Combat Expertise is Redundant


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Scarab Sages

For those that remember the book of nine swords, the Warblade used int rather effectively, and although you wont get the feats of a fighter, your investment in Intelligence pays off handsomely.

Battle Ardor
Battle Clarity
Battle Cunning

You get these 3 class abilities in the first 7 levels, all of them add your int modifier to your battle prowess.

If I were to do a build based around combat expertise and Crane, giving my character 7 levels of Warblade is a must to use your int more effectively.

I know, its 3.5 stuff, but just look at the manuevers you get and imagine how bad ass your duelist would be without taking a single level of duelist. :D

Those abilities I mentioned above do these things (so you dont have to look it up)

Clarity: If your not flat footed, you get an insight bonus to your Reflex saves = to your Int modifier

Ardor: You get an isight bonus = to your int modifier on rolls to confirm critical hits.

Cunning: Gain an insight bonus = to your int modifier on melee damage rolls against opponants that are flat footed or flanked.

Kinda nice huh....


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I find monks really good because they can get really high AC and fast movement helps them run away to survive TPK's, therefore I think it's fine for all the Improved combat maneuver feats to have monk levels as a prerequisite.

@CuttinCurt: My point exactly. Pathfinder doesn't have ways to let fighters use Int because the moment you print one you get people whining about how making fighters interesting is ruining the game balance and infecting our prestigious game with horrible WoW 4e boardgame anime garbage that breaks my immersion and ruins roleplaying forever - because that's what happened when Book of Nine Swords came out.

Scarab Sages

@ Roberta: I totally agree with you.

And if we break down the Warblade compared to the fighter for 7 levels, you realize that the 3 bonus feats you miss out on are given right back in class abilities.

Battle Clarity = Lightning Reflexes (could be better with a high int)

Ardor = Critical Focus (although slightly less effective unless you have an 18 int.)

Cunning... well, it is a nice boost that doesnt relate to any feat.

But Manuevers and stances make your character that much more diverse and interesting.

D12 hd is nice too. hehe

And Battle Ardor is given at 3rd level, not taken as a feat when you get a +9 BAB. So even if it is only a +1 or +2, you get many more levels of usage out of it, and if you are wanting a critical build, who wouldnt want this?

I am not going to take up any more space with my warblade rant, but this seems like a much more effective use of Int than anything pathfinder has brought out.

And I am an advocate for Melee classes getting some love. I still can not bring myself to build a straight fighter yet.

Scarab Sages

CuttinCurt wrote:


Clarity: If your not flat footed, you get an insight bonus to your Reflex saves = to your Int modifier

Ardor: You get an isight bonus = to your int modifier on rolls to confirm critical hits.

Cunning: Gain an insight bonus = to your int modifier on melee damage rolls against opponants that are flat footed or flanked.

Kinda nice huh....

Look up the Kensai archetype.


Ravingdork wrote:
Starbuck_II wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Combat Expertise, as written, has saved my characters' lives more times than I can count.
Since Fighting Defensively grants a higher bonus; wouldn't it have saved your life more?

Everybody in the party who fought defensively DIED. I used Combat Expertise and Fighting Defensively and LIVED.

I need know not more than that.

That's a bad logic.

Scarab Sages

Artanthos wrote:
CuttinCurt wrote:


Clarity: If your not flat footed, you get an insight bonus to your Reflex saves = to your Int modifier

Ardor: You get an isight bonus = to your int modifier on rolls to confirm critical hits.

Cunning: Gain an insight bonus = to your int modifier on melee damage rolls against opponants that are flat footed or flanked.

Kinda nice huh....

Look up the Kensai archetype.

Nice Magus Archtype, but you still dont get the Int bonus to confirm criticals until 9th level.

But yes, if you are looking for a nice magic/melee type, this archtype does give the fighter a bunch of nice Int mod benefits.

If you are looking to go straight pathfinder, Kensai could be a way to utilize your int bonus to its fullest. (if you were wanting to use magic as well) -


Ravingdork wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
Have you considered the idea that if all of you had been hitting at your full attack bonus instead of taking negatives for defense, you might have been able to kick its teeth in before it started putting people to negative con score? Overwhelming force is a very valuable defensive tool ;p
That's how it started (it's also our usual strategy--not that it's ever done us much good). We were losing and losing badly. By the time we sounded the retreat the beast wasn't so much as looking winded. Had we kept fighting at full force, we would have died that much more quickly.

