On Crane Wing and other "block" abilities


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Lantern Lodge

It is not a surprise to many of you who know me that I was/am rather disappointed to the somewhat recent changes made to the Crane Wing feat. What I would like to do is take a moment to examine a number of our "block" powers more closely, and evaluate their various mechanics. I intend to list each ability, followed by rating those game mechanics involved with it from one * to five *****. The scale is thus:

*- A terrible mechanic that greatly harms the ability to the point where it is either non-functional, or can only be used beneficially in the rarest of circumstances. This can also indicate an ability whose resource investment to acquire vs. effect is horrific.

**- While this mechanic functions, it is not neither bad nor good. Likely this mechanic either makes the circumstances needed to employ the ability somewhat uncommon, or it's effect is noticeably less reliable and impressive than other options requiring a similar level of investment. This can also indicate an ability whose resource investment to acquire vs. effect is average.

***- This is a good mechanic. Either the circumstances to employ it to one's benefit is very common, or the effective is a stronger than average one. This can also indicate an ability whose resource investment to acquire vs. effect is efficient.

****- You can almost never go wrong with this mechanic. There are very few circumstances in which it cannot be used, and it's overall effect is incredibly strong in the arena it was designed for. This can also indicate an ability whose resource investment to acquire vs. effect is excellent.

*****- This mechanic is among the strongest of options available in the system for the arena it was designed for, and generally strong even outside of that. The circumstances in which it functions almost cannot be denied to you, and the effect is all but guaranteed mathematically to function against appropriate level opponents. This can also indicate an ability whose resource investment to acquire is next to non-existent.

Feat: Crane Wing:
Prerequisites: Crane Style, Dodge, Improved Unarmed Strike, base attack bonus +5 or monk level 5th.

Benefit: Once per round, when fighting defensively with at least one hand free, you can designate one melee attack being made against you before the roll is made. You receive a +4 dodge bonus to AC against that attack. If you using the total defense action instead, you can deflect one melee attack that would normally hit you. An attack so deflected deals no damage and has no other effect (instead treat it as a miss). You do not expend an action when using this feat, but you must be aware of the attack and not flat-footed.

- 3 feat pre-reqs; **
- requires no action to use; *****
- conditions to use ability include having at least one empty hand, not being flat-footed, and being aware of the incoming attack; **
- effect 1: +4 dodge bonus to AC against one attack; **
- effect 2: auto deflect one attack if using total defense; **

Feat: Deflect Arrows:
Prerequisites: Dex 13, Improved Unarmed Strike.

Benefit: You must have at least one hand free (holding nothing) to use this feat. Once per round when you would normally be hit with an attack from a ranged weapon, you may deflect it so that you take no damage from it. You must be aware of the attack and not flat-footed. Attempting to deflect a ranged attack doesn't count as an action. Unusually massive ranged weapons (such as boulders or ballista bolts) and ranged attacks generated by natural attacks or spell effects can't be deflected.

- 13 in an attribute, 1 feat pre-reqs; ***
- requires no action to use; *****
- conditions to use ability include having at least one empty hand, not being flat-footed, and being aware of the incoming attack; **
- effect; **** (only not a 5 due to not working on natural attacks and massive weapons)

Feat: Divine Interference:
Prerequisites: Divine spellcaster, caster level 10th.

Benefit: As an immediate action, when an enemy within 30 feet hits an ally with an attack, you can sacrifice a prepared divine spell or (if you are a spontaneous caster) an unused spell slot and make the enemy re-roll the attack roll. The second attack roll takes a penalty equal to the level of the spell you sacrifice. You must sacrifice a spell of 1st-level or higher to use this ability. Whether or not the second attack is successful, you cannot use this effect on the same creature again for 1 day.

