Combat Expertise


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

101 to 150 of 337 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | next > last >>

Gignere wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:

Because the work of tripping is more mechanical and mental than it is physical. Yes it's fairly basic martial arts, but doing it correctly requires an understanding of physiology and body mechanics that implies more intelligence than base.

Disarming even more so, while dirty tricks probably not as much.

Obviously you and the creator of Combat Expertise never took a martial arts class in their life.

I sparred with people that were dumb as bricks but they were damn good at tripping, grappling and throwing.

Ahahahahahaha... oh, yeah sorry you got me -- I have no class. I'll leave the rest of the absurdness of your position on my experience or lack there of on martial arts there (feel free to review my past posts however -- you might find why I'm laughing).

Beyond that -- I've already allowed that I agree with a fighter getting a class feature to allow him to ignore prerequisites and the monk can already take improved trip without combat expertise, so honestly it's not like there isn't a way for that to be represented in the game or that I've held the position that only people with exceptional intelligence can trip.

Again 13 isn't that high of an intelligence score. I would suggest perhaps the people you had in class had low wisdom scores (preventing them from acting on a better thought process), low charisma scores (giving an inability to communicate their intelligence well) or might have simply have had monk levels to put it in 'game terms'.

Also there is a magus archetype that gets combat expertise for free as well.

Finally it could simply be that their CMD is high enough that even though they provoke people can't connect: Consider a monk with crane style and crane wing -- he could trip, provoke, cancel the AoO if it were to land and still trip without having to have the improved trip feat.

As for the usefulness of combat expertise itself -- I've had fighters use it to get get a +4 bonus to AC at only a -1 penalty before, and they did so while using power attack at the same time. By 20th level they would have gotten +11 for a -4 penalty at level 20 which isn't a bad deal at all.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Charlie Bell wrote:

This one sure got flametastic fast. Must be the GIFT.

Given that the original title started with "I Wish I could Punch the guy that...." Did you really think it wasn't an open pool of gasoline?


Donovan Lynch wrote:
And listen to yourself..."if your opponent needs a 17+ to hit you...". Is that the circumstance where you really want/need to use Combat Expertise?

Certainly, if the opponent has a poisonous attack or drains energy, for example. Same goes for ageing and ability damage.

Or many opponents which would otherwise wear you down.

Furthermore while the argument might not apply to the first attack of strong opponents it might still apply to iterative attacks.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Gignere wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:

Because the work of tripping is more mechanical and mental than it is physical. Yes it's fairly basic martial arts, but doing it correctly requires an understanding of physiology and body mechanics that implies more intelligence than base.

Disarming even more so, while dirty tricks probably not as much.

Obviously you and the creator of Combat Expertise never took a martial arts class in their life.

I sparred with people that were dumb as bricks but they were damn good at tripping, grappling and throwing.

Ahahahahahaha... oh, yeah sorry you got me -- I have no class. I'll leave the rest of the absurdness of your position on my experience or lack there of on martial arts there (feel free to review my past posts however -- you might find why I'm laughing).

Beyond that -- I've already allowed that I agree with a fighter getting a class feature to allow him to ignore prerequisites and the monk can already take improved trip without combat expertise, so honestly it's not like there isn't a way for that to be represented in the game or that I've held the position that only people with exceptional intelligence can trip.

Again 13 isn't that high of an intelligence score. I would suggest perhaps the people you had in class had low wisdom scores (preventing them from acting on a better thought process), low charisma scores (giving an inability to communicate their intelligence well) or might have simply have had monk levels to put it in 'game terms'.

Also there is a magus archetype that gets combat expertise for free as well.

Finally it could simply be that their CMD is high enough that even though they provoke people can't connect: Consider a monk with crane style and crane wing -- he could trip, provoke, cancel the AoO if it were to land and still trip without having to have the improved trip feat.

As for the usefulness of combat expertise itself -- I've had fighters use it to get get a +4 bonus to AC at only a -1 penalty...

