Epic Melee Combat Techniques

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Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by daveyeisley on Sun Sep 07, 2014 12:54 pm

This is just a very rough draft of some ideas to start the thread - the main goal is to develop a system for melee PCs to be able to invest gold and XP into for training in specialized and powerful limited-use combat techniques.

There would be two 'paths' for a melee PC to pursue. The path of Might (based off Discipline skill), and the path of Precision (based off Tumble skill).

The requirements for access would need to be something like:

Level 21+
Character does NOT have the Epic Spellcasting feat
Base Attack Bonus: 11 + ((CharacterLevel -20)/2) [this is so a PC must natively have 3 attacks per round to qualify, if they don't have this, then they probably haven't trained in melee enough to qualify]
24 Base ranks in Discipline skill, Base Strength score of 20 for the Path of Might
24 Base ranks in Tumble skill, Base Dexterity score of 20 for the Path of Precision

This system would allow the techniques to be used multiple times per day determined by the PCs Base attack Bonus and base ranks in Discipline or Tumble (sort of how spellcasters' caster level + spellcraft skill grant epic magic uses). If a PC qualifies for both paths, they would need to choose which one their PC would focus on.

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For the Path of Might, I was thinking of techniques that are thematically expressions of Epic Skill and Strength with melee combat, such as:

Puissant Strike - the PC has learned to invest some of their life force (variable hp cost of 15/25/35 - player choice when training the Technique, sort of like epic spells) into their weapon for a single, amazingly powerful strike - giving up all other attacks for that round. The strike automatically connects, inflicting magical damage equal to 3, 4, or 5 times the PCs base attack bonus (max 150 dmg, dmg multiplier based on the hp cost chosen ).

Sundering Cleave - When the PC is using a 2handed weapon, this technique allows them to make a touch attack that can destroy an opponents equipment. On the first use, if the touch attack hits, it targets the enemy's held weapon, forcing an opposed discipline check where the enemy gains no benefit from strength or size (or maybe just gets only half their discipline bonus, the idea is they are at a big disadvantage). If the opponent is defeated on the check, their weapon is utterly destroyed. Further successful uses of this technique will next destroy any shield, and then armor worn by the target. For obvious reasons, this technique would need to not work against other PCs.

Aegis - if using a shield (large shield or tower shield required), the PC can use this technique to temporarily gain bonus (temp) hitpoints equal to ten times their base attack bonus (max 300), and 50% immunity to all physical (Slash, Pierce, Bludgeon) and elemental (Fire Acid, Frost, Shock, Sonic) damage types for a number of rounds equal to their base attack bonus.

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For the Path of Precision, I was thinking of techniques that are thematically expressions of Epic Skill, Grace, Speed, and Accuracy, such as:

Retaliation - When this technique is used while wearing light or no armor, the PC adopts an aggressive, offensive stance, and prepares to counterattack whenever they are struck. The PC gains a damage shield effect that inflicts a damage type based on their main-hand weapon (or bludgeon if unarmed), doing damage each time they are struck in melee equal to one-and-a-half times (rounded down) the PCs base attack bonus. This technique would last a number of rounds equal to the PCs base attack bonus.

Offensive Barrage - Much like Puissant Strike, when learning this technique, the PC would choose a hitpoint cost 15/25/35. When the PC is wielding two weapons while wearing light or no armor, they can use this technique to blur into a storm of 8, 10, or 12 touch attacks that seek the seams in a single target's defenses (number based on hitpoint cost chosen). If an attack hits, it inflicts one half (rounded down) the character's base attack bonus in magical damage.

Perfect Precision - When wielding only a single finesse-able weapon (unarmed counts) and wearing light or no armor, the PC can use this technique against a single enemy to time their strikes perfectly to interrupt the opponent's attacks, inflicting a penalty on AC and all attacks by the target equal to one half the PCs base attack bonus (rounded down), while inflicting additional damage (of their main-hand weapons type) equal to half the PCs base attack bonus (rounded down) on every successful strike. This technique would last for a number of rounds equal to the PCs base attack bonus.


Hopefully I didn't make any huge mechanical oversights or really bad/confusing typos...


Last edited by daveyeisley on Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:58 am; edited 4 times in total
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by daveyeisley on Sun Sep 07, 2014 2:52 pm

For calculating uses/day - I am thinking the formula would go like this:

(BaseRanks / 20) + (BaseAttackBonus / 5) = somewhere between 3-8 uses per day.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by RustyDios on Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:30 pm

This sounds awesome... very much like an "epic magic system for meleers".... however why split the paths into the two skill groups?....
Given the +1AC per 5sp bonus of tumble and the poor benefits of discipline (it's only purpose to counter knockdown, disarm, called shot and certain spell effects.. which not many Aenean enemies seem to activate) I'd say just the one skill path is needed... and of that I think discipline fits the bill better being as it seems it is suppose to be the "you have trained in fighting techniques skill"....


