Crane Style - overpowered?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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And its not just for monk.

Shielded Fighter armed with heavy shield and cestus as off hand weapon. Has enough feats to add deflect arrows and deflect ray. Only weakness left is will.


carn wrote:
Shielded Fighter armed with heavy shield and cestus as off hand weapon. Has enough feats to add deflect arrows and deflect ray. Only weakness left is will.

Huh? Last time I checked, fighters didn't exactly excel at reflex saves, either.


Not many ref are save or lose.


carn wrote:
Not many ref are save or lose.

Can't fly yet? Say hello to Mr. Pit and his cousins.

Otherwise, I have a nice cozy Wall of Stone right here for you...


Quote:
however at level four when nearly every enemy my group will be fighting can only make a single attack, maybe two this ability becomes too much.

At level four you can't take Crane Wing yet.

As for the player, just tell him to build for battlefield control instead of damage. That way he'll be a little more useful.

Grand Lodge

As a DM things like this used to bug me untill I played a PC a bit more. PCs want their character to excel. Thats the fun of playing, doing well what you specialise in.

Recently I had a 1st level PC who wanted a really strong character and he effectivly grabbed a charging elk by the horns and threw it to the ground where the party set upon it. Did it mess up my plans? Yes. Did all the PCs think it was awsome and high fived the strong PC? Yes.

I have found that I have to step back with my own plans and realise that my job is to make sure other people have fun. It might not always be fun for me having my plans ruined but as a DM I should be creating a fun game.

So in the next fight throw in an ogre to charge down the Crane Wing PC. He'll have fun going toe to toe with a giant and the other PCs will have fun mopping up the other bad guys before taking down the ogre.


Why no one noticed that his build is actually illegal, because he can't have Crane Wing at 4th level?

Scarab Sages

Even at 4th level its not difficult to generate foes that can reasonable expect to challenge a crane style monk, and have some reason to do so. This is actually especially true if your campaign has a lot of humanoids foes.

First, tactics do not always call for focusing on the biggest threat first. Many strategies call for getting rid of weaker foes first, because then you can drop an enemy groups' total fighting effectiveness earlier. So there's nothing wrong with having some foes go for the monk.

Any humanoid with combat experience is going to try something new after one tactics fails to work out.

In addition to using multiple foes (which often results in more dynamic fights anyway, and in a humanoid-foe-heavy campaign should help prevent a bard with charm person or hideous laughter ending a lot of encounters in a round or two), at low levels foes may have slings (easily concealed, cheap to use), flaming oil (or alchemists fire and tanglefoot bags for more well heeled enemies -- tanglefoot bags are especially useful for brigands), traps (dead falls, bear traps, snares), nets (cheap and again great for slow an enemy you hope to capture and rob), animal companions (wolves in particular) or just trained attack dogs, trip weapons (or whips and a willingness to use trips -- again a great brigand tactic), cantrips (if you assume crane style doesn't work against spells delivered by touch attack, even an 1st level adept can use touch of fatigue until it works -- and if you assume crane style does apply, a 2nd level adept might well have his familiar deliver the touch attack -- how good is the monk's Spellcraft, to realize when the crow's melee attack is a greater danger than normal?), thrown weapons (hand axes, bolas, heck a club has a 10 ft range increment, and why wouldn't you carry one as a back-up? Foes don't have to be archers to have a ranged attack or two).

Indeed, if a cavalier is tearing the bad guys apart, they might try to grapple/trip/net the monk to have a hostage to negotiate for their escape!

And in some fight,s the monk can just go untouched. Sometimes, the player's build should work. If the monk can't find something useful to do even if he can't deal much damage, he needs to start thinking outside the box. And if he does find somthing useful, suddenly he may draw more attacks from multiple other foes.


ImperatorK wrote:
Quote:
however at level four when nearly every enemy my group will be fighting can only make a single attack, maybe two this ability becomes too much.

At level four you can't take Crane Wing yet.

Master of many style can select style feats as bonus feats without meeting prereqs.

ImperatorK wrote:


As for the player, just tell him to build for battlefield control instead of damage. That way he'll be a little more useful.

Battlefield control would mean maneuvers?

I think that doesnt work with many maneuvers, as fighting defensive requires attack action.


Quote:
I think that doesnt work with many maneuvers, as fighting defensive requires attack action.

Maneuvers are attack actions.


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
...but eventually you have to beat the Crane Style user. Crane Style users are savvy, and they know what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Hang on, you are saying, then, that's not the feat that's broken but the player? Sorry, does not compute. If the feat is broken it's broken. If the feat isn't but the player is skilled, then the feat isn't broken.
The feat leaves the player in a situation where certain enemies (enemies without spells) are basically left with little option besides grapple.

Actually they have another option: ignore.

Crane Style reduces your chances to hit, and monk chances to hit are bad enough as it is, while their damage isn't exactly top-notch.

The enemies engage the party. One mook wastes time trying to hit the monk. Everyone else attacks the people that can actually hurt them back.

Like I said, at higher levels, Crane Style and high AC just mean you get eaten last, or get to run away.

Someoneknocking wrote:

Well, this post took off... So I am the DM that is running the game the OP is posting this about. The situation was in a 1-shot not involved with my actual game that will be coming up soon. I was running this 1-shot as a way to test the mettle of my group as I am a relatively new DM.

I had a couple of problems with the crane style, the biggest problem of course being the negation of one melee attack a round. Now at higher levels this feat is still useful but not so difficult to deal with; however at level four when nearly every enemy my group will be fighting can only make a single attack, maybe two this ability becomes too much.

That's probably why Crane Wing is restricted to 5th level or above. Only the Master of Many Styles can take it at that low a level as a bonus feat. This makes the problem not one of 'Crane Style is over powered' and more one of 'Master of Many Styles can be unbalanced'.

