Power attack and Combat Expertise...


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Liberty's Edge

Has there been any recent discussion over the obvious nerf to these two feats?

I was hoping that they would revert back to the old form with the Beta but that was not the case.

Power attack now tops out very low, and Combat expertise is useless unless you are a pure caster who has a very high INT.

I play a paladin right now in 3.5 and my two starting feats were Power attack and Combat expertise. I did this because I like the control it gives me over my character for a given combat. With these new rules for these two feats my character is going to see some drastic changes. I am not saying that it ruins me, but it will completely change the way he runs...and honestly I liked the way it was.

Silver Crusade

I agree, the old ones were much better. I get that this is simpler (you can just add 'combat expertise' and 'power attack' statlines), but this is one case where the simplicity isn't worth the cost.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah, count me on this list as well. I understand why the change was made - as it was Power Attack was the single must have feat for almost any meleer. But man, I hate losing the ability to do all that fun attack / AC / damage modification.

Hey, I'm a geek! I love numbers! That was a character concept I wanted desperately to try but never go to, and now probably never will. ::sigh::


Vult wrote:
Power attack now tops out very low

Well, it's not hard to get up to a Strength bonus of +9 by about level 8, and +11 by level 16. So I wouldn't say it tops out too low.

Vult wrote:
and Combat expertise is useless unless you are a pure caster who has a very high INT

I've never ever seen anyone use the Combat Expertise feat under any rule set, nor have I ever seriously considered taking it. It's just not that powerful anyway.

Vult wrote:
honestly I liked the way it was

I can't blame you there. :D

These are not "great" fixes.

Conceptually though, a power attack does require strength. And less conceptually, Combat Expertise should still relate to Intelligence ... or even Dexterity.

I would suggest the feats be changed to the following:

Power Attack (Combat)
Prerequisite: Str 12
Benefit: Add an amount equal to your Strength modifier to your melee damage rolls for 1 round (in addition to the normal damage modifier from a high Strength score). Subtract the same amount from your melee attack rolls for 1 round.
If your attacks are made with a two-handed weapon, add an amount equal to double your Strength modifier to your melee damage rolls for 1 round (the penalty remains the same).

Combat Expertise (Combat)
You can increase your defense at the expense of your accuracy.
Prerequisites: Int 12 or Dex 12
Benefit: You can only choose to use this feat when you declare that you are making an attack or full-attack action with a melee weapon.
Add an amount equal to the greater of your Intelligence of Dexterity modifier as a Dodge bonus to your armor class for 1 round. Subtract the same amount from your melee attack rolls for 1 round.

That would make more sense to me, shifting Dexterity from attack to defence, or using Intelligence to do the same.

Just my two cents worth. ^_^

Liberty's Edge

Not a bad suggestion for a solution there...but it would be simpler just to leave it the way it was...IMHO.


Every "type" has feats that are omg must have. I don't see the issue with it. If you are a 2-hander, you look for feats that make you better at it. If every build includes it, does that make it OP? Not necessarily. It just means it's a core feat for the build.
(build in this case meaning general idea- rather than a set template of feats to take).

I don't like the change to PA because it's a serious problem to the melee folk. If the badguy's AC is in the middle range, then you can't PA (since you'd miss) but if you don't PA, you are wasting alot. I don't see what the problem was with folks doing the quick calculation to figure out their PA. If the problem was time at the gaming table- that's easily solved by the DM, rather than a drastic screwing around with the mechanics of the game.

It's the only feat I've seen that penalizes you for having a really high ability score. (i.e. losing +2 to hit may not hurt you but losing +9 may be a serious problem- and you can't choose.. it's all or nuttin).

Is it a game breaker for me? Not really. But I still don't like it.

As for Combat Expertise.. can't really comment, as I've never seen anyone actually take it before.

-S


BrokenShade wrote:
Well, it's not hard to get up to a Strength bonus of +9 by about level 8, and +11 by level 16. So I wouldn't say it tops out too low.

Not hard? I suppose it can be done: Str 18, +2 from race, +2 from level-based increases, +6 item will get you a +9 bonus. But that seems pretty extreme. Am I missing some other obvious way to get you Str up so high?

Sovereign Court

Personally I'm a fan of the change to power attack, there's no real power modulation in exchange for accuracy in melee the way PA worked, The new version nails the way a power attack would actually occur where strength is traded for accuracy. PA in 3.5 was supposed to represent one thing and instead became something completely different.

Liberty's Edge

jasin wrote:
BrokenShade wrote:
Well, it's not hard to get up to a Strength bonus of +9 by about level 8, and +11 by level 16. So I wouldn't say it tops out too low.
Not hard? I suppose it can be done: Str 18, +2 from race, +2 from level-based increases, +6 item will get you a +9 bonus. But that seems pretty extreme. Am I missing some other obvious way to get you Str up so high?

This particularly is rough for me in my campaign. As we do not play a game where magic items are dropping off trees and 18's were not even allowed at character gen, getting a bonus of more than 3 or 4 is going to be very very hard :(

Liberty's Edge

lastknightleft wrote:
Personally I'm a fan of the change to power attack, there's no real power modulation in exchange for accuracy in melee the way PA worked, The new version nails the way a power attack would actually occur where strength is traded for accuracy. PA in 3.5 was supposed to represent one thing and instead became something completely different.

