PDA

View Full Version : [3.5 Houserule] Feint Fix



HeadlessMermaid
2012-01-12, 08:53 AM
Feint Fix

Designer Notes:
This is a fix to make feinting a viable but not always-guaranteed-to-work option. As written, feint doesn't work at all, because it screws action economy and it scales very badly (for no apparent reason, as far as I can tell).

Some details were added for verisimilitude's sake, though my knowledge on the subject is limited to swashbuckling films and not anything that resembles real combat.:smalltongue:

I've been using this fix for a long time, and it seems to work as intended, at least for my group. It's nothing grand, but go ahead and PEACH if you like. :)

Special Attack: Feint

Feinting is a melee attack action. To feint, make a Bluff check opposed by a Sense Motive check by your target. When feinting in this way against a nonhumanoid you take a -4 penalty. Against a creature of animal Intelligence (1 or 2), you take a -8 penalty. Against a nonintelligent creature, itís impossible. You also take a -4 penalty if you wield a two-handed weapon, and gain a +4 bonus if you wield a light weapon or a rapier or any other weapon to which Weapon Finesse applies.

If you win the opposed roll you deal no damage, but the next melee attack you make against the target does not allow him to use his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). This attack must be made on or before your next turn.

If you lose the opposed roll, you provoke an attack of opportunity from your opponent, unless you have the Improved Feint feat.

If the result is a tie, nothing happens.

__________________________________________________ _________


Feat: Improved Feint [General]

Prerequisites
Int 13, Combat Expertise

Benefit
You can feint in combat as a swift action or a move-equivalent action if you choose, without using up one of your iterative attacks. In addition, you do not provoke an attack of opportunity if your feint attempt fails.

Normal
Feinting in combat is an attack action which provokes an attack of opportunity if it fails.

A fighter may select Improved Feint as one of his fighter bonus feats.

__________________________________________________ _________


Ripple Effect (modifications only)

Sense Motive becomes a class skill for Fighters, Rangers, Warblades and Crusaders. Basically, for all melee classes.

The Insightful Feint spell allows you to feint (once, with a +10 insight bonus) as a free action, without using up one of your iterative attacks and without provoking an attack of opportunity if you fail, even if you don't have Improved Feint.

The Bow Feint feat allows you to feint with a ranged attack instead of a melee attack.

The Invisible Blade's Uncanny Feint ability allows him at 3rd level to feint as a free action, without using up one of his iterative attacks, once per round. At 5th level, he can feint this way once before each attack he makes.

The Marshal's Art of War minor aura also affects the opposed roll of feint (making a feint attempt or resisting one).

Isair
2012-01-12, 09:15 AM
I wouldn't add Sense Motive as class skill to those classes. This is because the Sense Motive check against Feint adds the BAB as an additional modifier (PHB pag 68). Because of this, classes with High BAB already have a good chance of avoiding a feint. If you add Sense Motive to their class skills, not only they gain a tremendous advantage at Roleplay, you also ensure Feint rarely works against them. Unless, of course, you took away the +BAB from the basic rules.

As for the Improved Feint, I totally agree. In my house-rules, Feint only requires a move action to use, or can be done alongside another move action where the character moved at least 5-ft (but not a 5-ft step). And my Improved Feint allows a character to use Feint as a free action.

Cieyrin
2012-01-12, 10:59 AM
I wouldn't add Sense Motive as class skill to those classes. This is because the Sense Motive check against Feint adds the BAB as an additional modifier (PHB pag 68). Because of this, classes with High BAB already have a good chance of avoiding a feint. If you add Sense Motive to their class skills, not only they gain a tremendous advantage at Roleplay, you also ensure Feint rarely works against them. Unless, of course, you took away the +BAB from the basic rules.

As for the Improved Feint, I totally agree. In my house-rules, Feint only requires a move action to use, or can be done alongside another move action where the character moved at least 5-ft (but not a 5-ft step). And my Improved Feint allows a character to use Feint as a free action.