Easiest option is to say that the Style feats have to have their level/BAB pre-requisites met even if chosen as a bonus feat. Problem solved.

Someoneknocking wrote:
While I can understand that my player's character build is almost purely defensive and that he does significantly less damage than other players in the group, I'm going to be dealing with a 6 person group in a world that I created, one which has relatively few monsters and is primarily populated by "humans". So how do I, on a consistent basis, challenge this player or make this player feel as though he were in a life and death fight without having every wizard in my game hold a grudge against the guy?

He's painted himself into a corner, and it's not your job to get him out. He has made himself all but unhitable, fine. His offensive capacity is nearly zero, so you can throw mooks at him which he can beat up, but when he rushes in to take on the BBEG he can't hit much and will be ignored until the BBEG has dealt with the rest of the party.

Someoneknocking wrote:
Ok, but you're not seeing mine. I don't want to have to kill every single one of my players to challenge one like I'm challenging the rest of them. How do I challenge him without a TPK? If I always just ignore him or throw a few weaker enemies at him because he's not really a threat then combat for him is basically easy mode while everyone else is playing on the hard difficulty. Yes, if I kill all of my players and then throw all the remaining stuff at him he would die, but doesn't it seem a bit overpowered that that is how you're suggesting I challenge a player with this build?

You seem to think that challenge = try to kill.

It isn't.
Challenge = make life interesting instead, and for this character it's easy.

This character is not challenged by things trying to hit him, he is challenged when he has to hit things. Put him up against a high AC target and watch him struggle. He is going to have problems not being sidelined because of his poor offensive options, and that his his challenge to face.


Charlie Bell wrote:
Not overpowered. Your search-fu has been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

That is my line.


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
...but eventually you have to beat the Crane Style user. Crane Style users are savvy, and they know what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Hang on, you are saying, then, that's not the feat that's broken but the player? Sorry, does not compute. If the feat is broken it's broken. If the feat isn't but the player is skilled, then the feat isn't broken.
The feat leaves the player in a situation where certain enemies (enemies without spells) are basically left with little option besides grapple. So any reasonable player, not some kind of "broken" player, is going to think about that and bring a counter for grapple. I'm not even saying that players will do so off the bat--but they'll learn the first time they are grappled. It's the same way that parties begin to carry counters for invisibility, darkness, and flying enemies after being reamed by one of those. My crane style playtest character played through 10 scenarios. Was he invincible? Not at all, he had his takedowns from the enemies. But in numerous scenarios, he did some pretty ridiculous things.

PFS handicaps GM's because they have to follow whatever the author wrote. In an actual game, even if the GM just chose random stock monsters, but he could use strategy as needed the ability would not work so well. A similar monk build was posted, and it did not do so well in another post. Feel free to show us a 13th level monk with 20 point buy limited to the hardcover books, minus the campaign guide, and I am sure it won't be impressive.

Here are the guidelines we used in another thread.

Spoiler:
Level 13: No multiclassing

WBL:140,000 gp, with no more than 33%(46,200) of your wealth going to any one item.

Point Buy: 20 points

Books allowed: CRB, APG, UC, UM.

You get two traits, and no two traits can be in the same category.

Races:Core Only

I don't think anyone(too many people) is picking on the zen archer or Sohei. The martial artist gets some respect also. Any other monk archetype is not likely to do well.


Someoneknocking wrote:
Then what is the issue with removing the crane style from my game? If I do this it forces him to explore other aspects of the build thus pulling him from a rut that everyone here seems to agree is a worthless style. If he no longer has the ability to wave away every attack that comes at him I can put him in a scenario where he has to play with tact and be part of the team. So far I'm not seeing a downside to this decision...

A fighter can get really high AC and kill things. Just because someone is on the field of battle that does not mean they should get attacked. If the monk can't get anyone's attention then take out the PC's that matter.

Personally I am all about realistic tactics, but if you like to attack random PC's then I can see why that might be an issue.*

*Just to be clear there are GM's that will attack each player once if a monster had multiple attacks instead of forcing all of their attacks on one player. It is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is easy to take advantage of.


Someoneknocking wrote:

So my options are to ignore the player and eventually let them come to the realization that the character they're playing does relatively little to effect the battlefield... or I begin to throw archers, spell casters, grapplers, two-weapon fighters and ambushes at him... and just hope that those people target the little fly over the tiger riding cavalier?

I understand that I am the DM and so that I ultimately decided who is targeted by what enemy, but at the same time I prefer to quantify things and have reasons for the things that happen.

You do have a reason. The tactical thing is to ignore the person that is least effective at causing harm. If I am being attacked by a guy with an RPG, and a guy with a BB gun, I know who I will try to take out first.

If you don't take out the more dangerous PC's that is what might require an explanation.


Someoneknocking wrote:
Then what is the issue with removing the crane style from my game? If I do this it forces him to explore other aspects of the build thus pulling him from a rut that everyone here seems to agree is a worthless style. If he no longer has the ability to wave away every attack that comes at him I can put him in a scenario where he has to play with tact and be part of the team. So far I'm not seeing a downside to this decision...

I don't know the player.

But I know some players who, depending on the way you go through with that, would shrug and leave your gaming group if you just trashed their pc like that. Or at least be very pissed.
If you'd consider that a downside or not is up to you.


While i understand that not harming the enemy is a problem, can someone explain, why adding a "ignore 1 attack" per round on a PC with high saves is worthless?

I think a evil monk with crane, deflect arrow, the ability to catch anyone fleeing or standing in the back (hello wizard) and (at higher levels) SR could be quite a "fun" opponent or just a nice helper for some other monsters.


