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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Now that 3.X D&D is basically complete, I took it upon myself to compile the most commonly used melee tactics into one guide for easy reference. Here are the building blocks that you can choose from:

    Play with a Powerful Melee Class
    • Pro: There are many non-casters can be just as strong as casters if you know what you're doing. And each possesses its own interesting powers and abilities.
    • Con: Essentially unavailable in core or core-ish games. Non-core classes tend to have very little support
    • Level of Effort: Pick one of the following: Crusader, Warblade, Swordsage, Totemist, Binder, Psychic Warrior, or any full caster (and maybe a Knight or Duskblade). Make this the basis for your build.
    • Best used against: Anyone.
    • Commentary: This is probably the easiest and most effective way to improve the power level of your build. In 3.X D&D, classes which have scaled powers (spells, psionics, blade magic, incarnum, or vestiges) are far more powerful then classes that don't. This does not include "half-casters" or other half progression classes or prestige classes. It's not "fair" or intelligent game design, but it's true.


    Optimize Power Attack
    • Pro: If your enemies are dead, they can't attack you. Virtually every enemy is subject to melee damage.
    • Con: Lots of mechanical concerns. Doesn't really kick in until ECL 6ish. Basically requires full BAB and a two handed weapon to use well. Reduces your To-Hit or AC (with Shock Trooper). And there are also serious metagame concerns (see commentary).
    • Level of Effort: Varies. This thread is dedicated to the subject.
    • Best used against: Anyone you can reach (or just plain anyone, if you're a Bloodstorm Blade).
    • Commentary: Your goal is to win combat. If your enemies are dead, you've won. But if you kill your enemies too quickly, then your DM is just going to add more enemies, or make them tougher. So one of the first things most melee builds should so is work out how it is going to deal respectable damage. If you don't, then youíll either have to rely on your party members to kill your enemies (a perfectly acceptable tactical option, as long as they know that itís their job to do so and are half decent at doing it) or you'll have to deal with marathon combat, which greatly increases the probability of someone in your party getting killed. But after your build can deal respectable damage, move on. Optimizing damage to a ridiculous level is self defeating.


    Get Really Big and/or Improve Your Effective Size and/or Reach
    • Pro: Increased size means increased damage, improved modifiers for opposed checks (Trip, Bull Rush, Grapple, etc), and reach. More reach equals a wider threatened area, improving your ability to trigger attacks of opportunity and use most other combos.
    • Con: The larger you are, the harder it is to move around in any tight space (like dungeons). In some cramped spaces, you will not be able to go above Medium size without taking squeezing penalties, and you may not be able to go above Large size at all. You also obviously become a much bigger target, both literally and in roleplaying terms (ie, the DM will feel more compelled to have enemies target you each round). Spells and psionic powers that improve size also have an activation cost, which means that you need to expend limited resources and sometimes need to spend a round of combat (a round you could be using to attack) in order to use them. There are also some serious metagame concerns (see above).
    • Level of Effort: Varies. This thread is dedicated to the subject.
    • Best used against: Anyone.
    • Commentary: Although somewhat less popular then Power Attack, getting really big is arguably the most efficient and effective way to improve a melee build. In particular, the huge bonuses to many opposed checks and the improved reach are just as valuable (if not more so) compared to the increases in damage. The biggest down side is that unlike Power Attack, which can essentially be used in virtually ever combat, your DM can easily nerf your build without adjusting his encounters or plot by forcing the party to adventure in cramped spaces. But it's noteworthy that just improving your reach (using a reach weapon, Inhuman Reach, Deformity Tall, etc) has no such restriction.


    Get Extra Attacks
    • Pro: More attacks means more damage, potentially more follow up attacks (Knock-Down, Knockback, etc), and forces your enemy to make more Saves if your attacks have a status effect. You can also target multiple enemies.
    • Con: Metagame concerns.
    • Level of Effort: Varies. Hereís a thread dedicated to the subject.
    • Best used against: Getting lots of attacks tends to be most efficient for fighting multiple weak enemies. But with Pounce and/or Ridiculous Reach and/or some sort of thrown weapon combo in order to get a full attack every turn, it's good against anyone.
    • Commentary: Pretty much the same metagame concerns as getting lots of damage.


    Learn How to Get a Decent To-Hit
    • Pro: If you miss, youíve essentially wasted your attack. In the long run, having a 95% chance of dealing 10 damage is better then having a 5% chance of dealing 95 damage.
    • Con: Metagame concerns.
    • Level of Effort: Some combination of full BAB, high Strength (or something else with an X to Y ability), Knowledge Devotion, and miscellaneous combat modifiers. You can also get touch attacks via a wide variety of means (Wand of Flame Blade, Fire Lash, Master Thrower, Spectral Weapon, Wraithstrike) and/or deny your enemy his Dexterity bonus to AC (Greater Invisibility, Ring of Blinking + Pierce Magical Concealment, Skill Tricks).
    • Commentary: Same as above. Be good at hitting things. But not so good that you hit 95% of the time. Only bust out your super To-Hit combos when you really need them. Otherwise your DM will just make enemies harder to hit.


    Learn How to Get Respectable Defense
    • Pro: As long as you're alive, you can keep fighting.
    • Con: Metagame concerns.
    • Level of Effort: Varies. You want some combination of high hit points, high AC, high Saves, combat healing, a Miss Chance (Displacement, Blur, etc), high Touch AC, and special defenses (Evasion, Mettle, Fearless Destiny), usually in that order of importance.
    • Commentary: As long as you do your best to protect your friends and don't brag about how awesome your build is (something you should never do), you can usually optimize your defenses with impunity. This is how people get away with playing Batman Wizard builds in real games - focus on teamwork, not self aggrandizement. I'd also add that you should rarely make pure defense the only thing you do. Battlefield control is often much more effective then good defenses, because if your enemy can't attack you, it doesn't matter how low your AC is.


    Combat Reflexes + Combat Exp + Improved Trip + Knock-Down:
    • Pro: Enemy can either sit there and attack with a -4 penalty, crawl, or stand up and provoke an AoO if you threaten them.
    • Con: Size matters, so big/strong enemies will have an advantage. Pointless against most enemies with ranged attacks and/or spells. Some enemies can't be tripped, or can stand up without provoking.
    • Level of Effort: 4ish feats.
    • Best used against: Groups of weak enemies, or to create a choke point in a dungeon.
    • Commentary: Probably the most common form of melee lock down. Even though it's not particularly effective against many enemies, some DMs really hate this combo and think that it's unbalanced. If yours does, pick something else.


