How can Hamatula Strike even be a viable feat? (A FAQ thread)


Rules Questions


18 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Question unclear. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

Now, before I get the whole "Yeah, PFS sessions can use this feat" or "ZOMG WALL OF TEXT" junk, please note that this thread does not question the authenticity of the feat. It questions the usefulness and viability of the feat; in other words, a FAQ thread.

To save a bunch of background questions and sifting through threads to understand what this is all about, I will "revive" the thread that has driven me to make this FAQ thread.

Let's get to the main event: the point of this thread is to list an invalidity of the RAW presented within the Core of the game and its conflict with the feat mentioned in an attempt to receive/configure a solution; to start, have a look at the feat itself: Hamatula Strike.

Hamatula Strike, in short, allows a character with a piercing weapon to make a grapple check as an immediate action upon a successful, damaging attack. After succeeding in the grapple check, the both the target and the character receive the Grappled condition, and the target is considered impaled. One thing that isn't listed that should be important is a basic Grapple Combat Maneuver rule:

Core Rulebook wrote:
Humanoid creatures without two free hands attempting to grapple a foe take a –4 penalty on the combat maneuver roll.

How would this be ruled in the case of characters using 2 handed piercing weapons compared to 1 handed piercing weapons? Would the penalty from this change due to the character using a 2 handed weapon (the equivalent of using two hands) to perform an immediate grapple check, or would it stay the same as if the character was using any weapon?

It then says the character may then attempt to deal weapon damage to the grappled target through a successful grapple check as an attack action at a -4 penalty. Thankfully, as per the rule above, this penalty does not stack with the penalty listed above as the target is already grappled by you. However, there is this major clause listed in the Grapple Combat Maneuver rule:

Core Rulebook wrote:
Although both creatures have the grappled condition, you can, as the creature that initiated the grapple, release the grapple as a free action, removing the condition from both you and the target. If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold. If your target does not break the grapple, you get a +5 circumstance bonus on grapple checks made against the same target in subsequent rounds.

Emphasis Mine.

There is also the clause/errata mentioned for Vital Strike regarding attack actions:

Vital Strike Clarification wrote:
Vital Strike is an attack action, which is a type of standard action.

Emphasis Mine.

In short: The feat requires the character to perform both a Standard Action (which is used to maintain the initial grapple), and an Attack Action (which the Vital Strike clause officially states an Attack Action as a type of Standard Action), which concludes two Standard Actions, within the same round, which is physically impossible as far as standard game mechanics are concerned (unless you got some sort of houserule/Wish spell going).

The problem? In PFS games, this feat is not even usable due to the action conflict mentioned within both Core Rulebooks, Official Developer Clarifications, and the Feat Description. (Whether this feat is allowed for PFS sessions or not, I do not know. Even if not, this poses a problem to games/sessions where the RAW is the LAW.)

The solution? There are multiple, but nothing concrete (or even endorsed by the Developers for that matter). TGMaxMaxer's post regarding the origins of the feat and its intent (which is the Hamatula, AKA Barbed Demon) greatly helps with what the feat is intended to do, but if the Devs have something different in mind for a solution (if there even is one that they will supply).

At this point, I can only hope this to get FAQ'd fairly and frequently enough for a Dev to respond with a fair and acceptable answer. If you too would like an official answer/ruling regarding this feat, then add to the stockpile of the FAQ button, please. :)


FAQ'd

- Gauss


FAQ'd

Liberty's Edge

I fail to see your points from your post. The only problem is Jiggy position in the linked thread.
Let's look it piece by piece:

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

To save a bunch of background questions and sifting through threads to understand what this is all about, I will "revive" the thread that has driven me to make this FAQ thread.

Bad link, fixed, you should keep the "http://" part of the link.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Let's get to the main event: the point of this thread is to list an invalidity of the RAW presented within the Core of the game and its conflict with the feat mentioned in an attempt to receive/configure a solution; to start, have a look at the feat itself: Hamatula Strike.

Hamatula Strike, in short, allows a character with a piercing weapon to make a grapple check as an immediate action upon a successful, damaging attack. After succeeding in the grapple check, the both the target and the character receive the Grappled condition, and the target is considered impaled. One thing that isn't listed that should be important is a basic Grapple Combat Maneuver rule:

Core Rulebook wrote:
Humanoid creatures without two free hands attempting to grapple a foe take a –4 penalty on the combat maneuver roll.
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


How would this be ruled in the case of characters using 2 handed piercing weapons compared to 1 handed piercing weapons? Would the penalty from this change due to the character using a 2 handed weapon (the equivalent of using two hands) to perform an immediate grapple check, or would it stay the same as if the character was using any weapon?

From the feat description:

"Normal: You can only attack with an unarmed strike, natural weapon, or light weapon against opponents you are grappling."