I think you have it all wrong...If I am giving up my accuracy to do more damage then it is not my brute strength that is helping me hit harder, but my ability with my weapon that is why the bonus should come from BAB, not your Str score. Your skill is doing the damage here, not your muscles.

Sovereign Court

Vult wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
Personally I'm a fan of the change to power attack, there's no real power modulation in exchange for accuracy in melee the way PA worked, The new version nails the way a power attack would actually occur where strength is traded for accuracy. PA in 3.5 was supposed to represent one thing and instead became something completely different.
I think you have it all wrong...If I am giving up my accuracy to do more damage then it is not my brute strength that is helping me hit harder, but my ability with my weapon that is why the bonus should come from BAB, not your Str score. Your skill is doing the damage here, not your muscles.

And I think that it doesn't change the fact that warriors don't trade up minor differences in accuracy for slightly more damage. A warrior doing damage with weapon skill can do it without loosing accuracy. Unless you are regarding the to hit loss as an increase in AC due to targeting a smaller area, in which case it is a targeted strike, not a power attack. A power attack implies (and the designers have stated it was their intention to represent) going all out and throwing your strength behind an attack which does result in a loss of accuracy. But the feat was represented something else. And the arguments I have heard for power attack are usually arguments that would make more sense when applied to an accurate weapon like a rapier. Which weapon gains more from the 3.5 version of PA a rapier or a great axe?

Liberty's Edge

lastknightleft wrote:
Vult wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
Personally I'm a fan of the change to power attack, there's no real power modulation in exchange for accuracy in melee the way PA worked, The new version nails the way a power attack would actually occur where strength is traded for accuracy. PA in 3.5 was supposed to represent one thing and instead became something completely different.
I think you have it all wrong...If I am giving up my accuracy to do more damage then it is not my brute strength that is helping me hit harder, but my ability with my weapon that is why the bonus should come from BAB, not your Str score. Your skill is doing the damage here, not your muscles.
And I think that it doesn't change the fact that warriors don't trade up minor differences in accuracy for slightly more damage. A warrior doing damage with weapon skill can do it without loosing accuracy. Unless you are regarding the to hit loss as an increase in AC due to targeting a smaller area, in which case it is a targeted strike, not a power attack. A power attack implies (and the designers have stated it was their intention to represent) going all out and throwing your strength behind an attack which does result in a loss of accuracy. But the feat was represented something else. And the arguments I have heard for power attack are usually arguments that would make more sense when applied to an accurate weapon like a rapier. Which weapon gains more from the 3.5 version of PA a rapier or a great axe?

Ok, then the question is...how is it now possible with PF to get anything near the damage output that you could in 3.5 with Power attack. It was a great skill that if you did not balance properly it worked against you (give up to much to hit and actually end up missing). Now it is severely weakened and I see no other feat that compares.


Oooh, I don't like this... this pretty much castrates my barbarians and swashbuckler-types. In order to get that +5 max bonus that Combat Expertise used to be able to provide I now need to have a 20 Intelligence Fighter? Huh? If I was that smart, I would have played a Wizard... and being higher level won't help since the feat specifies that your bonus is limited to your Int bonus or your base attack bonus "whichever is LOWER." Ugh... this means that a swashbuckler character concept now needs an exceptionally high score in Intelligence, as well as my normal tall-orders for above average scores in Dex, Str, Con, and Charisma. (Poor Wisdom, once again being relegated to the status of "dump stat.") I just don't see this new feat description being at all useful in the long run... at best, it will give an average of +1 or maybe a generous +2 to your average fighter or rogue type, unless you revert to the crutch of having magic items that boost your Intelligence, which have their own problems since they are really only good for boosting Wizard's spell DCs and some Skill checks, and now this. Plus, if you think the party Wizard is going to stand by while the Fighter snakes the gloves of Fox's Cunning, you may have a lightning bolt spell coming your way sometime soon.

Power Attack looks like it's less limiting because of the natural attraction for Fighters to have strength boosting magic items, but only slightly. What about campaigns which prefer to use low magic thresholds, where wands and magic quarterstaves don't grow on trees, and Ye Olde Magic Item Shoppes are still less common than a medieval 7-11? What about those Fighters and Paladins who prefer to show that they can still kick some Epic Fantasy butt while still sporting only a slightly higher than norm Strength score?

Either way, regarding both feats... the old application was fine, balanced by losing to hit bonuses (although I do appreciate the clarification of when Combat Expertise could be used). You balanced sacrificing accuracy for either defense or damage, and it worked just fine. Now, it's extremely limiting and only a viable feat choice for those who need it as a prerequisite or for those who are already broken characters with ungodly scores. The strong get stronger, and moderate scores suffer the loss. Please rethink this before the final edition.

P.S. The feat Deadly Aim seems to be cut from the same cloth... might need to rethink the "whichever is lower" caveat on that one too.

Liberty's Edge

lastknightleft wrote:
A power attack implies (and the designers have stated it was their intention to represent) going all out and throwing your strength behind an attack which does result in a loss of accuracy.

Actually that would lead more to a loss of defense, not a loss of accuracy.

