Whirlwind Attack & Vital Strike


Rules Questions

Scarab Sages

Whirlwind Attack (Combat)
You can strike out at every foe within reach.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, Int 13, Combat Expertise, Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, base attack bonus +4.

Benefit: When you use the full-attack action, you can give up your regular attacks and instead make one melee attack at your highest base attack bonus against each opponent within reach. You must make a separate attack roll against each opponent.

When you use the Whirlwind Attack feat, you also forfeit any bonus or extra attacks granted by other feats, spells, or abilities.

And

Vital Strike (Combat)
You make a single attack that deals significantly more damage than normal.

Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6.

Benefit: When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon’s damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision-based damage, and other damage bonuses. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total.

Can i do them both in one attack?


No. Whirlwind requires a full attack action and vital strike requires an attack action (standard action). You can't do both in the same round.

They errated vital strike to pretty much not combine with anything. Before they did that there were some pretty good mobility and 1 hit builds after that.. not so much.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Vital Strike is very much a trap feat.

Scarab Sages

thank you, i was getting caught up in the definitions of a attack action. I understand now, thanks

Sczarni

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

It's not a trap, only people who want to cheese monkey their characters believe that. Like many feats, it has its uses. When only getting a single attack it is great...and too often heavy damagers will often only be getting a single attack several times in a combat, so it will be used often enough.


However, I believe Power Attack + Vital Strike is still a viable option.


Cheese has nothing to do with it. Feats are a limited resource and vital strike with its limitation of not being able to stack with charges, and other things does not make it a good option. It is not even an average option, and it is never great. A feat having a use does not mean it is worth taking. Every feat has a use. The chance to get a full round attack depends on the GM. Most GM's don't prevent full round attacks so vital strike is often not worth the feat when another feat could have been chosen.
That does not mean someone always has to make the best character possible, but in the land of feats Vital Strike is not one that can often be justified.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I believe the feat is a trap. I hate the term cheese. A E6 game makes it viable, but unless there is a very specific build that utilizes it well(which there are few) it is a trap. I have had several games in which I had to break it to someone that the feat did not do anywhere near what they thought it did. It is no prone shooter feat, but it has serious limits. You do not have to be some kind of "munchkin"(a term I hate) to see that.


I'd say whirlwind attack is the trap feat. You have to be surrounded. It's built off of spring attack which is designed to let you keep your distance, meaning that if you're using the prerequisites you'll never be in position to use whirlwind attack and if you're not it's a feat at the end of a 4 feat chain you're not really using.

Vital strike, in comparison, is just one feat and it does what it's supposed to. Each step in the chain is another similar benefit if you found the first worth having, and they all work with the same tactics. It may be a mediocre feat, but it's not a trap.


Atarlost wrote:
I'd say whirlwind attack is the trap feat. You have to be surrounded. It's built off of spring attack which is designed to let you keep your distance, meaning that if you're using the prerequisites you'll never be in position to use whirlwind attack and if you're not it's a feat at the end of a 4 feat chain you're not really using.

I disagree. My Greatsword fighter uses it to tremendous effect. By level 7 he has a Lunging Whirlwind which allows him to attack everyone within 10' at his full BAB - that's a hell of a lot better than 1 main and 1 iterative attack. At 11th level he adds Dazing Assault which makes it the best melee crowd control option I've yet to come across.

Sure its not something you use every round, but we've had some tremendous battles where I use a Dazing Lunging Whirlwind attack for a couple of rounds and everyone else picks off whoever doesn't succumb. Meanwhile Dodge is a nice bonus for someone not carrying a shield, and Combat Expertise has saved my bacon more times than I can count when I was redlining...


Lunge is a nice feat, but Whirlwind on its own normally means you are surrounded, and that is not what you want.


I think of Wirlwind Attack as being a feat for a fighter that wields a spear. Perhaps a little enlarge person and a lunge and call it a useful strategy.


Vital Strike is definitely a trap. I hate it, it's supposed to be for skirmishers but it doesn't work with Spring Attack (it does w/ Flyby, though, being a caster is awesome!) and it works in the most counter-intuitive way imagineable: the damage boost is based on weapon dice! So the quick footed knave with the rapier is a HORRIBLE candidate for the feat. But, Vital Strike becomes far less trappy and much more appealing on say... a druid wildshaped into a T-Rex with Imp. Natural Attack (bite) and a Strongjaw spell buff.

