28 for 3/4th BAB). Even that's assuming maximum investment in primary attribute, which isn't necessarily true either.

Scarab Sages

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ShroudedInLight wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
ShroudedInLight wrote:

This is because, just like how benefits to hit apply to CMB, so do penalties. Growing larger boosts your CMB and CMD, but also decreases your base chance to hit. Thus it is only a net boost to CMD. Growing smaller reduces your CMB and CMD, but boosts your chance to hit. Thus it is only a net loss of CMD.

That is why tiny fey can be just as adept at disarming as a hill giant.

No. The attack penalty for size isn't applied to CMB. Look at the Hill Giant from the bestiary. CMB 15, from BAB 7, Strength +7, Size +1. Also, larger creatures tend to have much higher Strength and only slightly lower Dexterity - anything with the Giant template is going to have significantly better CMB.

Really? The hell, why is that excluded? Attack penalties hit CMB just like buffs boost CMB. Arrrrr.

That not being consistent bothers the hell out of me.

You're misunderstanding something. You DO apply the same modifier to both attacks and CMB... it is just the modifier is different for each activity. For a large creature their size modifier is -1 for a regular attack... but it is a +1 for combat maneuvers. Thus it IS applied to both... it just isn't a penalty to CMB.


But the modifier isn't different, things that benefit/penalize attack rolls have the exact same effect on CMB rolls. Weapon focus with a weapon gives you plus one to hit, if you use that weapon to perform a combat maneuver it provides you with +1 to that maneuver.

Combat Expertise and Fighting Defensively, same sthick. Other various bonuses to hit such as Bless, Haste, Prayer, and what have you all boost your bonus to hit. Debuffs like Shaken apply a penalty to your chance to hit, and that also applies to CMB rolls.

Why would Size modifier be the only source in the entire game where a negative modifier to your chance to hit doesn't confer an equal penalty to CMB?

I understand that is how it is, but then it is unarguably inconsistent.


swoosh wrote:
Except your build right there assumes some pretty meaningful investment into CMB to pull that off... and even then barely managing to keep up while doing it. Not exactly impressive.

By "pretty meaningful investment" you mean "actually taking Improved/Greater Trip and prerequisites?" What other investment into CMB did that build make?

swoosh wrote:
Without special investment it looks a lot worse too. A level 1 full bab character with 18 strength and no other investment can hit that 14 CMD on a 9 and successfully, let's say grapple, the target

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. Let's not shift the goalposts here. I'm talking about Trip and other Combat Maneuvers which benefit from weapon bonuses (like Sunder and Disarm). Sure, if you remove +5 from weapon enhancement, +2 from (Greater) Weapon Focus, and +4 from Weapon Training a difference of 11 on a d20 makes a huge difference.

And if your next statement is "Well, Weapon Training and Greater Weapon Focus is Fighter specific" then fine, that's +5 "lost" which takes us down to 39 as a "baseline" rather than 44.

...except a Barbarian's Mighty Rage adds another 4 (for a difference of one) and can use Rage Powers like Strength Surge on top of that.

...and a Ranger can apply stuff like Favored Enemy.

...and a Paladin can Smite or use other bonuses.

etc.

Grand Lodge

Adding my 2 cents.

A Tetori monk built around grapple and Trip with Ki Throw and Ki Bind can be absolutely devastating.

You can trip everything regardless of size by spending ki, get to reposition the enmy anywhere adjacent to you, then get a free grapple check, and once you've got greater grapple at lvl 6 you can attempt to pin in the same round.


Never mind CMD, how many CR 20 enemies actually can be tripped?

