Adding Precision Damage to Vital Strike


Homebrew and House Rules

Sovereign Court

So I am thinking of adding the following house rule, and would like to hear the hive-mind's opinion about how it is broken/could be broken.

The basic rule is that the vital strike line of feats multiplies precision damage (such as sneak attack, investigator's studied strike, etc.) as well as the base weapon dice.

In addition, I am allowing vital strike while spring attacking.

My rationale for this is as follows: In the pathfinder system, it is generally quite hard to create a mobile, agile fighter who ducks in and out of combat while still contributing any significant damage, particularly at high levels where the full attack is king. Rogues in particular seem like they should be able to do this, but can't. In general, rogues need either two weapon fighting (to multiply sneak attack damage dice) or a strength build. But the classic fencer/single weapon wielder doesn't seem that optimal.

My hope is that this rule would allow that. With vital strike multiplying the sneak attack and allowed on spring attack, it should be competitive with full attacking/two weapon fighting without being better (still doesn't multiply other bonuses, such as buffs and weapon enhancement).

Flavor wise, it seems perfect. A sneak attack is already striking at a vital spot, so conceptually it works. I'm pretty sure this is balanced for rogue, which is already generally considered to be a weak class. However, I would like to hear if anyone can think of some corner case or other class that would really break this rule.


At first glance, it looked like it might break it; then thinking about it for a bit, it doesn't really. May need some play-testing just to see though.

I like this idea. It seems to level out the playing field compared to the two-weapon fighters and such. Only thing I wonder is, will it end up being so convenient as to make the two-weapon fighting style pointless for rogues? Just considering that two-weapon fighting gives penalties to hit for the possible multiplied sneak, whereas the Vital Strike with Spring Attack wouldn't.


so:

Vital Strike (alternate):
Prerequisites: Sneak Attack +3d6
Benefit: You may multiply the precision damage you deal on a critical hit.
Normal: Precision damage does not multiply on a critical hit.

?

Sovereign Court

rainzax wrote:

so:

Vital Strike (alternate):
Prerequisites: Sneak Attack +3d6
Benefit: You may multiply the precision damage you deal on a critical hit.
Normal: Precision damage does not multiply on a critical hit.

?

So I've thought about doing something like that. I like it in that it gives rogues a reason to use high crit weapons (like daggers or rapiers).

However, it doesn't address the problem of allowing them to be more mobile. It ups damage on all attacks, so standing and full attacking is still better.

DarkMidget wrote:

Only thing I wonder is, will it end up being so convenient as to make the two-weapon fighting style pointless for rogues? Just considering that two-weapon fighting gives penalties to hit for the possible multiplied sneak, whereas the Vital Strike with Spring Attack wouldn't.

Yeah, I'm a bit worried as well. On the other hand, a two-weapon fighting rogue is generally considered a bit weak compared with other martials, so if I use that as the baseline, then I'm keeping the rogue too weak.

Also, two-weapon fighting will still grant more maximum damage. At BAB +6, two weapon fighting grants +4/+4/-1, while vital striking grants one attack at +6 that doubles the sneak attack and weapon damage, but nothing else. So two-weapon fighting gives a possibility of 3 sneak attacks, while vital strike just gives 2.

In addition full attacking gets stronger with things like haste or other static damage buffs (like bardic music).


Should be alright. If there was a class that got the full 10D6 Sneak Attack and full BAB I'd be concerned, but the Rogue is going to be behind because they're waiting to level 8 to take Vital Strike anyway. Swashbuckler is full BAB... but I'm pretty sure the Fighter getting to add their Strength and Power Attack bonuses twice at level 6 is going to do more than the Swashbuckler getting an extra 6 damage from having Precise Strike doubled.

Rogue/Swashbuckler/etc. will have a decent edge in the first round compared to most classes, since they can close and attack much more effectively, but they're still not matching up very nicely compared to the Barbarian who's going to be getting Pounce when the Swashbuckler is getting Improved Vital Strike.


Oh right! I forgot about them trailing slightly behind in the department of attacks vs multiple of damage.

Yeah, then that sounds fairly balanced already.


well with two feats a bloodrager adds +1 damage for every 5 caster levels during a bloodrage, that multiplies with vital strike. so maybe something comparable to that? like you may multiple your sneak attack dice with vital strike, but they are reduced to 1d4. im not doing this because im worried about the rogue, but rather the slayer who is already fighting for top damage dealer as it is.


The Slayer gets a +5 static damage and a +6D6 sneak attack by the time it caps, and will have Greater Vital Strike for x4 on that-- comes to a bonus of +20+24D6, and the dice will average to 84 for +104. This assumes that the Studied Target bonus is precision damage, which isn't spelled out. Assuming not means you'd just multiply the Sneak Attack for 84. Swashbuckler, at the same point, has a static +80. Rogue only has triple bonus off Vital Strike, so 30D6, which is an average of +105 damage.

I'm not seeing the problem there. If the Studied Target is precision damage, the Slayer is on par with the Rogue and had to take an extra feat. If the Studied Target is not, the Slayer is behind the Rogue and only just ahead of the Swashbuckler.


you aren't factoring in to-hit which the slayer does quite a bit better. it is the consistency of damage that adds up. also the slayer will be less bothered to take the feats in the first place.


Both of these are true, but to me at least they don't put the Slayer so far ahead of the Rogue to make them a huge problem... especially considering that the Rogue is one of the worst classes in the game. Beating the Rogue is not exactly a hallmark of being a game-breaker.

It's worth keeping in mind that this doesn't make Vital Strike inherently better than full attacks, so what it'd really turn into for the Slayer is a sort of pseudo-pounce. Is that awesome? Yes. Is it a three-feat tax for them to get, and something that doesn't flow as nicely as Pounce with most attack boosting methods (high strength, Power Attack)? Also yes.

Sovereign Court

So sounds like this should be a reasonable house rule. Thanks for the advice, just have to try it out and see how it goes.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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I'd first try it out as 'Every Vital Strike includes Precision damage, such as Sneak Attack damage'.

This means that the Rogue can Vital Strike and get his Sneak attack damage every single round, if he so chooses. That alone will do wonders for his offensive ability.

You should NOT tie it to crits. Crits create weapon discrepancy. Tie it to his SA infliction as another condition. That way he's not reliant on the full attack unless he really has something on the ropes and can hit it easily.

As for fixed Precision damage...it won't hurt anything if you include it, as Vital Strike as written isn't strong enough to break that way.

==Aelryinth


I think it's an interesting suggestion. Vital Strike multiplying precision damage would mean that rogues (sneak attack) and swashbucklers (precise strike) could actually do a decent job of dealing damage without buying into the "full attack or your damage sucks" regiment that haunts Pathfinder combat in general.

I haven't crunched the numbers so I'm not sure if it would qualify as "broken", but I'd be very interested in how your play test runs. :)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Multiplying Precision damage when other classes don't get to multiply their own fixed damage bonuses seems blatantly unfair to me.

Just letting him add SA damage to every Vital Strike is a major improvement for a rogue...he never needs to worry about qualifying for sneak attacks.

==Aelryinth


i would personally list sneak attack granted by levels of rogue or precise strike in the special line instead of flat access. There are classes that absolutely do not need the added oopmh, especially the slayer who has a deific combat style that has both VS and IVS and therefore has an easy method to pick the tree up. There is also considering that, unlike the rogue, they do have the accuracy to make use of powerful and deadly sneak to increase their average sneak attack damage. so yeah making a tagline for a couple specific classes for rogue and swashbuckler im all for because they could use a little love(and the swash should live up to its mobility claim). Oh yeah, and daring champions adding challenge and strike on top of this as well, and depending on on the order and ability scores could have stupid high accuracy with that vital strike.

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