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Why are Combat Maneuvers so frowned upon?


Advice

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There are a number of problems with CMB.

1st Problem: The Scaling
CMB = BAB + STR + Size modifier + 1d20
CMD = BAB + STR + Size modifier + 10 + DEX

The addition of a second stat skews things in favor of CMD over CMB. But these equations are much more of a problem when you take into consideration what you're fighting.

Generally, higher CR creatures have many advantages over an equally leveled player character. These advantages include: higher BAB, higher STR & DEX, and generally higher Size modifiers. Thus, enemy CMD for any substantial enemy is generally much higher than equivalent BAB.

Now, this can be mitigated by building a character towards the use of Combat Maneuvers, however therein lies another problem - Specialization.

An average 1st level character has a CMB of +3 vs an average CMD of 14. They need to roll an 11 or higher to affect the opponent, and can use any maneuver with the same efficacy. At CR 20 however, average CMD rises to 52 while average CMB only increases to 37, i.e. a 20th level character now needs a 15 or higher to affect the opponent. Effectively, you are at your strongest and most versatile at level 1, with decreasing efficiency every level thereafter.

If you focus on combat maneuvers, you can definitely raise this to a significant value, however you will generally only have a high value for a single combat maneuver, or a particular few if you have a lot of bonus feats. On top of this, many combat maneuvers are useless against many of the opponents you fight, such as winged creatures or creatures with many legs being all but impervious to Trip, to say nothing of size limitations on many maneuvers.

So generally, Combat Maneuvers require a LOT of investment to be worthwhile, and then can only see use if the GM puts you up against creatures who don't make the specific combat maneuver you invested in, completely useless. In many cases, by the time you get access to all the feats you need to make combat maneuvers useful, you're already facing such enemies.

Now, that said, it's not impossible to make a versatile combat maneuver based build. These are the 3 top choices (in no order) I would recommend:

1.) Fighter (Lore Warden + Martial Master)
Lore Warden gets substantial bonuses to CMB/CMD, whereas Martial Master gains access to Martial Flexibility, a class feature that allows him to pick and chose combat feats to gain on demand, allowing him to hyper-specialize in a Combat Maneuver without draining your permanent feat resource.

2.) Monk (Maneuver Master)
Substantial bonuses to the use of maneuvers, bonus feats centered around specific maneuvers, and an interesting "Flurry of Maneuvers" ability that allows you to use extra maneuvers, in some cases ignoring their regular use conditions (like grapple, as a big one).

3.) Barbarian (any)
The main thing the Barbarian needs in order to make use of any combat maneuver, is the "Strength Surge" rage power. This rage power allows him to once per rage as an immediate action, add his class level to his CMB/CMD. Such a bonus is huge and substantial, and applies to any maneuver. Furthermore, the Barbarian doesn't need any Combat Maneuver feats. Generally this would mean that the Barbarian would draw an attack of opportunity, however with the "Come and Get Me" rage power, this allows the Barbarian to make an extra attack of his own. Effectively, this allows the Barbarian to capitalize on his own provoking of attacks of opportunity! This forces the enemy to either contest your maneuver and risk backlash, or simply let your maneuver go uncontested, meaning that the feats you would otherwise obtain are useless.

Now, since the OP asked for options of CMB use for a healer, there's only really one option:

4.) Paladin
The Paladin is the only Full BAB class (necessary for combat maneuvers) with decent healing utility. Lay on Hands can cover HP requirements, and if facing evil opponents then Smite Evil's buff can increase your CMB by your CHA mod. A caster with enough buffs could presumably pull off both healing and combat maneuvers, but this is generally a waste, as combat maneuvers are inferior to spells.

If 3rd party material is allowed, then there is another option, however...

5.) The Sage

This is a class from the newly upcoming "Spheres of Might" playtest. It is a half-BAB class that, like the monk, counts it's level as it's BAB for the purposes of CMB & CMD. Furthermore, it offers a substantial bonus to combat maneuvers in its current iteration, as well as a bevy of abilities related to the Heal skill. It might fit what you're looking for.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Derrick Winters wrote:
The guy hyperspecialized around just killing people may be stumped at traps/haunts/social challenges that cannot be overcome with "just killing people".

Any challenge that can't be killed is a bad challenge.


