Cleave and Great Cleave?


Playtest Reports


Dear play testers. I have yet to have the chance to play test so I was wondering from those who have, or at least want to comment about it, what you think of these new right ups.

Old Cleave Feat:
Prerequisites

Str 13, Power Attack.
Benefit

If you deal a creature enough damage to make it drop (typically by dropping it to below 0 hit points or killing it), you get an immediate, extra melee attack against another creature within reach. You cannot take a 5-foot step before making this extra attack. The extra attack is with the same weapon and at the same bonus as the attack that dropped the previous creature. You can use this ability once per round.
Special

A fighter may select Cleave as one of his fighter bonus feats.

New Cleave Feat:

You can strike two adjacent foes with a single swing.
Prerequisites: Str 13, Power Attack, base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: As a full-round action, make a single melee attack
against a foe within reach. If you hit, you deal damage
normally and can make an additional attack (at the same
bonus) against a foe that is adjacent to the first and also
within reach. Both of these attacks are made at your highest
attack bonus. You can only make one additional attack
per round with this feat.

Some key points about the new feat:
1. Now actually requires a full-round action.
2. They have to be adjacent to each other.
3. You don't have to drop an opponent to have it work.

Now cleave as it was I think worked fine. Most of my melee types took cleave, but never took great cleave unless we were playing a mod like Red Hand of Doom as you never other wise took down more than 1 target in a turn, and could have used a slight power boost.

So what do you guys think?

One of the key problems here is that one can no longer CHARGE and get a cleave or a great cleave off any more.

Contributor

I've seen it in play and it actually went pretty well. I was running Revenge of the Kobold King and what I found is that this really helps even up the power level between a 5th level fighter and a 5th level wizard. As we all know, the wizard can just fireball nuke a group of monsters, and since they get a couple of 3rd level spells (or maybe it was just one and then a bonus spell, I forget how that character worked), they can do this enough times in combat that it starts putting the fighter at a disadvantage. So with the new Cleave and Great Cleave, the fighter can wade into a group of opponents and keep swinging as long as they keep hitting. It actually worked out pretty well. I didn't feel that it was imbalancing - the first time he tried it, he ended up hitting a couple but not dropping either of them that round. Another time he tried it, he hit about four, but then they gang-ganked him and he had to make a hasty retreat to keep from dying on the field.


Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
Now cleave as it was I think worked fine. Most of my melee types took cleave, but never took great cleave unless we were playing a mod like Red Hand of Doom as you never other wise took down more than 1 target in a turn, and could have used a slight power boost.

While I haven't had a chance to really playtest this either, I'm thinking that the new versions are going to be viable for longer periods.

Particularly Great Cleave, since you no longer have to drop the target to get additional attacks, since all you have to do now is hit the target. And any high level fighter worth his salt had better be able to do that.


I dislike the new cleave.

Also, why is this in the playtest reports forum?


I like it it stays useable longer and vs more types of critters. Before you had to make sure you could drop it 5th level vs gobbos fine vs an orger...no.

Now it works since all you need to do is hit and ya get a 2nd vs the other critter to.

As for great cleave that ones even getter run into a group and start a swinging.


The fighter and barbarian in our group are currently 8th level and both have the cleave feats.

So far they seem to work much better and effectively allow them to use them every round if he wished, as opposed to just using them when he actually dropped a foe. The choice of options for a fighter has increase and I am in favour of that.

Initial play tests for us are a thumbs up for the current cleave rules.


neceros wrote:

I dislike the new cleave.

Also, why is this in the playtest reports forum?

To get feedback from those who have.

My main problem though here is that you can no longer charge and perform a cleave, was the removal of this ability really all that necessary?


Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:


My main problem though here is that you can no longer charge and perform a cleave, was the removal of this ability really all that necessary?

that raises a couple of questions I have on the nature of how cleave and great cleave work in regards to each attack.

does one use the Cleave feature then proceed to Great Cleave after finishing the second attack or does Great Cleave replace Cleave (which I hope it doesn't)? Changing Cleave to a half action makes cleave and great cleave a bit less confusing imo.

