Step Up? Worth it? Or no?


Advice

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I'm building a Swashbuckler, and trying to decide whether or not to take Step Up. I've never taken it before, so I don't know how useful it will be.

Is it worth it? What if I take Disruptive? Or if I take Following Step and Step Up and Strike?


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Step Up is a serious threat to archers and gunslinger... But just a minor inconvenience to casters. It's a bit too situational for my tastes.

Step Up and Strike is better, but it requires 3 feats... And Following Step isn't much of an upgrade over Step Up.

Silver Crusade

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Its a fun feat, especially at the low to mid levels. One of the original goals for my monk was somebody designed to scree up spell casters and this was a useful part of that.

If you have room for it in your build its fine. But it definitely isn't an essential feat.

Note, it is seriously weakened if the GM metagames and has the bad guys act as if they knew about it.


To be honest... I wasn't even considering using it against archers. I always thought of it as a feat to mess up casters. But it is way better against ranged characters - I could make multiple AoOs per turn, and they can't "shoot defensively" unless they have Point Blank Master or something.

Sovereign Court

I took it on my paladin at level 3. Didn't do anything until halfway into level 4, but then I suddenly stepped up to a wizard who was about to cast Stinking Cloud targeting all the party members that were actually being a real threat to him. He rolled a 1 on his Cast Defensively check. Next round we annihilated him and his party.

It doesn't come up often, but when it does, it's glorious.

In PFS, bet on casters not being prepared for it. And GMs not knowing you have it.


Considering how often the Inquisitor in my Rise of the Runelords game used it, against more than just spellcasters...

Yeah, it's good.

Shadow Lodge

In theory, it's terrible.
In actual gameplay, it's awesome.

I use it on two PFS melee characters and it works very well. It comes up more often than you'd imagine it would.
Everyone seems to think of archery and casting spells, but it's surprising how frequently enemies take 5' steps in combat, especially if your GM knows what they're doing.

I've taken a lot of AOO's that I wouldn't otherwise have been able to because of this feat.
Also, at 8th level and above, many enemies have spell like abilities. This feat helps with Devils/Demons a lot, especially if they're trying to summon in reinforcements.

Following Step can be a good idea for characters that really benefit from flanking. Also, the movement from Following Step is free, unlike Step Up movement, which eats your 5' step for the next round.
It takes some thinking and finesse, but I think it's a really strong feat.

With Step Up, your enemy's situation doesn't change when they try to step away.
With Following Step, your enemy's situation can go from bad to worse when they try to step away.

Step Up and Strike is nice but I don't think it's worth it.
Unless you already have Combat Reflexes and a decent Dex bonus, it's not going to make a whole lot of difference. Whatever the bad guy was planning on doing before they stepped away is probably going to provoke an AOO anyway, so this feat's benefit is marginal at best.


If you really want to be a pain in the butt with this, play a Brawler Fighter. Menacing Stance makes the concentration check genuinely worrisome for spellcasters; No Escape and Step Up and Strike together means that anyone who tries to 5-foot-step away from you provokes twice.

Shadow Lodge

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Lemmy wrote:

Step Up is a serious threat to archers and gunslinger... But just a minor inconvenience to casters. It's a bit too situational for my tastes.

Step Up and Strike is better, but it requires 3 feats... And Following Step isn't much of an upgrade over Step Up.

Normally, I agree with most of your posts Lemmy.

Here, I disagree.

In my experience, Step Up is much more than an inconvenience to casters. Taking a Power Attack from a Great Axe while trying to cast a spell is rough. Having to change their plan to a lower level spell so they can be sure to pass the concentration check to cast defensively is rough.
Trying to summon something by 5' stepping away becomes nearly impossible.
It's also a serious threat to melee reach types. I've used it to ruin several pole arm users. No attack for you!
You can use it to interfere with an enemy's full attack if they choose to take a 5' step between iteratives.
I've even used it to break line of effect for myself when certain enemy spells are incoming (granted, that's pretty rare).

Following Step gives you 10' of free movement as an immediate action. You get to keep your 5' step when your turn comes up too.
I think that's a pretty big deal.

The best part of Step Up is how the rest of the group reacts when you use it.


