Declaring Cleave


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Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

This came up in a fight last night.

Does one need to "declare" a cleave attack before making the attack (just as you would have to declare a trip or rapid shot before making the attack) or can they make the first attack, wait for it to connect and then declare a cleave attempt against a second target?

I lean towards the earlier, but I want to know what general consensus is.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

My opinion is that you don't (indeed cannot) declair the "Cleave" attempt until you have the legal opportunity to make the attack. (i.e. the first attack connects.)


MisterSlanky wrote:

This came up in a fight last night.

Does one need to "declare" a cleave attack before making the attack (just as you would have to declare a trip or rapid shot before making the attack) or can they make the first attack, wait for it to connect and then declare a cleave attempt against a second target?

I lean towards the earlier, but I want to know what general consensus is.

Yes, you have to declare it ahead of time. Cleave is a specific type of attack that uses a standard action, which means it can not be performed as a part of a full round attack.


wraithstrike wrote:
Yes, you have to declare it ahead of time. Cleave is a specific type of attack that uses a standard action, which means it can not be performed as a part of a full round attack.

This is correct. A Cleave attack is its own specific action. You need to declare that that's what your using, rather than a full attack or attack action.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
MisterSlanky wrote:
Does one need to "declare" a cleave attack before making the attack (just as you would have to declare a trip or rapid shot before making the attack) or can they make the first attack, wait for it to connect and then declare a cleave attempt against a second target

Once we switched to Star Wars Saga Edition, I started requiring my players to declare their actions ("I use my Standard to attack, my Swift to Second Wind...") since Saga's actions are interchangeable.

I plan to continue this once we switch to Pathfinder. Especially in light of feats like Cleave and Vital Strike, that require specific actions and that can't be "stacked" into the same action.

-Skeld

Silver Crusade

As the Feat reads, you must declare. "As a standard action" you make ONE attack at your full attack bonus. IF you hit, you get the feat's benefit. The Feat doesn't say "when you hit with any attack" you may choose to make another attack...

I view it as adopting a particular style of fighting for a short while (one designed for multiple foes).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd rule no, you don't have to declare it. As long as it's your first attack, and you haven't used some other feat or combat maneuver that precludes using cleave (such as a charge), then there's no harm in deciding, after you hit, to turn it into a cleave.

Compare with the RAW for full attacks -- as long as you haven't taken a move action yet, you don't have to commit to a full attack until after you've made your first attack. Similarly, there's no need to declare a cleave beforehand, as long as you haven't yet done anything that would rule out using the feat.


Michael Gentry wrote:

I'd rule no, you don't have to declare it. As long as it's your first attack, and you haven't used some other feat or combat maneuver that precludes using cleave (such as a charge), then there's no harm in deciding, after you hit, to turn it into a cleave.

Compare with the RAW for full attacks -- as long as you haven't taken a move action yet, you don't have to commit to a full attack until after you've made your first attack. Similarly, there's no need to declare a cleave beforehand, as long as you haven't yet done anything that would rule out using the feat.

I always thought you did have to declare a full attack, but you did not have to declare which attack went to which target.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
I always thought you did have to declare a full attack, but you did not have to declare which attack went to which target.

You don't have to declare either.

PathfinderSRD wrote:


If you get more than one attack per round because your base attack bonus is high enough (see Base Attack Bonus in Classes), because you fight with two weapons or a double weapon, or for some special reason, you must use a full-round action to get your additional attacks. You do not need to specify the targets of your attacks ahead of time. You can see how the earlier attacks turn out before assigning the later ones.

After your first attack, you can decide to take a move action instead of making your remaining attacks, depending on how the first attack turns out and assuming you have not already taken a move action this round. If you've already taken a 5-foot step, you can't use your move action to move any distance, but you could still use a different kind of move action.

Now, if your full attack involved, for example, two-weapon fighting, you might need to declare beforehand -- because TWF applies a penalty to all your attacks that round. You could start a TWF full attack and then decide to abandon it after the first attack, but you can't take one attack at your full BAB and then say, oh, I'd like to attack with my off-hand, too.

But if you're just making normal, interative attacks? No declaration is necessary. You attack once at your full BAB, and then you can decide if you want to keep going.

