Competitive Combat Maneuvers: How can one reliably beat monster CMD in competitive play?


Advice


How can one reliably beat monster CMD in competitive play?

I know trip is generally unrealistic because of how many quadrupeds and trip immune creatures exist in the bestiary.

Is there a way to make it work?

Can it work for a Toppling Spell + Magic Missile Spellcaster?


I don't know about competitive play, but it can be a useful tool in a wizard's arsenal. It takes very little investment to have available, 3k gold for a lesser rod of toppling.

I used it on my divination wizard quite often while leveling and even sometimes at high levels. It helped that I had the moment of prescience ability. Knowing you are going to roll a 15 or an 18 makes the trip check much better.

At higher levels it also gets harder because not only do you have to succeed on a trip, but also on a spell resistance check on many enemies.


Jayder22 wrote:

I don't know about competitive play, but it can be a useful tool in a wizard's arsenal. It takes very little investment to have available, 3k gold for a lesser rod of toppling.

I used it on my divination wizard quite often while leveling and even sometimes at high levels. It helped that I had the moment of prescience ability. Knowing you are going to roll a 15 or an 18 makes the trip check much better.

At higher levels it also gets harder because not only do you have to succeed on a trip, but also on a spell resistance check on many enemies.

An 18 will only work on a little less than average for creatures of CR 4, though. Later in the game, creatures of higher CR are too resistant to Combat Maneuvers.


Axoren wrote:
An 18 will only work on a little less than average for creatures of CR 4, though. Later in the game, creatures of higher CR are too resistant to Combat Maneuvers.

Sorry if I was unclear, when I said roll a 15 or an 18 I meant actual roll as in the result on the die, not the final trip check.

For instance, rolling an 18 would give a level 5 wizard with 23 intelligence a 29 to trip (18 +5 caster level +6 casting stat).

Edit: Just from my playstyle, I don't like to use spells where I have to roll for success, which is why I usually only used this when I knew the roll would most likely succeed.


Lore warden, improved disarm, greater disarm, break guard, disarm weapon

Have fun! Rinse and repeat.


The higher level you get, the more hyper-specializing is the only way to make combat maneuvers work. Dump everything you have into boosting your numbers and you can make it work.

Classes with Martial Flexibility are your best bet because they can fake it when they need to do other things.

Grand Lodge

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Hi, I trip people for fun, I'm a level 13 Lore Warden Fighter.

I have a +45 to trip unbuffed. It's frequently more like +36 before buffs as I'll activate both power attack and dazing assault.

Trip Bonus:

BAB 13+ Str 4 + Dex 4 + Weapon Training 5 + Weapon Focus 1 + Greater Weapon Focus 1 + Manuever Master 6 + Improved Trip 2, + Greater Trip 2, + Heirloom Weapon 2, +5 weapon enchacement = 45

I'll frequently drink an enlarge person potion and can accecpt bull strength as well as normal things like haste and bard song. Against things that can't be tripped I still do respectable damage and have quite a few useful skills.


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Gyre_ wrote:

Hi, I trip people for fun, I'm a level 13 Lore Warden Fighter.

I have a +45 to trip unbuffed. It's frequently more like +36 before buffs as I'll activate both power attack and dazing assault.

** spoiler omitted **

I'll frequently drink an enlarge person potion and can accecpt bull strength as well as normal things like haste and bard song. Against things that can't be tripped I still do respectable damage and have quite a few useful skills.

It's noble souls like you that keep single-classed fighters alive...

Sovereign Court

Just because a trick doesn't work on every enemy doesn't mean it's not a good trick. Just means you shouldn't invest everything in only that trick.

Trip works poorly against giant centipedes. But a fighter can be built to reliably trip humanoids at every level. Disarming does nothing against natural attackers, but it's still good against enemies relying on magic swords with specific abilities.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

When people keep bringing up that trip doesn't work at higher levels, specifically what levels are they talking about?

Because in my experience tripping works just fine at levels 1 through 10, which I think are the most commonly played levels anyway. Most investments in trip are just investments in your to-hit bonus, which are a good idea in general. Sparing a feat for Imp Trip or a trait for Heirloom weapon is hardly "hyper-specializing", and monsters immune to trip aren't that common.

And in a melee-heavy party, Greater Trip is a free OA for everyone (plus another if it stands up), which is effectively a death sentence for many monsters.

Sovereign Court

The value you do get if a trip succeeds is easily worth an investment of 1-3 feats, even if it's mostly against humanoid-ish/medium-sized-ish enemies;

- Enemy loses out on to-hit and AC.
- Enemy often tricked into provoking while standing up.
- Enemy mobility restricted; can't 5ft step. Probably won't be able to stand up and walk over to your squishy friends and attack in a single round either. This one's underappreciated.

Maneuvers got a lot nicer with Dirty Fighting; easier to qualify for than Combat Expertise, and opens up many more options. Still interesting to take the Improved feats for your primary maneuvers, but this one also opens up the secondary ones.


A Underfoot Adept monk ends up getting bonuses to trip equal to what a colossal creature would have. Take dirty fighting and the trip line of feats, save for being an extremely trip Focused Fighter, you should be tripping better than anyone.

Speaking of Tripping Fighters, one cool thing to do is go for Ace Trip (Trip attempt to knock things out of the sky). There's always going to be flying pests that could stand to fall hundreds of feet per round. Bonus points of you have an eager Barbarian or similar pouncer in the party.


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Gyre_ wrote:

Hi, I trip people for fun, I'm a level 13 Lore Warden Fighter.