Sorry been a rough couple of days so posts are a bit abrasive. I just never got the feat combat expertise. Nothing in the chain feats or in the feat actually scales with or use intelligence. I don't know if you are going to make a stat be a prerequisite for a feat at least make so having more of that stat will make it more effective.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Harrison wrote:
AC: 10 (Base) + 14 (Mithril Full-Plate +5) + 7 (Mithril Heavy Shield +5) + 5 (Amulet of Natural Armor) + 5 (Ring of Protection) + 7 (Maximum Dexterity Bonus with Armor Training IV) + 1 (Dodge Feat) + 6 (Combat Expertise) + 6 (Total Defense Action w/ 3+ Acrobatics Ranks) + 5 (Defending Weapon +5) + 1 (Dusty Rose Ioun Stone) + 2 (Shield Focus and Greater Shield Focus) = 69

Play a human with the Racial Heritage (dwarf) feat or a dwarf, then spend all your general feats on Ironhide and Improved Natural Armor. I've actually done this (along with the things you've listed) to get a character with 78 AC. As a fighter, I STILL had enough feats left over to get Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization (and their greater counterparts), Dazing Assault, and Greater Penetrating Strike. This guy killed EVERYTHING and was practically untouchable.

The only things that stood a chance were spells (partially solved with a mantle of spell resistance), touch attacks (though he still had a higher touch AC then anyone else in the party), and grappling from really big monsters (easily solved by a ring of freedom of movement and/or favored class bonuses to CMD).


Charlie Bell wrote:
...wondering how much of this is theorywank...

That got my favorite purely for the use of theorywank. This is going directly into my spreadsheet of favorite words, marked "to be used as often as possible."


Don't forget that Lore Warden also gets Combat Expertise without meeting the prerequisites.
EDIT: But the Improved X feats still require Int 13. Damn.


Gignere wrote:
Sorry been a rough couple of days so posts are a bit abrasive. I just never got the feat combat expertise. Nothing in the chain feats or in the feat actually scales with or use intelligence. I don't know if you are going to make a stat be a prerequisite for a feat at least make so having more of that stat will make it more effective.

Heck everyone has a rough patch -- it's been a bit of an off day for me as well. I could understand the thought of adding something so that you gained more benefit from combat expertise with higher intelligence -- I'm not 100% on what yet but the basic idea there has merit. I would want to be sure to tie it closely to the BAB still though so the wizard doesn't end up with the ability to take a single feat and suddenly have great AC.

How about...

Quote:


You can increase your defense at the expense of your accuracy.

Prerequisite: Int 13.

Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +1 dodge bonus to your Armor Class. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every +4 thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the dodge bonus increases by +1. You can only choose to use this feat when you declare that you are making an attack or a full-attack action with a melee weapon. The effects of this feat last until your next turn.

You may add your intelligence modifier to the dodge bonus you gain for this feat, but only one point per -1 penalty you take on attack rolls.

I realize the language is awkward but basically if you had an intelligence of 13 and took this feat you would get a +2 dodge bonus at level 1 when you took the feat. If you had say a 16 intelligence and were a level 8 fighter you would take a -3 to hit but get a +6 on AC (but if you only had a 14 intelligence you would have a -3 to hit while getting a +5 on AC). A 12th level wizard would get a -2 penalty on attack rolls and only get a +4 dodge bonus since his BAB doesn't provide enough penalty to really get much out of his high intelligence modifier.

Another thing to note about combat expertise -- it works against touch attacks too. For example I know a lot of people on these forums that think the alchemist has it rather easy. If you figure up his attack bonus at say... level 9 he could be throwing 5 bombs (rapid shot, two weapon fighting) at +7/+7/+7/+2/+2 to hit. Now at level 9 a fighter could easily have say a 16 dexterity and a ring of protection +2 as well as dodge and combat expertise. That gives him a normal touch AC of 16 -- if he uses combat expertise however he would have a touch AC of 19 without being fancy and with the shielded fighter archetype he would have a touch AC of 21. That really puts the hurt on the alchemist ability to hit him. It also helps against incorporeal touch attacks as well (in fact a shielded fighter has a really high touch AC at level 20 since he can apply his shield to his touch AC then and gains extra bonuses while using combat expertise).

Now I'll readily admit that combat expertise is not for every character -- but then neither is power attack, toughness, iron will or any other feat.


ImperatorK wrote:

Don't forget that Lore Warden also gets Combat Expertise without meeting the prerequisites.

EDIT: But the Improved X feats still require Int 13. Damn.

Well, the Lore Warden's abilities mean he actually has some use for 13 Int, so it's not all bad.


Jiggy wrote:
ulgulanoth wrote:
Surely learning Jujutsu is a monk thing, don't monks get to learn improve trip without the requirements?
Already brought up, already ignored.