It is not that ignoring one attack is worthless. The issue is that ignoring that one attack is not all that great if the character is already hard to hit, and that same character is not an offensive threat.

The monk doing anything to the wizard is a lot easier on paper than it is in the game. Running away at higher levels normally does not involve speed. It involves things like DD and teleport. At low levels battlefield control spells, and other PC's also have options to move quickly. The monk does not have a monopoly on moving fast.

We had a high level monk in a group discussion. The general consensus was to kill the monk last for most of the encounters, maybe all of them. It did involve an actual monk build with actual party support, and actual monsters, so it was not just theorycraft or a DPR contest.


carn wrote:
While i understand that not harming the enemy is a problem, can someone explain, why adding a "ignore 1 attack" per round on a PC with high saves is worthless?

It isn't, it's very effective. It just doesn't actually help you hurt the enemy (well, with Crane Riposte it does a little) and it doesn't overcome the monk's poor offensive abilities. You can have an untouchable character, but he can't do anything to the enemy, he's a wallflower.

carn wrote:
I think a evil monk with crane, deflect arrow, the ability to catch anyone fleeing or standing in the back (hello wizard) and (at higher levels) SR could be quite a "fun" opponent or just a nice helper for some other monsters.

They'd be annoying, but a smart wizard would just use fly and/or greater invisibility to avoid them and then magic missile them to death.

Crane Style can be very effective combined with Spring Attack (it makes it worthwhile), and it increases survivability, it's just not a be-all and end-all.


I'd never say it's useless. But it's not game breaking overpowered either.


wraithstrike wrote:


The general consensus was to kill the monk last for most of the encounters, maybe all of them.

Therefore the monk as enemy. If he is solo enemy, party cannot ignore him. And if helper, party is hurt by ignoring, as weaker enemies should be killed first.

@Dabbler

With dimensional agility he abundant steps near caster and grapples him or stun fists him. (I know if he upped himself with all kind of defense, but he first has to up himself.)


That's why I say that a "tank" Monk should use maneuvers instead attacking. Maybe he can't deal much damage and the enemy will ignore him, but when he steals the enemy's magic items or trips him or disarms him or inflicts status effects on him or whatever then he'll be much more annoying. Damage isn't everything. And even if he's not that good at it then it's still better than doing nothing, especially if there's minimal risk (for example why should I care that I'll provoke an AoO for tripping without Improved Trip if my AC is huge?).
Basically a Monk that invests into defense might not be good at anything but surviving, but at least he's got freedom to do whatever he wants, because the enemies will either ignore him or not be able to stop him.


carn wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


The general consensus was to kill the monk last for most of the encounters, maybe all of them.

Therefore the monk as enemy. If he is solo enemy, party cannot ignore him. And if helper, party is hurt by ignoring, as weaker enemies should be killed first.

@Dabbler

With dimensional agility he abundant steps near caster and grapples him or stun fists him. (I know if he upped himself with all kind of defense, but he first has to up himself.)

Weaker enemies should be killed first if they are strong enough to still be a threat. As an example if you have to deal with a bone devil, and 2 advanced Erinyes as a level 9 party, those Erinyes are still going to be dangerous even though they are not as strong as the bone devil.

On the other hand if the Erinyes are replaced by Lemures then it is wise to ignore them, and take the bone devil down.

If the monk thread I am speaking of the monk is closer to being the lemure. In short he might have to die, but it is not a good decision to waste time dealing with him first.

Edit:Grappling or stunning a caster just because you can get close to him is far from guaranteed. Most of the time you still have to deal with concealment or something like mirror image. Stunning casters is not easy either unless they ignored their fort saves. They can have better than a 50% chance of making the save even if the monk does get past the concealment.

If the caster is a druid, magus, or cleric*, they just might kick the monk's butt.

*not an exclusive list


ImperatorK wrote:

That's why I say that a "tank" Monk should use maneuvers instead attacking. Maybe he can't deal much damage and the enemy will ignore him, but when he steals the enemy's magic items or trips him or disarms him or inflicts status effects on him or whatever then he'll be much more annoying. Damage isn't everything. And even if he's not that good at it then it's still better than doing nothing, especially if there's minimal risk (for example why should I care that I'll provoke an AoO for tripping without Improved Trip if my AC is huge?).

Basically a Monk that invests into defense might not be good at anything but surviving, but at least he's got freedom to do whatever he wants, because the enemies will either ignore him or not be able to stop him.

Combat Maneuvers become really difficult to pull off at higher levels. The monsters CMD is does not scale well with comparison to character levels. When the monk tries these maneuvers and they fail, of the monster does not even have any items to take he moves on to the other party members.


Trick is when you grapple as the monk crane style turns off thus its a wasted feat for a grappling NPC (your actually better going tetori bonebreaker for a grapple NPC).

The problem is your comparing a monk who does 1d6+5 damage at level 4 to a fighter who does 2d6+9 or a barbarian who does 2d6+12 damage with higher accuracy and similar AC.


carn wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


The general consensus was to kill the monk last for most of the encounters, maybe all of them.
Therefore the monk as enemy. If he is solo enemy, party cannot ignore him. And if helper, party is hurt by ignoring, as weaker enemies should be killed first.

Depends on who is weaker/stronger. Really, two party members can take this monk down quite easily, the only issue is that it takes two of them (or one decent tanking fighter/barbarian/paladin)

carn wrote:

@Dabbler

With dimensional agility he abundant steps near caster and grapples him or stun fists him. (I know if he upped himself with all kind of defense, but he first has to up himself.)

Yeah, you didn't get the invisible bit, did you? Besides, the wizard gets away and then the rest of the party surround the monk and pound him into the dirt. End of problem.

ImperatorK wrote:
That's why I say that a "tank" Monk should use maneuvers instead attacking.