Sovereign Court

Samuel Weiss wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
A power attack implies (and the designers have stated it was their intention to represent) going all out and throwing your strength behind an attack which does result in a loss of accuracy.
Actually that would lead more to a loss of defense, not a loss of accuracy.

Agreed actually, although really the argument should be that truly it's at the expense of both :).

Liberty's Edge

jasin wrote:
BrokenShade wrote:
Well, it's not hard to get up to a Strength bonus of +9 by about level 8, and +11 by level 16. So I wouldn't say it tops out too low.
Not hard? I suppose it can be done: Str 18, +2 from race, +2 from level-based increases, +6 item will get you a +9 bonus. But that seems pretty extreme. Am I missing some other obvious way to get you Str up so high?

Raging. Enlarge Person.

Robert

Liberty's Edge

Selgard wrote:

Every "type" has feats that are omg must have. I don't see the issue with it. If you are a 2-hander, you look for feats that make you better at it. If every build includes it, does that make it OP? Not necessarily. It just means it's a core feat for the build.

(build in this case meaning general idea- rather than a set template of feats to take).

I don't like the change to PA because it's a serious problem to the melee folk. If the badguy's AC is in the middle range, then you can't PA (since you'd miss) but if you don't PA, you are wasting alot. I don't see what the problem was with folks doing the quick calculation to figure out their PA. If the problem was time at the gaming table- that's easily solved by the DM, rather than a drastic screwing around with the mechanics of the game.

It's the only feat I've seen that penalizes you for having a really high ability score. (i.e. losing +2 to hit may not hurt you but losing +9 may be a serious problem- and you can't choose.. it's all or nuttin).

Is it a game breaker for me? Not really. But I still don't like it.

As for Combat Expertise.. can't really comment, as I've never seen anyone actually take it before.

-S

What I have changed these two feat to during my Alpha playtesting is:

POWER ATTACK
Prereq: Str 13+
You take a -4 to attack rolls for one round. During that round you deal an extra 6 points of damage on each successful hit. If you are wielding a Two-handed weapon, you deal 9 points of damage.

(this is more in line with 1.5 str for two-handed weapons. a -4 is a steep enough penalty that you wont use it all the time - but when you do - its worth it. And we dont have to worry about the math every round - it's always -4, and its always +6/+9).

IMPROVED POWER ATTACK
Prereq: Str 17+; BAB +8
You take a -10 on attack rolls for one round. During that round you deal an extra 12 points of damage on each successful hit. If you are wielding a Two-handed weapon, you deal 18 points of damage. You can choose to use Power Attack or Imp. Power Attack in any given round - but cannot use both simultaneously.

COMBAT EXPERTISE
Prereq: Int 13+
Your AC is 2 better when "fighting defensively" or when taking the "Full Defense" action.

(thus your AC is +4 or +6 respectively. Again - no math.)

Robert

Liberty's Edge

Maveric28 wrote:

Oooh, I don't like this... this pretty much castrates my barbarians and swashbuckler-types. In order to get that +5 max bonus that Combat Expertise used to be able to provide I now need to have a 20 Intelligence Fighter? Huh? If I was that smart, I would have played a Wizard... and being higher level won't help since the feat specifies that your bonus is limited to your Int bonus or your base attack bonus "whichever is LOWER." Ugh... this means that a swashbuckler character concept now needs an exceptionally high score in Intelligence, as well as my normal tall-orders for above average scores in Dex, Str, Con, and Charisma. (Poor Wisdom, once again being relegated to the status of "dump stat.") I just don't see this new feat description being at all useful in the long run... at best, it will give an average of +1 or maybe a generous +2 to your average fighter or rogue type, unless you revert to the crutch of having magic items that boost your Intelligence, which have their own problems since they are really only good for boosting Wizard's spell DCs and some Skill checks, and now this. Plus, if you think the party Wizard is going to stand by while the Fighter snakes the gloves of Fox's Cunning, you may have a lightning bolt spell coming your way sometime soon.

Power Attack looks like it's less limiting because of the natural attraction for Fighters to have strength boosting magic items, but only slightly. What about campaigns which prefer to use low magic thresholds, where wands and magic quarterstaves don't grow on trees, and Ye Olde Magic Item Shoppes are still less common than a medieval 7-11? What about those Fighters and Paladins who prefer to show that they can still kick some Epic Fantasy butt while still sporting only a slightly higher than norm Strength score?

Either way, regarding both feats... the old application was fine, balanced by losing to hit bonuses (although I do appreciate the clarification of when Combat Expertise could be used). You balanced sacrificing accuracy for either...

QFT!!

Liberty's Edge

Robert Brambley wrote:
jasin wrote:
BrokenShade wrote:
Well, it's not hard to get up to a Strength bonus of +9 by about level 8, and +11 by level 16. So I wouldn't say it tops out too low.
Not hard? I suppose it can be done: Str 18, +2 from race, +2 from level-based increases, +6 item will get you a +9 bonus. But that seems pretty extreme. Am I missing some other obvious way to get you Str up so high?

Raging. Enlarge Person.

Robert

yea barbarians with their rage ability would get a better benefit from PA than most...but then again I play in a campaign where barbarian is the only disallowed class *shrug*

Liberty's Edge

Vult wrote:


yea barbarians with their rage ability would get a better benefit from PA than most...but then again I play in a campaign where barbarian is the only disallowed class *shrug*

Sorry to hear that. Of course, the game makers can't make and design their rules specifically to cater to such esoteric house rules and allowances.

