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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Combat Expertise Abusable?

    My DM in a D20 version of Rifts has just informed me that he doesn't want the Combat Expertise feat used in his game, as its been badly abused in previous games. The corollary to this though is that he is allowing the feats which require CE without the character having the feat.

    This leaves me wondering.... wwwwhhhhhhaaaaa???? Combat Expertise is pretty straightforward, or so I thought. Now I am not necessarily against this change, as I didn't really plan on using the CE feat anyway, as my AC is and shall remain deplorable. But getting to take the Improved combat feats without this prereq seems odd.

    Am I blind on how CE can be / is abused? I always just thought it was - to attack rolls in exchange for + to AC. Am I missing some scary combos?
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    Quote Originally Posted by theos911 View Post
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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Wow,
    that's a new one on me. Generally I think the feats that CE is linked to are far more abusable than CE itself.
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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    It's really the linchpin feat to the monstrous battlefield-controlling, spiked-chain-wielding trip fighter. He probably saw one of those guys in play and got mad.

    Edit: durr, I confused Expertise with Reflexes.
    Last edited by Tellah; 2007-07-13 at 05:34 PM.

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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    There's the 80+ AC build, but it's pretty useless except for not getting hit.

    If combat expertise isn't needed, grab a tripping weapon and go to town. 1 saved feat is excellent.

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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Hmm ... I've never heard of it being abused. Could it be that he perhaps forgot the -5 limit to BAB? Is he letting PCs shift their attack mods too? That would unbalance it.

    I dont know his game, but I used to run original Rifts. Bonuses abound in that version. If you can get a cheap +5 to attacks, you can fight without them but get that to AC. Nice, but broken?
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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    The only thing I think you could missread to make it abusable is the fact that you can't use it out of combat. Unless you are in initiative, you can't just walk around with +5 AC until you choose not to. I could see some people not seeing that.

    The main problems with it are that it caps out at +5, so a level 20 fighter can't get a +20 AC on a full BAB dump. +5 AC just isn't going to help you at late game when the huge templated magma elemental of doom with a +45 to hit is looking to smash you into gravel.

    The only place where combat expertise is really really nice to have is when fighting lots of incorp undead. They typically have lowish attack bonuses and rely on the fact that they are touch attacks to really hit. Expertise AC is dodgish and therefore boosts your touch AC. Nice? Definitely. Situational? Definitely! Abusive? Definitely NOT!
    Last edited by Keld Denar; 2007-07-13 at 12:48 PM. Reason: Dispel Spelling Mistakes LV 4
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    confused Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tellah View Post
    It's really the linchpin feat to the monstrous battlefield-controlling, spiked-chain-wielding trip fighter. He probably saw one of those guys in play and got mad.
    Can't be. CE is only the linchpin because it's the prerequisite to everything that makes the trip build work. CE doesn't really play into spiked-chain-trippers at all beyond that. But the DM is allowing all those trip-build feats to be taken without CE.

    No. It seems the DM is misunderstanding something about CE. What it is, I don't know.

    Tyger, can you ask your DM to show you how Combat Expertise can be abused? That should shed some light on the situation.

    EDIT: M'kay. It strikes me that the actual trip is against touch AC and once your victim has been tripped, you get the +4 bonus for attacking a prone character. As such, you can use CE with little actual penalty in a trip build. But still, that's just a nice bonus with the trip build, not the linchpin to the strategy itself.
    Last edited by Shhalahr Windrider; 2007-07-13 at 01:02 PM.
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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    oh this oughta be good. Combat Expertise is abusable? HOW?!?

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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Ahhh, he clarified it a bit. What he was seeing was a Star Wars character using it, then using some other force power to bump his AB back up... essentially +5 to AC pretty much without any serious cost.