We covered this in the other thread. Most foes at higher level have the kind of CMDs that the monk can only dream of hitting without a natural-20. In about 1/4 encounters the monk could use maneuvers with a chance of success better than that. Against human-sized or slightly larger foes a monk can usually get maneuvers into play, but against large, skilful enemies he hasn't a prayer.


Quote:
Combat Maneuvers become really difficult to pull off at higher levels. The monsters CMD is does not scale well with comparison to character levels. When the monk tries these maneuvers and they fail, of the monster does not even have any items to take he moves on to the other party members.
Quote:
We covered this in the other thread. Most foes at higher level have the kind of CMDs that the monk can only dream of hitting without a natural-20. In about 1/4 encounters the monk could use maneuvers with a chance of success better than that. Against human-sized or slightly larger foes a monk can usually get maneuvers into play, but against large, skilful enemies he hasn't a prayer.

So it's better do do nothing or negligible amounts of damage. Gotcha.


ImperatorK wrote:
Quote:
Combat Maneuvers become really difficult to pull off at higher levels. The monsters CMD is does not scale well with comparison to character levels. When the monk tries these maneuvers and they fail, of the monster does not even have any items to take he moves on to the other party members.
Quote:
We covered this in the other thread. Most foes at higher level have the kind of CMDs that the monk can only dream of hitting without a natural-20. In about 1/4 encounters the monk could use maneuvers with a chance of success better than that. Against human-sized or slightly larger foes a monk can usually get maneuvers into play, but against large, skilful enemies he hasn't a prayer.
So it's better do do nothing or negligible amounts of damage. Gotcha.

How about Antagonize? Let them try to hit you all day.


Azten wrote:
carn wrote:
As crane style does not help vs natural attacks and as many monsters use such, why is carne considered overpowered?
Natural attacks are melee weapons, so Crane Wing works against them.

Not quite but close.

Quote from the PRD: "Natural Attacks: Attacks made with natural weapons, such as claws and bites, are melee attacks that can be made against any creature within your reach (usually 5 feet)."

So clearly natural attack are not melee weapons but are melee attacks.

Here's a funny thing, that is true about unarmed attacks. They just work like melee attack but actually aren't melee attacks. So technically you can't deflect a punch with crane style. That seem odd to me. I think it's just slip in wording and technically that line shouldn't be works like but is a melee attack.


chaoseffect wrote:
How about Antagonize? Let them try to hit you all day.

Actually, no, it would not work. The effect of this feat ends as soon as the affected enemy attacks you and you can't use it on him again for a whole day.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Doesn't work anyway, both take standard actions to activate.


wraithstrike wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
...but eventually you have to beat the Crane Style user. Crane Style users are savvy, and they know what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Hang on, you are saying, then, that's not the feat that's broken but the player? Sorry, does not compute. If the feat is broken it's broken. If the feat isn't but the player is skilled, then the feat isn't broken.
The feat leaves the player in a situation where certain enemies (enemies without spells) are basically left with little option besides grapple. So any reasonable player, not some kind of "broken" player, is going to think about that and bring a counter for grapple. I'm not even saying that players will do so off the bat--but they'll learn the first time they are grappled. It's the same way that parties begin to carry counters for invisibility, darkness, and flying enemies after being reamed by one of those. My crane style playtest character played through 10 scenarios. Was he invincible? Not at all, he had his takedowns from the enemies. But in numerous scenarios, he did some pretty ridiculous things.

PFS handicaps GM's because they have to follow whatever the author wrote. In an actual game, even if the GM just chose random stock monsters, but he could use strategy as needed the ability would not work so well. A similar monk build was posted, and it did not do so well in another post. Feel free to show us a 13th level monk with 20 point buy limited to the hardcover books, minus the campaign guide, and I am sure it won't be impressive.

Here are the guidelines we used in another thread.
** spoiler omitted **...

Your other thread is meant to assess the monk, yes? I only wish to assess the Crane feats and not get that analysis conflated with an assessment of the monk. For that reason, the no-multiclassing rule seems frivolous in this case. My playtest character is a Monk/Fighter(Lore Warden), which I know is less optimized for Crane Style than other Fighter archetypes, but I chose it for flavor at the time I made the character.

Also, I have no data at level 13, which is beyond the scope of PFS. But my guess for level 13? At level 13, the majority of enemies have random special abilities that don't involve using attack rolls because the PCs have them too. Things like turning you to stone or dominating you or the like. So my guess is that the Crane Style feats are not going to be as effective at level 13. That doesn't mean they don't give too much power at lower levels though, and I think way more of gameplay happens at the single-digit levels. I'll be happy to describe the equivalence point where the Crane feats fall by the wayside when and if I find it in PFS. I don't disagree that there will be one eventually though. So far what I do know for sure is that, at least in PFS, they haven't stopped being overly useful at level 7.

Dabbler wrote:
Actually they have another option: ignore.

You can't finish a fight as the enemies if you choose that option forever. Particularly if the Crane character is blocking a chokepoint, but also when the Crane character is the last one left. If the encounter is all-melee (not uncommon in the PFS playtests) with a low enough attack bonus (also not uncommon in the PFS playtests), the Crane character can and will solo everything, even if everyone else on team good guy drops or leaves the room.


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Your other thread is meant to assess the monk, yes? I only wish to assess the Crane feats and not get that analysis conflated with an assessment of the monk.

I suppose that's reasonable, as Crane style could be used very effectively by a duelist or free hand fighter.