Same with cleave: Cleave doesn't impose any penalties on your *first* attack. You make one attack at your full BAB, and you connect. As long as you haven't already done something that makes it not a standard attack, then it changes nothing to decide on the spot to turn it into a cleave, just like it would change nothing to decide (as long as you haven't taken a move action) to continue making iterative attacks.


But there is something that begins applying as soon as you make your first attack in a cleave situation: the -2 penalty to AC. That penalty applies whether or not you successfully hit your first opponent, so it seems very meta-gamish to just say you don't hit with your first attack so that AC penalty just never happened.

For example, you attack baddie A intending to cleave baddie B, but baddie A has readied an action to attack you if you attack it. Do you have the penalty to AC or not?

Clearly, to avoid really cheesy meta-gaming, you need to declare first.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Nazard wrote:

For example, you attack baddie A intending to cleave baddie B, but baddie A has readied an action to attack you if you attack it. Do you have the penalty to AC or not?

Clearly, to avoid really cheesy meta-gaming, you need to declare first.

This is the way I was feeling about the issue. The -2 to AC is pretty significant when readied actions and the like are concerned.


Nazard wrote:

But there is something that begins applying as soon as you make your first attack in a cleave situation: the -2 penalty to AC. That penalty applies whether or not you successfully hit your first opponent, so it seems very meta-gamish to just say you don't hit with your first attack so that AC penalty just never happened.

For example, you attack baddie A intending to cleave baddie B, but baddie A has readied an action to attack you if you attack it. Do you have the penalty to AC or not?

Clearly, to avoid really cheesy meta-gaming, you need to declare first.

I had forgotten about the AC penalty. I guess I owe my players a cookie or something since the last boss had it, and I never applied it.


MisterSlanky wrote:
Nazard wrote:

For example, you attack baddie A intending to cleave baddie B, but baddie A has readied an action to attack you if you attack it. Do you have the penalty to AC or not?

Clearly, to avoid really cheesy meta-gaming, you need to declare first.

This is the way I was feeling about the issue. The -2 to AC is pretty significant when readied actions and the like are concerned.

I don't think the game would implode because of that tactical advantage, and I, as a houserule, would allow the player to declare it after the first attack (for simplicity and because I feel that Cleave is a bit weak).

But I agree, the rigth way to manage cleave is to declare it before attacking, the -2 to AC has to be applied first.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Nazard wrote:

But there is something that begins applying as soon as you make your first attack in a cleave situation: the -2 penalty to AC. That penalty applies whether or not you successfully hit your first opponent, so it seems very meta-gamish to just say you don't hit with your first attack so that AC penalty just never happened.

For example, you attack baddie A intending to cleave baddie B, but baddie A has readied an action to attack you if you attack it. Do you have the penalty to AC or not?

I think by a strict reading of the rules you do not. An action readied in response to a trigger occurs just before the trigger occurs and interrupts it. At the moment that baddie A makes his readied attack, the cleave action has not happened yet, thus the AC penalty does not apply.

Now, if baddie B has an attack readied, then the AC penalty clearly applies, because the cleave has already begun. And I would not allow the player to "abort" the cleave to avoid it.

The Exchange

Cleave specifically states "As a standard action" not "as an attack action", so it is something that needs to be decided before hand. It's the same as having to declare a combat maneuver, especially grapple (since that one is also standard action only, as opposed to in place of an attack)


When you choose to Cleave, you are giving up your iterative attacks for the possibility of an additional full-BAB attack.
If you don't make the fighter declare Cleave, you're changing that: now you're only giving up your iterative attacks for an actual additional full-BAB attack; if the first attack fails, the fighter gets his iterative attacks anyway. That's more powerful, and not how the feat is written.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am confused by claims that you have to declare other types of actions or combat maneuvers. Can anyone produce any actual text to support this?

Clearly, there are actions that you have to declare up front, because they affect your first attack roll (e.g., charging, 2WF, Rapid Shot). And there are actions where the action type is implicit in the action itself ("I move 30 feet." "I cast quickened magic missile."), so performing the action is as good as declaring it. But I can find no rule that says you have to declare a combat maneuver. I can find no rule that says you must declare whether your first attack will be a standard action or part of an iterative attack. (Indeed, there is a rule that explicitly allows you to retroactively change your mind about that.) If the rule is there, and I just missed it, then so be it. Quote it, and tell me where it is.