They obviously need to apply their design to the bigger picture and the idea that games are using the rules as written.

Robert


You can count me in on this one. I really didn't like the changes, however I have become more open to this being compensated with the new class abilities, but frankly I don't see it. If anything that needed to be buffed it was combat expertise. It should be the exact opposite to power attack where you traded hit for defense with no limit of "+5" to AC.

Now as to power attack here is my fix for the commented problems from the original power attack.

Prerequisite

Str 15.
Benefit

On your action, before making attack rolls for a round, you may choose to subtract a number from all melee attack rolls and add the same number to all melee damage rolls. This number may not exceed your base attack bonus; but must be equal to your base attack bonus or in segments of five. The penalty on attacks and bonus on damage apply until your next turn. Example: A 7th level fighter has a base attack bonus of 7. He may chose to power attack for 7 or power attack for 5; while a 18th level fight may power attack for 5, 10, 15 or 18.

Special

If you attack with a two-handed weapon, or with a one-handed weapon wielded in two hands, instead add twice the number subtracted from your attack rolls. You can’t add the bonus from Power Attack to the damage dealt with a light weapon (except with unarmed strikes or natural weapon attacks), even though the penalty on attack rolls still applies. (Normally, you treat a double weapon as a one-handed weapon and a light weapon. If you choose to use a double weapon like a two-handed weapon, attacking with only one end of it in a round, you treat it as a two-handed weapon.)

A fighter may select Power Attack as one of his fighter bonus feats.


Robert Brambley wrote:


What I have changed these two feat to during my Alpha playtesting is:

POWER ATTACK
Prereq: Str 13+
You take a -4 to attack rolls for one round. During that round you deal an extra 6 points of damage on each successful hit. If you are wielding a Two-handed weapon, you deal 9 points of damage.

(this is more in line with 1.5 str for two-handed weapons. a -4 is a steep enough penalty that you wont use it all the time - but when you do - its worth it. And we dont have to worry about the math every round - it's always -4, and its always +6/+9).

IMPROVED POWER ATTACK
Prereq: Str 17+; BAB +8
You take a -10 on attack rolls for one round. During that round you deal an extra 12 points of damage on each successful hit. If you are wielding a Two-handed weapon, you deal 18 points of damage. You...

I am very sorry but I think making power attack to work this way would be horrible. Its still too power restricting compared to the original.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I'm really not loving the new power attack and combat expertise. I saw those feats as being part of how the high-level math worked in 3.5. Channel some BAB off into extra damage and/or AC, relatively minor requirements to qualify. I prefer them that way (though with PA capped at 5 points like CE).

I also liked that Combat Expertise was, in essence, an efficient version of fighting defensively. I would rather have added an similarly inefficient version of Power Attack and leave the feats alone.

Liberty's Edge

lastknightleft wrote:
Personally I'm a fan of the change to power attack, there's no real power modulation in exchange for accuracy in melee the way PA worked, The new version nails the way a power attack would actually occur where strength is traded for accuracy. PA in 3.5 was supposed to represent one thing and instead became something completely different.

I'm 'ok' with the changes as they are now. But I dont love them.

The reason I am in favor of them is the removal of the varying math round to round. I am in favor of a set amount regardless (hence my suggestions).

Anything that removes the "Hmmmm...not sure how much this round..." indecisiveness, spontaneous math, and metagaming to figure out exactly how much to PA without a chance to miss is a good step in my book.

I just think that the changes - although they accomplish the above - are a bit too unremarkabel at this point.

Robert

Liberty's Edge

lastknightleft wrote:
Agreed actually, although really the argument should be that truly it's at the expense of both :).

Erg . . .

Well, if we go "realistic" . . .

Generally, no.
If you are really putting all your force into an attack, you are mostly talking about losing defense, as you focus away from it on what should be a finishing move. Particularly if you miss, such an attack is going to leave you extremely vulnerable.
On the other side, that sort of power focus is going to heavily ignore defenses. There should be no concept of "blocking" or "resisting" an attack with full power put into it. Either you get out of the way or wherever it hits gets broken.
Further the main limit on that is going to be a combination of raw mass and raw speed. A power attack should come like lighting, using basic physics.

Naturally all of that is going to translate poorly into a game mechanic. I guess something like Str mod + Con mod + size mod for damage bonus, along with ignoring some DR or Hardness.
Conversely it would require a bit of a delay as you both prepare and wait for the right opening, as well as leaving you vulnerable. Possibly it must be readied until someone attacks, and then you lose Dex bonus to AC.
Overall, way too complicated.

To get back to more reasonable game rules, what I would like to see is the entire concept expanded and made more comprehensive. Have feats or systems that let players trade between AC, attack bonus, and damage bonus, and use different ability scores.
Of course that could just be my liking of the maneuver design system for Hero system. :)


lastknightleft wrote:


And I think that it doesn't change the fact that warriors don't trade up minor differences in accuracy for slightly more damage. A warrior doing damage with weapon skill can do it without loosing accuracy. Unless you are regarding the to hit loss as an increase in AC due to targeting a smaller area, in which case it is a targeted strike, not a power attack. A power attack implies (and the designers have stated it was their intention to represent) going all out and throwing your strength behind an attack which does result in a loss of accuracy. But the feat was represented something else. And the arguments I have heard for power attack are usually arguments that would make more sense when applied to an accurate weapon like a rapier. Which weapon gains more from the 3.5 version of PA a rapier or a great axe?