Fighters and Crusaders hardly have any skill points, anyways, so it's not that big of a change for them. Warblades and Rangers can take advantage (and Warblades seem to regularly pick up Setting Sun maneuvers and thus Sense Motive as a class skill, anyways) but they have enough skills they need to invest in as-is. Plus there's the matter of how much easier it is to buff Bluff (Glibness, anybody?) than Sense Motive, it's not even funny. So really, it's not that big of a change.

HeadlessMermaid
2012-01-12, 12:07 PM
If you add Sense Motive to their class skills, not only they gain a tremendous advantage at Roleplay, you also ensure Feint rarely works against them.
I don't think it's "a tremendous advantage", personally, but YMMV. As playtested, it doesn't work rarely against them, but neither does it work always.

A rogue with a light/finessable weapon (+4 to the opposed check) and full ranks in Bluff has actually an advantage over a fighter (etc) of equal level and full ranks in Sense Motive, assuming Rogue's Cha = Fighter's Wis. If Sense Motive remained a cross-class skill for the fighter, he wouldn't stand a chance from about 8th level and upwards.

The thing is, making Feint a viable option means that it's used more often, and if it's used more often, melee classes should be trained to at least counter it.


Unless, of course, you took away the +BAB from the basic rules.
I did. :smallbiggrin:
That's why, as written, feint scales so badly. The defender adds his BAB to the opposed roll, while the attacker doesn't (don't ask me why). Removing it entirely sounded... sensible.


As for the Improved Feint, I totally agree. In my house-rules, Feint only requires a move action to use, or can be done alongside another move action where the character moved at least 5-ft (but not a 5-ft step). And my Improved Feint allows a character to use Feint as a free action.
That's cool too. Except that, making it a free action without other limitations means that you can roll for Feint as many times as you please until you succeed, and then hit for damage. I'm assuming you're not playing it that way. :)


Plus there's the matter of how much easier it is to buff Bluff (Glibness, anybody?) than Sense Motive, it's not even funny.
Thankfully, Glibness specifically applies only to social situations and not to feinting in combat. There are items to boost Bluff, but then, there are items to boost Sense Motive, too. (Amulet of Wordtwisting, Mask of Lies, Crystal Mask of Discernment, Third Eye Expose, Cord of Favor, all these give a bonus to bluff and/or sense motive.)

Isair
2012-01-12, 12:22 PM
That's cool too. Except that, making it a free action without other limitations means that you can roll for Feint as many times as you please until you succeed, and then hit for damage. I'm assuming you're not playing it that way. :)
They only have 1 free action per turn, so they can't continue to roll until they achieve success ;)

Maraxus1
2012-01-12, 01:42 PM
I don't think, that Fighter guys should all have to study psychoanalysis, in order to resist a feint.
I mean feinting and spotting feints is the basic of swordsmanship and people do not become good liars and cold readers from it, normally.

What about allowing the defender to roll either Sense motive, or on BAB+Wis, whatever is better?

HeadlessMermaid
2012-01-12, 05:49 PM
I don't think, that Fighter guys should all have to study psychoanalysis, in order to resist a feint.
I mean feinting and spotting feints is the basic of swordsmanship and people do not become good liars and cold readers from it, normally.

What about allowing the defender to roll either Sense motive, or on BAB+Wis, whatever is better?
Sure, you can do that if you prefer. Or you can make the opposed check BAB+bluff Vs BAB+sense motive. It's adding BAB only on one side of the opposed skill check that makes feint scale badly.

By the way, for us Sense Motive doesn't involve studies in psychology (it isn't Int-based, after all :smalltongue:), but rather the ability to eyeball a guy's intentions from his behavior: a skill acquired by mingling with people and having something to lose. (Which is why we bend the rules and happily give it as a class skill to even commoners, but not Wizards. :smalltongue:) But don't mind us, we're pretty laid back about skills in D&D. :)

NeoSeraphi
2012-01-12, 05:55 PM
Sense Motive should also become a class skill for all monster racial HD if the monster has full BAB from its racial HD (Dragons, outsiders, monstrous humanoids, etc).