- divine spellcaster level 10 pre-reqs; ** (access issues keep this from being higher)
- immediate action to use; ***
- conditions to use ability include enemy being within 30 feet and sacrificing a spell slot; ***
- effect; *** (re-roll with a flat penalty is always good, and it can also be used on allies)

Class Feature: Parry, Duelist 2:
At 2nd level, a duelist learns to parry the attacks of other creatures, causing them to miss. Whenever the duelist takes a full attack action with a light or one-handed piercing weapon, she can elect not to take one of her attacks. At any time before her next turn, she can attempt to parry an attack against her or an adjacent ally as an immediate action. To parry the attack, the duelist makes an attack roll, using the same bonuses as the attack she chose to forego during her previous action. If her attack roll is greater than the roll of the attacking creature, the attack automatically misses. For each size category that the attacking creature is larger than the duelist, the duelist takes a –4 penalty on her attack roll. The duelist also takes a –4 penalty when attempting to parry an attack made against an adjacent ally. The duelist must declare the use of this ability after the attack is announced, but before the roll is made.

- 2 levels of prestige class pre-reqs; *** (if you want this ability, even dipping, it's a pretty simple affair)
- immediate action to use; ***
- conditions to use ability include taking full attack action and sacrificing one of your attacks; **
- effect; **** (an opposed attack roll is a favorable comparison for most builds who would want this, and it auto deflects)

Class Feature: Opportune Riposte and Parry, Swashbuckler 1; or Feat: Amateur Swashbuckler:
At 1st level, when an opponent makes a melee attack against the swashbuckler, she can spend 1 panache point and expend a use of an attack of opportunity to attempt to parry that attack. The swashbuckler makes an attack roll as if she were making an attack of opportunity; for each size category the attacking creature is larger than the swashbuckler, the swashbuckler takes a –2 penalty on this roll. If her
result is greater than the attacking creature’s result, the creature’s attack automatically misses. The swashbuckler must declare the use of this ability after the creature’s attack is announced, but before its attack roll is made. Upon performing a successful parry and if she has at least 1 panache point, the swashbuckler can as an immediate action make an attack against the creature whose attack she parried, provided that creature is within her reach.

- 1 class level or feat pre-reqs; ****
- attack of opportunity to use; ****
- conditions to use ability include spending 1 panache, not being flat-footed; **
- effect; **** (an opposed attack roll is a favorable comparison for most builds who would want this, and it auto deflects)

If one were to consider combing this with Combat Reflexes and Signature Deed, I would instead rate it as:

- 1 class level and 2 feats or 3 feat pre-reqs; **
- attack of opportunity to use; ****
- conditions to use ability nullified by feats (SD removes the panache cost, CR allows you take make AoO even while flat-footed; *****
- effect; ***** (deflecting upwards of 13 or so attacks per round with a +51 or so attack bonus by 20th level is pretty much as amazing as it gets for non-casters)

As you might see, a number of these abilities prior to Opportune Riposte and Parry have minor advantages and disadvantages in comparison to one another. OR&P by itself is quite strong compared to the others. Once combined with 2 additional feats? Forget about it, the other options are in the dust.

At least for myself, I am incredibly curious (as well as frustrated) why Crane Wing was seen as too strong and altered, when the OR&P chain so completely overshadows even the old Crane Wing mechanics. The only difference in the pre-reqs are need for 11th character level for the later combination to really take off. Even prior to that point, however, it remains comparably strong to old Crane Wing. Auto deflect > than opposed attack roll of course, but OR&P + CR negates just about all the problems in employment that old Crane Wing could have faced that would have caused it to fail to launch.

What do you think?


Quite frankly, because Crane Wing looked better than the Parry. Paizo is notorious for nerfing options that make something new look lame, like when animal companions got retroactively nerfed to make Cavalier mounts look good.

Lantern Lodge

While I am occasionally baffled by some of the design team's decisions to change or leave unchanged some feats/items/class features/ect, I will personally avoid attempting to put words/reasons in their mouths for them.

That said, I can understand why Crane Wing might have looked better than OR&P on paper, measured by themselves. Crane Wing did not combo nearly so well with additional support as OR&P does, however. I personally would take OR&P + Combat Reflexes + Signature Deed over old Crane Wing any day. It is less useful for a straight classed monk than other fighting classes though, as it relies on a strong attack bonus. A quick end game comparison of attack bonuses between a monk and swashbuckler would probably look something like +38/+41 w/flurry (monk) to +51 (swashbuckler).