You've obviously never boxed.. Theres lot of moderation to the so called 'all or nothing'.. Mind controls the muscle and you can choose a longer wind up for more power that they can see 'telegraph' and thus easier move out of the way.. Besides.. With the fact melee accuracy is based of strength in this simulation one assumes that you batters through defenses for the most part and the idea of harder hitting being less accurate doesn't make sense anyways. And the great axe gains more.. Its doubled.

Sovereign Court

I love those you've obviously never done this, yeah you're right I've never boxed. I have taken karate, fencing, wrestling and I grew up in the country where my older brother had a regular game of "Hey lets beat each other senseless with what are essencially clubs." So I'm no stranger to "combat"

And i think its funny that the boxer person basically answered the person arguing the loss of accuracy doesn't occur when he mentioned telegraphing. that's basically what happens when you go for an all or nothing attack, it's telegraphed making it easier to deflect in trained combat maybe not a loss of accuracy per se, but what can you do.

Also there's the fact that combat by boxing is a lot different then combat via greataxe. Fists would fall into the category of accuracy weapons along with the rapier, the feats that should get the most out of the current iteration of power attack, but as the man said, the greataxe gets a better benefit from it.

Look the fact is that when people argue in favor of the 3.5 version of power attack they always describe it in almost the way that the guy using the boxing analogy does. Which would be fine with me, if the weapons that are designed for that kind of thing were the ones getting the benefit, but they aren't, the greatmaul/sword/axe gets it. go to your garage and try to modulate an attack with a sledgehammer, then pick up a foil and do the same and then come and say that PA is fine as is.

Also Power Attack is a feat that at least now comes closer to representing what it's supposed to, although not perfect it's a lot better then the 3.5 itteration which didn't represent a power attack but rather something almost entirely different, which was proven by the way people who argue for it describe it's use. Now if you want to say that Power attack still needs work, I agree, but I don't like the argument that we should go back to 3.5s version. So I like what's been done so far.

Sovereign Court

Combat expertise though, I have no idea what to think of that one lol.

Sovereign Court

Combat Expertise was a very useful feat in 3.x, both for lightly armored combatants (swashbucklers, rogues, bards, etc.), and for the Dwarven defender. The Pathfinder Beta version is a bad substitute. I'd strongly advise returning it to its original form.

If the original version of Power Attack was deemed too potent in 3.x, they could cap it the same way that Combat Expertise was: maximum -5 to attack for +5 damage (or +10 with a two-handed weapon), or base attack bonus, whichever was lower.

That would retain the versatility and choice factors from the 3.x version, while keeping it within an acceptable limit.


After using the alpha/beta power attack feat as a DM and having the players use it against me for many sessions now, I like the way it works.

It is easy to calculate as a fix value, prevents anyone from min maxing the trade off in to hit chance verses damage. As a DM it actually works very well for the monsters, often meaning they miss an awful lot, but when they hit, boy do you know about it.

I agree that combat expertise is a bit nerfed, in fact none of the party chose to have it when they converted across. Only one monster has had it so far and it only had a small intelligence bonus. I would call fro some change to combat expertise, I still advocate tying it to fighting defensively and total defence options and having it either add a flat amount to the AC bonus from those or simple doubling the bonus from those actions (doubling the bonus does cause a big problem when you factor in the acrobatic bonus)


I'd advocate reverting Combat Expertise to 3.5 and changing Power attack to be the same -5 cap. Add in an Improved version of each that unlocks full bab but has a stiffer ability score requirement (say BAB +6 and STAT 15)

Some of the arguements people are making about the way the feat would work in the real world is interesting, but I think futile. It is a fantasy game. The feat is called power attack. Most people can immediately conjure up an image of some Conan-like dude hauling back with a huge shot. Any more analysis than that and you start running into problems. You can say the same thing about almost any ability. Sneak Attack is striking vitals, but a trained soldier knows that you need to strike vitals too, so why wouldn't he get sneak attack too? Fireball is a torrent of flame that imolates an entire sphere, so how does doing a backflip in a five foot space keep you from getting burned as bad? I think people should analyze a mechanic like this: does it conjure a flavorful image that you like? If yes, then you are good. I'm a mechanical engineer, and even I say physics has no place in evocative fantasy.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So far I think that robert brambly's suggestion for power attack seem the best to me, allowing completely static numbers for both the standard and improved version of the feat, though I'm sure those numbers could be adjusted to either fit into game balance better or simply to be easier to remember(maybe -5/-10 rather then -4, just so its a more logical progression).

However, if something similar to that isn't a possibility, I'd much rather it stay as it is now then the original 3.5 style. I've dealt with a fair amount of the metagame math and the slowing involved in trying to tally up what your new attack bonus is. With the current system, you generally know how much you are hitting for and could note that on your sheet.

