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[kjd-imc] Impale and Great Blow (was: Feat - Impaler)

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Anonymous
June 23, 2005 9:21:09 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Steven Howell <showell@donteventhinkaboutit.com> wrote:
> Take 2! (I hate trying to write game stuff when I'm fatigued.)
>
> Impaler
>
> Prerequisites*: Str 13, Power Attack
> You are skilled at impaling opponents.
> Benefit: You must declare this feat to be used before you attack, and
> you must be making a slashing or piercing attack with an appropriate
> melee weapon. If you use Power Attack and score a successful
> critical hit with a margin of success of 5 or better, you score a
> deep wound. You automatically deal additional damage equal to your
> weapon's base damage plus any enhancement bonus plus your Strength
> modifier, as you recover your weapon. This feat cannot be used with
> the Weapon Finesse feat.

> Special: This feat can be taken as a fighter bonus feat.

There's no downside to declaring the use of this feat; expect to see it
declared on every attack. At least, every attack using PA.

Here's what I'd consider:

Impale
Prereqs: Weapon Finesse, Improved Critical, BAB +11, Dex 15+
Benefit: When using a finesseable piercing weapon with which you have
Improved Critical, on a successful critical you may choose to impale
your opponent. Impaling your opponent increases your critical
multiplier by 1. You may then attempt to start a grapple as a free
action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
If you fail the grapple check, or choose to not make one, you lose
hold of your weapon and are not grappled. If you chose to not
impale, this does not apply.
If you succeed in starting the grapple you may, as a standard
action, make a grapple check to dislodge the weapon and get out of
the grapple. On success you dislodge the weapon and escape the
grapple. On failure you lose your grip on the weapon and remain
grappled. Either way, you do normal damage. You may not apply
Power Attack or similar feats (no attack roll to penalize).
If you succeed in starting the grapple you may, as a full-round
action, 'twist the blade' to cause normal damage. No attack or
grapple check is needed; you do damage, the weapon stays lodged, and
you remain grappled.
Removing a lodged weapon 'gently' will do the weapon's base damage
unless a successful Heal check (DC20) is made. Unlike most Heal
checks, a person may take 20 on this check.
Special: This feat can be taken as a fighter bonus feat.

Great Blow
Prereqs: Power Attack, Improved Critical, BAB +11, Str 15+
Benefit: as Impale, but using Power Attack with slashing and piercing
weapons instead of Weapon Finesse. You must be using Power Attack
for a Great Blow to happen.

Design notes

.. BAB +11 was chosen because it means that using this ability interferes
with iterative attacks. If you crit someone on your first attack, you
can choose to impale (and pretty much lose the rest of the round, and
no iterative attack the next round) or not.
.. Ability score prereqs were bumped from the PA/WF requirements; it
seems you need to be especially strong or dextrous to do this on
purpose.
.. You can't use Power Attack when dislodging and escaping because you
cannot do so when 'twisting the blade'. If you could, it means you
could remove the weapon, escape the grapple, *and* do more damage with
a standard action than you could spending a round 'twisting the
blade'. You can't use Power Attack when twisting because there are no
attack or grapple checks to apply penalties to.
.. While undead, constructs, and other creatures are immune to critical
hits, they are not immune to effects *caused* by critical hits. In
this case, a successful critical against a vampire would cause no
additional damage from the hit, but would allow the grapple check and
additional damage in succeeding actions. If you wanted to grapple
with a vampire.

This is probably about where I'd put it. If you wanted to adjust things
you could:

.. reduce bonus damage to base weapon damage from increasing critical
multiplier. This takes a lot of the sting out of it -- and increases
the value of Impale compared to Great Blow, since +d12 on a Power
Attack greataxe crit isn't a big deal, while +d6 on a rapier critical
is.
.. add another feat prereq to Great Blow. Great Blow does a lot more
additional damage than Impale, because it uses bigger weapons and
requires using Power Attack in order for it to happen at all.