Likewise, I can find only 7 feats that explicitly require you to declare that you are using the feat before gaining the feat's benefits: Deadly Aim, Improved Great Fortitude, Improved Lightning Reflexes, Improved Iron Will, Lunge, Power Attack, and Stunning Fist.

@avalonXQ, after making your first attack, the choice is between getting one attack at your full BAB, or one (or more) iterative attacks at increasingly lower bonuses. And that's IF you hit, and IF your opponents happen to be adjacent. I'm not convinced that's a significant power discrepancy, and I'm definitely not seeing where the wording of the feat prohibits it. Especially when we have 7 examples where the wording DOES prohibit it to compare.


Michael Gentry wrote:

I am confused by claims that you have to declare other types of actions or combat maneuvers. Can anyone produce any actual text to support this?

Clearly, there are actions that you have to declare up front, because they affect your first attack roll (e.g., charging, 2WF, Rapid Shot). And there are actions where the action type is implicit in the action itself ("I move 30 feet." "I cast quickened magic missile."), so performing the action is as good as declaring it. But I can find no rule that says you have to declare a combat maneuver. I can find no rule that says you must declare whether your first attack will be a standard action or part of an iterative attack. (Indeed, there is a rule that explicitly allows you to retroactively change your mind about that.) If the rule is there, and I just missed it, then so be it. Quote it, and tell me where it is.

Likewise, I can find only 7 feats that explicitly require you to declare that you are using the feat before gaining the feat's benefits: Deadly Aim, Improved Great Fortitude, Improved Lightning Reflexes, Improved Iron Will, Lunge, Power Attack, and Stunning Fist.

Dosn't pretty much everything need to be declared before the dice are rolled? Isn't that the "default" understanding for everything unless a specific explicit statement in the rules says differently?

Imagine this:

DM: You're standing next to a 1,000 foot deep ravine, but right here, it's only 15' wide, so you can jump across if you want to.
Player: *rolls a d20 and gets a 3* I, uh, well, I listen for the sound of invisible monsters. That 3 is for my Perception check. Do I hear anything.
DM: no
Player: *rolls a d20 and gets a 2* Oh, I guess I was, uh, making a Knowledge(Geography) check to see if I could remember the name of this ravine. I guess I can't.
DM: nope
Player: *rolls a d20 and gets an 18* I jumped across the ravine!

Now no DM would allow that, right? That one is obvious, but it seems to me that all actions need to be declared before the roll of the dice, unless the rulebook clearly and explicitly states otherwise (and that is on a case-by-case basis).

The Exchange

D20pfsrd.com wrote:

Cleave (Combat)

You can strike two adjacent foes with a single swing.

Prerequisites: Str 13, Power Attack, base attack bonus +1.

Benefit: As a standard action, you can make a single attack at your full base attack bonus against a foe within reach. If you hit, you deal damage normally and can make an additional attack (using your full base attack bonus) against a foe that is adjacent to the first and also within reach. You can only make one additional attack per round with this feat. When you use this feat, you take a –2 penalty to your Armor Class until your next turn.

Emphasis mine. Grapple is a standard action as opposed to the other maneuvers being attack actions that can be used in place of an attack (trip, disarm, sunder), and that's why I brought it up. Cleave specifically calls out that it requires a standard action to use.


Michael Gentry wrote:
Likewise, I can find only 7 feats that explicitly require you to declare that you are using the feat before gaining the feat's benefits: Deadly Aim, Improved Great Fortitude, Improved Lightning Reflexes, Improved Iron Will, Lunge, Power Attack, and Stunning Fist.

... and Deadly Aim, Lunge, Power Attack, and Stunning Fist can each be used as part of an attack action or full attack action. There is no need to explicitly say you have to declare Cleave because Cleave is its own standard action, not a normal attack action. If you take an attack action or a full-round action, you're not using Cleave; if you use Cleave as a standard action, you're not using the attack or full attack actions.

You can't initiate a Cleave action and then switch to a full attack. The rules don't allow it.