Ravingdork wrote:
Derrick Winters wrote:
The guy hyperspecialized around just killing people may be stumped at traps/haunts/social challenges that cannot be overcome with "just killing people".
Any challenge that can't be killed is a bad challenge.

If it has stats, we can kill it.

And if the guy who just hits things with a sword feels out of his depth, how do you think the guy who just trips things is gonna feel?


Kaouse wrote:

1st Problem: The Scaling

CMB = BAB + STR + Size modifier + 1d20
CMD = BAB + STR + Size modifier + 10 + DEX

Hmm...except Improved/Greater add another 4, feats like (Greater) Weapon Focus contribute, weapon enhancement contributes, buffs contribute, etc. Read some of my earlier posts in this very thread.

Kaouse wrote:
The addition of a second stat skews things in favor of CMD over CMB.

In regards to Trip/Disarm/Sunder, a vanilla Fighter from CRB only has enemy monster CMD scale 7% faster than his CMD...without buffs, inherent stat bonuses, or any gear besides a +5 weapon/+6 strength belt. So toss those in and CMB actually scales faster than CMD.


I assume Ravingdork was making a joke.
At least I hope so. :)

There are plenty of ways to shut down the effectiveness of damage dealers. Heck, the whole Horror and Occult game genres pretty much require it. Even any decent Intrigue game isn't going to be won by nothing more than violence. Damage dealers are most effective in games not focused on sophistication. If the most viable strategy is always killing, then designing for CM less viable in comparison to Damage builds.

So I guess the unasked, but very relevant question is, "What is the focus of the game in question?"


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I feel like approaches to challenges like "figure out the thing", "learn about the thing", "hide (from?) the thing", "talk to the person", etc. sort of don't occupy the same decision-space from a character building perspective as "combat maneuvers." If it's a problem that's solved by some combination thinking, talking, RPing, and skill checks "how good you are at grappling" and "what your DPR" both seem equally inapplicable. Indeed, a lot of the time those sorts of challenges aren't the sorts of things where feats are all that relevant (though class features often are).

So one's decision to take power attack or improved trip doesn't actually impede their ability to do talking/thinking/RPing/skill challenges, just like how putting skill ranks into "profession (chef)" doesn't make you any worse at swordfighting.

The thing that I come back to though is that if this is a challenge where "fighting it" is a reasonable option, then if you can trip it or disarm it, then you can hit it with the intent to do damage. Even if it's a "you want to subdue and not kill the target" after a point it's probably probably less of an imposition to buy a merciful weapon (or have good enough accuracy that you can just eat a -4 to do nonlethal) than to invest a bunch of feats in grappling.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ultimately, combat maneuvers are mostly defensive (make it harder for the opponent to attack) instead of offensive (kill it faster) in nature. Which may seem counter-intuitive for a "main combatant" to focus on.

At the end of the day, it's not "bad" or even "sub-optimal" for someone in the party to act as the debuffer/battlefield controller. Just make sure that 1) your PC isn't a "one-trick pony," 2) it's a role that you want to focus on, and 3) you recognize when combat maneuvers will be a good risk/reward choice (such a tripping a troll) vs. a poor choice (such as grappling a remorhaz).

A really efficient party will have all of the PCs able to act as both a debuffer/battlefield controller and a damage dealer (using combat maneuvers, spells, weapons, etc. for either or both) to at least a moderate degree. Some will be better at one or the other role, or better against some opponents than others, but the party as a whole will pretty much always be able to both damage the opponent(s) and reduce the damage taken.

Dark Archive

Kaouse wrote:

There are a number of problems with CMB.

1st Problem: The Scaling
CMB = BAB + STR + Size modifier + 1d20
CMD = BAB + STR + Size modifier + 10 + DEX

The addition of a second stat skews things in favor of CMD over CMB. But these equations are much more of a problem when you take into consideration what you're fighting.

Generally, higher CR creatures have many advantages over an equally leveled player character. These advantages include: higher BAB, higher STR & DEX, and generally higher Size modifiers. Thus, enemy CMD for any substantial enemy is generally much higher than equivalent BAB.

Now, this can be mitigated by building a character towards the use of Combat Maneuvers, however therein lies another problem - Specialization.

An average 1st level character has a CMB of +3 vs an average CMD of 14. They need to roll an 11 or higher to affect the opponent, and can use any maneuver with the same efficacy. At CR 20 however, average CMD rises to 52 while average CMB only increases to 37, i.e. a 20th level character now needs a 15 or higher to affect the opponent. Effectively, you are at your strongest and most versatile at level 1, with decreasing efficiency every level thereafter.