Monks can get a +2 bonus on tripping at level 6 to most likely just offset the lower Str their multiple ability dependency required after 5 levels of being subpar at it. They do not gt much else out of Imp. Trip, as the only other benefit is not provoking, which you can already gain by...*gasp* not doing it unarmed!

Monks cannot be good a tripping, that requires Greater Trip, which is out of their reach. Unlike in 3.5, where they got it at level 6 w/o pre-reqs.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Here's what I wish Combat Expertise was:

Prerequisite: INT 13
Benefit: You gain a +1 insight bonus to either AC or attack rolls, chosen each round at the start of your turn. This bonus increases by 1 when your BAB reaches +4 and every 4 points thereafter, but may never exceed your intelligence modifier.


Abraham spalding wrote:


How about...

Quote:


You can increase your defense at the expense of your accuracy.

Prerequisite: Int 13.

Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +1 dodge bonus to your Armor Class. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every +4 thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the dodge bonus increases by +1. You can only choose to use this feat when you declare that you are making an attack or a full-attack action with a melee weapon. The effects of this feat last until your next turn.

You may add your intelligence modifier to the dodge bonus you gain for this feat, but only one point per -1 penalty you take on attack rolls.

I like it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jiggy wrote:

Here's what I wish Combat Expertise was:

Prerequisite: INT 13
Benefit: You gain a +1 insight bonus to either AC or attack rolls, chosen each round at the start of your turn. This bonus increases by 1 when your BAB reaches +4 and every 4 points thereafter, but may never exceed your intelligence modifier.

I don't like it. It gives wizards a cheap AC bonus.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Also, what fighter is going to have an 18-20 Int at 16th?


Donovan Lynch wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:


How about...

Quote:


You can increase your defense at the expense of your accuracy.

Prerequisite: Int 13.

Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +1 dodge bonus to your Armor Class. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every +4 thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the dodge bonus increases by +1. You can only choose to use this feat when you declare that you are making an attack or a full-attack action with a melee weapon. The effects of this feat last until your next turn.

You may add your intelligence modifier to the dodge bonus you gain for this feat, but only one point per -1 penalty you take on attack rolls.

I like it.

Then use it with my blessings -- always glad to make things better for other people.


Donovan Lynch wrote:

The difference is that while they are equal at exactly 50% chance of hitting, a flat AC bonus becomes more valuable if that chance of hitting decreases, and a miss chance becomes more valauable if that chance of hitting increases.

Against a monster that hits only on a 16+, an AC bonus is better.
Against a monster that hits on a 6+, the miss chance is better.

Under which of these circumstances does the fighter REALLy need a defensive boost?

Your point is well-taken. But wouldn't it be a reasonable assumption that a monster who can hit the party's fighter on a 6+ straight up probably also has Power Attack? Under this typical circumstance, wouldn't you rather have the AC bonus?

Taking damage is inevitable, but dying from damage is usually the result of poor play or bad luck. When I play this game, I try my best not to take damage, but I really, really try not to die due to poor play.

Assuming you are a quality player, what's the most likely way to get killed in a fight (not including death spells)? Answer: bad luck when a big monster with power attack crits you for massive damage. In this circumstance where this monster rolls a natural 20 against you, would you rather have the all-or-nothing miss chance or the the AC bonus that also applies against the critical confirmation roll? When I thought about things in these terms, I came around to your side of the argument.


Axl wrote:
Jiggy wrote:

Here's what I wish Combat Expertise was:

Prerequisite: INT 13
Benefit: You gain a +1 insight bonus to either AC or attack rolls, chosen each round at the start of your turn. This bonus increases by 1 when your BAB reaches +4 and every 4 points thereafter, but may never exceed your intelligence modifier.

I don't like it. It gives wizards a cheap AC bonus.

You could always give it a fighter level requirement (like weapon specialization) to keep that from being an issue.


LazarX wrote:
CE was definitely invented with Fighters in mind, only not the Ugg smash stupid variety, but more the Roy Greenhilt/Bruce Wayne style of fighter. It's the basic foundation of a fighter who uses his mind as well as his muscles.

Unfortunately, the "Ugg smash" fighter is a far better fighter than Roy Greenhilt. If they wanted to make that archetype viable, then they'd do something like let the fighter add his Int bonus to his CMB.