I have a +45 to trip unbuffed. It's frequently more like +36 before buffs as I'll activate both power attack and dazing assault.

** spoiler omitted **

I'll frequently drink an enlarge person potion and can accecpt bull strength as well as normal things like haste and bard song. Against things that can't be tripped I still do respectable damage and have quite a few useful skills.

How are you getting both STR and DEX to the same CMB check?


How are you getting both STR and DEX to the same CMB check?

This probably

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/fury-s-fall-combat

Silver Crusade

For Toppling Spell, you don't really need the same kind of CMD bonus that you do in order to make the Improved Trip line of feats work because it is a lower resource investment, can hit multiple targets, and deals damage up front (and therefore has lower opportunity cost).

Consider the following comparison:
A fighter 5 with all the trip feats available to him
A wizard 5 with toppling magic missile

If the fighter tries to trip his foe and fails, that's probably his whole action for the round. Total fail.

If the wizard casts a toppling magic missile at the enemy, he deals 3d4+3 damage even if he fails to trip the enemy (and could potentially disrupt spellcasting too). His action is not a total waste even if he doesn't get the trip.

Now, consider another case for the wizard. He targets his magic missiles to hit three monsters. He won't deal much damage, but his chance of tripping at least one of them is pretty good--even if he only has a 40% chance tripping any particular one of them, he ends up with an 80% chance to trip at least one. That renders the spell--which is not one of his top-shelf spells-- with the following matrix of results:
Worst case: 1d4+1 to 3 targets. Unimpressive, but better than a single failed trip from the fighter
Partial fail: 1d4+1 to 3 targets and one target tripped.
Partial success: 1d4+1 to 3 targets and two targets tripped
Total success: 1d4+1 to 3 targets and all targets tripped.

Now, if he leverages the spell a bit more--for instance casting it as a readied action, he can add another potential success condition for disrupting the spell. His odds of total success are not very good, but the odds of accomplishing something worthwhile are quite good.

If we assume that he is really specialized in magic missile, he might tack dazing spell onto it as well (4th level spell with magical lineage, so it had better be worthwhile). Now, he adds another layer of success conditions and the odds of incapacitating or inconveniencing several targets are actually pretty good since he probably has better than even odds of landing either the trip or the daze. Of course, dazing spell is widely thought to be broken, but the example illustrates how toppling spell functions differently than the trip line of feats such that you do not need the same kind of odds of success for it to be worthwhile.


The Knowledge is Power Arcane Discovery adds INT to CMB, which can make a major difference (though it's not PFS legal for some reason). Even just a one-level dip into Wizard can grab true strike (which can be cast in armor), Prescience (a roll-twice type of ability), and Knowledge is Power.

Penalties that apply to AC also lower CMD, so there are plenty of debuffing options. Even feinting will cripple enemy CMD - substantially so if they've got a lot of DEX.


BadBird wrote:
The Knowledge is Power Arcane Discovery adds INT to CMB

The issue with that is that a Wizard is already adding INT to their CMB with Toppling, so it won't stack. I don't know how to get enough INT for 5 levels in Wizard to be worth it on a fighter.

BadBird wrote:
Even just a one-level dip into Wizard can grab true strike (which can be cast in armor)

Does Truestrike affect Toppling? It definitely affects Fighter CMB, for sure.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Where are you playing competitively. Does it have prize support? Do you still use d20s or is that too random for paper sports?


Axoren wrote:
BadBird wrote:
The Knowledge is Power Arcane Discovery adds INT to CMB

The issue with that is that a Wizard is already adding INT to their CMB with Toppling, so it won't stack. I don't know how to get enough INT for 5 levels in Wizard to be worth it on a fighter.

BadBird wrote:
Even just a one-level dip into Wizard can grab true strike (which can be cast in armor)
Does Truestrike affect Toppling? It definitely affects Fighter CMB, for sure.

You only need one level of Wizard for Knowledge is Power, since a Wizard may take an Arcane Discovery with a regular feat.

A combat maneuver check is an attack roll. True Strike applies to attack rolls.

I've got a scheme for an Eldrtich Knight using Knowledge is Power and Persistent Dazzling Blade to help trip, but I haven't really fleshed anything out or checked exactly how far it can go. Heroism, INT-to-CMB, Prescience (Foresight subschool) and spamming blind on target for -2, -DEX to CMD might work out fairly well.

Silver Crusade

BadBird wrote:

The Knowledge is Power Arcane Discovery adds INT to CMB, which can make a major difference (though it's not PFS legal for some reason). Even just a one-level dip into Wizard can grab true strike (which can be cast in armor), Prescience (a roll-twice type of ability), and Knowledge is Power.

Penalties that apply to AC also lower CMD, so there are plenty of debuffing options. Even feinting will cripple enemy CMD - substantially so if they've got a lot of DEX.

Might be a nice trick for a fighter(Lore Warden)/wizard/Eldritch Knight build that takes the trip feats.


True Strike on a Whip Magus could work pretty well. As a bonus, you're one of the few classes who is less penalized by having to take Combat Expertise.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Wizard 1 with divination/foresight and the Knowledge Is Power ability, then level as Magus using a reach weapon (e.g. whip) and spell combat for True Strike. You can use any maneuver well without even spending a single feat on it.


You really don't need the wizard level for that, at least at first. True Strike (ideally via wand wielder arcana & a cheap wand) & spell combat on a whip is enough for a long, long time.

The main downside I had was that in a 3-person party where one of us was largely a noncombatant spending an action on a combat maneuver wasn't usually a good move. In a more common setup I can see it being good quite often.

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