Down with Iterative Attacks?


New Rules Suggestions

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Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I saw this raised earlier but lost track of the post. It took some getting used to in Star Wars Saga Edition (SWSE), but over time I grew to like the SWSE rules better, i.e., 1 attack per turn, which can be augmented with feats that allow two to three attacks per turn.

Also - Mighty Swing and Rapid Shot that allow one extra dice damage at a -2 penalty for that one attack.

And then, of course, there are the two-weapon fighting feats.

It wouldn't be too hard to implement in the game - just scrap iterative attacks and plug in the occasional feat for a BBEG. I'm just interested to see what people's opinions are ... particularly those familiar with SWSE.


Well, iterative attacks are one of the few things that the combat characters get that others don't, so if you do away with them, you need to give Fighters, in particular, something in return. No idea what that might be.

But let me ask you this, what's your motivation for removing iterative attacks? If it's to speed up combat then getting bonus attacks through feats is not going to help.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

See, when I first saw this mentioned elsewhere on the boards I thought it was ment in the opposite way: i.e., stop making the attacks iterative.

One attack at -0, then an attack at -0, and then an attack at -0, and then finally an attack at -0.

It would be a quick and dirty late-game powerup for fighters, if nothing else.


Maybe you could "hold" some of your attacks to use as parries during the rest of the turn? So if you have, say, +20/+15/+10, you could make your +20 and +15 and hold your +10 to give yourself or one person adjacent to you, say, +5 AC against one melee attack. Or you could hold all your attacks and get +10 against one, +7 against another, and +5 against a third, if it comes to that. Though this might lead to frighteningly high ACs for little cost, since the +10 probably wasn't going to hit anyway, which would lead to a longer combat anyway as everyone who full-attacks becomes much harder to kill. Maybe 1/3 bonus to AC?

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

There's the Vital Strike feat in Alpha 3 now. Trade your lowest BAB attack to add your weapon damage dice (but only the dice, none of the other things added on) again to all the damage from your attacks. In other words, from +15/+10/+5 with a longsword, 1d8+3; to +15/+10, 2d8+3.

Then there's even Improved Vital Strike, to get rid of the 2 lowest attacks. +20/+15/+10/+5, 1d8+4 to +20/+15, 3d8+4.

Scarab Sages

Getting rid of iterative attacks severely shortchanges the PCs.

The monsters of the world will still go "claw, claw, bite, wing, wing, tail, grab, constrict/swallow".

And the players will go "single attack".

You need a hefty advantage if a character uses a full-round action on an attack.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Jal Dorak wrote:

Getting rid of iterative attacks severely shortchanges the PCs.

The monsters of the world will still go "claw, claw, bite, wing, wing, tail, grab, constrict/swallow".

And the players will go "single attack".

You need a hefty advantage if a character uses a full-round action on an attack.

When one of your players is a half-dragon dual-wielding swords, you'll take anything you can get to reduce iterative attacks. 4 right hand, 3 left hand, and the bite. And then one more if he has a haste effect active. It'd be worse if he'd gone Thri-kreen.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kvantum wrote:

There's the Vital Strike feat in Alpha 3 now. Trade your lowest BAB attack to add your weapon damage dice (but only the dice, none of the other things added on) again to all the damage from your attacks. In other words, from +15/+10/+5 with a longsword, 1d8+3; to +15/+10, 2d8+3.

Then there's even Improved Vital Strike, to get rid of the 2 lowest attacks. +20/+15/+10/+5, 1d8+4 to +20/+15, 3d8+4.

Yes. These are very nice feats. So nice, in fact, that most of my melee combatants will be picking them up.


Hydro wrote:

See, when I first saw this mentioned elsewhere on the boards I thought it was ment in the opposite way: i.e., stop making the attacks iterative.

One attack at -0, then an attack at -0, and then an attack at -0, and then finally an attack at -0.

It would be a quick and dirty late-game powerup for fighters, if nothing else.

I actually really like this. Once AC is known, you can just roll the dice, and forget about 2-digit addition (not that it was hard, just bogs down play).

Of course, it would change monsters and everything else. That's a pretty big point against.


I like the how "attacks" work in Star Wars. If you wanted extra attack you would have to take the feats. I think it does indeed speed up play and resolves some of the mechanics of the game. I thinking about modeling the attacks after Star War machanic, but I would need to do some work to resolve the issues with the multiple attack monsters, otherwise it does shortchange the fighter.

As for the Dual Weapons I like that setup too (Two Weapon Use -5, Improved Two Weapon Use -2, Greater Two Weapon Use +0)

When I heard that Dnd 4th Edition was coming out I was excited because I was under the impression that they would use the same mechanics as the Saga Edition Star Wars, but they didn't... :(


What if everybody (including the monsta’s) kept their multiple attacks but didn’t get them all at once?

I’m thinking of the Shadowrun system here where your most wired street samurai would get an insanely high initiative (say 37) and that meant he would get actions at count 37, 27, 17 and 7. Is there a reasonable way to say a high level fighter (for example) could make his first attack at his initiative and then take his second attack at a lower initiative count?

Just to make something up, maybe divide the initiative roll by the number of attacks? So a ranger using two short swords who rolled a 14 for initiative would get an attack on 14 and another on 7. Meanwhile, the claw/claw/bite monster who rolled an 8 for initiative would get to attack on initiative segments 8, 5, and 3.

That would break up the big block of combat time that player was taking, give a little more dynamics to the battle, and still allow the ranger (or fighter or monster or whatever) to get in all his swings. I’d even think it’d be okay to get rid of those successive minuses as a counter balance to having a delayed action.

Scarab Sages

Fletch wrote:

What if everybody (including the monsta’s) kept their multiple attacks but didn’t get them all at once?

I’m thinking of the Shadowrun system here where your most wired street samurai would get an insanely high initiative (say 37) and that meant he would get actions at count 37, 27, 17 and 7. Is there a reasonable way to say a high level fighter (for example) could make his first attack at his initiative and then take his second attack at a lower initiative count?

