Whirlwind attack. How often you do you use this?


Advice


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've noticed a trend for martials to focus on mainly single 2-hander weapon styles OR archers.

I have yet to see a martial with whirlwind attack and was wondering how many players have gone down that path and frequently use it. Or have you found that it's better generally to have more of a single (or perhaps two with Cleave) target build in Society Play?

Just wondering folks!

Grand Lodge

Generally speaking, having one target dead is a lot better than having 6 targets kinda injured.

That said, I have a character who intends to pick up Whirlwind attack later, and just disarm everyone with it.


I had 1 character play with this, and one character in a game i ran for this back in 3.5 modern.

As a player, i rarely if ever got to use it.

As a DM i was TRYING to set up scenarios where the player could use it effectively.. and couldn't. Its incredibly hard to get to work the way it should.

Round 1, WHirly runs up, makes a single attack. Mooks beat on character. The party that hasn't gone yet sees Whirly in trouble and focuses fire, taking out 1-2 mooks.

Round 2: the characters that went before whirly now go and take out a few more. Then whirly goes against ...2 mooks tops.

The requirement for a full attack action is.. rough. It leaves a lot of time for mooks to disperse or get killed.

This is a rare build for a lot of reasons. It requires a lot of investment (int 13, combat expertise is a feat tax) and doesn't really pay off.

Silver Crusade

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It's a feat that requires you to be surrounded to achieve optimal results. Not good.

Grand Lodge

Jeff Merola wrote:

Generally speaking, having one target dead is a lot better than having 6 targets kinda injured.

That said, I have a character who intends to pick up Whirlwind attack later, and just disarm everyone with it.

I looked at doing the same thing with enlarge person potions and a whip. With the whip feats, you can disarm... lots.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I've been thinking about a Whirlwind Attack build lately...

He'd be a half-elf, using a longsword and a steel quickdraw shield. He'd start in ranger for two levels, taking Quickdraw at 1st and Precise Shot (sans prereqs) at 2nd. Then he'd start into Lore Warden fighter, picking up the feat chain for Whirlwind Attack (and also Deadly Aim to keep his longbow relevant for when enemies are flying). I'd probably dump CHA to 7 and roleplay it as basically not talking to people, just sort of barging in and doing his thing, as though nobody was around. The required 13 INT would be roleplayed as really enjoying puzzles of all sorts. In combat, he could fight sword and board style, rapidly switch to a bow and back again as needed, and when surrounded could do a cool Spin Atta- I mean, Whirlwind Attack. Oh, and he'd have the Arcane Talent alternate racial trait, so he could activate all sorts of magical items without fail. Might also take EWP (boomerang), just for fun.

But what would I name him?


Jiggy wrote:


But what would I name him?

Dervish

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

:(

Grand Lodge

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Nah, you should name him Lunk.

Lantern Lodge

David Bowles wrote:
It's a feat that requires you to be surrounded to achieve optimal results. Not good.

...or have titanic reach and not so much be surrounded. A simple enlarge person + glaive + lunge = 25 feet of reach.


I dont like the idea of being surrounded and taking 3 or 4 feats just to get myself into a bad situation just does not like look like something I can sign off on.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I suppose I should add that it seems most fights are built around the BBEG format. Rarely have I seen encounters that involved multiple mobs which is where whirlwind would shine.

But I have not played or GM'd a lot (mainly Tier 1-7) so maybe it's something you do run into in Society more later?

I suppose another way of looking at this is there will always be at least ONE bad guy in a fight...but lots of them?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Jerry Cummings has a 14th level Polearm Master who uses the Fauchard. With Enlarge Person it's pretty impressive. He spins and trips everyone at reach, then shortens his grip as an immediate action and continues the whirlwind. I've seen him trip 11 NPC's with a single whirlwind.


I've seen Whirlwind work, though maybe not as stunningly as one hopes.
("Yay! I hit all 8!" means you were stupidly surrounded.)

Below +6 BAB, it's a free swing against another neighbor, so you're getting +2 AC compared to Cleave, and don't need them adjacent.
This is a golden time, and with Fighter, you can retrain away from it later for free.

At and after 6th, it replaces the iterative when facing two (effectively +5 on 2nd attack), and you get a bonus when facing three. This is fairly common, especially when enemies get the drop on you.

With reach/Lunge, you can sometimes hit 4 or more.

I've seen it work well when Whirlwind chews into front set, then area-blaster and secondary melee characters clean up.
If you are paired with other primary melee PCs, then yeah, it'll be harder to face more than two at a time.
I've also seen a BBEG dish out 200+ damage after being surrounded by PCs. :)

The feat tax of Combat Expertise can be avoided with Lore Master and/or used to get to Disarm/Trip/etc. which many find worth it on their own, and most of which can shut down lots of PFS enemies, even BBEGs.