List from d20pfsrd:

Must be size Huge or larger to trip:
Bandersnatch, Magicbane (CMD 57, 65 vs Trip)
Daemon, Olethrodaemon (CMD 54, 58 vs Trip)
Kami, Jinushigami (CMD 55)

Must be size Gargantuan or larger to trip:
Behemoth, Thalassic (CMD 64)

Impossible due to fly speed or no legs:
None of the various dragons, of course
Aeon, Pleroma
Asura, Asurendra
Demon, Balor
Devil, Pit Fiend
Div, Akvan
Agathion, Draconal
Grim Reaper
Inevitable, Lhaksharut
Kyton, Eremite
Linnorm, Tarn
Nightshade, Nightwave
Oni, Void Yai
Psychopomp, Yamaraj
Qlippoth, Iathavos
Rakshasa, Maharaja
Star-Spawn of Cthulhu

The higher level you get, the more enemies can fly, for the simple reason that players have been flying since level 5 (3 if you count levitation) and many monsters are much weaker at range than in melee. A ranged build with Ace Trip can get past the restriction on tripping flying creatures (and even deals your normal damage with the attack on top of it), but notably does not remove the size restriction, and piles even more feats onto an already feat-intensive combat style. Also some of these creatures have the explicit line "cannot be tripped", which probably trumps any feat or class feature that might otherwise allow you to work around the restrictions.

It just goes back to the a common RPG dilemma regarding actions in combat other than damage: If you can render a boss helpless with one action it trivializes the fight, and it's usually more efficient to just kill minions outright.

Grand Lodge

Eh, not many games play to the level where they'll be fighting CR 20 enemies. For example, in PFS where the level caps at 12 Combat Maneuvers can be very effective.

And as for flying enemies, if your character can't do anything but Combat Maneuevers you built wrong.


Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Eh, not many games play to the level where they'll be fighting CR 20 enemies. For example, in PFS where the level caps at 12 Combat Maneuvers can be very effective.

People were talking about level 20, so I figured it was appropriate to point out. Again, the higher you go the more enemies have flight, for the same reason most higher-level enemies have special senses so they aren't turned into a joke by something like Invisibility.

At least Combat Maneuvers do work well against Medium Humanoids With Manufactured Weapons.


My (theorycrafted) Zero-Investment Combat-Maneuver Barbarian:
Initial Strength: 20
At level 10:
No CMB-specific feats
BAB 10. Raging with Bull's Strength or Belt +4: Strength 30
Weapon Focus in a +2 Furious reach weapon.
CMB with rage and weapon-based maneuver: +25
Average CR10 Monster CMD: 32(?) (need a 7, even with no buffs)
Average CR10 NPC CMD: 25 (only fail on a 1 even with no buffs)
Generally he will try to trip appropriate opponents from outside their reach so he doesn't draw AoOs.
He drinks a lot of potions of Enlarge Person. This increases his CMB by a further 2 and improves his reach so he can trip large creatures without provoking.
If the opponent seems resistant to combat maneuvers, he just attacks normally.

Scarab Sages

ShroudedInLight wrote:

But the modifier isn't different, things that benefit/penalize attack rolls have the exact same effect on CMB rolls. Weapon focus with a weapon gives you plus one to hit, if you use that weapon to perform a combat maneuver it provides you with +1 to that maneuver.

Combat Expertise and Fighting Defensively, same sthick. Other various bonuses to hit such as Bless, Haste, Prayer, and what have you all boost your bonus to hit. Debuffs like Shaken apply a penalty to your chance to hit, and that also applies to CMB rolls.

Why would Size modifier be the only source in the entire game where a negative modifier to your chance to hit doesn't confer an equal penalty to CMB?

I understand that is how it is, but then it is unarguably inconsistent.

Size modifier is different because of what it is representing. It gets applied different to the fly and stealth skills, CMB, AC and Attack. As each application is different it requires a different adjustment. It is easier for a giant to grapple a human than for a human to grapple a giant... but not harder for a human to hit a giant with an arrow. And the larger the disparity in size the larger the difference those two activities will have.

If they were the same... then the smaller the creature attempting the maneuver and the bigger the creature the maneuver was attempted on... the more likely it would be to succeed. Instead of the other way around as it is now.


Athaleon wrote:

Never mind CMD, how many CR 20 enemies actually can be tripped?

** spoiler omitted **

The higher level you get, the more enemies can fly, for the simple reason that players have been flying since level 5 (3 if you count levitation) and many monsters are much weaker at range than in melee. A ranged build with Ace Trip can get past the restriction on tripping flying creatures (and even deals your normal damage with the attack on top of it), but notably does not remove the size restriction, and piles even more feats onto an already feat-intensive combat style. Also some of these creatures have the explicit line "cannot be tripped", which probably trumps any feat or class feature that might otherwise allow you to work around the restrictions.