Tomos wrote:
Lemmy wrote:

Step Up is a serious threat to archers and gunslinger... But just a minor inconvenience to casters. It's a bit too situational for my tastes.

Step Up and Strike is better, but it requires 3 feats... And Following Step isn't much of an upgrade over Step Up.

Normally, I agree with most of your posts Lemmy.

Here, I disagree.

In my experience, Step Up is much more than an inconvenience to casters. Taking a Power Attack from a Great Axe while trying to cast a spell is rough. Having to change their plan to a lower level spell so they can be sure to pass the concentration check to cast defensively is rough.
Trying to summon something by 5' stepping away becomes nearly impossible.

Concentration checks aren't difficult... By 6th~8th level they are basically an auto-success. Especially if the caster has a trait or feat that gives them a bonus (they all do).

Step Up is not bad... Just a tad too situational for my tastes. There are better feats to take.

Shadow Lodge

When the DC spikes due to damage taken, it can be rough.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Tomos wrote:
When the DC spikes due to damage taken, it can be rough.

The problem being that casters almost never have to worry about damage taken outside of readied actions. They just roll the cast defensively check and never provoke.

On topic, I've seen it once in play, and it was a pleasant surprise. For me, not for my NPC. :)


Ready wrote:
You can take a 5-foot step as part of your readied action, but only if you don't otherwise move any distance during the round.

Does this mean that a character without Step up can't move next to a caster and ready an action to attack to interrupt spellcasting if the caster 5-foot steps away?

Because if so, then I think step up is vital to melee martials who want to ready to disrupt spellcasting.


Step up is indeed a situational feat, but it's just so damn good in those situations it's hard to pass up.

Sovereign Court

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Tomos wrote:
When the DC spikes due to damage taken, it can be rough.

The problem being that casters almost never have to worry about damage taken outside of readied actions. They just roll the cast defensively check and never provoke.

On topic, I've seen it once in play, and it was a pleasant surprise. For me, not for my NPC. :)

Except when they have a brawler (fighter archetype not to be confused with the new brawler class) with disruptive, step up, and they have to make concentration checks with a -8. Add in the new improved distracting weapon ability from the ACG and you can make that a -18.

In the right build, step up is awesome, my brawler fighter for pfs uses it all the time to shut down casters and archers alike.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Amelia Hawes wrote:
Except when...
Me wrote:
...casters almost never have to...

Silver Crusade

Lemmy wrote:
Tomos wrote:
Lemmy wrote:

Step Up is a serious threat to archers and gunslinger... But just a minor inconvenience to casters. It's a bit too situational for my tastes.

Step Up and Strike is better, but it requires 3 feats... And Following Step isn't much of an upgrade over Step Up.

Normally, I agree with most of your posts Lemmy.

Here, I disagree.

In my experience, Step Up is much more than an inconvenience to casters. Taking a Power Attack from a Great Axe while trying to cast a spell is rough. Having to change their plan to a lower level spell so they can be sure to pass the concentration check to cast defensively is rough.
Trying to summon something by 5' stepping away becomes nearly impossible.

Concentration checks aren't difficult... By 6th~8th level they are basically an auto-success. Especially if the caster has a trait or feat that gives them a bonus (they all do).

Step Up is not bad... Just a tad too situational for my tastes. There are better feats to take.

Auto-success for low-level spells perhaps. All spells, no. At least not until significantly higher level than 8. Reducing an enemy who would otherwise cast cloudkill or black tentacles to casting magic missile is still worth it even if it isn't as obvious as making the caster lose the spell entirely.

8th level caster, 20 casting stat (with headband). Base +13 concentration.
To cast a 4th level spell, he's looking at DC 23 (15 + 2x spell level) and needs to roll a 10. A 55% chance of success is better than nothing but it's not terribly good odds either. Certainly not automatic.
Even if the caster has combat casting and a concentration trait, it's only actually automatic for 1st and 2nd level spells; there's still a 15% chance of failure for 4th level spells. And combat casting is 1. a lousy feat and 2. can be offset by Disruptive, driving the chance of failure back up.