You've made Feinting way too good now, since practically no monsters have Sense Motive as a class skill and few have a high Wisdom score.

D&D isn't just PvP, there's a whole 5 books of non-PC enemies for you to be fighting, and I bet less than half of them have a single rank in Sense Motive.

Isair
2012-01-12, 06:21 PM
Sure, you can do that if you prefer. Or you can make the opposed check BAB+bluff Vs BAB+sense motive. It's adding BAB only on one side of the opposed skill check that makes feint scale badly.

Honestly I do not see where the bad scaling is. If you max Bluff, your ranks will always be 3 points higher than the BAB of an enemy of the same level. Since very few creatures have Sense Motive, they only get their BAB and Wis mod, and nothing more. That difference of +3 isn't such a bid deal, it ensures you always have an advantage when Feinting, but not such a big advantage that you'd succeed on the Feint 75% to 100% of the time (in fact your chances would be about 60%, since in case of a tie the defender succeeds and the Feint fails). This, of course, for creatures and classes with full BAB, which were the ones you wanted to give Sense Motive as a skill.
For creatures with Mid to Low BAB things are worst, yes, but that's normal. If you are a master at misleading your opponents, you have a some difficulty misleading those that are masters in combat (those with full BAB) and an easier time misleading those with just some decent training in combat (Mid BAB) or others with little training (Low BAB), since those last two don't have the experience that tells them "wait, he's moving to my left but he may still try to strike at the openings I have on my right side", for example. And after all, that's what Feinting is: your ability to mislead (represented by the Bluff) vs (martial combat knowledge + experience) (represented by BAB) + wits (represented by Wisdom).

Now if you still think having 3 points of advantage is a lot (it makes a difference, I'd say that much), I'd like to remind you that when face monsters (especially those alone), they usually possess a lot more HDs, which in turn may give them a higher BAB than your level.
Example: you can be controlling an 8th level Rogue with max ranks in BAB and, say, +3 Cha mod (totally a +14 modifier on your Bluff skill) and fighting a CR 8 Dire Tiger that has 16 HD, giving him +12 BAB, and with Wis 12, making his modified check against your Bluff equal to +13. Your advantage is now only +1 (in fact it is +0 since in case of a tie you are considered as having failed the Feint).

Of course, this assuming your changes in the required actions for Feint, which are what makes it useful.

HeadlessMermaid
2012-01-12, 06:33 PM
@NeoSeraphi: Hey, that's a good point, and you're (partially) right. Feint does become a lot easier Vs monsters, and at some point it becomes an auto-success against them. This should be noted, and taken into account by the DM.

But it rarely becomes too good, because using feint to impose a penalty to AC is not a huge deal by itself, especially if you lose an attack or an action to pull it off. The important thing is that it triggers sneak attack. And so many creatures are immune to sneak attack. And sneak attack can be shut off in so many ways (beginning with concealment, e.g. shadowy illumination...).

So, even if Feinting becomes too easy, in the end it's more like a welcome respite for the poor Rogue than an overpowering win button.
EDIT: In effect, it's a roundabout way to enjoy (more or less) the benefit of flanking by yourself, but only for half your attacks. That's not breaking the game or anything.

Also note that it takes some investment to make it work smoothly. Two feats are not a trifle thing. MAD is also at work, because you need some Cha and you need Int 13 (and if you are a Rogue, you also need Dex and Con by default).

More importantly, remember that it's a trade-off. In order to feint in a full attack, you lose one attack for each one that deals good damage. Or you lose one attack less and your swift action, and in many builds swift actions are important. Even with Surprising Riposte (which you can ban if you don't like the combo, we use it normally), you lose the swift action and one attack before the flat-footed condition applies, and then it doesn't work on people with Uncanny Dodge. Only the Invisible Blade gets to feint really for free, and hey, that one deserves it.

