Pathfinder Combat Tactics – Do you use teamwork?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


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Teamwork… It’s actually a bit of a foreign concept to me. My group’s version of teamwork amounts to “attack the enemy until they’re dead.” This tends to work well enough, but after reading through the APG feats, I felt that maybe our group was missing out on some potentially awesome ways to overcome the enemy.

So… do you use teamwork strategies and how so? This may vary greatly from the players’ perspective to the GM’s perspective. I want to hear how teamwork has played a role in your games.

How does teamwork vary from “attack the enemy until they're dead?”
Here’s how I think I would define it: your allies must have very specific placement in order to bring about a greater effect than you otherwise would have. This involves flanking, provoking AoO’s and potentially much more.

Do you have AIDS? (Aid Another tactics)
You can use Aid Another as a standard action to give an ally an edge in battle. Usually this is a lackluster way to spend a standard action, but may have its uses. However, you can Aid Another as a swift action (Swift Aid feat) a move action (Team Up feat) and as an attack of opportunity. (Bodyguard feat) Have you found any of these to be worthwhile, even if only for an NPC? The thought of a character spamming Aid Another seems amusing to me.

Teamwork Feats
Have your characters used them? Have you used them as a GM? What are some of your favorites? How about when using them as an Inquisitor or Cavalier?

Combat Maneuvers
Another thing my group has scarcely made use of. (Why trip when you can kill?) How have you used combat maneuvers in the context of teamwork to produce something more effective than just attacking? …or at least considerably more awesome than just attacking?

Spells and Teamwork
Hydraulic Push, Command, a Lingering Spell… There are countless ways you might use spells in conjunction with your allies. Tell me how you’ve used spells and teamwork to bring about extremely unfavorable positions for your enemies.

Leadership
Have you ever used leadership for a cheesy teamwork-ish effect? (Attract a bunch of 1st level cavaliers for the tactician ability?)


A while back my wizard and the barbarian in the group developed some tactics. Namely I create a pit behind his opponent and he pushes them into said pit.


My group has a lvl 1 cavalier with a wolf mount, both have the team work feat that gives you sneak attack. His ability to give that bonus to the group let us survive an animated object attack (the thing had hardness 10!) 'Course, he is going rogue for the rest of his career, so I don't know if we will see much more of the team work feats.


The Chort wrote:


How does teamwork vary from “attack the enemy until they're dead?”
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In some of my games (not all, I have good groups and...Other groups) I get some excellent strategy work going. The heavilly armoured guy kicked a troll in the b$!++&#s (defensively) to draw it's attack of opportunity, the bard, with inspire courage active, aided his defence while the other two performed a trip attack (one aiding the other). Once down, the aforementioned heavy fighter power attacks the prone guy spending an action point for the extra action. The Branger (Bard/Ranger) virtually never attacks anyone, he spends his time aiding another or using improved reposition to juggle opponents around. he later took a level in Monk (hungry ghost) to add punishing kick to his list of 'shoves' He was also fond of bullrushes. Even in the game with the..less than optimal players (players..not characters) The Cleric spends a lot of time performing touch of good/guidance/touch of strength on party members, adding the occasional CLW when necessary, but mostly moving into flanking position for the rogue.

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Do you have AIDS? (Aid Another tactics)

The aforementioned Cleric likes the aid another action, and will randomly aid another target's AC when he feels he lacks the hitting power to be effective. A favourite tactice is to guidance/touch of good then aid another on a party member so in the 3rd round the target uses a +4 to hit. I argue that if he were 'hitting' his opponent he would be more useful, but that +4 at 2nd level allows our fighter to severely wound some heavilly armoured foes.

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Teamwork Feats

Mostly the Fallen Inquisitor from my last campaign enjoyed this. He got a lot of power out of his shield this way, always staying close to the cleric with the large shield. It changed a lot of combat options too as he lost a lot of AC by straying too far from the cleric. Or when a hobgoblin samurai sundered his shield (lost shield, plus shield focus, plus the shield teamwork feat)

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Combat Maneuvers

Iv'e seen linked bullrushes. It was beautiful. Each party member moved to a location and delayed actions. then each took a turn bullrushing a target, each shoving him 5-10 feet. The wizard spent a hero point to Hydrualic push the target the last 5 feet.

In another game, an unhittable wooden construct was tripped and then dragged through a flaming wall by the tiefling, before the second tiefling dragged him back through the same wall. The aforementioned Branger/Monk performed a flurry of disarms at one point against a quartet of brigands, and also disarmed a crosbow weilding guard at another point during a suprise round, and then shot the guard.
I had a Hobgoblin samurai perform a cleaveing sunder much to the dismay of apair of party members.