If you focus on combat maneuvers, you can definitely raise this to a significant value, however you will generally only have a high value for a single combat maneuver, or a particular few if you have a lot of bonus feats. On top of this, many combat maneuvers are useless against many of the opponents you fight, such as winged creatures or creatures with many legs being all but impervious to Trip, to say nothing of size limitations on many maneuvers.

So generally, Combat Maneuvers require a LOT of investment to be worthwhile, and then can only see use if the GM puts you up against creatures who don't make the specific combat maneuver you invested in, completely useless. In many cases, by the time you get access to all the feats you need to make combat maneuvers useful, you're already facing such enemies....

I think that a warpreist could do it as well, especially arsenal chaplain since they get swift action buffs and a decent amount of bonus feats in addition to weapon training.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I feel like approaches to challenges like "figure out the thing", "learn about the thing", "hide (from?) the thing", "talk to the person", etc. sort of don't occupy the same decision-space from a character building perspective as "combat maneuvers." If it's a problem that's solved by some combination thinking, talking, RPing, and skill checks "how good you are at grappling" and "what your DPR" both seem equally inapplicable.

WHAT!? Why do you think they call it strongarming someone!? You get a hold of them with grapple, then you squeeze...

...until they talk.
...until they surrender.
...until they help you.
...until they squeal.
...until they break.

See? LOTS of out-of-combat applications! :D

/snark


Derrick Winters wrote:

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.

I was not aware specialising into killing took away your skill points per level.


Dragonchess Player wrote:
Ultimately, combat maneuvers are mostly defensive (make it harder for the opponent to attack) instead of offensive (kill it faster) in nature. Which may seem counter-intuitive for a "main combatant" to focus on.

Grappling is definitely an exception. A dedicated grappler with greater grapple shouldn't talke longer than 1-2 rounds to squeeze the life out of anything.


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Del_Taco_Eater wrote:
Dragonchess Player wrote:
Ultimately, combat maneuvers are mostly defensive (make it harder for the opponent to attack) instead of offensive (kill it faster) in nature. Which may seem counter-intuitive for a "main combatant" to focus on.
Grappling is definitely an exception. A dedicated grappler with greater grapple shouldn't talke longer than 1-2 rounds to squeeze the life out of anything.

So is Tripping. With Greater Trip, everyone threatening your target gets an AoO with a +4 bonus (including you) and subsequent attacks have +4 bonus to hit. It DOES offer some defensive bonuses, sure, but it's still superior to auto attacking on the offensive side.


Balkoth wrote:
So is Tripping. With Greater Trip, everyone threatening your target gets an AoO with a +4 bonus (including you) and subsequent attacks have +4 bonus to hit. It DOES offer some defensive bonuses, sure, but it's still superior to auto attacking on the offensive side.

I believe the AoOs from Greater Trip would happen before they actually go prone. Greater Trip doesn't say "after they go prone, you get an AoO", it says "when you successfully trip". Attacks of opportunity happen before the action that triggered them, meaning everyone gets the attack as the opponent is going down. It also has symmetry with the chain-tripping FAQ - AoOs as they get up get the prone bonus, so AoOs as they go down shouldn't.

Still a good action multiplier, though, and subsequent attacks definitely get that +4.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Re: Grapple and Trip

Two maneuvers out of 6 or so being more offensive counts as "mostly defensive..."


Dragonchess Player wrote:
Two maneuvers out of 6 or so being more offensive counts as "mostly defensive..."

That would be why we called them "exceptions" ;)

shaventalz wrote:
It also has symmetry with the chain-tripping FAQ - AoOs as they get up get the prone bonus, so AoOs as they go down shouldn't.

I had a longer post prepared but then the website ate it, so I'll keep this briefer.

Per the FAQ, you can only trip someone who isn't already prone. If we go with your interpretation, that means you can chain trip someone who is standing via Greater Trip -- each AoO is used for a further Greater Trip. This might seem pointless...except Greater Trip provides EVERYONE threatening the target with a new AoO.

So if you have a Barbarian using a 2H with 16 Dexterity and Combat Reflexes, a Fighter using Greater Trip could provide him with 4 AoOs at full AB and Power Attack under your interpretation rather than one.