<< Thinking some more on it >>

I would also like to throw out an idea for maybe the Parry skill to be used instead of either of those suggestions. Currently it has very limited game uses... in fact I don't recall ever seeing anyone parry, ever. However the skill is open as a class skill to ALL melee possible style characters (unlike discipline and tumble). It can be activated as a combat mode (which might be able to be adjusted to suit better needs, I'm not sure if combat modes can be edited)... and the improved parry feat adds a +4bonus to parry skill (so this could be used as a mystical insight style bonus, maybe even adjusted to +10, however the wiki says its hardcoded)..

Here are wiki links to the three skills which I found useful to peruse while making the above suggestions;
Discipline  Tumble  Parry
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by daveyeisley on Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:40 pm

The split is mainly targeted towards where the characters attack bonus is derived from... either strength or dexterity (using weapon finesse) - it doesn't make sense for a low/mediocre Dex, high Strength melee brute to be executing a precision technique like perfect precision that is based around incredible speed and reflexes.... especially not a brute wearing medium or heavier armor, like full platemail.

Flavor and thematics are as much a part of the idea as mechanics.

For that reason, I chose skills that would be taken by 99% of the thematically appropriate builds (and that would be available to the classes involved in such builds - not all meleers get discipline as a class skill, etc). I didn't want to use a skill like Parry because most melee PCs don't have a lot of skill points to invest, and the idea for this system is supposed to augment what a build can do, not force the player to make even more difficult trade-offs on skill expenditures... and nobody invests in parry for the exact reason you said, it does almost nothing useful (its mode is far too limited by your # of attacks, and enemy natural 20's always get thru, no matter how much you beat them by).

There is already the limit of choosing one path or the other, but take note that this system does not suck up any precious feat slots, either. I want PCs to be able to invest in what they would normally already invest in for their build, but then with further investment of gold and XP, increase the benefits they can derive.


Last edited by daveyeisley on Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:33 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : clarify)
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by Angel of Death on Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:03 pm

Puissant Strike =D:


I like the idea in general, as basis, gives some accomplishment to meleeers to look forward too, after they reach 40 levels and cannot evolve any further. ^_^
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by MannyJabrielle on Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:20 pm

I would tend to concur that it might be better to work in parry in place of tumble.  A dex based fighter would need to multiclass in a second class for tumble skill past 21.  No +1/level BAB class has tumble as a class skill.  All of them do however have parry, and the parry skill is relatively unused.  Parry would also be a more logical choice with that counter-attack move.

I can see the reasoning behind splitting the paths, because yes a str based meleer would draw their power from the ability to crunch enemies dead while dex based ones would be more apt in landing precision hits on vital organs and such.  It's just that this would pidgeon-hole fighters/barbarians/paladins/rangers into the str/discipline line of feats unless they multiclassed with bard/monk/rogue or a PrC with tumble as a class skill.

I do think tumble should play a role in some techniques though.  Having all three (discipline, parry and tumble) would work.... some techniques should probably be more suited for rogue-like fighters, not just dex based fighters.


As for ideas....

Shield bashing.  When using a shield, can sacrifice attacks per round to land a blow with the shield that does damage (based on shield size, maybe 1d4 for smalls, 1d6 for larges, 1d10 for towers), plus knockdown effect+daze effect (standard attack roll vs discipline on the KD, plus a save on the daze effect..... both effects on the strike to represent getting hit with a really blunt object, hard enough to push you over, and knock you senseless as well for a moment or two).

Discipline could be worked in somehow too.... perhaps used as the "attack" roll, or as a part of the attack rolls somehow... just a rough idea.

And modifiers, similar to epic spells...

Modifers to learn how to knock opponents over easier (+XX to the attack roll on the KD check), or how to really knock them senseless (improved DC/duration on the daze check).

Or also modifiers on how much damage is dealt (+1d6 "slashing" to represent striking with the side of the shield rather than with it's face (still "blunt" damage, but striking with an edge that would be pretty much the same sharpness as a grind-sharp greatsword blade (cuz real life big swords like that didn't have razor sharp edges, a hand-and-a-half swords or two handed greatswords are not slashers, they were employed more as stabbing/club like fighting techniques)).


Other ideas....

Sword-dancer style moves.... One to keep an opponent(s) offguard.  Through skillful swordplay, your parries and strikes don't do any additional damage to the enemies, but you do manage to cause them to overreach on their strikes, stumble a bit, lowering their AC (like getting caught flat footed, uncanny dodge would negate this aspect), and lowering their AB.  The duration of the effect could be based off parry skill + tumble skill.  OR, it could be used as a "combat mode" style... like a combo of expertise+parry modes, but in one with slightly different effects

Modifers for this could increase the AC penalty, or the AB penalty, or the duration of the technique's effects.


Another dex style technique.... Some sort of move where you can cause an opponent who attacks you to miss, and to such a degree that their strike actually nails one of their buddies.  Think of some classic adventure fight scene in a movie where a bad guy takes a swing at the action hero, and the hero does some move that causes the bad guy to instead stab his buddy.