Additionally how would this work on characters with more than 1 attack per round.

does it go:

attack 1: +5
cleave
great cleave
attack 2: +1
cleave
great cleave

or does it go something different?

The Exchange

Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:

Now cleave as it was I think worked fine. Most of my melee types took cleave, but never took great cleave unless we were playing a mod like Red Hand of Doom as you never other wise took down more than 1 target in a turn, and could have used a slight power boost.

So what do you guys think?

One of the key problems here is that one can no longer CHARGE and get a cleave or a great cleave off any more.

We've been playtesting the alpha and beta rules in a PBEM (acutally 2, but only 1 has seen extensive use of the new Cleave/Great Cleave) on yahoo and it has been well-received so far. We're running the old ToEE module, first dungeon level, lots of gnolls and guards. The two main fighters both have Cleave and Great Cleave. They are nearly unstoppable when dropped into a room of mooks and let loose.

I haven't had a problem with them on the DM side. If I think they'll mop up the opposition, then I throw a handful more at them to ensure that the encounter does drain them to some degree. The whole minion concept is an idea that I think had merit in 4E (please, no need to debate this point here), and I think the PF version of Cleave and Great Cleave goes a long way to enabling that experience should you, as a DM, want that in your game.

I don't see the charge issue as a big deal in that charges usually happen once in an encounter and then it's meat-grinder time. I think in more fluid combat situations, where the PCs are running across distances to get to targets that are spread apart, this might be a worry.

Sczarni

My understanding is that both Cleave and Great Cleave replace your regular attacks for the round (iterative or single).

So its:

1. Declare Cleave/Great Cleave vs. multiple melee targets adjacent to one another

2. Make attack

3. If first attack hits, do damage and make second attack vs. second adjacent foe at same attack bonus

4. If you hit with the second, and have Great Cleave, and have a third adjacent target, repeat down the line in ad nauseum.

And you could use Power Attack (or other feats) with this I imagine

NeoSamurai wrote:
Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:


My main problem though here is that you can no longer charge and perform a cleave, was the removal of this ability really all that necessary?

that raises a couple of questions I have on the nature of how cleave and great cleave work in regards to each attack.

does one use the Cleave feature then proceed to Great Cleave after finishing the second attack or does Great Cleave replace Cleave (which I hope it doesn't)? Changing Cleave to a half action makes cleave and great cleave a bit less confusing imo.

Additionally how would this work on characters with more than 1 attack per round.

does it go:

attack 1: +5
cleave
great cleave
attack 2: +1
cleave
great cleave

or does it go something different?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

My only problem is the "adjacent" part of it... Cleave no longer helps if you're Flanked. It should be against any target within reach. I mean unless you are completely surrounded or the enemy is in a line when is more than one enemy going to be adjacent to each other? As a DM I spread my foes out so as not to be caught in area effect spells.

-Vrock the Vote!

Liberty's Edge

primemover003 wrote:

My only problem is the "adjacent" part of it... Cleave no longer helps if you're Flanked. It should be against any target within reach. I mean unless you are completely surrounded or the enemy is in a line when is more than one enemy going to be adjacent to each other? As a DM I spread my foes out so as not to be caught in area effect spells.

-Vrock the Vote!

Yes they have to be adjacent - but there are other feats that allow for similar attacks for foes flanking you:

Backhand Swing (with a two-handed weapon)
Whirlwind (but with lots of prereqs)

Cleave is simply an arcing attack that slices through one foe and into another with its momentum - but targets need to be adjacent for them to work optimally.

That all being said - I LOVE the knew Cleave use. From my playtesting it is used so much more frequently than it use to be - especially as one advances - since its so hard to kill creatures with one attack; now you can attack two (or more) foes with a good AC using your highest ATTACK BONUS and affect them all with damage regardless if you drop the foe or not.

Robert


My group's fighter was also disconcerted about the whole "adjacent" factor, but when I pointed out that he no longer had to successfully drop his first target to take a swing at the second, he seemed to agree that was a reasonable change.

I also like the clarification of Cleave/Great Cleave being a full attack action now. I've always suspected it should be such, but now I know. 5-ft. Step only, please...

