View Full Version : Counter Tumble

2008-12-30, 01:04 PM
I happened to tumble (pun unintended) upon a rule variant in the 3.0 book Sword and Fist called Counter Tumble. Instead of a set DC for the tumble check to avoid an attack of opportunity, the defender - if he has ranks in Tumble - may try a tumble check of his own that works as the DC instead, if he rolls above the set DC.

To me this sounds quite reasonable indeed. Is it?

2008-12-30, 01:23 PM
To me this sounds quite reasonable indeed. Is it?

Only if you can go through the Monster Manual and find any creatures with enough ranks in the Tumble skill to keep pace with the PCs.

Oh look... there aren't any...

2008-12-30, 01:40 PM
I'm familiar with it. It seemed like a reasonable variant, but the only problem is that I wasn't entirely sure Tumble would be the best skill to counter a Tumble with. Certainly it would be dexterity related, but for my money, Balance, Sleight of Hand, or Trip makes just as much sense. Since Trips and Sleight of Hands are already frequently used and no one puts points in Balance, I suggest that Balance represents the ability of an opponent to suddenly lurch towards an elusive foe that is dancing past and return to their fighting. In this case, penalties to Balance would apply but failure does not mean a fall.

Alternatively, a feat or two could be added that reads "Foes instead have to roll X higher than the normal DC to tumble past you" or "you still get to make an attack of opportunity when an opponent tumbles past you, but the defended can use their tumble check as AC". The prerequisites would be Dex based, and probably include Combat Reflexes. This would be rather static, but it would be a justification for Rogues to put more than the minimum amount in Tumble.

Finally, Tumble seems to be only used for this purpose and it should be used for more anyway. I had a gnome acrobat who I had quickly discovered this for. Taking a movement penalty in exchange for dodge bonuses, having traps that require a tumble check to get past (and a Reflex save should you fail), and other tricks that require high acrobats (parcour and other vaulting/wall-climbing tricks, being thrown by someone else as an effective attack etc).

2008-12-30, 02:18 PM
Make Tumble into an opposed roll? Could work, or you could just scale it to 10 + opponent's BAB instead (easier to work out, scales by level, etc.)...

2008-12-30, 02:24 PM
My only warning is that every time someone tries to do this it ends up being problematic with the extra rolls. A good idea might simply be to add the class level of the tumble-ee to the DC for the tumbler.

2008-12-30, 02:45 PM
Part of the point the variant rule made was that this made sense thematically as well - an ogre, not having ranks in Tumble, would have trouble stopping a tumbler, where as a high level monk would be much harder to go past with it.

2008-12-30, 03:02 PM
Make Tumble into an opposed roll? Could work, or you could just scale it to 10 + opponent's BAB instead (easier to work out, scales by level, etc.)...
I like this one.

I don't see how trying to attack a tumbling creature is much different from trying to say hit a creature which has a high AC due to dexterity.

Human Paragon 3
2008-12-30, 03:02 PM
How about a scaling DC of 10+BaB of the highest creature tumbled by. Creatures can substitute their tumble ranks if that's higher than BaB.

2008-12-30, 03:05 PM
Then you should instead add any Tumble ranks of the opponent to the DC. There's no point in bumping up the difficulty for some random monster or class with no experience in Tumble; that's just a waste of game time. This leaves unskilled opponents the same, but gives similarly skilled foes a chance to get in an AoO. And no extra rolling is required.

2008-12-30, 03:25 PM
I almost agree with Curmudgeon.

Using the opponent's ranks in Tumble to increase the DC would be more sensible, but I disagree as to the amount. Perhaps half the TOTAL of the Tumble score should be added. That way it can take into account the ability modifier, skill ranks, weight/armor penalty, etc. Using half the bonus makes it harder, but not impossible, to tumble past tumble-proficient opponents.

2008-12-30, 03:36 PM
As mentioned in the House Rules thread, we use 12+Reflex save as the DC for a tumble. Nimble, quick opponents are harder to tumble by.

Increases slowly for low dex poor reflex save enemies, like ogres. High dex enemies with good reflex saves (say, an enemy rogue or swashbuckler) still only gain an average of a half point per level, while you can devote a full rank to your tumble.

Against poor reflex save enemies, who likely don't have a strong dex score, you rapidly outpace them, as you should. They still get tougher to tumble by as they gain in experience, but you can gain faster by investing in the skill.

Against good reflex opponents, you probably both have similarly high dex scores that will cancel out, he'll have a resistance bonus to his reflex save, but you have a synergy bonus from Jump, and you can gain ranks twice as fast as he can gain save bonuses. It gets easy to tumble by foes, but not nearly as fast, and treacherous footing/trying to roll by at speed is a good way to fail.

2008-12-30, 08:04 PM
As mentioned in the House Rules thread, we use 12+Reflex save as the DC for a tumble. Nimble, quick opponents are harder to tumble by. Change the DC to 10+1/2BAB+Reflex? Takes into account the targets weapon expertise and response time.

2008-12-30, 08:47 PM
Change the DC to 10+1/2BAB+Reflex? Takes into account the targets weapon expertise and response time.

Could work, actually.

My concern would be how you'd fare against creatures with solid BAB and Dexterity - a CR 11 devil like a Barbed Devil has a +12 BAB(+6 to DC), and a +14 Reflex save - for a DC 30 tumble check.

At 11th level you'll likely be looking at 14 ranks of tumble, +2 from jump, maybe a +4 Dex item (+2 Tumble), and a 20 or so Dexterity (+5 Tumble), for a +23 Tumble check - not shabby, really, but that's a character that is probably about as good at it as you're going to typically see, barring a complete specialist (I suppose some DMs would allow a masterwork tool, but I don't see it as likely - I'd define it as a springboard and related equipment - certainly doable for an acrobatics show, but not for combat tumbling). If you do it this way you won't be seeing many non-specialists tumbling in encounters, which might very well be the point.

Clumsy foes with decent BAB are still quite avoidable - a CR appropriate Giant, for example, like a Cloud Giant, would only be a DC 22 check - a guarantee for the rogue-type with +23 Tumble, and even a player with half ranks and only a decent dex score might make it by (that'd be what, 7 ranks in tumble and a couple of points of dex bonus, maybe with the jump synergy?), say a +11 or so? That's success about half the time, not bad for the medium investment in it.

Maybe I should suugest upping the difficulty of tumbles, though my character may regret it (nobody is tumbling in the campaign I'm running, they're not dextrous types - the lockpicking/disarming role is being played by an artificer).

I tried tumbling past a dragon two sessions ago and got caught by a claw attack both times (DC23 or so IIRC, at 7th level (+15 tumble, but rolled poorly)), thanks to it being a CR+2 encounter and dragons having really solid saves. At 10+1/2BAB+Reflex it'd be tough, with a DC of ~29.

Mark Hall
2008-12-30, 09:23 PM
I'd go with 12+BAB. BAB is your raw combat ability; Reflex saves are your ability to defend yourself, not used offensively (which is what setting the DC against tumbling would be, since it's your ability to make an attack of opportunity)

2008-12-30, 10:11 PM
I like the "12+reflex" one. That way fast monsters without tumble ranks can stop an adventurer but things with high BABs like ogres or big, slow things can't.

2008-12-31, 12:41 AM
Here is a thought I had, how about you make a tumble a static bonus to your AC for movement based AO's? Like half of your tumble modifier (minus dex) or something like that. I figure tumble is defense and what better way to represent that then having it increase your defenses.