As for combat expertise, its always been a much less abused but also much less often taken feat. I never understood adding an additional cap on it that power attack didn't have. I would like to see it as a stable number as well if not simply re-written, but I think it would be even more important to just give a set penalty to attack in exchange for a bonus to AC, rather then basing it off an attribute that probably won't have a modifier that is big enough to be useful for most. Right now, you qualify to take it when you would only gain the same bonus as you would by taking dodge and you still have the penalty of -1 on attacks.

-Tarlane


Samuel Weiss wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
A power attack implies (and the designers have stated it was their intention to represent) going all out and throwing your strength behind an attack which does result in a loss of accuracy.
Actually that would lead more to a loss of defense, not a loss of accuracy.

I have to go with Mr. Weiss here.

The designer's description make Power Attack feels akin to the rage ability, which effectively trades up AC for increased attack bonus and damage.

While I never had a serious issue with Power Attack before, it always seem odd to me that the feat was going against one of the fundamental mechanic of D&D: attack probability and high damage increase proportionally with STR. While it is a debatable statement in itself, that's how the game always worked from its earliest editions.

In D&D (and AD&D previous editions) we could see abilities/magic items that traded attack bonus for AC, or AC for damage, but noting in my knowledge ever allowed hit probability to be exchanged for damage, with the exception of some house rules about called shots which Power Attack effectively recreate. But even in those house rules, STR was never implied. If anything, it was usually DEX... If I remember right, the official called shot rules were set against a higher DC (a lower AC in terms of AD&D) rather than a penalty to hit...

More damage at the loss of accuracy feels more like a carefully aimed strike, in which case it would rely more on skill than mere STR. In this regard, the 3.5 Power Attack seems perfect. The name seems ill chosen, but the feat is mechanically sound (although I would cap it at -5/+5 to eliminate abuse).


And as for Combat Expertise, it never has been an issue for me. It even seemed already inferior to Power Attack since the advantage of Combat Expertise, unlike its "brother feat" could not be doubled in any conditions (as Power Attack would be doubled by holding a two-handed weapon).

If the bonus could be double, such as "if the character is unarmored" or something like that, it would make some sense but otherwise, I would have left the Power Attack and Combat Expertise alone (with the possible exception of uniforming the -5/+5 cap).

just my 2 cents...

Liberty's Edge

[quote=] The reason I am in favor of them is the removal of the varying math round to round. I am in favor of a set amount regardless (hence my suggestions).

Anything that removes the "Hmmmm...not sure how much this round..." indecisiveness, spontaneous math, and metagaming to figure out exactly how much to PA without a chance to miss is a good step in my book.

I have to admit, in my game with relatively new players, power attack causes more delay than anything else when it comes to combat. That, and the requirement that you have to tell the DM what the power attack number is every round. If the goal is to simplify and speed up combat, the changes are good.

On the other hand, I've never been a fan of making D&D 'simpler', so it was fine the way it was.

Sovereign Court

We use a variation of 3.5 with the folowing changes, you can only use up to 1/2 your BAB and 2 handed weapons do 1.5 hp per point your BAB is lowered.
We have found this is still good and allows flexability with out being "over the top" in our HO


James Laubacker wrote:
I have to admit, in my game with relatively new players, power attack causes more delay than anything else when it comes to combat.

Changing it to a fixed amount is a relatively simple house rule to implement however. That being said, it DOES simplify things and it works so much faster with numerous monsters, NPCs, cohort etc. But sometimes, you just wish your bad-ass dragon could deliver a really nasty punch and humble those cocky adventurers that think themselves so invincible :)

Liberty's Edge

Tarlane wrote:

So far I think that robert brambly's suggestion for power attack seem the best to me, allowing completely static numbers for both the standard and improved version of the feat, though I'm sure those numbers could be adjusted to either fit into game balance better or simply to be easier to remember(maybe -5/-10 rather then -4, just so its a more logical progression).

-Tarlane

Thank you. It is working really well in our games - and is faster.

Combat Expertise was never really overly abused IMO - but too often it's combined with fighting defensive etc and just gets silly sometimes; When in fact, CE is just a different way of "fighting defensively."

Thats why I instead changed the feat to simply make someone better at fighting defensively - my idea to simply add an extra +2 to AC when fighting defensively, you're not subtracting anything more from the attack roll - you still have the -4 to attack rolls - but you're not getting +4 to AC instead of +2 - and now it can't be stacked like it used to be; which did cause problems I believe as the AC sometimes got stupid - when you're combining fighting defensive, the extra bonus for having trained in Tumble, and then combat expert as well.

Robert


Robert Brambley wrote:
Thats why I instead changed the feat to simply make someone better at fighting defensively - my idea to simply add an extra +2 to AC when fighting defensively, you're not subtracting anything more from the attack roll - you still have the -4 to attack rolls - but you're not getting +4 to AC instead of +2 - and now it can't be stacked like it used to be; which did cause problems I believe as the AC sometimes got stupid - when you're combining fighting defensive, the extra bonus for having trained in Tumble, and then combat expert as well.Robert

I was also house-ruling a similar variation.

I was wondering however, should Combat Expertise increase the benefit of fighting defensively (i.e. a -4/+4 exchange) or reduce the penalties (i.e. a -2/+2 exchange)? In other words, defend yourself more efficiently or with more ease?