And there's no reason you can't do both 2HW & Whirlwind. Why not have the extra attacks be bigger? Then you're as good as them, with a bonus trick for when things get hairy.


I used whirlwind attack once. I had greater cleave and I was a huge size creature and I just couldn't stop rolling crits!

There's a reason you don't see it used that often. Those prereqs are steep and don't have much to do with the whirlwind attack itself. I don't think I've actually seen a martial with it, or at least not since 3.0.

Dark Archive

Great cleave is a lot easier to get and works just as well if you're running a class with good BAB progression. Whirlwind attack can lead to some pretty epic things in the rare event all those stars align, but it seems like a waste of feats when nine times out of ten any melee character will already be running power attack. Bam, one prerequisite for great cleave already satisfied. My experiments with whirlwind attack were sadly disappointing, and rarely if ever could it be used effectively.

The Exchange

I've yet to be in a situation where I would have preferred Whirlwind over just basic cleave. Cleave has more restrictions on it, sure, but it only takes a standard action. Whirlwind costing a full-round just makes it too much to bother with- For the exact reason BigNorseWolf mentioned above.

On top of that, the character will already know Spring-attack, and there isn't likely too many situations where it wouldn't be better to Spring in, then spring out, then
A: Have the baddies charge/move at you making them waste actions, then getting a full-attack in as response.
B: Have your caster AoE the cluster of baddies after you spring out.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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You know, if you combined this with one level of battle oracle for Surprising Charge, then 1/day you could move up to your speed into the cloud of baddies and then whomp them all with Whirlwind Attack.


I had always read that this was a bad build but the player in my group that usually makes really effective 2-hander dpr dealers made a whirlwind attack character for Rappan Athuk and it surprised the hell out of me. He was really effective. But, that adventure has a lot of really big mobs. He got surrounded frequently.

I know he had a couple levels of shadow dancer, and against single enemies I believe he fished for crits. But against mobs of mooks he was basically a melee AoE.


It is effective with a reach weapon when you are applying conditions, other than dealing damage. Tripping for lower lvls, dazing via dazing assault for mid lvls and staggering / stunning / whatever for higher lvls.


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Ok, while this is an entirely theoretical idea (havent had the chance to check it out yet), I believe the "best" way to use whirlwind attack is as a living fireball. How? There are 2 ways I see this as doable:

1) Fighter/Horizon walker:

Why horizon walker? Because you can gain dimension door 3+wis times/day. If you take the earliest entry, youll be able to cast it at level 9. There, you start taking the dimensional feats (Dim. Agility, Dim Assault, Dim Dervish) allowing you to dim dervish at level 13. Since it allows any full attack action, you can combine dim dervish and whirlwind attack, becoming th living AOE. For a number of times per day. Combine this with lunge & a reach weapon, and you cover a lot of area.

There is also some debate as to the nature of the whirlwind attack, which MIGHT allow you to use the dim dervish movement between each attack, thus "re-aquiring" a new set of enemies to attack, and effectively allowing you to hit everyone on the battlefield at full bab. I have a build built around this. However, the wording is akward, AND it's a very cheesy tactic. Use at your own risk.

2) Monk:

It wont work quite as well for the monk, but they can do the same thing with abundant step. AND you can only start using it at level 17 (sigh).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Don't know about everyday use, but it can be fun situationally.

I was in a group where the party cleric found himself surrounded by nightwalkers. He threw out a quickened mass heal before his whirlwind attack finished off each of their last hit points.

We stopped teasing the cleric for having whirlwind attack after that.

Sovereign Court

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Monk's can do it quicker if they dip 1 level of conjuration (teleport) specialist wizard and start taking the dimensional dervish feat chain early (it specifically grants the ability to teleport "as if using dimension door). you can also combine this with qinggong to get whirlwind attack without all of the prerequisites, although it does cost ki that way. That build comes fully online at level 14, which is still high but not too bad.

I'm fairly sure the wording of dimensional dervish and whirlwind attack does allow you to attack everyone provided you have enough movement, and you teleport in between each attack (which will protect some people if they are tightly packed). Also, the visual is awesome, and rule of cool should allow it anyways.


As far as i know, you cant qualify for dim dervish without having dim door or abundant step; and unfortunately the conjuration power DOES NOT qualify (if it's "like" dimension door whithout beeing it, it still isnt the spell). Same thing for the shadow dancer's shadow teleport thing. However, I have heard of this beeing houseruled otherwise.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

If it was a spell-like ability, it would qualify. But it's supernatural.