Liberty's Edge

So this is one of those feats that you are not going to see used near as much as characters rise in level...correct? When you get 2 3 or 4 attacks around why are you going to give all of those up to cleave?

The Exchange

Vult wrote:
So this is one of those feats that you are not going to see used near as much as characters rise in level...correct? When you get 2 3 or 4 attacks around why are you going to give all of those up to cleave?

One reason you might want to give up your extra attacks is if you have a similar number of adjacent foes that you can reasonably hit with your highest attack bonus. If there aren't as many foes as you have attacks, then it probably doesn't make sense.


Indeed.

If you're fighting less than 4 adjacent opponents, regular attacks are probably the better option.

But if you're surrounded (8 max opponents on the ground, @26 airborne) doing a Great Cleave now is probably the better option.


Incorrect.

D&D doesn't use a spiral of death mechanic and thus it is better to focus fire on a single target.

Liberty's Edge

modus0 wrote:

Indeed.

If you're fighting less than 4 adjacent opponents, regular attacks are probably the better option.

But if you're surrounded (8 max opponents on the ground, @26 airborne) doing a Great Cleave now is probably the better option.

Agreed. The new Great Cleave is a sort of poor man's Whirlwind Attack if you're surrounded by mooks.

Liberty's Edge

Bleach wrote:

Incorrect.

D&D doesn't use a spiral of death mechanic and thus it is better to focus fire on a single target.

Please elaborate. Without a quote, I can't tell who or what you think is incorrect. And what is this "spiral of death" thing?

Liberty's Edge

Vult wrote:
So this is one of those feats that you are not going to see used near as much as characters rise in level...correct? When you get 2 3 or 4 attacks around why are you going to give all of those up to cleave?

Because by the time you have 3 and 4 attacks, you're fighting creatures that have ACs so good that the 3rd and 4th attacks probably wouldn't hit - and if you're power attacking - fuggeddabodit!

With Great Cleave - if you're surrounded by 4 opponents - why attack all the iterative attacks that are going to miss - instead attack each once at your highest BAB - and may even have the luxury of being able to power attack and still hit with it!

Robert

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Yeah but Power Attack is all jacked up now too... but that's for a different thread.


Jagyr Ebonwood wrote:
Bleach wrote:

Incorrect.

D&D doesn't use a spiral of death mechanic and thus it is better to focus fire on a single target.

Please elaborate. Without a quote, I can't tell who or what you think is incorrect. And what is this "spiral of death" thing?

The idea that it is better to lose iterative attacks in the hope of doing damage to two targets instead of one.

"Spiral of Death" is the name for any mechanic a la Star War/Alternity where whenever you take damage, your actions are penalized. As you become hurt, it becomes easier to be hurt thus leading back to getting hurt and wash, rinse and repeat.

If given a choice between two monsters, it is better to focus all your fire on one monster and then move on to the other since the monster's effectiveness doesn't tail off unless they're dead.

Ex: Monster A and B can take 7hits (7H) before succumbing and each does 1H.

Your character can do 1H in damage per round. Either switching between monsters or focusing on one will take the same amount of time to get rid of both 14 rounds. However, in the former scenario, you're taking 27H in response during those 14 rounds whereas the latter, you only take 21H

Liberty's Edge

Bleach wrote:


If given a choice between two monsters, it is better to focus all your fire on one monster and then move on to the other since the monster's effectiveness doesn't tail off unless they're dead.

Ex: Monster A and B can take 7hits (7H) before succumbing and each does 1H.

Your character can do 1H in damage per round. Either switching between monsters or focusing on one will take the same amount of time to get rid of both 14 rounds. However, in the former scenario, you're taking 27H in response during those 14 rounds whereas the latter, you only take 21H

There is indeed logic in what you state; however, usually the notion of combat in D&D is that you are not alone - chances are you are working with others in cohesion to defeat said two monsters. If they are already wounded, or know that the others can finish them off - injuring two (or more with G.Cleave) of them well, may be all you need to do.

Robert


Doesn't really matter though.