Liberty's Edge

Laurefindel wrote:
Robert Brambley wrote:
Thats why I instead changed the feat to simply make someone better at fighting defensively - my idea to simply add an extra +2 to AC when fighting defensively, you're not subtracting anything more from the attack roll - you still have the -4 to attack rolls - but you're not getting +4 to AC instead of +2 - and now it can't be stacked like it used to be; which did cause problems I believe as the AC sometimes got stupid - when you're combining fighting defensive, the extra bonus for having trained in Tumble, and then combat expert as well.Robert

I was also house-ruling a similar variation.

I was wondering however, should Combat Expertise increase the benefit of fighting defensively (i.e. a -4/+4 exchange) or reduce the penalties (i.e. a -2/+2 exchange)? In other words, defend yourself more efficiently or with more ease?

I prefer the better AC bonus - and the -4 is common knowledge and is in line w/ my variation of Power Attack (which I indicated is at -4 always).

Nonetheless - I think allowing for a +4 to AC is fair - considering you use to be able to to go up to +5 w/ combat Expert before.

Thats just my opinion

Robert

Liberty's Edge

I still always saw PA as a way for melee'ers to scale their damage with casters. Now I am not saying that it made the damage equal, nor should it be equal...but at higher levels it is obvious that melee damage caps out MUCH MUCH lower than spell damage. This is not balanced and with this new PA it is still not balanced. Casters will always do more damage, but let us melee guys stay in the running a little. I dont want to watch the caster get the glory in every game because he can dish out over 60+ points a round to more than one enemy!

This is the essence of the problem with the PF change, it takes away the sword swingers ability to keep up.


Tarlane wrote:

So far I think that robert brambly's suggestion for power attack seem the best to me, allowing completely static numbers for both the standard and improved version of the feat, though I'm sure those numbers could be adjusted to either fit into game balance better or simply to be easier to remember(maybe -5/-10 rather then -4, just so its a more logical progression).

However, if something similar to that isn't a possibility, I'd much rather it stay as it is now then the original 3.5 style. I've dealt with a fair amount of the metagame math and the slowing involved in trying to tally up what your new attack bonus is. With the current system, you generally know how much you are hitting for and could note that on your sheet.

As for combat expertise, its always been a much less abused but also much less often taken feat. I never understood adding an additional cap on it that power attack didn't have. I would like to see it as a stable number as well if not simply re-written, but I think it would be even more important to just give a set penalty to attack in exchange for a bonus to AC, rather then basing it off an attribute that probably won't have a modifier that is big enough to be useful for most. Right now, you qualify to take it when you would only gain the same bonus as you would by taking dodge and you still have the penalty of -1 on attacks.

-Tarlane

The reason why they had said they capped combat expertise was because it went under the theory that a player will be taking more attacks over his gaming carear then making them thus adding AC affects more things and is a more powerful feat. These are also the people who said strength was more powerful then any other stat so that it had to be balanced by two mental stat penalties <Even though in the point buy system it costs the same despite its power> and at the same time said they didn't give any mental stat boosts period on PHB races because the boost it gave spell casters was unbalancing.

My stance on the new working of the feats is since people laud the 'realism' of how it works now.. How in the hell does it make sense that because the man is stronger his full force swings are less accurate then a weaker mans ? Why does a smarter man lose more accuracy when he's defending himself then a dumber man ? I can kinda appreciate that they want all these feats to work on the same basic mechanics and I'm willing to discuss weather or not you can moderate a power attack you can definitely choose how much of your offense you give up to better parry and dodge. If they did it for reasons of game balance then i can almost understand it.. kinda.. but IMO they make no more sense now then they ever did. To me these feats feel like nothing more then change for changes sake.. At least their changes to cleave and great cleave these feats don't screw with the backwards compatibility they keep saying they want to keep.

As for the difficulty of the math and recalculating BAB every time you change your power attack number.. As painful of a concept as subtraction of a number between one and twenty from something is to me being difficult is to me.. Thats a cumbersome way to do it.. Just subtract the power attack penalty they took at the beginning from the final die roll result rather then from what you add to the die roll <IE At the beginning of my turn I say I will be using power attack at -5 so rather then going through and change all my BAB info then roll and add the new number to the dir roll.. I roll as normal then subtract my -5 that i said earlier from the result Its a lot faster and cleaner and you get the same result.. Also if they take to long trying to balance out the exact odds instate the ten second window rule.. If you take to long to decide what your doing.. Your charcter is gripped by indecision and just stands there like a mo-tard.

Sovereign Court

I've commented on this before, so I won't say much more. I think that given the heavy resistance to these changes is coming largely from people who always give their characters Combat Expertise, Power Attack, or both, it's worth repeating how the designers define a "broken" feat: feats that everyone always takes. I don't entirely agree with this point of view, but it's rare to see a fighter build that doesn't include Power Attack/Cleave/Great Cleave. At least, it was before they were nerfed.


Christopher Carrig 946 wrote:
I've commented on this before, so I won't say much more. I think that given the heavy resistance to these changes is coming largely from people who always give their characters Combat Expertise, Power Attack, or both, it's worth repeating how the designers define a "broken" feat: feats that everyone always takes. I don't entirely agree with this point of view, but it's rare to see a fighter build that doesn't include Power Attack/Cleave/Great Cleave. At least, it was before they were nerfed.