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Spells and Teamwork

I've seen a Branger use reposition to push targets back into an area of a druid's entangle. A tiefling monk has smashed a lantern over a troll's head triggering a held burning hands, and there's the ever popular fascination as a cover for a suprise round.

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Leadership...

Never had a game go on long enough for this feat to come into play. Odd.

Batts

Sovereign Court

How does teamwork vary from “attack the enemy until they're dead?”
Very much...for example, my melee characters position themselves to always be 30 feet away from the cleric if possible, and ranged characters are behind the cleric. Bards actually do boost with their song and do not just attempt to fight like idiots. Rogues get to sneak around the enemy and snickety sneak attack. Everybody knows the others capabilities and uses them to their maximum. They work together. They help each other.

Do you have AIDS? (Aid Another tactics)
Yes, i have a player who often does that. Usually to raise AC of a character adjacent to him.

Teamwork Feats

No, my players consider teamwork feats lame and restricting, so we don't use them at all.

Combat Maneuvers

Mostly trip, disarm and bull rush, but in this campaign, the rogue has taken dirty trick and specialized it.

Spells and Teamwork

Like i said, they know how stuff work, and both clerics and wizards are careful not to hurt their allies with area spells.

Leadership... \

They take it and have their cohort run around with them. They don't bring 1st level characters with them, they keep them in their castle or something similar...


I play in a large group where three melee-oriented characters have Outflank and Gang Up (I have Gang Up and will be taking Outflank as soon as possible). The greatsword, court blade and falchion wielded by those three crit often enough to trigger combat ending series of AoO. After seeing it happen once, we do everything on our power to set it up in any combat.

The tank of the group uses Bodyguard and In Harm's Way constantly, keeping a fragile caster alive or upping allies' AC by a solid 2.

My character isn't a melee powerhouse, but I'll be getting up there and swinging some kind of keen weapon just to trigger my allies' Outflank (once I have it). Otherwise, I Aid Another when I don't have better actions to take (I can do it as a move, which is nice).

When an environment and/or foes allow, we try to do cool stuff with CMB like Sparta kicking enemies or bullrushing baddies through Walls of Fire or TKing weapons out of hands. The tank trips pretty decently, so once he gets Greater Trip, the Outflankers will be drooling.

With such a large group, Leadership has been disallowed.

To answer more generally: Yes, I think a group that doesn't employ teamwork is missing out. Maybe your group isn't being pushed to that level. Maybe you just handle your challenges too well. But nothing creates an atmosphere of fun like succeeding because you came together as a team.


Simply, YES

I run 3 campaigns. 80s, 90s and a new Kingmaker Group. All groups are different except for one player who has wiggled his way into all three!

They ALL use teamwork. In one fashion or another, either Teamwork Feats, Flanking, Combat Maneuvers and Leadership.

The 80s Group is big into roleplaying and when combat does occur, these guys use everything in the book to bring down critters because their characters would support and aid each other in any way possible. It's just good story.

The 90s Group is big in combat! Anything to give them that 'edge' in the fight! Teamwork Feats are HUGE for this group. They also use Leadership and Combat Maneuvers as often as it is advantageous for them. It's a no brainer for them.

Kingmaker, while these are all new players to PF / D&D, the one experienced player has turned one of the other Melee Types into a pair of Stone Cold Killers. If these two get on your toes, that may be all you have left you can recognize at the end of the fight! I call them 'The Cuisinart' Brothers.

So, yes, if your groups or you want that edge in a fight or situation, Teamwork is the way to get it.

Have Fun Out There!!

~ W ~


My players use them, mainly in 2 ways

1) terrain advantage (flank, pus someone into a spell a wizard cast, as said above)

2) class synergies (stacking fears, debuff saves to help casters, buff melee)

in the (1) they are surprising sometimes. I love above all their "SWAT" tactics - how they use summons, fighter with towershiels, walls, and sneaky PCs flanking - to advance in cover and then suddenly attack a target, focus, and then decide a retreat or to continue focus.

Sometimes are real morons, but sometimes are sun-tzu level.


The Chort wrote:


Do you have AIDS?

surely hope not!


Absolutely a lot of teamwork when the situation warrants it. Whether it is buffs to make other members of the party better, or crowd control spells to allow melee character to focus fire on a single baddie, there is always some tactical teamwork happening. We even have some high AC characters with Mobility who provoke AoOs on purpose to allow other team-mates to get into position with less danger involved.