If you were retreating, why were you still hitting the monster?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
chaoseffect wrote:

Perhaps you should have fled more swiftly then, in which case fighting defensively would still be counter productive to that goal, unless of course you were valiantly laying down your lives to let the others escape :O

...in which case I still wouldn't waste a feat on that being a possible contingency.

Perhaps you should stop telling others how to play their games. :O

This feat is fine. It's perfect for holding an enemy or enemies at bay, particularly in a tight space (such as a doorway).


I'm sorry I pointed out that not using the feat you were defending would have actually helped you more than using it. My bad.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

You were making assumptions so as to feel superior. Assumptions like "we could get away quickly in the first place."


You're correct, I don't know details because you didn't provide any besides "we were all fighting defensively, and they all died but I didn't because of Combat Expertise"; that by itself doesn't really say much to the worth of Combat Expertise so much as to make me wonder what kind of poor life decisions (or DM lulz) were made to get to the point where you guys so were so perilously close to a TPK (and with one survivor it might as well have been).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
gustavo iglesias wrote:


I Kinda wonder why on hell they put such a big BAB bonus for a prestige class that *should* be easy entry for rogues and bards.

Why should it be? A Duelist is a straight up fighter who relies on his martial expertise. Which makes it a natural evolution of the fighter who is the straightup martial. The rogue is the almost exact opposite. He's the middling meleer who relies on his opponent making a mistake, falling for misdirection, or just catching that same person completely off guard.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

There were no bad decisions made on the players' part insofar as I could see. It was just a hella' tough encounter.

And you're right, I didn't give any real details at all.

A druid (or druid-like monster) cast plant growth (overgrowth) and crowded a large area with near-impassible terrain trapping everyone away from one another (we were relatively spread out during the ambush with 10-20 feet between any given party member) while he sent his pet phase spider in to devour us. We couldn't really move about, but the phase spider could shift in and out from the ethereal plane at will (allowing him to bypass the obstacles altogether) AND attack us. He simply picked us off one by one.

We couldn't even retaliate effectively except for prepared actions.


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It's a matter of play style....you can super duper dps and kill things fast before they kill you...or you can hold the line, take a lot less damage and wear them down. Both styles are effective.
Combat Expertise gives you the option of doing both..choosing whatever you need depending on the encounter.
A fighter with a decent strength and Weapons training has Attack Bonuses to burn...with power attack he can bltzkrieg the monster down...assuming he can hit. A monster usiing Combat expertise and the PC using power attack means that the main attack has a much less chance to hit and the iterives will most likely miss.
I like the Armor Master Fighter Archtype...good BAB, great Defense, great DR...take Both Shield Focus Feats and wear the critter down...if you just need to block him while your party blast them to oblivion...use CE to mitigate some of the attacks on you...at least the monsters iteratives. This also means that at the end of the fight you require less healing so that saves on the party's resources as well.
Its a matter of player play style... and so what if it rerquires a 13 Int...extra skill points and languages are always good.


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Pretty much agree with the majority which is why I have the following house rules.

Fighting defensively: -2 to hit/+1 dodge plus an additional -2/+1 per 4 BAB, +1 dodge per 5 ranks in acrobatics

All out defense: +2 dodge with an additional +1 dodge per 4 BAB to AC, +2 dodge per 3 ranks in acrobatics, cannot attack

Combat expertise: req 13 int, Add your int bonus to your CMB/CMD.

Improved Defensive Fighting: Changes fighting defensively to -1/+1 per 4 BAB and All out defense to +1 dodge per 2 BAB


Matthew Morris wrote:
rainzax wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Personally? I wish it was akin to power attack in there being a way to add to the defence bonus. It would be a lot more attractive if it was say "+1/-1 or +2/-1 if used with a shield." Or (I'd prefer) "+2/-1 if used with a one handed weapon and no shield or weapon in the off hand."

i like this idea. but the math isn't there. the difference between adding %50 and %100 percent is the decision you are forced into. -1/+2, -2/+4, -3/+6... seems to be too much.

and -1/+2, -2/+3, -3/+5... seems a little wonky.

I don't think it's too much for a one hander.

If it's +2 right off the bat, it's making it equal to a fighter using the feat and a light shield.

+4 is same fighter using heavy shield.

+6 is same fighter using a light shield +2 or heavy shield +1 A little better in some cases since it's a dodge bonus, a little worse since it shuts down when you're flat footed/denied dex bonus, and at least the shield still works.

