What is a full attack worth?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Grand Lodge

I'm curious how people would value a full attack. I'm asking because Vital Strike is considered suboptimal. I understand why, but it raises the question, what would be optimal? What kind of bonuses are an additional attack at -5 worth? -10? When you have haste or something similar?


There are too many variables to come up with a clear answer.
For example, if I'm hasted and have three attacks: +13/+13/+8 and do 2d6+15 damage, and my opponent has 24AC, I do an average of 27.5 damage.
(The +8 attack is worth half as much as one of the +13 attacks in this situation.)
If I only get the first attack, I do an average of 11 damage.
If I get the first attack and have vital strike, I do an average of 14.5 damage.

What are you looking for? Something that's as good as a full-attack in a standard action? To me Vital Strike is a nice little bonus for situations where you can't full attack.


I like Vital Striking Druids. They don't need Full-attacks as much because they have bonkers Strength + huge natural attack damage die.


Assuming BAB 6, 18 strength, and a 1-handed +1 weapon:

Vital Strike adds a weapon damage die, which is typically 3.5-5.5 (1d6 - 1d10)

A full attack adds another attack. That's about 12.5-14.5 (1d6+5 - 1d10+5), albeit at -5 to hit. If you're hasted. you get another attack, with no penalty to hit.

If you're a hasted Monk using your ki pool, a full attack adds another 3 attacks, 2 at full BAB, 1 at -5, for probably 13.5 apiece (1d8+5).

Vital Strike is static bonus unfriendly, which accounts for a lot of the damage at mid to higher levels.

Grand Lodge

Matthew Downie wrote:
What are you looking for? Something that's as good as a full-attack in a standard action?

Not necessarily "as good", but something that makes me "this might be useful to use at this time even though I can full attack". What about something other than damage?


Vital strike would be good (read: viable) if it was 2x dice plus 1.5x static modifiers. Even better if it was double the static modifiers instead of double the dice.


I have given up a full attack before to make a grapple on a caster. I felt that I would not be able to bring them down with a full-attack that round, but I could likely disable their ability to cast spells by getting ahold of them a forcing a gnarly concentration check.

I think a good way of looking at this is considering what a Barbarian gives up in order to take the 3 rage powers that allow him to pounce. I am not terribly familiar with Barbarians yet to know what the "next best thing" would be, but I'm sure there are some on the forums who do.

Typically though, full-martials want to full-attack as much as possible, especially when they have haste going on or they are a chained monk who needs to flurry.


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It depends on what you're comparing it to. If spells are factored in at all, probably less than a standard action.


Toirin wrote:

I have given up a full attack before to make a grapple on a caster. I felt that I would not be able to bring them down with a full-attack that round, but I could likely disable their ability to cast spells by getting ahold of them a forcing a gnarly concentration check.

I think a good way of looking at this is considering what a Barbarian gives up in order to take the 3 rage powers that allow him to pounce. I am not terribly familiar with Barbarians yet to know what the "next best thing" would be, but I'm sure there are some on the forums who do.

Typically though, full-martials want to full-attack as much as possible, especially when they have haste going on or they are a chained monk who needs to flurry.

Something to point out, Vital strike is great for grapplers since by later game, once you start grappling for damage you probably get three damage grapples and have greater vital strike you can grapple three time, all at full BAB, and get damage at x4, x3, and x2 subsequent rates for each grapple check. This basically gets monk his 7 flurry attacks back, slightly reduced, but at full BAB.


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Vital Strike is usually not as good as a full attack, but considerably better than an unmodified charge.


AwesomenessDog wrote:
Toirin wrote:

I have given up a full attack before to make a grapple on a caster. I felt that I would not be able to bring them down with a full-attack that round, but I could likely disable their ability to cast spells by getting ahold of them a forcing a gnarly concentration check.

I think a good way of looking at this is considering what a Barbarian gives up in order to take the 3 rage powers that allow him to pounce. I am not terribly familiar with Barbarians yet to know what the "next best thing" would be, but I'm sure there are some on the forums who do.

Typically though, full-martials want to full-attack as much as possible, especially when they have haste going on or they are a chained monk who needs to flurry.

Something to point out, Vital strike is great for grapplers since by later game, once you start grappling for damage you probably get three damage grapples and have greater vital strike you can grapple three time, all at full BAB, and get damage at x4, x3, and x2 subsequent rates for each grapple check. This basically gets monk his 7 flurry attacks back, slightly reduced, but at full BAB.

What are you talking about? How does vital strike do anything with a grapple? The grapple's damage option isn't viable to be vital striked.