Enchanter Tom wrote:
LazarX wrote:
CE was definitely invented with Fighters in mind, only not the Ugg smash stupid variety, but more the Roy Greenhilt/Bruce Wayne style of fighter. It's the basic foundation of a fighter who uses his mind as well as his muscles.
Unfortunately, the "Ugg smash" fighter is a far better fighter than Roy Greenhilt. If they wanted to make that archetype viable, then they'd do something like let the fighter add his Int bonus to his CMB.

Have you heard of the 3E Warblade class from Tome of Battle? It basically fixes everything that's wrong with fighters. From giving a ton of int-related class features, to options for skirmishing and not just full attacking, to some out of combat utility, more skill points... The closest Paizo's ever going to come to it is the Lore Warden archetype, most likely. ToB type martial characters give them nightmares.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I can understand Combat Expertise being suboptimal at low levels, under a point buy system.

After all, why did I bother putting my Intelligence to 13 to get a feat that penalizes my attacks to gain +1 AC, when I could have used those 3 points to up my 12 Dexterity to 14, thereby getting me +1 AC (and other benefits) at less cost?


My problem with ToB stems from having to create an entirely new system to deal with the issues. I'd rather not force everyone to learn stances and counters and whatnot when the rules-as-written should accommodate a variety of archetypes.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
Enchanter Tom wrote:
LazarX wrote:
CE was definitely invented with Fighters in mind, only not the Ugg smash stupid variety, but more the Roy Greenhilt/Bruce Wayne style of fighter. It's the basic foundation of a fighter who uses his mind as well as his muscles.
Unfortunately, the "Ugg smash" fighter is a far better fighter than Roy Greenhilt. If they wanted to make that archetype viable, then they'd do something like let the fighter add his Int bonus to his CMB.
Have you heard of the 3E Warblade class from Tome of Battle? It basically fixes everything that's wrong with fighters. From giving a ton of int-related class features, to options for skirmishing and not just full attacking, to some out of combat utility, more skill points... The closest Paizo's ever going to come to it is the Lore Warden archetype, most likely. ToB type martial characters give them nightmares.

I would say that the closest thing to the ToB classes in Pathfinder is the Barbarian. Rage Powers usable once per rage look a lot like ToB maneuvers that were used once per encounter.


Abraham spalding wrote:


You can increase your defense at the expense of your accuracy.

Prerequisite: Int 13.

Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +1 dodge bonus to your Armor Class. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every +4 thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the dodge bonus increases by +1. You can only choose to use this feat when you declare that you are making an attack or a full-attack action with a melee weapon. The effects of this feat last until your next turn.

You may add your intelligence modifier to the dodge bonus you gain for this feat, but only one point per -1 penalty you take on attack rolls.

I think that would make Combat Expertise into a feat actually worth taking for reasons other than "lol prereq".


Cledwyn the Steadfast wrote:

The post of mine that you quoted was largely in reply to someone's earlier assertion that even the stuff with CE as a prereq was worthless. It wasn't meant as a defense of CE itself.

As to your own stance, I've mentioned in later posts that I actually do make use of the feat itself, not just the later feats. Sometimes my odds of hitting are high enough that I'd rather have the AC bonus. In fact, CE actually synergizes well with Improved Disarm/Trip, as I can get my maneuver bonuses much higher than my attack bonus, and I'm often aiming at a lower target number as well. Sometimes I only fail on a 1, and then only fail on a 3 or worse with CE, so I go for it.

Hence why I think an earlier poster was spot on with the "theorywank versus play experience" comment.

You'll find reasons to use it now and then if you have it, sure. Like many mediocre-to-bad feats, Combat Expertise is better than no feat at all in that slot would be more or less by definition, since you don't have to use it in rounds where it's not useful.

That said, would you ever have taken it on that character if it wasn't a prereq for the maneuver feats you actually wanted?


Benly wrote:
That said, would you ever have taken it on that character if it wasn't a prereq for the maneuver feats you actually wanted?

I have. Especially if I was worried about touch attacks and/or I knew I had auto-success numbers on attack rolls.

But then I tend to build my fighters with something like:
Str 14, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 10
with either strength, dexterity or (sometimes) con at a 16,
and do just fine so maybe it's just me.