WWA is also a trap. Not only does it require many feats, including several that suck (Mobility and Spring Attack, and IMO Expertise as well). Not only does it basically work by getting surrounded. It gives one attack against all foes. D&D/PF is a game where anything not dead hurts you just as much (in some cases, they do more damage when hurt!) as something at 100% health. Focused Fire, sadly, is the optimal way to dish out damage, on one guy at a time till he drops. So in most cases when you could actually use WWA to get more attacks than your iteratives would allow normally, it's STILL worse than just full attacking on one guy till he drops.

However, WWA when combined with Mobile Fighter 11 lets you basically run around and hit every enemy you can get within reach of (Lunge is awesome here) other than the one you started closest to, which is pretty badass. But any DM that hears about such a combo is likely to balk and ban/nerf it, IME.

Tels wrote:
However, I believe Power Attack + Vital Strike is still a viable option.

Unless the attack penalty leaves you with the same hit chance (ie, you could only miss on a 1), I disagree. VS adds a bunch of extra damage to your attack. The more outside damage sources you're applying to an attack the more valuable keeping your attack bonus to help ensure the hit is. This is why Power Attack is a horrible feat for a rogue to use with sneak attack (it's decent as a plan B for SA immune foes) -- when you're adding 6d6 damage, taking a -3 to hit (15% greater chance of missing the attack entirely) becomes foolish.


wraithstrike wrote:
Lunge is a nice feat, but Whirlwind on its own normally means you are surrounded, and that is not what you want.

Think about it like this - in the six squares directly in front of you (10' out) there can easily be 3 or 4 enemies. Instead of a +7/+2 BAB against one of them, now you can attack ALL of them with a +7 BAB attack. Four attacks at your highest attack bonus is HUGE at 7th level.

I probably wouldn't take Whirlwind Attack without Lunge, but when you add Dazing Assault on it, it really becomes an amazing batch of feats. And I've found use for every other pre-req feat that comes along with it too - its not as if you're hurting for feat slots with a Human Fighter.


Higher level baddies have really high fort saves so Dazing assault is not likely to work unless you are spamming saves. I have also never found WW to be worth the other feats just to pick it up.

A lot of it depends on the GM also. If I get a player surrounded bad things are normally about to happen. Now if the baddies are APL-3 that are surrounding you then WW is a lot more useful.


wraithstrike wrote:

Higher level baddies have really high fort saves so Dazing assault is not likely to work unless you are spamming saves. I have also never found WW to be worth the other feats just to pick it up.

A lot of it depends on the GM also. If I get a player surrounded bad things are normally about to happen. Now if the baddies are APL-3 that are surrounding you then WW is a lot more useful.

Nah, its something I would only really use against minions. I leave mezzing the BBEG's to other party members and my attack roll takes enough of a hit from Power Attack.

Like I said, its just a tool, one of several my THFighter employs, and the ability to get bonus attacks at full BAB levels 6-10 can't be understated.

1st - Weapon Focus: Greatsword, Power Attack, Cleave
2nd - Dodge
3rd - Mobility
4th - Combat Expertise
5th - Spring Attack
6th - Whirlwind Attack
7th - Lunge
8th - Greater Weapon Focus: Greatsword (retrain Cleave to Furious Focus)


Nice feat selection. :)


wraithstrike wrote:
Nice feat selection. :)

Thanks - I really don't think I'm losing out on anything in the first 8 levels by taking advantage of that option. Later levels I do different things... one of which is take the Vital Strike line. :-P

Dark Archive

In order to keep Vital Strike & related feats most viable in the games I run, I house-rule that any time you can only make a single attack during a round (whether that be a charge, Spring Attack, Shot On The Run, or attack and move) then you can use Vital Strike; however in any round where you take more than one attack (such as flurry of blows, full attack action, or Whirlwind Attack) Vital Strike doesn't apply.

Basically, I think that the RAI when PFRPG came out was that Vital Strike was intended to replace iterative attacks for those that preferred an alternative; however, now that charge and Spring Attack are full-round actions per errata (although I don't think they've done the same thing with Shot On The Run, so that still works RAW with Vital Strike) the only really cool thing is if you have a high Acrobatics skill and have a character build that benefits from remaining mobile.

It makes a lot more sense to let PCs still use it with charge and Spring-Attack (although as I said that requires house-ruling it); however I would never allow it with Whirlwind Attack because Whirlwind Attack is more than one attack per round.


Ian Eastmond wrote:

In order to keep Vital Strike & related feats most viable in the games I run, I house-rule that any time you can only make a single attack during a round (whether that be a charge, Spring Attack, Shot On The Run, or attack and move) then you can use Vital Strike; however in any round where you take more than one attack (such as flurry of blows, full attack action, or Whirlwind Attack) Vital Strike doesn't apply.

