Vital Strike


Rules Questions


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Vital Strike states an attack action.

Does this mean it can only be used in a single attack (Such as after you move), or can it be incorporated into a Full Round action where your only action is an attack series?

Initially I said yes, but the player, who has it said that seemed OP. The errata on the matter about spring attack clearly stated a Spring attack was a full round action and Vital Strike could not be a part of it.

However I do think if your only act is an attack, even in a full round action. You can still use Vital Strike.

Also, do you need to declare a swing is a Vital Strike, before your attack roll, if you CAN use it in a full round attack?

As I am the GM, this is a rare case of a player looking at the GM and saying “Don't you think thats a bit over powered???”

Note: The Fighter involved uses the “path” of a Two-Handed Fighter, so at current he possess Vital Strike, Backswing and Great Cleave.

Very little is currently preventing him by my interpretation of the rules, from running into a pack of monsters. Fighting one round with a single attack for the move, and then proceeding to Vital strike once. Take the rest of his attacks, then great cleave through the whole mess while getting the Backswing bonus. He is wielding a Flambard +2, with Str16. So like a full round action as I see it would be, damage wise: 3D10+5, and 1D10+8 on every following swing until he misses an attack or runs out of threatened enemies (Not counting crits in the mix)


Vital strike can only be used on a single attack action, which is the standard action single attack, and can't be used when combined with cleave or charge, or full attack. Its because

Also, cleave doesn't allow you to continue attacking until he misses. Where is that from?

Liberty's Edge

Vital Strike is a Standard Action
Cleave/Great Cleave is a Standard Action
Backswing applies only during a Full Attack Action

When doing a move (not a charge) followed by a standard action (single attack) he can pick either Vital Strike or Cleave but not both. Backswing will not apply as he is not doing a full attack action


MrSin wrote:

Vital strike can only be used on a single attack action, which is the standard action single attack, and can't be used when combined with cleave or charge, or full attack. Its because

Also, cleave doesn't allow you to continue attacking until he misses. Where is that from?

Great Cleave, allows the warrior to continue hitting targets until he runs out of those he threatens. (Provided he hit the previous target, he stops if he fails to hit a target)

And reading it now. thank god for me I think. That Great cleave cannot be used in a Full Round attack either.

Okay that answers my questions. Thanks


Midnighter wrote:
When doing a move (not a charge) followed by a standard action (single attack) he can pick either Vital Strike or Cleave but not both.

There is a feat that does allow you to use vital strike and cleave together now though, but it only applies to one target and the extra damage from vital strike hurts your character for an equal amount. Take a feat to stab yourself in the foot!


Gwiber wrote:
Great Cleave, allows the warrior to continue hitting targets until he runs out of those he threatens.

Great Cleave allows you to, as a standard action, attack a foe, and if that hits you can hit one foe who is adjacent to him and also in your reach, and if you hit that guy, repeat. You can't hit the same guy twice though. You also take a -2 to AC for using the action in the first place, because insult to injury and you have to suffer to gain a benefit I guess? There is also cleaving finish, which acts as the 3.5 version of cleave where once per round if you kill a foe you can make one attack at full BAB against another foe in your reach, and greater cleaving finish which removes the once per round gig so if you kill five guys you get 5 attacks.

Of course, a guy with a fauchard isn't usually surrounded by 3 or more characters who are all adjacent to each other and so easy to kill, and if they were easy to kill then... who cares? They're mooks and they were going to die anyway probably.


MrSin wrote:
Midnighter wrote:
When doing a move (not a charge) followed by a standard action (single attack) he can pick either Vital Strike or Cleave but not both.
There is a feat that does allow you to use vital strike and cleave together now though, but it only applies to one target and the extra damage from vital strike hurts your character for an equal amount. Take a feat to stab yourself in the foot!
MrSin wrote:
but it only applies to one target

Now how.. would that work? Since Cleave is specifically designed to hit ANOTHER target, not the first one?


Gwiber wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Midnighter wrote:
When doing a move (not a charge) followed by a standard action (single attack) he can pick either Vital Strike or Cleave but not both.
There is a feat that does allow you to use vital strike and cleave together now though, but it only applies to one target and the extra damage from vital strike hurts your character for an equal amount. Take a feat to stab yourself in the foot!
MrSin wrote:
but it only applies to one target
Now how.. would that work? Since Cleave is specifically designed to hit ANOTHER target, not the first one?

The extra damage from vital strike only applies to one target. You still cleave, and you still get vital strike, but vital strike only applies to the first guy you hit and you take damage equal to the bonus damage from vital strike.


Okay see I thought for some reason you were implying the vital strike hits the first target, and then the cleave hits the SAME target.

Least that was the way it seemed to read.


As a note for non PFS games is.

Both my gm's run it like this:
Vital strike can be attached to one attack per round. I.e. using a standard action to hit you can apply it.
Can cleave etc, but your only vital striking the first guy (you aimed at his weak point.. your power just carried it on to the next guy haha)
you can apply it to the first hit in a full round etc.

It doesn't really make any issues that we've hit so far, it just makes it useful. it really gives a good oomf. and it makes giving up the first hit in a full attack to do somethign else (feint etc) feel interesting for us.


Vital strike was designed to help make up for the fact that a fighter can't always full attack. The extra damage from the feat matches the dice of damage your weapon would have dealt in the full attack, so it's a way to somewhat keep apace with a full attacking character of equal level.

That said, the problem with the feat is that it rewards larger weapons, and makes monsters nastier for the same level of investment. Sure, it feels nice when your greatsword deals 4d6+1.5xSTR, but it's much worse when the dragon bites you for 8d6+STR and then flyby attacks away...

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Vital Strike All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.