Rebalanced Attack Action Economy


Homebrew and House Rules


This is an attempt at rebalancing attack actions in a way to make martial characters more mobile than normally. It is loosely based on ideas i got from the Revised Action Economy in PF Unchained, but works without completely retooling the entire action economy and as a result would avoid all the homebrew adjustments needed for all manner of feats and special rules that alter attack abilities:

Attack
Making an attack is a move action. You may not take an attack action on the same turn you have already made another attack or advanced attack action.

Advanced attack
If you get more than one attack per round because your base attack bonus is high enough (see Base Attack Bonus in Classes), because you fight with two weapons or a double weapon, or for some special reason (including things like the Rapid Shot feat, a monk's flurry of blows, a haste spell or using natural weapons), you can use a standard action to make up to one additional attack.
This type of action functions the same way as a full attack and can use additional attacks from any source that allows you to make an additional attack on a full attack action, but you can never make more than a total of two attacks.
You may not take an advanced attack action on the same turn you have already made an attack action.

Full attack (This is here just for completeness's sake, it's unchanged from normal rules)
If you get more than one attack per round because your base attack bonus is high enough (see Base Attack Bonus in Classes), because you fight with two weapons or a double weapon, or for some special reason, you must use a full-round action to get your additional attacks. You do not need to specify the targets of your attacks ahead of time. You can see how the earlier attacks turn out before assigning the later ones.

The only movement you can take during a full attack is a 5-foot step. You may take the step before, after, or between your attacks.

If you get multiple attacks because your base attack bonus is high enough, you must make the attacks in order from highest bonus to lowest. If you are using two weapons, you can strike with either weapon first. If you are using a double weapon, you can strike with either part of the weapon first.

Combat Maneuvers
A trip, disarm, or sunder maneuver can be performed replacing any individual attack made in an attack, advanced attack or full attack action the same way it can normally be performed replacing attacks in a full-attack action. Any other combat maneuver must be performed replacing all attacks in an advanced action, you only make one combat maneuver roll in that case. Of course this does not include combat maneuvers that can be made as free actions due to special rule, such as the Grab monster ability.

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As a bit of additional fluff: I have tried outright making full attacks standard actions, but that just resulted in the fights ending before the casters even got to try casting a spell.


You may want to check this out.


You may want to read my post. I mean at least the intro. This is expressly supposed to be like the unchained AE (as far as attacks go) but not the same thing, and still using the regular definitions of actions and iterative attacks so it doesn't require mountains of adjustments to corner cases.

Liberty's Edge

So, a normal attack can be done as either a Move Action or a Standard Action, meaning that you could swing your sword and then drink a potion you had on your bandolier, or use a wand or something?

One idea that I had was to take a character's BAB and use that to grant extra Attack Actions period, like the Fighter in D&D 5.0 (a 5th level fighter always gets two attacks per turn, without needing to make a Full-Round attack; Thus, their turn can be 1 Move and 2 Attacks if they want)


Yes that is correct.

The other approach you suggest in my experience leads to battles being over way too quickly. Characters just move in and completely obliterate one foe each in a single round. In 5e this works because the damage numbers per attack don't scale up as much.


This is Pathfinder, where enemies usually ARE obliterated in a single round. If you aren't taking out at least one foe per round [and you're fighting more than two at once] there's a big problem.

In my own houserules I allow a 'minor attack' as a move action [taking a -2 penalty to hit] and grant additional move actions as BAB goes up.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

The Unchained Action Economy is a great inspirational system closer to what I want from a tactical combat crunchy RPG. However, the simplicity of a standard action system that modifies mobility for martial combat has an appeal considering how much is already invested into the currently existing action structure.

Here were my thoughts on what I may do:

Attack Action - A standard action with no change.

Full Attack Action - A standard action allowing extra attacks per original full attack rules. If you moved up to half speed since your last turn you take a -4 penalty to all attacks until your next turn. If you moved up to full speed since your last turn you take a -8 penalty to all attacks until your next turn. You may choose to take these penalties when making a Full Attack Action even if they have not yet moved. If you take the -4 penalty you may only move up to half your speed until your next turn. A character who takes no penalty cannot take any movement actions other than a 5' Step until their next turn.

5' Step - Does not confer penalties on full attacks. I am also considering making this a move action, which would have intended negative implications on Full Round Actions like spellcasting. I also kind of wish spellcasting was already a full round action for standard spells, though coming into effect immediately. However that is a much more drastic change to martial/caster balance

Melee Combat while Mounted - If your mount makes only a single move you may take the Full Attack Action at an additional -4 penalty to melee attacks, making your attacks at any point during the mount's movement. If your mount makes a double move or charge action you may not make melee attacks during the Full Attack Action. When you are mounted and use the charge action, you may move and attack as if with a standard charge and then move again (continuing the straight line of the charge), and total movement for the round can't exceed double your mounted speed. These penalties and restrictions are instead of the usual penalties for moving during a Full Attack Action. Higher ground bonuses, ride DCs, and mounted ranged attacks works the same as before.

Whirlwind Attack - Prerequisites: Str 13, Power Attack, Cleave, Great Cleave, base attack bonus +4. - As a standard action, you may make one melee attack at your highest base attack bonus against each opponent within reach. You must make a separate attack roll against each opponent. When you use this feat, you take a –2 penalty to your Armor Class until your next turn. When you use the Whirlwind Attack feat, you also forfeit any bonus or extra attacks granted by other feats, spells, or abilities.