Just to make something up, maybe divide the initiative roll by the number of attacks? So a ranger using two short swords who rolled a 14 for initiative would get an attack on 14 and another on 7. Meanwhile, the claw/claw/bite monster who rolled an 8 for initiative would get to attack on initiative segments 8, 5, and 3.

That would break up the big block of combat time that player was taking, give a little more dynamics to the battle, and still allow the ranger (or fighter or monster or whatever) to get in all his swings. I’d even think it’d be okay to get rid of those successive minuses as a counter balance to having a delayed action.

Well, personally, I think most people would find that MORE complicated. But if you like the idea, an easy solution would be to also apply the penalty to iterative/off-hand/multiple attacks to initiative count as well.

For example:
A fighter rolls initiative 15, second attack at 10, third at 5.
A ranger rolls initiative 15, off-hand at 13, second at 10, off-hand at 8, etc.
A bear rolls initiative 15, claws at 15, bite at 10 (with Multiattack gets bite a 13).

Only question is, do people lose extra attacks if they run out of initiative? Do you go into negatives?

This will also lead to a great deal of fighters taking Improved Initiative, but mechanically it makes sense as it further ties Dexterity into your ability to make quick attacks.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The last time this subject came up, I suggested making iterative attacks into feats. Below is an example of how I would structure them.

Skeld wrote:

Improved Attack [General]

Prerequisites: BAB +6.
Benefit: You gain a second attack at a -5 penalty.
Normal: Without this feat, you only get a single attack.

Greater Attack [General]
Prerequisites: BAB +11, Improved Attack.
Benefit: You gain a third attack at a -10 penalty.
Normal: Without this feat, you only get a single attack.

Superior Attack [General]
Prerequisites: BAB +16, Improved Attack, Greater Attack.
Benefit: You gain a forth attack at a -15 penalty.
Normal: Without this feat, you only get a single attack.

Doing this would necessitate some changes to the Two-Weapon Fighting feats (mainly the prerequisites, but it also touches the Ranger). Again, my thoughts are below.

Skeld wrote:

Improved Two-Weapon Fighting [General]

Prerequisites: Dex 17, BAB +6, Improved Attack, Two-Weapon Fighting
Benefit: You get a second attack with your off-hand weapon, albeit at a -5 penalty. See the Two-Weapon Fighting special attack.
Special: A fighter may select Greater Two-Weapon Fighting as one of his fighter bonus feats.
A 6th-level ranger who has chosen the two-weapon combat style has taken the Improved Attack feat is treated as having Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, even if he does not have the remaining prerequisites for it, but only when he is wearing light or no armor.

Greater Two-Weapon Fighting [General]
Prerequisites: Dex 19, BAB +11, Greater Attack, Improved Attack, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Two-Weapon Fighting.
Benefit: You get a third attack with your off-hand weapon, albeit at a -10 penalty. See the Two-Weapon Fighting special attack.
Special: A fighter may select Greater Two-Weapon Fighting as one of his fighter bonus feats.
An 11th-level ranger who has chosen the two-weapon combat style and has taken the Greater Attack feat is treated as having Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, even if he does not have the remaining prerequisites for it, but only when he is wearing light or no armor.

Superior Two-Weapon Fighting [General]
Prerequisites: Dex 25, BAB +16, Greater Attack, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Attack, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Superior Attack, Two-Weapon Fighting.
Benefit: You get a forth attack with your off-hand weapon, albeit at a -15 penalty. See the Two-Weapon Fighting special attack.
Special: A fighter may select Greater Two-Weapon Fighting as one of his fighter bonus feats.
A 16th-level ranger who has chosen the two-weapon combat style and has taken the Superior Attack feat is treated as having Superior Two-Weapon Fighting, even if he does not have the remaining prerequisites for it, but only when he is wearing light or no armor.

Two-Weapon Rend [Combat]
Prerequisites: Dex 17, BAB +11, Double Slice, Improved Attack, Improved Two-WeaponFighting, Two-Weapon Fighting.
Benefit: If you hit an opponent with both your primary hand and your off-hand weapon, you deal an additional 1d10 points of damage plus 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier. You can only deal this additional damage once each time you use Two-Weapon Rend.

Additionally, I'd like to see Fighters get some bonus damage (similar to Rogues) to help beef-up their damage output, especially in light of removing iterative attacks. With iterative attacks gone, the Full-Round Attack option doesn't mean much since a FRA becomes a single attack (or an on-hand/off-hand attack for two weapons). Without itertaive attakcs, I can imagine that Fighters would be more motivated that Rogues to take the entire iterative attack feat tree, plue they will likely be power attacking, cleaving, etc. Their bonus damage wouldn't have to be as high as that of a Rogue. Also, I would think it wouldn't be precision-based.

Skeld wrote:

Fighter Ability: Stand & Fight

When executing a Full-Round Attack, a 1st level Fighter adds an additional 1d6 to all attacks made as part of that attack action. This bonus damage increases to 2d6 at level 6, 3d6 at level 11, to a maximum of 4d6 at level 16. Bonus damage is physical damage of the same type as the weapon used to deliver it (slashing for a longsword, piercing for an arrow, etc.) and is affected by Damage Reduction as normal. Should a Fighter score a critical hit, this bonus damage is not multiplied.
This bonus damage applies to ranged attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.
This bonus damage does not apply to attacks made to deal nonlethal damage.

To keep the playing field somewhat level, the iterative attacks of monsters would have to be toned down. I haven't given too much thought to how best to handle that aspect of removing iterative attacks.

What I am sure of is that removing iterative attacks would be a huge change and would have a big impact on melee character effectiveness, PC-monster balance, and backward compatibility. However, I welcome the idea of it.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I'd be leery of getting rid of iterative attacks completely. But I wouldn't mind seeing the feats for them... AND with some subset of them granted to fighter-types as bonus feats. I think they're a significant elements of a fighter-type's balance with other classes and have been since 1e.