Basically, I think that the RAI when PFRPG came out was that Vital Strike was intended to replace iterative attacks for those that preferred an alternative; however, now that charge and Spring Attack are full-round actions per errata (although I don't think they've done the same thing with Shot On The Run, so that still works RAW with Vital Strike) the only really cool thing is if you have a high Acrobatics skill and have a character build that benefits from remaining mobile.

It makes a lot more sense to let PCs still use it with charge and Spring-Attack (although as I said that requires house-ruling it); however I would never allow it with Whirlwind Attack because Whirlwind Attack is more than one attack per round.

That's exactly how my GM ruled it as well. I honestly believe that is RAI in this case.


nm


I am not sure why vital strike is considered to be bad by so many. Maybe I am alone here, but I do not need to be able to combine a feat with other feat a/b/c/d and e just to decide if it is a "good" feat. So even though it does not work with spring attack, I do not care. It is quite good whenever you only have a single attack when moving. Like I move up to an enemy to get full attacks next round and want to get a single attack off which is decent.
For example, when you use a greatsword and have the improved vital strike feat, you get 6d6 damage before adding your static multipliers. Combine this with power attack and furious focus, and that first attack is really going to hurt.

I do not need spring attack for that :-)


I believe Furious Focus can only be used on Full Round attacks, RAI, but the RAW does not say that.

In any event it is not about not being to combine "a feat" with other feats. Some feats are good on their own. This feat, the other versions are not that useful because they are considered to be inefficient.

Most players expect to get that full round attack in by round 2. If the GM likes to use skirmishers then many players would build a character that can make it hard to hit and run.

That 6d6 is a result of the greatsword also. Power attack works well with any one-handed or larger weapon.

Now that I am think about it I guess the difference between those who accept VS and those that don't has to do with the amount of damage they expect to be able to do to a large extent.
For the classes with less feats than fighters then more useful feats are almost always available.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Tiger Pounce works well with power attack.


wraithstrike wrote:

I believe Furious Focus can only be used on Full Round attacks, RAI, but the RAW does not say that.

Now that would spawn a new discussion about RAI and RAW here ;-) I think differently, I believe it is actually intended to be used for mobile purposes. FF is particularly good for medium BAB classes which want to utilize power attack but might not hit if they use it. For those it is great to improve their damage output without any risk of not hitting in the first place.

Example: Rogue moving into flanking position to get sneak attack once ally comes up at the other side, gets his first attack of with PA and FF. Or not flanking, just moving around and getting some decent damage when sneak does not applly :-)
wraithstrike wrote:


In any event it is not about not being to combine "a feat" with other feats. Some feats are good on their own. This feat, the other versions are not that useful because they are considered to be inefficient.

I get another impression here. Even in the above posts in this threads it is - again - mentioned as a "trap" since it could not be combined with spring attack. So this combining and stacking of feats seems be at the core of what people want from it.

wraithstrike wrote:


Most players expect to get that full round attack in by round 2. If the GM likes to use skirmishers then many players would build a character that can make it hard to hit and run.

But you can already do that with those feats. You just cannot have everything at once: Spring attacking with whirlwinding and power attack furious focus vital striking... There gotta be a limit somewhere, and - this is just my impression - this is the "problem" that others would like to have removed.

wraithstrike wrote:


That 6d6 is a result of the greatsword also. Power attack works well with any one-handed or larger weapon.

Vital strike as well. Take a longsword with 1d8. Vital Strike gives you about 4.5 extra dmg on average, so let's make that 4. That is - with the exception of a crit - already like greater weapon specialization, for which people are ready to spend multiple feats on! greatsword is just one example.

wraithstrike wrote:


Now that I am think about it I guess the difference between those who accept VS and those that don't has to do with the amount of damage they expect to be able to do to a large extent.
For the classes with less feats than fighters then more useful feats are almost always available.

I think it is especially useful for non-fighters that have to move a lot :-)


oh, I forgot to add: Even on full attacks VS is worth it if you fight a high AC opponent you do not hit with you second attack and you at least want that first attack to mean something :-)

Scarab Sages

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/outsiders/archon/archon-l egion

My GM is allowing me to advance threw the ranks, and this is the closes I've ever been to being L/Good ever. I'm currently a Legion Archon. I started at the bottom and have worked my way up. I've earned not thur Exp each evolution. My character isn't solely based of exp I've actually been the same level for a while.

This is the most role playing character I've ever had.

