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Matthew
2007-02-07, 07:11 PM
Just a Home Brewed alternative to Combat Expertise and Improved Combat Expertise.



SKILFUL DEFENCE [GENERAL]
Prerequisite: Dexterity 13, Base Attack Bonus +1.
Benefit: When you use the Attack action, Full Attack action or Total Defence action in melee, you can take a penalty of as much as 5 on your Attack Rolls and add the same number (+5 or less) as a Dodge Bonus to your Armour Class. This number may not exceed your Base Attack Bonus. The changes to Attack Rolls and Armour Class last until your next action.
Special: If you are using a Light, Heavy or Great Shield, instead add twice the number subtracted from your Attack Rolls to Armour Class. A Fighter may select Skilful Defence as one of his Fighter Bonus Feats.



IMPROVED SKILFUL DEFENCE [GENERAL]
Prerequisite: Dexterity 13, Base Attack Bonus +6, Skilful Defence.
Benefit: When you use the Attack action, Full Attack action or Total Defence action in melee, you can take a penalty of as much as 10 on your Attack Rolls and add the same number (+10 or less) as a Dodge Bonus to your Armour Class. This number may not exceed your Base Attack Bonus. The changes to Attack Rolls and Armour Class last until your next action.
Special: If you are using a Light, Heavy or Great Shield, instead add twice the number subtracted from your Attack Rolls to Armour Class. A Fighter may select Improved Skilful Defence as one of his Fighter Bonus Feats.



GREATER SKILFUL DEFENCE [GENERAL]
Prerequisite: Dexterity 13, Base Attack Bonus +11, Skilful Defence, Improved Skilful Defence.
Benefit: When you use the Attack action, Full Attack action or Total Defence action in melee, you can take a penalty of as much as 15 on your Attack Rolls and add the same number (+15 or less) as a Dodge Bonus to your Armour Class. This number may not exceed your Base Attack Bonus. The changes to Attack Rolls and Armour Class last until your next action.
Special: If you are using a Light, Heavy or Great Shield, instead add twice the number subtracted from your Attack Rolls to Armour Class. A Fighter may select Greater Skilful Defence as one of his Fighter Bonus Feats.



PERFECTED SKILFUL DEFENCE [GENERAL]
Prerequisite: Dexterity 13, Base Attack Bonus +16, Skilful Defence, Improved Skilful Defence, Greater Skilful Defence.
Benefit: When you use the Attack action, Full Attack action or Total Defence action in melee, you can take a penalty of as much as 20 on your Attack Rolls and add the same number (+20 or less) as a Dodge Bonus to your Armour Class. This number may not exceed your Base Attack Bonus. The changes to Attack Rolls and Armour Class last until your next action.
Special: If you are using a Light, Heavy or Great Shield, instead add twice the number subtracted from your Attack Rolls to Armour Class. A Fighter may select Perfected Skilful Defence as one of his Fighter Bonus Feats.

jlousivy
2007-02-08, 06:21 PM
These feats seem to be a little too good. ie: they can make a person have to get a natural 20 to hit someone unless you pitted them up against someone who had an obsene +tohit, There's a reason why combat expertise is limited to 5 while power attack is infinate*.

Matthew
2007-02-08, 06:26 PM
Are you not familiar with Improved Combat Expertise otherwise known as Superior Expertise (http://?http://www.d20srd.org/srd/divine/divineAbilitiesFeats.htm#superiorExpertise)? It lifts the cap entirely. Still, this is powerful for Shield users, which is the intention and the reason why I have split it into four Feats.

icke
2007-02-09, 05:56 AM
Just read the description of Superior expertise and was shocked. I think jlousivy is right, these ones are too powerfull, but on another line:
The - BAB/+ AC thing is allright, but the doubling for wearing a shield is, well, astronomic? Any bloody fighter of level 10+ having the option of increasing his AC into the 35+ region? PANIC!

It's also an issue of outgame fun: If a character can frequently bring about a situation where he and his assailants are just able to hit themselves on a natural 20, this will just bore everyone soon, even if it sometimes comes handy to have a character who's physically invincible.

I'd say, any character wearing a shield may also double his shield bonus while using this feat chain.

Matthew
2007-02-09, 07:52 AM
Well, it is worth noting that it is already possible for Level 10 Fighters to reach pretty crazy Armour Class levels.