This isn't to be rude or jerkish, simply to answer a question asked. Typically when I do grab it I take offensive defender with it too since that means it's basically dodge that I have to activate. I tend to go with a madu by level 4 which means it's a +2 bonus with no penalty (still). At level 8 this means I'm getting a +3 dodge bonus to AC with only a -1 to my attack rolls for it. I'm generally good with that.


After getting our asses kicked by an incorpereal foe in an AP, I'm beginning to see the usefulness of dodge bonus to AC.


I took CE on occasions. It was helpful.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I do find the Intelligence requirement to be a bit odd; frankly, a Dexterity requirement would make more sense, especially considering the feat trees beyond CE.

That said, I have found the base feat totally useful, especially for my typical Rogue/Wizard build. For a Fighter, with their feat every level progression, I can't feel too sympathetic to the 'this is a feat tax' crowd... but then, I sit in front of my screen scratching my head at most feat tax threads, never having felt pinched by the feats as written. (NB: not a huge optimizer, don't need more feats than are available -- was thrilled to see the change from 3E-PF where you get a feat every other level instead of every three).


Combat expertise is a powerful feat.

One of my characters has deliberately avoided taking it as it would make my AC too high - effectively invulnerable to physical attacks. That would annoy the DM - and an annoyed DM is a bad thing!

I genuinely expected to see this thread complain that it was too good!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
How is increasing your AC not a benefit? Also, if you can get your attack bonus high enough, does it matter if you take a small penalty to hit? Fighters don't have any problems hitting things. They have attack bonuses to spare. Taking a small penalty to hit shouldn't be an issue. If it is, then perhaps playing a melee combatant isn't the right choice for you.

How can a -1 to hit be nothing, and a +1 AC be great at the same time? It is exactly the same thing!

Anyway, after reading HaraldKlak's post, i have to admit that Combat Expertise is great if the opponent:

  • doesn't have any Su/Sp ability that doesn't require any attack roll.
  • and doesn't have any movement ability which allows him to completely ignore the high-AC/low-attack fighter.
  • and is less powerful in melee than the fighter.

It can be summarized as "Combat Expertise is useful against low-CR enemies".

I prefer a feat which allows me to win difficult encounters instead of easy ones, but that's a matter of personal taste.


GâtFromKI wrote:


How can a -1 to hit be nothing, and a +1 AC be great at the same time? It is exactly the same thing!

Not exactly the same. Its value depends on its counterpart, i.e. the penalty to hits depends on the AC I'm trying to hit and the bonus to AC depends on the attack bonus of my opponent.

GâtFromKI wrote:

It can be summarized as "Combat Expertise is useful against low-CR enemies".

I prefer a feat which allows me to win difficult encounters instead of easy ones, but that's a matter of personal taste.

Many low-CR enemies make a difficult encounter. And don't forget those enemies with dangerous attacks like poison and energy drain. Or encounters you are not able to win but glad to escape from alive.


Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
Or encounters you are not able to win but glad to escape from alive.

You must attack in order to activate Combat Expertise; it isn't that great for "escaping alive from an encounter".


GâtFromKI wrote:


Anyway, after reading HaraldKlak's post, i have to admit that Combat Expertise is great if the opponent:
  • doesn't have any Su/Sp ability that doesn't require any attack roll.
  • and doesn't have any movement ability which allows him to completely ignore the high-AC/low-attack fighter.
  • and is less powerful in melee than the fighter.

It can be summarized as "Combat Expertise is useful against low-CR enemies".

I prefer a feat which allows me to win difficult encounters instead of easy ones, but that's a matter of personal taste.

I think you are drawing the wrong conclusion :-)

It isn't a matter of being less powerful in melee than the fighter, it is a question of having a lower chance of hitting.

Take a T-Rex (CR 9) that got +20 to hit and 21 AC. Put a lvl 9 fighter against it, a low estimate will give him +19 to hit (+6 str +2 enh) and 30 AC.
In what should be a challenging melee opponent one-on-one, combat expertise will have a significant relative gain.

EDIT: While this is only one example, it is my experience that fighters are normally quite on the safe side when dealing with enemies that isn't too far above their lvl.


Righ. Unless you're up against really powerful enemies, fighters usually have enough spare to-hit-ness that they can sacrifice some of ir for various bonuses and still reliably hit.