It just goes back to the a common RPG dilemma regarding actions in combat other than damage: If you can render a boss helpless with one action it trivializes the fight, and it's usually more efficient to just kill minions outright.

Delicious Flying Trips Ace Trip


Athaleon wrote:
Impossible due to fly speed or no legs:

Fly speed doesn't make something impossible to trip, they actually have to be, y'know, flying. Hence why it says "Flying creatures" and not "Creatures with a Flight Speed."

So something like a Dragon, Balor, Pit Fiend, etc, is entirely trippable when it's on the ground.


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

Does a prone creature need to spend a move action to stand up before it can fly away? Or can it just "fly out of the prone position?"


Ravingdork wrote:
Does a prone creature need to spend a move action to stand up before it can fly away? Or can it just "fly out of the prone position?"

Nothing says you have to be standing to fly, or that the Prone condition prevents flight.

So, you can simply fly up. Of course, that still requires movement, which means it would still provoke as normal.


My two cents:

Any character whose cmb to grapple (for example) gets outscaled by monsters' cmd isn't building for grapple. Example builds that have been posted have shown cmb's appraching required levels with no optimization or specialization. (it was a vanilla fighter, for pete's sake) Proper class, magic item, and feat selection should result in success vs anything you can get close to.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Does a prone creature need to spend a move action to stand up before it can fly away? Or can it just "fly out of the prone position?"
Nothing says you have to be standing to fly, or that the Prone condition prevents flight.

Superman agrees with you.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Nothing says you have to be standing to fly, or that the Prone condition prevents flight.

On the flip side, the rules do say

"Creatures that take lethal damage from a fall land in a prone position."

So if a Balor crashes into the ground and lands prone on his back (and thus on his wings) I'm hard pressed to see how he'll start flapping them and fly off without needing to stand up. (and yes, you could argue that he lands on his stomach or on his side, whatever, it doesn't technically say what prone means)

Frankly, the rules for prone aren't exactly clear or condensed. For example, nothing in the prone condition says you can't move normally:

"The character is lying on the ground. A prone attacker has a –4 penalty on melee attack rolls and cannot use a ranged weapon (except for a crossbow). A prone defender gains a +4 bonus to Armor Class against ranged attacks, but takes a –4 penalty to AC against melee attacks.

Standing up is a move-equivalent action that provokes an attack of opportunity."

But if we look at the rules for crawling:

"You can crawl 5 feet as a move action. Crawling incurs attacks of opportunity from any attackers who threaten you at any point of your crawl. A crawling character is considered prone and must take a move action to stand up, provoking an attack of opportunity."

The reasonable conclusion is that you can only crawl while prone. But it says that a crawling character is prone, not that prone characters can only crawl.


Can't the Balor on its back roll onto its stomach and then fly. Changing the direction you are facing is free isn't it?


I agree that CMs is something you want some amount of investment in one or two of them. I've seen excellent trippers and grapplers. My TWF Tengu Barbarian is great at disarming. But you really should have a backup plan. Kalas uses Wounding weapons to stack the bleed, and his archetype hands out teamwork feats in rage so when he does fail to disarm, his target provokes AOs from his allies that also get free disarm attempts if they hit. Gooood times...


What you guys are not considering:

A flying creature cannot be tripped, yes, but often cannot be melee attacked either. That does not prevent the Barbarian from taking Raging Brutality, right?

Then specializing in one Maneuver does not mean you have to do that and only that for the rest of your life. Because, you know, there are maybe between 2 and 5 feats for each maneuver, enough room to take power attack and other stuff required to do damage (not much more from what I heard...) as well.

No need to throw away your greataxe when a dragon comes flying.


Daw wrote:
Can't the Balor on its back roll onto its stomach and then fly. Changing the direction you are facing is free isn't it?