If you go with my interpretation (you are considered prone immediately and THEN the AoO from Greater Trip occurs) then using the AoO for another Greater Trip would accomplish nothing since your target is already prone.

If you need me to go into further detail to explain the "Chain Tripping" bit I can.


To be honest, I can see a lot of shenanigans happening from using a whip with a bunch of feats like the whip mastery feat chain and serpent fury. The ability to to perform grapples and repositions at 15 ft range on top of tripping and disarming sounds pretty fun.


Yea... CMs... You basically need to min-max your entire build towards them if you want to have decent odds of success at high levels, unless the GM likes throwing a lot of humanoids with much lower CR than you have levels.


Balkoth wrote:
shaventalz wrote:
It also has symmetry with the chain-tripping FAQ - AoOs as they get up get the prone bonus, so AoOs as they go down shouldn't.

Per the FAQ, you can only trip someone who isn't already prone. If we go with your interpretation, that means you can chain trip someone who is standing via Greater Trip -- each AoO is used for a further Greater Trip. This might seem pointless...except Greater Trip provides EVERYONE threatening the target with a new AoO.

So if you have a Barbarian using a 2H with 16 Dexterity and Combat Reflexes, a Fighter using Greater Trip could provide him with 4 AoOs at full AB and Power Attack under your interpretation rather than one.

By my interpretation, yes, that would be legal (if incredibly goofy.) So, something on the order of Butterfly's Sting in average power, but with lots of extra rolls and higher variance. Also eating up all the AoOs of two+ people.


Reduxist wrote:
To be honest, I can see a lot of shenanigans happening from using a whip with a bunch of feats like the whip mastery feat chain and serpent fury. The ability to to perform grapples and repositions at 15 ft range on top of tripping and disarming sounds pretty fun.

I would very much advise against the trip-focused path unless you already know a fair bit about what you'll be facing in the adventure. I'm currently in a Legacy of Fire group where one of our party members is playing such a build. The number of times a creature having too many legs has nullified his offensive capabilities is... unfortunate. Grappling however, should be great. I'm going to be playing in Hell's Rebels or Vengeance in the near future, and one of the builds I'm considering is a Strangler Brawler with a two level dip into MoMS Monk since there are some pretty strong grapple-related style feats.


Del_Taco_Eater wrote:
Dragonchess Player wrote:
Ultimately, combat maneuvers are mostly defensive (make it harder for the opponent to attack) instead of offensive (kill it faster) in nature. Which may seem counter-intuitive for a "main combatant" to focus on.
Grappling is definitely an exception. A dedicated grappler with greater grapple shouldn't talke longer than 1-2 rounds to squeeze the life out of anything.

How does that work? I'm so used to the low-level (1-5, maybe 1-7) game that I don't know exactly how everything is expected to mesh at that point. I get that it's two harms a round, but I guess that depends on how much damage you can cause in a single grapple action?


Wrong John Silver wrote:
Del_Taco_Eater wrote:
Dragonchess Player wrote:
Ultimately, combat maneuvers are mostly defensive (make it harder for the opponent to attack) instead of offensive (kill it faster) in nature. Which may seem counter-intuitive for a "main combatant" to focus on.
Grappling is definitely an exception. A dedicated grappler with greater grapple shouldn't talke longer than 1-2 rounds to squeeze the life out of anything.
How does that work? I'm so used to the low-level (1-5, maybe 1-7) game that I don't know exactly how everything is expected to mesh at that point. I get that it's two harms a round, but I guess that depends on how much damage you can cause in a single grapple action?

A dedicated grappler (like a high-level monk or brawler) can do his unarmed damage twice per round, and can invest in lots and lots of damage increasing feats and toys, giving him a damage per attack comparable to a fighter.

That said, I largely disagree with Del_Taco_Eater; even when you have the BBEG in a choke hold, the primary tactical effect is normally defensive, not offensive, since it's one of the few effective ways to draw aggro in the PF system. A grappled creature can't move, can't make attacks of opportunity, can't use a two-handed weapon or cast spells effectively, and takes a penalty on any attacks it makes except for attempts to grapple or escape. So the rest of the party can maneuver with impunity around the BBEG, including counter-attacking it without fear.

Shadow Lodge

Ravingdork wrote:
Moving while prone is the very definition of crawling! Are people seriously trying to argue otherwise?
Ravingdork wrote:
You can be made prone without being tripped. Immunity to trip attempts is not immunity to the prone condition.