I think that actions are declared as they occur. For example Cleave is declared after the first hit, as this is the point where you must decide if the remainder of the action will be iterative attacks or a full action cleave attempt. Its unique in this way compared to a trip for example where it is already certain from the start that you will be using a full action to perfom the maneuver as well as CMB as opposed to BAB. For another example look at a full attack action. You dont make someone declare that they will use all 4 attacks on one target at the begining of their turn. They swing each attack in succession and if one enemy falls they then proceeed to another. Making someone declare cleave seems like a really cheap rules lawyer tactic to nerf a feat to me.


DM_Blake wrote:
Michael Gentry wrote:

I am confused by claims that you have to declare other types of actions or combat maneuvers. Can anyone produce any actual text to support this?

Clearly, there are actions that you have to declare up front, because they affect your first attack roll (e.g., charging, 2WF, Rapid Shot). And there are actions where the action type is implicit in the action itself ("I move 30 feet." "I cast quickened magic missile."), so performing the action is as good as declaring it. But I can find no rule that says you have to declare a combat maneuver. I can find no rule that says you must declare whether your first attack will be a standard action or part of an iterative attack. (Indeed, there is a rule that explicitly allows you to retroactively change your mind about that.) If the rule is there, and I just missed it, then so be it. Quote it, and tell me where it is.

Likewise, I can find only 7 feats that explicitly require you to declare that you are using the feat before gaining the feat's benefits: Deadly Aim, Improved Great Fortitude, Improved Lightning Reflexes, Improved Iron Will, Lunge, Power Attack, and Stunning Fist.

Dosn't pretty much everything need to be declared before the dice are rolled? Isn't that the "default" understanding for everything unless a specific explicit statement in the rules says differently?

Imagine this:

DM: You're standing next to a 1,000 foot deep ravine, but right here, it's only 15' wide, so you can jump across if you want to.
Player: *rolls a d20 and gets a 3* I, uh, well, I listen for the sound of invisible monsters. That 3 is for my Perception check. Do I hear anything.
DM: no
Player: *rolls a d20 and gets a 2* Oh, I guess I was, uh, making a Knowledge(Geography) check to see if I could remember the name of this ravine. I guess I can't.
DM: nope
Player: *rolls a d20 and gets an 18* I jumped across the ravine!

Now no DM would allow that, right? That one is obvious, but it seems to me that all actions need to be declared...

This example is straw man...the first attack doesnt effect anything about the iterative ones from cleave or not.

The Exchange

The problem, Lazurin, is that the first attack is part of the cleave action as well. I'm just not sure what it is about "As a standard action" that you all are not getting. It is not the 3.x version of cleave, when it was a passive feat. This is a very active feat that requires you to actively use it. If you want to play using the 3.X version of it, then by all means do so, but be aware that it is an entirely different beast than pathfinder cleave. If you already start an attack you cannot use cleave because it says "as a standard action" as opposed to "as part of an attack action"


Michael Gentry wrote:

I am confused by claims that you have to declare other types of actions or combat maneuvers. Can anyone produce any actual text to support this?

...... But I can find no rule that says you have to declare a combat maneuver. I can find no rule that says you must declare whether your first attack will be a standard action or part of an iterative attack. (Indeed, there is a rule that explicitly allows you to retroactively change your mind about that.)

Are you saying you can roll the dice then decide if you want the attack to be a sword swing or a trip attack?

-------------------------

Mike the rules say you don't have to specify targets. They say nothing about changing actions mid-stream. If there is a case where the rules explicitly state what you can do and you try to add more to it, then you are house-ruling.

Full Attack

If you get more than one attack per round because your base attack bonus is high enough (see Base Attack Bonus in Classes), because you fight with two weapons or a double weapon, or for some special reason, you must use a full-round action to get your additional attacks. You do not need to specify the targets of your attacks ahead of time. You can see how the earlier attacks turn out before assigning the later ones.


Hunterofthedusk wrote:
The problem, Lazurin, is that the first attack is part of the cleave action as well. I'm just not sure what it is about "As a standard action" that you all are not getting. It is not the 3.x version of cleave, when it was a passive feat.

What you're not getting is that when a PC is making a full attack action, they can elect to 'convert' it into a standard action after the result of the first attack.

This gives a decent precedent for allowing cleave following a successful hit.

It does increase it's usefulness when you start your turn within melee range of two adjacent opponents and would otherwise have multiple attacks with a full attack action.

So as cleave has changed to a standard action, can one change a full attack action into the standard action cleave rather than the standard action 1 attack? It seems reasonable, but as a backwards fitting object the words have not been put there to justify it.