Other characters would have to buy them as feats normally. I'm just not certain who wouldn't buy them other than wizard-types whose ability to use them fairly sucks.


Jal Dorak wrote:
Only question is, do people lose extra attacks if they run out of initiative? Do you go into negatives?

That's why I thought division would work better than subtraction.

You're right, though, it is a bit more complicated but I wonder if that extra step wouldn't pay off in more dynamic encounters.

I should mention, though, that I'm new to this complaint and I'm coming at it from the direction of trying to clear "turn glut".

Is there another reason people are trying to reduce multiple attacks?

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Fletch wrote:
Is there another reason people are trying to reduce multiple attacks?

It's the perception that multiple attacks with lots of dice rolling is what slows down the game at high levels. I think that it's more likely that the sheer number of options available to a 15th level character versus a 3rd level character is what slows down the game. I think removing multiple attacks will have a relatively small impact.

-Skeld


EDIT: Total post restructure...

Has anyone ever tried Iterative AC?

A FTR17 vs AC 25(30/35/40), for example. He rolls +17 for each of his four attacks, against the four ACs respectively. It's pretty easy for a GM to just make AC iterative, rather than coming up with a new number to crunch every attack.

Alternatively, he could roll ONCE and depending on the AC he hit, that determines his damage dice (4 dice for the fourth AC). That's a bit more of a departure, but either method is a relatively painless way to reduce arithmetic on iterative attacks.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
toyrobots wrote:

EDIT: Total post restructure...

Has anyone ever tried Iterative AC?

A FTR17 vs AC 25(30/35/40), for example. He rolls +17 for each of his four attacks, against the four ACs respectively. It's pretty easy for a GM to just make AC iterative, rather than coming up with a new number to crunch every attack.

Alternatively, he could roll ONCE and depending on the AC he hit, that determines his damage dice (4 dice for the fourth AC). That's a bit more of a departure, but either method is a relatively painless way to reduce arithmetic on iterative attacks.

Your last portion of your post is akin, albeit stronger, than Vital Strike and Improved Vital Strike.

To be honest, while I prefer the SWSE approach, I suspect many of you are correct regarding multiple attacks from beasts ... and similarly, how my suggestion would undermine the fighter's strengths.

That said, Vital Strike and Improved Vital Strike really seem to address, albeit in a backward manner, what I'm shooting for.

So, I'll strike this from my list of brainiac ideas for House Rules / Revisions for now.

(Hecks, I still have Base Defense Bonus, CL Damage Bonus, and Condition Tracks to tout!)


Skeld wrote:
Fletch wrote:
Is there another reason people are trying to reduce multiple attacks?

It's the perception that multiple attacks with lots of dice rolling is what slows down the game at high levels. I think that it's more likely that the sheer number of options available to a 15th level character versus a 3rd level character is what slows down the game. I think removing multiple attacks will have a relatively small impact.

-Skeld

I agree. It's a "problem" with every class, they all have more options at higher level than lower... well, maybe not a problem. They're just high level. High level fights will always take more time than low level fights. There will *always* be more options and, yes, more dice to roll. Nature of the beast I'd say.

*edit* And then there's the problem of multiple targets. What if your fighter needs to hit three lower level targets, not one target with more damage? Go ahead and keep the multiple attacks with an option to add dice instead? Carry over excess damage from the first target to the next target? Next thing you know your one attack will look like a Power Attack. And then, of course, what about the AC of the target -- if it differs are you going to have to hit the highest to hit, or keep track of what you rolled and check to see if it hits everybody? Anyway you go, higher level PCs are harder to run / play.

*edit 2* Hmm... I keep thinking of more. The iterative attack represents the increasing ability of the fighter rather well. A high level character should be able to swing that sword more effectively and beat his opponent into the ground. It's quite cinematic. It's satisfying. It's fun :D


I think most of the times it´s not the number of attacks that slows down the game too much, its the player who rolls the dice. Let me tell you abaout one player in my gaming group. He plays a babarian lvl 10. On top of his two Base attacks ( soon to be three ) he carries a lion shield which can also attack two times a round, three times a day. Now to clarify things, he´s a nice guy and I like to play with him, but theres one thing that sometimes drive me crazy. When he makes a full attack the following thing happens:

put one d20 in your dice-box, remember to give it a reaaaaly good shake, slam it down on the table, look beneath it but take your time, add the bonuses to your dice roll. Now if your strike was a hit, put all your damage dice in the dice-box, another good shake above your head for luck and slam it on the tabel. Lift it up, add it up and tell the DM the score. REPEAT THIS 3 MORE TIMES !! (sorry caps)

Now this is the thing that bogs down gameplay. If you play a character with several attacks remember a few things: Always have some spare sheets of paper where you can write down your current attack and damage bonuses when buffed, so you don´t have to think abaout them all the time, do this when the other players cast those spells before your turn. Always roll your damage dice with your attack roll, not seperatly. If you fight with two weapons youse two different coloured dice sets. Most of the time you have the exact same bonuses for main-hand and off-hand. Say your red dice is for the main hand, blue dice for the off hand. Roll both attack and damage dice for aff and main hand together. While your DM adjust the HP of the mosnter add aup the next attack and damage sxores so aou can tell them right away. Don´t wait for him to ask you abaout the second attack and start counting.

If you stick to these rules nobody who isn´t totally inept at adding up numbers should take too long for his round.


ABSOLUTELY!! I completely agree. An experienced DM usually requires such time-saving techniques to be performed by his players. I personally let my players roll ahead of time as well. Having played with them for many years, I do not need to witness every roll made at the table. Of course, this may vary depending on your group....


With the idea of "speeding things up"

Has anyone found, or used, a PDA based dice roller?
Assuming the player who used it wasn't someone who would "tinker" with such a thing, I would think it'd speed up things substantially.