.....

making someone prone is the definition of triping them.


Wolf Faces Dork
Dork oversimplifies parts to make his point appear stronger and more clever.
In real life, crawling is not the only option, rolling is often a better one, a roll-out is
almost always a better one.
An out of shape gamer is in trouble on the ground, others, not so much.
Wolf oversimplifies in reply.
Throwing someone to the ground is not a trip.
Making a foe unconscious leaves them prone in a lot of situations.

The rules fail to adaquately deal with situation the writers do not understand.

Go figure.

Certainly you never want to work together to identify and correct flaws.


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

Away with you, you clever crow! You'll not steal my victory. :P


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Moving while prone is the very definition of crawling! Are people seriously trying to argue otherwise?
Ravingdork wrote:
You can be made prone without being tripped. Immunity to trip attempts is not immunity to the prone condition.

.....

making someone prone is the definition of triping them.

But you can make yourself prone with out tripping yourself.

Shadow Lodge

Daw wrote:


Certainly you never want to work together to identify and correct flaws.

The flaw is dancing in and out of sanity and common sense in order to reach a conclussion, rather than using a modicum of sense all the time (sane and consistent) or applying the raw equally (consistent but very much not sane)

If you are moving while prone you are crawling. You can describe it as an actual crawl, a head over heels roll, or a sideways roll: the rules don't care, you move 5 feet as a move action and draw an AoO.

Choke slamming someone is mechanically a trip: you're knocking them prone.

You cannot avoid or impose mechanical effects by opening a thesaurus and calling one thing something else.


Wolf,
Choosing to use the trip mechanic for a choke slam is a poor fit.
Further using your Choice to use the trip mechanic to justify that a choke slam IS a trip is spurious.

Defining any prone movement as a crawl and limiting movement to 5 feet in a round is simple, and rather devoid of reality. If you prefer this to simplify it to a wargame ideal, just be clear about it. You are certainly entitled to your preference. Doesn't make you any more right. Wheaton applies here.


Daw, just my 2 coppers but I think trying to keep the game simply by using existing mechanics to represent things players want to do makes sense.

Ergo, "rolling out of the way" absent of other mechanics granted by some game options is most easily represented as a crawl action, assuming one is already prone.

If a character wants to say they somersault around the battlefield instead of walking, I'm fine with it. Assuming they understand the mechanics work just like walking (absent of some option that says otherwise).

Absent a mechanic specifically to represent a choke slam, calling it a trip is pretty fitting.


Claxon,
No arguments, as long as you recognize that other choices are also valid.
Simpler makes combat go more quickly. Of value, but still just a choice of where lines are drawn
If you have smaller children, next time you hit the park, bring a stopwatch. Time how far they can roll in 5 or 6 seconds.

Shadow Lodge

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Daw wrote:

Wolf,

Choosing to use the trip mechanic for a choke slam is a poor fit.
Further using your Choice to use the trip mechanic to justify that a choke slam IS a trip is spurious.

It's not at all either. I want to take someone and knock them prone. That is the trip mechanic whether you describe it as a leg sweep, putting your staff between their knees and twisting, putting your foot behind theirs and hitting them with your shoulder, or pushing them onto their but.

Quote:
Defining any prone movement as a crawl and limiting movement to 5 feet in a round is simple, and rather devoid of reality. If you prefer this to simplify it to a wargame ideal, just be clear about it. You are certainly entitled to your preference. Doesn't make you any more right. Wheaton applies here.

Passively aggressively calling me a jerk and my games wargaming because you don't get a mechanical advantage from a verb substitution is neither sensible nor acceptable.


Quote:

Punishing kick:

On a successful hit, the attack deals damage normally and you can choose to push your target 5 feet or attempt to knock them prone... If you decide to attempt to knock the target prone, the target receives a Fortitude saving throw with a DC of 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Wisdom modifier to avoid the effect.

By RAW this would work on creatures with trip-immunity, since there is no rule saying creatures who are immune to trip are unable to be prone. But a GM might decide to interpret RAI otherwise.


Picking them up and bodily throwing them to the ground is not a weapon sweep, or a leg sweep, putting your staff between their knees and twisting, putting your foot behind theirs and hitting them with your shoulder, or pushing them onto their butt. Examples more snide than clever or accurate. Isn't a choke slam one of the options for a grapple?