    And the Rifts game we're using has pretty low ACs, so he's trying to keep a rein on that as well. We'll see what happens. And yes, not having to take that feat to get into the Imp Trip / Disarm area is nice. Very nice. :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by theos911 View Post
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    Wizard: I can kill a guy before my turn!
    Bard: I can get 12 idiots to go kill guys for me
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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    It is EASILY abusable, but not in DnD itself. Only in Neverwinter Nights 2, where you can turn attack modes on and off on the fly, which means you can turn Expertise off when you attack and turn it on immediately thereafter, basically giving you +3 AC (in that game, it gives +3 AC, -3 attack roll) for free as long as your internet connection isn't lagging badly.

    It isn't what the thread is about though. I'm sure of it.


    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Tyger View Post
    Ahhh, he clarified it a bit. What he was seeing was a Star Wars character using it, then using some other force power to bump his AB back up... essentially +5 to AC pretty much without any serious cost.
    Then the SW character has +5 AC with expertise, but without it he'd simply have a +5 attack bonus, wouldn't he? Your GM doesn't make much sense here.
    Last edited by Cubey; 2007-07-13 at 01:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyger View Post
    Ahhh, he clarified it a bit. What he was seeing was a Star Wars character using it, then using some other force power to bump his AB back up... essentially +5 to AC pretty much without any serious cost.
    OK, in SW sure. I saw that alot: the one round Jedi insta-buff. But if y'all arent using Force powers, where's the problem?

    And the Rifts game we're using has pretty low ACs, so he's trying to keep a rein on that as well. We'll see what happens. And yes, not having to take that feat to get into the Imp Trip / Disarm area is nice. Very nice. :)
    Yeah it's a net gain to hte PC's ... I guess. I like CE myself and would miss it.
    Last edited by Diggorian; 2007-07-13 at 01:27 PM.
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    confused Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cubey View Post
    Then the SW character has +5 AC with expertise, but without it he'd simply have a +5 attack bonus, wouldn't he? Your GM doesn't make much sense here.
    Exactly.

    Plus, you aren't playing Star Wars.
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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Must agree with Cubey. A character gets +5 attack, presumably for the entire round - that's the powerful bit. Even the uber Melee Weapon Mastery feat only grants +2 attack. Power Attack to turn into +10 damage, anyone?
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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Apparently your DM hasn't read Inertial Armor, or that spell from the Book of Exalted Deeds that gives you glowing armor that gives your enemies a -6 to hit you, or the Duelist PrC, or my Frozen Dwarf Hulk build, etc.

    There are LOTS of ways to boost your AC sky high, if that's what you care about. But magic usually doesn't care about AC. And even if your DM doesn't want to use a lot of magic, enemies can just be given higher Str and/or HD.

    So Combat Expertise isn't really a big deal, and high AC isn't really a big balance issue.

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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    besides, it's not like there aren't more than enough creatures out there with a ridiculously high BAB anyway.

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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Having a (ridiculously) high AC just gets your party killed anyway. The DM has to throw higher AB encounters to hit you, which can't miss the rest of the party. That or you suddenly start facing more spell-chucking opponents that could care less about your AC.
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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    I'd say your DM doesn't quite understand the system. Did it ever occur to him that maybe the force power that can boost attack bonuses at little serious cost was the problem?

    Also, as others have said, going for uber-AC isn't really the best choice. Eventually you get to a point where you face big monsters who hit hard, and have the attack bonus to not be overly bothered by high armor classes.

    Combat Expertise on it's own is not really abusable, which suggests that the abusable element comes from the source it's being combined with, like say, Allied Defense.

    In any case, don't question his ruling, and don't let him see this thread. Instead, take this opportunity to get easy entrance to the neat feats tied to CE, like Improved Trip or Karmic Strike.

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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
    In any case, don't question his ruling, and don't let him see this thread. Instead, take this opportunity to get easy entrance to the neat feats tied to CE, like Improved Trip or Karmic Strike.
    Or both. Plus Improved Disarm. :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by theos911 View Post
    Fighter: I can kill a guy in one turn.
    Cleric: I can kill a guy in half a turn.
    Wizard: I can kill a guy before my turn!
    Bard: I can get 12 idiots to go kill guys for me
    Quote Originally Posted by grarrrg View Post
    Oh, and Person-Man's real name is a little something called "SKYNET"

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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    His fix is far more abusable than the feat itself.