If you use both hands (TWF, using the one weapon in both hands) you go back to the +1/+2/+3. It would make the one hander more effective, without having to 'default' to the archtype.

what is your proposal?

-1/+1 or -1/+2, -2/+2 or -2/+4, -3/+3 or -3/+6...?

the second values for people fighting with a free hand?

does a person fighting without a shield gain an equivalent bonus for less of a feat investment?

i am curious how you would word this.


Combat expertise is as it has always been, a feat and stat tax to block access to higher tier, more useful feats. The stat req of 13 INT is no different than 13 DEX for the dodge tree or 13 STR for the power attack tree. It is of marginal use, but is by no means devoid of value nor is it in need of "fixing".

Cause fighters need another dump stat, amirite?


Robb Smith wrote:

Combat expertise is as it has always been, a feat and stat tax to block access to higher tier, more useful feats. The stat req of 13 INT is no different than 13 DEX for the dodge tree or 13 STR for the power attack tree. It is of marginal use, but is by no means devoid of value nor is it in need of "fixing".

Cause fighters need another dump stat, amirite?

It's not the same requiring 13 str for power attack or 13 dex for Dodge than 13 Int for CE. First, both str for PA a d dex for dodge help what you are trying to get (more str help more damage, more dex gives more AC). Int is useless for increasing your AC so it's a pure feat tax. Second, it makes sense for PA to be strong, and for dodge to be dexterous. It does not for INT and your ability to parry attacks. Several people in the world can parry incoming attacks without being bilingual or having a IQ above 120. Wisdom would make more sense (perception is related to parry. Math skills are not). It's even more stupid when it's the feat tax for things like improved grapple. There are a lot of MMA fighters and wrestlers in the world that are adept to grappling and don't get a second language or ability bonus to knowledges.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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rainzax wrote:

what is your proposal?

-1/+1 or -1/+2, -2/+2 or -2/+4, -3/+3 or -3/+6...?

the second values for people fighting with a free hand?

does a person fighting without a shield gain an equivalent bonus for less of a feat investment?

i am curious how you would word this.

It's akin to Power Attack.

For a sword and board, two weapon fighter, or two hander, it's the normal -1/+1, -2/+2, -3/+3 etc.

For a fighter using one weapon with no weapon or shield in the off hand it's -1/+2, -2/+4, -3/+6 etc.

Basically it's so the one hander is 'rewarded' for taking the feat. Kind of like how a two weapon fighter is rewarded for taking the TWF tree (extra attacks, reduced penalties), the two handed fighter is rewarded for power attack (extra damage) and the sword n' board is rewarded for taking the shield tree (extra defense, more options). A true 'free hand fighter' is giving up the AC bonus (and magical goodies at higher level) of a shield or damage with a two handed weapon.

(I don't want to say 'nothing in the off hand' because that precludes the eldrich knight fighting with sword and wand in the off hand, or items like my Tankard of the Cheerful Duelist)

I don't quite know how to word it so you don't get people abusing the intent of the rule to say "I use combat expertise, two hand my longsword then as a free action take my hand off the longsword to get the better bonus."


Matthew Morris wrote:
"I... two hand my longsword then as a free action take my hand off the longsword to get the better bonus..."

i know, that s!+* is lolz shenanigans, right?

anyhow,

my concern is that, under your proposal, a sword&boarder will have to invest in more feats than a free-hander (who takes only [modified] Combat Expertise) to get the same AC bonus, because shield-bonus feats do not scale with BAB and Combat Expertise does.

this seems inconsistent with the idea that one would rather have a shield to head into a swordfight than not.

just a red flag i saw is all...


Yeah... Combat Expertise sucks and I hate it. Enlightening, I know.

I get that the idea is that you know a lot about combat, but I fail to see how that translates into your character by being able to block better... So you take a useless feat, by making your stats a little worse, so you can make a character that still isn't that great.


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Robb Smith wrote:

Combat expertise is as it has always been, a feat and stat tax to block access to higher tier, more useful feats. The stat req of 13 INT is no different than 13 DEX for the dodge tree or 13 STR for the power attack tree. It is of marginal use, but is by no means devoid of value nor is it in need of "fixing".

Cause fighters need another dump stat, amirite?