3 of our 4 melee characters just took Outflank, and I think there is already discussion of backing it up with Paired Opportunists in a couple levels. From the looks of it, the melee damage is going to get out of hand pretty soon. They all have improved critical threat ranges as well.

We don't really see Aid another used very often, as each character is pretty effective at what they do on their own.

Combat maneuvers happen more on critical hits (Disarming Strike) than anything else.

We have a party of 6, so Leadership was ruled out in terms of bringing cohorts along.


Many people fail to realize how powerful a synergizing group is compared to a group of optimized solo characters. I think it is a big reason people think that casters are more powerful, because their versatility makes them easier to synergize.

Personally, I find attacking saves to be one of the strongest ways to help eachother. One of the bard varients drops saves vs fear and charm, the witch can hit saves with evil eye for annother 2, and dazzling display can make foes shaken for annother 2. Dropping an opponents save 6 in 1 round to a simple fear spell makes that 1 level 2 spell have the same DC as a lvl 8 normally would, and causes the opponent to become panicked. Sure, it takes 3 standard actions (divisible by 3 characters), but it is disgusting when it works, and only requires 1 spell from the bard.

I almost never see aid annother ever used. Enemies sometimes use it to get a single attack on one of our high AC characters. I am working on a bodyguard build though. Usually the aid annother is less valuable than trying something yourself.

I only see combat manuevers with characters designed to use them. Trip builds are the most common in my group for this, though some do want to play a bull rush build. Occasionally we see a repositioning bull rush or trip used, but usually our melee characters prefer to hit things in the face when not designed for a tripping build. Disarm and sunder are rare.

Scarab Sages

Tripping combat patrol polearm master that functioned as a bodyguard for a wizard was a good time.

Contributor

Caineach wrote:
I almost never see aid annother ever used. Enemies sometimes use it to get a single attack on one of our high AC characters. I am working on a bodyguard build though. Usually the aid annother is less valuable than trying something yourself.

Order of the Dragon Cavelier is your best bet.


We had a rogue that used a spiked chain to trip baddies and then the barbarian took over...

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

My current character has become all about team work and tactics. He is a phalanx solider and he uses shield slam as often as possible to not only bull rush enemies, but to give allies AoO (from Greater Bullrush) and to trip the opponent if they hit a solid surface. This has caused an enemy to provoke up to four AoO in a single round, and they fell prone. They were cut down before they could even stand up.

He also uses Covering Defense feat and the Shield Ally ability to provide AC buffs to his allies. The bonuses stack with most spells that buff AC, and there are not too many AC buffing spells that clerics and wizards can throw out to party members on the front line that magic items won't stack with. Because of that, the +2-+4 bonus my allies receives saves lives. Sure, I have to give up either a move action or full-round action but my character isn't the heavy hitter of the group.

Having everyone focus on damaging the bad guys won't help out the party if the GM is really challenging the group. If my group had done that three out of the five PCs wouldn't have survived our last battle. My group works the opposite of that. We have three characters that work really well in the front line but who each fight in a different way. Only one out of the five (my character) can't cast spells, but everyone has abilities that can support or buff other characters. Two of the characters give both range support and buffs to the party throughout the entire encounter. My character often engages the enemy first, to keep them off everyone else in the beginning. The other two front line combatants stay back for a round or two and buff up the party or themselves, and then move in to engage. By the third or fourth round my character will switch from offense to defense if the enemy is challenging, or go full offense to clear the field faster. Positioning is also key, bullrushing enemies around so that they provoke AoO or so they are in line for spell effects can provide the other PCs better advantages. Flanking is often a must. Teamwork feats only work if the party can spare the feats, but provide great help and bonuses.

The idea that everyone in the party needs to deal damage means that everyone wants to be the MVP. Working together, you will remember more of what your party did and less about what one single PC did. You will also overcome harder challenges thrown your way.


The Chort wrote:
Teamwork… It’s actually a bit of a foreign concept to me. My group’s version of teamwork amounts to “attack the enemy until they’re dead.” This tends to work well enough, but after reading through the APG feats, I felt that maybe our group was missing out on some potentially awesome ways to overcome the enemy.

If lacking teamwork, most definitely missing out.

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So… do you use teamwork strategies and how so? This may vary greatly from the players’ perspective to the GM’s perspective. I want to hear how teamwork has played a role in your games.

How does teamwork vary from “attack the enemy until they're dead?”
Here’s how I think I would define it: your allies must have very specific placement in order to bring about a greater effect than you otherwise would have. This involves flanking, provoking AoO’s and potentially much more.

