Iterative Attacks (Gneech's Readthrough Impressions #1)


Combat & Magic

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Presumeably to make the math simpler. Calculating the math on the fly can be hard for some people.


Leave iterative attacks as written. It's a single element in a very simple yet dynamic combat system. Static combat in 3.5 is for parties that rode the short bus to school. Scouts skirmish ability, the advantages of Shot on the Run/Spring Attack when dealing with higher BAB opponents (with the maligned iterative attacks), shifting to flank (or avoid being flanked) either with or without sneak attack/sudden strike involved, assorted charge boosting feats and a constant desire to threaten spellcasters/archers all provide for an extremely mobile battle field. The exceptions occur in the natural places of course. Real medieval soldiers (the fighter model) should want to fight shoulder to shoulder or ground-and-pound more agile foes preferentially, and you shouldn't really see a spellcaster trucking across the battle field, bum and elbows, unless there is a dragon right after him. In my experience with 3.5, the most common cause of boring static combat doesn't have anything to do with the system, nor can the system be changed to account for it.

Nine times out of ten: if the party is bogged down in the middle of a room duking it out, it's because they haven't learned to do anything else. That's not always their fault. Sometimes the game master helps create that situation by not having the monsters more mobile, which encourages the PCs to be static. If your monsters move to flank (in those handy 5ft steps), then your PCs will either absorb a lot of hurt or learn to move to avoid flanking. If your PCs get hit from a flanked position very often, they'll start reciprocating. Players facing reach weapons (not big opponents with reach...players almost never get the message that way) will quickly figure out the inherent advantages of using them, and facing off against mobile archers will teach the party ranger just where he needs to be to safely put pain down range. Teach them and they will learn. Gripe about static combat and they'll tune you out.


In mine humble opinion, one should leave iterative attacks in the game because they're such a core part of 3e. I don't like them, and I will automatically houserule them out in any game I run, but I still think that they should be kept in.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

In terms of sacrificing extra attacks for additional damage, I think it's worth pointing out that, as written, both Devastating Blow and Deadly Stroke are effectively doing that very thing. Devastating Blow in particular can be read as being "rather than making all my attacks as a full round action, I make them as a single action and if one hits, they all hit."

On the other hand, I would very much appreciate the chance to improve mobility with combat feats. Here's one option along those lines:

Blaze of Speed (Combat)
You can move and strike like the lightning itself.
Prerequisites: some relevant feats (Mobility, maybe?), BAB +11
Benefit: As a full-round action, you may make two move actions and a standard action this turn.

Liberty's Edge

Archers do not need to move all that much to make a full number of iterative attacks.

Replacing the choice between standing around and making a full attack with some feat that grants pounce does not seem all that reasonable. The PHB II has several feats that give a second attack when moving, but they require significant prerequisites, and do not compare well with a full out heavy fighter unleashing.

I see many heavy fighters more than capable of hitting with their fourth iterative attack when fully buffed.

I see many groups with more than a few ways to continue maneuvering while having the heavy fighters make full attacks, dimension door being the simplest. The whole swarm of secondary teleportation effects and items are naturally not going to be available with the PFRG, but they will exist for many players using other books.

I would not like to see anything happen to iterative attacks.

Sovereign Court

Psychic_Robot wrote:

In mine humble opinion, one should leave iterative attacks in the game because they're such a core part of 3e. I don't like them, and I will automatically houserule them out in any game I run, but I still think that they should be kept in.

I would agree but I think alternatives should be presented. I personally do not like iterative attacks and would like to see alternatives available.

Dark Archive

Wicht wrote:

My players have always looked forward to getting their iterative attacks and the math has never seemed that difficult.

I completely agree. It's never been that hard to do the math, and neither for crits, which seems to be another "too hard to calculate"-problem for pro-4E people (the funny thing is that most of the 4E "powers" seem to inflict 3 X die + modifiers damage anyway, so the formula for 3E crits is still used in the system).

I like that you get iterative attacks for choosing to use full-attack option. The combat mights be slightly faster and "mobile" in nature without them, but I still wouldn't want to get rid of them.


I'm definately not for the total removal of iterative attacks but they do need to be looked at. In all my games, they've had two great impacts.

A) They slow down the game especially when you factor in that two-weapon fighting is quite popular plus all the different bonuses and buffs you can have (spells, bardic music, Power Attack etc.) Players are often coming to the session with complex matrices. Even with those sheets each players turn takes several minutes.

B) With the tendency of players to optimize for damage, the iterative attacks combined with some attack bonuses that hit on a roll of 2 on a d20 result damage output so high that no opponent can handle. This creates encounter balance issues.

Why would any fighter type do anything but close to melee then stay put for full attacks? Anything else is a gross loss of potential damage.

I propose a different approach to balance iterative attacks. Making the decision to do a full round attack should come at a price. There should be an actual decision to make. If making a full round attack were, to say, render the attack flat footed, denying them their dex bonus to AC and the ability to make AoO on that round and prevent them from fighting defensively, then maybe the player might consider just standing there and swinging away.

I'm still looking for the best way to do it, but I think there should be a risk to the reward of a full attack option.