As a result, even if feinting itself can become an auto-success Vs many monsters after one point, it doesn't become something you'll do every single time. It remains a strong but situational tactical option. That was the intention, and that's how we've been playing it for quite some time now. :)

P.S. Numbers aside, I must admit that the flavor of successfully feinting Vs monsters pleases me very very much (I'm a big fan of rogues and roguish characters). Real damage output is still nowhere near your average Leap Attack/Shock Trooper Barbarian, but the sheer joy of "fooling the hulkish brute with clever swordsmanship" is priceless. :smallbiggrin:

Zaydos
2012-01-12, 07:19 PM
I'd make it BAB+Bluff vs BAB+Sense Motive.

Looking at Lv 8 monsters (arbitrary level, not too high, but high enough you have 2 attacks per round as a rogue) if you did so they'd average 17.36 (mean; mode is 16, I forgot the median and I'm not recalculating it) if you invert the penalties applied to the Bluff check for them not being humanoid (since no CR 8 creature in the monster manual is humanoid). I may have missed some CR 8 monsters that were in monstrous scorpion or skeleton style stat blocs, and I assumed dragons had 0 ranks in Sense Motive (Sense Motive is a class skill for all true dragons), but 17.36 is a fairly good estimate of the bonus you'd need to get to succeed 45% of the time (since you don't win ties; normally in 3.5 higher modifier wins ties). A level 8 rogue with max ranks in Bluff, a light weapon, and +2 Charisma has a +23 (wins around 70% of the time), there are enemies they'd win almost much more often against (ogre magi) and some they'd win less often against (erinyes and efreet have a +29; true dragons vary from +18 with no ranks to +41 with max ranks).

Unfortunately when looking at CR 20 monsters it still doesn't scale with: +50 (tarrasque), +54 (balor), +32 (pit fiends do not have Sense Motive :smallconfused:), +42 (wyrm black dragon, no ranks; max +78), +37 (old red dragon, no ranks; max +70), +39 (ancient brass dragon; max +75), +40 (very old bronze dragon, no ranks; max +75), +38 (very old copper dragon, no ranks; max +72), +38 (old silver dragon, no ranks; max +73). This means you need most likely at least a +64 to win enough for it to be viable and a 20th level rogue would only have a +47 with full ranks in bluff, +5 Cha and a light weapon). Except against Pit Fiends (again why no Sense Motive) where that would easily be enough.

Of course these numbers assume by nonhumanoid you mean a creature not of the humanoid type; if not it becomes better at low levels but by 20th the monsters still outpace it.

HeadlessMermaid
2012-01-12, 08:03 PM
Thanks for the math, Zaydos!

Here's the problem with Feint: if the defender's opposed roll is BAB+anything, it will be too difficult to feint against monsters after some point, because their HD go through the roof. (As Zaydos just proved, and that was adding BAB to bluff, too...)

On the other hand, if the defender's opposed roll is Sense Motive only, many monsters won't stand a chance after some point, because it's rarely a class skill for them. (As I can assure you from playtesting this.)

And then there are a few monsters with maxxed Sense Motive, and opponents who are not monsters but NPCs with class levels, which complicates matters even further.

With this fix, feinting in combat becomes (with investment):

1) A low levels, much like anything else, it's a toss-up.
2) At mid levels, it's better but still a toss-up Vs a few monsters and NPCs with class levels (except Wizards and Sorcerers :smalltongue:), and a very strong option Vs anyone else.
3) At high levels, assuming high OP (good Cha + relevant Cloak, upgraded items that boost bluff by a lot, a Marshal dip etc), it will probably work, period. Unless the other guy has equally optimized Wisdom and Sense Motive.

I repeat my conviction that, even if success is automatic, Feint as an attack action will never be a win-button, or even a no-brainer tactical option. If the Rogue can flank instead, why on earth should he lose attacks? To gain a small bonus to hit, which will probably be lost anyway in the next, lower-BAB iterative attack?