As to the others, if you were taking a penalty to attack for TWF and on the first attack elected to forgo the remainder of your attacks, you could make it a standard action attack. You just have to take that penalty on the first attack.

It's a way of looking at how your PC acts here. Their actions in the round limit what further actions can be. So it's not 'I declare full round action X' but rather "my PC does X" step by step and has to continuously meet the requirements as they go along.

This is one reason, why when you make a full attack action, you can take a 5'step during it and why if your foe suddenly is out of your reach after some of the attacks you cannot continue to attack them during this same action.

It also adjudicates how one handles slow spells and PCs becoming staggered during their own turns and the like.

-James


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A single, standard-action attack, the first attack of an iterative full attack (when you have not taken a move action), and the first attack of a cleave action are tactically indistinguishable from each other. You gain no penalties or benefits, commit no resources.

I don't have to declare a full attack action; the rules explicitly allow me to choose whether to move or to continue with iterative attacks. Why do I have to declare a standard attack action?


james maissen wrote:

What you're not getting is that when a PC is making a full attack action, they can elect to 'convert' it into a standard action after the result of the first attack.

This gives a decent precedent for allowing cleave following a successful hit.

But if you can wait until after a successful hit before cleaving, then the wording seems a bit odd: "If you hit, you deal damage normally and can make an additional attack" -- under your interpretation, why would anyone ever try (and fail) to cleave after a miss? That'd just be silly.

My take: you have to declare a cleave before rolling your first attack.


james maissen wrote:
Hunterofthedusk wrote:
The problem, Lazurin, is that the first attack is part of the cleave action as well. I'm just not sure what it is about "As a standard action" that you all are not getting. It is not the 3.x version of cleave, when it was a passive feat.

What you're not getting is that when a PC is making a full attack action, they can elect to 'convert' it into a standard action after the result of the first attack.

This gives a decent precedent for allowing cleave following a successful hit.

It does increase it's usefulness when you start your turn within melee range of two adjacent opponents and would otherwise have multiple attacks with a full attack action.

So as cleave has changed to a standard action, can one change a full attack action into the standard action cleave rather than the standard action 1 attack? It seems reasonable, but as a backwards fitting object the words have not been put there to justify it.

As to the others, if you were taking a penalty to attack for TWF and on the first attack elected to forgo the remainder of your attacks, you could make it a standard action attack. You just have to take that penalty on the first attack.

It's a way of looking at how your PC acts here. Their actions in the round limit what further actions can be. So it's not 'I declare full round action X' but rather "my PC does X" step by step and has to continuously meet the requirements as they go along.

This is one reason, why when you make a full attack action, you can take a 5'step during it and why if your foe suddenly is out of your reach after some of the attacks you cannot continue to attack them during this same action.

It also adjudicates how one handles slow spells and PCs becoming staggered during their own turns and the like.

-James

As far as I know a foe can't step out of your reach in the middle of a full attack. The reason for the 5 ft step in the middle of the attack is to be able to get at 2 foes who might not be close enough to each other for you to hit them both.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

DM_Blake and Wraithstrike: I'm talking about the type of action you are taking (full or standard), not changing the actual trait you're rolling against.

In the case of a standard attack vs. an iterative attack vs. a cleave attack, in each case you are rolling and adding your attack bonus to the roll, success means you hit and roll damage. Completely identical rolls, all three. The only difference is in what you choose to do *after* that first attack has been committed: take a move action, make an iterative attack, or attempt a cleave. What you planned to choose at that point has no bearing on what the outcome of the first attack would have been.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
hogarth wrote:


But if you can wait until after a successful hit before cleaving, then the wording seems a bit odd: "If you hit, you deal damage normally and can make an additional attack" -- under your interpretation, why would anyone ever try (and fail) to cleave after a miss? That'd just be silly.

You wouldn't. If you miss with the first attack, there's no cleave -- you're limited to making an iterative attack (if you're able) at a significant penalty, ending your action right there.


Michael Gentry wrote:

You gain no penalties or benefits, commit no resources......

I don't have to declare a full attack action; the rules explicitly allow me to choose whether to move or to continue with iterative attacks. Why do I have to declare a standard attack action?