(esp if programmable ones exist.. where you could have it display multiple rolls at once. such as:
two attacks, and the different damages from them, whatnot).

Just a stray thought.

-S


Wolfknight wrote:
ABSOLUTELY!! I completely agree. An experienced DM usually requires such time-saving techniques to be performed by his players. I personally let my players roll ahead of time as well. Having played with them for many years, I do not need to witness every roll made at the table. Of course, this may vary depending on your group....

Yes you bring up a very good point. Trust in your players. If a DM has to watch every dice roll, it´s gonna take ages. To cheat at a RPG game basically is cheating yourself, so don´t do it. When you miss you miss, when your character dies because of a bad roll, tough luck, he´s dead. Once your DM doesn´t have to watch your every move, things will go much more smoothly.


Jassin wrote:
REPEAT THIS 3 MORE TIMES !! (sorry caps)

Wait, his name isn't David is it? I have the same guy... no lion shield but he has to make a big show of every single die roll. Often tossing it up in the air like he's flipping a coin which causes it to roll off the table about 1/3 the time. Also, he can't sit for his turn, nor can he roll while someone else is talking or doing something. Grrr

I don't think you have to do everything you list to keep things flowing, just being ready, and eliminating the drama is enough. Roll, add, roll, add... even 8 rolls can go quick but NO DRAMA thanks!


Dennis da Ogre wrote:


Wait, his name isn't David is it? I have the same guy... no lion shield but he has to make a big show of every single die roll. Often tossing it up in the air like he's flipping a coin which causes it to roll off the table about 1/3 the time. Also, he can't sit for his turn, nor can he roll while someone else is talking or doing something. Grrr

I don't think you have to do everything you list to keep things flowing, just being ready, and eliminating the drama is enough. Roll, add, roll, add... even 8 rolls can go quick but NO DRAMA thanks!

Nope his Name isn´t David :)

But reading abaout your description I can now almost appreciate my player. Sounds like things can get a lot worse than the things at our table :))

To be fair, there´s another thing that really slows down the game, and I have to admit sometimes I´m guilty of doing it myself. That is playing a spellcaster and not remebering the spell you want to cast. No problem up to here, but sometimes I just forget to look the spell up before it is my turn again.


I'm also interested in changing how iterative attacks work however my reason is because the current structure encourages warriors to stand in one spot and move a maximum of 5 feet at high levels. Low level characters with only a single attack run around the battlefield, move to take advantage of cover, gain higher ground, etc. High level characters stand in place and womp.

It makes combat less dynamic at high levels and terrain less of a factor (since no one moves much).

I'm currently considering several house rules that might be of interest to the Pathfinder crew.
1. Making feat, class ability, and speed based extra attacks useable as standard actions. So TWF, rapid shot, flurry of blows, haste would all allow two attacks as part of a standard action (but wouldn't stack so TWF and haste is still only two attacks).
2. Changing combat expertise so that in any round that you move more than 10 feet you gain a +1 dodge bonus to AC for each iterative attack that you gave up by moving (higher AC at higher level).
3. Allowing an additional 5 foot move (not 5 foot step) for each iterative attack you give up in a full attack. So if you have 3 attacks you could move 5', attack, move 5' more, attack again but both 5 foot moves would provoke AoOs (unless you used accelerated tumbling). Or you could attack, move 10 feet, and attack again. Only iterative attacks could be exchanged in this way (not attacks due to haste/twf/etc) though other attacks could be used (so a TWF fighter with +6 BAB could make one attack at -2, move 10 feet, and make his off-hand attack by giving up his second iterative attack. Or move 10 feet and make both twf attacks. etc.

Vital Strike and Improved Vital Strike are interesting ideas but they do nothing to encourage mobility on the battlefield. If a way could be imagined to use them without requiring warriors to stand pat I'd be very interested to hear it.


Arne Schmidt wrote:

I'm also interested in changing how iterative attacks work however my reason is because the current structure encourages warriors to stand in one spot and move a maximum of 5 feet at high levels. Low level characters with only a single attack run around the battlefield, move to take advantage of cover, gain higher ground, etc. High level characters stand in place and womp.

...

Vital Strike and Improved Vital Strike are interesting ideas but they do nothing to encourage mobility on the battlefield. If a way could be imagined to use them without requiring warriors to stand pat I'd be very interested to hear it.

The changes to Dodge and Mobility do help with the mobility problem (these two are now my must have rogue feats). Spring attack also helps a lot. Overall I agree with you, 3.5 is almost perfectly engineered to anchor melee opponents in place on the battlefield. Attack of Opportunity, full attack only on 5' step... etc. It's almost like they planned it this way.


Thanks Dennis,

I'm also considering looking at it this way:
A full-attack action is traded for a standard attack and a move action.
So each iterative attack is equal to the characters speed divided by the number of attacks he gets. So a ranger with Speed 30 and BAB of +11/+6/+1 could give up each attack for 10 feet of movement and still be considered to be making a full attack.

So he could move 20 feet and make both TWF attacks. Or make both TWF attacks, move 10 feet, and make his second iterative attack.

The only problem I see with this is that as you get more attacks you're actually trading them for less movement. The same ranger with a +16/+11/+6/+1 sequence only gets 7.5 feet per attack sacrificed. But I'm not sure that really matters since it means if he tried the two maneuvers above he could still move 20 feet and make both TWF attacks, or he could make two TWF attacks, move 15 feet, and make his second iterative attack.

My inclination is to require TWF attacks to always be taken in pairs. Thus with improved TWF you have to make your second iterative attack and second TWF attack at the same time and can't make a second TWF attack if you sacrifice your second iterative attack to move.

Extra attacks from speed effects (haste, etc) become an issue though. How do I fit those in fairly. Do I just treat them as an additional attack and divide their speed by a larger number? IF the same ranger was hasted he'd have a move of 60 with a +11/+11/+6/+1 attack sequence. He'd gain 15 feet of movement for each attack.