Sovereign Court

hrmmm, I think you're right. I had thought it was spell-like, but looking back it isn't. Pity.


the last game I played in had two fighters with whirlwind attack, in that game it worked pretty well since one of the first fights was a large orc barbarian war band who raged then charged around the fighters.

as someone above(I'm too lazy to quote them) it can be a free attack, I like having dodge and mobility isn't bad either.


Whirlwind works okay at mid levels. It's effective is better the greater your reach. At high levels its much more important to take out a single enemy that it is to damage several enemies. Using whirlwind to trip or disarm enemies can be semi-effective, but in general the setup is difficult and more often then not a character built to use whirlwind will find their allies dispensing with the enemies they would like to hit to the point where a whirlwind attack results in less attacks made then what could be done with a regular full attack.

It's kind of like cleave, which sounds cool, until you realize its a trap.


It's pretty weak.

It's only good at low levels, because it conflicts with iterative attacks. (Compare to Vital Strike, which also "conflicts" but it scales. You probably still want to do iterative attacks, but it's nice for when you can't do that.)

At low levels, being able to wipe out a bunch of goblins with this feat is possible. At higher levels, nothing can be killed in one hit (or if it can, they're not going to surround you).

It takes a lot of feats, which isn't bad IMO, but you need to take it at low levels, when even a fighter is feat limited. Some of the feat requirements are ... weird. You're better off taking Cleave, but that's another feat with a "best before" date.

I don't know the retraining rules, if any. If they're flexible, you could train out to more suitable feats at higher level, but I'm probably making that up.


williamoak wrote:
As far as i know, you cant qualify for dim dervish without having dim door or abundant step; and unfortunately the conjuration power DOES NOT qualify (if it's "like" dimension door whithout beeing it, it still isnt the spell). Same thing for the shadow dancer's shadow teleport thing. However, I have heard of this beeing houseruled otherwise.

I would houserule it for rule-of-cool without a doubt.


I've seen it done before (shadow dancers need nicer things). But it's of limited usefullness to debate houserules. In any case, I would probably allow it myself.


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

My fighter used it nearly every fight.

Shadow Lodge

Enlarged with a polearm = pain to the bad guys.

Note that Whirlwind Attack does not require you to use the same weapon for all the attacks, or for the bad guys to be adjacent to each other and/or you.

Whirlwind is so much better than Great Cleave that it's silly.

But you do have to pay for it, and that way is through the nose.

(Another annoyance is home-game GMs ruling that you can't "swing" your weapon through allies who are standing between bad guys. Well, not without hitting them anyway.)


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

Works great with a cloak of the hedge wizard (transmutation).

Contributor

My brother uses Whirlwind Attack fairly often, but he's a polearm fighter. When you have an increased range, Whirlwind Attack is MUCH more effective. I believe he's considering picking up Lunge next to further increase the area that he can swing his massive guisarme around in.


Our fighter/cleric uses it quite often. It helps that the module we're in throws plenty of gang fights at us and none of the party has their 3rd iterative yet (three 3/4 bab classes and a witch). As Castilliano points out, even if it's against just 2 it's effectively +5 on the second hit.


Rerednaw wrote:

I've noticed a trend for martials to focus on mainly single 2-hander weapon styles OR archers.

I have yet to see a martial with whirlwind attack and was wondering how many players have gone down that path and frequently use it. Or have you found that it's better generally to have more of a single (or perhaps two with Cleave) target build in Society Play?

Just wondering folks!

If made properly, a two-handed fighter can benefit immesurably from this feat chain, and can do so starting at around 4th level. Meaning he can make multiple attacks per round at full BAB long before anyone else even gets their first iterative which is a pretty big deal. Consider the following feat selection for a human fighter:

1st - Dodge
1st - Power Attack
1st - Cleave
2nd - Mobility
3rd - Combat Expertise
4th - Spring Attack (swap Cleave for Whirlwind Attack)

With a reach weapon (I prefer a Bardiche), you are already an incredibly effective threat - when the Barbarian next to you makes one big hit, you attack three different foes in the same round.

Then add:

5th - Combat Reflexes
6th - Lunge

Now you are gaining multiple AoO's as well and have extended your reach to 15' (not counting any Enlarge Person spells).

Finally:

7th - Weapon Focus: Bardiche
8th - Greater Weapon Focus: Bardiche
9th - Iron Will
10th - Weapon Specialization: Bardiche
11th - Dazing Assault
12th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Bardiche

Now that's an incredibly effective Fighter with a nice layer of mitigation through Dazing Assault... and he's still capable of full attacking single targets just like anyone else. Personally I like the Weaponmaster archetype for this build but there are other valid options as well. The only downside is that he lacks the defenses and saves to be an effective tank... and you need to be careful in your attribute assignments because he's a touch more MAD than your usual Fighter.

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