Throwing rubbish in the feat tree causes players to get less enjoyment out of the game, at lower levels, where feat choices are arguable more important. Honestly, who enjoys leveling up, gaining an extremely situational tool while every else gets a new toy that they actually wanted? Sucking off the start so you can be good later on is poor design. And frankly, the things Combat Expertise is blocking access to aren't even all that great, in the grand scheme of things.

Also, the game doesn't revolve around Fighters. Monks, for example, would welcome the option to not be forced into a sole dump stat (Cha), as everything else under the sun is needed. Heaven forbid the player want to play a Charismatic character that also likes to Steal/Disarm/Trip/whatever! Only INTELLIGENT characters can do that.

People that swear by it's usefulness can still take it if it truly is the bee's knees if it got axed as a tax. No skin off my back. I'd rather not half to burn stats and feats to gain access to something as simple as a MANEUVER. Being forced to jump through these ridiculous hoops is frustrating when feats are very often the lifeblood of martial effectiveness.

Sczarni

I wish the int requirement was 12... 13 is just odd and not as nice to optimize! =D


My first PC was a mid-level Fighter (that had been made for me) with 13 Int, a shield, and Combat Expertise. The rest of the party was poorly optimized for damage output (healing cleric, two-weapon-fighting rogue who could never seem to hit anything, etc) and we usually won by holding out until the casters could summon enough monsters to win.
My AC was already pretty good, and when I used Combat Expertise, I became virtually invincible against most enemies. It never occurred to me until I started reading these forums that it wasn't a good feat.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Combat Expertise, I became virtually invincible against most enemies. It never occurred to me until I started reading these forums that it wasn't a good feat.

Don't make the mistake of confusing the highly subjective opinions on this forum as facts.

The feat is not horrible.
In the right game it's very good.

Most of the arguments against it here are based on it not furthering a SAD build strategy. That's Power Gamist, which is bad usually. Most of the arguments fail to recognize that the value of certain feats depend highly on game style, encounter design, play style and story.

I do not mean that in a bad way. Most people play with the same people over and over, certain expectations are met in every session. Point Buy is being assumed, And lethal force is always your first option.

Let's look at CE.

Int 13 is a weird number. It's odd and in point buy that means it's one you want to boost later. Sadly the characters that would use this feat are not Int boosters. So yeah a 12 would be better.

BUT, having more skill points is not a bad thing for Fighters, Rogues or Bards (or Monks who can actually bypass this and get the maneuvers anyway). Most of the arguments in this thread ignore this benefit, likely because they play in low skill focus games. More languages is ALWAYS good, unless you play in one if those games where everyone speaks Common like it's Star Trek. That's silly common actually.

CE stacks with Fighting Defensively, so the original premise to this thread is shot. Yet it points out one of the HUGE advantages to CE, it stacks with a bunch of other things. This gets missed by even experienced players.
At first level, you can stack Dodge, Combat Expertise and Fighting Defensively. that's a big deal for a 1st level rogue that can be one shotted by a lucky goblin with a horse chopper.

It does add to your skill with Maneuvers, specifically your ability to resist them.

It's a dodge bonus to AC, so it boosts your Touch AC. Which is stupid good against things like Shadows and Spell Casters.

So it's not a straight feat tax.
A feat tax is a non combat option for a PrC like Skill Focus.

And where it really, really shines is when you have to fight your Dominated team mate or a bunch of mooks who swarm you. Not that this ever happens in some games, because that's not fun for some groups.


The issue with Combat Expertise is that typically doing damage is more important than reducing damage taken. This is because there is no aggro system in Pathfinder. If you build a character with super high AC, the enemies can simply attack someone else.

Unless your DM is attacking you so you can feel good about your high ac, smart enemies are going to go for squishier targets.

Sczarni

on the flip side, this feat is a must for a DR build using stalwart and imp stalwart =D

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

on my way to a game, but wanted to comment (no I'm not posting while driving).

Re my Combat Expertise vs Shield. Yes the shield weilder has to invest more feats/gold. At first level, they can stay equal with a buckler/light shield and pull ahead with a heavy shield. They tie with a heavy shield it's not until 8th level that they pull ahead.

The one hander is less flexible in the magic options, and the variety of feats they can apply to a weapon.

Again, I just want to give one handers some love.

Re: Odd numbers. Part of the reason for odd stats is to give the odd numbers some love.


I think the OP gets at a problem in the fighter build progression. Generally speaking, building fighters who do a bunch of cool, weird stuff in battle doesn't stack up well with a fighter who is simply built to hit and damage.