It still is better for all characters to focus fire on a single enemy and then move on.

Grand Lodge

Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
neceros wrote:

I dislike the new cleave.

Also, why is this in the playtest reports forum?

To get feedback from those who have.

My main problem though here is that you can no longer charge and perform a cleave, was the removal of this ability really all that necessary?

there is prcedent to House Rule in that you can in fact cleave with a charge. The Zombie only has a move action OR an attack action. However it can attack and move if it uses a charge.

Using similar logic and by extension, the PC can make a charge and use the Cleaves.

But this would be a House Rule, which I do not think would be too unbalancing at all.

The Exchange

Bleach wrote:

Doesn't really matter though.

It still is better for all characters to focus fire on a single enemy and then move on.

As someone who has play-tested this, let me just say that this isn't *always* true. For example, try telling that to the two players in my pbem over the past couple weeks. A goliath barbarian 3/ fighter 2 and a human fighter 6 with a druid, gnome beguiler, and an elven-archer-paladin-type as back up. As I mentioned earlier, they're running through the first dungeon level of ToEE. Lots of 1 HD human guards, 2 HD gnolls, 2 HD bugbears, 3 HD ogres, a handful fo 2nd, 3rd, and 4th level fighters, and a few clerics of levels 1-3.

The goliath doesn't actually have iterative attacks, so the point might be moot for him. For the 6th level fighter, he had 2 attacks, but in just about every case, the pair of them used great cleave and each of them took down 3-6 mooks (apiece) each round. The more they could get themselves surrounded by mooks, the more they took out. If one of the mooks managed to remain standing (i.e., a rolled 1 on the damage, for instance), the archer would focus on them and usually do enough to take them out. The beguiler and druid did other things not really related to this thread, but they helped keep the fighters from keeling over so the fighters could cleave away.

While I agree that in the majority of cases, focusing your attacks is a wise thing to do, that doesn't mean that is always true. This is just one example playtest ... YMMV.

Liberty's Edge

Bleach wrote:
If given a choice between two monsters, it is better to focus all your fire on one monster and then move on to the other since the monster's effectiveness doesn't tail off unless they're dead.

(Thanks for the explanation, btw!)

That is a good point. However, depending on how gritty the campaign is, there are some foes that can be cowed simply be being injured. I can think of a few other situations; the most common one would be when you are surrounded by lower-level enemies that can be killed in one or two hits, and the number of enemies is greater than the number of iterative attacks you have.


Bleach wrote:

Doesn't really matter though.

It still is better for all characters to focus fire on a single enemy and then move on.

In my experience that applies especially when you fight an end boss or the "mastermind", but when facing the minions (nothing to do with 4th ed, never tried it...) of the main bad guy the new cleave/great cleave sounds interesting. If it works right it should almost work to eliminate some of the gap between the melee and the casters that was some of the problem about pure 3,5.

Sadly haven't had time to try out the new feats yet.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Krome wrote:

there is prcedent to House Rule in that you can in fact cleave with a charge. The Zombie only has a move action OR an attack action. However it can attack and move if it uses a charge.

Using similar logic and by extension, the PC can make a charge and use the Cleaves.

But this would be a House Rule, which I do not think would be too unbalancing at all.

I was actually just going to suggest allowing characters to cleave as part of a charge. It makes a lot of sense thematically and makes the feat more useful, but not game-breaking. It also would help Great Cleave out quite a bit.

Liberty's Edge

I would like to ask, can the new cleave be used when you are fighting with two-weapons?

Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
New Cleave Feat: ... Benefit: As a full-round action, make a single melee attack against a foe within reach. ...

But the Two-weapon fighting Feat says: You can fight with a weapon in each hand. You can make one extra attack each round with the second weapon.

What do you think?


All I know is since the changes to the feat came out I haven't seen two enemies stand adjacent to each other in any games we run but mine.. Even the phalanx was staggered. I can deal with this as all of out opponents have been thinking ones so far and it makes sense that they would know about the cleave feat and take steps to avoid it.. But its a lot easier to avoid standing next to your buddy then to avoid dropping at 0 hp. This alone leads me to believe that changing the feats was a bad idea.. Personally I say rename these feats or the old feats Mighty Swing and Improved Mighty Swing and have 'em both.

