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View Full Version : Musings on Iterative Attacks, Natural Attacks, and TWF



Ziegander
2011-06-14, 05:18 AM
In an effort to improve mundane combat, I find myself having difficulty with the concept of Iterative Attacks. Specifically, with respect to Two-Weapon Fighting and Natural Attacks.

Any A 1st level Kobold (RotD) gets two Claw attacks and one Bite in a full attack, the Claws at his highest base attack bonus, and the Bite at -5 from his base attack bonus (the same penalty as Iteratives).

A Dextrous 1st level warrior with the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, wielding a Longsword and a Shortsword, gets two attacks in a full attack, both at his highest base attack bonus -2.

Any 6th level warrior gets two attacks in a full attack, with any weapon, gets two attacks in a full attack, the first at his highest base attack bonus, the second at -5 from his base attack bonus.

Now, these are the standard rules, and even though TWF really sucks it also heavily devalues the concept of Iterative Attacks, while Natural Attacks destroy the concept. I'd like to divorce the Iterative Attack concept from base attack bonus a little bit and apply it more uniformly across these options.

I don't have any ideas yet for making this work with Natural Attacks, but for TWF, for example, what if anyone could pick up a second one-handed weapon and, without needing any feats, make an attack with it at the flat -5 "iterative penalty" to attack rolls? No looking up on the chart what your penalty is based on weapon size, etc, you just hold a second weapon and attack at -5. Not sure what the TWF feat would do at that point (reducing the penalty to -2 could work, probably in addition to granting the ability to make both attacks as a standard action), but that's one thought.

What if the iteratives gained as a result of BAB, not only cap at a -5 penalty (for a routine of +20/+15/+15/+15) as is a common idea, but also were added to a standard action attack routine? So a 1st level Kobold Fighter with Str 18 might swing in for Claw +5 (1d3+4), Claw +5 (1d3+4), and Bite +0 (1d3+2) as a full round action, but a 6th level Goliath Fighter with Str 22 swings in for Greatsword +12 (2d6+9), Greatsword +7 (2d6+9) as a standard action.

How about the Primary/Secondary attacks angle? Perhaps that could be used more uniformly across the board. Unarmed Strike could be the default primary attack of a Humanoid, but an armed Humanoid could treat its equipped weapon as its primary attack and its Unarmed Strike as its secondary. Then the term "Iterative Attack" could be used to refer to any attacks made above and beyond a creature's primary attack routine. In these model primary attacks are always made at full base attack bonus, while only secondary, iterative, attacks take the -5 penalty. All primary attacks might even be able to be made as a standard action while a full attack allows any secondary or tertiary (and so on) attacks to be made. Not sure how TWF (or multi-weapon fighting as the case may be) would work under this model, perhaps additional weapons are added as secondary, tertiary, etc attacks unless you have the Two-Weapon or Multi-Weapon Fighting feats and use multiples of the same weapon. So, a 1st level Human Fighter with Str 18 could pick up a Longsword and a Flail and make a standard attack with whichever he calls his primary weapon at +5 to hit, or he could make a full attack with them both at +5/+0. If the same Fighter took the Two-Weapon Fighting feat and instead picked up two Battleaxes he could make a standard attack with them both at +5/+5. A 1st level Thri-Kreen Fighter with Str 18 could wield a Longsword, a Scimitar, a Morningstar, and a Rapier and make a full attack with them all at Primary +5/Secondary +0/Tertiary -5/Quaternary -10, or with the Multi-Weapon Fighting her could wield four Longswords and make a standard attack with them all at +5/+5/+5/+5, OR pick up a couple torches and a couple Shortswords for a full attack at Primary +5/+5; Secondary +0/+0.

That's a lot of thoughts, so I'll keep it at that for now. What do you think is best? Do you have any other ideas that might work out better than the ones I have above?

Debihuman
2011-06-15, 09:33 AM
Iterative attacks are used with manufactured weapons. Natural attacks are based on a creature's appendages (generally one mouth, two arms for slam or 2 claws etc.) TWF is for manufactured weapons.


Creatures that use manufactured weapons such as swords, bows, spears, and the like follow the same rules as characters do. The bonus for attacks with two-handed weapons is 1 times the creatures Strength modifier (if it is a bonus), and is given first. Offhand weapons add only the Strength bonus and are given second in the parentheses.

Kobolds do not have Claw and Bite attacks as per the MM and online SRD. They only use manufactured weapons.