So, non normal: you can use a 2 handed weapon. The feat don't list a special modifier for two handed weapons, so you use the normal feat modifier.
Note that the feat was written during the transition from 3.5. to Pathfinder. Normal don't cite the use of 1 handed weapons while grappling while Pathfinder allow that.
First edition CRB was printed in November 2009, Cheliax Empire of Evils was printed in 2009 so the authors were actually using the D20 PRD or the beta version of Pathfinder, not the final rules [thanks to that the supplement has several things that are no longer canon. A new edition of this book, Elves of Golarion and some other stuff would be nice].

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


It then says the character may then attempt to deal weapon damage to the grappled target through a successful grapple check as an attack action at a -4 penalty. Thankfully, as per the rule above, this penalty does not stack with the penalty listed above as the target is already grappled by you. However, there is this major clause listed in the Grapple Combat Maneuver rule:
Core Rulebook wrote:

Although both creatures have the grappled condition, you can, as the creature that initiated the grapple, release the grapple as a free action, removing the condition from both you and the target. If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold. If your target does not break the grapple, you get a +5 circumstance bonus on grapple checks made against the same target in subsequent rounds.

Emphasis Mine.

While the text is a bit muddy, the intention seem clear. You make a grapple check and, if successful, you apply the impaling weapon damage as the damage from the grapple and maintain the grapple.

Again the problem is generated by the 3.5 rules where maintaining a grapple wasn't an action.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


There is also the clause/errata mentioned for Vital Strike regarding attack actions:
Vital Strike Clarification wrote:

Vital Strike is an attack action, which is a type of standard action.

Emphasis Mine.

In short: The feat requires the character to perform both a Standard Action (which is used to maintain the initial grapple), and an Attack Action (which the Vital Strike clause officially states an Attack Action as a type of Standard Action), which concludes two Standard Actions, within the same round, which is physically impossible as far as standard game mechanics are concerned (unless you got some sort of houserule/Wish spell going).

And?

Sorry, it seem that you want to keep the grapple and get the benefit of Vital strike at the same time. Nothing in the feat allow that and I don't see why it should allow it.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


The problem? In PFS games, this feat is not even usable due to the action conflict mentioned within both Core Rulebooks, Official Developer Clarifications, and the Feat Description. (Whether this feat is allowed for PFS sessions or not, I do not know. Even if not, this poses a problem to games/sessions where the RAW is the LAW.)

All the feat in the book are usable in PFS.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


The solution? There are multiple, but nothing concrete (or even endorsed by the Developers for that matter). TGMaxMaxer's post regarding the origins of the feat and its intent (which is the Hamatula, AKA Barbed Demon) greatly helps with what the feat is intended to do, but if the Devs have something different in mind for a solution (if there even is one that they will supply).

At this point, I can only hope this to get FAQ'd fairly and frequently enough for a Dev to respond with a fair and acceptable answer. If you too would like an official answer/ruling regarding this feat, then add to the stockpile of the FAQ button, please. :)

While I think it clear how it work, some post in the other thread dissent with my interpretation, so FAQed.


@ Rossi

I just did a copypaste, so my bad on the link. Worked for me, so I guess results may vary...it seems you got a few things confused with my wall of text (and perhaps I myself with yours), so let's clear this up?

Yes, I know that the feat allows a character to "grapple" with a 2 handed piercing weapon. The question that arises now are how the rules of Pathfinder are applied to the description of the feat. If I am using a 2h Piercing Polearm and attempt a grapple as an immediate action after a successful attack, would I not receive the -4 penalty I would normally get for only using 1 hand to grapple because I am using two hands to impale the target (which is used to confirm the grapple)? Would I receive the -4 penalty to the initial grapple if I used a one-handed weapon to impale the target? The thing is, there are no rules as to how a weapon would correspond when used as an improvised "hand" or means of grappling a target. Personally, I would treat a 2h as using 2 hands to "impale" (which is symbolized as grapple) the target, meaning no -4. But some clarification would still be needed by the Devs, since it is unclear as to how weapons used in conjunction of a grapple check affect the CMB modifiers.

It is and it isn't. The intent is very obvious (thanks to the reference post from MaxMaxer), but as far as mechanical rules are concerned, it's physically impossible outside of houseruling/Wish spell(s), and makes absolutely no sense. The rules for grappling state you must sacrifice a Standard Action to maintain the grapple; the feat also says while the target is impaled (AKA grappled, which you must confirm for the round via grapple check), you can perform a Grapple Check as an Attack Action to deal damage with your weapon.

The bolded part I emphasize, because that is where the problem lies. People were confused before-hand about what an Attack Action is listed as, and it was confused with the feat that it's most commonly associated with: Vital Strike. (And no, Vital Strike cannot be used with Hamatula Strike; they're mutually exclusive. They are both separate Attack Action feats.)