The rules don't say anything about whether prone is on your stomach, back, side, or anything else. I would argue, however, that a creature which physically uses its wings to fly needs to be standing in order to launch itself into the air. Something that levitates via magic would not have such a restriction. But that's RAI since there's no RAW on the matter (and if anyone wishes to argue that the lack of RAW means you can fly from prone I'm curious what you think of moving your normal speed while prone -- in both cases the rules don't say you CAN'T, technically).


Aren't there rules for crawling? Maybe you could do a flying crawl where your body is cramped somewhat so you can't extend all the way.


Balkoth wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Nothing says you have to be standing to fly, or that the Prone condition prevents flight.

On the flip side, the rules do say

"Creatures that take lethal damage from a fall land in a prone position."

So if a Balor crashes into the ground and lands prone on his back (and thus on his wings) I'm hard pressed to see how he'll start flapping them and fly off without needing to stand up. (and yes, you could argue that he lands on his stomach or on his side, whatever, it doesn't technically say what prone means)

Frankly, the rules for prone aren't exactly clear or condensed. For example, nothing in the prone condition says you can't move normally:

"The character is lying on the ground. A prone attacker has a –4 penalty on melee attack rolls and cannot use a ranged weapon (except for a crossbow). A prone defender gains a +4 bonus to Armor Class against ranged attacks, but takes a –4 penalty to AC against melee attacks.

Standing up is a move-equivalent action that provokes an attack of opportunity."

But if we look at the rules for crawling:

"You can crawl 5 feet as a move action. Crawling incurs attacks of opportunity from any attackers who threaten you at any point of your crawl. A crawling character is considered prone and must take a move action to stand up, provoking an attack of opportunity."

The reasonable conclusion is that you can only crawl while prone. But it says that a crawling character is prone, not that prone characters can only crawl.

Too bad the rules are abstract on what you land on. In the same vein that the rules are abstract on which direction that you, as a character, face. By RAW, you see in all directions (and by relation, the universal monster ability called "All-Around Vision" should be possessed by everything).

Honestly, if you were going to argue against "Flight while Prone," the best thing would've been to say "You have to take the Stand Up action to remove the Prone Condition, which Flight by itself doesn't do." But even then, you'll be hard-pressed to find a GM who'll bend to that line of reasoning.


MageHunter wrote:
Aren't there rules for crawling? Maybe you could do a flying crawl where your body is cramped somewhat so you can't extend all the way.

Nothing in the Prone condition says you can't move normally:

"The character is lying on the ground. A prone attacker has a –4 penalty on melee attack rolls and cannot use a ranged weapon (except for a crossbow). A prone defender gains a +4 bonus to Armor Class against ranged attacks, but takes a –4 penalty to AC against melee attacks.

Standing up is a move-equivalent action that provokes an attack of opportunity."

Nothing about needing to crawl, RAW.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Honestly, if you were going to argue against "Flight while Prone," the best thing would've been to say "You have to take the Stand Up action to remove the Prone Condition, which Flight by itself doesn't do." But even then, you'll be hard-pressed to find a GM who'll bend to that line of reasoning.

Actually, I'd argue that being prone restricts your movement to crawling. If you want to do any other form of movement it'll cost SOME action.

You could stand up and move/run.

You could stand up and fly.

You could crawl 5 feet into a nearby pool of water and start swimming the NEXT turn.

But there's a cost in some form.

And in the games I'm currently running, I'm going to go with that ruling (for now). If a dragon gets tripped and is crumpled on the ground, it needs to take an action to right itself if it wants to take off.

Dark Archive

Unfortunately, to be good enough at combat maneuvers to make it worth trying, especially at high levels, you have to really focus on it. You have to have full bab (or be able to buff yourself to full bab equivalent quickly), a high str, all the feats you can get to improve the maneuver, and magic items that improve cmb/cmd. Even then, it's pretty iffy to land them on full bab/high str opponents. They work best against humanoids who aren't melee brutes.


Lore Warden is basically the combat maneuver master.


I think it would be better if you were playing a city campaign or something dealing with primarily humanoids. Just to hard to trip etc. something huge or bigger.


Jurassic Pratt wrote:

Eh, not many games play to the level where they'll be fighting CR 20 enemies. For example, in PFS where the level caps at 12 Combat Maneuvers can be very effective.