This could be based off parry skill.... if opponent attacks the PC while this technique is active, the opponent misses and instead the next flurry or next round, attacks a nearby enemy.  Scriptwise, this could be done probably by forcing the NPC to attack a friend, and then after the script does that, the NPC would go back to attacking the PC.  This could even work should the NPC's start fighting eachother over the attack as they do now (think bandits mauling the bandit mages when they zap eachother with AoE spells).  It would actually be an instance where exploiting the flaw in the game engine makes 100% sense (the bad guys probably won't work as well as a team as the good guys.... bad characters, bad tempers, getting ticked at their team for screwing up and not killing the PCs...)

Another idea....

A Str style technique.... mass knockdown.  PC employs a technique which causes all enemies within a small radius around him to get knocked over.

There are a LOT of possibilities with this overall idea.

And the direction I see it working best is, as alluded to above..... Action-adventure movies.  We have mages who can do all sorts of simply unrealistic stuff by saying a few words and waving their hands.... why not also allow simply unrealistic stuff we see in all those hollywood fight scenes?  Let a dex-based hero invest into fighting tehiniques to let them pull a Neo in the matrix" style fight off, or a big hercules type fighter do something outrageous like grab one enemy by the leg and swing them around in a circle to wack the enemy's buddies.

Watch one of the Pirates of the Carribean movies.... find some move that captain Jack Sparrow or one of the other pirates do, try to work out a "fighting technique" that could be used in Aenea to emulate that.

Hell, even watch Kung-Pow: Enter the Fist.  Monks with Gopher-chucks!

I think some moves could somehow incorporate the various combat feats as well.... KD, Disarm, called shot, expertise, power attack, whirlwind attack, ect.  There are a LOT of feats that could be used as pre-requisites for combat techniques and/or to modify the techniques (A player would need the KD feat for that mass kD effect, which could then be modified to be even more effective with WW, and even more so with Imp WW, all before any "modifiers" are "researched" into it.

When incorporating the feats though, the techniques should definitely not just emulate the feats themselves, but rather be something MORE than what those feats accomplish, nor should any of the technique's directly emulate any of the feats.  It would actually be somewhat lame if a PC could get a WW effect without investing the feats for it, as that would rob PCs who actually DID make the feat investments of the uniqueness/benefit of that investment, and those who did make the investment would only really want to invest their XP to enhance their already acquired feat based abilities.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by daveyeisley on Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:31 pm

Realistically, I don't think I have ever seen a pure fighter who was Dex/Finesse based. My personal opinion, I would think it reasonable for a Fighter to multiclass to access the Path of Precision. Fighters to me are more brawn and Strength than precision and Dex (look at their saves). Same for Barbarian, Paladin and Ranger. They aren't precision based by default.... if they want that path they would need to invest in classes that are precision/finesse based (that get good reflex save progression and tumble as a class skill), making the Base Attack sacrifice to do so.

I'm not liking the parry skill concept at all, really... the skill is terrible, and can't be fixed. I would feel terrible designing something to force players to invest in it. (and yes, I agree thematically it would make sense, sure...  but in this case I would lean away from it due to the very weak mechanics making the investment and trade-off detrimental to the PCs build. I know some of the skills in NWN aren't supposed to exist at all since they don't in PnP, but Parry is the worst one of all to me. It doesn't do what its description says, and what it does do is actually harmful to the PCs chances in combat... its like a 'nerf' that a player can choose to apply to their PC. The idea of using it for this system honestly bothers me...)

Actually.. thinking about it... I'm starting to think Parry actually doesn't make as much sense for the counterattack technique.... the technique's effect isnt a block/riposte mechanic.... it doesn't defend the PC at all. Its just accepting the hits in order to maneuver to exploit the openings created, in order to force the opponent to 'trade blows', pretty much. Less of a Parry thing, and more of a 'each time you hit me, you give me an opening to hit you, and I am quick enough to do it every single time' sort of deal.


Last edited by daveyeisley on Sun Sep 07, 2014 6:47 pm; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : adding more thought, more clarification)
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by MannyJabrielle on Sun Sep 07, 2014 6:49 pm

Wizard(or bard)1, figher 9,AA10+?  Dex based there.

Whirlwind skews towards favoring dex, and is 100% a meleeing ability available to fighters as a general and as a bonus feat.  A large number of feats either have a dex requirement, or favor dex based over strength based, and are available to fighters on their bonus feat list.

Fighters/barbs/rangers do have fort higher than reflex saves.  But fortitude saves are governed by constitution, not strength.  There is not really a logical link between high con and high stregnth.

However, barbarians do have uncanny dodge, don't wear heavy plate by default, both which suggest that dexterous tendencies.  Rangers likewise have duel-weilding, which emulates ambidexterity/two weapon fighting feats combined, and those two feats are dex based.  They also have blinding speed as a bonus feat.  This suggests dexterity over raw strength as well in the archetype.  Also, NWN rangers are not implemented like PnP, in which the duel weilding aspect can be traded for bow based bonuses, which are explicitly dex based.