Liberty's Edge

VargrBoartusk wrote:
All I know is since the changes to the feat came out I haven't seen two enemies stand adjacent to each other in any games we run but mine.. Even the phalanx was staggered.

Well, even in a staggered phalanx, you're adjacent; just along a diagonal instead of a horizontal. The only real difference is that you're making it easier for PCs to run between you.


VargrBoartusk wrote:
All I know is since the changes to the feat came out I haven't seen two enemies stand adjacent to each other in any games we run but mine.. Even the phalanx was staggered. I can deal with this as all of out opponents have been thinking ones so far and it makes sense that they would know about the cleave feat and take steps to avoid it.. But its a lot easier to avoid standing next to your buddy then to avoid dropping at 0 hp. This alone leads me to believe that changing the feats was a bad idea.. Personally I say rename these feats or the old feats Mighty Swing and Improved Mighty Swing and have 'em both.

I second this.

Liberty's Edge

Jagyr Ebonwood wrote:
VargrBoartusk wrote:
All I know is since the changes to the feat came out I haven't seen two enemies stand adjacent to each other in any games we run but mine.. Even the phalanx was staggered.
Well, even in a staggered phalanx, you're adjacent; just along a diagonal instead of a horizontal. The only real difference is that you're making it easier for PCs to run between you.

Though I don't necessarily agree with the person you're responding to as I have not seen this to be an issue - but I believe your misunderstanding his contention, or you misunderstand the way the feat works.

The two targets have to be adjacent to each other - not just adjacent to you.

What he's saying is he's seeing more of a rencent tendency for opponents to have at least one empty square between each other - still adjacent to the attacker - but not adjacent to each other - thus voiding the usefulness of this feat.

Robert


Before or after the feat, I've not noticed mooks to be very close together- at least not past level 5. It's amazing how the PC learning fireball can suddenly impart to an entire CR of creature the art of spreading out.

"You see to X standing side by side down the corridor" is an opening phrase I haven't heard in a long, long time. :)

Yes, the feat is situational. If it was otherwise, it would be too powerful. If you could attack any creature in reach or any creature adjacent to You then it would be too powerful. (especially the reach bit, given how common Growth type mechanics are involved in the game).

I mean really, how odd would it be to GC with a glaive or halberd, striking at several foes spread out enough that a fireball couldn't hit them, yet you can somehow "cleave" from fellow to fellow simply because you were in reach?

Adjacent to each other does seem harsh- but it's a necessary cap on the ability. It's the one aspect the PC Can't control (without a bull rush). The PC can flank, un flank, run around, grow, shrink, or whatever- but they can't easily arrange the squares the mooks are standing in.

As for dual wielding- I think the rules spell out that you get One attack. So if you have Cleave/GC with dual wield you still just get one hit per mook. I personally wouldn't penalize you for swapping sword hands during the maneuver to take advantage of DR or whatever, but any advantage would be limited to that. You also wouldn't get an extra attack from Haste (or haste like effects).

-S

Sovereign Court

I like the new feat, but at the same time, I don't think Cleave needed to be changed, as the original Cleave did something unique and interesting. I can understand why they changed it when Combat Feats used to mean something, but now that they are just regular feats that can be taken as Fighter bonus feats, we should have the old Cleave back.

My suggestion: Keep both feats. Have your standard Cleave and then take this feat and re-name it, add Cleave as a Pre-Req, and you have a neat new option for Fighters and other warriors.

Liberty's Edge

Selgard wrote:


As for dual wielding- I think the rules spell out that you get One attack. So if you have Cleave/GC with dual wield you still just get one hit per mook. I personally wouldn't penalize you for swapping sword hands during the maneuver to take advantage of DR or whatever, but any advantage would be limited to that. You also wouldn't get an extra attack from Haste (or haste like effects).

-S

This is correct - because it is a full-attack action to use the cleave - you do so at the expense of having any other attacks.