    Combat Reflexes + Power Attack + Improved Bull Rush + Knockback + Shock Trooper
    • Pro: Pushes enemy away from you, preventing counter attacks. Can deal massive damage with Dungeoncrasher Fighter variant (Dungeonscape).
    • Con: Size matters, so big/strong enemies will have an advantage. Pointless against most enemies with ranged attacks and/or spells. Pushing an enemy away from you can prevent you from making a full attack against them. Enemy can move again their next turn without penalty.
    • Level of Effort: Goliath or Half Giant (+1 LA) + Fighter 6 + 5 feats.
    • Best used against: Groups of weak or mediocre enemies.
    • Commentary: This option requires the highest investment, but is also one of the most powerful. Dungeoncrasher is very, very open to abuse. If you want to be less abusive, you can drop Knockback and get free Bull Rush attempts from the Shield of the Severed Hand (Complete Divine pg 102 or MIC) and/or Brutal Surge weapons (MIC). Or you can drop Dungeoncrasher and just use Bull Rush for Shock Trooper ping pong fun.


    Fear effects:
    • Pro: Forces enemy to run away, or to Cower if you can also lock him down otherwise (Stand Still, Grapple, etc).
    • Con: Usually allows multiple Saves. Tons of enemies are immune or have a high Will Save. Enemies that are running away from you really aren't locked down, they're just running.
    • Level of Effort: 1-3 feat(s) + 1 magic item and/or 1 class ability and/or Intimidate Skill ranks
    • Best used against: Any enemy or enemies that aren't immune with a low-ish Will Save. Tag team with party members who focus on ranged attacks/spells.
    • Commentary: This is a very strong low-mid level combo that will generally get less useful as you gain levels and fight harder enemies. It's a particularly good choice for strait Fighters who learn how to Demoralize.


    Combat Reflexes + Stand Still:
    • Pro: Stops enemy movement. Once you have the ability to deal 40ish damage, it's 95% effective against all enemies.
    • Con: Deals no damage. Enemy can move again on their next turn. Completely pointless if the enemy isn't using melee attacks.
    • Level of Effort: 2 feats.
    • Best used against: Moderately powerful enemies that you can't kill in one round.
    • Commentary: This is a very overlooked combo. Yes, it doesn't hurt your damage, and doesn't prevent them from moving on their turn. But if you're a defensive build with glass cannons in your party, Stand Still is going to be a lot more effective for you then anything that allows an opposed check or Save.


    Create Difficult Terrain:
    • Pro: Enemies can't Charge, and have a hard time moving around. Enemies can't take 5 ft steps, and thus will always provoke AoO without Tumble. Effects enemies regardless of size. Generally doesn't require any kind of attack roll or check to use.
    • Con: Enemy can still move and attack. Completely pointless if the enemy isn't using melee attacks. Useless against flying enemies and many others (Scouts, high level Rangers, etc).
    • Level of Effort: Varies. Earth Devotion, Knight, Deepstone Sentinel, and a few other options.
    • Best used against: Enemies with very high Saves/checks that you need to slow down.
    • Commentary: This is a very common ability for casters but rare for melee builds. It's also not particularly effective unless it's used in concert with at least one other lock down combo. But if used intelligently it can be very handy in most combats.


    Daze effects:
    • Pro: Effects anyone, completely incapacitating them.
    • Con: Allows a Save, and usually only lasts for 1 round. Usually requires using specific weapons and/or sub-optimal pre-reqs. Pointless if you can kill the enemy in 1-3 hits. Some Daze effects (Incarnum and Vestiges) have caveats (only effect the living, or mind effecting).
    • Level of Effort: Varies. Shield Slam, Anvil of Thunder, Boomerang Daze, Killoren Smite, Dragonmark Smite, Devoted Inquisitor build, Cabinet Trickster, Dire Flail Smash, Ironsoul Forgemaster, Arcane Focus soulmeld, Incarnum Blast invocation, Dahlver-Nar vestige, Scion of Dantalion, Dazing Strike maneuver, a few magic items.
    • Best used against: A single powerful enemy or quirky miniboss squad.
    • Commentary: Daze is one of the best status effects in D&D. If you can get this effect for a reasonable investment, then do so.


    Improved Unarmed Strike -> Improved Grapple -> Scorpion's Grasp
    • Pro: Locks down a single enemy, drastically limiting their options. Allows you to deal damage with opposed checks instead of attack rolls. Can deal massive damage if you have your entire build geared toward this.
    • Con: Size matters, so big/strong enemies will have an advantage. You lose your Dex bonus against other attackers. Ineffective against more then one enemy at a time.
    • Level of Effort: 3 feats + Monk/Fist of the Forest/Psychic Warrior or something similar if you also want to deal high damage.
    • Best used against: A single powerful enemy.
    • Commentary: This is another high investment/high return combo. But be careful - it works great against one enemy, but is really lousy against multiple enemies.


    Combat Expertise -> Improved Disarm -> Snatch Weapon
    • Pro: When fighting non-caster humanoids or monstrous humanoids, if you take their weapon, they've essentially lost. This is a particularly good combo for a Haberdash build, or anyone with a Flindbar (Monster Manual III), which grants a free Disarm attempt when you threaten a critical hit (20% of the time with a Keen effect).
    • Con: Tons of enemies don't use weapons. Tons of enemies that use weapons carry backup weapons. And after you Disarm the first enemy and smack him with his own weapon (which is probably less effective then your magic weapon), you have to drop it if you want to Disarm a different enemy (letting unarmed enemies have a chance to pick it up), or waste a Move Action to Sheath it.
    • Level of Effort: 3ish feats.
    • Best used against: Anyone wielding a weapon.
    • Commentary: Choosing this combo depends heavily on your DM. I think it's a great low level combo for Rangers and other Two Weapon Fighters, especially in urban or gladiatorial campaigns. Otherwise, it's probably one of the weakest melee control options out there.


    Power Attack -> Improved Sunder -> Combat Brute
    • Pro: If an enemy relies on a weapon, shield, spell component pouch, holy symbol, or some other item, you can destroy it. This can effectively neuter very potent enemies.
    • Con: In some cases you're destroying your treasure. Useless against most non-humanoids or monstrous humanoids. Useless against enemies who use supernatural or spell-like abilities.
    • Level of Effort: Minimal. All you really need is an adamantine reach weapon, so that you can ignore the hardness of non-adamantine things you want to sunder. You can optimize it with 3 feats.
    • Best used against: Casters without Eschew Materials.
    • Commentary: This is a much maligned combo. It's just improperly applied. People think that it should be used like Disarm, against people hitting them with weapons. While it can be used that way, most of the time it shouldn't, because you're just robbing yourself of loot. Instead, use it to target casters. Also, I suggest that you not bother taking this combo unless you need Improved Sunder as a pre-req for a prestige class or some other feat combo. All you need is an adamantine weapon. And like Improved Disarm, if you over use this combo then you'll quickly find yourself fighting enemies that it's useless against.