What do we think?


Haelis wrote:
Wicht wrote:

My players have always looked forward to getting their iterative attacks and the math has never seemed that difficult.

It isn't the math for me so much as that it requires a full attack and therefore that means a very immobile action scene. Making the game mobile is very important to me. But why move when I can stand still and do twice or three times as much damage?

SWSE and 4e have made the right move in kaing the game more mobile. That is one thing I do like. I hope that Paizo also encourages this style of game.

If making the game more mobile is important to you, I hear that's something they're trying to do with 4e, have fun.

I personally rather like iterative attacks, the problem is the progressive -5 penalty. After 10th level, you're missing 1/3-3/5 of the time. It should be a flat -5 to each iterative attack, rather than +20/+15/+10/+5 crap...(ie, it should be +20/+15/+15/+15)


Leave iterative attacks in.

For me, the most important issue is flavor/feel - having just one attack per round doesn't, for me, adequately convey the feeling of growing power and combat ability as you go up in level.

The second one is versatility - there's just no substitute for actually being able to target multiple enemies, or use different attacks (trip/disarm/sunder, etc. followed by normal attacks) all in the same round.

Finally, I'm really not impressed with either the SWSE or the 4E way - the former royally screwed things up by removing iterative attacks and the sneaking them back in as two-weapon fighting, the other one has too many fiddly exceptions to the one-attack-only rule that allow you to hit more than one enemy per round after all.

I'd rather have one relatively simple system for making multiple attacks than one which pretends you only get one attack but then has dozens of exceptions.

Especially because if you make "one attack per round" the supposed standard, but then don't stick to it and begin to allow exceptions, you are playing with the surest way ever to completely unbalance a game. The way to reliably get that extra attack as often as possible becomes the optimal thing to do, and people that don't go with it get left in the dust. (Any video game players here? Anyone remember what removing iterative attacks but allowing two-weapon fighting and flurry in KOTOR did to combat balance of that game?)

Scarab Sages

Asgetrion wrote:
Wicht wrote:

My players have always looked forward to getting their iterative attacks and the math has never seemed that difficult.

I completely agree. It's never been that hard to do the math, and neither for crits, which seems to be another "too hard to calculate"-problem for pro-4E people (the funny thing is that most of the 4E "powers" seem to inflict 3 X die + modifiers damage anyway, so the formula for 3E crits is still used in the system).

I like that you get iterative attacks for choosing to use full-attack option. The combat mights be slightly faster and "mobile" in nature without them, but I still wouldn't want to get rid of them.

Funny thing is that despite wanting a change to iteratives, it has nothing to do with math. I mean really, every attack you subtract 5 from your last attack. If that is hard, our society is in trouble.

My vote for changing iteratives is to make them available for fighters, who have something special, and remove unneeded options for wizards (who are the ones who end up missing on second or third attacks).


But a large part of the issue is because attack bonuses aren't high enough on those iterative attacks. The bonuses need to be brought up *and* there needs to be increased mobility for a full attack.


Count my vote *for* iterative attacks!

If you need too much time, roll colored dice for
attacks and damage simultaneously. For example:
1. attack: Red d20 + red damage die
2. attack: Orange d20 + orange damage die
3. attack: Yellow d20 + yellow damage die
4. attack: White d20 + white damage die

You roll 8 dice all at once and know with one look
what's happening.
Not that time-consuming or difficult...

Close combat battles with 5' steps and full attacks
are hardly too static. Using movement to get tactical
advantages like cover, flanking, AoO for fleeing foes
is much fun IMHO. Without iterative attacks you can't
attack, step and attack again (unless you're fighting
two-weapon style).

Being able to attack more than once in a round of
6 seconds (!) seems realistic for experienced adventurers.

Against multiple opponents the math of one attack with
additional damage dice and/or a bonus to hit is *not* the
same as iterative attacks...

LL

Sovereign Court

Quick question - Which classes are considered "tank" classes to everyone?

The reason I ask is the argument in the first few pages about giving "tank" classes the ability to make a full-attack actions as a standard action . I personally would make this apply to Barbarians, Fighters, Paladins, and Rangers. NPC warriors would NOT receive this benefit, further distinguishing them from PC fighters.

But would there be a limit to the types of attacks that would be applicable for each class? Would Rangers be allowed to only get multiple attacks as a standard action with a bow or two light weapons as part of their weapon training? Would Paladins receive this only with their deity's favored weapon? Would Barbarians only receive this while raging? You need something to set the Fighter apart and put them back on the forefront of combat.

Another issue comes up when one considers Monster types. Which types of Monsters, if any, would receive full-attack as a standard action? Would it be limited to only monsters that took levels in a "Tank" class? If this is the case, any centuries-old dragon worth their salt would have picked up a level of fighter.

Just some considerations, I have noticed a steady weathering of the Fighter's position as chief butt-kicker since 2nd edition. I completely forgot about no one else receiving extra attacks until I read this post. I think that's what contributed to it. I also think that spell casting times were a big part of this weathering too.

Respond with comment / concerns,

Coledar

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