And as for flying enemies, if your character can't do anything but Combat Maneuevers you built wrong.

I have 13 PFS characters, 5 of them are over level 12. 2 level 15's, 1 level 14, and 2 level 13. PFS doesn't end at 12.

As far as the topic at hand, combat maneuvers require an investment but I disagree that the are OP. If you made the same investment in a greatsword it'd be dead instead of disarmed.


The biggest problem about combat maneuvers is that they use the same stats and resources as regular attacks - What I mean is: If you are good at combat maneuvers, you will probably be able to land some damage as well (the builds are somewhat similar). Very few of the combat maneuvers are better than straight damage, and even then it's extremely situational.
Even if you can land a combat maneuver, you're wasting time, you could have dealt damage instead.


We should make a list of when is the right time to CMB and which is just to attack. example party surrounding a boss that full attacks for a ton trip could be worth it here as long as you are sure you can't kill him.
one more example.
Fighting another fighter sunder weapon should equal win.


Vidmaster7 wrote:

We should make a list of when is the right time to CMB and which is just to attack. example party surrounding a boss that full attacks for a ton trip could be worth it here as long as you are sure you can't kill him.

one more example.
Fighting another fighter sunder weapon should equal win.

Honestly, I'm not sure about Sunder ever really being that useful a maneuver compared to its brethren.

Weapons have hardness and HP to deal with, and highly magical weapons have a lot of it. It seems faster and easier just to invest in the ol' disarm, and instead of breaking the guy's weapon and having to fix it yourself after he's dead, you can knock it far away and beat up on him when he tries to go retrieve it. Disarm also works on non-weapon things you want the bad guy to drop like holy symbols and spell component pouches, too, so overall I'm hard-pressed to think of times I want to be sundering.

You can sunder armor, I guess, but for AC debuffing Trip is often a pretty fine option. At which point it just comes down to breaking objects and walls and we've had entire threads showing that what you really need for that are adamantine weapons and a knowledge of your GM's psychology so he doesn't kill you with collapsing rocks for trying to slice through a wall instead of using stone shape.


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MageHunter wrote:
Lore Warden is basically the combat maneuver master.

Yes they are good. But not really advice the OP was wanting.

But I think the OP wanted Input on the class they currently are which is a spell caster trying to fit in Combat maneuvers at level 11-12 without any investment into them yet.

A Reminder to everyone who is spouting off Optimized Builds for martial classes here is what the OP said:

Original Poster wrote:


im currently between 11th and 12th level, and i wanted to make a healer who when not healing functioned as a CM specialist, not necessarily limited to one particular CM but was a generalist who was good at any CM.

So finished building the character played in my first session and it's like anytime i got a chance to do a CM against the 1 enemy we were fighting i couldn't land anything. Now granted I didn't know the creature's CR or it's stats in General. It was a party of 7 level 11 characters so i presume the CR was something around 15 maybe (can't know for certain)
....

So my thing is, why did Pathfinder go the same route of D&D 3.5 and make Combat Maneuvers nearly impossible as a viable way of fighting in an encounter?

So the OP is a healing class (Probably not Full BaB or fully specked into STR...and probably does not have access to True Strike.)

He seems to be having great trouble with Combat maneuvers because he is not optimized for them and facing elevated CRs due to a party of 7 people.

So really his problems are:

1: He is not Optimized in any way for Combat maneuvers like all the builds people are throwing out and is getting discouraged with his investment.

2: He is trying to do this on a already generated character of 11th level. (Which he has yet to share with us.)


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

Moving while prone is the very definition of crawling! Are people seriously trying to argue otherwise?

Shadow Lodge

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Ravingdork wrote:
Moving while prone is the very definition of crawling! Are people seriously trying to argue otherwise?

You're going to complain that other people are making overly persnickety rules lawyery distinctions?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Moving while prone is the very definition of crawling! Are people seriously trying to argue otherwise?
You're going to complain that other people are making overly persnickety rules lawyery distinctions?

Yes.