    Sleight of Hand
    • Pro: You can pick pocket any unattended item from your enemy as a Free Action. This includes spell component pouches, quivers, potions, and sometimes holy symbols and other useful items.
    • Con: Useless against attended/held items. Useless against enemies who don't use items. Sleight of Hand isn't a class Skill for many melee based classes.
    • Level of Effort: You need to be able to make a DC 20 check if you want to pick pocket something as a Standard Action. If you want to do it as a Free Action, you need to be able to do it with a -20 penalty. That makes it nearly impossible to pull off at low levels. But by mid levels it can be done with some combination of high Dex, Factotum, Marshal, Incarnate (Theft Gloves soulmeld), a Skill boosting magic item, and/or Item Familiar.
    • Best used against: Casters without Eschew Materials.
    • Commentary: Sleight of Hand is basically a more limited version of Sunder, used to screw enemies with spell component pouches and other unattended items that they rely on. It can also be used against certain ranged builds, since un-drawn weapons and ammunition count as being unattended. It can't be used against items your enemy is holding in their hands. But since it can be used as a Free Action, it's more efficient then a Sunder attempt. Plus there's no feat investment associated with it. So it's a good option for melee Skill Monkeys, and occasionally other high level builds that have extra Skill Points that they can afford to invest in cross class.


    Ability Damage and/or Penalties
    • Pro: If you reduce an enemy to 0 in any stat, they're rendered Helpless. You can Coup de Grace a Helpless enemy. Even if you don't, you're generally reducing their movement (lower Str = lower carrying capacity) or otherwise debuffing them and/or limiting their actions. Nets, Lasso, Razor Nets, and Harpoons also limit an enemy's movement away from you.
    • Con: Sometimes allows a Save. And some enemies (Undead, Constructs) are immune to Ability Damage. (Though your DM might rule that they're not immune to mundane Ability Penalties from being entangled or whatnot).
    • Level of Effort: Varies, but generally it's a very low investment. Here's a handy list of ways to deal Dex damage. If I have the time I'll expand it to a list of all ability damage. You might also want the Death Blow feat (Complete Adventurer) which lets you Coup de Grace as a Standard Action (allowing you to Move and Coup de Grace in the same turn).
    • Best used against: Non-immune creatures with high hit points.
    • Commentary: There are a surprisingly huge number of ways to deal ability damage. All you really need is a couple of Spell Storing nets, which is pure core. However, I would suggest that you only use this combo against boss enemies. Plenty of monsters are immune to crits. And if your DM sees you using this combo too often, you'll see a lot more of them.


    Other Status Effects such as Stun, Stagger, Nauseated, etc.
    • Pro: Prevents enemy from acting in some way or imposes a penalty.
    • Con: Tons of enemies are immune. Usually allows a Save. Not nearly as effective as other combos. Those who are effected can usually be killed in 1-3 hits anyway.
    • Level of Effort: Varies. Good sources include Stunning Fist, Staggering Strike, Sickening Strike, Pain Touch, Three Mountains Style, and Acheron Flurry.
    • Best used against: Any enemy or enemies that aren't immune with a low-ish Fort Save.
    • Commentary: There are usually much better ways to control your enemy. But if you can get one or two dice of Sneak Attack damage, then you can force some enemies into making multiple Saves per attack for a very low investment. It's particularly useful for builds that focus on debuffing.


    Tactical Movement
    • Pro: Your goal is to make a full attack, and then move away from the enemy. If youíre more then 10 feet away from the enemy at the end of your turn, then it makes it very difficult for them to make a full attack against you in melee.
    • Con: If youíre moving away from the enemy, you canít be a meat shield to protect your friends. Useless against enemies with ranged attacks, spells, etc. Difficult to pull off in an enclosed area.
    • Level of Effort: Varies. In most cases you will need Pounce AND some method of moving away from your enemy after you attack, such as Ride by Attack, Hustle, Travel Devotion, or Evasive Reflexes + Karmic Strike + Robilarís Gambit. But take a good look at the list of ways to get Pounce and Free Movement, and youíll find plenty of ways.
    • Best used against: Anyone who relies on making melee full attack actions.
    • Commentary: This is basically the point of Spring Attack. Move, attack, move. Except Spring attack sucks, because you only get 1 attack. But there are dozens of other ways. This is a good option for builds with high damage output but low hit points, like Rogues, Scouts, etc.


    Precision Damage + Lots of Attacks

    • Pro: Precision Damage (Sneak Attack, Sudden Strike, and Skirmish) provides relatively good bonus damage independent of your BAB. Doesn't penalize your To-Hit or AC (like Power Attack or Shock Trooper). Ambush feats can also add status effects.
    • Con: Requires a trigger (Flanking and/or Denied Dex or moving 10 ft). Lots of enemies are immune to Precision Damage. Bonus dice of damage aren't multiplied. Damage does not scale as well as other options (Power Attack, Dungeoncrasher, Claws of the Beast, ToB manuevers, etc).
    • Level of Effort: Intense. You're probably going to want some combination of Two Weapon Fighting feats or Multiweapon Fighting, natural attacks, a Haste effect, and an Attack of Opportunity Combo. You're also going to want to invest in some way to get past Precision Damage immunity, such as Dragonfire Strike, alternate class features, or wands. And you're going to want Ambush feats to add status effects
    • Best Used Against: Anyone who isn't immune.
    • Commentary: If your goal is to be excellent at melee, then don't rely on Precision Damage. The return on investment is never going to be as good as a Power Attack combo or a scaled power related combo (psionics, ToB, incarnum, etc). However, if your goal is to an excellent Skill Monkey and you don't want to play a Factotum or Beguiler or Incarnate, then you'll probably need to learn how to optimize this. Here's a good mini-guide. It's worth mentioning that if you can just pick up a few dice of Sneak Attack without sacrificing BAB, via Blackguard or a similar prestige class, then it's worth picking up a feats (like Craven and Staggering Strike) to supplement your Sneak Attack without a huge investment.


    Poison
    • Pro: An excellent way to deal ability damage and/or to completely debilitate your enemy in one attack.
    • Con: Allows a Fort Save. Expensive to use. By RAW, using poison is an Evil act (though most DMs will hand wave this). And tons of common enemies are immune.
    • Level of Effort: Varies. This thread is dedicated to the subject. The key takeaway of the thread is that anyone with a few ranks in Handle Animal and Craft (Poison Making) can milk a poison producing creature to get a free dose (Drow of the Underdark). You can also create plant based poisons with Psionic Minor Creation, which you can access via Expanded Knowledge or with 1 level of Psion (Shaper).
    • Best Used Against: Anyone who isn't immune. But in practice, because of it's cost you should save any poison you have for boss fights against BBEG with poor Fort Saves (casters, aberrations, fey).
    • Commentary: Poison is an excellent low level combo. In particular, it's a great option for Rangers and Druids, who can easily buy or summon poison producing creatures, milk them, and store the poison for important battles. Similarly, any low level psionic build can get a lot of millage out of Psionic Minor Creation. At mid levels it's a good choice for debuff builds. For example, a Hexblade/Binder/Blackguard can easily impose a -6 to -12 penalty on their targets, has access to a potentially poisonous Familiar and a Fiendish Servant, and has the Poison Use ability. But there is a huge diminishing return on poison. One or two Poison related feats and/or magic items might help a lot. But beyond that, you're not getting a really good bang for your buck. And because tons of enemies are immune, it cannot be relied upon for important combats. So this is a good combo to pick up once you already have 2 or 3 other combos under your belt.


