How good is brace?


Advice


I'm not sure how useful Brace actually is. What do you guys think? Could you use it practically?


Brace is only really good vs enemies that are guaranteed to charge. If the PCs find themselves being run down by Calvary it is useful to have, but otherwise how often will you "waste" your standard action to prepare for a charge that might not happen?

There is a fighter archetype that lets you brace as an Immediate action, which is how I wish the quality worked normally. Or perhaps on AoOs provoked during a charge instead of readied actions. As it is right now, its not too useful in the hands of players.

For GMs, its a lot of fun to punish RageLancePounce and Spirited Charge players who aren't looking at what they are charging at...but even then PCs get suspicious when enemies ready actions. It'll only happen once.


Let me put it this way... in all of the games I've played and run, I have literally never seen anyone - player or NPC - use it.

Sovereign Court

It's lame.

You have to specifically ready for an enemy to charge. If the enemy approaches normally, it doesn't work and your ready action doesn't go off. If you ready for an enemy to get near, you don't get brace if the enemy does happen to charge.

Charging isn't a very good action in PF to begin with, so people rarely do it.

Grand Lodge

I think it could work well with a reach weapon (most brace weapons anyway) and pushing assault feat. Im not sure if brace works with aoo, but that would be a cool combo.


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Ascalaphus wrote:
Charging isn't a very good action in PF to begin with, so people rarely do it.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, what? Are you serious?

Did you mean "readying isn't a very good action"...?


Ascalaphus wrote:

It's lame.

You have to specifically ready for an enemy to charge. If the enemy approaches normally, it doesn't work and your ready action doesn't go off. If you ready for an enemy to get near, you don't get brace if the enemy does happen to charge.

Charging isn't a very good action in PF to begin with, so people rarely do it.

AM BARBARIAN would disagree, but is too busy pouncing to talk right now

Sovereign Court

bigrig107 wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Charging isn't a very good action in PF to begin with, so people rarely do it.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, what? Are you serious?

Did you mean "readying isn't a very good action"...?

I meant what I said. Charging is rarely good. Most of the time you're better off taking a move and then attacking, or making an enemy come to you and readying an action when he gets there.

Consider the benefits of charging:


  • To-hit bonus
  • Double move and attack
  • If staggered/slowed: move and attack

Now consider the downsides:


  • Restrictive: only in a straight line across unobstructed terrain, only if you can see your enemy.
  • Penalty to AC also makes it easier to trip you while trying to close in on enemy. If you fall, you were already making a full-round action so you can't get up rightaway. (Using trip attacks as readied action or attack of opportunity with a reach weapon is a very popular tactic here against non-reach enemies.)
  • If you don't kill your enemy immediately, he gets to retaliate with a full attack against your lowered AC.

Unless you have a special ability that improves charging (pounce, lance, ride-by/spirited charge) or the enemy is too far away to reach otherwise (and you absolutely need to get there rightaway), or you're confident a single hit will destroy your enemy (all enemies who'd get to full attack you back), charging is not a very good tactic.

Sovereign Court

magispitt wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

It's lame.

You have to specifically ready for an enemy to charge. If the enemy approaches normally, it doesn't work and your ready action doesn't go off. If you ready for an enemy to get near, you don't get brace if the enemy does happen to charge.

Charging isn't a very good action in PF to begin with, so people rarely do it.

AM BARBARIAN would disagree, but is too busy pouncing to talk right now

AM BARBARIAN invested 3+ rage powers to turn it from bad into good. That doesn't mean charge is good in the normal situation.

Grand Lodge

My Dwarf Bloodrager has an Urgrash [brace] as his main weapon, and in his most recent campaign, ran into a cousin of the axebeak- and with successful Knowledge Nature check found out they liked to charge at their enemies.
Excited that i may actually get to use the Urgrash as it was intend, I sorely disappointed- mostly because he rolled last in initiative.
:(

That said, it's a tactic that, as Asca pointed out, has more drawbacks than benefits.
it is better to move and attack, than to charge.

The Exchange

GM Rednal wrote:
Let me put it this way... in all of the games I've played and run, I have literally never seen anyone - player or NPC - use it.