Robert


Nameless wrote:

I like the new feat, but at the same time, I don't think Cleave needed to be changed, as the original Cleave did something unique and interesting. I can understand why they changed it when Combat Feats used to mean something, but now that they are just regular feats that can be taken as Fighter bonus feats, we should have the old Cleave back.

My suggestion: Keep both feats. Have your standard Cleave and then take this feat and re-name it, add Cleave as a Pre-Req, and you have a neat new option for Fighters and other warriors.

I like this idea.


PF Beta Cleave takes a standard action to give you the possibility (probability) of whacking two adjacent enemies. And, more importantly, you don't have to DROP the first one to get the 2nd swing. This encourages the "blocker" melee fighter to get into play quickly, as well as permitting Cleave-rs to feel "useful" compared to the wizards and sorcerors peppering the foe with sleep spells. Frankly, the Beta Cleave makes more sense than vanilla.

PF Beta Great Cleave, now, is Cleave that can probably whack a whole gob of adjacent enemies with the full-round attack requirement. Similar to Whirlwind Attack, but not requiring the Combat Expertise tree, just Cleave, as the pre-requisite. This permits more than just fighters to mix it up with a gaggle of bad guys. As with Beta Cleave, Beta Great Cleave makes more sense than vanilla.

IMO, of course.

Remember, we do not want to go the way of earlier 3.5 material, with the endless mountains of feats that effectively required "specialization to the point of being stupid". I don't want to repeat the same mistake(s) ...


Maveric28 wrote:
My group's fighter was also disconcerted about the whole "adjacent" factor

It's based on the fact that you're cutting through the enemy into an enemy beside him. Thus, you couldn't do it against someone who's on the other side of your body from the first target, otherwise it'd be whirlwind attack.


Turin the Mad wrote:

PF Beta Cleave takes a standard action to give you the possibility (probability) of whacking two adjacent enemies. And, more importantly, you don't have to DROP the first one to get the 2nd swing. This encourages the "blocker" melee fighter to get into play quickly, as well as permitting Cleave-rs to feel "useful" compared to the wizards and sorcerors peppering the foe with sleep spells. Frankly, the Beta Cleave makes more sense than vanilla.

PF Beta Great Cleave, now, is Cleave that can probably whack a whole gob of adjacent enemies with the full-round attack requirement. Similar to Whirlwind Attack, but not requiring the Combat Expertise tree, just Cleave, as the pre-requisite. This permits more than just fighters to mix it up with a gaggle of bad guys. As with Beta Cleave, Beta Great Cleave makes more sense than vanilla.

IMO, of course.

Remember, we do not want to go the way of earlier 3.5 material, with the endless mountains of feats that effectively required "specialization to the point of being stupid". I don't want to repeat the same mistake(s) ...

Again, this is alright design, but with out the ability to do this at the end of a charge, it seems underpowered to the original. With all the damage you can deal with a charge action cleave became viable in the higher levels. While this has changed with the current power attack, it still is reasonably viable.

P.S. Hey here is an idea.

Leave cleave from 3.5 but make great cleave work like the orriginal but add that they can take a full round action or at the end of a charge, and be able to not only cleave an unlimited amount of times, but also attack adjacent foes if you hit. Does that make any sense?

Liberty's Edge

Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:


Again, this is alright design, but with out the ability to do this at the end of a charge, it seems underpowered to the original. With all the damage you can deal with a charge action cleave became viable in the higher levels. While this has changed with the current power attack, it still is reasonably viable.

'

I agree that it should be able to be combined with a charge. (cleave - but not Great Cleave) If you can do it as a standard action now - allowing for a move first, theres no reason in my mind why you cant do it with a charge - which limits that movement to be done in a straight line.

Thats a good suggestion. Hope it's considered.

Robert


Cleave I agree should work in conjunction with a charge (as part of the charge's full-round action). Leaving it "as is" from vanilla, compared to the Beta, has a bad aftertaste.

Great Cleave is what you do on the following round, mowing down whomever remains in reach, probably requiring a 5' adjustment to step into the baddies and get to hacking. Similar to Whirlwind Attack, but with a bit better of a "wow" effect.

IMO

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