    Mage Slayer + lockdown combo
    • Pro: Prevents enemies that you threaten from casting defensively. This utterly nerfs anyone who depends on spells or spell-like abilities.
    • Con: Mage Slayer reduces your caster level, which means that it's not a viable option for many different builds who would really love to take it, especially mid level Paladins, Rangers, Hexblades, etc. It's also completely worthless against other melee builds, supernatural abilities, and extraordinary abilities.
    • Level of Effort: Mage Slayer + 1-2 feats or class abilities. You need Mage Slayer (duh) and some method of preventing your enemy from moving away. Nets, harpoons, Knock-Down, Thicket of Blades (Crusader), Earth Devotion, Knight (Bulwark of Defense), Deepstone Sentinel, or just armor spikes + a reach weapon, Spiked Chain, Spinning Sword, natural reach, etc. Anything that prevents your enemy from just taking a 5 ft step away will work fine.
    • Best Used Against: Wizards, Sorcerers, Clerics, Warlocks, monsters with Spell-Like abilities, etc.
    • Commentary: Given the prevalence and potency of magic at mid-high levels, I think this is a must have combo for any melee build above ECL 12 that doesn't have caster levels. If at all possible, you should also take Pierce Magical Concealment, as it allows you to ignore any magical miss chance.


    Also note that to be optimal, Trip, Bull Rush, and Grapple pretty much require that you get really big, or find some other way to boost your opposed check (Marshal, certain magic items, etc). Similarly, anything that allows a Save benefits from a debuff build. Remember that although Stand Still and difficult terrain are weaker, they're also much more difficult for enemies to resist.

    You can look up most of the material cited at crystalkeep or find the citation at the wotc index. I'll do my best to add in links for everything once I'm not blocked at work.

    Please post any additions, corrections, and commentary. In particular, please post your favorite melee builds and handbooks. Thanks.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Person_Man's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Handbooks, index threads, and melee builds:

    • Optimizing Power Attack
    • Increasing Size, Unarmed Damage, and Reach
    • How to get Extra Attacks, Natural Attacks, and AoO
    • How to get Pounce or Free Movement
    • X stat to Y bonus
    • Guide to Shields
    • Guide to Poison
    • Smite Optimization
    • Special Paladin Mount Guide
    • Knight Handbook
    • Rogue Mini-Guide
    • Haberdash the Masked
    • Frozen Dwarf Hulk Smash!!!
    • Flaming Homer, the Bowling Ball of DOOM!!!
    • Darrin's King of Pong
    • Saph's Horizon Tripper
    • King of Smack
    • Psychic Warrior Build Compendium (including Tashalatoran God of Smack)
    • Takahashi no Onisan
    • The Incredible Hulk
    • War Master

    • Stock Fighter Advice
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      Fighter is actually quite a respectable choice up to ECL 12ish if you know what you're doing. The keys are alternate class features and careful feat selection (see combos above).

      At level 1, Fighters get the Tower Shield for free. This in itself is useful. Races of Stone also lets you trade it away for Exotic Shield Proficiency, which has several uses. I suggest using it for a Gnome Battle Cloak, which is essentially a shield you wear on your back, which is essentially a free Animated shield. Or you can take the Extreme Shield if you want +3 AC without a To-Hit penalty (but don't care about making shield bash attacks). If you want a mounted build (which is one of your best core-ish options) then I suggest a Riding Shield.

      At levels 2 and 6, Dungonscape lets you trade away feats for the Dungeoncrasher ability, which gives you massive damage when you Bull Rush an enemy into a wall or solid object. As others have opined, the easiest way to abuse this is through the Knockback feat. Check out Flaming Homer and the King of Pong. If you want to be less abusive and/or don't want to be a Goliath, then I suggest you be a Raptorian or Dragonborn for free flight (though it doesn't kick in until ECL 12). This lets you move above enemies, so that you can Bull Rush them into the floor. You can also get free Bull Rush attempts from the Shield of the Severed Hand (Complete Divine pg 102 or MIC) and/or Brutal Surge weapons (MIC). It's also worth mentioning that Dungeoncrasher damage is so high that even a single mundane Bull Rush per turn can kill most enemies.

      At 2nd level or higher you can give up a Fighter bonus feat to gain the Resolute ability (Complete Champion). It allows you to immediately shift 1/2 your BAB to your Will Save. Hugely useful at mid to high levels, as Will Saves are often Save or Lose. Once you get to level 10 or higher I would definitely pick this one up, unless you can find some other form of mental protection.

      A nifty web ad on gives you various buffs to your ability to Demoralize. The most important kicks in at 11th level, which lets you Demoralize as a Swift Action. This can be a powerful tool, especially when combined with the Imperious Command feat (Drow of the Underdark) which makes Demoralized enemies Cower.

      Put that together, and you get respectable defense, strong offense, and two forms of battlefield control (Bull Rush and Fear). Pretty solid for any low to mid level melee build.
    • Echo the Active
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      Human Factotum 3/Warblade 2/Chameleon 5/Warblade 3

      At this ECL you get:
      • +8 BAB
      • All Skills as Class Skills
      • Int bonus applied to tons of different checks (Str/Dex Skills, Trip/Bull Rush/Disarm/Grapple, critical confirmation, Saves, etc).
      • 4th level manuevers (and you can choose a different one every morning using Martial Study or Martial Stance as one of your floating feats)
      • 4th level divine or arcane spells (I suggest Divine spells. Like an Archivist, a Chameleon can use Cleric, Druid, Blackguard, Paladin, Ranger, domain, PrC, spells, but without the need for a prayer book. And many 3rd and 4th level Blackguard/Paladin/Ranger spells are the equivalent of 5th or 6th level Cleric spells (the easiest example is Holy Sword, but the splat books are filled with them).


      Take the Exotic Weapon proficiency feat, and learn what it can do. You can swap this out to be any exotic weapon each morning using the Warblade's Weapon Aptitude ability. If you want, you can swap out Warblade for Master of Masks, as it gives you access to every Exotic Weapon.