I have also never seen it used.

However, you can judge whether it is worthwhile based on positioning and terrain. If the enemy is out of range of move and attack, but within range of charge and attack, then there is nothing lost by bracing. It also means that you can retain formation for a round in which a spell caster can do buffing.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Never seen it actually used either. I can't really remember a situation where my character would wish to have a brace weapon (and not something else instead).


my last game had it, but it was only because they were basically defending a hallway versus a stream of like proto-zombies, so they charged to their hearts content at targets, and they mostly got one-shot.

Howed i'd change it is i'd make it probably instead make it so "brace" weapons get to make an AoO against people who simply move into your threatened square. be significantly more useful, maybe over powered, but it'd make brace weapons AKA spears more akin to their real world usefulness and use.


It does seem like the damage boost should apply to (normal) movement AoOs.
The ready limitation is just too ridiculous, and IMHO i can't visualize why it SHOULDN'T apply vs. normal movement AoO.
Also what should be mentioned is the weirdness of readying it vs charge, getting to use it if somebody charges,
and then getting an extra AoO for movement, which is just ridiculous to visualize...
Much better, rather than promoting the marginal tactic of readying, is just boost the movement AoO damage.


Quandary wrote:


The ready limitation is just too ridiculous, and IMHO i can't visualize why it SHOULDN'T apply vs. normal movement AoO.

because the spear is braced into the ground usually...


If it is the start of a fight, and you notice the other side is made up of tiger riding cavaliers... then sure, brace.

Not so much because brace is good, but because you don't want to rush forward and lose several other advantages.

First, you usually want to hang back at first to allow yourside to buff or to set out AoE/battlefield control stuff that hurts the enemies.

Second, a lot of brace weapons are also reach weapons. So the enemy would not only suffer from your readied action against their charge, but they could also cross your threatened area (either attacking you, or trying to get past you to get to the squishier party members after you put yourself in front). So that is basically getting 3 attacks off (x2 for brace, x1 for AoO.... maybe 4 attacks if you also have a fortuitous weapon). That is, overall, a better option than just going forward and getting off a single attack after a move.

Of course, even if you would hang back even if they weren't charging enemies due to the first thing with spells. So brace is mostly just an action to take to finish off your turn after you move into place. If the enemy does charge? Then great! But he probably wouldn't, and you are just trying to waste time anyway. You are likely just hanging back hoping for AoOs from normal movement when enemies attack you or try to get past you.


Brace is double damage as a weapon property - so it should be very situational. Yes, you risk wasting your standard action. On the other hand, you don't give up your current position and a closing, not charging foe can only use a standard action against you (exceptions are rare).

So if you want to get a lot out of brace, pick your position accordingly (allow them to charge) and make sure you can do enough AOOs per round.


It's really, really good against low level charging things. Usually you're knocking them out in one hit (or dropping them to ferocity.) At later levels you're better off buffing and letting the AoOs do the work for you.

And yeah, charging is horrible without something to make it pack something horrifying. If you can't reach your enemy either buff up, total defense, or throw a javelin at them.


Really, most of its value comes from forcing enemies NOT to charge. Because it is an obvious risk.

It is mostly a countermeasure against those tiger riding cavaliers. When you KNOW the enemy is the type to charge, you set up a brace to make it so they would be wiped out if they tried (again- a lot of brace stuff overlaps with reach stuff- that can lead to a 4 attacks worth of damage if you set it up right; and all that at either full BAB or BAB-5).

So you want to put yourself in front of that charge happy enemy, so that they either eat a full attack's worth of damage or they have to go around you to get at squishies (...which removes the charge, obviously; you usually judge something as 'charge happy' when it somehow gets far more damage than normal on a charge, such as pounce or lance stuff- ergo, their damage plummets).

It is really a defensive ability more than anything.


lemeres wrote:
It is really a defensive ability more than anything.

That's likely the issue. Offense seriously trumps defense in this game. It's why you see people saying just buff/let the AoOs do the work. Situational one thing, but situational and a potentially wasteful defensive option? It's seems like it's a tier above Total Defense in that regard.