Chess Pwn wrote:
AwesomenessDog wrote:
Toirin wrote:

I have given up a full attack before to make a grapple on a caster. I felt that I would not be able to bring them down with a full-attack that round, but I could likely disable their ability to cast spells by getting ahold of them a forcing a gnarly concentration check.

I think a good way of looking at this is considering what a Barbarian gives up in order to take the 3 rage powers that allow him to pounce. I am not terribly familiar with Barbarians yet to know what the "next best thing" would be, but I'm sure there are some on the forums who do.

Typically though, full-martials want to full-attack as much as possible, especially when they have haste going on or they are a chained monk who needs to flurry.

Something to point out, Vital strike is great for grapplers since by later game, once you start grappling for damage you probably get three damage grapples and have greater vital strike you can grapple three time, all at full BAB, and get damage at x4, x3, and x2 subsequent rates for each grapple check. This basically gets monk his 7 flurry attacks back, slightly reduced, but at full BAB.
What are you talking about? How does vital strike do anything with a grapple? The grapple's damage option isn't viable to be vital striked.

Grapple uses the attack action, has full BAB, and you can do it three times per round with rapid grappler (one for each of the vital strikes). How is it no valid?


grapple doesn't use the attack action.

grapple wrote:

Once you are grappling an opponent, a successful check allows you to continue grappling the foe, and also allows you to perform one of the following actions (as part of the standard action spent to maintain the grapple).

Damage

You can inflict damage to your target equal to your unarmed strike, a natural attack, or an attack made with armor spikes or a light or one-handed weapon. This damage can be either lethal or nonlethal.

Damaging is part of the action "maintain grapple" and isn't an action "attack action".

If you could provide something that says it's an attack action if you choose the damage option of a grapple please share, it'd be awesome.

EDIT: but if it did and you did rapid grapple you could use greater vital strike for all of them.


The "initiation" or a grapple is an attack action as defined by combat rules as part of the Attack (unarmed) attack group as anything boosting unarmed attack also boosts grappling. Maintaining a grapple is not a separate action, its just another grapple attack but it now has different effects based on the fact you are already in a grapple. This is mainly because there are no listed grapple (maintain) actions and because "grapple can be substituted for an attack action".

The only reason I say x4,x3,x2 is that, while it may be argued that it could be x4,x4,x4, it could also easily be pointed that the feat(s) say(s) "one attack".

Scarab Sages

In order for Vital Strike to be viable, it would have to be usable in conjunction with other standard action-ish attacks. For example, combining Vital Strike with Cleave/Great Cleave, Charging, Spring Attack, and other non-full attack feats would greatly increase its worthiness. I believe there may be such a feat that does this in the new handbook, but I'm not sure.

Options for those bonus attacks would be nice, too. For example, and option to replace your final attack in your rotation with a bonus to AC or Saves or something could be cool/useful.


Eventually, your full BAB attacks have enough bonus that they are basically 'free', and the BAB-5 hit has accruacy like your first hit in early game. Add haste for another free hit... And it is getting way more going on.

In basic terms- static bonuses to damage are far, far more valuable than damage dice most of the time. There are a few highly specific builds that can get enough into the size charts that their damage dice are valuable.. but usually, you are looking at your stat bonus, power attack (or whatever), and your class/feats/etc.'s bonuses.

But if you are really into the one big hit of vital strike, why not look into mesmerists? Their painful stare gives a large bonus to an attack 1/round- with the right build, you can be looking at 9d6+20 extra damage on that one hit. Since it is only on one hit, and the bonus is large enough, you could justify a one big hit build with them.


About tree fiddy.

More seriously: More than most other attack options.

For something to be worth trading it, it has to do something spectacular.

On a Standard action, a caster can incapacitate a single target, or damage/inconvenience several.

A martial needs a full attack to incapacitate a single target, and can't do the latter. So a Standard or other Full Round option needs to be able to either affect multiple people, incapacitate a single one, or do something really special.

Vital Strike is...not that. It doesn't incapacitate one target (like, say, a Brawler's Knockout), it doesn't attack several (ala Cleave, Whirlwind Attack, Dazzling Display, or some of the new Weapon Master Style options), and it doesn't do anything special (like give a buff or HP back. Not really any viable martial options here I can think of). It's just slightly more damage.


In single hit damage, Painful Stare is weaker than Sneak Attack. Painful Stare is +1d6/3 levels + 1/2 level, which is effectively 3.5/3 + 1/2 per level, for about +1.6667/level. Sneak Attack is +1d6/2 levels, which is 3.5/2 per level, or +1.75/level. If you multiclass judiciously, you could end up with higher sneak attack dice than 1d6/2 levels, but regardless, Sneak Attack has better scaling than Painful Stare. Actually, against specific enemies, Smite Evil is more effective than Painful Stare. A Dwarf Cavalier with max FCB also gets a fairly good challenge, at +1.5/level. Combine that with, say, Daring Champion, you get a grand total of +2.5/level damage.