This could become a problem with highly mobile creatures with multiple attacks. It could make them much more dangerous.

EDIT: Further note. I would require all movement from a sacrificed attack to be taken at once, not divided between attacks. So a hasted ranger could not sacrifice his lowest iterative to gain a move of 20 and attack, move, attack, move, attack. He'd have to sacrifice two iterative attacks to move twice. A hasted ranger 11 could however make three attacks (TWF and haste attacks), move 20' (sacrifice lowest), and make two attacks (second iterative and improved TWF)

Scarab Sages

I am another person that dislikes iterative attacks. However, I can see why some people like it and think it should be left in (backwards compatibility and all that).

I have a simple solution that I am implimenting into my games, which simultaneously removes another rule which I dislike (Attacks of Opportunity).

Each PC/Monster has 1 less AoO, meaning a 'normal' character has 0, and a character may take his 5-foot step anytime during his full-round attacking action. This simply makes the battlefield more 'mobile' and reduces the overall chance that a character gets to use all of his/her attacks, without removing them completely. Especially when those clever monsters move out of combat, thus denying a PC all their attacks...

Note: I've compensated feats like 'Improved Grapple' etc. by giving a +2 to the attempted manoeuvre. Whilst 'Combat Reflexes' gives 1+1/2 Dex mod. AoO's.

It seems to work so far...

Cheers! :D

EDIT: Though this does make ranged combatants more deadly, any suggestions?


Interesting. The funny thing is that I've never noted AoOs as the reason my players stop moving around the battlefield. There are plenty of ways to move and still avoid them (tumble, carefully chosen movement, mobility, etc). In most cases if my players want to move they'll just take the AoO and do it anyway.

But once they have access to more than one attack IF they don't move they almost never do. Apparently taking damage is not a big deal, but giving up an attack is unnacceptable...at least to my group.


Arne Schmidt wrote:

I'm also interested in changing how iterative attacks work however my reason is because the current structure encourages warriors to stand in one spot and move a maximum of 5 feet at high levels. Low level characters with only a single attack run around the battlefield, move to take advantage of cover, gain higher ground, etc. High level characters stand in place and womp.

It makes combat less dynamic at high levels and terrain less of a factor (since no one moves much).

You've actually hit that one right on the head. The problem with full-attacking is that it makes standard and move actions less important. Example: I can bull-rush him... or I can full-attack for 200+ damage. Hmm, let me think...

On top of that, PCs start getting glued down as early as 2nd (Rapid Shot), and they're stuck at 5th-6th (second attacks and Haste).

This issue is why the Dervish (CW) is incredibly powerful, as it can both move and full-attack. It's also why the Belt of Battle (MIC) is arguably the strongest magic item in 3.5.

The real problem, though, is that no matter what sort of genius solution we come up with for the PCs... there's still the monsters, with their sequences.

Something to consider: Monsters don't get additional attacks based on BAB. (MM 312) Their extra attacks stem from just wielding a bunch of natural weapons. So perhaps if we were to revise rules for attacking with multiple weapons, we could then safely phase out iterative attacks based on BAB.

-Matt


This is not talking about iterative attacks anymore rather about combat mobility.

Many another feat in the dodge-mobility-spring-attack chain.

Mobile Assault
Character can make a full attack action during his normal movement. He can spread his attacks out to any enemy he can reach during his movement.

That's pretty powerful... but the tail end of a 4 feat chain should be powerful. Maybe have him lose the benefit of mobility during the movement?


Mattastrophic wrote:
Something to consider: Monsters don't get additional attacks based on BAB. (MM 312) Their extra attacks stem from just wielding a bunch of natural weapons. So perhaps if we were to revise rules for attacking with multiple weapons, we could then safely phase out iterative attacks based on BAB.

Two Weapon fighting has gotten considerable love in this version.


I agree that the iterative attack rules could be simplified into something more elegant yet flexible.

I think characters should have 1 single attack per round, with the ability to gain more with the investment of combat feat that gives extra attacks (at the same attack bonus) only in certain conditions.

For example:

Cleave would grant an immediate extra attack on a adjacent opponent if the first attack scored a hit.

Two-Weapon Fighting would grant an immediate extra attack with the secondary weapon on the same opponent if the first attack scored a hit.

Shield Bash would grant an immediate extra combat maneuver if the first attack scored a hit.

Second Chance would grant an immediate extra attack if the first attack missed (possibly at the sacrifice of something else).

etc.

Characters would still have multiple options at mid-level, but not as many attacks at high level and not necessarily in all circumstances.

I think this mechanic could also allow more control on potentially problematic abilities (such as sneak attack, that could work on the initial attack only) and fit elegantly around a "fighting style" concept, which may include racial/cultural variations.

Feat selection would also decide of the "high probability to hit" vs. "high damage" balance. Getting rid of the full-round option would keep battlefield mobility as a profitable option, allowing players to strategically place their characters in situations where their feats would be put to good use (or at least not penalize them if they take the risk of trying a dramatic action, such as pushing the Orc off the cliff rather than pounding on it with a sword for 5 rounds until it dies...)

Those are my thought anyway...

Benoit


Well iterative attack stick around for 2 reasons as far as I can tell.

#1 Helps bring melee types in line with damage dealing capabilities of wiz/ sorc/ cleric
#2 Gives fighters the ability to have a mass effect in combat attacking and killing multiple opponents in a round
#3 Gives the players a little more equal table time. When the cleric in the group is controlling and attacking with 2-3 summoned creatures and a spiritual weapon the fighter's player who gets a single attack and damage role and his turn is over... he feels a bit short changed.