Wasn't saying you are a jerk. You have allowed yourself to act like one in this disagreement.


Double posting, but I should add that it is easy to get thrown off your center, and the style this disagreement went to is prone to it.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Moving while prone is the very definition of crawling! Are people seriously trying to argue otherwise?
Ravingdork wrote:
You can be made prone without being tripped. Immunity to trip attempts is not immunity to the prone condition.

.....

making someone prone is the definition of triping them.

Or putting them asleep. Or making them unconscious. Or that force spell in Psychic Anthology that makes a target prone on two failed saves, rather than a trip check. Or...


You know what peaves me? There is no reasonable mechanic for unbalancing, or any similar way gaining an advantage in combat short of all or nothing effects, such as knocking prone. Actually, the critical system touches on it, but only through straight damage fighting.


Daw wrote:
Picking them up and bodily throwing them to the ground is not a weapon sweep, or a leg sweep, putting your staff between their knees and twisting, putting your foot behind theirs and hitting them with your shoulder, or pushing them onto their butt. Examples more snide than clever or accurate. Isn't a choke slam one of the options for a grapple?

Does a choke slam render the victim prone?

If so, choke slam is not an option for grapple.


Daw wrote:
You know what peaves me? There is no reasonable mechanic for unbalancing, or any similar way gaining an advantage in combat short of all or nothing effects, such as knocking prone. Actually, the critical system touches on it, but only through straight damage fighting.

My GM created a "Off-Balance" condition... Which gives a minor penalty to AC and Dex-based checks. To get the enemy to be prone, he has to be tripped while Off-Balance. An Off-Balance creature can usually use a move action to regain its balance.

Additionally, we did say that all maneuvers can be used in place of attacks, but only the first attack for the round (and one in place of your second attack if you have the Improved [Maneuver] feat), so you can't just keep spam trip attempts until the enemy is prone.

Works pretty well...


Daw, Dirty Tricks tend to be debuffs rather than all or nothing, which can be nice. Though at the same time being only minor debuffs often makes them feel unrewarding without investment.

Tabernero wrote:


My GM created a "Off-Balance" condition... Which gives a minor penalty to AC and Dex-based checks. To get the enemy to be prone, he has to be tripped while Off-Balance. An Off-Balance creature can usually use a move action to regain its balance.

Additionally, we did say that all maneuvers can be used in place of attacks, but only the first attack for the round (and one in place of your second attack if you have the Improved [Maneuver] feat), so you can't just keep spam trip attempts until the enemy is prone.

Works pretty well...

I can appreciate wanting to adjust trips but... honestly with those rules I can't see why I'd even bother. You need to give up two attacks to pull off the condition and you can only attempt a maximum of two per turn, which means if one fails you've basically got nothing to show for it.

It seems especially bad at low levels where full attacks aren't a thing. I push someone off balance, then they right their balance and hit me back and I've effectively gotten nothing out of the turn.

Maybe within the context of some other broader changes to slow down combat though.


Squiggit wrote:

I can appreciate wanting to adjust trips but... honestly with those rules I can't see why I'd even bother. You need to give up two attacks to pull off the condition and you can only attempt a maximum of two per turn, which means if one fails you've basically got nothing to show for it.

It seems especially bad at low levels where full attacks aren't a thing. I push someone off balance, then they right their balance and hit me back and I've effectively gotten nothing out of the turn.

Maybe within the context of some other broader changes to slow down combat though.

The idea was to make prone a more difficult condition tor reach, since it pretty much kills any character in combat, since they now not only lose their full attack, but also provoke AoO for doing anything (or even for just falling, depending on your feats). Trip (and maneuvers in general, but specially trip) is very abusable at low levels. One of our goals was to make them less so.

Aside from that, attempting maneuvers don't provoke. The [Improved Maneuver] feats also scale automatically once you hit +6 BAB. Besides... We can also trip creatures of any size and even flying creatures (although in this case they just lose some altitude and fall prone if they hit the ground).

There also two possibilities for automatically making a creature prone: If their BAB is at least 5 points below yours or if you roll a Nat 20 on your trip attempt. One of my friends has a feat that lets him deal some damage on a trip attempt, but I don't remember if that's just a modified Improved Trip or simply a completely different 3pp/homebrew feat.