Now by level 20, you're looking at a +30 concentration check so the DC 33 check to cast a 9th level spell is only looking at a 10% chance of failure and anything less is automatic. (At least for PCs; for NPCs (and especially for monsters with SLAs, it's common to have less than a 30 casting stat so casting defensively will be more of a risk). On the other hand, by 20th level you can easily have both Step up and Strike and Disruptive both of which give utility to Step Up. (Disruptive makes casting defensively non-automatic for the good spells, encouraging foes to take a 5' step away from you to avoid the need for a concentration check and triggers Step Up and Strike).

It's also a mistake to view the Step Up chain as being only useful against spellcasters and ranged attackers. It is also useful against monsters who might try to 5' step into or out of flanks (or reach weapon users who need to 5' step back in order to attack). Locking them down (and later, taking a free attack on them for their effort) is pretty useful.

Shadow Lodge

Step up and strike is a nice feat too, but I wouldn't take disruptive unless you have other sources of concentration reduction.


Amelia Hawes wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Tomos wrote:
When the DC spikes due to damage taken, it can be rough.

The problem being that casters almost never have to worry about damage taken outside of readied actions. They just roll the cast defensively check and never provoke.

On topic, I've seen it once in play, and it was a pleasant surprise. For me, not for my NPC. :)

Except when they have a brawler (fighter archetype not to be confused with the new brawler class) with disruptive, step up, and they have to make concentration checks with a -8. Add in the new improved distracting weapon ability from the ACG and you can make that a -18.

In the right build, step up is awesome, my brawler fighter for pfs uses it all the time to shut down casters and archers alike.

Ooh, I hadn't seen the Distracting ability. A Brawler with a +1 Distracting Cestus in the main hand and a +1 Cruel Cestus in the offhand can be a pretty brutal debuffer. Intimidating with the mainhand hit (via Cornugon Smash) would trigger the sickened condition from the offhand's cruel ability. Assuming I'm not mistaken in believing that casting defensively counts as an "ability check", that wizard is now looking at a -12 to the check. -20 if you're using Greater Distracting.

Shadow Lodge

@Elder: Following Step can be used to put an enemy right back into a flank if they try to 5' step out of it.


I feel like this is a stupid question, but... when you use Following Step, that movement does not provoke, correct?

Scarab Sages

Amelia Hawes wrote:


Except when they have a brawler (fighter archetype not to be confused with the new brawler class) with disruptive, step up, and they have to make concentration checks with a -8. Add in the new improved distracting weapon ability from the ACG and you can make that a -18.
In the right build, step up is awesome, my brawler fighter for pfs uses it all the time to shut down casters and archers alike.

Step Up completely shuts down most full casters when you combine it with Call the Void.


Artanthos wrote:
Amelia Hawes wrote:


Except when they have a brawler (fighter archetype not to be confused with the new brawler class) with disruptive, step up, and they have to make concentration checks with a -8. Add in the new improved distracting weapon ability from the ACG and you can make that a -18.
In the right build, step up is awesome, my brawler fighter for pfs uses it all the time to shut down casters and archers alike.
Step Up completely shuts down most full casters when you combine it with Call the Void.

Level sorcerer/wizard 3, witch 3

Range: Personal
Target: You

So your anti-caster strategy requires a full caster to get up close and personal with another caster. And also take a feat that doesn't benefit them. So really... this just proves that Uncle is right yet again. So repeat after me: "Magic must fight magic."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Well, I have some ideas for a Magus now...


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We cannot answer your question, but you can.

How often does your DM have opponents take 5ft steps out of your PCs' reach?

Answer matrix:
If you answered "a lot", then Step Up is a great feat.
If you answered "not much", then Step Up is a poor feat.
If you answered "somewhere in between", then Step Up is mediocre.
If you answered "camel", you likely misread the question.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Well, I have some ideas for a Magus now...

It'd need to be an Eldritch Knight, Call the Void isn't on the Magus spell list.

As for you Anzyr, I'd love to see the 7th level (when the Disruptive Brawler build fully comes online) Wizard who's making concentration checks reliably at a -12 penalty.

Lantern Lodge

One thing that's only been loosley touched on- -Disruptive/Step Up is significantly more valuable against creatures with SLAs. Often, their effective caster levels are comparably low vs. a similarly CR'd spellcaster.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Well, I have some ideas for a Magus now...
It'd need to be an Eldritch Knight, Call the Void isn't on the Magus spell list.