My point is, it wouldn't be such a great idea to make an epic fighting technique system, and pidgeon-hole meleers in having to be strength based if there's actually no architype basis for saying they have to be str based.

As for parry.... yes, the out of the box NWN implementation sucks, but it's not entirely useless, and actually does do what it says it does.

It actually provides just as much benefit as spellcraft does for spellcasters (or anyone else).  Spellcraft's only bonuses are +1 to saves vs spells per 5 ranks, and the ability to identify spells for the purpose of counterspelling (and the threshhold there is rather low considering... something like 28 spellcraft allows you to identify 9th level spells cast by enemies).  Parry doesn't add to saves, but gives a defensive benefit (even if it's limited vs multiple enemies) and the ability to riposte.

I see absolutely no detraction from allowing points invested into the parry skill argmenting epic fighting techniques.  It adds benefit above what's already there, it does not detract at all.

As for the retaliation technique you mentioned.... are you referring to your technique suggestion which adds damage shield effects, or the sword-dancer technique idea I made?

I did not make any suggestions to modify your technique ideas for using parry.  I only made suggestions that there be techniques that DO make use of parry skill, not that ALL of them make use of either parry or discipline.

There's no real reason to limit epic fighting techniques to just the two.  As I said earlier, there could be paths for techniques that make use of any of the three skills brought up (parry, discipline, tumble), either singularly, in pairs... or even some really off the wall adventure movie combat move which makes use of all three.

Simply no reason to limit the system in such a way that it excludes valid non-STR fighter type builds.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by daveyeisley on Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:19 pm

Meh, not worth debating. I will put down my thoughts and then leave it.

I do wish to exempt ranged/archer builds since their focus is not melee, and not relevant to the suggestion regarding epic combat techniques for melee PCs. (your example was also not a Pure Fighter, as I had stated).

I understand that your perspective is that having access to feats with dex requirements means a dex-based build is valid for a class.

I suppose I see that having a good base reflex save progression, having tumble as a class skill, and lacking full BAB is a greater indication of a class being Precision/Dex based.

Both are valid, of course.... one is just more inclined than the other mechanically.

We also don't see the 'Paths' the same way. I see them as being opposed to one another, hence a PC who could qualify for both having to choose one for which they will become supernaturally enhanced by their training. Its that supernatural enhancement that makes me see this system as more than geared toward just 'valid' builds of a Strength or Dex based nature. I see it as something that requires a bit more focus into one or the other, making them slightly more exclusive to certain class combinations.

That's all fine. We just don't see it the same. I would rather see the system geared towards providing a reward for a build focusing on one aspect over another, and choosing classes with mechanics to reflect that choice. If you think it should be open and allow more flexibility for any build to gain either path, that's fine, too... but I personally think it will lose something thematically.

I guess we also don't see the parry skill issue the same. I don't consider it a limitation to not require Parry skill for any paths or Techniques, I see that as a benefit that doesn't require low skill point builds to spread out what few meager points they get ever further into a mechanically terrible skill.

Parry doesn't actually do what it says. You don't get a number of parries equal to your number of attacks per round, you can only parry the first attack of a flurry, and that means only 3 maximum parries/ripostes in a round, and when you riposte you do not actually get your full attack bonus on every riposte, it goes down by 5 with each successive riposte.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by MannyJabrielle on Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:37 pm

Fighter 40, starting dex high, ambidex, twf, finesse, with finesseable weapon, can achieve as much as 35 base AC before any aenea custom boosts like tomes or XP buys, and have a full range of combat feats which are direclty benefited by dexterity, imp whirlwind (high dex requirement) all the combat moves that require an attack roll (kd, disarm, called shot).

Again, I see absolutely zero reason to pidgeon-hole fighters into STR builds when dex based builds are just as valid.

I suppose I see that having a good base reflex save progression, having tumble as a class skill, and lacking full BAB is a greater indication of a class being Precision/Dex based. 
How is a 3/4 BAB indicative of dex based?  That would imply that 1/1 BAB is indicative of not-dex based.... and that's not the case at all.

Its that supernatural enhancement that makes me see this system as more than geared toward just 'valid' builds of a Strength or Dex based nature. I see it as something that requires a bit more focus into one or the other, making them slightly more exclusive to certain class combinations.

Where did supernatural aspects come in from?  I was under the impression that while this was a rough corollary to epic magic, it was not "magic for fighter types", but rather just very studied martial moves of various sorts.

That's all fine. We just don't see it the same. I would rather see the system geared towards providing a reward for a build focusing on one aspect over another, and choosing classes with mechanics to reflect that choice.

And having a separate path that allows for use of parry skill along with paths that utilize discipline and paths that utilize tumble prevents paths from utilizing tumble or discipline..... how?

I am really not understanding how you figure that a third path would somehow make it so one could not still focus on discipline type paths or tumble type paths?

Please explain how having three options instead of two makes the two options not work.

I find this especially curious given the way you described not using parry as benfitting low skill point builds...