Full Plate +1 (+10 AC) and Heavy Shield +1 (+3 AC) (altogether about 6,000 GP) = AC 23
Ring of Protection +1 (2,000 GP) = AC 24
Amulet of Natural Armour +1 (2,000 GP) = AC 25
Combat Expertise + Superior Expertise (+10 AC) = 35 AC

That's for around 10,000 GP and not taking into account Dexterity, Weapons of Defence, and other Magical and Feat based means of deriving AC increases.

The question becomes, is it reasonable to allow a Non Animated Shield using Character to increase his AC by a further +10 AC at this level? Given the huge benefits of using a Two Handed Weapon (or even Two Weapon Fighting, given the right conditions), I don't think it is unreasonable to grant a 2:1 ratio.

That said, I know what you are saying. One option is to cap the AC increase at Level, so that a Shield using Character effectively only suffers half the penalties of Skilful Defence, rather than twice the benefits.

icke
2007-02-13, 08:20 AM
Well, it is worth noting that it is already possible for Level 10 Fighters to reach pretty crazy Armour Class levels.

Full Plate +1 (+10 AC) and Heavy Shield +1 (+3 AC) (altogether about 6,000 GP) = AC 23
Ring of Protection +1 (2,000 GP) = AC 24
Amulet of Natural Armour +1 (2,000 GP) = AC 25
Combat Expertise + Superior Expertise (+10 AC) = 35 AC

That's for around 10,000 GP and not taking into account Dexterity, Weapons of Defence, and other Magical and Feat based means of deriving AC increases.

The question becomes, is it reasonable to allow a Non Animated Shield using Character to increase his AC by a further +10 AC at this level? Given the huge benefits of using a Two Handed Weapon (or even Two Weapon Fighting, given the right conditions), I don't think it is unreasonable to grant a 2:1 ratio.

That said, I know what you are saying. One option is to cap the AC increase at Level, so that a Shield using Character effectively only suffers half the penalties of Skilful Defence, rather than twice the benefits.

Please keep Superior Expertise out of Your analysis, since it's way out of balance and we don't want to do the same mistake the creator of that feat did.
But yes, we're still at AC 30 - if You make Combat Expertise and Skillfull Defense usable both at the same time. Which I would not.
So we're at AC 25 - a level 10 fighter with over-average strength and a good sword still hits 50% of the time. Skillfull Defense adds another ten points at best, reducing the chances to be hit to 5% but also reducing the character's own attack bonus for this round to, well, something around 5. I'd say this is already very hard, but the gap will grow even wider for higher levels.
If You then incorporate Your rules for shields, the AC would be 45, tough to hit even for a level 20 fighter, or anybody. At level ten!
You should totally go with Your idea to cap the AC bonus at character level, it will at least not make these feats monsters.
And, well, maybe you should consider kicking out the last two feats. Decreasing the to-hit chance by 50% is pretty hard already.

Matthew
2007-02-13, 08:40 PM
Well, I don't mind keeping it out, but I don't agree that it's out of balance; it's about as core as Oversized Two Weapon Fighting and it was entirely with that Feat in mind that this tree was produced. Also, please note that this tree is intended to replace Combat Expertise and Improved Combat Expertise.

The above example presents a Level 10 Fighter with AC 25, who through the use of Combat Expertise and Improved Combat Expertise can reach AC 35. If we ignore Improved Combat Expertise, then we still have an AC 30 from Combat Expertise. An opposing Fighter 10 would have a Base Attack Bonus of 10 and maybe another +10 in Strength, Feats and Magic [Weapon Focus (+1), Greater Weapon Focus (+1), Melee Weapon Mastery (+2), Long Sword +1 (or whatever) and Strength 20 (+5)], meaning each has a 70% chance of hitting his opponent on any given round without Expertise.

Using any form of Expertise or Skillful Defence will reduce both his chance of hitting his opponent and of being hit himself by up to 50%. The Shield Fighter would be able to reduce the chances by 65% and only suffer a 35% reduction in his chances to hit, so perhaps that is excessive. If we do not allow the AC Bonus to exceed BAB that might be more reasonable. I wouldn't consider kicking out the last two Feats, given that what they allow is for this to scale by level, which seems quite resonable to me.

icke
2007-02-14, 07:16 AM
I wouldn't consider kicking out the last two Feats, given that what they allow is for this to scale by level, which seems quite resonable to me.