Dennis da Ogre wrote:


#1 Helps bring melee types in line with damage dealing capabilities of wiz/ sorc/ cleric
#2 Gives fighters the ability to have a mass effect in combat attacking and killing multiple opponents in a round
#3 Gives the players a little more equal table time. When the cleric in the group is controlling and attacking with 2-3 summoned creatures and a spiritual weapon the fighter's player who gets a single attack and damage role and his turn is over... he feels a bit short changed.

In response to...

#1: Actually, at high levels, melee types outclass casters when it comes to raw damage. Power Attack, high Strength, and lots of to-hit bonuses all come together. Hell, my own Wiz15 took Weapon Finesse and Arcane Strike so he could do more damage.

#2: On the other hand, shouldn't arcane casters be the ones affecting multiple targets, while the fighters be damaging single targets?

#3: That's just a product of giving players multiple turns due to summoning, mounts, familiars, etc, not because of the class by itself.

-Matt


Okay,
So let's talk about limiting it to a single attack with additional attacks being granted by feats (TWF, rapid shot, cleave), class abilities (flurry of blows), or speed enhancements (haste, weapon of speed, etc).

Dennis Da Ogre has some good points so how do we compensate for these factors?

One possibility that has come up is to replace the iterative attack with a damage bonus, such as a multiple of weapon damage. Each time the fighter gains an iterative attack instead his weapon gains a multiplier to damage. So at 6th level the fighter's longsword does 2d8+bonuses, At 11th 3d8+bonuses and so on. Criticals would add their damage as per the raw (1d8+bonuses). Only standard action attacks would recieve this damage bonus. Bonus attacks (as above) and AoOs would do damage normally (no multiplier).

To handle the fighter's ability to have an area effect (formerly multiple attacks against multiple foes) you instead allow him to use his standard action attack to hit everyone that he threatens but he divides the damage among them. One attack, one damage roll. On a crit you multiply the whole thing. So an 11th level fighter would do 3d8 longsword damage plus bonuses divided among all targets. On a crit he would double all of that divided among all targets (makes a crit with an axe great against multiple foes). Obviously this is a sort of whirlwind attack but whirlwind attack allows you to apply full damage to everyone without dividing it up.

EDIT: or maybe for increased flexibility, the fighter's area attack damage is divided into lots that he can apply to any target he successfully hit with the attack. For example, say the attack delivers 30 points of damage with three possible targets. The damage is divided into 3 lots of 10 points each. So the fighter could do 20 points of damage to one enemy, 10 points to another, and none to the third if he so chose.

I'm not sure how to apply this to monsters with multiple natural attacks though. Maybe they simply get a bonus 5 feet of movement (not a 5 foot step) for each 6 points of BAB they have, but must give up one natural attack to take it. So a monster with BAB +11 could move 15 feet, but would have to give up 2 natural attacks.

Any thoughts/comments?


Arne Schmidt wrote:
... once they have access to more than one attack IF they don't move they almost never do. Apparently taking damage is not a big deal, but giving up an attack is unnacceptable...at least to my group.

As one of the players in question, I wasn't going to comment here, but after seeing the subsequent posts, I can't resist. So I'll combine it all into one post. :) So far as the above statement is concerned, I'll just say that when one is fighting an opponent who can drop your character in one or two hits, it makes a certain amount of sense to do as much damage as possible as quickly as possible before your character gets taken out.

Arne Schmidt wrote:

To handle the fighter's ability to have an area effect (formerly multiple attacks against multiple foes) you instead allow him to use his standard action attack to hit everyone that he threatens but he divides the damage among them. One attack, one damage roll. On a crit you multiply the whole thing. So an 11th level fighter would do 3d8 longsword damage plus bonuses divided among all targets. On a crit he would double all of that divided among all targets (makes a crit with an axe great against multiple foes). Obviously this is a sort of whirlwind attack but whirlwind attack allows you to apply full damage to everyone without dividing it up.

EDIT: or maybe for increased flexibility, the fighter's area attack damage is divided into lots that he can apply to any target he successfully hit with the attack. For example, say the attack delivers 30 points of damage with three possible targets. The damage is divided into 3 lots of 10 points each. So the fighter could do 20 points of damage to one enemy, 10 points to another, and none to the third if he so chose.

I can see that this would simplify the mechanics of melee damage to multiple targets, but I don't see how it would accomplish the goal of encouraging mobility. If a fighter has three targets in reach and can make one attack roll to do damage to all of them without moving, then why move and provoke attacks of opportunity if it isn't absolutely necessary?

There's a pretty important distinction between not penalizing mobility in combat and actively rewarding mobility in combat. I think this idea at least removes the penalties for mobility that exist under the current iterative attack rules, but I'm not sure it rewards mobility in any way. So whether this idea answers your need depends on whether your aim is to actually reward your players for moving around the battlefield, or whether you just want to make it suck less for them when they choose to move.

Tangentially, the way you've suggested rolling the damage looks to me like the fighter would be dealing less damage overall than under the current rules, since you don't say that the bonuses would be multiplied by the number of opponents hit. Currently, each hit gets weapon damage + bonuses; under the model you've suggested, it looks like only the weapon damage gets multiplied by the number of hits. I suppose it might balance itself out because hits at the iterative attack bonuses are less likely than at full BAB, but without crunching numbers, I'm not sure of that.


TMS wrote:
I can see that this would simplify the mechanics of melee damage to multiple targets, but I don't see how it would accomplish the goal of encouraging mobility. If a fighter has three targets in reach and can make one attack roll to do damage to all of them without moving, then why move and provoke attacks of opportunity if it isn't absolutely necessary?

It encourages mobility because the fighter is capable of moving his full speed before or after he delivers this multi-attack. Something which is not possible as it stands now. Currently to attack mulitple targets the fighter can move no more than 5'. To get within reach of multiple opponents he must usually move more than 5' which then precludes the ability to attack more than one of them that round. All but one of the targets will have the chance to move away before he is able to deliver any attack on them at all. (Note this may not be the case for characters with reach weapons and combat reflexes since they are depending on AoOs rather than iterative attacks).