Let's say you move up to an opponent and the opponent has readied an action to strike you. The fact that you did not declare a cleave makes your AC higher than it may have been otherwise. By declaring the cleave up front you have to deal with whatever may come with it. It could be the difference between confirming a crit, and not confirming a crit.

Can you show me where the rules give you the option to do anything you want? My full round attack quote says otherwise.

Edit: Edited.


Are people trying to make cleave fit into the stunning fist motif?

It seems like that is what is going on.

Stunning fist
Benefit: You must declare that you are using this feat before you make your attack roll (thus, a failed attack roll ruins the attempt).

As opposed to

cleave
Benefit: As a standard action, you can make a single attack at your full base attack bonus against a foe within reach. If you hit, you deal damage normally and "can" make an additional attack (using your full base attack bonus) against a foe that is adjacent to the first and also within reach

You can also continue to attack the first opponent with your other attacks......


Absolutely. The player has to say they are going to cleave before they attack. When our barbarian forgets to say he is cleaving we don't let him cleave anyway. Its either cleave or full attack, you pick before hand, they are different things. Not the case with a full attack. Allowing thye to choose after they miss is making the feat gravely more powerful than intended.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

To put the issue of rules-wording another way:

People keep pointing out that Cleave is a standard action. I know that. I don't dispute that.

That it is a standard action tells me a number of important things about Cleave's limitations. It tells me that I can't combine Cleave and a charge. I can't combine Cleave and Vital Strike. I can't "cleave" while trying to grapple or sunder. I can't cleave as part of a two-weapon attack or an iterative attack. I can cleave and still take a move action, but I can't cleave twice in one round.

"Cleave is a standard action" tells me all of these things, but it tells me nothing about whether I have to declare beforehand whether the first attack is part of a standard or full action or whether I intend to cleave if I hit. There is no such rule.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
Let's say you move up to an opponent and the opponent has readied an action to strike you. The fact that you did not declare a cleave makes your AC higher than it may have been otherwise. By declaring the cleave up front you have to deal with whatever may come with it. It could be the difference between confirming a crit, and not confirming a crit.

We already addressed this earlier in the thread. A readied action takes place before the action that triggers it. If you've readied an action to strike me, then it happens before the cleave action occurs, and the AC penalty does not apply.

Quote:

Can you show me where the rules give you the option to do anything you want? My full round attack quote says otherwise.

Your full round attack quote says that I don't have to declare my targets when making a full attack. I knew that already, but what does it have to do with cleave?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Michael Gentry wrote:

To put the issue of rules-wording another way:

People keep pointing out that Cleave is a standard action. I know that. I don't dispute that.

That it is a standard action tells me a number of important things about Cleave's limitations. It tells me that I can't combine Cleave and a charge. I can't combine Cleave and Vital Strike. I can't "cleave" while trying to grapple or sunder. I can't cleave as part of a two-weapon attack or an iterative attack. I can cleave and still take a move action, but I can't cleave twice in one round.

"Cleave is a standard action" tells me all of these things, but it tells me nothing about whether I have to declare beforehand whether the first attack is part of a standard or full action or whether I intend to cleave if I hit. There is no such rule.

You're missing the point people are trying to make. It's not that cleave is a standard action, but that it's a TYPE of standard actuion, just like trip and grapple. It's not a variant of the attack action any more than those other combat options are so it does not function like one. Clearer?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

By the very nature of the description of a cleave attack, you are doing something very specialized, designed to hit two targets potentially, yet leaves you in a somewhat compromised position(-2 AC), hit or miss. It's not just a generic attack trying to hit whatever opening you can (full attack). It's a low level feat that gives lower fighter types a chance to hit two targets at their max attack and gets you ready for Great Cleave and potentially 8 attacks at full attack bonus.

Changing your mind after a miss and saying it was a regular attack is just silly. I know my DM would never go with that, she would just laugh at me.(girlfriend as DM does not gain any benefits :P )


Michael Gentry wrote:
hogarth wrote:


But if you can wait until after a successful hit before cleaving, then the wording seems a bit odd: "If you hit, you deal damage normally and can make an additional attack" -- under your interpretation, why would anyone ever try (and fail) to cleave after a miss? That'd just be silly.
You wouldn't. If you miss with the first attack, there's no cleave -- you're limited to making an iterative attack (if you're able) at a significant penalty, ending your action right there.