When I was a hound archon i still had the mentality of the Lantern. I walked into a major town, well tried to anyway to buy something for a NPC that he needed. and omg guards then more guards and then the clerics came, it was like a parade. I was like holding up a gold piece trying to say i just wanted something from the store. it was a Facepalm moment lol.

But each level they get different feats, and different stuff they can do. I understand this could get very op. So with that thought I do not take and gear or items for myself, I give everything to the temple. I'm with other PCs and some of them have better stats then I do lol.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

WWA can be usefull in different ways, since you can use it with trip or disarm. Especially with reach weapons and lunge. Most with a whip.
And you don´t have to be surrounded to do that. As long as you get more use out of it than of using your normal attacks, what is done quite easy for medium BAB, its a good choice.

You could also use this with a ninja and invisible blade, combining it with greater trip and combat reflexes eventually. Crazy damage with high DEX build. Probably you would use it vs more than 2 foes, at last 3, so you get 6 AoO´s at highest BAB landing your sneak attack.

Rogues with PA, even with FF? Not my thing, there are much better ways to get damage from rogues. Feinting as move action and then get SA will always be better than you PA damage. You hit easier too.
(I still don´t understand how feinting as a standard action gets you anything, since you cannot attack then before your next turn.)

Mobility and spring attack can be very good for rogues or others that are in melee, but cannot take so much damage. Move in and flank, hit, move out. Even if you are followed you normally don´t take a full attack.

VS is similar, best for chars that maybe hit harder oponents only with their first attack after level 6.

The problem of this stuff is that most of it was probably designed for fighters and other full BAB classes, but it is actually better for medium BAB melee classes. Only for those its often hard to pull off or they cannot get it or only late because of the requirements like BAB+11.


Vital Strike (and its improved/greater[?] versions) are on my list of decent feats -- but I'd only pick 'em up with a fighter. The progression is a trade-off between a full-action multiple attack or just doing as much damage on a single attack as you would if all your iterative strikes hit... but at your highest bonus.

If you're fighting silly minions, mow 'em down with multiple strikes; if you're dealing with a nasty singleton, smack it down at one blow per round much more effectively than whittling at it with attacks that start missing halfway through your full-attack.

AND your vital strike is a standard attack action, so you can get in a move action as well.

The only reason I don't take this with non-fighters is that my feat dance card is full of non-combat feats.


yeah i house rule the heck out of that feast


Hayato Ken wrote:
(I still don´t understand how feinting as a standard action gets you anything, since you cannot attack then before your next turn.)
Feint wrote:
Feinting is a standard action. To feint, make a Bluff skill check. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + your opponent's base attack bonus + your opponent's Wisdom modifier. If your opponent is trained in Sense Motive, the DC is instead equal to 10 + your opponent's Sense Motive bonus, if higher. If successful, the next melee attack you make against the target does not allow him to use his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). This attack must be made on or before your next turn.

You can make the attack on your next turn, or before it.

Turn 1 Move, Feint
Turn 2 Vital Strike + Sneak Attack! Tumble + Move away
Turn 3 ???
Turn 4 PROFIT!!


I think that vital strike is not a useless feat, but +6 bab to take is a bit too much (is more useful for non high BAB classes).
I let my players use it during a charge, but none still used a feat for it.


6th level fighter with large bastard sword (buddy casts enlarge person)= 6d8

15th level Zen Archer+Monk's Robe+Shot on the run (or surprise round)+ Ki Arrows+Improved Vital Strike+ring of spell storing+Gravity Bow(precast)=12d8 damage.

It is useful, but only when you are denied full attacks. Depending on GM style, YMMV.


The general consensus seems to be that Vital Strike is really most useful with Two-Handed fighters (who have feats to spare and initial large damage die to increase) or Zen Archers (who also have plenty of feats available and tend to move around a lot). I personally would only take it on the former, but I'd pretty much always take it in that case.

Full Two-Handed Fighter (Weapon Master) feat list for me:

Human - Power Attack
1st - Cleave
1st - Dodge
2nd - Mobility
3rd - Spring Attack
4th - Combat Expertise
5th - Whirlwind Attack
6th - Lunge
7th - Weapon Focus: Falchion [Retrain Cleave to Furious Focus]
8th - Greater Weapon Focus: Falchion
9th - Weapon Specialization: Falchion
10th - Critical Focus
11th - Dazing Assault
12th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Falchion
13th - Staggering Critical
14th - Vital Strike
15th - Improved Vital Strike
16th - Stunning Assault [Retrain Dazing Assault to Greater Vital Strike]
17th - Stunning Critical
18th - Deadly Aim
19th - Iron Will
20th - Toughness

Normally I'd prefer a Greatsword, but Weapon Masters do great things with criticals.