Oh wow. This is a big one. My group is crazy quick to set up flanking and the like. They're strong believers in the power of a +2 flanking bonus. They're also big fans of soaking attacks with Total Defense (standard action, +4 dodge bonus), and even used Fighting Defensively (-4 hit, +2 dodge to AC) recently when they were under attack by assassins who were using touch-attacks (the assassins were actually warrior/sorcerers with 3d6+3 shocking grasps).

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Do you have AIDS? (Aid Another tactics)

You can use Aid Another as a standard action to give an ally an edge in battle. Usually this is a lackluster way to spend a standard action, but may have its uses. However, you can Aid Another as a swift action (Swift Aid feat) a move action (Team Up feat) and as an attack of opportunity. (Bodyguard feat) Have you found any of these to be worthwhile, even if only for an NPC? The thought of a character spamming Aid Another seems amusing to me.

Oh this happens pretty often too. This has been used to end entire combats. That -10 penalty to tie-up enemies while grappling isn't so bad when you've got 3 party members and their minions helping you. The fight's pretty much over at this point.

They're also very, very quick to start pulling aid-another in skill checks. They've got a very pikmin mindset. What you may not be able to do alone, you can probably do with a dozen or so.

Heck, I've seen spells like summon monster III dropped for 1d4+1 minor creatures to all aid-another. It's a quick and easy +10 circumstance modifier to the warrior's next attack, or +10 AC for a round. With this kind of backup, the enemies basically have to waste time shredding the summons before they can hurt the warrior effectively.

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Teamwork Feats

Have your characters used them? Have you used them as a GM? What are some of your favorites? How about when using them as an Inquisitor or Cavalier?

Nope. Haven't even bothered with them. I'll look at 'em later.

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Combat Maneuvers

Another thing my group has scarcely made use of. (Why trip when you can kill?) How have you used combat maneuvers in the context of teamwork to produce something more effective than just attacking? …or at least considerably more awesome than just attacking?

Combat Maneuvers can win encounters. Disarm will force most humanoid enemies to back down, or at least put you in a superior position. Grappling lowers AC and prevents effective movement, allowing others to close in for the kill. Tripping is similar, as you force enemies to either suffer a -4 penalty to attacks and AC, or they waste actions to get up. Dealing 50-60 damage to a spellcasting creature that has 100 hit points is often not as useful as tackling them and forcing super-high Concentration DCs (which benefit from Aid Another as well).

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Spells and Teamwork

Hydraulic Push, Command, a Lingering Spell… There are countless ways you might use spells in conjunction with your allies. Tell me how you’ve used spells and teamwork to bring about extremely unfavorable positions for your enemies.

Ohhhh, my favorite. Save or Die spells are majorly like this. Got a monster getting you down? Want a life-sized statue? Have your warrior dive into the fray and inflict 8 negative levels with his trusty +1 life drinker, while your barbarian friend Intimidates them (shaken condition, -2 saves), and your antipaladin friend melees with them (-2 to saves), and then finish with flesh to stone and enjoy your new lawn ornament.

Likewise, a sorcerer's stinking cloud combined with a cleric's animate dead is heinous on enemies. The undead aren't affected by the cloud, and anyone caught in the cloud likely cannot act.

Haste, enlarge person, and similar spells are power multipliers. Haste increases the speed, attacks, saves, AC, and damage of the entire party with one spell. At higher levels (1 target / caster level) you can hit the entire party and their animal companions and cohorts as well. Muuuuuch power here.

Likewise, if you ever want to see an absolute engine of destruction, that can destroy almost anything near its CR-range, grab a 3rd level wizard and a 3rd level barbarian. Have the wizard cast enlarge person, bull's strength, heroism, and rage on the Barbarian, then have the Barbarian enter a Rage, and use a reach weapon. For the next 3 minutes, the Barbarian is effectively the most frightening thing you will see at 3rd level.

(For those at home, that could be a Strength of 32, with a +15 to hit, for 2d8+18 points of damage per swing, with a 20ft reach, a 40 ft speed, and a surprising amount of hit points.)

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Leadership...

My group actually uses leadership very little ('cept for my brother who loves it). When they do use it (my little brother, mostly), it is generally for roleplaying purposes. My younger brother even requested the option to trade in the cohort for additional followers, who he assigns to taking care of his affairs behind the scenes.

However, having a cleric or five along for the ride can effectively negate the cost of healing, and ensure you have a steady supply of powerful buffs, and defensive protections (death ward springs to mind). Then again, it can be used to cover any weaker areas. It can get pretty insane though. If they're all spellcasters, you can get huge amounts of minions via animate dead and the like.

Pretty much any cohort that's a buff-bunny can improve the entire party while making the party look good.

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