If the low skill point build only has enough skill points to invest in one skill for one path, and you see the intent as specializing in only one path.... Seriously, I am not getting how having three options instead of two is breaking anything in the concept.  That low skill point build is going to have enough for just one skill anyway, why pidgeonhole them into discipline paths, or multiclassing to get tumble as a class skill for best benefit when a parry path could likewise allow for a non-str build to focus on something without having to multiclass to max out skill points?

The str based fighter can still go a dscipline route.  That there is an option to go down a more finesse like parry route does not preclude that, or are you seeing some sort of obstacle that I'm not in which a str based discipline focused fighter would be barred from a str based discipline skill focused path because of the presence of a dex based parry based path?
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by MannyJabrielle on Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:48 pm

And actually... I think some epic combat moves for archers would be a great addition too.

Something like a precision shot that nails an arrow through the throats of enemies within a line, or some other epic insane feat of archery which isn't magic based like AA stuff (no flesh to stone arrow stuff or the like).
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by daveyeisley on Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:08 pm

I think Archers could use some epic technique love, too. Feel free to start a thread on it, I will add my ideas when I have a chance.

As for Dex builds, if you feel strongly about that topic, there are other ways to separate what is available to different builds.... like using the presence of the 'Weapon Finesse' feat to determine of a PC uses their dex for combat more than their Str.

The only thing that needs more thought in such as case is how to determine the pool of uses/day available to a PC if it isnt based on a skill.

Since using STR for the AB is default, and Tumble is already class restricted to classes that sacrifice BAB (that calculates bonus off of the Dex mod), it was a natural choice for meshing thematics and mechanics regarding what PC is a precion-based build and what PC is a Str-based build (discipline here was because it is a Str mod skill).

I personally dislike the idea of a system that allows any build to access any path without making a trade-off. A level 40 fighter with feats that benefit from Dex doesnt strike me personally as sufficient.

If The Amethyst Dragon likes it, I am sure he will go with it. I hope he restricts things a bit more than that.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by Lasombra on Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:21 pm

I love the idea, but magical damage for offense, at 150/round, would make it almost on par with an average hasted caster's telemus spells(assuming they hit) and make most paladins' smites pale in comparison(even if it wasn't magical). It might be somewhat fitting for monks, but not regular warriors who rely on raw physical ability.

I think Manny's suggestion are an excellent direction - special abilities with unique effects would do wonders for warrior types in both versatility and enjoyment.

daveyeisley wrote:like using the presence of the 'Weapon Finesse' feat to determine of a PC uses their dex for combat more than their Str.
Not exactly... the example finesse is available via DM upgrades, so there's no guarantee a dexer will take it. As for other feats, I don't see much that would indicate the character's disposition, particularly with stat buys - I've seen dev-critting dexers, for example.

daveyeisley wrote:Since using STR for the AB is default, and Tumble is already class restricted to classes that sacrifice BAB (that calculates bonus off of the Dex mod), it was a natural choice for meshing thematics and mechanics regarding what PC is a precion-based build and what PC is a Str-based build (discipline here was because it is a Str mod skill).
How does AB imply the ability you use, though? Even if it did, this still doesn't consider multi-classing, among other things. And actually, one of the staple pure monk builds for the far more restricted vanilla game was str-based and pretty successful.

daveyeisley wrote:I personally dislike the idea of a system that allows any build to access any path without making a trade-off. A level 40 fighter with feats that benefit from Dex doesnt strike me personally as sufficient.
They would need to have enough skill/ability points and use the proper fighting style/gear, so having multiple focuses would be generally impossible without a lot of effort put into it. I wouldn't be against further restriction, but if the path approach is taken, I'd hate to see it determined automatically based on preconceptions. At least give the players a choice in belief they know what they're doing.

But to be honest, I don't see a reason why a character should be unable to do what another one with lower stats can; focused characters will still be a bit more efficient due to feats improving their skills with a chosen weapon, and there's nothing stopping The Amethyst Dragon from adding more of them to make multi-focusing less attractive.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by MannyJabrielle on Sun Sep 21, 2014 6:05 pm

I've seen dev-critting dexers, for example.

Hehe, dev-crit shortbow or longbow.... very sweet.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by ColdWind on Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:05 am

Great idea, I've been waiting for that for a long time Smile
Some thoughts - one could take both epic magic and epic combat skills by taking melee19/caster21 levels (in this order) or just being a cleric. I suggest replacing that epic magic item given on 21 caster level with a basic voucher (which should be given to any epic character), allowing to join caster, fighter or rogue guild (restricting the other two). That would divide this suggestion into two different, allowing, for example, dex based fighter to join rogue guild and str based rogue - fighter guild.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by Lasombra on Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:32 am

With dave's suggestion even taking just 3 levels of full AB class(or 4 of 3/4) pre-epic and one in epics would be enough for a mage. Most everyone other than pure casters would qualify.

I'm pretty sure it's the Epic Spellcaster feat that determines whether you're eligible for EM and not the spellcasting focus. But that aside, this solution would feel like a very artificial, forced limitation if the system's based off things a character has access to. Epic magic is obviously something more than stats, but most everyone can swing a sword in a particular way with enough training.