The Devs evaluated the feat and made the clarification that a Vital Strike is an Attack Action. They also went on to say that an Attack Action (which is what the Vital Strike Feat is labeled as, as well as any single Attack within a round) is a type of Standard Action. So now you put two and two together.

The rules for grapple, again, say you must sacrifice a Standard Action each round to make a Grapple Check to maintain the grapple. The feat says if the target is impaled, the character may make a grapple check as an attack action (which is clarified as a Standard Action via the Vital Strike Clarification Errata), which is physically impossible as the standard action any character has for that round while impaling the target is used up making sure the target is impaled.

The point is that the feat as far as rule mechanics are concerned, is broken and cannot be used in a real PFS game because of it. The best (and most practical fix) is to adjust the feat to operate like the Hamatula (AKA Barbed Demon) ability combo, in that it allows the character to deal damage with the impaling weapon upon a successfully maintained grapple. But for all we know, the Devs might either ditch this feat, or have some other, nerfed fix.


After reading the grapple rules again,

Grapple:

As a standard action, you can attempt to grapple a foe, hindering his combat options. If you do not have Improved Grapple, grab, or a similar ability, attempting to grapple a foe provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver. Humanoid creatures without two free hands attempting to grapple a foe take a –4 penalty on the combat maneuver roll. If successful, both you and the target gain the grappled condition (see the Appendices). If you successfully grapple a creature that is not adjacent to you, move that creature to an adjacent open space (if no space is available, your grapple fails). Although both creatures have the grappled condition, you can, as the creature that initiated the grapple, release the grapple as a free action, removing the condition from both you and the target. If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold. If your target does not break the grapple, you get a +5 circumstance bonus on grapple checks made against the same target in subsequent rounds. 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).

Move: You can move both yourself and your target up to half your speed. At the end of your movement, you can place your target in any square adjacent to you. If you attempt to place your foe in a hazardous location, such as in a wall of fire or over a pit, the target receives a free attempt to break your grapple with a +4 bonus.

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.

Pin: You can give your opponent the pinned condition (see Conditions). Despite pinning your opponent, you still only have the grappled condition, but you lose your Dexterity bonus to AC.

Tie Up: If you have your target pinned, otherwise restrained, or unconscious, you can use rope to tie him up. This works like a pin effect, but the DC to escape the bonds is equal to 20 + your Combat Maneuver Bonus (instead of your CMD). The ropes do not need to make a check every round to maintain the pin. If you are grappling the target, you can attempt to tie him up in ropes, but doing so requires a combat maneuver check at a –10 penalty. If the DC to escape from these bindings is higher than 20 + the target's CMB, the target cannot escape from the bonds, even with a natural 20 on the check.

The rules already state that as part of the attack action that maintains a grapple you can do damage to the target.

So per the feat, it merely opens up the option to use a 2h piercing weapon on that damage roll, which is normally prohibited, at a -4 even though it is using 2hands. It also grants Improved Grab,(the ability to start a grapple on any successful attack) while using a piercing weapon.

Liberty's Edge

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The point is that the feat as far as rule mechanics are concerned, is broken and cannot be used in a real PFS game because of it. The best (and most practical fix) is to adjust the feat to operate like the Hamatula (AKA Barbed Demon) ability combo, in that it allows the character to deal damage with the impaling weapon upon a successfully maintained grapple. But for all we know, the Devs might either ditch this feat, or have some other, nerfed fix.

Maybe it was missed in my wall of text, but the key of the problem is the publication date of the supplement:

Cheliax Empire of Evils was printed in 2009

First edition Core rulebook was printed in November 2009

So the feat don't refer Pathfinder grappling, it is based on the rules of 3.5 grappling.
You should read it in that context to get how it work. Then you must adapt it to Pathfinder rules.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Yes, I know that the feat allows a character to "grapple" with a 2 handed piercing weapon. The question that arises now are how the rules of Pathfinder are applied to the description of the feat. If I am using a 2h Piercing Polearm and attempt a grapple as an immediate action after a successful attack, would I not receive the -4 penalty I would normally get for only using 1 hand to grapple because I am using two hands to impale the target (which is used to confirm the grapple)? Would I receive the -4 penalty to the initial grapple if I used a one-handed weapon to impale the target? The thing is, there are no rules as to how a weapon would correspond when used as an improvised "hand" or means of grappling a target. Personally, I would treat a 2h as using 2 hands to "impale" (which is symbolized as grapple) the target, meaning no -4. But some clarification would still be needed by the Devs, since it is unclear as to how weapons used in conjunction of a grapple check affect the CMB modifiers.

I was saying that the -4 from the feat replace the normal modifier for having a weapon in hand while grappling. Using a one or 2 handed weapon make no difference.