      The Chameleon bonus feat can swap out it's bonus feat every morning.

      The Heroics spell (Spell Compendium) gives you a Fighter bonus feat of your choice that you otherwise qualify for. As a 2nd level Sorcerer Wizard spell, it's quite easy for you to cast yourself or put in a wand. It lasts 10 minutes per level, so you rarely need to bother with Persistent Spell or other chicanery.

      You could also do a psionic or incarnum or binder version of this build, using your floating bonus feat to gain a different power every morning using Expanded Knowledge, Shape Soulmeld, or Bind Vestige. For your purposes, I'd suggest a Factotum 3/Incarnate 2/Chameleon 5/Incarnate X. With Brains Over Brawn, souldmelds, spells, and floating feats, you could pretty much accomplish any Skill task. With some creativity and planning, this build can pretty much do anything.
    • Keld Denar's DORF POWAH!
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      Ranger1/Fighter2/Barb2/Deepwarden2/X
      Take Steadfast Determination (PHBII)

      Nearly completely Str/Con dependant. Str gets you attack and damage, Con gets you HP, AC, Touch AC, Fort, and Will. X can be anything full BAB, but I highly recommend a bit of Exotic Weapon Master (Uncanny Blow and/or Flurry of Strikes with Waraxe or Urgrosh), Occult Slayer, and Pious Templar for maximum resiliancey. Runescar Berzerker is also fun, and with your massive will save, Frenzied Berzerker wouldn't be terrible with proper planning.

      Not really good for AoO based control build due to lack of Dex focus.
    • Keld Denar's Tashalatora Grappler
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      Human or Psionic Half Giant
      Monk2/PsyWar18
      1st IUAS, Imp Grapple, Scorpion's Grasp (if human)
      2nd Monastic Training (ECS)
      3rd Tashalatora(Sec of Sarlona), Psionic Meditation
      4th Link Power (CPsi)
      From there, go nuts with Improved Natural Attack, Snap Kick, Superior Unarmed Strike, Shape Soulmeld (Kraken Mantle) + Open Least Chakra (Arms)
    • Inspired by Thurbane's Debuffer
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      Bard 1/Paladin of Tyranny 3/Hexblade 4/Warchanter X

      Bard gives access to Doomspeak feat (Champions of Ruin), which lets you burn a Bardic music use to impose a -10 penalty to one enemy for one round. (Standard Action, allows a Save).

      Paladin of Tyranny (or Blackguard, if you don't mind the pre-reqs) gives you Cha to your Saves (Dark Blessing/Divine Grace) and a -2 penalty from your enemies (Aura of Despair).

      The PHBII alternate class feature Hexblade let you trade your Familiar to pick up a Dark Companion, which imposes another -2 penalty on your enemies. You can also use your Hexblade Curse once per day for another -2. Hexblade also gives you Cha to Saves vs Spells and Mettle. Put together with your Cha to Saves from Paladin of Tyranny and a Ring of Evasion, and you don't have much to worry about from 90% of spells.

      If you're willing to spend two feats to get Improved Bind Vestige (Tome of Magic) you can bind Focalor to impose another -2 penalty. Or you can take a few levels of Binder.

      Warchanter is a full BAB class whose levels stack to determine Bardic music uses per day (to fuel Doomspeak, and maybe Snowflake Wardance) and Bardic music effectiveness. It also grants some nifty buffs for your party, so that you can do more then just debuff.

      In addition, you might want to pick up some Fear and/or Ability Damage combos (see above), since your enemies Saves will suck so much.
    • Can't Touch This! Inspired by woodenbandman's Yellow Jester
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      This is a build based on tactical movement (see above).

      Whatever 5/Tactical Soldier 2/Crusader or Warblade 2

      Tactical Soldier (Miniatures Handbook) provides the Sidestep feat as a bonus feat (without the lousy pre-reqs). Sidestep lets you take a 5 ft step once per round after making an attack of opportunity, in addition to your normal 5 ft step.

      Or you can drop Tactical Soldier and use the Evasive Reflexes feat, which lets you trade an AoO for a 5 ft step. You'll get fewer attacks per round, but it's a much lower investment.

      Press the Advantage (White Raven Stance, Tome of Battle) lets you take an additional 5 ft step whenever you take a 5 ft step.

      You can get Magic Rollerskates and/or Sparing Dummy (Arms and Equipment Guide) of the Master to make your 5 ft steps 10 ft steps.

      And you can get bonus attacks of opportunity via Combat Reflexes + Hold the Line + Karmic Strike and/or Robilar's Gambit and/or other means.

      You'll also want to get a reasonably large reach (see above).

      You'll be able to step 10 or 20 feet away whenever your enemy moves through your threatened area, Charges you (thus avoiding the Charge entirely), or attacks you (though your movement comes after their attack. So you avoid full attacks, but not every attack).

      A nice defensive combo that's independent of AC, which can be had for a moderate investment of 4 class levels or 5ish feats.
    • Adumbration's The Barn Door that Hits Back:
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      Spirit lion Barbarian 1/Bard 1/Warblade 3/War chanter 8. This is ECL 13, but if I wanted to turn it into a level 20 build, I would probably finish War chanter and go into Frenzied Berserker.

      Feats:
      1st: Power attack
      Flaw: Improved Bullrush
      Flaw: Combat expertise
      3rd: Weapon focus
      6th: Song of the White raven
      9th: Shock trooper
      12th: Extra music

      Shock trooper (feat): Power attack, but AC takes the penalty. Wield a two-handed weapon. -14 AC, +24 damage, +2 to attack roll.

      Inspire recklessness (class feature): Deduct a number up to your base attack bonus from your AC, add it as a morale bonus to attack. +12 to attack, -12 to AC.

      Attack bonus: 12 (BaB) + 12 (Inspire recklessness) + 1 (Weapon focus) + X (strength) + Y (enhanced weapon) = +25+X+Y, up to +39.

      Other features of this build include Inspire Toughness (2xWar chanter level in temporary hitpoints) via Combine Songs, Pounce, bardic music as a swift action, Inspire Awe (a fear effect, delivered via song), some Warblade maneuvers and an AC that is easier to hit than the door to the barn.

      Person_Man's Commentary: Warchanter is an excellent PrC, in that it has full BAB and progresses Bardic music and Bardic Music uses per day. So this is a solid build. But I'd go with different feats. In particular, I would do more to Optimize Inspire Courage, and pick up the uber Snowflake Wardance (Frostburn) which lets you burn a Bardic Music use to add your Cha bonus To-Hit.