I think the idea of making the availability of those techniques based off abilities, skills and feats is good. Most hybrids won't have very high physical abilities, much less feats such as whirlwind, knockdown, great cleave etc. Some could be dependant on APR, even, such as the amount of hits in a particular technique.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by MannyJabrielle on Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:25 am

It's actually not that difficult to get a hybrid build that could qualify under that line of thinking.  Acrobat alone will give access to whirlwind attack, +3/4 AB... a sorc 26/fighter4/acrobat10 would have four attacks per round (fighter/acrobat pre-epic), greater-dispel safe buffs and epic magic, and could have pretty decent physical stats (a vampire human with such a build, a +5 tome and warhulk, could have 25 str without investing a single level up point into STR, and still have fairly high cha (19 base at level 1 with just subrace bonus, 24 with a +5 tome), 21 feat selections.... could end with charisma as high as 38 base, 40 with +12 enhancement, mystical insight and dev crit with epic weapon focus... other stats would be rather low (would need tomes to get them out of negative modifers, but doable)... AC could be as high as 87 with epic ac buffs, chitin full plate (for no fail spell casting) and +5 tower shield/boots (custom on the shield for no arcane fail property, or a arcanum shield if you can find one), 97 with imp expertise, +45 AB with +5 weapon/warhulk, more with tensors, or other buffs such as aid/bless potions.... 

Although it might seem artificial, I kind of like the idea that there would be a certain level requirement in a full BAB class to gain access to such abilities.  It's not just anybody swinging a sword, but a highly dedicated warrior with significant investment, much like it takes a highly dedicated mage to cast epic magic.  The mage CAN multiclass, but too much, and no epic magic.  I think the same should go for meleers.... go ahead and multiclass, but too much, no epic warrior badass goodies.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by Lasombra on Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:36 am

Well, alright, let me clarify: a hybrid build with little "sword" side wouldn't be likely to have those. I've played around with the idea and it works, but it's not a high-end spellcaster - at 26 caster lvls, spells will be brushed off sometimes(very often for bosses), DCs will usually suck since you can't afford to lag behind on AB-stat too much or take great CHA/foci and so on... for epic areas, I used the "spell" side mostly for buffing, since it was usually easier to just dev-crit stuff with kukris.

I don't know about you, but to me, most "physical" feats are not that useful to epic mages with their buff galore and disabling spells. Or even to warriors. For example, I don't see many situations whirlwind would be useful in when you dev-crit every third strike with 8 APR and great cleave. Taking melee essentials already cuts your feat pool by 11 or so, so if you want to develop your mage side at all, you likely won't throw knockdowns and the like in, unless they come with the class. Or so I think.


But more than "who will have what", I think it's more important to consider that feats do reflect some training - as well as a degree of dedication. You don't necessarily need to be an expert at handling weapons in all situations to learn how to knock people down with them. It does matter in real combat, though, so the success rate is determined by an attack roll anyway. Much like EMS.

Level requirement I could agree on(or disagree, I don't have a strong opinion on that one), but I meant I'm against disallowing options a character should be eligible for(according to requirements), just for the sake of restrictions. For example, I'd hate to see a situation where a strong dexer would be considered too weak to perform a certain technique just for dex being their main focus.


Last edited by Lasombra on Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:47 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by ColdWind on Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:46 pm

abilities suggestion:
self buffing abilities:
> maximum ab (same as true strike) for str mod rounds
> dr 30/- for con mod rounds
> concealment 70% for dex mod rounds
skills-like abilities:
> Battle stomp - aoe knockdown (Balagarn's iron horn analog but with DC of the real PC's strength, not 20, like caster's)
> Bull's eye - full round with leading ab (no reduction for 2nd and further strikes)
> Inner magic - all physical (slashing, piercing, bludgeoning) damage is converted to magical for one round

thinking about all that, I've decided that there is no reason making restrictions for people, who would think of making both epic caster and fighter. Let us have this possibility, which can be limited only by the effectiveness of spells and skills.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by MannyJabrielle on Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:55 pm

26 caster levels + epic penetration will have a 32 caster level on penetration checks.  There's only one creature I know of who has higher than 32 SR, so 26 caster+epic pen is enough to land 100% of the time on even Nemesis.  Even 26 without will hit reliably with the higher level spells (and if you're really chucking out magic missiles at Nemesis, you're either out of renewal potions, or like to expend *every* spell before drinking one).

Spell DC's are ability based, so with just that build above, which was off the top of my head, that's 46 charisma with +12 enhancements/+5 tome... that's really hot too shabbby, especially if toting 25 base str.

Feat wise... I do find whirlwind useful.  Liches for example, can't dev crit them. But you can whirlwind them, and the first two spells they toss up tends to be spell mantles.  Fire off whirlwind twice, and you can disrupt a whole spawn fairly consistently, which makes your follow up spell casting more effective.  Especially if you upgrade to improved whirlwind, you can hit a large group of baddies around you, which make take out more faster than great-cleave dev crit spams.... especially if you don't go with a high crit weapon like scim/rapier/kukri.