Frosty Ace wrote:
lemeres wrote:
It is really a defensive ability more than anything.
That's likely the issue. Offense seriously trumps defense in this game. It's why you see people saying just buff/let the AoOs do the work. Situational one thing, but situational and a potentially wasteful defensive option? It's seems like it's a tier above Total Defense in that regard.

yeah...it is strictly inferior to reach, which is also somewhat defensive... but that is automatic, and you can encourage it by proper positioning and maybe using lunge to force enemies that you are attacking to engage you and draw AoOs. At the very least, reach acts as a minim of a nice prick against anything that decides to up and attack you.

If brace was a x1 damage immediate action thing (I'm reducing damage in return for the far better action), then it would be fine. People would even praise its usefulness, since it pretty much means that charging at the guy with the big point thing between you and him would be stupid.


Does the Weapon Trick feat granting polearm users Quick Brace change anyone's mind?

Quick Brace allows the following:

"While taking a full-attack action with a polearm with brace, you can ready an attack with the polearm in place of your final attack. The readied attack uses the attack bonus of the attack you used to ready it."

I'm still not sure it would be that useful, but I suppose there might be cases where you'd kill an enemy on the first attack(s) of a full attack, and then want to brace versus any charging allies. Still not the main reason to take Weapon Trick for polearms, of course -- that honour would fall to either Choke Up or Haft Bash, I think.

I'm playing a melee shaman using a bardiche (via a houserule), and have not yet used its brace quality (or even really had much opportunity to do so.


The Steel Refrain wrote:
"While taking a full-attack action with a polearm with brace, you can ready an attack with the polearm in place of your final attack. The readied attack uses the attack bonus of the attack you used to ready it."

Not very useful. You might waste one of your attacks if nothing charges, and you can't just invest the worst iterative, since you would be hitting with that BAB. You also have to invest to get weapon trick.

And even if I found it useful, I could just write that use off as 'the value gained from a feat' rather than as a natural quality of the weapon.

Sovereign Court

It might be possible to utilize brace weapons if you can reliably Stagger large amounts of enemies so that if they want to move and attack, they have to charge. The Slow spell comes to mind. It's a bit niche but if you recognize that the enemies if a given fight are vulnerable to it, you can drop in that tactic.

After all, there are many decent weapons that just happen to also have Brace.


Ascalaphus wrote:
After all, there are many decent weapons that just happen to also have Brace.

Most martial reach weapons have the brace feature. In fact the only one I can think of that doesn't have it is the glaive.


I wouldn't mind giving brace weapons some love. I'm not sure how to go about it though.

It'd be nice if it functioned like the Phalanx Soldier's "Ready Pike" ability, but it would almost be too good for Reach weapons. Essentially that could give the wielder two attacks; 1 from Brace, and maybe 1 more from an AoO.

What if it granted the immediate action attack, but only dealt double damage if it was considered an AoO?


It seems like it'd depend on the GM. If they use a lot of animals, brave, stupid enemies, etc. Then they will probably take the charge.

On the GM's side, a lot of the DPR records I've seen rely on charging, so that could be handy.

I just wanted to use a nodachi with a sohei, and it happened to have brace.


I think the easiest way to make brace useful is to make it grant you an AoO against any charging enemy that enters within your reach.

Lets say Foot Soldier A is against Horseman B. Foot Soldier A has a reach and brace weapon.

Against Horseman B's charge, Foot Soldier A gets an AoO even if Horseman B's charge wouldn't otherwise provoke (such as if Horseman B also was using a reach weapon like a lance). If Horseman B's charge would otherwise provoke and Foot Soldier A has combat reflexes, that would grant him two AoOs against the Horseman.

There, no double damage, no action wasting, no silliness just proper militaristic tactics of "Don't charge guys with long pointy objects".


In a world with no facing it make no sense. I brace the weapon for a oncoming attack...but it act as if I can attack any direction.


I've seen it used to good effect once. By an enlarged multiclass meleer, vs. a bunch of charging skeletons on skeleton horses, with great cleave, in D&D 3.0. Not since despite the effect then. It rarely fits either the situation or the nature of the people I game with.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
lemeres wrote:
Really, most of its value comes from forcing enemies NOT to charge. Because it is an obvious risk.