It also allows him to disengage after damaging multiple opponents (particularly if he drops them so no AoOs are taken or by tumbling) and seek more advantageous ground for his next round of attacks, or take cover between them since he can move again before making his next multi-attack.

It would be less damage than a successful series of iterative attacks would deliver, but to me that's a fair trade off for the increased mobility, likelihood of being able to deliver damage to multiple targets, and increased damage against single targets. If multi-attack damage was delivered in lots (see my EDIT above) then the fighter could actually dole out the damage more efficiently by delivering enough lots to drop a target and then placing the next lot on another target and so on. This is likely a more efficient use of damage than delivering a full BAB attack for 20 points of damage on a wounded creature with 2 hit points followed by a low BAB attack against a less wounded creature.

Using my suggestion a fighter could move and deliver a multi-attack against multiple foes. Next round he could move to a new group and deliver another multi-attack. It would take the same fighter 4 rounds to accomplish that by the existing rules. Rd 1- move and attack once. Rd 2- full attack. Rd 3- move and attack once. Rd 4- full attack.

Thinking about it now, this could also work for extra attacks from things like haste or weapons of speed. You just add another weapon damage multiplier while haste is in effect. Cleave might be reworked to add a weapon damage multiplier to all remaining targets if you drop one during your multi-attack. Great Cleave could add a multiplier for each foe you drop, and so on.

I'm not sure this is the way to go, but it's an interesting thing to consider.


Arne Schmidt wrote:
It encourages mobility because the fighter is capable of moving his full speed before or after he delivers this multi-attack. Something which is not possible as it stands now. Currently to attack mulitple targets the fighter can move no more than 5'. To get within reach of multiple opponents he must usually move more than 5' which then precludes the ability to attack more than one of them that round. All but one of the targets will have the chance to move away before he is able to deliver any attack on them at all. (Note this may not be the case for characters with reach weapons and combat reflexes since they are depending on AoOs rather than iterative attacks).

So he gets to move his full amount and take down multiple targets in six seconds? Say 20' and go cut down up to three opponents. I can almost appreciate the dropping multiple rolls (maybe making one roll and measuring it against the individual targets AC), but I just don't picture your fighter flying around and dropping targets like a Hong Kong action film. Stationary targets, yeah, but I'm assuming those opponents don't want to be hit... The iterative attacks can be sequenced with other attacks too, not just delivered instantly. If you have multiple attacks and the initiative you go first, but somebody goes next before your next attack unless they're really slow or dead. As for the 20 points done to some poor sod with 2 hp left, that gives the DM license to describe a really gruesome death. The fun kind :) As for targets moving away, as you said that's what AoO are for. And if 2+ guys run away, somebody wins the lottery and somebody gets it in the back. That's life. A high level fighter is a killing machine, I'm not sure why you need to speed up the action. And if you do, I suggest the next party you have that meets a high level NPC fighter will regret it...

*edit* Look, I know a FRPG requires some suspension of disbelief, obviously. But this just strtches it a bit farther than it needs to go. IMO of course, YMMV.

Scarab Sages

Just to throw an idea out there...

Spycraft 2.0 uses half actions (you get 1 action on your turn). Characters don't get iterative attacks, but attacks and moves cost half actions. Meaning that PCs can move-move, attack-move, attack-attack right from level 1. This stays the same throughout the character's career, although I think feats allow more attacks, though I'm unsure.

Cheers! :D


Arne Schmidt wrote:
It encourages mobility because the fighter is capable of moving his full speed before or after he delivers this multi-attack. Something which is not possible as it stands now. Currently to attack mulitple targets the fighter can move no more than 5'. To get within reach of multiple opponents he must usually move more than 5' which then precludes the ability to attack more than one of them that round.

Point taken. Personally, I don't like the level of abstraction involved in the proposed solution, but I understand your reasoning. I can certainly see how this would be appealing to a DM in terms of speeding up game play, too.

It's not so appealing to me as a player, though, because it removes a lot of the mechanical detail that helps me visualize what's happening on the battlefield. Also, conceptually, I balk a bit at the idea of a straight-up fighter having what amounts to an area-effect attack with a basic melee weapon. Multiple attack actions taken sequentially against several targets are different from a single attack action spread out over several targets, and I like having mechanics that reflect that difference.

Arne Schmidt wrote:
This is likely a more efficient use of damage than delivering a full BAB attack for 20 points of damage on a wounded creature with 2 hit points followed by a low BAB attack against a less wounded creature....

This is purely subjective, but sometimes, delivering 20 points of damage with a full BAB attack to a 2 HP opponent is what *feels* right, even if it's not the most tactically advantageous choice. And yet, I think it unlikely that most players would choose to do that if they were apportioning damage amongst multiple opponents. Having the dice determine the amount of damage given to a particular opponent often creates interesting narrative and roleplay possibilities that I suspect would become much less common if the player were logically determining the most efficient apportionment of damage to each opponent.

Scarab Sages

Hehe, maybe the big secret is to not go above level 11! ;)

Cheers! :D

Dark Archive

Selgard wrote:

With the idea of "speeding things up"

Has anyone found, or used, a PDA based dice roller?
Assuming the player who used it wasn't someone who would "tinker" with such a thing, I would think it'd speed up things substantially.

(esp if programmable ones exist.. where you could have it display multiple rolls at once. such as:
two attacks, and the different damages from them, whatnot).

Just a stray thought.

-S

In fact, I have an app called Dice Bag for my iPhone. It has 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, percentile dice, 1d12, 1d20, 3d6, and 4d6 (discard lowest d6). I absolutely love it, and it's extremely convenient. Just tap the dice, and the result shows on the lower right side of the screen. The numbers are also color coded, so if you get a max result, it's colored red.


TMS wrote:

Point taken. Personally, I don't like the level of abstraction involved in the proposed solution, but I understand your reasoning. I can certainly see how this would be appealing to a DM in terms of speeding up game play, too.