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
For that reason, the no-multiclassing rule seems frivolous in this case. My playtest character is a Monk/Fighter(Lore Warden), which I know is less optimized for Crane Style than other Fighter archetypes, but I chose it for flavor at the time I made the character.
Which is perfectly reasonable. However a character using crane style has some universal features to be born in mind:

  • They have one hand free, which means unarmed strike or a one-handed weapon is the only thing they can attack with (possibly TWF with an unarmed strike might work, but for a none-monk that's not brilliant as brass knuckles are out). This restricts damage.
  • They therefore have no shield which restricts AC (unless they are a monk, who has limited offensive capacity)

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Also, I have no data at level 13, which is beyond the scope of PFS. But my guess for level 13? At level 13, the majority of enemies have random special abilities that don't involve using attack rolls because the PCs have them too. Things like turning you to stone or dominating you or the like. So my guess is that the Crane Style feats are not going to be as effective at level 13. That doesn't mean they don't give too much power at lower levels though, and I think way more of gameplay happens at the single-digit levels. I'll be happy to describe the equivalence point where the Crane feats fall by the wayside when and if I find it in PFS. I don't disagree that there will be one eventually though. So far what I do know for sure is that, at least in PFS, they haven't stopped being overly useful at level 7.

Actually, what we found was not special abilities but number of attacks making the difference. If you are up against a dragon with six attacks that hit your sky-high AC half the time, you will take damage. That's why Crane style comes in at level 5 normally, just before multiple attacks come in.

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
You can't finish a fight as the enemies if you choose that option forever. Particularly if the Crane character is blocking a chokepoint, but also when the Crane character is the last one left. If the encounter is all-melee (not uncommon in the PFS playtests) with a low enough attack bonus (also not uncommon in the PFS playtests), the Crane character can and will solo everything, even if everyone else on team good guy drops or leaves the room.

Of course not, but as other party members fall the foe then has the liberty to concentrate on the monk. Against a powerful foe that can concentrate on him (multiple attacks) or multiple foes, the monk's Crane Style becomes a less survivable option than 'run away!'

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I removed an uncivil post and the replies to it.


Dabbler wrote:


Which is perfectly reasonable. However a character using crane style has some universal features to be born in mind:

  • They have one hand free, which means unarmed strike or a one-handed weapon is the only thing they can attack with (possibly TWF with an unarmed strike might work, but for a none-monk that's not brilliant as brass knuckles are out). This restricts damage.
  • They therefore have no shield which restricts AC (unless they are a monk, who has limited offensive capacity)

Indeed. While my playtest character is none of these, I think the best Crane Style characters are probably users of Dervish Dance feat, Magi (possibly Dervish Dancer Magi), or multiclassed into Aldori Swordlord (starting at level Monk2/Aldori7 you get Steel Net, which lowers the fighting defensively penalties to 0 and gives you even more AC for it). I will note that if you have a weapon like an aldori dueling sword, you can two-hand it on the attacks you make on your own turn, though all your ripostes and other AoOs are going to be done one-handed.

Dabbler wrote:
Actually, what we found was not special abilities but number of attacks making the difference. If you are up against a dragon with six attacks that hit your sky-high AC half the time, you will take damage. That's why Crane style comes in at level 5 normally, just before multiple attacks come in.

To preface--I do already agree that at level 13+ Crane style isn't going to be nearly as strong, but now to address this point--

This really depends on the enemy being able to hit the crane user ~50% of the time though.

Something like a solo dragon can do it for sure, but at worst case you can attack once and retreat, giving the dragon a free AoO. Both you and the dragon are thus limited to two attacks per round , but one of the dragon's automatically misses. Of course, all that said, the dragon can kill you without resorting to melee and probably will by using its special ability of breath weapon and kiting you from a distance with its superior movement speed. Evasion can only save you so many times.

More often than a big solo fight like a dragon, though (at least in PFS, to be fair) you're going to instead be fighting a whole bunch of lesser enemies. It's just how the numbers have stacked up in PFS so far. They make an ungodly number of attacks per round at an attack bonus that needs a very high roll on the dice to hit an optimized AC (for instance, even as a level 2 PC in an adventure meant for 4th to 5th levels characters, I was once alone in an encounter that made 12+ attacks per round on me, as the other characters had dropped. I eventually soloed it).

A big flaw in many people's arguments when they argue for Crane Style being too strong (that is, a flaw in the arguments of those who agree with me about the feats' power level) is that they focus only on the deflection--if you want to survive these multiple attacks, which are common from claw/claw/bite monsters even at the earliest levels, you have to combine Crane Wing with a high AC (which the other feats aid with by making fighting defensively into a pretty powerhouse tradeoff, particularly for the aldori7). Now before you say that any character with such a high AC would have easily won the encounter, a reasonable counhterargument, we're talking about so many enemy attacks that even if the enemies need a 20 to hit you, your expectation is still to lose the fight if you try to solo. I'll demonstrate the math (if you already believe me that an arbitrarily high AC is not enough to save you from a horde of enemies but Crane Style and Crane Wing work better, skip the math):

Math and Analysis:

Let's say you are level 2 and surrounded by 8 ghouls that always flank you, but your AC is so high they need a 20 to hit you anyway. So you're not a Crane Style user, just some kind of tank fighter. If you do not have Crane Style, they will hit you 1.2 times per round. If you are level 2 with 20 hit points, assuming they can never paralyze you, you can last an average of 4 rounds against them (they hit for about 4.5 each time), though this increases to 6 rounds if you assume you can drop one ghoul per round every round without every missing or doing less than 13 damage ever (and remember you have 25 or more AC, so you focused at least some resources on defense). This is a strong assumption for the tank fighter--I am assuming an auto-save against paralysis and even an auto-hit and drop of a ghoul per round, and the tank fighter will still die on average with two ghouls left standing.