Just curious -- would you allow an Arcane Archer to make an arrow attack, and then convert that into a use of Imbue Arrow after a successful hit?


Michael Gentry wrote:
A single, standard-action attack, the first attack of an iterative full attack (when you have not taken a move action), and the first attack of a cleave action are tactically indistinguishable from each other. You gain no penalties or benefits, commit no resources.

Other than two points of AC.

Oh, yeah -- and the rest of your iterative attacks.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Paul Watson wrote:


You're missing the point people are trying to make. It's not that cleave is a standard action, but that it's a TYPE of standard actuion, just like trip and grapple. It's not a variant of the attack action any more than those other combat options are so it does not function like one. Clearer?

No, I do understand that. Let me try to make my point clearer.

The first thing that happens in a cleave is: you make a single attack at your full BAB.

The first thing that happens in a full, iterative attack is: you make a single attack at your full BAB.

Assume the attack hits, it's your first attack, and you have not taken a move action yet. At this moment, you are in the exact same position, tactically, whichever way you choose. Whether you declared "cleave," or "full attack," or nothing has no bearing at all on that first attack (unlike, say, declaring a two-weapon attack, which would impose a penalty to the first attack). Even the AC penalty has not kicked in yet.

There is no reason why you should not be able to choose *at that moment* whether to continue with the cleave or to continue with an iterative attack. There is already a precedent in the fact that you can choose *at that moment* to do neither, and perform a move action instead.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
AvalonXQ wrote:
Michael Gentry wrote:
A single, standard-action attack, the first attack of an iterative full attack (when you have not taken a move action), and the first attack of a cleave action are tactically indistinguishable from each other. You gain no penalties or benefits, commit no resources.

Other than two points of AC.

Oh, yeah -- and the rest of your iterative attacks.

Man, I don't want to turn this into an ugly snark thread, but we have already gone over the AC thing twice. Please look upthread. I am trying to debate this in good faith.

And no, you haven't committed your iterative attacks. You very specifically are not required to commit to iterative attacks, as shown by this rule:

Quote:
After your first attack, you can decide to take a move action instead of making your remaining attacks, depending on how the first attack turns out and assuming you have not already taken a move action this round.


Lazurin Arborlon wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
Some perfectly reasonable rebuttals

...

This example is straw man...the first attack doesnt effect anything about the iterative ones from cleave or not.

Oooh, whipping out the "straw man" label. Also known as the last resort of the nay-sayer with nothing valid to contribute.

So if someone makes an attack, do you let them declare that they are Fighting Defensively after they roll? So if it's a good high roll or an obvious miss they can get a free +2 AC for it, but if it's probably a hit, but only barely a hit, they won't choose to Fight Defensively.

That's no "straw man"; Fighting Defensively and Cleave are both Standard Actions that modify some of your combat values (they both modify AC).

What if a player with a low CMB but a high Attack Modifier is thinking about tripping an enemy, can he roll his d20 and if it's really high declare that he's tripping the enemy but if it's too low for Trip to work he can simply state he's hitting him with his sword?

The list goes on and on.

Edit: wow, totally ninja'd on the Trip example by Wraithsrike. Great minds and all...

A player MUST declare his action before he rolls the dice, otherwise he can say he was rolling for whatever he wants, whatever will cause him the least repurcussion. True, some actions/abilities specifically state that they are an exception to this and the player can decide after rolling, but aside from those exceptions, everything else must be declared before rolling.


Michael Gentry wrote:

[No, I do understand that. Let me try to make my point clearer.

The first thing that happens in a cleave is: you make a single attack at your full BAB.

No. The first thing that happens in a Cleave is: you take a -2 to your AC.


Michael Gentry wrote:
And no, you haven't committed your iterative attacks. You very specifically are not required to commit to iterative attacks, as shown by this rule:

That rule allows you to announce a full attack action and then later convert it to a standard attack action. It doesn't let you convert a full attack action into anything else; it doesn't let you convert a full attack action into a Cleave.


cleave
Benefit: As a standard action, you can make a single attack at your full base attack bonus against a foe within reach. If you hit, you deal damage normally and "can" make an additional attack (using your full base attack bonus) against a foe that is adjacent to the first and also within reach.

