Size Modifiers to CMB and Weapon Bonuses


Rules Questions


Say you have a medium size creature with 30 AB and 30 CMB baseline. They also have a +5 weapon and Improved Disarm. We'll assume it's NOT a trip weapon to simplify things (so let's say it's a greatsword or greataxe or earthbreaker or something similar). This means they attack at +35 and disarm at +37, since they can use a weapon to help disarm.

Simple enough.

Now let's say they suddenly grow to Colossal size (normally -8 AB, -8 AC, +8 CMB, +8 CMD).

This means they now attack at 27 due to the -8 penalty.

But what do they disarm at? Specifically in regards to how weapon enhancement bonus interacts with the AB penalty but CMB bonus.


30 +8 (cmb) +2 (imp. disarm) +5 (weapon bonus) = +45.

this assume the attack bonus of +30 doesn't include any size bonus or penalties.)

general form of attack include sub options such as normal to hit (with ranged or melee) and manuvers

the weapon bonus is to ALL attacks (including maneuvers using the weapon such as disarm). the -8 to hit from size is only to normal to hit rolls, when using maneuvers he uses the size bonus to cmb instead (+8).


zza ni wrote:
the weapon bonus is to ALL attacks (including maneuvers using the weapon such as disarm). the -8 to hit from size is only to normal to hit rolls, when using maneuvers he uses the size bonus to cmb instead (+8).

So against someone with 47 AC and 47 CMD he'd have a 95% chance of disarming them but a 5% chance of hitting them? Whereas if he was medium sized still he'd have a 45% chance to hit and 55% chance to disarm?

It seems weird that you get penalties for swinging with a weapon due to being huge but then apparently keep that full bonus when trying to disarm with the weapon?


That's the conceit in the formulae. Regular attack rolls represent smaller creatures as being difficult to connect with and larger creatures as being easier to connect with. Combat maneuver checks represent larger creatures overcoming the resistance of smaller creatures through sheer momentum. It models grappling, overrunning, and bull rushing better than the "weapon-based" maneuvers. (It's particularly strange that sundering a Tiny creature's armor is much, much easier than hitting them at all via an attack roll.)

The good news is that the size modifier to your attack roll is usually offset by an increase in Strength accompanying the effect that increased your size, making it a wash (or nearly so) in the attack roll department. (Offer not valid for the change shape universal monster ability.)


blahpers wrote:
It models grappling, overrunning, and bull rushing better than the "weapon-based" maneuvers. (It's particularly strange that sundering a Tiny creature's armor is much, much easier than hitting them at all via an attack roll.)

That is precisely why I asked this question. A giant rushing through a halfling's square, obviously. Bowls him over or the halfling has to get out his way. Precisely sundering or disarming the halfling's dagger, though...what the heck? Seems like combat maneuvers that are in place of an attack roll should eat the penalty maybe. Though a colossal creature easily grappling a tiny creature that it otherwise could never hit except on a natural 20 also seems weird.

What's mainly causing me headaches right now is basically a summoner with a Huge Eidolon that is attacking at +30 and Disarming/Repositioning/Grappling at +38 at level 10 with self-buffs only (Spheres of Power/Might character).


Don't forget you can always change up encounters and npc/monster play-styles if you have a player abusing a specific play style. If he's constantly disarming, start using enemies with good natural attacks, if he's always crowd-controlling, give a couple enemies freedom of movement items/spells. You can start using flying creatures or casters with invisibility (if they're heavily optimized for damage/attacking, I doubt they have tremorsense/blindsense/blindsight).

It never hurts to have creatures with poison or other sorts of ability damage, since eidolon's don't naturally heal, and your characters will have to burn spells to get him back up (even from ability damage, he will *not* heal it at a rate of 1 per day, since he doesn't heal naturally).

The eidolon is gone if the summoner is ever unconscious, killed, or asleep. Have more fights at night, when the summoner has to wake up to fight. If your enemies are intelligent and know what a summoner/eidolon is, have them go as hard as they can at the summoner.

Lastly, it is *not* bullying your players as a GM to target a player that is the clear threat. If your player wants to make himself the obvious threat to the enemies, then it's only rational that they treat him as such. I'm not saying kill the summoner and make him roll a new character, btw. I'm just saying they should be attempting to, and at least knocking him unconscious before changing focus.

As a general rule, if a player wants to be exceptionally deadly, have them fight exceptionally deadly enemies.

EDIT: It is also always within your prerogative to change feats that npcs/monsters have, if that helps. I don't particularly like artifically inflating numbers, but you can always do that too. However, remember this: If you try to make it harder for your most optimized player to hit, it's going to be almost impossible for your less optimized players to hit.


RAWmonger wrote:
You can start using flying creatures or casters with invisibility (if they're heavily optimized for damage/attacking, I doubt they have tremorsense/blindsense/blindsight).

I mean, neither do the actual martials in the group. Not sure that would help.

RAWmonger wrote:
Lastly, it is *not* bullying your players as a GM to target a player that is the clear threat. If your player wants to make himself the obvious threat to the enemies, then it's only rational that they treat him as such. I'm not saying kill the summoner and make him roll a new character, btw. I'm just saying they should be attempting to, and at least knocking him unconscious before changing focus.

That does assume they know the Small creature hanging out in the back shouting orders at most is the real threat rather than the Huge creature with a Earthbreaker that's in your face.

RAWmonger wrote:

As a general rule, if a player wants to be exceptionally deadly, have them fight exceptionally deadly enemies.

I don't particularly like artifically inflating numbers, but you can always do that too. However, remember this: If you try to make it harder for your most optimized player to hit, it's going to be almost impossible for your less optimized players to hit.

Artificially inflating numbers is an interesting phrase since monster natural armor is literally just artificially inflating numbers :P

But I did entirely redo the monster creation table that scales far more aggressively -- standard CR10 foe has 34 AC rather than 24 AC, for example. So when I express concern about character stats it's in the context of ALREADY massively boosting stats to account for the optimization other characters have done.

And your last point is the heart of the problem and goes against the first point -- I could easily adjust monster stats again to account for the Spheres characters but then non-Spheres characters can't keep up. Making more deadly enemies doesn't work if the party isn't on the same page.

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