Now send in the Crane Styler. The ghouls now can't scrape by on expected value any more because they need two or more hits in the same round. To calculate this, we sum up (1/20)^n*(19/20)^(24-n)*(24 choose n) for all n from 2 to 24. This turns out to be around 1/3. So on average, the ghouls only get to hit the Crane Styler one round out of every 3, if all eight of them are still standing. As you might imagine, the chances get non-linearly worse for the ghouls against the Crane Styler as the Crane Stylers drops them. Now I was unfairly nice to the Fighter and just assumed the Fighter auto-dropped a ghoul per round. Let's be completely realistic about the Crane Styler. For one thing, we're looking at two hits to take out each ghoul, rather than one. For another, the Crane Styler is taking a -1 to hit for fighting defensively and doesn't have weapon focus or the like. To make the math easier and also to be super-nasty to the Crane Styler as a demonstration, I'll assume the Crane Styler has a net of +5 to hit (18 Strength after racial mods, MW weapon of your choice, 1 BAB, -1 fighting defensively), so a 60% chance to hit a ghoul on each blow. There is around a 70% chance of being able to riposte each round (the chance of them actually damaging you + 36.88% chance that you are hit exactly once and deflect it). So you get 1.7 attacks for an expected 1.02 hits per round. So you expect to drop a ghoul every other round (this does slow down as the ghouls decrease, though you never get less than an expected .6 hits per round). Once you've dropped the ghouls to 7 of them, their chance to hit you per round drops to 28%, then 22% once there are only 6, 17% with 5 ghouls left, 12% with 4 ghouls left, 7% with 3 ghouls left, and vanishingly small after that. So you probably have to face two rounds of the 33% chance of being hit, 2 rounds of 28% chance of being hit, and so on. From that, you expect to be hit fewer than 2 and a half times before dropping all the ghouls and winning the fight. Will the battle be long? Heck yeah. But you can do it as long as you make the paralysis save. The ghouls would have to hit you for damage twice as often as is expected in order to defeat you by damage, which is statistically extremely unlikely, though not impossible.
So even though I weighted strongly in favor of the fighter (by giving an auto-hit and auto-drop every round), the Crane Style user is a much more effective survivor than any other tank can be.
Being surrounded by ghouls is by no means a hypothetical exercise, particularly in PFS which seems to love the bastards. A situation like this (though with fewer ghouls) happened to my character.


Crane Style Deflects one attack per round, not one attack per foe per round.


ImperatorK wrote:
Quote:
Combat Maneuvers become really difficult to pull off at higher levels. The monsters CMD is does not scale well with comparison to character levels. When the monk tries these maneuvers and they fail, of the monster does not even have any items to take he moves on to the other party members.
Quote:
We covered this in the other thread. Most foes at higher level have the kind of CMDs that the monk can only dream of hitting without a natural-20. In about 1/4 encounters the monk could use maneuvers with a chance of success better than that. Against human-sized or slightly larger foes a monk can usually get maneuvers into play, but against large, skilful enemies he hasn't a prayer.
So it's better do do nothing or negligible amounts of damage. Gotcha.

I don't think that was the point being made. The point being made, is that when you build such a defensive monk your actions end up being comparable to doing nothing.


If you choose to do nothing then yeah, they are nothing.


Rogue Eidolon wrote:


Your other thread is meant to assess the monk, yes? I only wish to assess the Crane feats and not get that analysis conflated with an assessment of the monk. For that reason, the no-multiclassing rule seems frivolous in this case. My playtest character is a Monk/Fighter(Lore Warden), which I know is less optimized for Crane Style than other Fighter archetypes, but I chose it for flavor at the time I made the character.

That works for me, but if an ability is only useful at low levels I would not call it OP, but I would admit that it can be better than I thought it was, if used with a better build.


ImperatorK wrote:
If you choose to do nothing then yeah, they are nothing.

That was not the point either. I was saying that if the monk tries to do damage it won't be a big enough distraction. If the monk tries to grapple(replace with other maneuver as needed), that the maneuver is likely to fail and therefore also not be a real distraction, unless the GM only uses humanoids, which is unlikely.

Shadow Lodge

OP if it makes you feel any better, i have a umd fighter (phalanx soldier) who has a reach weapon + spiked armor and a tower shield. his ac is 26 @ 4th level with total cover and improved trip + combat reflexes. no you are not broken, and no crane style is not broken either.

a tower shield has the ability to prevent ALL attacks from melee and ranged (physical) characters, and it is a core item/ability so you cant say just because crane style is from a "splat book", god i hate that term, that its broken.


wraithstrike wrote:
ImperatorK wrote:
If you choose to do nothing then yeah, they are nothing.
That was not the point either. I was saying that if the monk tries to do damage it won't be a big enough distraction. If the monk tries to grapple(replace with other maneuver as needed), that the maneuver is likely to fail and therefore also not be a real distraction, unless the GM only uses humanoids, which is unlikely.

Trying and likely failing is better than doing nothing.


wraithstrike wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:


Your other thread is meant to assess the monk, yes? I only wish to assess the Crane feats and not get that analysis conflated with an assessment of the monk. For that reason, the no-multiclassing rule seems frivolous in this case. My playtest character is a Monk/Fighter(Lore Warden), which I know is less optimized for Crane Style than other Fighter archetypes, but I chose it for flavor at the time I made the character.

That works for me, but if an ability is only useful at low levels I would not call it OP, but I would admit that it can be better than I thought it was, if used with a better build.

Well, my playtest indicates that it at least continues to cause lots of degeneracy up to level 7 adventures at least (by degeneracy I mean that my underleveled PC was trivializing encounters), and that's not because it failed to do so at higher level adventures yet--I simply haven't gotten a chance to play him in such adventures yet. So I guess it depends on the definition of high level. I'm willing to concede that there's a good chance it won't work as much at 13+ without even testing it just based off my gut instinct (and by concede, I don't mean that I think the feat isn't still strong at those levels, just that it probably won't allow for degenerate trivializing because monsters have too many sweet tricks). I'm thinking the divide may happen at around level 11 or so, but that's just a theory until I go out there and prove it. I plan on reviving my old thread when I get more data at higher levels, but I'll admit to becoming distracted by other PFS character and ignoring my Crane Style playtest guy for a while.