That is because they have no other way to scale their damage! The damage on a longsword does not go up to a D10 at 5 and a D12 at 10th. PA, Cleave and great cleave are some of the only ways for fighter types to keep up. Otherwise they just get to stand there and watch the casters drop everything.

Sovereign Court

Vult Wrathblades wrote:
Christopher Carrig 946 wrote:
I've commented on this before, so I won't say much more. I think that given the heavy resistance to these changes is coming largely from people who always give their characters Combat Expertise, Power Attack, or both, it's worth repeating how the designers define a "broken" feat: feats that everyone always takes. I don't entirely agree with this point of view, but it's rare to see a fighter build that doesn't include Power Attack/Cleave/Great Cleave. At least, it was before they were nerfed.
That is because they have no other way to scale their damage! The damage on a longsword does not go up to a D10 at 5 and a D12 at 10th. PA, Cleave and great cleave are some of the only ways for fighter types to keep up. Otherwise they just get to stand there and watch the casters drop everything.

That's not entirely true. Pure fighters are the only characters with BAB equal to their hit dice, which gives them iterative attacks. With high enough strength, weapon focus and specialization, a 5th and 10th level can equal or even outstrip the damage of a blaster. I've seen it happen often enough. 10d6 rolls to anything between 10-60 dmg, which is often halved by a reflex save. A fighter hits more and more regularly at higher levels and his strength and damage go up with the quality of his equipment. It's apples to oranges, really, but fighters are not so powerless that they need Power Attack or become useless.

Look at it this way: no other class gets to choose exactly how much damage they do on an attack, give or take a d8, which is the only variable damage on a longsword-wielding fighter, and if they did, I shudder to think how much longer a wizard would take at the table. "Let's see... it'll probably only take 6d6 to kill those guys, so let me add +4 to the DC, which is probably enough for them to fail the reflex save... but that guy has cover, so maybe I need another +1 or +2..." It's only six seconds of combat, for crying out loud.


I've run some preliminary numbers and it seems that Power Attack is only effective against lower AC targets. Depending on feats, BAB and Str damage parity is reached around AC 25-27. I'll run some more numbers and try to make some pretty charts till the appropriate design forum opens.

For Combat Expertise ... I can't make heads or tails out of it. Even for an (non Gish)Int Caster it seems rather useless to me.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

May I make a modest proposal?

Allow the Power Attack as it stands for a mechanic, but multiply the damage by some formula, say (BAB/5) round up?

So our Str 14 fighter, running pure fighter, will forever have the option to only take -1 to hit but:

1-5 +2 damamge
6-10 +4 damage
11-15 +6 damage
16-20 +8 damage

If his STR goes to, say, 20, then it would be a -5 to hit for +5/+10/+15/+20

At low levels that -2 to hit for a +2 to damage is a lot, but at 20th even a -5 for +20 is a stand up and notice.

Similar idea for Combat Expertise. Would also allow the Int 14 fencer at 20th level to hold of hoards of mooks who ambush him in the bathtub, -2 to hit for +10 AC.

Liberty's Edge

Matthew Morris wrote:

May I make a modest proposal?

Allow the Power Attack as it stands for a mechanic, but multiply the damage by some formula, say (BAB/5) round up?

So our Str 14 fighter, running pure fighter, will forever have the option to only take -1 to hit but:

1-5 +2 damamge
6-10 +4 damage
11-15 +6 damage
16-20 +8 damage

If his STR goes to, say, 20, then it would be a -5 to hit for +5/+10/+15/+20

At low levels that -2 to hit for a +2 to damage is a lot, but at 20th even a -5 for +20 is a stand up and notice.

Similar idea for Combat Expertise. Would also allow the Int 14 fencer at 20th level to hold of hoards of mooks who ambush him in the bathtub, -2 to hit for +10 AC.

That indeed is an interesting and good concept - if a bit complicated. I'm not opposed to such an idea - just that I think it may be more complicated than what it's worth.

I still stick to my guns that simplicity is the key here and my suggestions to just have a flat penalty and a flat bonus is the way to go. No more spontaneous variances. I like that about the new version of these feats - just that I think it's too punitive as written.

My idea keeps the flat bonus/penalty and gives a slightly better reward for penalty in the end; which I think is warranted considering the steps PAIZO has taken to increase hit points for characters. (higher HD for certain classes, bonus hit points at first level, bonus hit points for favored class) and better healing capabilities with the chanelling of positive energy now.

Robert

Sovereign Court

I think the problem is that they are trying to keep the two feats to work off the same mechanic. Why, i haven't very often seen a character with both of those feats together used together in the same round. it's not that difficult to master two seperate mechanics. Have power attack work one way and combat expertise work another and i don't think you'll have a nerd riot.

Grand Lodge

While I agree that PA anc CE have been totally nerfed I do not think it matters any more. The Beta is out, and the designers did not make changes, even after some very vocal complaints following the Alpha release.

Feel free to re-argue these problems, but I do not believe there will be any changes made in the final version of Pathfinder.

What we see is likely to be 99% of the final product. Some editorial changes will be made, fixing typoes and clarifying rules (CMB VERY poorly explained!).

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