You have to scale by level, right, but You also have to keep in scale with the d20. If the BAB - AC - gap gets too large it is also out of balance.
No time right now for full discussion, workgroup meeting in ten minutes...

kailin
2007-02-16, 01:23 PM
Well, it is worth noting that it is already possible for Level 10 Fighters to reach pretty crazy Armour Class levels.

Full Plate +1 (+10 AC) and Heavy Shield +1 (+3 AC) (altogether about 6,000 GP) = AC 23
Ring of Protection +1 (2,000 GP) = AC 24
Amulet of Natural Armour +1 (2,000 GP) = AC 25
Combat Expertise + Superior Expertise (+10 AC) = 35 AC


Yes, but those bonuses don't raise your touch AC to 35.

Fax Celestis
2007-02-16, 01:30 PM
You have to scale by level, right, but You also have to keep in scale with the d20. If the BAB - AC - gap gets too large it is also out of balance.
No time right now for full discussion, workgroup meeting in ten minutes...

He's still vastly susceptible to things such as fireball.

I'll agree with Kailin: it shouldn't affect your Touch AC though. Solve that by making the bonuses into either a competence bonus, a circumstance bonus, or a "stacking shield bonus".

Yakk
2007-02-16, 01:53 PM
A competence bonus to your shield bonus. :)

Matthew
2007-02-16, 02:16 PM
Interesting. Currently, Combat Expertise and Improved Combat Expertise do provide Dodge Bonuses. I am not sure whether I think a Shield shouldn't be some defence against an attempted grapple or ranged touch attack. Seems like that would make this a good Feat Chain against Touch Attack Spell Casters, and I am not sure that is such a bad thing. Have to think about it a bit, I think.

enderrocksonall
2007-02-16, 03:13 PM
just throwing in my 2 cents. In my groups we have always thought that improved expertise was way too powerful and we relegated it to being an epic feat. Perhaps you could make some of your feats epic, thus reducing the amount of mind-blowing cheesy 10th level 60+ AC fighters running around.

BTW an AC of 35 isnt that high if your talking about characters. Monsters are still gonna hit you, A LOT.

Also everyone is right that this shouldn't be a dodge bonus. How does it make sense that the dude in full plate armor has a higher touch AC than all the unarmored halfling monks and rogues?

enderrocksonall
2007-02-16, 03:15 PM
Sorry for the double post but i just took another look at your feat chain. You should be scaling the dex requirements up with the BAB. Otherwise no one will put more than a 13 into dex ever.

Also skillful is spelled skillful.

Matthew
2007-02-16, 04:00 PM
It's interesting that so many people consider Superior Combat Expertise so broken. It seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable Feat for the poor old Fighter, who is otherwise so incapable of getting better at defending himself in combat.

I specifically want to keep away from increasing Dexterity with these Feats. Note that Combat Expertise and Improved Combat Expertise both require only Intelligence 13 and I intend to keep relatively in line with those Feats. I hate the way so many Feats require increasingly higher Attribute Scores, as it creates far too much MAD. This Feat Chain is intended for Fighter types primarily. The Base Attack Bonus Prerequisites seem sufficient to me.

I wouldn't be inclined to make these epic either. The idea is to scale back the power of Superior Expertise by increasing the Feats needed, but also to give some advantage to a Shield using character.

I think it makes good sense for the Combat orientated character to be better at dodging his enemies and deflecting touch attacks than the non combat orientated characters. It also gives Fighter type classes a much needed boost in those circumstances.

In American English, Skilful may be spelt Skillful, but where I live (England) it is spelt with one l.

Fax Celestis
2007-02-16, 04:07 PM
Perhaps a deflection bonus instead of a dodge bonus, if that is the case, since he is *deflecting* attacks with his shield, not *dodging* them with his feet.

icke
2007-02-18, 07:07 AM
I think one should go with the competence bonus. I won't start a ramble now about wotc bonus naming conventions, I just say competence fits the needs best, since it's a completely nonmagical bonus. Deflection, for example, would interfere with rings of protection and such, and I don't see why the skilled fighter might not benefit from magical fashion-wear.