Some creatures can use both manufactured weapons and their own natural weapons. However, if a creature that normally uses natural weapons, picks up a manufactured weapon you have to make a few decision: First, can the monster actually wield the weapon? If not, then it doesn't make sense for it to pick it up. Second is the monster proficient with the weapon? If not, it takes a non-proficiency penalty.

9 times out of 10, a creature with 2 claw attacks does better with its claws than if it picked up a weapon (it probably isn't proficient with the weapon).

Debby

Ziegander
2011-06-17, 11:04 AM
1) The Kobold as presented in Races of the Dragon has a Claw/Claw/Bite routine.

2) I'm not confused as to how iterative attacks, natural attacks, and two-weapon fighting work. Rather I'm exploring ways in which the rules that govern iterative attacks and natural attacks and two-weapon fighting might be revised (read: tossed out the window) in a way that provides a streamlined and unified framework for adding attacks to a standard or full attack routine.

3) Do you have any ideas?

wayfare
2011-06-17, 04:42 PM
1) The Kobold as presented in Races of the Dragon has a Claw/Claw/Bite routine.

2) I'm not confused as to how iterative attacks, natural attacks, and two-weapon fighting work. Rather I'm exploring ways in which the rules that govern iterative attacks and natural attacks and two-weapon fighting might be revised (read: tossed out the window) in a way that provides a streamlined and unified framework for adding attacks to a standard or full attack routine.

3) Do you have any ideas?

TWF could just add an additional attack at -5. I would allow full strength to attacks while TWFing, though.

My biggest issue has always been the stacking of Manufactured and Natural attacks. In my campaigns, creatures that have natural weapons and manufactured weapons choose a primary attack routine and can add one attack from their secondary routine at -5.

So a character with a natural bite and 3 iterative weapon attacks at 12/7/2 could make his 3 itieratives, and then use the bite at +7 after his iteratives.

The key is not to let everything stack. I see it as something like this:

You can use TWF

OR

You can use iterative attacks and 1 of your natural attacks at -5

OR

You can make your natural attacks and 1 weapon at -5

Not sure if its simple, but it seems to work on most cases (then again, I run low-level stuff, so no mariliths or balors for my party).

Debihuman
2011-06-18, 03:30 PM
1) The Kobold as presented in Races of the Dragon has a Claw/Claw/Bite routine.

Not the kobolds on page 39. and not the kobolds on page 53.

Which kobolds have natural attacks?

If you mean kobolds with a template such as the draconic creature (page 74), it only gives out 2 claw attacks with 1d2 points of damage for small creatures and it doesn't give out a bite attack.

The dragonwrought feat (page 100) doesn't give you natural attacks.

In any case, a creature with 2 claws and a bite attack is eligible for the multiattack feat and improved multiattack feat which decreases the attack penalty to natural attacks to -2 and to 0 respectfully.

Since kobolds do more damage with their weapons than with their claws, it only comes into play if they drop or lose their weapon. I don't see it at a really useful gain.

Debby

Morph Bark
2011-06-18, 03:35 PM
Not the kobolds on page 39. and not the kobolds on page 53.

Which kobolds have natural attacks?

These (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20060420a) are the kobolds you're looking for.

Edge
2011-06-18, 03:39 PM
Not the kobolds on page 39. and not the kobolds on page 53.

Which kobolds have natural attacks?

If you mean kobolds with a template such as the draconic creature (page 74), it only gives out 2 claw attacks with 1d2 points of damage for small creatures and it doesn't give out a bite attack.

The dragonwrought feat (page 100) doesn't give you natural attacks.

The claw/claw/bite routine was added in a Races of the Dragon web extra here (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20060420a).

EDIT: Goddamned ninja'd whilst I looked for the link.

Debihuman
2011-06-19, 07:00 PM
:-) You should have told me it was in the 2nd Races of the Dragon Web Enhancement in the first place. I didn't think to look there. Thanks for the links.

However, the claw/claw/bite is a variant racial trait and is supposed to make them more feral. So the feral NPC kobold can make a spear and bite attack or 2 claws and bite attack. This gives the lowly kobold a little more oomph. Still, the kobold lacks weapon proficiencies unless you are playing a PC classed kobold. When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls. So far the only weapons that the NPC kobold is proficient with are its spear and natural weapons. You don't get a lot of variation here.

Debby