15 BAB
13 Dex
1 competence (ioun stone)
4 enhancement
1 trait (bullied or similar)
1 weapon focus
3 morale (ioun stone + courageous)

20 BAB
13 Dex
1 competence (ioun stone)
5 enhancement
1 trait (fencer or similar)
2 weapon focus feats
6 weapon training (w/gloves)
3 morale (ioun stone + courageous)

In addition to this, what truly blows my mind is the pre-reqs being so similar in terms of resources.

Old Crane Wing required either:
1). Master of Many Styles 1 or Unarmed Fighter 1, Crane Style, Crane Wing, or
2). Monk 1, Dodge, Crane Style, Crane Wing, or
3). Improve Unarmed Strike, Dodge, Crane Style, Crane Wing

Opportune Riposte and Parry Requires either:
1). Swashbuckler 1
2). Amateur Swashbuckler

At that stage, it is already comparably strong to old Crane Wing, and superior to current Crane Wing, with less investment. Once you Combat Reflexes and Signature Deed at 11th level, it just about evens out the resource investment Crane Wing requires, and becomes infinitely superior in mechanics.


Scavion wrote:
Quite frankly, because Crane Wing looked better than the Parry. Paizo is notorious for nerfing options that make something new look lame, like when animal companions got retroactively nerfed to make Cavalier mounts look good.

They nerfed animal companions of all things? How?


Cerberus Seven wrote:
Scavion wrote:
Quite frankly, because Crane Wing looked better than the Parry. Paizo is notorious for nerfing options that make something new look lame, like when animal companions got retroactively nerfed to make Cavalier mounts look good.
They nerfed animal companions of all things? How?

Took armor proficiencies from them.


One issue with Crane wing was a low level character could deflect a level 20 Barbarian T-rex with rocket boosters 100% of the time. A swashbuckler will not be able to deflect that.

Perhaps not a big deal in actual play for the majority of the time, but an unsettling thought to many players including myself.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Beopere wrote:

One issue with Crane wing was a low level character could deflect a level 20 Barbarian T-rex with rocket boosters 100% of the time. A swashbuckler will not be able to deflect that.

Perhaps not a big deal in actual play for the majority of the time, but an unsettling thought to many players including myself.

Then be a smart GM and don't throw things with just 1 big natual attack at the party... and honestly, creatures with jsut a single big attack are all almost either really bad (liek T-rexes when youa re run into them at an appropriate level) or low leveled (like level 1 characters... which are a non challange anyway)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Beopere wrote:

One issue with Crane wing was a low level character could deflect a level 20 Barbarian T-rex with rocket boosters 100% of the time. A swashbuckler will not be able to deflect that.

Perhaps not a big deal in actual play for the majority of the time, but an unsettling thought to many players including myself.

While technically true(as long as the t-Rex doesn't use attacks from bab gained through barb levels), this seems like a very niche concern at best.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Beopere wrote:
One issue with Crane wing was a low level character could deflect a level 20 Barbarian T-rex with rocket boosters 100% of the time.

Actually, he couldn't. Crane Wing reflcted only one attack. The T-Rex 20th level Barb has 4, possibly more depending on build.

Lantern Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Beopere wrote:

One issue with Crane wing was a low level character could deflect a level 20 Barbarian T-rex with rocket boosters 100% of the time. A swashbuckler will not be able to deflect that.

Perhaps not a big deal in actual play for the majority of the time, but an unsettling thought to many players including myself.

So in that extremely niche example, then yes, old Crane Wing would have been stronger.

In more general gameplay, do you not find the potential to deflect a number of melee attacks equal to your Dexterity modifier, even while flat-footed, considerably more potent? Swashbucklers have excellent attack bonuses as well, so an opposed attack roll is a very reliable contest for them.

Lantern Lodge

After our group's even further extensive play with Opportune Riposte and Parry + Combat Reflexes + Signature Deed, I actually feel the need to add a 6th *. It has held up incredibly well even after specifically designing enemies with attempt to power through it using a wide variety of tactics and niche builds.


One word.. Well.. Acronym... PFS.