I was pretty sure Spell Blending could fix that.

Quote:
Spell Blending (Ex): When a magus selects this arcana, he must select one spell from the wizard spell list that is of a magus spell level he can cast. He adds this spell to his spellbook and list of magus spells known as a magus spell of its wizard spell level.


...Yep, that'll do it.

Scarab Sages

Anzyr wrote:
Artanthos wrote:
Amelia Hawes wrote:


Except when they have a brawler (fighter archetype not to be confused with the new brawler class) with disruptive, step up, and they have to make concentration checks with a -8. Add in the new improved distracting weapon ability from the ACG and you can make that a -18.
In the right build, step up is awesome, my brawler fighter for pfs uses it all the time to shut down casters and archers alike.
Step Up completely shuts down most full casters when you combine it with Call the Void.

Level sorcerer/wizard 3, witch 3

Range: Personal
Target: You

So your anti-caster strategy requires a full caster to get up close and personal with another caster. And also take a feat that doesn't benefit them. So really... this just proves that Uncle is right yet again. So repeat after me: "Magic must fight magic."

I play a blade bound Kensai with spell blending.

I can live without casting for a few rounds.

In another life, I have a fighter with an ioun stone. Want to guess the spell?


Artanthos wrote:


In another life, I have a fighter with an ioun stone. Want to guess the spell?

Wait Ioun stones can mimic spells? since when and what kind of spells i need more info please?


Arachnofiend wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Well, I have some ideas for a Magus now...

It'd need to be an Eldritch Knight, Call the Void isn't on the Magus spell list.

As for you Anzyr, I'd love to see the 7th level (when the Disruptive Brawler build fully comes online) Wizard who's making concentration checks reliably at a -12 penalty.

Well I can't show you that I admit, but what I do have up my sleeve is:

Shift (Su): At 1st level, you can teleport to a nearby space as a swift action as if using dimension door. This movement does not provoke an attack of opportunity. You must be able to see the space that you are moving into. You cannot take other creatures with you when you use this ability (except for familiars). You can move 5 feet for every two wizard levels you possess (minimum 5 feet). You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.

@ Artanthos: Ok, you still need a caster to fill it and see the above ability which is not affected in the least by your strategy.


...Wow, that's complete and utter bull. It even bypasses No Escape.

What the hell, Paizo.


Let's not forget Travel Domain. And the Arcanist's "teleport as a move action" exploit, whose name I can't recall right now.

Also, IIRC, quickened spells don't provoke. :/

(And all of that is assuming the caster isn't just flying around and/or invisible)


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If the caster is flying and has 6 mirror images, is Step Up going to be helpful?

If your goal is to defeat a caster as a martial character, I think you are better served by playing an archer. You can full attack the flying caster without needing to move, Step Up, or fly. The best way to stop a caster from casting a spell is to take away all of their hit points.

Grand Lodge

RumpinRufus wrote:
I feel like this is a stupid question, but... when you use Following Step, that movement does not provoke, correct?

It doesn't say that movement is treated as equivalent of a 5-foot step or that it does not provoke.

So it provokes.


Exocrat wrote:

It doesn't say that movement is treated as equivalent of a 5-foot step or that it does not provoke.

So it provokes.

Huh, well then things get REALLY weird.

Following Step says "When using the Step Up feat to follow an adjacent foe, you may move up to 10 feet" and Step Up says "Whenever an adjacent foe attempts to take a 5-foot step away from you, you may also make a 5-foot step as an immediate action".

So that means that you ARE taking a 5-foot step (otherwise you would not be "using the Step Up feat"), so the first 5 feet of movement should NOT provoke. But then the second 5 feet of movement DOES provoke?

Sovereign Court

This bothers me as well.


In the last campaign i played, I had it for five levels and never has the chance to use it once. Depends on your GM.

Scarab Sages

Razal-Thule wrote:
Artanthos wrote:


In another life, I have a fighter with an ioun stone. Want to guess the spell?
Wait Ioun stones can mimic spells? since when and what kind of spells i need more info please?

Vibrant Purple Prism

Scarab Sages

Anzyr wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Well, I have some ideas for a Magus now...