My Self wrote:
In single hit damage, Painful Stare is weaker than Sneak Attack. Painful Stare is +1d6/3 levels + 1/2 level, which is effectively 3.5/3 + 1/2 per level, for about +1.6667/level. Sneak Attack is +1d6/2 levels, which is 3.5/2 per level, or +1.75/level. If you multiclass judiciously, you could end up with higher sneak attack dice than 1d6/2 levels, but regardless, Sneak Attack has better scaling than Painful Stare. Actually, against specific enemies, Smite Evil is more effective than Painful Stare. A Dwarf Cavalier with max FCB also gets a fairly good challenge, at +1.5/level. Combine that with, say, Daring Champion, you get a grand total of +2.5/level damage.

Yes, but painful stare doesn't have any other conditions to it like sneak attack. You just need to spend a swift action to target the creature, and it is marked until it is either dead or you switch to a new target.

And you can do this as many times as you like. A feature abscent from challenges and smite. And it can be on both melee and ranged attacks as well.

It also has advantages when you aren't attacking- you can a lesser amount of damage off to another party member that is attacking. And it is part of the other stares, which debuffs saves and other useful things.

But most notably for this discussion- it is an ability that is only 1/round. So you aren't forced to ask 'why am I not full attacking instead?'- a real prospect for other classes.

I won't say it is a high DPS option- but it is enough of a consitant chunk of damage that it compliments your other options, such as spells and tricks, fairly well. It is significant enough that it is worth having, and it doesn't care whether you are full attacking or move+attack- ing.

Other note- intense stare does help the painful stare scaling somewhat. When I quoted 9d6+20, I was thinking of intense stare and half orc favored class bonus. Also, I am not sure you can count daring champion (since precise strike often works to make up for the subpar style of 1handed/1weapon)


Another reason our table has moved to the Unchained AE.

It always felt wrong to go for Full Attacks, just because they were the "optimal" thing to do.


AwesomenessDog wrote:
The "initiation" or a grapple is an attack action as defined by combat rules as part of the Attack (unarmed) attack group as anything boosting unarmed attack also boosts grappling.

Citation, please? The CRB lists the grapple as a separate standard action that is not an attack action. The Melee tactics toolbox shows grapple as a standard action (distinct from vital strike, which is listed as an attack action, and also distinct from e.g. sunder, which is a melee attack). In fact, I could find absolutely nothing to suggest a grapple is an attack action and so legal for vital strike.

The fact that it uses unarmed attacks is meaningless: so does an unarmed charge, which explicitly can't be used with vital strike.


AwesomenessDog wrote:
The "initiation" or a grapple is an attack action as defined by combat rules as part of the Attack (unarmed) attack group as anything boosting unarmed attack also boosts grappling.

Not really.

The rules for Unarmed attacks (subsumed to Attack action) never mention Grapple. The Combat Maneuvers and Weapon Special Features blog stated:
Quote:
Disarm, sunder, and trip are normally the only kinds of combat maneuvers in which you’re actually using a weapon (natural weapons and unarmed strikes are considered weapons for this purpose) to perform the maneuver, and therefore the weapon’s bonuses (enhancement bonuses, feats such as Weapon Focus, fighter weapon training, and so on) apply to the roll.

Grapple isn't on that list, and UAS is considered a weapon for this purpose, thus you aren't using UAS for Grapple,

so anything boosting "unarmed attack", e.g. Amulet of Mighty Fist, DOES NOT necessarily boost Grappling.

Grapple never references the Attack action, it references "a standard action" exactly as all special abilities with "unique actions" do:

Quote:

As a standard action, you can attempt to grapple a foe, hindering his combat options.

...If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold.
AwesomenessDog wrote:

Maintaining a grapple is not a separate action, its just another grapple attack but it now has different effects based on the fact you are already in a grapple.

This is mainly because there are no listed grapple (maintain) actions and because "grapple can be substituted for an attack action".

I'm really not sure where your quote is from, it didn't come up searching the Combat chapter. Wishful quoting?