Using this fix's modified opposed roll would be too good only if the "Dex to AC doesn't apply" condition lasted for the whole round. It doesn't. So come on. Give the rogue some love. It's only a handful of d6s, and that assuming Sneak Attack applies, which it often doesn't, it's not 800 dmg/round come rain or come shine. :smallsmile:

Isair
2012-01-12, 08:37 PM
With a Ninja is now a handful of d8s ;). And there are other abilities that can make an attack vs "Dex bonus denied" AC dangerous. With your Improved Feint, you can ensure the first attack will likely hit, especially at higher levels, since a character will likely use 1 swift followed by an attack with the highest BAB. Of course for the classes in which this is very important (Rogue and Ninja), the highest BAB is usually medium, meaning that even with Dex denied he may not hit the target.
In terms of game mechanics, I think it's an acceptable change. However, you may need to still see each situation separately, as there are things that may become too overpowering with a the Dex bonus denied (don't ask me what, exactly, last time I read the official manuals front-to-back was a couple years ago). I remember the Beguiler, for example, although not that powerful or dangerous, would benefit greatly from this change as it would ensure all his spells would indeed hit with increased DC and bonus vs Spell Resistance.

The only thing I don't agree with is giving Sense Motive for classes that don't have it. From my experience, Sense Motive is a MAJOR skill for roleplay, as it helps players "fight" in roleplaying encounters, just as vital as Bluff and Diplomacy. They can use it to extract useful information or ensure they are not being fooled, among other things. The character with Sense Motive (which aren't that many) would then be a vital member of the party even if only for those roleplaying encounters ;)
Now you can say that Fighters and other melee warrior classes don't gain many skill points. It's true. But while a few of those actually require a lot of skills (such as the Ranger), most don't. What skills does a Fighter REALLY need? Intimidate. Jump or Climb are usually low due to armor check penalty and when using them without armor you have several ways to increase Jump and Climb (ropes, climber's kits, etc) or even use spells (spider climb, fly, dimension hop, etc) that you really don't need ranks on those skills. Yes, having them would be useful and could avoid expending resources, but they are not necessary. And even Intimidate isn't necessary, only for roleplay (using it in combat is even worst than the normal 3.5 Feint).
Looking back to my years has DM, if my warrior classes had Sense Motive, I can say with 100% certain that instead of having 1 or 2 people rolling Sense Motive in every roleplaying encounter, I would have 4 or 5, all of them with that skilled maxed out, making things pretty difficult for NPCs that tried to trick them.
Of course, when it comes to roleplay, it all depends on the DM and the game style of the campaign :smalltongue:

Yitzi
2012-01-12, 09:25 PM
If Bluff modifiers are such a big issue, then maybe the best approach is simply to rule that competence and circumstance bonuses to Bluff (and I'm pretty sure the really big bonuses are of one of those two types) don't help feinting.

Treblain
2012-01-12, 11:15 PM
It still takes two feats and decent INT and CHA to be worthwhile, and it's even more worthless without Improved Feint than before, because it provokes. Plus, it only works on the next attack, which is the one with the highest BAB anyway, and if you focused on it as your means of hitting/sneak attacking, you're screwed against mindless enemies. :smallfrown:

HeadlessMermaid
2012-01-13, 06:47 AM
It still takes two feats and decent INT and CHA to be worthwhile, and it's even more worthless without Improved Feint than before, because it provokes. Plus, it only works on the next attack, which is the one with the highest BAB anyway, and if you focused on it as your means of hitting/sneak attacking, you're screwed against mindless enemies. :smallfrown:
Yes, exactly. That was intentional.

The goal wasn't to make Feinting a super-easy way to apply Sneak Attack consistently. If you want to do that, there's a much simpler houserule: sneak attack has no conditions, the rogue just adds his d6s to damage every time he hits. There, problem solved.

The goal was to make it a "viable but not always-guaranteed-to-work" tactical option. (Crunch-wise. Fluff-wise, it was to make it a flavorful one.) This seems to have worked. Examples from play:

1) In situations where the Rogue can actually stand there and tank, full attack after full attack, using your last attack to feint, the one with the lowest BAB which would probably miss anyway, gives you a great advantage for the next round. And you take advantage of any extra attacks you get per round (from Haste or Speed weapons, TWF, Snap Kick, whatever.)