GâtFromKI wrote:
Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
Or encounters you are not able to win but glad to escape from alive.
You must attack in order to activate Combat Expertise; it isn't that great for "escaping alive from an encounter".

True, it won't help directly with getting away like fast movement, flying, teleportation etc.

But it might buy the time for others to start with escaping or to prepare the escape, to close the doors, whatever.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I had a 3.5 Ninja use Combat Expertise when he didn't need to hit, just keep people occupied. Of course, that was a different feat then.


GâtFromKI wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
How is increasing your AC not a benefit? Also, if you can get your attack bonus high enough, does it matter if you take a small penalty to hit? Fighters don't have any problems hitting things. They have attack bonuses to spare. Taking a small penalty to hit shouldn't be an issue. If it is, then perhaps playing a melee combatant isn't the right choice for you.

How can a -1 to hit be nothing, and a +1 AC be great at the same time? It is exactly the same thing!

Anyway, after reading HaraldKlak's post, i have to admit that Combat Expertise is great if the opponent:

  • doesn't have any Su/Sp ability that doesn't require any attack roll.
  • and doesn't have any movement ability which allows him to completely ignore the high-AC/low-attack fighter.
  • and is less powerful in melee than the fighter.

It can be summarized as "Combat Expertise is useful against low-CR enemies".

I prefer a feat which allows me to win difficult encounters instead of easy ones, but that's a matter of personal taste.

You are misreading what I'm saying. I never said that the penalty to hit was nothing. Those words were never typed by me. I said that the fighter has plenty of attack bonus to spare so he can handle a small penalty. The opposition doesn't usually have that same luxury.

Combat expertise is not a feat meant to be used every round like Dodge. It is meant to be used at appropriate times. It can be useful in a wide variety of situations. Imagine two fighters with gang up and outflank too. Now they are taking a small penalty but offsetting that penalty with a +4 bonus to hit. Those two don't even negate each other until level 16.

Combat expertise against an opponent that is already hard to hit is also useful if you have other ways of increasing your damage. Use Power Attack, Furious Focus, and the Vital Strike feats. Your iterative attacks may not hit so instead of using them you focus on your primary attack.

You can also find combat expertise useful when fighting incorporeal creatures. They tend to have low ACs but fight against your touch AC. Anything you can do to increase your touch AC can be useful.

There are also plenty of times when using combat expertise would be a bad thing. It's up to the player to figure it out. The feat is not something that should be easily dismissed. It has its uses. A character that selects feats should build their character so that the feats chosen are useful. There are few feats that are completely useless (yes, there are some).


TriOmegaZero wrote:
I had a 3.5 Ninja use Combat Expertise when he didn't need to hit, just keep people occupied. Of course, that was a different feat then.

Another little thing to note about 3E is that CE actually did work somewhat well with combat maneuvers -- many of them were strength checks (or BAB + str, in the case of grapple) and thus were not impacted by the attack penalty. Yes, many required to land a touch attack first in order to use, but...the touch attack was almost always a joke, a "don't roll a 1 check," so oh well. In fact, if attempting a maneuver you lacked the feat for, CE could be invaluable. In 3E, attempting a maneuver w/o the Improved feat provoked an AoO AND getting damaged by this AoO caused the maneuver attempt to automatically fail. So the AC bonus was quite appreciated.


Bob_Loblaw wrote:


Combat expertise against an opponent that is already hard to hit is also useful if you have other ways of increasing your damage. Use Power Attack, Furious Focus, and the Vital Strike feats. Your iterative attacks may not hit so instead of using them you focus on your primary attack.

That is a poor example. Combat Expertise is a poor choice when the opponent is difficult to hit, unless a natural 20 is required. If you need to roll 16-19 to hit, Combat Expertise will severely reduce your damage per round.

Of course, if you need a natural 20 to hit, Combat Expertise has no drawback. However if you need a natural 20 to hit the target, you need an alternative way to neutralize the threat.


Axl wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:


Combat expertise against an opponent that is already hard to hit is also useful if you have other ways of increasing your damage. Use Power Attack, Furious Focus, and the Vital Strike feats. Your iterative attacks may not hit so instead of using them you focus on your primary attack.

That is a poor example. Combat Expertise is a poor choice when the opponent is difficult to hit, unless a natural 20 is required. If you need to roll 16-19 to hit, Combat Expertise will severely reduce your damage per round.

Of course, if you need a natural 20 to hit, Combat Expertise has no drawback. However if you need a natural 20 to hit the target, you need an alternative way to neutralize the threat.

If you aren't going to hit on your iterative attacks and you are already having a hard time hitting while getting hit yourself, it is a very valid tactic. The whole situation needs to be looked at. If you can help someone else hit better, then you should consider sacrificing your own attack bonus but put yourself in a situation where if you do hit you hit harder than before. I would be concerned, as a player, if my melee combatants were in situations where they could only hit on a Natural 20 in the first place. I would think the GM needs to work on his adventure design a bit more.


You have completely missed my point.


Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Combat expertise against an opponent that is already hard to hit is also useful if you have other ways of increasing your damage. Use Power Attack, Furious Focus, and the Vital Strike feats. Your iterative attacks may not hit so instead of using them you focus on your primary attack.

Oh yes, you abandon iterative attacks, and thus you greatly reduce your DPR, in order to slightly reduce enemy's DPR. If his DPR rely on attacking your AC. I still fail to see how it is useful.

Iterative attacks actually make Combat expertise even more useless: the fighter hits on 5+ for his first attack, and 10+ for his second attack; his enemy hits at 8+ for his first attack, and 8+ for his second attack, thanks to the rules of natural attacks. In the end, Combat Expertise reduce both DPR of essentially the same percent.

Or the opponent relies on iterative attacks, he is also a fighter who hits on 5+ and 10+, and Combat expertise has the same effect on both.

Quote:
You can also find combat expertise useful when fighting incorporeal creatures.

Incorporeal creatures, as in "a creature with a movement ability which allows it to completely ignore the high-AC/low-attack fighter"?

Quote:
Combat expertise is not a feat meant to be used every round like Dodge.

A costly and situational ability should at least be powerful in the rare occasions it comes into play. Combat Expertise isn't.


Axl wrote:

You have completely missed my point.

I got your point. I disagreed with it.


GâtFromKI wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Combat expertise against an opponent that is already hard to hit is also useful if you have other ways of increasing your damage. Use Power Attack, Furious Focus, and the Vital Strike feats. Your iterative attacks may not hit so instead of using them you focus on your primary attack.

Oh yes, you abandon iterative attacks, and thus you greatly reduce your DPR, in order to slightly reduce enemy's DPR. If his DPR rely on attacking your AC. I still fail to see how it is useful.

Iterative attacks actually make Combat expertise even more useless: the fighter hits on 5+ for his first attack, and 10+ for his second attack; his enemy hits at 8+ for his first attack, and 8+ for his second attack, thanks to the rules of natural attacks. In the end, Combat Expertise reduce both DPR of essentially the same percent.

Or the opponent relies on iterative attacks, he is also a fighter who hits on 5+ and 10+, and Combat expertise has the same effect on both.

If you are in a situation where you aren't going to hit often anyway, you might as well go for as much damage when you do hit. Again, anyone who uses combat expertise all the time is doing it wrong. They will find that it is a bad tactic to use 100% of the time. You must use it at appropriate times.

You will never find it useful because you do no wish to find it useful. If you can not see any times at all that it is useful, then it is not a feat you should be using. I do find it to be useful at times.

Quote:
You can also find combat expertise useful when fighting incorporeal creatures.
Incorporeal creatures, as in "a creature with a movement ability which allows it to completely ignore the high-AC/low-attack fighter"?

As in a creature that uses only touch attacks and most of the incorporeal creatures have low ACs. The combatant should be able to figure something out. Usually it just means making sure you have a magic weapon.

Quote:
Combat expertise is not a feat meant to be used every round like Dodge.

A costly and situational ability should at least be powerful in the rare occasions it comes into play. Combat Expertise isn't.

It's not costly at all. It's one feat. It's a -1 for every 4 points of Base Attack. That's a whopping -5 at level 20. If a melee character can't find 5 points to make up for that, then he deserves to die anyway. I can find 5 points without leaving the combat section of the CRB. I can find plenty more if I use feats, class abilities, magic, etc.


Bob it's a -6 at level 20.

You forgot the starting -1.


What about a feat that lets you mitigate the penalty, like Furious Focus for CE? Maybe Combat Focus or something, cuts the penalty in half? What do you guys think?


Abraham spalding wrote:

Bob it's a -6 at level 20.

You forgot the starting -1.