Honestly, I am somewhat sympathetic to the idea that it is the "same" action (strict meaning), but RAW isn't conclusive,
the Maintain section says "you must continue to make a [Grapple CMB] check each round, as a standard action"
which is not clear whether that is the same "unique" standard action which Initiating a Grapple invokes.
(even if it uses same action technically, other mechanics can/do distinguish between beginning/maintaining a Grapple)


Blakmane wrote:
The fact that it uses unarmed attacks is meaningless: so does an unarmed charge, which explicitly can't be used with vital strike.

Good point, although Grapple doesn't in fact use UAS. I think that belief is a combo of visualization-based assumptions about rules mechanics, and carry-over from 3.x (where Grapple was a UAS touch attack + STR check). And of course, the organization of the Combat chapter is defective, with UAS rules under the specific Attack action (along with Ranged, Natural Attacks, Multiple Attacks, and Critical Hits). Clearly all of those rules aren't meant to apply just to the "Attack" Standard Action, but rather ALL attack rolls (using relevant weapon), all the more obviously for the "Multiple Attacks" sub-section which refers to Full-Attack Action (thus, not a sub-type of Attack Action).


I'm not seeing grapple as its own action from the charts, granted I'm using the one on d20pfsrd. For my sake, can I get a link/confirmation that my table is incomplete?

The quote was not from anything, I cite my sources when it is, it was more of a "this isn't really how it works, but think of it like this" quote.

On the hypothetical that it would count as an attack action (which I know I saw somewhere that grapple is at some point in time), maintain would still use the attack action allowing vital strike.


You can move to your enemy with a move action. I would say that being able to actually use your melee abilities against an enemy rather than swinging at air is an excellent bonus, a valuable trade off against a -5 attack, and a good use of Vital Strike.

A drunken rager can consume potions or alcoholic beverages, giving free rages or spell effects, as a move action. They can also intimidate, and Antagonize as a rage power as a move action. I would say this is a good time for V.S, as well as a good trade of against a -5 attack.

A musket using gunslinger will often get one attack in a round, with reload times being a move at minimum. I would say that having a loaded gun and firing is worth a vital strike, and a good trade off against going into melee to get that sweet sweet -5 attack with your bayonet.

While not a common move among players, if you have excellent acrobatic skills (and a fighter can do this in full-plate), you can tumble away from an enemy with multiple attacks such as a monk or an octopus, dishing out a vital strike and then preventing the enemy from getting their full-attack. Changing the fight from "My full attack vs. Monk Flurry" into "My Vital strike vs. this monk's one unarmed strike" is an excellent payoff, and totally worth giving up your extra -5 attack. Even if you aren't an excellent tumbler, moving away from a monk is often worth then AoO.

Sometimes you want to ready an action. You might be waiting for someone to charge you, instead of doing the untactical thing of charging them. Bonus if you are using a polarm with brace, and are standing protecting squishies. Sometimes you just can't reach your enemies in a turn, but know they will come to you. Sometimes you really want to disrupt a spell, so you ready to get your attack for when they start casting, (and use the step up chain for this). Preventing the lich form casting is a valuable thing. All these are times when you could use Vital Strike, because you are only getting a standard. Not every table would find these things valuable, but I have played on many tables where they are. This is a no-loss use of Vital Strike, and the benefits of actually tanking while covering, disrupting spells, are certainly worth a -5 attack.

A Two-Handed Fighter can add double his strength bonus when making a single attack. This stacks with Vital Strike. SO a Drunken Brute 2 THF 3 Ulfen Guard 2, starting at 20STR w/ +1 Greatsword and Belt can:

    1. Get enough feats for Combat Reflexes, Bodyguard, and In Harm's Way, Step Up, Power Attack, Furious Focus.
  • 2. Use a move action to either approach the enemy OR move to cover the guarded target, OR quaff a held potion of Enlarge Personor whatever
  • 3. Dish out a single raging Furious Focus Overhand Chop Vital Strike, at 4d6+21 Damage (avg 35), while covering and soaking damage for the targets. With Enlarge Person, this gets to 6d6+23 (avg 44).
  • If nothing is in reach, they can toss a chakram, which is vital striked as opposed to nothing at all, or ready/brace if they know something is coming.
  • A nonvital striking barbarian would first dish out 2d6+17 (avg 24), or , then on later turns if they are lucky and get to full attack with both hits successful 2d6+17+2d6+17 (avg 48). For the most part a -5 penalty to hit results being less accurate. Enemies aren't getting hit on a 2. So if we say that a -5 attack will hit 3/4 of the time (with 5 on a d20 being 1/4), and reducing the damage output accordingly: 2d6+17+.75x(1d6+17), an average damage output of 42. Now of course a full attacking is more effective when toe-to-toe with a squishy easily hit target, but clearly the vital striker is more effective against a mobile target, as well as on the first round, and can use this move action otherwise to cover and support a squishier target like a rogue/magus, or move action quaff to increase damage to a superior level.