Far as I heard it, the only people who were complaining were PFS GMs who didn't have as much leeway in the control of the game to deal with the fact that APs (as far as I hear, I haven't run one in a loooong time) generally have small numbers of beasties in encounters, and the 'major' encounters typically wind up with the "One big rawr ultra attack!" stratagem.

This is second hand though. Still, having looked through some of the AP books I've got (Shattered Star, RotRL, Jade Regent, and Crimson Throne)... It begs the question half the time of why so few numbers against so many party members.

So, rather than just PFS ban the feat, or ban the MoMS from getting it at a much lower level than it could have (which was the problem, human MoMS getting it at like, level 1), they nuked it from orbit with a lightning bolt from the blue while rocks fell and killed it.

Me? I let my players use the old version. Not like it's "UBEROMGBROKEN!" in my games... Then again, I play my baddies as smart and tactical as they should be, and have a penchant for running what has been dubbed 'horde wars with a pinch of zerg rush'....

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Artemis Moonstar wrote:
One word.. Well.. Acronym... PFS.

The amount of problems in this game that comes from PFS is to damn high.

Shadow Lodge

I think you have to weigh in that some of those are feats and some of those are class features requiring levels. They shouldn't be equal in power value.


9mm wrote:
Artemis Moonstar wrote:
One word.. Well.. Acronym... PFS.
The amount of problems in this game that comes from PFS is to damn high.

Heck! I tried to marry a shoe once and PFS told me I couldn't marry mah shoe!

Lantern Lodge

Avatar-1 wrote:
I think you have to weigh in that some of those are feats and some of those are class features requiring levels. They shouldn't be equal in power value.

While I believe that is a valid factor, I also believe that the amount of resources spent to acquire something should be an equally considered factor.


I'd put the conditions for Crane Wing at one star personally - the free hand restriction means you could otherwise be using a shield, granting you a +2 to +9 AC bonus on ALL attacks rather than a preemptive +4 bonus against a single attack.

Any character who's not a monk would be much better served by taking Crane Style and a shield, saving himself a feat by leaving Crane Wing in the dust.


K177Y C47 wrote:
9mm wrote:
Artemis Moonstar wrote:
One word.. Well.. Acronym... PFS.
The amount of problems in this game that comes from PFS is to damn high.
Heck! I tried to marry a shoe once and PFS told me I couldn't marry mah shoe!

Always a shame when wizards cast Polymorph Any Object on your fiancé.


Kudaku wrote:

I'd put the conditions for Crane Wing at one star personally - the free hand restriction means you could otherwise be using a shield, granting you a +2 to +9 AC bonus on ALL attacks rather than a preemptive +4 bonus against a single attack.

Any character who's not a monk would be much better served by taking Crane Style and a shield, saving himself a feat by leaving Crane Wing in the dust.

Yeah, most of the Crane Style characters I have nowadays avoid Crane Wing if possible. Typically, this means using MoMS to skip it, or I just don't take it at all.

Shadow Lodge

For any character the new crane style traduces in ... get a situational +4 ac once per round... and get a -2 permanently to ac (by not using shield) oh and also you have to fight defensively.

Lame.

Also a teoretical t-rex as an example is really dumb. Lets think on all things that destroy a Single T rex against an apropiate level party:

Create pit
Blindness
Grease
High Ac
Wild empathy
All mind affecting spells

And mean: "EMAGERD NERF CHARM ANIMAL TOO OP FOR THAT T-REX NUFF SAID"


The problem in PFS wasn't really with the 100% deflect on one attack a round, it was that the MoMS archtype could have it at level 2.

Meaning various characters dipped 2 levels of this archtype to get it.

So instead of changing the archtype, the feat was nerfed.


Skull wrote:

The problem in PFS wasn't really with the 100% deflect on one attack a round, it was that the MoMS archtype could have it at level 2.

Meaning various characters dipped 2 levels of this archtype to get it.

So instead of changing the archtype, the feat was nerfed.