Oterisk wrote:

6th level fighter with large bastard sword (buddy casts enlarge person)= 6d8

15th level Zen Archer+Monk's Robe+Shot on the run (or surprise round)+ Ki Arrows+Improved Vital Strike+ring of spell storing+Gravity Bow(precast)=12d8 damage.

It is useful, but only when you are denied full attacks. Depending on GM style, YMMV.

That same 15th level Zen Archer could've kept the gravity bow and instead of all that other stuff, just used a ki point for an extra attack (instead of on Ki Arrow) and flurried. He'd have +4 higher BAB (then -2 for flurry) and do 2d6+stuff per shot, and get 7 attacks worth of it. And as an archer, yes he can full attack.

And in the process saved himself 2-3 feats and the money on that robe.


vidmaster wrote:
yeah i house rule the heck out of that feast

What we've done is say that any time you make a single attack as part of a standard or full attack action, you can apply Vital Strike - in other words when charging, when making a Spring Attack, Ride-By Attack, Fly-By Attack, Shot on the Run and so on. It also applies to the appropriate class features like the Weapon Master's Unstoppable Strike. Any time you get multiple attacks, you do not get to use this feat - we do allow Cleave and Great Cleave to work with it, but you only get the enhanced damage on the initial attack.


I've decided to houserule that Vital Strike works with Spring Attack and Shot on the Run as an exception, but otherwise is its own (standard action) attack action. Also, VS gives bonus to damage equal to your BAB, maximum of +10 damage (BAB +10). Imp. VS gives a bonus of 2x your BAB to damage, max of +30 damage (BAB +15). Greater VS gives a bonus of 3x BAB to damage, max of +60 (BAB +20). In any case, it is not multiplied on a critical hit or by any other means of multiplying damage (like bracing against a charge w/ a longspear), unlike most non-dice bonus damage.

I think that makes it a much better feat and more useful to skirmisher types as opposed to big weapon users, though it's still decent for them, too.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:

That same 15th level Zen Archer could've kept the gravity bow and instead of all that other stuff, just used a ki point for an extra attack (instead of on Ki Arrow) and flurried. He'd have +4 higher BAB (then -2 for flurry) and do 2d6+stuff per shot, and get 7 attacks worth of it. And as an archer, yes he can full attack.

...

Except in the surprise round. Or when he has to move. Or when he is staggered.

Of course you could get the a diviner cohort and the lookout feat instead. Might be a better use of your feats if they are both allowed.

Sovereign Court

ok but is anyone going to focus on the whole poin t that Mike Johnson was asking for advice on the 2 feats in specific, then completely ignored his follow up about the legion archon. Man you all, sheesh.

why am i not giving advice, im his DM.


Being a Legion Archon isn't relevant to the feats not being compatible, nor do I see an additional question in the post that mentions it. The only question I see has been decisively answered so the threat degenerates into the old Vital Strike sucks/Vital Strike isn't terrible argument. This is entirely normal for these forums.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I like the Vital Strike line for monsters, like my eidolon. It allows my huge eidolon to pick up a tree or boulder with its throw anything feat and hurl it for x4 damage. Powerful and fun.

Not so great for humanoids though.


Wiggz wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
I'd say whirlwind attack is the trap feat. You have to be surrounded. It's built off of spring attack which is designed to let you keep your distance, meaning that if you're using the prerequisites you'll never be in position to use whirlwind attack and if you're not it's a feat at the end of a 4 feat chain you're not really using.

I disagree. My Greatsword fighter uses it to tremendous effect. By level 7 he has a Lunging Whirlwind which allows him to attack everyone within 10' at his full BAB - that's a hell of a lot better than 1 main and 1 iterative attack. At 11th level he adds Dazing Assault which makes it the best melee crowd control option I've yet to come across.

Sure its not something you use every round, but we've had some tremendous battles where I use a Dazing Lunging Whirlwind attack for a couple of rounds and everyone else picks off whoever doesn't succumb. Meanwhile Dodge is a nice bonus for someone not carrying a shield, and Combat Expertise has saved my bacon more times than I can count when I was redlining...

Spring attack was originally a "Full-Attack Action" not a Full-Round Action, see when it was a full-attack you could whirlwind AND spring attack (though definitely OP); the semantics of that statement f#&~ing annoy the hell out of me btw, I mean a Full attack is by nature a full-round action but Pizo says f%#! you.


Vital Strike is cake for Brawlers and others that can pick it up on the fly. Not that useful all the time but in niche situations it's great.

-j

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