It's not so appealing to me as a player, though, because it removes a lot of the mechanical detail that helps me visualize what's happening on the battlefield. Also, conceptually, I balk a bit at the idea of a straight-up fighter having what amounts to an area-effect attack with a basic melee weapon. Multiple attack actions taken sequentially against several targets are different from a single attack action spread out over several targets, and I like having mechanics that reflect that difference.

This is purely subjective, but sometimes, delivering 20 points of damage with a full BAB attack to a 2 HP opponent is what *feels* right, even if it's not the most tactically advantageous choice. And yet, I think it unlikely that most players would choose to do that if they were apportioning damage amongst multiple opponents. Having the dice determine the amount of damage given to a particular opponent often creates interesting narrative and roleplay possibilities that I suspect would become much less common if the player were logically determining the most efficient apportionment of damage to each opponent.

Exactly, on pretty much all counts. I DM and I don't feel the need to speed up my game and lose the feel of the combats.


R_Chance wrote:
I DM and I don't feel the need to speed up my game and lose the feel of the combats.

Oh, I don't object to streamlining combat. And I most emphatically support the idea of encouraging greater mobility in combat at higher levels. I'd just prefer to find a mechanic that accomplishes those goals without making a raging barbarian attacking four opponents one after another with a greatsword seem quite so similar to a sorceror blasting the same four opponents all at once with a fireball.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of trading iterative attacks for movement instead of making multiple attacks work more like area effects.


Personally I think the biggest thing that slows down combat is players. I'm thinking an 30 second egg timer would be the best combat speedup you could do.

Arne wrote:
One possibility that has come up is to replace the iterative attack with a damage bonus, such as a multiple of weapon damage.

Well Vital Strike does something very similar to this. You drop your third attack and the first two do weapon damage x2 plus strength and other modifiers. Improved Vital Stike you drop 2 attacks and do x3. You are still doing 2 iterative attack and if you have 2WF and Imp 2WF you are doing 4 attacks. That's a bit of an improvement over 6-8 attacks with 2WF at high levels.

But having a fighters turn take 20 seconds and a clerics take 5 minutes ain't cool either. Everyone needs to speed up. I don't think fighters and iterative attacks are near as bad as wizards or clerics.


I'd like to cut down on die rolling and add more mobility to cr0mbat. That's my intent with removing iterative attacks.

I'd give the high-level fighter a bonus to hit and bonus damage dice commensurate with their iterative attacks. Flavor-wise, the attack roll is a whole bunch of Ho, Haha, Guard, Turn, Parry, Dodge, Spin, Ha, Thrust anyway...

TWF fighters sacrifice a bonus to hit for an extra damage die.

You lose the ability to hit two adjacent foes in a single round, but I'd argue it's worth it for the speedup in play and more dynamic cr0mbat. Those 5' steps are dead boring.

I'm at work, so somebody with math can sort out the exact bonuses...

Edit:

Another possibility would be to create feats that let you sacrifice attack bonuses to double or triple your damage dice (2 and 3 iterative attacks). High-level fighters get them for free at the appropriate levels. TWF is the gimped, no prereq version.


I think I'm going to try introducing a new kind of full round action called a Multi-attack.

When you make a multi-attack you divide your speed by the number of attacks you get and then for each attack that you sacrifice you may move that amount.
-Extra attacks from speed effects, class abilities, feats using the same weapon are counted just as other attacks are
Example: A hasted monk with flurry of blows and iterative attacks of +11/+6/+1 would be considered to have 5 attacks.
-Cleaves and Attacks of Opportunity are resolved normally.
-Off-hand attacks due to fighting with two weapons must be used and sacrificed in pairs with their equivalent iterative attack.
Example: A ranger 11 with 3 primary hand and 3 off-hand attacks only divides his speed by three.
-Monsters may sacrifice natural attacks in the same way, however multiple natural attacks of the same type are counted in pairs (2 claw attacks, 2 wing attacks, 2 tentacle attacks, etc) and the monster's speed is divided by the number of single attacks and pairs.
Example: A dire bear with a bite and 2 claw attacks is considered to have 2 attacks.
Example: A dragon with a bite, 2 claw attacks, 2 wing attacks, and a tail slap is considered to have 4 attacks.
Example: An octopus with 8 tentacle attacks is considered to have 4 attacks.

Some additional Multi-attack rules:
-Multi-attacks roll damage normally.
-Movement used during a multi-attack provokes Attacks of Opportunity normally.
-Movement gained by sacrificing an attack must be used all at once and cannot be divided into multiple smaller moves.
Example: A fighter with 4 attacks and a speed of 60 gains 15 feet of movement by sacrificing one attack. He cannot attack, move 10', attack, move 5', attack. He could sacrifice two attacks to move 15', attack, move 15', attack -OR- attack, move 30', attack.
-Bonus attacks granted by speed effects (such as haste or boots of speed) must be sacrificed first (that is before the lowest iterative attack can be sacrificed).
-Attacks and moves may be used in any order that the creature prefers to use them (the highest BAB attack need not be the first attack in the multi-attack)
-Off-hand attacks due to fighting with two weapons must be made simultaneous to the comparable primary hand attack, but may target a different creature than the primary hand.
-Monsters with multiple natural attacks of the same type (2 claw attacks, 2 wing attacks, 8 tentacle attacks, etc) must sacrifice those attacks in pairs.
-Spring Attack allows a creature to divide each move into multiple smaller moves (so the fighter in the example above could make use a multi-attack sequence of attack, move 10', attack, move 5', attack if he had the Spring Attack feat). They also do not provoke attacks of opportunity for movement from any creature that they successfully hit during a multi-attack.
-Multi-attack can only be used with melee attacks, not with ranged attacks (though it can be combined with thrown weapons, though rapid shot may not be used to gain an extra attack in this case).

What do you think? How would you feel if your DM introduced this as a house-rule?

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