Last but not least, characters are allowed to move and make multiple attacks (although not the whole full attack), so it's not like just moving always makes the target impossible to be put to prone position.


Trips are bad enough why insist on making them utter garbage?


Goblin_Priest wrote:
Trips are bad enough why insist on making them utter garbage?

Trip is only bad because most creatures are immune to it. That's not the case in my games. My group pretty much removed all trip-immunity from the game (I think only swarms and snake-like beings still have them).


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Daw wrote:


Certainly you never want to work together to identify and correct flaws.

The flaw is dancing in and out of sanity and common sense in order to reach a conclussion, rather than using a modicum of sense all the time (sane and consistent) or applying the raw equally (consistent but very much not sane)

If you are moving while prone you are crawling. You can describe it as an actual crawl, a head over heels roll, or a sideways roll: the rules don't care, you move 5 feet as a move action and draw an AoO.

Choke slamming someone is mechanically a trip: you're knocking them prone.

You cannot avoid or impose mechanical effects by opening a thesaurus and calling one thing something else.

Error: term "sane" not recognized.


Playstyles have a huge effect on the value of manuevers. Her wolves' trip has saved one of my character's tail on more than one occasion.


Goblin_Priest wrote:
Trips are bad enough why insist on making them utter garbage?

Trip is nonetheless like the third best combat maneuver (after grapple and dirty trick). Overrun has its uses (bullette style on a Molthuni Defender fighter can be fun), but it's not like I've seen a Drag, Steal, or Reposition maneuver in forever.


Daw wrote:
There is no reasonable mechanic for unbalancing, or any similar way gaining an advantage in combat short of all or nothing effects, such as knocking prone.

There are ways of making enemies flat-footed / losing their Dexterity bonus. (I'm pretty sure these things are different but I can never remember how.)

Shadow Lodge

Matthew Downie wrote:
Daw wrote:
There is no reasonable mechanic for unbalancing, or any similar way gaining an advantage in combat short of all or nothing effects, such as knocking prone.
There are ways of making enemies flat-footed / losing their Dexterity bonus. (I'm pretty sure these things are different but I can never remember how.)

Loss of dex bonus is loss of dex bonus, which subjects you to sneak attacks. When you are flat footed you have lost your dex bonus, not just because you have lost your dex bonus does not mean that you're flat footed (this is the rectangle)

Flat footed is can't act at all. This is the square.

Even designers haven't always maintained the difference.


Tabernero wrote:
Goblin_Priest wrote:
Trips are bad enough why insist on making them utter garbage?
Trip is only bad because most creatures are immune to it. That's not the case in my games. My group pretty much removed all trip-immunity from the game (I think only swarms and snake-like beings still have them).

Not, the immunity is not the only reason it's bad...

Quote:

You can attempt to trip your opponent in place of a melee attack. You can only trip an opponent who is no more than one size category larger than you. If you do not have the Improved Trip feat, or a similar ability, initiating a trip provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

If your attack exceeds the target’s CMD, the target is knocked prone. If your attack fails by 10 or more, you are knocked prone instead. If the target has more than two legs, add +2 to the DC of the combat maneuver attack roll for each additional leg it has. Some creatures—such as oozes, creatures without legs, and flying creatures—cannot be tripped.

On top of the fact that many creatures are utterly immune to trip, trip also has a size restriction which is very small (one size category). Tripping also risks you getting tripped yourself. And many creatures, if not most, get a bonus against tripping, even when they aren't already immune (due to lacking legs or being flying) or too large for you. All of that... to give the prone debuff. Which, while nasty, isn't game-ending.

So you'll need to dump a ton of feats and resources into being good at this one combat maneuver that a lot more creatures will be immune to (too large, flying, no legs) or more resistant to (many legs), just to give a debuff that you always risk giving to yourself anyways. And besides, why would you want to even try a trip on iterative attacks? If you fail on your main attack, the odds of failing by 10 or more increase drastically on iterative attacks.

A debuff which, I might add, will actually make the target *more* resistant to ranged attacks (including ray spells and the like).

Trip only gets really good in a humanoid-centered campaign with a party full of melee martials. Otherwise, it'll almost certainly be a niche ability and a waste of resources.


Goblin_Priest wrote:
Tabernero wrote:
Goblin_Priest wrote:
Trips are bad enough why insist on making them utter garbage?
Trip is only bad because most creatures are immune to it. That's not the case in my games. My group pretty much removed all trip-immunity from the game (I think only swarms and snake-like beings still have them).