Cory Stafford 29 wrote:
You have to have full bab (or be able to buff yourself to full bab equivalent quickly), a high str, all the feats you can get to improve the maneuver, and magic items that improve cmb/cmd. Even then, it's pretty iffy to land them on full bab/high str opponents.

I mean, my vanilla Core Rulebook Fighter with a budget of 86k (+5 weapon, +6 strength belt) and two feats invested into Trip specifically (Improved Trip and Greater Trip) still has a >50% shot to trip a CR20 monster while completely unbuffed, without flanking, without inherent bonuses, and without any other items.

Rub-Eta wrote:
Even if you can land a combat maneuver, you're wasting time, you could have dealt damage instead.

That's why Trip is nice. It's not as potentially devastating as the other maneuvers...but if you land it then you get your attack right back (and anyone threatening your target gets an attack too).

Ravingdork wrote:
Moving while prone is the very definition of crawling! Are people seriously trying to argue otherwise?

Yes, people are arguing that a prone Dragon/Balor/Angel/etc can just start flying while crumpled on the ground instead of having to get up first.


Ravingdork wrote:
Moving while prone is the very definition of crawling! Are people seriously trying to argue otherwise?

I think they're trying to have this argument:

"Trip is weak at high levels because it doesn't work on flying creatures."
"Why not? Who says you can fly while prone?"
"There's no rule saying you can't fly while prone."
"So what? There's no rule saying you can't walk while prone either."

I think I'm going to add a house rule saying you need a pass a Fly check to fly while prone. DC 20, maybe?


Combat maneuvers are like 3.5 sneak attack. Great when it works, but with way too many monsters that are essentially immune.

There's a reason they changed 3.5 sneak attack.


It's a mistake to expect any one tactic to work over and over. Always vary your tactics or at the very least, learn to adapt to the situation.

I always find it amusing when the hyper-specializaed character realizes their one attack won't land in this encounter, at which point they begin blaming everything but themselves for the vulnerability of their build.

Scarab Sages

Matthew Downie wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Moving while prone is the very definition of crawling! Are people seriously trying to argue otherwise?

I think they're trying to have this argument:

"Trip is weak at high levels because it doesn't work on flying creatures."
"Why not? Who says you can fly while prone?"
"There's no rule saying you can't fly while prone."
"So what? There's no rule saying you can't walk while prone either."

I think I'm going to add a house rule saying you need a pass a Fly check to fly while prone. DC 20, maybe?

What about creatures that fly and do not have a walk speed or legs? Such as the Cassissian Angel? And will you discern between magical flight and winged flight?

Flight has so many considerations which may be the reason why there are no rules for take-off.


Lorewalker wrote:
Such as the Cassissian Angel?

"CMD 7 (can’t be tripped)"

It specifically says on some creatures like the Cassissian Angel that it cannot be tripped. It says nothing like that for, say, a Balor.

Ergo, if it can be tripped AND if it relies on actual wings to fly (not magical levitation), then it needs to stand up from prone in order to take off.

Scarab Sages

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Brother Fen wrote:

It's a mistake to expect any one tactic to work over and over. Always vary your tactics or at the very least, learn to adapt to the situation.

I always find it amusing when the hyper-specializaed character realizes their one attack won't land in this encounter, at which point they begin blaming everything but themselves for the vulnerability of their build.

It's not a problem with the player. It's a problem with the game. You HAVE to hype-specialize in a combat maneuver for it to be effective. That diverts resources away from other types of combat.

The whole game is like that. For instance, the Unchained Rogue only gets dex to damage with one weapon until late in their career. Feat chains and class abilities are constantly forcing you to choose one thing and stick with it. And when that one thing doesn't work... well then you are in trouble.

This includes item slot choices and gold expenditure. Itemization is no different than your character build.


I think specialization is good, but overspecialization is not.
Even if you have a main strategy or fighting style, you need to have a getaway to be able to do something when your main strategy is not working, because there isn't a single strategy that is effective against everything.
Investing on a couple of feats/spells/whatever to allow you to do something else is always good.


Kileanna wrote:

I think specialization is good, but overspecialization is not.