    This is not a good thing, but hey, it's just a game.

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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    There's the Improved/Superior Combat Exptertise feats (full BAB use) Plus Allied Defense where your dodge bonus from that line of feats works for allies in the squares next to you. Bodyguard combo.
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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    If he banned combat expertise, he didn't ban improved combat expertise!


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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    The only place I can think of where CE is overpowered is in conjunction with Deadly Defense or other feats that give you bonuses while Fighting Defensively, or when spending 2 on combat expertise. And that's a function of Deadly Defense, not CE. I've never seen abilities that work that way outside of Complete Scoundrel.

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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    CE is just one of many ways that AC can get out of control.

    If you are trying to keep AC under control, CE is one of many things you have to deal with.

    The fact that D&D doesn't keep AC under control is why high level monsters have ridiculous BaBs.

    ...

    As an aside, anyone else find the rules about "in combat" and "out of combat" relatively silly? I mean, just travel through a dungeon engaged in a duel with another character -- attacking whenever the other character lets their guard down... :)

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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    I agree with many of the above. Don't let him see this thread. Bad rules lawyers who think they can make laws as GM's deserve to suffer. And his fix is far worse than any problem he could have been having.

    This one is kinda like cheating in a relationship for you. You're goign to have to suppress the urge to tell him the truth. Take it with you to the grave, or until the campaign is over and he is no longer GM. If you can try not to even tell the other players. dont' tell anyone, just reap the benifits and frolic away in ubver land.
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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    As an aside, anyone else find the rules about "in combat" and "out of combat" relatively silly? I mean, just travel through a dungeon engaged in a duel with another character -- attacking whenever the other character lets their guard down... :)
    Maybe some in game silliness in 3.0 regarding that made them add "Combat" to the feat name.

    "OK, I bed down for the night, but first I take -5 to attacks and add that to my AC. I've got unqualified Expertise."
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    Thumbs down Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    As an aside, anyone else find the rules about "in combat" and "out of combat" relatively silly? I mean, just travel through a dungeon engaged in a duel with another character -- attacking whenever the other character lets their guard down... :)
    Uh, you actually have to be taking the attack or full attack action to use Combat Expertise. You still have to actually attack your friend.
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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shhalahr Windrider View Post
    Uh, you actually have to be taking the attack or full attack action to use Combat Expertise. You still have to actually attack your friend.
    Actually you just have to make the action. You don't have to make the attack, but it still costs you a standard action each round.
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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Now, forgive me since it's been a while since I played Rifts and my information may be a little dated, but isn't this the system where you can have a technoknight craft psicircuitry to the point of effectively giving yourself a 3 level boost? Why is CE an issue?

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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Alex View Post
    Now, forgive me since it's been a while since I played Rifts and my information may be a little dated, but isn't this the system where you can have a technoknight craft psicircuitry to the point of effectively giving yourself a 3 level boost? Why is CE an issue?
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    Default Re: Combat Expertise Abusable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Damionte View Post
    Because the GM is a knucklehead.
    No, that is completely unfair and unfounded. He is wary of the feat as he has seen a situation wherein it can be effective a free 5 points of AC. And in this campaign, while that particular combination is not available (no Jedi here) there are still other options which would be similar.

    Add to that the fact that he is trying to keep AC really low (as we're sticking with the Rifts model for armor, i.e. it provides total damage absorbtion while worn until it is destroyed, but does not increase AC) and most of the party (at level 5) have well under 20 AC. My character in particular is sitting at 16. CE would effectively give me a 21, were I to choose that route. Which is what he is trying to avoid.

    I am not saying I necessarily agree with him, but referring to him as a knucklehead is uncalled for.
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    Quote Originally Posted by theos911 View Post
    Fighter: I can kill a guy in one turn.
    Cleric: I can kill a guy in half a turn.
    Wizard: I can kill a guy before my turn!
    Bard: I can get 12 idiots to go kill guys for me
    Quote Originally Posted by grarrrg View Post
    Oh, and Person-Man's real name is a little something called "SKYNET"

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