Analysis


I ran some numbers the Great Blow (it seemed the more troublesome -- PA
fighters tend to use big weapons and the mandatory PA, with two-handed
weapons, does double Strength bonus).

A Ftr11 stands a decent chance of being able to afford a +4 weapon,
Str22 is probably about standard (it *could* be 24 without too much
trouble, but let's go with 22 for the moment), and probably has Weapon
Specialization.

Initial assumptions: +4 weapon, Str 22, Weapon Specialization, +1 PA
(you get +1 from Weapon Focus (required by Weapon Specialization); I'm
assuming you're trying you best to hit -- a Great Blow that misses isn't
worth anything)


normal (no Improved Critical, no Great Blow)

normal critical* average
falchion 2d4 18-20/x2 25 50.0/44/ 56 28.75
greataxe 1d12 20/x3 26.5 79.5/63/ 96 29.15
greatsword 2d6 19-20/x2 27 54.0/44/ 64 29.70
scythe 2d4 20/x4 25 100.0/88/112 28.75

* shows average critical, minimum critical, maximum critical


Improved Critical, not Great Blow

normal critical* average diff**
falchion 2d4 15-20/x2 25 50.0/44/ 56 32.50 +3.75
greataxe 1d12 19-20/x3 26.5 79.5/63/ 96 31.80 +2.65
greatsword 2d6 17-20/x2 27 54.0/44/ 64 32.40 +2.70
scythe 2d4 19-20/x4 25 100.0/88/112 32.50 +3.75

* shows average critical, minimum critical, maximum critical
** from basic damage, no Improved Crit, Great Blow, Greater Weapon
Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization


Improved Critical, Great Blow

normal critical* average diff**
falchion 2d4 15-20/x3 25 75/ 66/ 84 40.00 +11.25
greataxe 1d12 19-20/x4 26.5 106/ 84/128 34.45 + 4.3
greatsword 2d6 17-20/x3 27 81/ 66/ 96 37.80 + 8.1
scythe 2d4 19-20/x5 25 125/110/140 35.00 + 6.25

* shows average critical, minimum critical, maximum critical
** from basic damage, no Improved Crit, Great Blow, Greater Weapon
Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization


Basically, for the cost of a weapon-specific feat and a feat that only
takes effect sometimes (which frequency, granted, is increased by the
first one) it looks like average damage with the appicable weapon is
increased by 5-10 points. The critical damage is increased 20%-50%
(with 'big crit' weapons gaining less than 'small crit' weapons).

Unless you take Improved Critical more than once, it's safe to say that
you pay two feats for the ability to do an additional 5-10 points of
damage on average. At Ftr11, there are better ways to do that much more
damage on average.

At Ftr8 you're almost certain to have Greater Weapon Focus. This gives
you another +1 to hit with a single weapon, which means you can safely
increase your PA by 1 without affecting your chance to hit. This gets
you +2 on every hit (i.e. better than Improved Critical on average) and
gives you +4/+6/+8 with sword/axe/scythe on a critical (which Improved
Critical *doesn't* give you).


Greater Weapon Focus, +2 PA (+4 damage)

normal critical* average diff**
falchion 2d4 18-20/x2 27 54.0/ 48/ 60 31.05 + 2.3
greataxe 1d12 20/x3 28.5 85.5/ 69/102 31.35 + 2.2
greatsword 2d6 19-20/x2 29 58.0/ 48/ 68 31.90 + 2.2
scythe 2d4 20/x4 27 108.0/ 96/120 31.05 + 2.3

* shows average critical, minimum critical, maximum critical
** from basic damage, no Improved Crit, Great Blow, Greater Weapon
Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization


Thus, at 8th level (where you could have taken Improved Critical) you
can take Greater Weapon Focus. This gives you more damage in the common
case (2 points per hit), *better* criticals, but less frequently. It
also sets you up for Greater Weapon Specialization.


Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization + 2 PA (+4 damage)

normal critical* average diff**
falchion 2d4 18-20/x2 29 58.0/ 52/ 64 33.35 + 4.6
greataxe 1d12 20/x3 30.5 91.5/ 75/108 33.55 + 4.4
greatsword 2d6 19-20/x2 31 62.0/ 52/ 72 34.10 + 4.4
scythe 2d4 20/x4 29 116.0/104/128 33.35 + 4.6

* shows average critical, minimum critical, maximum critical
** from basic damage, no Improved Crit, Great Blow, Greater Weapon
Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization


At 12th level (when you qualify for Greater Weapon Specialization) you
do:


Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization + 2 PA (+4 damage)

normal critical* average diff**
falchion 2d4 18-20/x2 29 58.0/ 52/ 64 33.35 + 4.6
greataxe 1d12 20/x3 30.5 91.5/ 75/108 33.55 + 4.4
greatsword 2d6 19-20/x2 31 62.0/ 52/ 72 34.10 + 4.4
scythe 2d4 20/x4 29 116.0/104/128 33.35 + 4.6

* shows average critical, minimum critical, maximum critical
** from basic damage, no Improved Crit, Great Blow, Greater Weapon
Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization


Looking at it the Great Blow combination is a little better than the
Greater Weapon Specialization combination. The GWS common case is
better than that of the Great Blow combination (four points per blow)
but the criticals aren't as good, nor criticals as common. Overall you
do more damage on average with the Great Blow combination.

The GWS combination works even when criticals don't, which the Great
Blow (or even Improved Critical) doesn't. You've got opportunity
problems with Great Blow.

GWS works nicely with iterative attacks. Choosing to use Great Blow
means that you're either going to lose your weapon or spend at least two
actions dealing with it, grappled with the target (which can be its own
cost).

Overall, I think Great Blow is probably decent. It's suboptimal in many
cases. I don't think I'd want to rely on criticals for my big damage,
especially since when you get around 12th level you run into a bunch of
crit-immune creatures. It can allow you to do *something* with a crit,
if you're willing to you grapple with the beastie. When it *does* kick
in, it can do some damn fine damage.

I think it passes both the 'would anyone take it?' and the 'would
everyone take it?' tests. High-level fighters kind of suffer for feats
at that point anyway. It looks workable. Now let's see what happens if
we combine both (GWS and Great Blow):


Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization + 2 PA (+4 damage),
Improved Critical, Great Blow

normal critical* average diff**
falchion 2d4 18-20/x3 29 87.0/ 78/ 96 46.40 +17.65
greataxe 1d12 20/x4 30.5 122.0/100/144 39.65 +10.50
greatsword 2d6 19-20/x3 31 93.0/ 78/108 43.40 +13.70
scythe 2d4 20/x5 29 145.0/130/160 40.60 +11.85

* shows average critical, minimum critical, maximum critical
** from basic damage, no Improved Crit, Great Blow, Greater Weapon
Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization

Now, let's get obscene. Half-orc Ftr12 (Str22, +2 bumps, +6 Str item;
+5 weapon; GWS)

normal critical* average diff**
falchion 2d4 18-20/x2 38 76.0/ 70/ 82 43.70 +14.95
greataxe 1d12 20/x3 39.5 118.5/102/135 43.45 +14.30
greatsword 2d6 19-20/x2 40 80.0/ 70/ 90 44.00 +14.30
scythe 2d4 20/x4 38 152.0/140/164 43.70 +14.95

* shows average critical, minimum critical, maximum critical
** from basic damage, no Improved Crit, Great Blow, Greater Weapon
Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization


.... now, add Great Blow

normal critical* average diff**
falchion 2d4 18-20/x3 38 114.0/105/123 60.80 +32.05
greataxe 1d12 20/x4 39.5 158.0/136/180 51.35 +22.20
greatsword 2d6 19-20/x3 40 120.0/105/135 56.00 +26.30
scythe 2d4 20/x5 38 190.0/175/205 53.20 +24.45

* shows average critical, minimum critical, maximum critical
** from basic damage, no Improved Crit, Great Blow, Greater Weapon
Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization


Nice impact in the common case (which is exactly what it'd be with those
stats, items, and GWS), really nice on average (when dealing with crit-
susceptible creatures) and obscene on criticals... if you're willing to
deal with the inconvenience of actually trying it.