This build actually has greater mileage against creatures with annoying DR or hardness. Sure, we'd all like to imagine that our Addy Scimitar works against all things, but some things are Bludgeoning and Magic, or DR/Good. If all the damage is on one hit instead of split among two, the DR is less effective.


Dammit, I jsut realized you can't furious focus on your bonus hits. THat reduces your bonus by an extra 2 at level 7. That's another -10% chance to hit on the dice. SO the adjustment should be 65%. That puts standard Barb dmg output at 39.6. And of course, you can always just NOT vital strike during those rounds that you don't need the extra move action, if that suits you.

And an enlarged Full-Round Attacking Barbarian, who had the time for someone to cast it on him, or quaffed or whatever, 3d6+19+.65*3d6+19, average (48.68). Without Vital Strike,but quaffing this is 3d6+19, This 29.5. is 7.5 damage higher, but cannot be used at any time the barb has to move, including the first round they are waiting for the enlarge.

So:
"I have to move around, Draw a weapon, ready an action..etc"
Vital: 35 dmg, Non-Vital: 24.
+11 in favour of Vital Strike

"I have to move action to quaff Enlarge Person. Then maybe readied for a spellcaster or charge"
Vital: 44, Non-Vital: 29.5
+10.5 in favour of Vital Strike

"I can just sit here and full attack, I'm regular size"
Vital: 35, Non-Vital: 39.6
+4.6 in favour of not using vital strike.

"I can just sit here and full attack, I'm Enlarged"
Vital: 44 Non-Vital: 48.68
+4 in favour of Non-Vital Strike.

Extra consideration: when readying against an attack coming to you, you will likely recieve an AoO as they move through your giant reach. This is an extra 19.18 damage after accounting for accuracy, vs the 0 extra damage from the no AoOs you get from charging a monk. Extra Bonus, you can vital strike alongside the 'Ready action to attack and then 5ft away so I never get hit in combat" routine, if you are into that.

Overall, doesn't it seem like this build should take vital strike, but then just not use it when it's better to full attack, and use it for all those times it is? If I had a feat called "Any time you are not able to get a full-attack, you get plus a +10 damage bonus" people would be all over it.


Some Other Guy wrote:
I'm curious how people would value a full attack. I'm asking because Vital Strike is considered suboptimal. I understand why, but it raises the question, what would be optimal? What kind of bonuses are an additional attack at -5 worth? -10? When you have haste or something similar?

Value depends on variables... Usually what class and what level. As a 17th level Paladin with Furious Focus... I LOVE Full attacks. I'm getting 4-5 attacks a round if hasted and 3 of them are at full BaB... So yeah, I like them quite a bit.

Someone with a Bab that's less values it less. One thing that Vital Strike is REALLY nice for... is all those annoying times that the DM is playing smart and forcing you to move first. Vital Strike is never better then Full Attack... but it's very nice if it's only attack your getting that round.


Vital Strike is never "very nice". "Slightly better" is the name of the game with 95% of its uses. An extra 2d6 at most is hardly worth a bit of gold, much less a whole Feat.

At levels 6-8, it BARELY makes a difference. An extra 7 damage on one hit is neato, but only likely to impact your Rounds to Kill on a target in very edge circumstances.

Higher than that, it means diddly.

Unless you're rolling a 4d8 damage die or something, you shouldn't even be bothering unless you have some niche build that makes it worth it (from what I can tell, the new Startoss and Overwatch Styles are decent candidates, and for 3PP Path of War Initiators are good Vital Strike candidates since they can get Maneuvers that are worth a good whack in one hit).


If we were looking at a class that would love to get vital strike... I can imagine kineticists would love to be able to use it.

Their main thing is one big attack that is made up almost entirely out of damage dice. If vital strike was ever applied to that... it would just be stupid good.

Unfortunately, I am fairly certain they can't use vital strike, for that rather obvious reasons, and that is backed up negative evidence (ie- elemental annihilator allows their blasts/blades, which are far more normal damage, to get vital strike- since it has to grant that ability, that means normal kineticists can't use it).

I am sure there is some direct dev commnetary on the matter, since Mark Seifter is fairly prolific in discussions on this class.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
AwesomenessDog wrote:

The "initiation" or a grapple is an attack action as defined by combat rules as part of the Attack (unarmed) attack group as anything boosting unarmed attack also boosts grappling. Maintaining a grapple is not a separate action, its just another grapple attack but it now has different effects based on the fact you are already in a grapple. This is mainly because there are no listed grapple (maintain) actions and because "grapple can be substituted for an attack action".