Spring Attack - Prerequisites: Dex 13, Dodge, Mobility, base attack bonus +4. - The penalty you take when using a melee weapon while moving before or after a full attack is reduced by 4: no penalty instead of –4 if you move up to half speed, and –4 instead of –8 if you move up to full speed.

Great Mobility - Prequisuites: Dex 13, Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, base attack bonus +4. - You may combine any one move action that includes movement and any one standard action. The individual parts of the standard action (separate attacks, spellcasting, ect) may be taken at any point during the movement allowing you to split your movement. If you move up to half speed you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls, ability checks, skill checks, and caster level until the beginning of your next turn. If you move up to your full speed you take a -8 penalty on attack rolls, ability checks, skill checks, and caster level until the beginning of your next turn. These penalties stack with other movement penalties such as that from using the Full Attack Action.

Ride-By attack - Prerequisites: Ride 1 rank, Mounted Combat. - You may make melee attacks during the Full Attack Action at no penalty if your mount only takes a single move action. You may make melee attacks at a -4 penalty during the Full Attack action if your mount makes a double move. You may make melee attacks at -8 penalty during the Full Attack Action if your mount makes a run.

Remove shot on the run.

Pounce type abilities are still powerful, but not as steeply so. Essentially they take the penalty and turn it into a bonus. The Spring Attack chain, now capped with Great Mobility, now makes mobile melee full attacking easier to pull off without being a mandatory Dex and feat tax on martials. Great Mobility still heavily favors melee but replaces Shot on the Run with some penalty, parts of the old Spring Attack, and brings in a penalized version of combining other actions like spell casting and Vital Strike. I removed the no attacks of opportunity from multiple feats as I feel mobility Acrobatics should stay meaningful in tactical combat. There is very little reason an archer would want to use Greater Mobility on a ranged full attack as that is -16 penalty, but if there is some reason to do so rather than just a standard move and full attack shoot at -8 it is there as an option. Mounted archery is the favored mobility for ranged attacks on purpose. I think these changes would make melee characters much more lethal but without screwing with CRs. I think it brings them closer to ranged attacks and spellcasting as they level.


Threeshades wrote:

Yes that is correct.

The other approach you suggest in my experience leads to battles being over way too quickly. Characters just move in and completely obliterate one foe each in a single round. In 5e this works because the damage numbers per attack don't scale up as much.

*Raises finger* But that's how combat works in real life.

It would make for a horribly cut throat game of rocket tag, and it would bring martials back to close to par with casters since they can now get multiple hits before the caster gets to fly away; but that is how fights work in real life. Just look at pre-renaissance swordsmen: they would close, get off two good hits and the fight was basically over at that point in a total time of 6-20 seconds (counting pre-engaging pacing and between the "looser" hitting the ground and being KOed and the last hit).

If you want fights to last longer, boost the monsters health, don't just limit a martial when the average caster can do more than a fighters' full attack damage in a single standard. Alternatively stagger the enemies' entrances, a group of enemies doesn't have a hive mind that they all attack when one of them is injured, and if the enemies are say in their own base, they aren't all ready for combat at the drop of a hat, so have people come in from adjacent rooms, it makes combat more dynamic and screws with the party formation which inherently prolongs combat.


Real life is irrelevant.

Boosting the monster's health will actually just hurt the martials, the wizard's save or die spells don't care if it has 1 or 1000 HP.

And my goal is not to limit martials, it's to expand martials' actions (which this does), just not quite as far as to the point of straight up Full-attacking as a standard action, because that made fights end incredibly quickly and left the less experienced caster players feeling completely useless (at lvl 11-13 no less) because fights were over before they had entered the room, or even acted at all.

I suppose this is just one of those things that works for some groups and not others. In my group allowing full-attacks as standard actions didn't work. It made half the group feel left out. And I know that being stuck in place in order to make more than one attack also doesn't work for martials, so this is where I arrived. I'll just have to give it a test run. Maybe a few tweaks might make it in.

I mean two attacks is still most of the martial's potential. since they will always go with the two best attacks they have. And after that usually comes the -10 and -15 ones that don't usually hit anyway.

One tweak i might make is add to advanced attacks that you can make a single attack with an additional weapon you're wielding, like an off-hand wepaon for a dual wielder or a natural attack, if you have one in addition to whatever your primary attack is.


Seth Dresari wrote:

So, a normal attack can be done as either a Move Action or a Standard Action, meaning that you could swing your sword and then drink a potion you had on your bandolier, or use a wand or something?

One idea that I had was to take a character's BAB and use that to grant extra Attack Actions period, like the Fighter in D&D 5.0 (a 5th level fighter always gets two attacks per turn, without needing to make a Full-Round attack; Thus, their turn can be 1 Move and 2 Attacks if they want)

I like this approach...it's how our group plays. Variant unchained action economy with characters gaining +1 attack point per 5 pnts of base attack.

These points can be combined with regular action points for standard and full attack actions.
Example; a 5th level Fighter could move and Whirlwind attack in the same round.


On a caster, real life is irrelevant, but with something that is based purely physical limitations like a martial, it does matter, especially when you are using that as a reason to push up their ability. The last two attacks are really just for lucky crits, but they still can be effectively used. If save or suck is your worry, make the caster maintain concentration to keep the person paralyzed or what every the spell is.

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