Even if you have a main strategy or fighting style, you need to have a getaway to be able to do something when your main strategy is not working, because there isn't a single strategy that is effective against everything.
Investing on a couple of feats/spells/whatever to allow you to do something else is always good.

It depends on your setting, somewhat. In PFS, overspecialization is dangerous because you may do nothing for an entire scenario. In a home game everyone can coordinate so that all skill sets are covered. That way, one person's counter is another person's ideal enemy.


I think this sort of circles back to one of the problems at the heart at the heard of the martial/caster disparity, which is to say that to be good at something martial classes have to choose what to be good at several levels in advance, whereas the Wizard just gets to pick new spells every day.

With the exception of the Brawler or a fighter using Brawleresque tricks like Abundant Tactics + Barroom Brawler and Warrior Spirit + the Training enhancement, if you want to be able to land a combat maneuver, you can't just commit to it in that fight, or before you go into the dungeon, you kind of have to commit to it at least a level or two beforehand. Combined with that is that if you're planning in advance, you'll invent circumstances where your combat maneuver in question won't apply, which raises the question whether this is a better use of feats than things like accuracy and damage, which never go out of style.

Exacerbating this is, over course, that aside from what it unlocks, Combat Expertise is a terrible feat. Dirty Fighting is somewhat better, in terms of avoiding specific stat requirements, but both are feats that are almost never useful for what they do, and only useful for what other feats they let you take. Personally, if I can avoid taking any largely useless "feat taxes" in a build, I will.


Del_Taco_Eater wrote:
Kileanna wrote:

I think specialization is good, but overspecialization is not.

Even if you have a main strategy or fighting style, you need to have a getaway to be able to do something when your main strategy is not working, because there isn't a single strategy that is effective against everything.
Investing on a couple of feats/spells/whatever to allow you to do something else is always good.
It depends on your setting, somewhat. In PFS, overspecialization is dangerous because you may do nothing for an entire scenario. In a home game everyone can coordinate so that all skill sets are covered. That way, one person's counter is another person's ideal enemy.

I aggree, but as a personal choice, I like to be at least slightly useful in every encounter. I don't care if the other PCs are the ones to solve it, but at least I want to be able to do something.

My more overspecialized character was my ninja (and I still tried to give her some options) and I can still remember a couple of encounters where my main role was using UMD to help the party because I was useless in combat.


Guys...the true combat maneuver master is the SKALD (I'm partial to the Spell Warrior, but YMMV).

Rage powers: Strength Surge(3rd), Savage Dirty Trick(6th), Unexpected Strike(9th), Superstition(12th), Witch Hunter(15th), Spell Sunder(18th).

"Rage-cycle" your allies, let them use Unexpected Strike for sudden AoOs and +Level CMB Dirty Tricks with damage + additional effects and sunder spells.

You can also use Flexible Fury to switch to Impelling Disarm, Knockdown, Animal Fury+Savage Jaw (optinally: Body Bludgeon).


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Balkoth wrote:
Lorewalker wrote:
Such as the Cassissian Angel?
"CMD 7 (can’t be tripped)"

You can be made prone without being tripped. Immunity to trip attempts is not immunity to the prone condition.


Brother Fen wrote:

It's a mistake to expect any one tactic to work over and over. Always vary your tactics or at the very least, learn to adapt to the situation.

I always find it amusing when the hyper-specializaed character realizes their one attack won't land in this encounter, at which point they begin blaming everything but themselves for the vulnerability of their build.

The problem with this argument is that it's only selectively true.

The guy hyperspecialized around tripping is going to be useless against enemies that can't be tripped and you can find it as 'amusing' as you like.

But the guy hyperspecialized around just killing people is pretty much always going to be able to do what they want to do.

So I think it's pretty fair to complain about the game itself when you take a build that requires specialization to be effective and then punish people for specializing in it by creating enemies that are simply immune to them.


The guy hyperspecialized around just killing people may be stumped at traps/haunts/social challenges that cannot be overcome with "just killing people".

I generally agree with your argument, however - hence the Skald CM concept above, which turns your entire party into combat maneuver specialists who can use AoOs to perform combat maneuvers with extra effects.

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