The only reason I say x4,x3,x2 is that, while it may be argued that it could be x4,x4,x4, it could also easily be pointed that the feat(s) say(s) "one attack".

PRD wrote:
Benefit: When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage.

You use the attack action to grapple. You make your vital strike attack. End of the vital strike attacks for the round.

PRD wrote:


Rapid Grappler (Combat)

You are a quick hand at grappling.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, Greater Grapple, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, base attack bonus +9 or monk level 9th.

Benefit: Whenever you use Greater Grapple to successfully maintain a grapple as a move action, you can then spend a swift action to make a grapple combat maneuver check at a –5 penalty.

It grant an extra attack, not a extra attack action that is what vital strike require.

You get Vital strike on your first grapple check (it is a attack action), not with the subsequent checks as they aren't. You are using the same line of thought of the people that wanted to use vital strike with the first attack of a full attack.


AwesomenessDog wrote:
Grapple uses the attack action, has full BAB, and you can do it three times per round with rapid grappler (one for each of the vital strikes). How is it no valid?

No, grapple uses the "Perform a Combat Maneuver" action (Action type: Varies. For Grapple, it's a standard action). That's not the Attack action, which is a specific standard action that allows you to make one attack.

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Most of a martial's damage comes from static modifiers rather than damage dice.

I think a better version of Vital Strike would simply add static bonus modifiers whenever you make an attack action. Perhaps like Power Attack except you're restricted to an attack action instead of taking penalties.


lemeres wrote:

If we were looking at a class that would love to get vital strike... I can imagine kineticists would love to be able to use it.

Their main thing is one big attack that is made up almost entirely out of damage dice. If vital strike was ever applied to that... it would just be stupid good.

Unfortunately, I am fairly certain they can't use vital strike, for that rather obvious reasons, and that is backed up negative evidence (ie- elemental annihilator allows their blasts/blades, which are far more normal damage, to get vital strike- since it has to grant that ability, that means normal kineticists can't use it).

I am sure there is some direct dev commnetary on the matter, since Mark Seifter is fairly prolific in discussions on this class.

Which is sad, because in the playtest it was determined pretty early that it didn't really bust anything to allow it.


Rynjin wrote:
Which is sad, because in the playtest it was determined pretty early that it didn't really bust anything to allow it.

Eh, some gms are already antsy with all the dice it can consistently toss out. Since it is already retricted to standard action attacks, there is little to no reason to ever not vital strike, and as such it presents a problem of permanently doubling to quadrupiling the damage you can do.

And it isn't like it doesn't already hav esomething along the lines of full attack progression. The scaling of how much meta magic and composite blasts it can cover with gather power means that there is a smooth upward progression of how much damage you can toss out when you have the time to spend a round and seek to do damage.


Apparently, the Full Attack is worth your fellow player's well being. One session we ran, we had a group of demons overwhelm our Wizard and dropped him to -3. Before he bit the dirt, he gave us a Haste spell.

Given that our Paladin with no archetypes was our go-to source of healing (shame on us probably), he had to balance whether to press his attacks further, or rescue the Wizard from unconsciousness. Given that he had an active Haste spell, this gave him the incentive to continue wailing on opponents.

Meanwhile, the action-happy Magus spends 2 of his turns administering a potion to the Wizard. Just so he wouldn't be out of the fight, and you know, probably change the tide of battle.

If I recall correctly, the Paladin had the Word of Healing feat, Meaning he could have saved him practically at the drop of a hat. But hey, using it meant no attacks at all for a turn.

After awhile of the "Full Attack is everything" mentality, I can say I don't miss it in the new AE.

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Rynjin wrote:
lemeres wrote:

If we were looking at a class that would love to get vital strike... I can imagine kineticists would love to be able to use it.

Their main thing is one big attack that is made up almost entirely out of damage dice. If vital strike was ever applied to that... it would just be stupid good.

Unfortunately, I am fairly certain they can't use vital strike, for that rather obvious reasons, and that is backed up negative evidence (ie- elemental annihilator allows their blasts/blades, which are far more normal damage, to get vital strike- since it has to grant that ability, that means normal kineticists can't use it).

I am sure there is some direct dev commnetary on the matter, since Mark Seifter is fairly prolific in discussions on this class.

Which is sad, because in the playtest it was determined pretty early that it didn't really bust anything to allow it.

Actually, I told people to go ahead and playtest Vital Strike during the playtest because I was curious; there turned out to be numerous evidence during the playtest that Vital Strike was causing damage to be way too high. I do thank the playtesters for checking it out so thoroughly, though; it wasn't obvious to me which way it would go (for blade, that is; it was obvious that it wouldn't work for the normal blast, and that wasn't what people were playtesting).