Hrm... if Great Blow is reasonable, maybe Impale is a little *weak*.
Rapiers gain bugger all compared to what you gain with a big weapon.
Consider also that Finesse fighters tend to be weaker than PA fighters,
resulting in them being worse at grappling as well.

It might be worth turning up somehow.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
June 23, 2005 4:00:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Thu, 23 Jun 2005 05:21:09 GMT, Keith Davies <keith.davies@kjdavies.org>
wrote:

>Steven Howell <showell@donteventhinkaboutit.com> wrote:
>> Take 2! (I hate trying to write game stuff when I'm fatigued.)
>>
>> Impaler
>>
>> Prerequisites*: Str 13, Power Attack
>> You are skilled at impaling opponents.
>> Benefit: You must declare this feat to be used before you attack, and
>> you must be making a slashing or piercing attack with an appropriate
>> melee weapon. If you use Power Attack and score a successful
>> critical hit with a margin of success of 5 or better, you score a
>> deep wound. You automatically deal additional damage equal to your
>> weapon's base damage plus any enhancement bonus plus your Strength
>> modifier, as you recover your weapon. This feat cannot be used with
>> the Weapon Finesse feat.
>
>> Special: This feat can be taken as a fighter bonus feat.
>
>There's no downside to declaring the use of this feat; expect to see it
>declared on every attack. At least, every attack using PA.
>
>Here's what I'd consider:
>
> Impale
> Prereqs: Weapon Finesse, Improved Critical, BAB +11, Dex 15+
> Benefit: When using a finesseable piercing weapon with which you have
> Improved Critical, on a successful critical you may choose to impale
> your opponent. Impaling your opponent increases your critical
> multiplier by 1. You may then attempt to start a grapple as a free
> action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
> If you fail the grapple check, or choose to not make one, you lose
> hold of your weapon and are not grappled. If you chose to not
> impale, this does not apply.
> If you succeed in starting the grapple you may, as a standard
> action, make a grapple check to dislodge the weapon and get out of
> the grapple. On success you dislodge the weapon and escape the
> grapple. On failure you lose your grip on the weapon and remain
> grappled. Either way, you do normal damage. You may not apply
> Power Attack or similar feats (no attack roll to penalize).
> If you succeed in starting the grapple you may, as a full-round
> action, 'twist the blade' to cause normal damage. No attack or
> grapple check is needed; you do damage, the weapon stays lodged, and
> you remain grappled.
> Removing a lodged weapon 'gently' will do the weapon's base damage
> unless a successful Heal check (DC20) is made. Unlike most Heal
> checks, a person may take 20 on this check.
> Special: This feat can be taken as a fighter bonus feat.

I like your version better. :) 

It seems as though you could make this into a Tactical Feat with the dislodging
and twisting the weapon as different maneuvers. I can't think of a third
maneuver concept to add at the moment, but it doesn't necessarily need a third
one.

[snipped rest which I will look at later today]

--

Matthias (matthias_mls@yahoo.com)

"Scientists tend to do philosophy about as well as you'd expect philosophers to
do science, the difference being that at least the philosophers usually *know*
when they're out of their depth."
-Jeff Heikkinen
Anonymous
June 24, 2005 2:10:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Keith Davies wrote:
>
> Hrm... if Great Blow is reasonable, maybe Impale is a little
> *weak*. Rapiers gain bugger all compared to what you gain
> with a big weapon. Consider also that Finesse fighters tend
> to be weaker than PA fighters, resulting in them being worse
> at grappling as well.

Perhaps twisting the blade in Impale could be a standard modified-DYO
grapple check (which would allow it to be used repeatedly), instead of
the full-round auto-damage? This might allow someone who might be
otherwise shitty in a grapple to do some moderate damage while
bypassing armor...