It'd need to be an Eldritch Knight, Call the Void isn't on the Magus spell list.

As for you Anzyr, I'd love to see the 7th level (when the Disruptive Brawler build fully comes online) Wizard who's making concentration checks reliably at a -12 penalty.

Well I can't show you that I admit, but what I do have up my sleeve is:

Shift (Su): At 1st level, you can teleport to a nearby space as a swift action as if using dimension door. This movement does not provoke an attack of opportunity. You must be able to see the space that you are moving into. You cannot take other creatures with you when you use this ability (except for familiars). You can move 5 feet for every two wizard levels you possess (minimum 5 feet). You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.

Oddly enough Anzyr, I have never seen a published scenario where the caster was a teleport school wizard.

Unless the DM is deliberately designing encounters to negate melee characters, it is a non-issue. If the DM is designing all your encounters to negate melee, there is a problem, but it is not the rules.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Step Up is great for arcane duelists, who get Disruptive for free. I almost completely shut down a lich with it. If I had only been a level higher, I could have gotten free AoOs on all those fumbled concentration checks.

And there is a published teleportation wizard in the PFS scenario

Spoiler:
Port Godless.


Something that hasn't really been mentioned is that Step Up is an immediate action, and as a Swashbuckler you're already fairly starved for swift actions.

Shadow Lodge

In PFS I've had it for two characters, and never used it. One character swapped it out eventually and I'm really considering retraining it for the other at this point. It might be that as a DM knows I have it, they unintentionally make enemies avoid allowing me to use it or it may just be that I have not really been in a situation for it to really work well, but in my experience its its good in theory but not in practice.

Off topic, I do wish it was an extension of the Spring Attack chain rather than its own, or worked with Reach builds where it would really shine.

Scarab Sages

Gwaihir Scout wrote:

Step Up is great for arcane duelists, who get Disruptive for free. I almost completely shut down a lich with it. If I had only been a level higher, I could have gotten free AoOs on all those fumbled concentration checks.

And there is a published teleportation wizard in the PFS scenario ** spoiler omitted **

I apologize, there is one. But the feat remains valid for every other caster you are likely to encounter.

Scarab Sages

DM Beckett wrote:

In PFS I've had it for two characters, and never used it. One character swapped it out eventually and I'm really considering retraining it for the other at this point. It might be that as a DM knows I have it, they unintentionally make enemies avoid allowing me to use it or it may just be that I have not really been in a situation for it to really work well, but in my experience its its good in theory but not in practice.

Off topic, I do wish it was an extension of the Spring Attack chain rather than its own, or worked with Reach builds where it would really shine.

I have two PFS characters with Step Up. Both get to use the feat.

The character that gets the most usage is my Battle Oracle. Surprising Charge the caster, take your AoA (unless the DM retroactively decides the caster was casting defensively) and use Step Up to stay with them. I've also found it works wonders to prevent opponents 5' stepping into flanking position.

Shadow Lodge

Why retroactively? If they step away and you follow them, (after they move, but interrupting their action before they begin to cast) it makes perfect sense they would then cast defensively. They are fully aware they are threatened before hand.

Scarab Sages

DM Beckett wrote:
Why retroactively? If they step away and you follow them, (after they move, but interrupting their action before they begin to cast) it makes perfect sense they would then cast defensively. They are fully aware they are threatened before hand.

Surprising Charge is an immediate action that allows me to take a move action. I usually reserve it until a caster starts a spell. Even if they 5' step at the end of their turn, after the spell is resolved, I'll be able to move up on my turn and then stay adjacent on their next turn when they 5' step.

The retroactive statement is because I've had GM's decide their NPC, who was not threatened before my Surprising Charge, was casting defensively.

Scarab Sages

As for Shift, it functions as Dimension Door, so unless the wizard has the Dimensional Agility, it is going to prevent them from taking any other actions that round, which is still a win for you.

Shadow Lodge

DM Beckett wrote:

It might be that as a DM knows I have it, they unintentionally make enemies avoid allowing me to use it...

This is also one of the benefits of the feat.

Even if the GM intentionally/unintentionally 'prevents' you from using it, they are self-limiting their options and therefore giving you a tactical advantage.

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