If the magus had full attacked those 2 rounds instead of doing a potion would the fight have ended sooner? If the wizard was a -3, and the demons didn't have AOE the wizard was fine for a good number of rounds.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Actually, I told people to go ahead and playtest Vital Strike during the playtest because I was curious; there turned out to be numerous evidence during the playtest that Vital Strike was causing damage to be way too high. I do thank the playtesters for checking it out so thoroughly, though; it wasn't obvious to me which way it would go (for blade, that is; it was obvious that it wouldn't work for the normal blast, and that wasn't what people were playtesting).

Well yes- just two feats, and the barebones of the class could two shot a tarrasque fairly easily from 480' away based off of average damage. Three shot it when the class first gets access to improved vital strike.

I know there are probably a ton of DPR builds that can do that and more (very likely 1 shotting), but I am questioning the fact that it is so simple to do so. Not really a highly optimized build- just two basic feats. And this isn't even spending any resources (assuming level 16)- just spamming the basic action that it can cover with a move gather power.

I usually expect at least a saving throw of a combat maneuver check with that kind of encounter shut down potential.


Chess Pwn wrote:
If the magus had full attacked those 2 rounds instead of doing a potion would the fight have ended sooner? If the wizard was a -3, and the demons didn't have AOE the wizard was fine for a good number of rounds.

We'll never know, but the opponents had a decent amount of Energy Resistance and DR to persuade him to use other measures.

And yes, AoE is usually a concern against Chaotic opponents, such as Vrock.

That sort of question you posed is hovering around the exact subject of what I would like to stray away from inside the game: constantly gauging if something is worth your entire attack routine. I mean, yeah that's something that will come up more often than not. But gauging it against rescuing someone, doing something "heroic," or blatantly disregarding an objective just so you can get some extra swings in? I know it's "optimal," but... should it always be?


Zenogu wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
If the magus had full attacked those 2 rounds instead of doing a potion would the fight have ended sooner? If the wizard was a -3, and the demons didn't have AOE the wizard was fine for a good number of rounds.

We'll never know, but the opponents had a decent amount of Energy Resistance and DR to persuade him to use other measures.

And yes, AoE is usually a concern against Chaotic opponents, such as Vrock.

That sort of question you posed is hovering around the exact subject of what I would like to stray away from inside the game: constantly gauging if something is worth your entire attack routine. I mean, yeah that's something that will come up more often than not. But gauging it against rescuing someone, doing something "heroic," or blatantly disregarding an objective just so you can get some extra swings in? I know it's "optimal," but... should it always be?

Depends on the objective, but if you're swinging when you can take an action to Win, you're doing it wrong.

One thing that it's taking me a while to get my mind around is the whole 'static bonus' part of hurting things. Right now at 4th level, here's what my barbarian has:

19 Str for +6 on two-handed weapon damage, and +2 when she chomps someone with Animal Fury.
+2 damage for raging when she's that mad.
+6 from Power Attack (or +2 on biting).

..OK, spelling it out there helps make it make sense. +14 is the average of +4d6, with less of a chance of rolling a 5 or so. Then again I'm still getting Vicious for +2d6 as my third weapon enchant.


Zenogu wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
If the magus had full attacked those 2 rounds instead of doing a potion would the fight have ended sooner? If the wizard was a -3, and the demons didn't have AOE the wizard was fine for a good number of rounds.

We'll never know, but the opponents had a decent amount of Energy Resistance and DR to persuade him to use other measures.

And yes, AoE is usually a concern against Chaotic opponents, such as Vrock.

That sort of question you posed is hovering around the exact subject of what I would like to stray away from inside the game: constantly gauging if something is worth your entire attack routine. I mean, yeah that's something that will come up more often than not. But gauging it against rescuing someone, doing something "heroic," or blatantly disregarding an objective just so you can get some extra swings in? I know it's "optimal," but... should it always be?

There is something to be said about dead enemies being unable to cause more damage. Depending on what I was fighting sometimes removing a problem is far more important than healing the wizard, who could potentially just get dropped again, and fixing him up after. It's not even always a roll vs role issue either... Healing a friend in need vs killing a physical manifestation is a good paladin dilemma and can help to illustrate and shape the PCs motivation.


Very true. Dead enemies can no longer harm you. But that's just one example however.

Say, someone wanted to pull a classic "cut the rope and watch a chandelier fall on the enemies" situation. But it is however on the other side of the room. Said Martial wants to try it, but in order to do so he'd need to overrun/bull rush a foe to get to it. So the gauging begins.