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    Thumbs up Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Looks good. Well thought out and useful. Two thumbs up!
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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Learn How to Get a Decent To-Hit
    Pro: If you miss, youíve essentially wasted your attack. In the long run, having a 95% chance of dealing 10 damage is better then having a 5% chance of dealing 95 damage.
    Of course it is. You've changed the numbers. 95% chance to do 10 damage and a 10% chance to do 95 damage is the same outcome, 9.5 damage per round... in which case "better" is more of a relative term. However, your numbers above, you "better" is mathematically better because your numbers aren't comparable.
    Last edited by Jeff240sx; 2009-10-02 at 12:07 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Can we offer builds yet?

    DORF POWAH!
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    Ranger1/Fighter2/Barb2/Deepwarden2/X
    Take Steadfast Determination (PHBII)

    Nearly completely Str/Con dependant. Str gets you attack and damage, Con gets you HP, AC, Touch AC, Fort, and Will. X can be anything full BAB, but I highly recommend a bit of Exotic Weapon Master (Uncanny Blow and/or Flurry of Strikes with Waraxe or Urgrosh), Occult Slayer, and Pious Templar for maximum resiliancey. Runescar Berzerker is also fun, and with your massive will save, Frenzied Berzerker wouldn't be terrible with proper planning.

    Not really good for AoO based control build due to lack of Dex focus.


    Tashalatora Grappler
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    Human or Psionic Half Giant
    Monk2/PsyWar18
    1st IUAS, Imp Grapple, Scorpion's Grasp (if human)
    2nd Monastic Training (ECS)
    3rd Tashalatora(Sec of Sarlona), Psionic Meditation
    4th Link Power (CPsi)
    From there, go nuts with Improved Natural Attack, Snap Kick, Superior Unarmed Strike, Shape Soulmeld (Kraken Mantle) + Open Least Chakra (Arms)
    Last edited by Keld Denar; 2009-10-02 at 01:37 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    Can we offer builds yet?
    Please do. I just got caught up in other stuff, and haven't been able to finish the second post yet.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    This looks really good. I'll be pointing my melee players to this thread!

    I notice that many of the listed tactics are described as ineffective against flyers, casters, and ranged attackers. I'd like to see a couple of additional tactics against those sorts of opponents, such as:

    Get Mobile (racial options, feats, and gear to gain a flight speed, and possibly a climb or swim speed, and to improve speed in various movement modes, with an eye toward getting into melee range with archers and flyers)

    Caster Lock-Down (feats, class features, and gear aimed specifically at preventing casters from casting or denying them the benefits of their spells)

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    And any enemy that is immune to Critical Hits is immune to Ability Damage. (Though your DM might rule that they're not immune to mundane Ability Penalties from being entangled or whatnot).
    This is wrong. Constructs are. And undead are immune to ability damage to physical scores. But Elementals, Oozes, Plants, and most humanoid protections against crits (Fort armor and pretending to be a elemental/construct/undead) don't work.

    Only the level 4 spell, and the level 8 undead spell (but only against physical scores) prevent ability damage.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelpstrand View Post
    This is wrong. Constructs are. And undead are immune to ability damage to physical scores. But Elementals, Oozes, Plants, and most humanoid protections against crits (Fort armor and pretending to be a elemental/construct/undead) don't work.

    Only the level 4 spell, and the level 8 undead spell (but only against physical scores) prevent ability damage.
    Thanks for the correction. Fixed.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Play with a Powerful Melee Class
    [LIST][*]Pro: There are many non-casters can be just as strong as casters if you know what you're doing. And each possesses its own interesting powers and abilities.
    ....[*]Level of Effort: Pick one of the following: Crusader, Warblade, Swordsage, Totemist, Binder, Psychic Warrior, or any full caster (and maybe a Knight or Duskblade). Make this the basis for your build.
    Sooo, first you say noncasters rule the jungle, then you tell the players to play casters?

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by Oslecamo View Post
    Sooo, first you say noncasters rule the jungle, then you tell the players to play casters?
    No, he's saying to pick one of those classes to aim for as your intended power level, with Full Caster being the ultimate 'versus' to compare yourself against. I think.

    or maybe not, I'm confused on re-reading it.
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2009-10-02 at 02:53 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    I am rather fond of this combo:

    YELLOW JESTER!

    Dance away from your enemies!
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    Evasive Reflexes + Robilar's Gambit + Wolf Pack Tactics

    Build: Warblade 20 (or whatever).

    At ECL 12, you take Robilar's Gambit. If you take a -4 penalty to your AC, whenever an enemy attacks you, they provoke an attack of opportunity from you. What do you do when you get an attack of opportunity? 5 foot step! It looks like this:

    They attack
    -> HOLD ON THERE BUDDY, ATTACK OF OPPORTUNITY
    5 foot step out of the square they targeted
    They miss
    They shout and curse.

    Ever want spring attack to not suck? Get an Eager weapon an Wolf Pack Tactics. Charge them, quickly draw your eager weapon, lay into them. Then you casually 5 foot step away. Did I mention that Wolf Pack Tactics works when you use AoO? Attack AND 5 foot step. GENIUS!

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Glyphstone View Post
    No, he's saying to pick one of those classes to aim for as your intended power level, with Full Caster being the ultimate 'versus' to compare yourself against. I think.

    or maybe not, I'm confused on re-reading it.
    It's just an acknowledgment that, as in everything else in D&D, a full caster can be a good melee build if he wants to do so.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    It's just an acknowledgment that, as in everything else in D&D, a full caster can be a good melee build if he wants to do so.
    And a commoner can pick up candle of invocation and become god all mighty. I believe however few DMs will let that, and if they let, then you're really not very worried about melee combos anyway.

    Plus he left out the barbarian, the original uber-charger. And the simple fact that half the melee combos out there don't have any class as base, but rather a lot of dips with prc topings.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Glyphstone View Post
    No, he's saying to pick one of those classes to aim for as your intended power level, with Full Caster being the ultimate 'versus' to compare yourself against. I think.

    or maybe not, I'm confused on re-reading it.
    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    It's just an acknowledgment that, as in everything else in D&D, a full caster can be a good melee build if he wants to do so.
    Yes, this is basically what I am saying. I apologize if I was not clear enough.

    Casters can do pretty much anything they want if built correctly, including melee. But lots of classes have few viable options except for melee. In my opinion, it's generally best to pick a build that's within one tier of what everyone else in your party is playing. You don't necessarily need to be optimized. You just don't want to be completely niche-less and overshadowed.

    So if you've decided to spend most of your time hitting stuff with a melee weapon, unless you buff yourself beforehand (or get someone else to do it for you) then you've decided to do something that's inherently weaker then battlefield control, summoning, mind control, and sometimes even blasting and some ranged build combos, and probably half a dozen other things I'm forgetting.

    So if you want to play with top tier builds, the easiest thing you can do is to play a class with a scaled power source (magic, psionics, blade magic, incarnum, or vestiges).