I think it would be a worthy tweak to actually encourage builds (through fewer feat taxes, slightly stronger feats, etc.) that do zany things like intimidating, bluffing, tripping, disarming as a major part of their combat approach.

I'm sure there are really astute power gamers who have figured out how to make a non-traditional fighter competitive, but it shouldn't be a hidden cookie. There should be a more or less clear path to alternative builds.

I've thought for a while that one cool art addition to PF books would be flow charts showing attribute-skill-feat progressions that get a PC from 1st level to a really cool, say, 5th level non-trad PC build.

-Marsh


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And as for Int 13, feats always use odd ttat requirements so as to make odd stars valuable. Look at theTWF tree.


lantzkev wrote:
I wish the int requirement was 12... 13 is just odd and not as nice to optimize! =D

All feat requirements are odd. That's the "balancing point" for odd numbered stats. Otherwise, having DEX 13 or INT 13 would be completely useless compared to DEX 12 and INT 12. That's why Dodge and Expertise require 13


Would a DEX based magus be a reasonable candidate for the Dodge/Combat Expertise tree ?

They have the requisite INT of course and magi get the most out of spellstrike and spell combat on rounds where they are able to full attack. So during rounds where you have to advance into range or receive a charge, you can fight defensively or go full defense respectively.

Dodge + Combat Expertise + Ranks in Acrobatics + DEX bonuses add up pretty well, though I haven't done the calculation yet.

I could be wrong.


Abudufdef wrote:

Would a DEX based magus be a reasonable candidate for the Dodge/Combat Expertise tree ?

They have the requisite INT of course and magi get the most out of spellstrike and spell combat on rounds where they are able to full attack. So during rounds where you have to advance into range or receive a charge, you can fight defensively or go full defense respectively.

Dodge + Combat Expertise + Ranks in Acrobatics + DEX bonuses add up pretty well, though I haven't done the calculation yet.

I could be wrong.

Kensai Magus add the INT to armor (as the duelist prestige class). They could use it to optimize into armor, I guess. But 3/4 BAB classes that take penalties to hit, get low chances to do damage ussually. So it's a strong penalty for the AC bonus


Matthew Morris wrote:
Re my Combat Expertise vs Shield. Yes the shield weilder has to invest more feats/gold. At first level, they can stay equal with a buckler/light shield and pull ahead with a heavy shield. They tie with a heavy shield it's not until 8th level that they pull ahead.

you think this is fair?

you know, if more feats than just Power Attack and Combat Expertise improved with BAB, this would be less of an issue.

(like Two-Weapon Fighting, Shield Focus...)

wouldn't it be nice to model feats like that in such a way? has anybody already homebrewed this?


I have done TWF, Vital Strike, and Added in a clause into Power Attack and Combat Expertise where the user can switch between any levels of the feat that are available to them.

Shield Focus I am leery of. Though I might test it in the future.


Combat expertise is useful on occasions like getting to the monster when you'll eat an AoA on the way in and only do a single attack when you get there. Then on the following round you can full attack and not bother with the CE.

But that said, it's a weak feat with the wrong prerequisite. I like Charender's fix up there.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

rainzax wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Re my Combat Expertise vs Shield. Yes the shield weilder has to invest more feats/gold. At first level, they can stay equal with a buckler/light shield and pull ahead with a heavy shield. They tie with a heavy shield it's not until 8th level that they pull ahead.

you think this is fair?

you know, if more feats than just Power Attack and Combat Expertise improved with BAB, this would be less of an issue.

(like Two-Weapon Fighting, Shield Focus...)

wouldn't it be nice to model feats like that in such a way? has anybody already homebrewed this?

Yes I do, actually. The shield wielder already has options (shield bash, just shield bash, not shield bash, etc) before feat investment. Investing in feat trees expands those options. The TWF fighter again has options in whether to use his higher BAB, or get more attacks. The THF doesn't need love (especially if they have a wand of shield and UMD.)

The one handed fighter doesn't have the option of a 'flurry' like a TWF fighter, he doesn't get extra damage like a THF, and doesn't get the AC boost, and/or second/special attack as the shield wielder does.


Ventnor wrote:

So, I was looking over the Aldori Sword Lord online guide the other day, when something struck me. Combat Expertise as it currently exists really serves no purpose other than a feat tax for certain combat maneuver builds.

Reason being that we have Fighting Defensively, which anyone can do without spending a feat. Both Combat Expertise and Fighting Defensively offer the same benefit; trading accuracy for AC for a combat round.

