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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default [3.5] When a standard action skill check is a good combat choice

    The point of this topic is to generate and discuss a list of game elements that make it a worthwhile choice to spend a standard action in a level-appropriate combat encounter making a skill check. This doesn't have to be useful 100% of the time, but the goal is for the situations to not be super-duper niche or incredibly situational.

    The skill check doesn't have to be the ONLY thing you do in the round, but if you're spending your standard action on it (or a full-round action, I suppose), it's likely constituting the lion's share of your contribution that turn. The goal is not to have it just be setting you up for next round unless you've got a payoff that justifies spending two turns on it. (Feinting as a standard action and then making a vanilla sneak attack, for instance, is not especially noteworthy.)

    The focus is indeed on combat! Out of combat, it usually doesn't matter how long a skill check takes unless it's measured in hours or days.

    The ultimate goal is for this to turn into a resource for characters who don't have strong traditional combat options to be able to slot in some cool skill uses to fill those rounds when their class resources are disappointing. But don't limit yourself just to that mindset. It's okay to include class features and stuff in here.

    Don't stress over the "less good" / "more good" designations. That's mostly for my own organizational benefit.

    This list is currently fairly stream-of-consciousness. Help is appreciated getting it a bit more organized.




    Less Useful Options

    • Disable Device can be used to sabotage an enemy or can be used ad-hoc to mess with people. This is in the "less good" bucket because it's usually GM-dependent what you can get away with, though I've seen some pretty hilarious stuff when it works.
    • Sleight of Hand can be used to filch something off of someone, the classic example being stealing a caster's component pouch or holy symbol and therefore curtailing which spells they can cast. Not very reliable.
    • Bluff can be used to feint. This is not worth a standard action even with sneak attack unless you're fighting a stupid puzzle monster.
    • A bard's countersong is not usually very strong but is indeed an option.
    • Please never spend a standard action on CAdv's "assess opponent" use of Sense Motive.
    • Clarion Commander (ToB) lets you use Intimidate as a standard action to potentially set someone up for a "perpetual flank."
    • Half-elf bards with the racial sub level in RoD can use Diplomacy to invoke a calm emotions effect.





    More Useful Options

    • Use Magic Device is usually a great choice just out of the box with no special investment needed other than getting magical devices worth using. Same with Use Psionic Device.
    • Utterances require Truespeak. Many other game elements in the same chapter of ToM also require spending a standard action making a Truespeak check (consider a fiendbinder issuing a command to a fiend).
    • Many martial maneuvers require skill checks (notably several Diamond Mind strikes and Tiger Claw strikes).
    • Intimidate is a whole can of worms. Out of the box, you're spending a standard action to make an enemy shaken—on its own, that's not overwhelmingly powerful, but it combines well with other things. If they've got a long-duration shaken effect already, the fear stacking rules will bump them up to frightened and keep them there, which is powerful. Imperious Command means you're straight up trading turns (again, assuming you're spending a standard action; you obviously come out ahead if you're spending a smaller action somehow). Intimidating Strike lets you attack at the same time and drastically increases the duration. Never Outnumbered widens the range 1/enc.
    • Handle Animal is usually a move action, but if you've got several pets and those pets have more interesting things to do than you do, it's not automatically a bad choice to spend a standard action on it to issue a second command.
    • Something something Lucid Dreaming something Dreamheart assassination shenanigans something something next question please
    • If you've got high-octane Diplomancy nonsense on tap, you can end a fight with a standard action or a full-round action, but doing that usually requires enough BS that I personally would consider the game no longer fun.
    • A bard's ability to inspire awe (Dragon Magic) is a Will save opposed by a Perform check, so it's pretty likely to go in your favor and also scales (sort of) with non-bard levels if you keep up your Perform bonus.





    Reactive/Defensive Options

    • Heal can be used to stabilize someone.
    • Escape Artist can be used to wriggle out of a grapple.





    I'm pretty sure I'm missing a lot. I haven't looked at items at all yet. I'm sure there are more feats out there that could help. What else have you got for me?
    Last edited by Zaq; 2019-09-22 at 02:01 PM.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] When a standard action skill check is a good combat choice

    Cards over swords

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] When a standard action skill check is a good combat choice

    Quote Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo View Post
    Cards over swords
    Isn't that technically a swift action?
    In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was Suck: A Guide to Truenamers

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Gentlefolk, learn from Zaq's example, and his suffering. Remember, seven out of eleven players who use truenamer lose their ability to taste ice cream.
    Come join the Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground E6 Appetizer Edition! We're currently judging for Round 20, so come join in and be taken as an authority figure whose opinions matter!

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Asmotherion's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] When a standard action skill check is a good combat choice

    Diplomacy or intimidation are a great way to avoid combat all together or at least diminish the participants (unless your DM doesn't want it to function).

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] When a standard action skill check is a good combat choice

    There are probably situations where you need Open Lock to get away from a fight that's about to go south.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] When a standard action skill check is a good combat choice

    You’re an initiator with Spot The Weak Point, you’re going first, and you’re waiting for the casters to take a turn before you barge in and get slaughtered by something you didn’t know about (or you’re waiting for a buff or disable or what have you). Turn 1: Spot check. Turn 2: melee maneuver against (hopefully) touch flat footed AC.

    Having run this exact setup for several combats this weekend I’ve found it fairly effective.
    Excel sheet for 3.5 -- Native support for stacking rules and multiple forms; as lightweight as possible otherwise. (links currently broken, if you want a copy LMK)

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: [3.5] When a standard action skill check is a good combat choice

    Concentration if it can be included in the standard action (well is while you cast a spell) to cast defensively i would consider as a defensive option
    Bluff to taunt an enemy as lesser option (as described in dragonlance campaign setting) not strong as option because it doesn't say that they will attack you
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