    It's not strictly necessary, and it may not be the style of play you enjoy. And that's fine. But it is the most efficient and most strait forward way for a melee build to get more power and access to interesting combos. I've found that this is particularly true for new players. It's a lot easier to teach them how to use a Warblade (hint: print out the maneuver cards) then it is to teach them the Grapple rules.

    Everything else below that first category is just extra - ways to add in some battlefield control and extra attacks so that your melee build has something more interesting to do then just make the same old full attack every single round.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by Oslecamo View Post
    And a commoner can pick up candle of invocation and become god all mighty. I believe however few DMs will let that, and if they let, then you're really not very worried about melee combos anyway.

    Plus he left out the barbarian, the original uber-charger. And the simple fact that half the melee combos out there don't have any class as base, but rather a lot of dips with prc topings.
    So now Divine Power is as broken as Candles of Invocation?

    Because I'm not sure I'd call it reasonable for a DM to ban Divine Power, and that one spell puts a cleric on par with a fighter. One spell.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    I really like this idea. Getting all advice in one clear place.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by Gametime View Post
    Because I'm not sure I'd call it reasonable for a DM to ban Divine Power, and that one spell puts a cleric on par with a fighter. One spell.
    Divine power doesn't give you feats last time I checked. Plus whitout divine metamagic cheese good luck keeping it all day long.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Actually, I think it's reasonable to ban divine power if you're concerned about the cleric's power level. Clerics still have quickened divine favor and righteous might if they want to melee, so it's not like they'll suddenly be useless in a fight, but they won't automatically cream a fighter either.

    Very nice guide, by the way :)

    Here's a possible addition:


    Two-Weapon Fighting + Sneak Attack + Other Bonus Dice

    * Pro: Each successful attack adds sneak attack dice, so the more attacks you can manage, the more it adds up. Many ways to improve sneak attack and add various status effects to it. Other bonus dice can come from Flaming/Frost weapons, sudden strike, skirmish, Desert Wind maneuvers, etc.
    * Con: Requires flanking or another way to get it working, many creatures are immune to it.
    * Level of Effort: Varies, but generally 1 level of rogue and 1-2 feats and magic items. Pounce is especially valuable since getting a full attack is critical to maximizing damage. Good classes for this are Sneak Attack Fighter (Unearthed Arcana) and Swordsage (Bo9S), other options are rogue and some of the many prestige classes that grant sneak attack.
    * Best used against: humanoids and other vulnerable creatures
    * Commentary: This option is tricky, since it requires a high amount of effort for a medium amount of payoff, but the reward is that you get to roll an inordinate amount of d6's, which can be crazy-fun at times. Haste, Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Righteous Wrath of the Faithful, and a high BAB are useful to maximize attacks, while Pounce, Travel Devotion, a Belt of Battle, or Hustle are all good for getting off as many attacks in a round as possible. Feats such as Craven and Sacred Strike help with SA damage. Weapon properties such as Accurate (DoTU), Blurstrike, Deadly Precision, Holy, Flaming, Frost, or Sonic help here, as do items such as Bracers of Murder (DoTU), Ring of Blinking, and Truedeath/Demolition crystals.
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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Not sure if it's relevant, but here's a debuffer build I was working on.

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    Paladin of Tyranny 3/Hexblade 4 (Dark Companion ACF)/Fighter 2

    The effects this character will have that stack are:

    -2 saves (Aura of Despair)
    -2 attacks, saves & skill checks (Improved Bind Vestige - Focalor)
    -2 AC & saves (Dark Companion)
    -2 attacks, saves, skill checks & weapon damage rolls (Hexblade's Curse)
    -2 attacks, saves & skill checks (Intimidating Strike)

    ...assuming they all take effect, that's -10 to saves, -6 to attacks, -2 AC, -2 weapon damage and -6 to skill checks.

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    Thumbs up Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    I'm starting to realize that Person Man provides some of the best metagame analysis available on this forum. I think his greatest strength is not his keen assessment of effective & efficient strategy, but his ability to factor in the actions of the DM & how they relate to an evolving game. Far too many optimizers & rules lawyers assume that the DM is a robot or a moron. Person Man correctly assumes an intelligent & dynamic DM, which makes his game appraisals much more applicable to a RL game than those of other analysts. My hat is off to thee, PM.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by woodenbandman View Post
    I am rather fond of this combo:

    YELLOW JESTER!

    Dance away from your enemies!
    Spoiler
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    Evasive Reflexes + Robilar's Gambit + Wolf Pack Tactics

    Build: Warblade 20 (or whatever).

    At ECL 12, you take Robilar's Gambit. If you take a -4 penalty to your AC, whenever an enemy attacks you, they provoke an attack of opportunity from you. What do you do when you get an attack of opportunity? 5 foot step! It looks like this:

    They attack
    -> HOLD ON THERE BUDDY, ATTACK OF OPPORTUNITY
    5 foot step out of the square they targeted
    They miss
    They shout and curse.

    Ever want spring attack to not suck? Get an Eager weapon an Wolf Pack Tactics. Charge them, quickly draw your eager weapon, lay into them. Then you casually 5 foot step away. Did I mention that Wolf Pack Tactics works when you use AoO? Attack AND 5 foot step. GENIUS!
    This does not work because the AoO granted by Robilar's comes after the attack that triggered it. So it is actually more like:
    They swing
    They hit
    You stagger away and whimper
    I am not crazy! I prefer "reality impaired".

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Huh... I wonder if Superior Unarmed Strike + Inspiration Sneak attack + Inspiration To hit + Inspiration to damage + Iaijustsu Focus + Inspiration extra Standard actions, works for this melee wise.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomLunatic View Post
    This does not work because the AoO granted by Robilar's comes after the attack that triggered it. So it is actually more like:
    They swing
    They hit
    You stagger away and whimper
    In that case, what if you dispensed with the gambit and simply used a reach weapon in combination with Evasive Reflexes -- against a non-reach opponent:

    1. Opponent moves within two squares of you: he's entered your threat range.
    2. Opponent moves to within one square of you: this move triggers an AoO, and you step away 5'. Opponent is now two squares away, again.
    3. Repeat step 2, ad infinitum.

    Reading the description, I note an ambiguity in Evasive Reflexes: Combat Reflexes expressly states that you get as many additional AoOs as your dex mod: "You may make a number of additional attacks of opportunity equal to your Dexterity bonus."

    Evasive Reflexes just says, "When an opponent gives you a chance to make an [AoO], you can instead immediately take a 5-foot step." (ToB 30) I had always assumed that ER simply gave you as many steps as CR would give AoOs, but that isn't what it says. It seems that a defensible interpretation would be that a character with both CR and ER may make a nigh-infinite number of steps and (if given enough additional opportunities) take his full allotment of AoOs. Am I reading this right?