Why does Combat Expertise exist then, if you can get basically the same bonus without having to spend a feat on it?

Simple. Fighting defensively means you take a -4 to attack, and gain a +2AC. Combat Expertise lets you be more efficient, so for every -1 to attack, you gain +1AC.

That's kinda a no-brainer, if you ask me.

Now, personally I don't like having to take Expertise before Improved Dirty Trick, because I don't see how those are connected and it seems a waste.


A simple and effective way to make combat expertise more attractive to use is to improved the exchange ratio. Go with -1/+2, increse to -2/+3 at BAB +4, -3/+5 at BAB +8, -4/+7 at BAB +12, -5/+9 at BAB +16 and -6/+10 at BAB +20.


KutuluKultist wrote:
A simple and effective way to make combat expertise more attractive to use is to improved the exchange ratio. Go with -1/+2, increse to -2/+3 at BAB +4, -3/+5 at BAB +8, -4/+7 at BAB +12, -5/+9 at BAB +16 and -6/+10 at BAB +20.

Why not just use Power Attack Scaling?

Either way you look at it CE giving more than +1 AC is going to make it even more of a Powerful Feat and make anyone using it nearly untouchable.


KutuluKultist wrote:
A simple and effective way to make combat expertise more attractive to use is to improved the exchange ratio. Go with -1/+2, increse to -2/+3 at BAB +4, -3/+5 at BAB +8, -4/+7 at BAB +12, -5/+9 at BAB +16 and -6/+10 at BAB +20.

There are a some AC-focused builds that allow a character to become almost completely immune to normal attacks. Allowing Expertise a bigger AC bonus will only make that kind of thing more common. I'd prefer a reduction to the attack penalty over an increase to the AC bonus.

Sovereign Court

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The problem with CE is twofold:

1) It requires Intelligence, but doesn't actually do anything with the Intelligence. Compare to Power Attack, which doesn't use Strength itself, but PA is good in builds where Strength is also good. CE hasn't got anything itself or coming after it that makes Int relevant.

2) CE is gateway to nicer feats, but you probably don't want to use CE together with them because it decreases the chances of a successful maneuver. So it's got anti-synergy with the feats it opens up.

I can see "clever fighting" as a prerequisite for Trip and Disarm, sure. Those are basically the "clever" maneuvers, compared to Bull Rush and Overrun. They're good enough that a mild feat tax isn't unreasonable; every other maneuver also has a feat tax, and Trip and Disarm are among the best feats.

So here's a thought: CE reduces the to-hit penalty for Defensive Fighting by an amount based on your Int modifier, with a maximum reduction equal to your BAB, or to 0, whichever is the smaller reduction.

It's no longer got anti-synergy with Trip and Disarm, and it actually really rewards a fighter for not dumping Int. It'll be more popular among say, Magi, but those have fewer feats to spare and slower BAB progression, so they don't get the whole benefit immediately.

While it stacks up nicely with Crane Style, that is a LOT of feats, and you no longer have separate CE and FD Dodge bonuses, so the maximum profit is capped.

Thoughts?

Grand Lodge

chaoseffect wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Combat Expertise, as written, has saved my characters' lives more times than I can count.
I really can't think of any time where a few AC was the difference between life or real death for my character when the situation wasn't already screwed from poor choices to begin with.

Ya tell that to the other members of my party, this weekend half the table got dominated (Midnight Mirror has a crack'e combat)they all attacked me and unable to hit my Magus' (Kensai) stupid AC.

not poor choices.. bad luck.

and that's not the first time my stupid high AC has saved my but!

being able to get to a 30 AC by 4th level has it's benefits.

( before you ask: 10 +3 (Int), +4 (Dex), +1 (Jingahsa), +4 (Armor Spell), +4 (Shield Spell), +2 (Potion of Shield of Faith), + 3 (Fighting Defensively + Acrobatics) = 31 )


Piccolo wrote:
Ventnor wrote:

So, I was looking over the Aldori Sword Lord online guide the other day, when something struck me. Combat Expertise as it currently exists really serves no purpose other than a feat tax for certain combat maneuver builds.

Reason being that we have Fighting Defensively, which anyone can do without spending a feat. Both Combat Expertise and Fighting Defensively offer the same benefit; trading accuracy for AC for a combat round.

Why does Combat Expertise exist then, if you can get basically the same bonus without having to spend a feat on it?