2) For hit-and-run tactics, when just standing there is really bad for your health, you apply sneak attack damage to this one attack you can make safely, by spending a swift action.

3) The full "duelist" build (which admittedly requires a lot of feats, so I'm assuming human and flaws, here) goes like this:
1 (human) - Weapon Finesse
1 (flaw) - Combat Expertise
1 (flaw) - Improved Feint
1 (lvl) - TWF
3 (lvl) - Craven
6 (lvl) - Surprising Riposte
9 (lvl) - ITWF
12 (lvl) - free
15 (lvl) - GTWF
18 (lvl) - free

From 1st level, you apply sneak attack at least once, even without a flanking buddy. At 10th level, assuming your friendly spellcaster has remembered to cast Haste, you apply sneak attack damage 3 times during a full attack, or 5 Vs creatures without uncanny dodge. At 20th level, you have 7 attacks, all of which are normally sneak attacks. Against people with uncanny dodge or Foresight, it's 4 sneak attacks. If you face mindless creatures, you don't feint, you flank. If you face creatures that can't be sneak-attacked no matter what, you find something clever to do. You have other skills, you have UMD, and you have other party members to help.

That's what I call a tactical option. With this fix and this build, my damage is nothing like the Tank's, but I'm useful, I'm Errol Flynn, and I'm having loads of fun. :smallcool:

Ashtagon
2012-01-13, 06:58 AM
My homebrew rule is to use Bluff vs. (higher of BAB or Sense Motive).

I deliberately do not give fighters and paladins any additional advantage in feints, because the mechanical advantage of a feint make it clear that it was intended to be an aide to sneak attacking when you can't get a flanker to help. It can be assumed that all warriors are constantly attacking and feinting and whatever in melee; an actual feint action represents spending special effort feinting and giving up one or more direct attacks in the process.

HeadlessMermaid
2012-01-13, 07:10 AM
@Isair: Ah, yes, the Beguiler, there's a Ripple Effect concerning that one, too. Lemme just remember what it was or find it somewhere...

It still doesn't break anything, though, because all Feint accomplishes for a Beguiler is remove the opponent's Dex bonus to AC, for a melee attack or a spell. Now, removing Dex to AC from an attack that may be a touch attack to begin with, sounds perhaps too good. However, Surprise Casting requires you to remain in melee, and my experience tells me that Beguilers rarely risk that.

One thing that's definitely unbalancing with this fix is a Iaijutsu Master with Surprising Riposte and a Gnome Quickrazor. But to be fair, that one was ridiculous even before this fix.

As for giving Sense Motive to Fighters and the like, I see what you mean. If you feel so strongly about this, you can optionally replace the defender's roll with BAB (+Wis, or not, whatever you prefer). I'm sticking to my houserule, however, because it fits our style better. :smallsmile:

Isair
2012-01-13, 08:32 AM
It still doesn't break anything, though, because all Feint accomplishes for a Beguiler is remove the opponent's Dex bonus to AC, for a melee attack or a spell. Now, removing Dex to AC from an attack that may be a touch attack to begin with, sounds perhaps too good. However, Surprise Casting requires you to remain in melee, and my experience tells me that Beguilers rarely risk that.

I completely forgot the Surprise Casting required the Beguiler to be in melee combat. I've been using my house-rules for so long I forget these details xD


I'm sticking to my houserule, however, because it fits our style better. :smallsmile:
But of course, that's what house-rules are for ;)

I personally like and agree with the Bluff vs Sense Motive + BAB check. All I did for my house-rules was to allow Feint to be used as a move action, or part of a move action, and make the Improved Feint alter it to free action. I also altered to "Feint denies the target's Dexterity bonus to AC against your next melee attack or next ranged attack provided the target is within 30 ft of you".
Given all the rules of my own rulebook, that's what fits best for the campaigns I play :smalltongue: