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More Mobile Combat
At mid to high level play(basically after level 6), martials start losing mobility, with their most optimal strategy being standing and full attacking until the other side is dead. If they are forced to move, they become significantly less powerful, with certain fighting styles (two-weapon fighting in particular) losing even more. At the same time, spellcasters can move easily and still cast devastating spells. The primary purpose of the below house rules are to change that equation, and give martials multiple ways of being effective while mobile, without completely overhauling the system or being more powerful than a full attack.
Currently, a few classes and builds can fairly easily gain full attacks (barbarians with pounce, magus with spell-combat and bladed dash, pummeling style unarmed fighters, wild-shaped druids, archers), while others are SoL. The monk, rogue, and swashbuckler, which bring up images of highly mobile, flowing combat, tend to have mechanics that actually strongly support standing in one place and hitting (with the recent exception of pummeling style). Rather than trying to nerf those abilities, I am trying to create new ways that are equal or slightly less in power to these builds, but different in interesting ways.
Note that the Vital Strike and Spring attack changes, designed to allow a mobile, agile dex based swashbuckler, rogue, or slayer to be viable were proposed earlier (here) and the general consensus was that it seemed interesting).
There's also some rules to make spell-casters less mobile when using their higher level spells. This makes martials more important to protect them if they want to use their big guns.
These house-rules are meant to be a complete package, and otherwise integrate into the game unchanged. Any feedback, suggestions, or comments are appreciated. In particular, any odd combos that I may not have considered would be interesting.
Benefit: Anytime you could normally take a 5-foot step, you can instead move 10 ft. This movement follows all of the normal rules for five foot steps (including not provoking attacks of opportunity). You still may not move and take a 5-foot step in the same round.
Prerequisite: Long Step
Benefit: Instead of one 10 ft step, you can take two 5-foot steps per round. If an ability would allow you to take an action that uses up your 5-foot step for the round (such as step up), you can have it use up only one of your 5 foot steps, or you can use both of them to move 10 ft (as you could before).
Special: Martial Artist monks get Double Step as a free bonus feat at 4th lvl.
Improved Long Step
Prerequisite: Long Step
Can take a 15 ft step.
Special: If you have double step, you can now take three 5 foot steps per round, and can use any combination of them when allowed 5 foot steps.
Benefit: Whenever a foe hits you with a melee attack, you may, as an immediate action take a 5-foot step. This takes up your 5-foot step for your next round, and if you take an action to move during your next turn, subtract 5 feet from your total movement. While this motion does not negate the hit, it may prevent your attacker from making the rest of a full attack against you.
Critical Vital Strike
Prerequisite: Vital Strike (see modifications, below)
Benefit: When using Vital strike, when you confirm a critical hit, any precision damage you have from class features that require certain situations (such as sneak attack) can be applied even if they would not normally be applicable. If the damage already was applicable, that damage is also increased by the critical multiplier. This still follows the standard multiplication rules, so e.g. with vital strike and a x2 weapon, you would do a net of x3 your regular precision and weapon damage (and double all other damage sources).
Prerequisite: Ability to Cast Spells.
Benefit: When casting spells one level less than the highest level you can cast, there is no increase in casting time. Spells of the highest level you can cast still take longer, as described in the new rules, below.
Vital Strike (and improved and greater vital strike) now multiply precision damage as well as weapon damage.
Following Step: now no longer exists (Long Step renders it obsolete), and is removed as a prerequisite from Step Up and Strike.
Spring Attack: You can make any standard action when you spring attack, and can use any type of movement that you have a move speed for. This new version of the feat renders shot on the run and fly by attack obsolete (yes I know fly by attack had lesser prerequisites, too bad). Ride by attack is unchanged.
Roll With it: No longer requires goblin race.
Dimensional Agility and Dimensional Assault are combined into one Feat, Dimensional Assault. They can be used with any spell or spell-like ability that functions “as dimension door.” (including the new Lesser Abundant Step)
Dimensional Savant and Dimensional Dervish are combined into a second feat, with prerequisites Dimensional Assault and BAB +6.
New/Modified Class Ability
Ki: can be spent as a swift action to allow you to move at your bonus to speed from all classes that grant a Ki pool. If you can increase your speed by spending ki points, you can spend an additional ki point as part of the same action to grant a +20 ft bonus. Note, this is the only way a single-classed ninja could get any benefit from this.
Monk Dimensional Agility: At 7th lvl, monk's gain Lesser Abundant Step. This replaces wholeness of body. It functions as Abudant Step, but takes a standard action to activate and costs 3 ki. At 12th lvl, monk's gain the regular Abundant Step ability. Any archetype that replaces wholeness of body instead replaces Lesser Abundant Step.
General Rule Modifications:
When wielding two weapons, anytime you can only a standard action attack action (and not a vital strike, cleave, charge, etc.) you may attack with both weapons at the usual two-weapon fighting penalties. You still do not gain any iteratives.
Acrobatics: 1/move action you can use acrobatics to jump over difficult terrain to ignore its effects (including allowing you to charge).
When casting a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action that is the highest or next highest level spell that you can cast (After taking into account metamagic and other spell-level alterations), the spell has a casting time of 1 full round action (NOT 1 round). If the spell would already be a full round action to cast (such as spontaneous casters using metamagic), it instead has a casting time of 1 round. This has no effect on spells with any other casting times, or quickened spells.
Persue the Enemy
Transmutation, Paladin 2, Anti-paladin 2, Inquisitor 3, Warpriest 3, Cleric/Oracle 3, Ranger 2
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Duration: 1 minute/level
For the duration of this spell, you can, as a full round action move your speed and then make a full attack action. The motion must end in to a creature you have smited, or is of the creature type of a weapon you have made Bane using your Bane class feature, is a favored enemy, or has been targeted by a Warpriest blessing or domain ability of yours, and you must then either make the attack or full-attack action against that creature (if it drops, you may make any remaining attacks against other foes in reach as normal).
The movement provided by this spell provokes attacks of opportunity as normal.
Transmutation [Polymorph]: Bloodrager 2, Ranger 2, Druid 3, Alchemist 3, Investigator 3, Hunter 3, Skald 3, Witch 3
Casting Time: 1 standard Action
Duration: 1 round/level
The touched creature gains the pounce monster special ability.
Lesser Dimension Door
Conjuration(teleport)Wizard/Sorcerer 2, Bloodrager 2, Bard 2, Skald 2, Witch 2, Summoner 2, Magus 2
Casting Time: 1 move action
Range: Short (25+5 ft/2lvls)
Saving Throw: None, Spell Resistance: No
As Dimension door, except for as above, and you can only teleport to positions you have line of sight to (you do not need line of effect however). This spell counts as Dimension Door for the purpose of meeting requirements for the Dimensional Agility and Dimensional Dervish feats, and may be used with them as if it were dimension door.
Conjuration(teleport)Wizard/Sorcerer 4, Bard 4, Skald 4, Witch 4, Summoner 4, Magus 4
Duration: 1 round/lvl
As Lesser Dimension Door, except as look as the spell is in effect, you may use a move action to teleport.
You could tie the range of the 5-foot step to iterative attacks. A wizard wouldn't get a 10ft step until level 12, by which time full BAB classes can move 15 feet. Though, you might need to separate it so that AoO's aren't impossible. Maybe just retain 5ft step and say that you can move 5 feat per iterative attack and still take a full attack action. Or something. Maybe. Myeh.
Good stuff though. I like the standard action TWF change.
The main purpose of the Long Step feats was to allow characters who aren't particularly mobile to still fairly frequently make full attacks, by stepping up to the next foe after dropping one. At the same time, I intentionally wrote them as general purpose, so archers and spellcasters can use them to escape melee, and double step even allows a bit of hit and run capability, and meleers can use them to quickly get to the next foe and continue attacking.
I figured if a wizard wants to take that instead of combat casting to improve his escapability, that's not really going to break things. Especially when combined with the full round casting thing, those five foot steps become a lot more important for casters to get away.