I've used it once so far, and it was to prevent the charge. I moved to where I was the only one in their charge lane and then braced.

Raging Bloodrager bracing was enough to convince the opponent to look for a different target. Protected three people with that action.

On the other hand, it was the first time it had even come up. I agree that the restriction of having to ready an action really makes brace a lot less useful.


I never seen it used until I started to run way of the wicked, I have a guy running Phalanx Soldier fighter. He figured it be a good idea since the AP they are the bad guys and fighting mostly elves and human. It worked out for him, because there are lots of knights and cavalry men, who tactics written into the ap are to charges. I also see it used more since I switched to unchained action economy. Before switch to that I had another player who always charged tend to charge and would get taken out very quickly do to full attack in the next round. In the normal Action economy charge is a poor choice if you can't one hit kill or have pounce, Charge function better in the unchained action economy also.

Silver Crusade

I've played characters with reach weapons for years. It has come up exactly once for one of my PCs. Pretty worthless for player characters.

On the other hand, back in the 3.5 days, with hold the line (feat: granted an AoO vs charging foes who enter your threatened area) and steadfast boots (magic item that made every attack count as bracing--the conservative interpretation) and a longspear, I remember an NPC putting a few characters down when they didn't see that coming.

In Pathfinder, you might be able to make some good use of Brace with Intercept Charge. (Ready an action to brace--perhaps with the polearm trick lowest iterative-- wait till someone charges an ally--probably not the guy with the readied polearm--then move into the charge path, take the readied action for double damage, and take the AoO; three attacks worth of damage and a retargeted charge by virtue of intercept charge).

Still, it would be a much more interesting property if it did one of the two things suggested:
A. Grant an AoO against charging foes who enter your threatened area
or
B. Grants double damage on AoOs against charging foes.


Let me add my voice to the "brace is a poor option" chorus.

At best, you are taking a standard action to do damage. That's not exactly a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. More importantly, you are (literally) surrendering the initiative to your opponent and also giving him the opportunity not to take damage when he realizes that you're readying a standard action to damage him (which means you're taking a standard action to make him perform his Plan B action instead; this is a terrible trade).


Thinking about it... brace is better for the GM than it is for the players.

A GM can just throw a couple minions in whose sole job is to stand in front of the wizard and make sure no barbarians pounce him. For the GM, that is just a small bit of CR and some extra wealth- little loss.

Heck, the static composition of a party (since the party usually doesn't change up that much once it is made) means you can more easily predict charge heavy tactics as a GM than the player can predict charges from the GM.

So, one of the big things I have to say against a lot of the suggested 'fixes'- it would kill AM BARBARIANS. Both figuratively... which is because it does so literally. Making brace too good would ruin pounce tactics, which is one of the 'nice things that martials can get'.

Of course, there are ways for players to use this kind of tactic. The necromancer is likely a fan of just handing some longspears to skeletons and letting them act as a defensive line. With attacks at full BAB along with AoOs for more full BAB attacks, you can use some relatively weak skeletons to good effect like this. And that necromancy focused occultist would LOVE this tactics, since they have a lot of undead minions with static bonuses to damage.


Quote:
Brace: If you use a readied action to set a brace weapon against a charge, you deal double damage on a successful hit against a charging character (see Combat).

It occurs to me that you could double dip on this if you get the benefit on both your AoO and your readied action to attack the charger. Both attacks would be "against a charging character".


Melkiador wrote:
Quote:
Brace: If you use a readied action to set a brace weapon against a charge, you deal double damage on a successful hit against a charging character (see Combat).
It occurs to me that you could double dip on this if you get the benefit on both your AoO and your readied action to attack the charger. Both attacks would be "against a charging character".

Yep. One is a readied action against a charging character, which is in no way an AoO, and the other is an AoO for a character existing your threatened square. So they are both valid.

Since the majority of brace weapons ahve reach too, it means that x3 damage is pretty much standard whenever this gets used.

Still doesn't necessarily mean it is a good action.

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