A mild nerf would've been fine if it had meant the feat at least worked more along the lines of the level 1 Swashbuckler deep, which doesn't require much besides an AoO and a panache point. Note that this deep includes a free attack against the enemy when you succeed as an immediate action. It also includes the penalty to your opposed roll based on attacker size difference that people complained didn't make any sense with Crane Wing (yar, am Tyrannosaur, am disappoint puny human push away snout with easy!). There was NOTHING wrong with the feat that couldn't be fixed with one or two tiny changes. Instead, they took a chainsaw to it and stitched it up again like Frankenstein's monster.

Scarab Sages

Whenever I hear of any 'auto-destroy' attacks, or 'auto-immunity' defences, I think of that episode of Regular Show, where Rigby learns the DEATH PUNCH!!!!, Mordecai learns the DEATH BLOCK!!!!, and they fight using the same two moves all day, till they burrow a hole to the Earth's core.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

What do i think? I wonder where you get +51 to attack from. I will admit that I am not much of a min/maxer and my group has only played to level 20 in one campaign but ...

+20 class
+15 stat (assuming a stat of 35) which I have never actually seen and must include a maximum of magical enhancement bonus.

Other than a few plusses from feats like weapon focus, I assume there must be some

inherent?
luck?
divine/holy/unholy?

where is the other +14 or so coming from?

sorry for the sort of off topic.


oh and obviously a +5 weapon so +9 or so from.

Lantern Lodge

Pyrrhic Victory wrote:

What do i think? I wonder where you get +51 to attack from. I will admit that I am not much of a min/maxer and my group has only played to level 20 in one campaign but ...

+20 class
+15 stat (assuming a stat of 35) which I have never actually seen and must include a maximum of magical enhancement bonus.

Other than a few plusses from feats like weapon focus, I assume there must be some

inherent?
luck?
divine/holy/unholy?

where is the other +14 or so coming from?

sorry for the sort of off topic.

No problem bud. The math is laid out entirely in my second post in the thread where I was comparing a Monk's theoretical attack bonus to that of a Swashbuckler's for the purposes of considering how an opposed attack roll block ability might look from the one class to the other.


Op&r is hands down the better option, especially when you consider the fact that if gained via a dip in swash, it comes with a list of other very nice deeds tacked on as well, swashbuckler finesse (which ohh by the way, if coupled with snake style can qualify your unarmed strikes for all swashbuckler deeds! Tack on a decent dex and something that also makes unarmed strikes slashing and you can grab slashing grace and you're golden) which is very nice for a dex build, and when you take snake fang you get a free opposed attack roll, then a free AoO and haven't even spent your imidiate action yet!

I was playing a kansi magus/MoMS2 character before the ACG came out. With chosen weapon unarmed strike (don't care what anyone says, yes that's legal) you I already had snake fang. I grabbed flamboyant arcana after the book came out and instantly became untouchable once I tacked on mirror image and mirror dodge (mythic campaign)! Granted I often ran out of arcane points, but I'm also a "if ive got it, I'll use it" kinda player and tend not to reserve resources. That said, this combo in conjunction if my frostbite build made for a lot of pain for opponents. Imagine what could be done with a a combo of swashbuckler/magus levels!?! Not I'm doing even more cool stuff, have a higher bab, and still doing the same stuff.

...I will say this much for my GM though....my character DID die! Enemies widdled down my mirror images, forced me to mirror dodge and stay withing melee range because they'd triggered snake style already so I wanted that hit, and doubled teamed me so that after I killed the one, the second hit me with a 17th level mythic vital strike that critted ( so I couldn't beat the attack roll) and wound up taking around 360 damage while only having 90hp left....I was cleaved clean in half....moral of the story is: no matter how good it might look on paper, if your GM knows how you plan, and can force you into a play you can't resist - he's gonna take your head off...


Divine interference can not be used on allies. It specifically says "make the enemy re-roll the attack roll".

Lantern Lodge

wraithstrike wrote:
Divine interference can not be used on allies. It specifically says "make the enemy re-roll the attack roll".

My appraisal is meant to convey that it can be used on an ally's behalf.


Lormyr wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Divine interference can not be used on allies. It specifically says "make the enemy re-roll the attack roll".
My appraisal is meant to convey that it can be used on an ally's behalf.

ok. The "and it can also be used on allies" made it sound like you could make both allies and enemies reroll.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / On Crane Wing and other "block" abilities All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.