Not, the immunity is not the only reason it's bad...

Quote:

You can attempt to trip your opponent in place of a melee attack. You can only trip an opponent who is no more than one size category larger than you. If you do not have the Improved Trip feat, or a similar ability, initiating a trip provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

If your attack exceeds the target’s CMD, the target is knocked prone. If your attack fails by 10 or more, you are knocked prone instead. If the target has more than two legs, add +2 to the DC of the combat maneuver attack roll for each additional leg it has. Some creatures—such as oozes, creatures without legs, and flying creatures—cannot be tripped.

On top of the fact that many creatures are utterly immune to trip, trip also has a size restriction which is very small (one size category). Tripping also risks you getting tripped yourself. And many creatures, if not most, get a bonus against tripping, even when they aren't already immune (due to lacking legs or being flying) or too large for you. All of that... to give the prone debuff. Which, while nasty, isn't game-ending.

So you'll need to dump a ton of feats and resources into being good at this one combat maneuver that a lot more creatures will be immune to (too large, flying, no legs) or more resistant to (many legs), just to give a debuff that you always risk giving to yourself anyways. And besides, why would you want to even try a trip on iterative attacks? If you fail on your main attack, the odds of failing by 10 or more increase drastically on iterative attacks.

A debuff which, I might add, will actually make the target *more* resistant to...

I'm counting "situational size-limitations" and flight as "immunity", because that's what they effectively are.

Trip is extremely abusable at low levels, where most enemies are humanoids and/or no bigger than Large. And all you need to abuse it is a reach weapon. A devoted trip-build can have great CMB all the way to high levels, but alas, "trip immunity" becomes increasingly common and reach weapons no longer allow you to attack from safety nearly all the time...

The house rules I mentioned removed all size limitations to maneuvers and all trip immunity (save for swarms and legless creatures, IIRC). Trip may also be used to disrupt enemies' flight (making them lose altitude and fall prone if they hit the ground). The part about "missing by 10 or more" is a non-issue, since we can only attempt trips twice per round.

The end result is that trip works far more often and requires less investment, but a single successful trip attempt isn't as devastating.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Goblin_Priest wrote:
Trips are bad enough why insist on making them utter garbage?
Trip is nonetheless like the third best combat maneuver (after grapple and dirty trick). Overrun has its uses (bullette style on a Molthuni Defender fighter can be fun), but it's not like I've seen a Drag, Steal, or Reposition maneuver in forever.

Trip being the third best is inaccurate. It's perhaps the third most applicable maneuver, but it being the third best is hardly proper, since it can be negated if you're big enough or if you can fly, or don't even have legs to trip with. In fact, Bull Rush is probably more applicable than Trip in this case, since it has a fraction of the limitations that Trip has.

Disarm, Sunder, and Bull Rush are all certainly better than it, since Disarm can nullify anyone who relies on weapons (or any sort of hand-held item, really), Sunder works for anyone who wears anything (which makes for powerful debuffing, even if at the cost of potential loot), and Bull Rush has better tactical application, optimization methods, and rules consistency compared to the other stuff you've mentioned.

Overrun is outright broken (i.e. doesn't work at all), Drag is a big waste of time, Steal requires super-investment for very little returns (a lot of which can be covered with proper Sleight of Hand checks), and requires out-of-feat abilities to make truly work, and Reposition is like Bull Rush, except more stupid.

Shadow Lodge

Trip really screws over martial characters.

1) they have to stand up or take a -4 penalty
2) they can't move out of the way
3) they take aoo's from your entire party if they stand up.
4) they take a -4 to AC, and AC is a large chunk of their damage mitigation.

vs casters

1) can cast defensively from prone with little loss of deadliness
2) Can fly, blink, teleport, dimension door, earthglide out of the way.
3) can just lie on the ground
4) Don't mitigate damage through AC anyway. They mitigate it through stoneskin, mirror images, displacement and other spell effects that don't care if you have a +4 bonus to hit them.

but if you're a PC, the really deadly threats are either Very large monsters (which you can't trip) or casters. There's little point in optimizing against martial characters because you can defeat those easily. Not only are martials weaker in single fights, NPC wealth hurts martials a LOT more than it hurts casters.

Trip isn't bad it's just good against the wrong type of foe.

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