Simple. Fighting defensively means you take a -4 to attack, and gain a +2AC. Combat Expertise lets you be more efficient, so for every -1 to attack, you gain +1AC.

That's kinda a no-brainer, if you ask me.

Now, personally I don't like having to take Expertise before Improved Dirty Trick, because I don't see how those are connected and it seems a waste.

Except, it becomes by level 3 (assuming ranks in a skill)

Fighting defensively means you take a -4 to attack, and gain a +3AC.

or
Combat Expertise lets you be more worse, so for every -1 to attack, you gain +1AC.

You gain, higher AC with FE than CE until you have 16 BAB when CE is better.


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Ascalaphus wrote:

So here's a thought: CE reduces the to-hit penalty for Defensive Fighting by an amount based on your Int modifier, with a maximum reduction equal to your BAB, or to 0, whichever is the smaller reduction.

It's no longer got anti-synergy with Trip and Disarm, and it actually really rewards a fighter for not dumping Int. It'll be more popular among say, Magi, but those have fewer feats to spare and slower BAB progression, so they don't get the whole benefit immediately.

While it stacks up nicely with Crane Style, that is a LOT of feats, and you no longer have separate CE and FD Dodge bonuses, so the maximum profit is capped.

Thoughts?

so:

Combat Expertise (combat)
Benefit: You may add your Intelligence bonus to attack rolls made while fighting defensively. This bonus may not exceed your BAB, nor the penalty imposed by fighting defensively (usually -4). Also, you may gain the benefits of total defense while using the withdraw action.

(last sentence my add. i wanted, like Combat Reflexes, to throw a bone to folks with no Int mod)

hmm... well this breaks similitude with Power Attack... which for some reason i want to cling to... but i like your reasoning... however at BAB 4 this becomes a double-Dodge feat... no bueno...

how about this?:

Combat Expertise (combat)
Prerequisites: Int 13
Benefit: While fighting defensively or using total defense, you gain a +1 bonus to attack (if applicable) and a +1 dodge bonus to AC. When your base attack bonus reaches +5, and every +5 thereafter, these bonuses increase by +1.

...

total penalty/bonus sums by BAB:

BAB 0: -3/+3 or +5 total
BAB 5: -2/+4 or +6 total
BAB 10: -1/+5 or +7 total
BAB 15: -0/+6 or +8 total
BAB 20: +1/+7 or +9 total

i think what is interesting here is that 'fighting defensively' ceases to have any drawback around the time maneuvers (and arguably, AC) lose significant viability as a strategy. compare to Power Attack.

thoughts?


Yeah that's interesting.
It also seems very powerful to me. I think I'd have to test it.


rainzax wrote:

Combat Expertise (combat)

Prerequisites: Int 13
Benefit: While fighting defensively or using total defense, you gain a +1 bonus to attack (if applicable) and a +1 dodge bonus to AC. When your base attack bonus reaches +5, and every +5 thereafter, these bonuses increase by +1.

...

total penalty/bonus sums by BAB:

BAB 0: -3/+3 or +5 total
BAB 5: -2/+4 or +6 total
BAB 10: -1/+5 or +7 total
BAB 15: -0/+6 or +8 total
BAB 20: +1/+7 or +9 total

i think what is interesting here is that 'fighting defensively' ceases to have any drawback around the time maneuvers (and arguably, AC) lose significant viability as a strategy. compare to Power Attack.

thoughts?

I'd (a) word it as reducing the penalty to fight defensively rather than giving a bonus and (b) consider scaling every 4 BAB instead of every 5. That's the scaling Power Attack uses, which seems right.


Combat expertise becomes interesting when you have more attacks coming at you than you dish out yourself, because then it is not just a 1/1 trade but anything from a 1/1 to 1/8 trade. Your Level 1-5 fighter is completely surrounded by orc warriors. He uses CE and gets -1 to his one attack, while the orcs get -1 to each of their 8 attacks. It's not a very frequent thing to happen, but it can be of great benefit.


Attack and AC changes just increase or reduce outgoing or incoming damage by 5%. The number of attacks don't matter. The total magnitude of damage may, but if you're on the wrong side of the damage disparity dropping both incoming and outgoing damage by the same ratio isn't helping you win.


Atarlost wrote:
Attack and AC changes just increase or reduce outgoing or incoming damage by 5%.

If you were only being hit on a 19+ before, and you increase your AC by one, your incoming damage is reduced by 50% (ignoring criticals).

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