You're right. Still isn't that big of a deal for most melee oriented characters.


Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
GâtFromKI wrote:
Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
Or encounters you are not able to win but glad to escape from alive.
You must attack in order to activate Combat Expertise; it isn't that great for "escaping alive from an encounter".
True, it won't help directly with getting away like fast movement, flying, teleportation etc.

Since the fighter can't quickly escape from the fight, he isn't the one you let behind to slow down the enemies. Except if you plan to sacrifice him.

"Here's the plan: I charge the monsters to prevent them from going in melee range with you. Then, everyone comes into melee range with me, and the wizard cast DimDoor.
- Wait, what?"

Bob_Loblaw wrote:
If you are in a situation where you aren't going to hit often anyway, you might as well go for as much damage when you do hit.

If you are in a situation where Combat Expertise reduces more your DPR than enemy's DPR, then you shouldn't use it. And that's certainly the case if you're a fighter and you hit only with a 16+ with your first attack.

Quote:
You will never find it useful because you do no wish to find it useful.

Actually, I can find it useful under some conditions:

1/ the character is metagaming, computing the DPR output of everyone to see who lose more; or the result of the computation is obvious because of 3/.
2/ the character is fighting monsters without any special ability like "being incorporeal".
3/ the monsters aren't very competent in melee.

or

a/ you are in a very contrived situation, created by the DM to make Combat Expertise look useful.

Quote:
If you can not see any times at all that it is useful, then it is not a feat you should be using. I do find it to be useful at times.

Again: a situational and costly ability should be powerful when it comes into play. Combat Expertise isn't.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
You can also find combat expertise useful when fighting incorporeal creatures.
Incorporeal creatures, as in "a creature with a movement ability which allows it to completely ignore the high-AC/low-attack fighter"?
As in a creature that uses only touch attacks and most of the incorporeal creatures have low ACs. The combatant should be able to figure something out. Usually it just means making sure you have a magic weapon.

Incorporeal creatures can fly and merge into the walls, the floor or the ceiling. And many of them will gain a new ally if they drop someone, and have some intelligence. Barring from DM's fiat, there's no way they attack the fighter: they will always attack the squishies. And that is, if they don't have any save-or-lose like magic jar or frightful moan.

A fighter must kill such a creature ASAP, not make the fight last longer by reducing his DPR for no gain (+2 AC against a creature which isn't attacking you is no gain).

Quote:
It's not costly at all. It's one feat.

You got a point. I though feats were more scarce than sorcerer's known spells.

Quote:
That's a whopping -5 at level 20. If a melee character can't find 5 points to make up for that, then he deserves to die anyway. I can find 5 points without leaving the combat section of the CRB. I can find plenty more if I use feats, class abilities, magic, etc.

And the gain is a whopping +5 AC. If his opponent is melee-based and can't find 5 points to make up for that, then it's not a difficult encounter at all anyway. He can find 5 points without leaving the combat section of the CRB. He can find plenty more if he uses feats, class abilities, monster abilities, magic, spell-like, etc. And he can even find ways to attack someone else, or to attack save instead of AC.

Again, the loss and the gain is the same, except the monster may decide to do something else than a melee attack against the fighter.


Borthos Brewhammer wrote:
What about a feat that lets you mitigate the penalty, like Furious Focus for CE? Maybe Combat Focus or something, cuts the penalty in half? What do you guys think?

Combined with the possibilities you already have for reducing the penalty it would be rather strong. But not OP I'd say.

remember: If you got the threatening defender trait and are using a madu spiked shield (with the ewp) you reduce the penalty by 2.
And the madu doesn't state that it only works if you get the AC bonus, so you could be TWF with mainhand +madu using CE.


Bob_Loblaw wrote:
If you are in a situation where you aren't going to hit often anyway, you might as well go for as much damage when you do hit.

If you are in a situation where you aren't going to hit often, any effect that reduces your chance of hitting (such as Combat Expertise) severely reduces your damage output. [Exception: if you need a natural 20 to hit, your chance of hitting cannot be reduced.]

Rather than trying to increase your damage on a lucky blow, it is more sensible to either improve your odds of hitting, e.g. with a helper giving a flank bonus or an aid another action, or by using a different tactic, e.g. combat manoeuvres, or spellcasters with save-based spells.

101 to 150 of 337 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / Combat Expertise All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.