Do I give up some of my offense to try this neat idea? Or am I just better off fighting them off myself? This type of gauging is rather normal in most games, I understand.

Given how the default system works, I would say most players would be inclined to just continue Full Attacking. Even if they had the Improved Manuever feats. Because basic maneuvers like those will eat up all of your attacks. And they're probably not wrong in doing so. It's the nature of this beast; Full Attacks are usually the best offensive action you can take, assuming you're in the position to do so.

As a GM, I've set up scenarios like that to take advantage of, but no one would take up on it due to how the system works.

Some monsters fall for into this same "trap." A given Fire Giant may be having a hard time dealing with a given front-liner PC/Summon. Reason being is from some support coming from a few squares behind them (A Cleric, Bard, or Wizard per se). Instead of using the a Bull Rush/Overrun to make way, he instead obliges to continue Full Attacking his opponent just because it's the "optimal" thing to do. Yet again, he might actually be right.

I guess my main concern is that there's just too many variables that contest with Full Attacks. And that's why it remains so superior.


Yeah, there really aren't very many options that compete with the full attack...and that's not a problem with the full attack action, it's a problem with those other options.

You need to take a hit or spend a Feat to do anything cool...and then spend more Feats to make that work even 70% of the time...and then more Feats to make it do something spectacular enough to compete with "The enemy is dead now".

Grapple turns into a two-round nonlethal incapacitation, Disarm can be done as an Immediate Action and can slap the blade into someone else' face, Trip gives you and everyone around you like 3 free attacks, etc. But all of that takes a LOOOOOT of Feat investment.

Whereas for melee full attacking you need: Power Attack. And then you can spend your other Feats on anything else you want.


Well... Disarm and Trip are pretty good precisely because they don't require you to give up your whole full attack.


Right. Trip, Disarm, and Sunder operate rather smoothly already. Bull Rush, Grapple, Overrun, etc are more complicated.

But that's just combat maneuvers. There's other things that compete with Full Attacks as well. Using Hunters Bond, using Lay on Hands, some Rage Powers, some Fighter Archetype abilities.

And my worst peeve... moving 10ft or more.

I'm not sure if I'm frustrated more at gauging the necessities I've listed, or how the Full Attack doesn't mesh well with everything else on combat.


Lemmy wrote:
Well... Disarm and Trip are pretty good precisely because they don't require you to give up your whole full attack.

Speaking of Disarm, we need more armed enemies in OSB. =(


Zenogu wrote:
Very true. Dead enemies can no longer harm you. But that's just one example however.

Don't face very many necromancers, eh?


Zenogu wrote:

Right. Trip, Disarm, and Sunder operate rather smoothly already. Bull Rush, Grapple, Overrun, etc are more complicated.

But that's just combat maneuvers. There's other things that compete with Full Attacks as well. Using Hunters Bond, using Lay on Hands, some Rage Powers, some Fighter Archetype abilities.

And my worst peeve... moving 10ft or more.

I'm not sure if I'm frustrated more at gauging the necessities I've listed, or how the Full Attack doesn't mesh well with everything else on combat.

Well there is now a feat chain that lets you move 10ft with your 5ft step.


Zenogu wrote:

Some monsters fall for into this same "trap." A given Fire Giant may be having a hard time dealing with a given front-liner PC/Summon. Reason being is from some support coming from a few squares behind them (A Cleric, Bard, or Wizard per se). Instead of using the a Bull Rush/Overrun to make way, he instead obliges to continue Full Attacking his opponent just because it's the "optimal" thing to do. Yet again, he might actually be right.

I guess my main concern is that there's just too many variables that contest with Full Attacks. And that's why it remains so superior.

The giant could work his way with 5ft steps. or just move to the supporter. Often the supporter will have less AC and less HP than a front line. So getting to them is a good idea.


Chess Pwn wrote:
Zenogu wrote:

Right. Trip, Disarm, and Sunder operate rather smoothly already. Bull Rush, Grapple, Overrun, etc are more complicated.

But that's just combat maneuvers. There's other things that compete with Full Attacks as well. Using Hunters Bond, using Lay on Hands, some Rage Powers, some Fighter Archetype abilities.

And my worst peeve... moving 10ft or more.

I'm not sure if I'm frustrated more at gauging the necessities I've listed, or how the Full Attack doesn't mesh well with everything else on combat.

Well there is now a feat chain that lets you move 10ft with your 5ft step.

Yeah, that's a problem.

"There's a Feat chain that-" lets you do anything you should already be able to do without such Herculean effort.

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