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomLunatic View Post
    This does not work because the AoO granted by Robilar's comes after the attack that triggered it. So it is actually more like:
    They swing
    They hit
    You stagger away and whimper
    While this is true, it's still potentially useful; by doing this, you can avoid taking more than 1-2 hits from a full attack. They attack, you step back, they take a 5-foot step to follow and attack again, you step back out of reach. If they have more reach than you, you might take more; if you had more reach than them, you're probably only taking 1 attack. At high levels, this is a very useful thing.

    Edit-
    Quote Originally Posted by Stegyre View Post
    In that case, what if you dispensed with the gambit and simply used a reach weapon in combination with Evasive Reflexes -- against a non-reach opponent:

    1. Opponent moves within two squares of you: he's entered your threat range.
    2. Opponent moves to within one square of you: this move triggers an AoO, and you step away 5'. Opponent is now two squares away, again.
    3. Repeat step 2, ad infinitum.
    Doesn't work. See this line:
    Quote Originally Posted by The SRD
    Combat Reflexes and Additional Attacks of Opportunity
    If you have the Combat Reflexes feat you can add your Dexterity modifier to the number of attacks of opportunity you can make in a round. This feat does not let you make more than one attack for a given opportunity, but if the same opponent provokes two attacks of opportunity from you, you could make two separate attacks of opportunity (since each one represents a different opportunity). Moving out of more than one square threatened by the same opponent in the same round doesnít count as more than one opportunity for that opponent. All these attacks are at your full normal attack bonus.
    So they only provoke the first time they move through your threatened area; they could easily just keep moving.
    Last edited by The_Snark; 2009-10-03 at 12:02 AM.
    Avatar by Ifni. Thanks!

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Snark View Post
    So they only provoke the first time they move through your threatened area; they could easily just keep moving.
    Good point. I'd overlooked that. Thanks.

    (It was a fun idea, but a little too "cute." I like when the rules have already anticipated such things. For all of the whinging we do about errors and oversights WotC missed, we often overlook all the little details that they did see and address.)

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    friggin' saved.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Quote Originally Posted by Akal Saris View Post
    Here's a possible addition:

    Two-Weapon Fighting + Sneak Attack + Other Bonus Dice

    * Pro: Each successful attack adds sneak attack dice, so the more attacks you can manage, the more it adds up. Many ways to improve sneak attack and add various status effects to it. Other bonus dice can come from Flaming/Frost weapons, sudden strike, skirmish, Desert Wind maneuvers, etc.
    * Con: Requires flanking or another way to get it working, many creatures are immune to it.
    * Level of Effort: Varies, but generally 1 level of rogue and 1-2 feats and magic items. Pounce is especially valuable since getting a full attack is critical to maximizing damage. Good classes for this are Sneak Attack Fighter (Unearthed Arcana) and Swordsage (Bo9S), other options are rogue and some of the many prestige classes that grant sneak attack.
    * Best used against: humanoids and other vulnerable creatures
    * Commentary: This option is tricky, since it requires a high amount of effort for a medium amount of payoff, but the reward is that you get to roll an inordinate amount of d6's, which can be crazy-fun at times. Haste, Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Righteous Wrath of the Faithful, and a high BAB are useful to maximize attacks, while Pounce, Travel Devotion, a Belt of Battle, or Hustle are all good for getting off as many attacks in a round as possible. Feats such as Craven and Sacred Strike help with SA damage. Weapon properties such as Accurate (DoTU), Blurstrike, Deadly Precision, Holy, Flaming, Frost, or Sonic help here, as do items such as Bracers of Murder (DoTU), Ring of Blinking, and Truedeath/Demolition crystals.
    Technically, and in fear of invoking an uncalled law in this forum, you can do this with a Monk (obviously twinking your unarmed strike damage as much as possible) using the same tactic while replacing (partially or not) Sneak Attack dice. The advantage of increasing unarmed strike damage implies not having to depend on specific set-ups, but at the risk that any good damage-scaling Monk user knows: accuracy. Which is something you should add at the Con, actually.

    Considering the lack of proper BAB, the need to replace Strength with Dexterity, and the penalties provided by such things as TWF (you forcefully need a light weapon at off-hand to minimize the damage completely) or Snap Kick, the end result is that you really need to make a very potent set-up (combining touch attacks with loss of Dexterity bonus to AC) to reach such levels. This isn't only a Monk problem: Rogues also have the same problem (unless they're going for ranged touch alchemical abuse) but slightly worse. The main difference between a Monk and a Rogue is that the Rogue gets more damage dice in the end, but requires a much more precise set-up.

    Just expanding on the build, since it goes as a variant of the "crank up your damage real high Learn How to Deal Respectable Damage" path, except that the respectable damage cannot be controlled as much as the original one.

    Also, remember a few things. Spell-based extra attacks are not usually stackable (so Haste and RWotF won't mingle, as well as the Speed enhancements), but stuff like Flurry of Blows and Snap Kick add to the attacks. Pounce, Hustle, Celerity, Belt of Battle and Travel Devotion are best for moving and full-attacking, not getting more attacks in a round since you get the same number of attacks on the round unless you go with TSS or 3-charged Belt of Battle for triple the number of hits. I also agree with adding elemental based damage dice for the mix, even though most people disagree (unless it's Sonic or Force, or at a bare minimum Acid, the extra damage dice won't work since Fire is the easiest element to resist). Finally, getting the right weapon to ignore DR and knowing the right element to ignore resistance or exploit weakness is key, which makes this build either too complex or too specialized (but if pulled off, hoo boy: supreme damage)
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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    OK, I made a bunch of updates. Added Sunder, Sleight of Hand, Precision Damage, and a couple of Playgrounder inspired builds. Have I missed anything?

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    Default Re: [3.X] Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos

    Can be useful gather feats that trigger AOOs? I love them..

    I mean, Mage Slayer, Supernatural Insticts, hold the line.. I guess if is viable a built that is able to start 6 AOOs at any chance..

    This, and the tactical reactions like Evasive Reflexes.. maybe can be combined, and pimping Tumble you can make 10 feet insted of a 5 feet step..

    EDIT: I mean, without taking the dummy or other items

    Also: Can be useful add some way to increase Poison DCs? Is considered among the "viable" (I ask because I see stun is considered not so much viable and creatures immune to poison are in the same amount of those immune to stune I guess... sometimes the same.

    is Dragon Magazine allowed?

    DAZE: P_M, add Dire Flail Smah from Champions of Ruin.
    Last edited by Kaiyanwang; 2009-10-05 at 12:30 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    The rogue isn't really using charisma in melee, the rogue is applying Ability Score #6 to his Type-One attacks.
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    For 4.0? I expect them to whine to the DM until he makes the big bad boogeyman go away.

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