To be OP, I don't think you need to have something that's OP at all levels, and my playtests have at least shown that adventures for level 1 to 7 characters (the character himself is still only level 5, but he's done a lot of adventures for level 6-7 characters), in PFS without the ability for GMs to alter and specifically counter the crane style guy, can be trivialized by crane style more often than not (still not always though!).

Also, it may be that some people have a different definition of "overpowered" than others, causing a disagreement to seem larger than it actually is. Instead of saying "OP" or not, I will just say candidly that as a GM, due to my playtest results, I would prefer not to see a player Crane Style character in most 1-5, 1-7, or 3-7 PFS scenarios. I sometimes worry that my fellow players during the playtests might have been annoyed by the degenerate combats (including one against a mindless skeleton T-Rex (mindless so no grappling or switching out tactics) that could deal my full HP on an average hit, hit my AC easily, and would have demolished the party if it wasn't mindlessly attacking me, but with Crane Wing the GM just called the fight because it had one attack per round), but I specifically tried to play the character to highlight the strengths of other characters and let them shine, so people seemed mostly to be relieved when I prevented TPKs. One of the players who was in I think 3 of the playtest games did say "Tell me when you post your playtest thread. This ability is so broken that I can't believe you when you say most people online say it isn't. I really have to read what people say."


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:


Your other thread is meant to assess the monk, yes? I only wish to assess the Crane feats and not get that analysis conflated with an assessment of the monk. For that reason, the no-multiclassing rule seems frivolous in this case. My playtest character is a Monk/Fighter(Lore Warden), which I know is less optimized for Crane Style than other Fighter archetypes, but I chose it for flavor at the time I made the character.

That works for me, but if an ability is only useful at low levels I would not call it OP, but I would admit that it can be better than I thought it was, if used with a better build.

Well, my playtest indicates that it at least continues to cause lots of degeneracy up to level 7 adventures at least (by degeneracy I mean that my underleveled PC was trivializing encounters), and that's not because it failed to do so at higher level adventures yet--I simply haven't gotten a chance to play him in such adventures yet.

My only issue here is that it was PFS, which removes a GM's brain to a certain extent. If the text says to do _____, then you have to do _____ even if a better strategy is available. If I can find a cranewing based build on the boards I will have to run it through a few battles as if it had party members to see if it is an issue at 7, and to see how long it stays an issue.


ImperatorK wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
ImperatorK wrote:
If you choose to do nothing then yeah, they are nothing.
That was not the point either. I was saying that if the monk tries to do damage it won't be a big enough distraction. If the monk tries to grapple(replace with other maneuver as needed), that the maneuver is likely to fail and therefore also not be a real distraction, unless the GM only uses humanoids, which is unlikely.
Trying and likely failing is better than doing nothing.

I agree, but in many cases the result won't change by any significant amount, but that may be a monk issue. I plan to try cranewings on another class to see if it can hold up better.


TheSideKick wrote:

OP if it makes you feel any better, i have a umd fighter (phalanx soldier) who has a reach weapon + spiked armor and a tower shield. his ac is 26 @ 4th level with total cover and improved trip + combat reflexes. no you are not broken, and no crane style is not broken either.

a tower shield has the ability to prevent ALL attacks from melee and ranged (physical) characters, and it is a core item/ability so you cant say just because crane style is from a "splat book", god i hate that term, that its broken.

AC 26 is not terribly high at 4th level. It's good, but it's less than my Crane guy has. You're right that which book a rule comes from is not always a good indicator of whether it has power issues. There's at least a few problem children in every book. As for the tower shield, it costs a standard action to provide total cover, so that means no attacks for you, it protects from only one edge of your square, and the total cover only applies to attacks made against you (so for instance an enemy with reach or ranged weapons can attack right past your tower shield at your allies behind (there's a teamwork feat to get around that problem though). I know phalanx soldiers get some nifty move-action tower shield tricks starting at level 9, but you can never provide the total cover as less than a standard action, and with all the other limitations, it seems mainly useful to stall in a 5 foot wide corridor.


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Dabbler wrote:


Which is perfectly reasonable. However a character using crane style has some universal features to be born in mind:

  • They have one hand free, which means unarmed strike or a one-handed weapon is the only thing they can attack with (possibly TWF with an unarmed strike might work, but for a none-monk that's not brilliant as brass knuckles are out). This restricts damage.
  • They therefore have no shield which restricts AC (unless they are a monk, who has limited offensive capacity)
Indeed. While my playtest character is none of these, I think the best Crane Style characters are probably users of Dervish Dance feat, Magi (possibly Dervish Dancer Magi), or multiclassed into Aldori Swordlord (starting at level Monk2/Aldori7 you get Steel Net, which lowers the fighting defensively penalties to 0 and gives you even more AC for it). I will note that if you have a weapon like an aldori dueling sword, you can two-hand it on the attacks you make on your own turn, though all your ripostes and other AoOs are going to be done one-handed.

I am not so sure that you can two-hand while using Crane Wing. You have to have one hand free, and while RAW would agree you can let go one hand at the end of your attack, I am not so sure RAI will agree with this under every DM.

Either way, you are giving up the shield and losing out on AC. Also recall that you are either dipping levels of monk (lower BAB) or else having to take some feats you have few uses for.

I'm sure it can work, I'm just not sure it will add much.