AB wise, a high caster class build can still hit hard.... the above build is working with just under 50 AB which is not too shabby at all.  That AB will have a little difficulty with Nemesis, but he IS a high end boss, and you'd likely be blasting with spells on him anyway with such a build, at least until you're ascended and don't have to worry about him dev critting you.

For wiz/sorc/cleric... the AB issue become even less an issue due to tensors/divine power.  The only epic caster class who will have real AB troubles would be druids who don't have an AB booster equivalent to tensors/divine power.   And for clerics... divine power on a 26 cleric/acrobat/fighter build wouldn't be offering much since the build already HAS 4 APR by default... but it would still be gaining +4 AB.

And toss in true strike (casted or potion), and you're still punching out just under 70 AB every other round.... with epic AC buffs and 50% concealment

Meleers can't achieve that, and as much as "let anybody do it" sound great, I think that there should still be some relevance to taking a focused warrior class build.  If anyone is allowed, there really becomes no point to NOT making superman hybrids that can do anything and everything.  Especially in the long run when one can achieve +25 higher than normal DnD stats for a 40th level character.  More even with subraces.

This is DnD, not elderscrolls... granted I love trying to pack in as much as possible into a build, but there has to be some limits, some things that can't be done by everybody.  I think this should fall under that like epic magic, level requirements and all.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by daveyeisley on Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:30 pm

I agree with the concept of a PC with weapon finesse using their DEX mod for AB being able to gain access to the epic combat techniques geared towards power/might, but I think it should cost them some of their focus on DEX type stuff. My personal opinion.

Same for native STR-based PCs gaining access to the precision type techniques, but again, it should require splitting focus.

Some trade-off, if you will. My original concept was to use the inherent characteristics of the various classes and PrCs to build some limitation/tradeoff into it. I think this has merit, though it may not be the complete solution. Using the AB progression, save progression, and class-skill lists to guide how access can be gained is a solid foundation, and I think there is already precedent in the existing mechanics (requirements for PrCs for example).

If we can find some reasonable requirements for gaining access that involve some tradeoff, then it will follow existing precedent - and it will give just a little rarity, cool-factor, and 'special-ness' to these techniques.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by ColdWind on Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:45 pm

well, guilds is the only proper restriction in that case I believe. AEMS will be reworked anyway, and the only drawback I see in it is a character with 1-2 caster levels willing to become an epic mage or vise versa.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by MannyJabrielle on Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:45 pm

AEMS is being reworked, but I don't think it will be so radical that non-epic casters (less than 21 caster class levels) would have access to epic magic.  I beleive the rework is just to get out the major bugs in the system and getting it to work more smoothly and consistently.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by Lasombra on Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:16 am

Some restriction is necessary. I'd love it to be completely thematic, with each class group(ie. "rouge/assassin/shadowdancer" being one) having a shared move-pool and all classes having some exclusives of their own.

One idea is to have a number of points, determined by the class choice and levels. They could be used to unlock or improve a particular line of development(which wouldn't necessarily need to be dependant on abilities).

As for stats, they could influence aspects other than availability, such as: energy(ie. HP) required to perform a technique, delay between uses, no. of enemies affected, uses/day, accuracy, damage, radius etc.

@Manny:
Spoiler:

I assumed no ESP.

At 27 effective(current Ama), spells are often resisted by barbed demons even, not to mention bosses. But you're probably right about 32.
One thing, though: SR doesn't consider spell levels, so it's fine to Magic Missile Nemesis to death. Razz

46 CHA = 37 DC Wails. Even barbies go as high as 35 fort. 
50 STR(warhulk) = 40 DC crits. With 8-10 APR and kukris it's about 4-5 checks/round. No renewal potion limitation, no hassle, packs a punch even on saved.

6 feats = ESP + ESF(necro) = 43 DC Wail
6 feats = great STR = 43 DC crits

Trade-offs everywhere, but if I'm more sword, I'd take great STR. Particularly single enemies are a pain for a necro-focused character with this DC.

Even without those:
dev-crit(6), dual wield(3), AB feats(3), blind-fight(1), toughness(1) = 14 very good feats for that build, leaving 7. Taking only above 6 mage-side, we're left with 1, which brings me back to the point you'll probably be very tight on feats.

@whirl-att: It's handy for warriors, then, but still useless for spellswords.

It may not be TES, but it's closer to it than to regular NWN in this aspect. You can max ~all skills, have over 50 average in abilities, buff yourself to near-immortality with just 21 caster levels, and get a slew of upgrades/customs to come even closer to it.

I agree dedicated meleers are in desperate need of loving, though.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by daveyeisley on Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:39 pm

The only 'barometer' I can think of that seems fair (to me personally) to use to measure a PCs dedication to martial prowess at a basic level is the base attack bonus. In my OP, I posted a formula that required a minimum of 11 BAB by 20th level.