Cleave says you can make an attack not that you even have to.
You can continue your attacks on the primary target (deciding not to cleave which is related to CAN).


KenderKin wrote:
Cleave says you can make an attack not that you even have to.

... and if you use the standard action to Cleave (which the feat requires), then you don't have a full-round action to full attack.

If you use a full-round action to full attack, you don't have a standard action to Cleave.
The two don't work together.


wraithstrike wrote:


As far as I know a foe can't step out of your reach in the middle of a full attack. The reason for the 5 ft step in the middle of the attack is to be able to get at 2 foes who might not be close...

You could be pushing your foe with certain weapon special attacks (does damage and then does a bull rush) for example.

The foe could have an ally or readied action for when he's hit.

The foe could have a contingency that's triggered.

The foe could have a fireshield active that's killed you after the first attack... or could have slowed you if you're a flesh golem...

A full attack action is not one separate entity.

There are some things that are a single action with multiple rolls/attacks involved: scorching ray or magic missile for example are things that all fire at once.

Now it's unclear if the new pathfinder cleave can work like a normal standard action, but I don't see much above cleave that having made the first attack one could not say you didn't qualify to continue with it.

Consider a PC that's got a pair of short swords and the TWF feat. He starts his turn with an attack with his main short sword and takes a -2 to hit. Can he elect to move after this attack? When must he decide?

-James


Michael Gentry wrote:

DM_Blake and Wraithstrike: I'm talking about the type of action you are taking (full or standard), not changing the actual trait you're rolling against.

In the case of a standard attack vs. an iterative attack vs. a cleave attack, in each case you are rolling and adding your attack bonus to the roll, success means you hit and roll damage. Completely identical rolls, all three. The only difference is in what you choose to do *after* that first attack has been committed: take a move action, make an iterative attack, or attempt a cleave. What you planned to choose at that point has no bearing on what the outcome of the first attack would have been.

I see what you're saying, I just don't agree.

I see it this way: There is a reason Cleave lets you hit two foes but someone without it cannot hit two foes with a Standard action. This reason is because you attack differently. You lean in closer, change the angle of your attack, try to slice from one enemy to the other. If you're not cleaving, you stay a little farther away and focus on just powering your attack into the enemy.

This reason is why Cleave comes with an AC penalty. You are deliberately putting yourself into harm's way for the chance to clobber two enemies instead of only one.

You cannot decide to attack in a completely different fashion after you have already finished the attack. Too late. If Cleave didn't have the AC penalty, I might be inclined to feel differently.

There are examples in the RAW of things you can decide after you roll. And everyone of them explicitly states that this is an option. I fully believe that if Cleave were supposed to allow such an option it would state something like "If your first attack in any attack action is a hit, you can decide to take a -2 penalty to your AC and roll an immediate attack against an adjacent foe. This ends your attack action. This Cleave attack is a Standard action."

But there is no such wording.

So we're arguing that the authors made a huge oversight when they wrote Cleave and that they really meant it to do something that it does not say it can do.

So if we want to discuss RAI, then continue. I've been discussing RAW all along.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DM_Blake wrote:


Oooh, whipping out the "straw man" label. Also known as the last resort of the nay-sayer with nothing valid to contribute.

Just so we're clear, I didn't call "straw man." Although I do believe I am correct, I think this is a substantive debate and I am trying to argue in good faith.

So if someone makes an attack, do you let them declare that they are Fighting Defensively after they roll? So if it's a good high roll or an obvious miss they can get a free +2 AC for it, but if it's probably a hit, but only barely a hit, they won't choose to Fight Defensively.

No, because fighting defensively penalizes *all* attacks, including the first one. In the case of cleave vs. full attack, your first attack is at full BAB with the same modifiers affecting each one. There is no difference until after you have committed to one or the other.

Quote:
What if a player with a low CMB but a high Attack Modifier is thinking about tripping an enemy, can he roll his d20 and if it's really high declare that he's tripping the enemy but if it's too low for Trip to work he can simply state he's hitting him with his sword?

Again, no, and I already addressed this several posts ago. Your CMB and your Attack modifier are different numbers and may have different modifiers affecting them. You have to at least know what you're rolling.

In the case of a cleave vs. the first attack of an iterative attack, you are rolling your Attack Modifier in BOTH cases, with no special bonuses or penalties applying to either one.

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