--
Nik
- remove vermin from email address to reply.
Anonymous
June 24, 2005 10:22:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Nikolas Landauer <dacileva.flea@hotmail.com.tick> wrote:
> Keith Davies wrote:
>>
>> Hrm... if Great Blow is reasonable, maybe Impale is a little
>> *weak*. Rapiers gain bugger all compared to what you gain
>> with a big weapon. Consider also that Finesse fighters tend
>> to be weaker than PA fighters, resulting in them being worse
>> at grappling as well.
>
> Perhaps twisting the blade in Impale could be a standard modified-DYO
> grapple check (which would allow it to be used repeatedly), instead of
> the full-round auto-damage? This might allow someone who might be
> otherwise shitty in a grapple to do some moderate damage while
> bypassing armor...

This was an interesting idea. Per IM:

Impale
Prerequisites: Weapon Finesse, Improved Critical, BAB 11+, Dex 15+
Benefit: When using a finesseable piercing weapon with which you have
Improved Critical, on a successful critical you may choose to impale
your opponent. Impaling your opponent increases your critical
multiplier by 1. You may then attempt to start a grapple as a free
action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
If you fail the grapple check, you choose to not make one, you
lose hold of your weapon and are not grappled. If you chose to not
impale, this does not apply.
If you succeed in starting the grapple you may, as an attack
action, make a grapple check to dislodge the weapon and escape the
grapple. On failure you lose your grip on the weapon and remain
grappled. Either way you do normal damage. You may not apply Power
Attack or similar feats.
If you succeed in starting the grapple you may use the Damage Your
Opponent action, using your weapon. That is, as an attack you may
make an opposed grapple check in place of an attack. If you win,
you deal normal damage for your weapon. You can still do criticals
(though not Impale, you already are).
Removing a lodged weapon 'gently' will do the weapon's base damage
unless a successful Heal check (DC20) is made. Unlike most Heal
checks, a person may take 20 on this check.
Special: This feat can be taken as a fighter bonus feat.

In short, this feat allows a finesse fighter to 'grapple with his
weapon'. If he's willing to grapple with his opponent (which costs him
threatened areas (and thus AoO), Dex bonus to AC (and thus becoming
vulnerable to sneak attacks), and ability to move) he can make grapple
checks (which avoid armor bonuses) to do damage with his weapon.

It does mean that if you're lucky you can do

*STAB*, *twist*, *withdraw* (critical, DYO, grapple to remove, risking
lose of the weapon... and doing it at third-iteration attack bonus).

or

*STAB*, *twist*, *twist*, (round) *twist* die, *withdraw*... after
being grappled for the round.

This doesn't seem too bad. If you successfully impale it means you have
something useful to do while grappled. Finesse fighters generally don't
do very well with grapples (lower Str than Dex, and grappling costs them
a lot of Dex benefits). This is probably on par with Great Blow.

Great Blow
Prerequisites: Power Attack, Improved Critical, BAB +11, Str 15+
Benefit: When using Power Attack with a slashing or piercing weapon
with which you have taken Improved Critical, on a successful
critical you may choose to do a Great Blow. Doing so increases your
critical multiplier by 1. You may then attempt to start a grapple
as a free action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
If you fail the grapple check, you choose to not make one, you
lose hold of your weapon and are not grappled. If you chose to not
not cause a Great Blow, this does not apply.
If you succeed in starting the grapple, you may, as a standard
action, make a grapple check to dislodge the weapon and escape the
grapple. On failure you lose your grip on the weapon and remain
grappled. Either way you do normal damage. You may not apply Power
Attack or similar feats.
If you succeed in starting the grapple you may, as a full-round
action, 'twist the blade' to cause normal damage. No attack or
grapple action is needed; you do damage, the weapon stays lodged,
and you remain grappled.
Removing a lodged weapon 'gently' will do the weapon's base damage
unless a successful Heal check (DC20) is made. Unlike most Heal
checks, a person may take 20 on this check.
Special: This feat can be taken as a fighter bonus feat.

This matches the behavior of the previous post, but since I changed how
Impale works and Great Blow was described in terms of Impale I rewrote
it here.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
!