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Actually, what we found was not special abilities but number of attacks making the difference. If you are up against a dragon with six attacks that hit your sky-high AC half the time, you will take damage. That's why Crane style comes in at level 5 normally, just before multiple attacks come in.

To preface--I do already agree that at level 13+ Crane style isn't going to be nearly as strong, but now to address this point--

This really depends on the enemy being able to hit the crane user ~50% of the time though.

Having played some higher-level games, this is not an issue. Attack bonuses of CR equivelant foes grow faster than your AC can. You will get hit, and that's when lower hit points start to hurt.

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Something like a solo dragon can do it for sure, but at worst case you can attack once and retreat, giving the dragon a free AoO. Both you and the dragon are thus limited to two attacks per round , but one of the dragon's automatically misses. Of course, all that said, the dragon can kill you without resorting to melee and probably will by using its special ability of breath weapon and kiting...

A monk pulling this stunt is unlikely to hit much with his 3/4 BAB. Your Aldori swordmaster will probably do more damage, but loses out in the AC stakes and so gets hit more often.

Looking at your ghoul example, I think you underestimate the tank by a long way. At 4th level (you don't mention level you are setting this at, BTW) a fighter could be using a Power Attack and Great Cleave with a greatsword to deliver 2d6+14 damage per hit (18 str, +6 PA, +2 Weapon Specialisation). I make it 2.7 hits per round, so I'd give the ghouls three rounds, tops.

The Crane Styler will avoid a lot of damage, I agree, but will take a lot longer to down the ghouls. Plus, the ghouls are likely to gang up on him! If they can't hit him, they will grapple - and they will likely use flanking and Aid Another to boost their chances. Once he's pinned, the Crane Styler is dead meat. They could try this on the tank, but I suspect by the time they realise it's the best tactic half of them are dead.

Now look at a party situation: Your party gets jumped by eight ghouls and a ghoul lord, say. Who's most use to the party?
The Crane Styler will be unhitable by his two attackers, most likely, but if he's only dropping one every two rounds, he's not able to do much to help the rest of the party. The tank is going to splatter his two ghouls in round one, definitely by the end of round two. Then he can dash after the leader, or help out the rest of the party.

The Crane Styler's best tactic is to ignore his attackers and go for the ghoul lord, and hope he distracts him long enough for the rest of the party to take down some ghouls. As soon as the ghoul lord realises he's not fighting a serious threat, he'll break off and attack another party member.

If you have to choose between the two in your party, you'd take the tank.

Shadow Lodge

Rogue Eidolon wrote:


AC 26 is not terribly high at 4th level. It's good, but it's less than my Crane guy has. You're right that which book a rule comes from is not always a good indicator of whether it has power issues. There's at least a few problem children in every book. As for the tower shield, it costs a standard action to provide total cover, so that means no attacks for you, it protects from only one edge of your square, and the total cover only applies to attacks made against you (so for instance an enemy with reach or ranged weapons can attack right past your tower shield at your allies behind (there's a teamwork feat to get around that problem though). I know phalanx soldiers get some nifty move-action tower shield tricks starting at level 9, but you can never provide the total cover as less than a standard action, and with all the other limitations, it seems mainly useful to stall in a 5 foot wide corridor.

you're missing the point completely. its not a pissing contest, it was a way of showing the OP that crane wing is not over powered. the 26 ac isnt counting defensive fighting or combat expertise, nor was i posting "an optimized build".

so in conclusion the point of my first post is that you can bring alot more to the table then just "i can deflect an attack once per round" using just the CRB. crane style is a good feat, but not overpowering.


wraithstrike wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:


Your other thread is meant to assess the monk, yes? I only wish to assess the Crane feats and not get that analysis conflated with an assessment of the monk. For that reason, the no-multiclassing rule seems frivolous in this case. My playtest character is a Monk/Fighter(Lore Warden), which I know is less optimized for Crane Style than other Fighter archetypes, but I chose it for flavor at the time I made the character.

That works for me, but if an ability is only useful at low levels I would not call it OP, but I would admit that it can be better than I thought it was, if used with a better build.

Well, my playtest indicates that it at least continues to cause lots of degeneracy up to level 7 adventures at least (by degeneracy I mean that my underleveled PC was trivializing encounters), and that's not because it failed to do so at higher level adventures yet--I simply haven't gotten a chance to play him in such adventures yet.
My only issue here is that it was PFS, which removes a GM's brain to a certain extent. If the text says to do _____, then you have to do _____ even if a better strategy is available. If I can find a cranewing based build on the boards I will have to run it through a few battles as if it had party members to see if it is an issue at 7, and to see how long it stays an issue.

Only if the monsters are mindless. You can't change what enemies the group faces to metagame against the Crane Style user (which, as a few posters pointed out earlier, is unfortunately the best way around Crane Style), but you are well within your rights to change up the tactics. These were clever GMs who tried a variety of different things, and they didn't feel a need to stick to the tactics mindlessly as canon. The reason PFS is a good playtest is because it gives a good cross-section of what sorts of things you might fight if the GM isn't specifically choosing enemies to counter Crane Style in a home game.

If you want to run the exact same scenarios I used with the same monsters and try different tactics, that is absolutely awesome and I look forward to seeing your results if you do. I just don't think that any cross-section of encounters designed by either you or me can possibly be a fair sample, since we both know what we're testing for, if you see what I mean. Obviously either of us could design hundreds of encounters at all levels that would destroy the Crane Style user every time. That isn't the question in my mind, I concede it for sure. For me, it's whether an average adventure with encounters selected without considering Crane Style can often be trivialized. Published adventures are the best bet there, and PFS provides a wealth of those.


Out of curiousity which mods did you play at Tier6-7? as there is alot of T6-7 mods that could completely stomp a cranestyle monk, one of which is Among the Gods in which basically every encounter can kill a level 5 monk

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