@ MaxMaxer

The feat isn't read as that, nor can it follow the rules of grappling (your bolded part), since it is viewed as a separate type of action (and not one you can perform upon using a successful grapple check). It says after a successful grapple check (which now requires a standard acton via Pathfinder Rules), the character may attempt to deal damage with their weapon with another grapple check as an attack action.

As I have said before, the Vital Strike clarification has officially labeled an Attack Action as a type of Standard Action. PC's cannot take two standard actions within the same round outside of a Wish or houserule ability that allows this. In terms of PFS/RAW = LAW sessions, this feat cannot work because the mechanics its involved with is broken (that is, it does not/cannot work).

If the feat read it as an additional actions to perform after maintaining the grapple (as your bolded part suggests), then there wouldn't be much of a need to FAQ it. But it's not read like that, nor can we interpret it to be like that. It's stated to be a separate, independent standard action that is to be used after maintaining the impalement (which is AKA the grapple).

@ Rossi

The problem is that you cannot adapt the feat to Pathfinder rules because doing so makes the feat unusable. If it's using 3.5 rules, it most likely isn't a PFS-safe feat to take, nor is it even viable to begin with once you convert the feat to Pathfinder rules.

With the conversion, the -4 for not using 2 hands only applies to the initial grapple. After that, there is no -4 because that penalty only applies to a character initiating a grapple, not a character maintaining the grapple as per the RAW. Implementing another -4 to simulate the "not using 2 hands" isn't justified through Pathfinder rules as the Attack Action is performed after maintaining/succeeding in grappling the opponent, and would also need to be errata'd for use in future books.


Darksol: The optional Hero Point system will also allow two standard actions in one round. :) But that is optional.

- Gauss


Diego Rossi wrote:


Maybe it was missed in my wall of text, but the key of the problem is the publication date of the supplement:

Cheliax Empire of Evils was printed in 2009

First edition Core rulebook was printed in November 2009

So the feat don't refer Pathfinder grappling, it is based on the rules of 3.5 grappling.
You should read it in that context to get how it work. Then you must adapt it to Pathfinder rules.

The Core Rulebook first printing was released at Gencon in August, 2009. The Cheliax book was PFRPG, (see the Pathfinder Companion page, where the Cheliax book is the cover image for the PFRPG section.)

Liberty's Edge

Caedwyr wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:


Maybe it was missed in my wall of text, but the key of the problem is the publication date of the supplement:

Cheliax Empire of Evils was printed in 2009

First edition Core rulebook was printed in November 2009

So the feat don't refer Pathfinder grappling, it is based on the rules of 3.5 grappling.
You should read it in that context to get how it work. Then you must adapt it to Pathfinder rules.

The Core Rulebook was first printing was released at Gencon in August, 2009. The Cheliax book was PFRPG, (see the Pathfinder Companion page, where the Cheliax book is the cover image for the PFRPG section.)

I stand correct, my book is second printing. I was sure it was first printing.

That don't make much difference. As they have been printed the same year it is a granted thing that the authors of Cheliax weren't working with the final draft of the CRB. The feat clearly use the 3.5 version of grappling.


Diego is correct that much of the PFRPG system was in flux at the point when Cheliax Empire of Evils was written. However, whether or not that had anything to do with this problem is guesswork.

Unfortunately, books that are not part of the main PFRPG line rarely get errata'd. What probably needs to happen is to get a developer to weigh in on how it should work. And then get someone from PFS to insert a bit of text into how it should work for PFS.

- Gauss


Gauss wrote:

Diego is correct that much of the PFRPG system was in flux at the point when Cheliax Empire of Evils was written. However, whether or not that had anything to do with this problem is guesswork.

Unfortunately, books that are not part of the main PFRPG line rarely get errata'd. What probably needs to happen is to get a developer to weigh in on how it should work. And then get someone from PFS to insert a bit of text into how it should work for PFS.

- Gauss

Pretty much. I'd rather get the message across that this feat is broken and cannot be used at all in any game as far as RAW is concerned. Sure, you can handwave and houserule the feat, but in those PFS games, or other games where the RAW is the LAW, they don't get that liberty.

That's why official clarification/fixing is needed.

(Also, bump.)

Liberty's Edge

JJ say he would like to do a Chelaxia book in the campaign setting line but for sure that isn't a solution that will be available in the short term and there is no guarantee that the feat will be reprinted there in a updated version.
I doubt you will get much help in the rule forum (beside the FAQ hit you have received) as the feat can be fixed with reasonable ease for a home game so fixing it isn't high in the developers priorities.
The problem is in PFS as there you need table consistency and not all GM will be willing to take the time to check the feat and see how it should be fixed.
I think that the best option is to start a thread in the PFS forum with a clear explanation of the problem and its probable origin and hope for a clarification from Mark or whoever manage PFS today.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / How can Hamatula Strike even be a viable feat? (A FAQ thread) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.