I posted that specifically because I didn't want to overly prevent hybrids from being able to gain access, and so, I thought to target the expenditure of skill points into 'thematically' restricted skills (discipline and tumble) to refine the access requirements and usage per day.

Based on the feedback so far, if I am reading and comprehending it, I think it appears that folks are inclined to favor a higher AB requirement, but more flexible skill spread requirements. I still stand by my assessment of the Parry skill - it makes thematic sense, yes, but the mechanics essentially make those skill points wasted in regard to the intent of the skill compared to its mechanical benefit, which I am strongly against.

That said, perhaps we might move towards looking at the save-progressions a bit more closely? Perhaps Might-related techniques would favor those with higher fort-saves (though thematically this is slightly askew because toughness does not equate to power in combat), or perhaps we can target the base Strength attribute directly?

For precision, reflex saves make thematic sense, but we could also target Dexterity directly for the sake of consistency?

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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by Lasombra on Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:18 pm

daveyeisley wrote:I posted that specifically because I didn't want to overly prevent hybrids from being able to gain access, and so, I thought to target the expenditure of skill points into 'thematically' restricted skills (discipline and tumble) to refine the access requirements and usage per day.
It makes sense, but has the potenatial of making hybrids even more appealing and pure casters - less, without providing an incentive to invest heavily in melee. Not that I mind; it just doesn't seem like an epic  system that could balance EMS a bit, since almost everyone will be able to use it for a very little trade-off.

I'd be more in favor of tumble and discipline than parry as well. That said, you can roll without them easily as an epic spellsword, for example. You'd probably want at least tumble as a pure meleer, but discipline can be skipped for some, particularly unarmed PCs with KD immunity(I believe discipline would only help with Reavers at epics, then). Another case would be a PC with 70+ str and 50 discipline from items, needing very little(5 or so) base ranks to surpass every check in regular PvM.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by DerusTal on Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:48 am

Just make it so that characters with epic magic access can't use it.

Also, make it more competitive to epic magic? Hell, I'd suggest 3 paths, like how magic divides between arcane and divine. Anyone can choose powers from any path, but certain classes get special powers from 'their' path.

Path of the Soldier: Based on Fighter, Barbarian. Rage-enhancements for barb, feat-interaction/enhancement for fighters (Improved versions of power attack, expertise, etc). Mostly a balanced set of abilities, with a smattering of offense, defense, and battlefield control.

Tome of Battle: Based on ranger, paladin. Enhancements to their 'top tier' abilities (holy sword, blade thirst, Favored Enemy, Smite) General improvements of a semi-magical nature: Nonphysical damage bonuses and immunities, a sort of 'leadership' power that summons cohorts, etc.

Bamboo Cutter's Guide: Based on monk, rogue. Enhancements to ki strikes, sneak attacks, and so on. General enhancements include stealth, offense-at-cost-of-defense, concealment, speed, etc.

Break these down similarly to epic magic: A hidden academy somewhere in the wilderness where heroes train to become truly exemplar. You invest money, experience, and time, combining the following traits:

Stances, Maneuvers, and Strikes

With your class abilities if possible. So a 'skill construction' would go like this, hypothetically, all numbers made up for ease of sight.

A rogue goes to the academy and he wants to learn a stance, a maneuver, and a strike.
For the stance he uses the stealth path, and chooses (made up, here) Silent Path, giving him 60% concealment for a duration he can alter for a dc/gold/xp increase. As well, he has a number of abilities he can apply to the stance, such as a stealth bonus, and he does so.

He can choose to lower the (skill? tumble or parry or whatever) DC by having it sacrifice his HP, AB, or AC.

You get the picture. A maneuver would be a combat skill or an enhancement to one: You mak the enemy receive an AC bonus when you knock them down, or gain the ability to do a charge at a foe, multiplying damage done against them that round.

A strike is just that: Some type of hit. A strike could modify smite evil to do additional divine damage, or negative for black guards. etc, etc.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by Ramana Jala on Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:58 pm


DerusTal wrote:A rogue goes to the academy and he wants to learn a stance, a maneuver, and a strike.  For the stance he uses the stealth path, and chooses (made up, here) Silent Path, giving him 60% concealment for a duration he can alter for a dc/gold/xp increase. As well, he has a number of abilities he can apply to the stance, such as a stealth bonus, and he does so..

Been loving the brainstorming here.

At another PW, there's a rogue training course in the Rogues' guild, which actually gives one a score at the end.  I was thinking of making an area like that, but with some reward like an increased skill at the end.  (Not that I really have time... got a bunch of area ideas already in the hopper to finish.)

I'm quite fond of Dex builds, and something that benefits the dedicated DEX Shadowy Rogue type or the dedicated DEX Ranger Archer type would be quite cool.  (Not to mention how many times I've written about inprovements for shadowy Shadowdancers.)  The Ranger Archer DEX build needs more love-- Bioware tried to do something for it in NWN2, but it didn't really do much.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

Post by daveyeisley on Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:58 am

Updated OP with restrictions for characters who have the epic magic feat.
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Re: Epic Melee Combat Techniques

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