Originally Posted by pres_man
It would be nice to see some discussion from a holistic viewpoint.
Well, how about this for Combat Maneuvers:
Translating Pathfinder RPG Combat Maneuvers
This entire section is atrociously overwritten, taking way too many words to say some very simple things.
First, a CMB roll is a standard attack roll, with the size modifier reversed.. Really. That's what the three paragraphs of text boil down to.
Seriously, it is BAB + Str (or Dex with the appropriate feat) + your size modifier inverted + all other modifiers that normally apply to an attack roll + any special modifiers for that specific maneuver.
"When you attempt to perform a combat maneuver, make an attack roll and add your CMB in place of your normal attack bonus. Add any bonuses you currently have on attack rolls due to spells, feats, and other effects. These bonuses must be applicable to the weapon or attack used to perform the maneuver."
Unless there are some really obscure modifiers that for some reason apply to an attack but do not apply to an attack (anybody?), the end result is a standard attack roll, just with the size modifier inverted.
Oh, there is a special bonus of +4 is the target is stunned, and it is an auto-crit if the target is helpless, which is also different.
Second, CMD is your touch AC with size modifier inverted + Str modifier - (alchemical bonus + competence modifier + luck modifier + racial bonus).
Pretty simple, huh?
Oh, and that assumes there are any extant modifiers of those types that apply to AC in PFRPG. (I can find a few luck bonuses, which makes me wonder if it was an oversight, and none of the others.)
The operative sentence for this is:
"A creature can also add any circumstance, deflection, dodge, insight, morale, profane, and sacred bonuses to AC to its CMD. Any penalties to a creature's AC also apply to its CMD. A flat-footed creature does not add its Dexterity bonus to its CMD."
Other than the four modifiers I note above, are ability (already added), resistance (only applies to saves), enhancement (only makes other bonuses better), armor, shield, and natural armor (which are already excluded from Touch AC).
So really, it is your Touch AC with the size modifier inverted + Str modifier.
So compressing over a column of text we get:
To perform a special combat maneuver, make a standard attack roll with your size modifier inverted against the target's Touch AC with his size modifier inverted + his Str modifier - his Luck modifier to AC (if any). Consult the entries below for specific results. If the target is helpless, your attack is an automatic critical hit. If the target is stunned, you get a special +4 bonus to your attack roll.
Everything else in that column of text is utterly superfluous.
Now that that is out of the way, a comparison becomes a lot easier.
Before you had to attack Touch AC, then make an opposed check, which was generally based on Strength, and which quadrupled the normal size modifiers.
Now you make a single attack against Touch AC, with everyone's size modifiers inverted, and with the target getting to add his Strength modifier to his defense.
Without doing a massive amount of number crunching, it should be relatively easy to see how this will affect things.
First and foremost, one roll means only one chance to critically fail, giving a benefit to the attacker.
Second, with the maneuver feats being split in two, it will generally be harder to "specialize" in these attacks, giving a benefit to the defender.
Third, removing the special size modifier means big creatures are weaker across the board, both as attackers and defenders. Small creatures are theoretically stronger, except as defenders, where a lot Strength will usually make them weaker.
Fourth, tagging the Strength modifier into the initial Touch AC attack means most everyone else will be harder to affect.
Overall, except where large creatures are involved as with the example of the ogre, the combat maneuvers are going to generally be more difficult to execute, particularly for players who always looked at enlarge person as a way to supercharge the maneuvers. Instead of getting a net +1 on the touch attack and +5 on the opposed roll, you will now just get a net +1 to the single attack made.