View Full Version : Attacking Redone [3.5]

2009-09-17, 12:09 PM
Attacking in D&D 3.5 is an odd function. As a standard action, any martial character from level 1 through infinity can likely make only one attack. As a full round action, that number varies wildly, based on BAB iterations and a number of class features. Most magic that increases the number of attacks per round only activates on full-round attacks. This leads nearly every martial character to be trying to obtain pounce as quickly as possible.

Another problem here is that, for BAB iteration attacks, unless you can hit on everything but a one, the latter attacks have a simply dismal chance of hitting. I liken BAB iteration attacks unto penalties: At level six, a fighter may make a secondary attack at a -5 penalty, at level 11, a third at -10, and at level 16, a fourth attack at -15, if he takes a 5ft step or no movement that round. This reads like a really bad class ability.

So, for my sanity (it gets me away from Macgamut, and if you don't know what that is, I hope you never do), and because I desire some kind of martial parity without always resorting to Tome of Battle, I'm thinking about doing this. Please, tell me what you think.


Standard Attack: As a standard action, a martial character may make a number of attacks as granted by his BAB and any effects that allow extra attacks on a Standard Attack.

Full-Attack: As a Full round action, a martial character may make a number of attacks as granted by his BAB, any effects that allow extra attacks on a Standard Attack, a Full-Attack, and one additional attack, at his full BAB.

Base Attack Bonus

Whenever a character's BAB is equal to 6, 11, 16, etc., that character gains one additional attack with his Standard and Full-Attack options, at no penalty.


Garik Bigaxe is a dwarf fighter who has just gotten to sixth level. His strength is 18, giving him a +4 bonus to-hit, and his BAB is 6, and he has no other adjustments at this time.

{table]|Standard Attack to-hit| Full-Attack to-hit
3.5 | +10 | +10 / +5
This rule | +10 / +10 | +10 / +10 / +10[/table]

Now, before anyone says that it is unrealistic for a martial character to advance and make several attacks against his opponent within 6 seconds (barring pounce), multiple hits on such an action can be refluffed to striking a weak point (much like a critical hit) and dealing extra damage. Misses can be a blow like the one described above which is simply partially defended against (i.e. couldn't fully stop the powerful blow, or the blow glanced off and struck a less sensitive area, etc.)

In addition, pounce will either make full-attack actions + move possible, or be dropped, and there will be 2-3 new spells that add attacks on a standard attack.

Now, does this break anything really badly?

2009-09-17, 12:47 PM
Actually, yes. This causes a big problem in that a 6th level fighter is now hugely more powerful than a 5th level fighter. Part of the reason for the reduced attack bonus for the interatives is so that there is not a huge jump in damage dealing potential at any given level.

In 2nd edition this was solved by first giving 1 attack on odd numbered rounds and 2 on even numbered rounds (or maybe it was reversed from that). Later you got 2 attacks every round.

2009-09-17, 12:54 PM
And if you were a specialist fighter then you got 2 attacks on one round and 3 on the next one, and it depended on the weapon you used, dart specialist were ablo to make as much as six attacks per round at higher levels... those were the game breakers if the had high str*:smalltongue:

*Seriously, there was a chapter on a suplement book dedicated to deal with dart specialists, and god forbid them becoming dart grandmasters

EDIT: I forgot to say that it doesn't really break the game, yeah, there are huge differences between a 5th level fighter and a 6th level one now, but the same happens with wizards when they get access to new spell levels.

2009-09-17, 02:06 PM
So the idea behind the "at -5" method was to make having to-hit bonuses better than 'auto-hit' matter -- because they let your secondary attacks hit more often.

It failed for a number of reasons.

If you want a smooth progression, try the following:

BaB 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1 +1 - - -
2 +2 - - -
3 +3 - - -
4 +4 - - -
5 +5 +0 - -
6 +6 +2 - -
7 +7 +4 - -
8 +8 +6 - -
9 +9 +8 - -
10 +10 +10 +5 -
11 +11 +11 +7 -
12 +12 +12 +9 -
13 +13 +13 +11 -
14 +14 +14 +13 -
15 +15 +15 +15 +10
16 +16 +16 +16 +12
17 +17 +17 +17 +14
18 +18 +18 +18 +16
19 +19 +19 +19 +18
20 +20 +20 +20 +20

You gain an additional attack at +5/+10/+15.

These additional attacks start out -5 under your top BaB attack.

Every level after that, it 'catches up' by 1 against your top BaB attack.

At level 20, you get 4 full-BaB attacks.

I didn't add in a 5th attack at level 20, because I'm mean.


The original idea of full attack was to allow non-front line characters to 'flee' away from opponents and take less punishment.

Two front-line characters would move into position, then full-attack each other down. Meanwhile, if you chased down a rear position combatant, you only got the one attack in.

It can be noted that this didn't really work.

2009-09-17, 02:07 PM
How about up to the number of attacks allowed by your BAB, drop -2 on all attacks to get multiple attacks

{table]One attack|Two attacks|Three attacks|Four attacks

As an example of how to redo classes with features applying to attack bonuses and multiple attacks, I present the Monk:

These Monk abilities apply to unarmed attacks and certain special weapons:
Flurry of Blows: One more extra attack is available in exchange for another -2 penalty to all attacks (works the same as it does now, couldn't be simpler).
Monk 5: First extra attack only gives a penalty of -1 to all attacks.
Monk 9: First extra attack gives no penalty.
Greater Flurry (Monk 11): A second extra extra attack is available at no penalty.

So for a full monk, you've got


The number from the table is your flurry/base A.B. for all attacks, (i.e. single-class-Monk 20, you get your choice of +15/+15/+15, or +13/+13/+13/+13, or +11/+11/+11/+11/+11)

2009-09-17, 10:00 PM
Okay, lots of interesting ideas for the BAB problem - and I was worried that granting full BAB on all attacks might make it go slightly the other way. Honestly, if you only miss 1 in 20, well, you still miss more often than a number of spells... hrm. I'll have to play with these a bit and see what happens.

Anyway, what does everyone think of the redone standard vs. full attack? I think that it allows for a more mobile fight, and for greater options when faced with different combat situations. Or more powerful options, at least.

2009-09-18, 01:44 AM
I liked Yakk's version of doing things - combined with the OP's

Maybe, just maybe, give them a 50% increase in # of attacks, rounded up, for full attacks, instead of 1 extra attack? (So, till 11th level, you still get 1 extra attack. Up from 11th, you get 2)
A 25% increase in # of attacks is rarely worth losing a move action. Getting 2 extra attacks at 11th level+ would actually give a reason to full attack.

2009-09-18, 02:44 AM
My fix for iterative attacks was that, instead of getting extra attacks, each at -5 from the previous, you get to roll extra d20s, and take the single best result. The weird bit was that when I ran the maths on this, the average number of hits per full-attack action were almost identical.

I also houserule that if you have iterative attacks, you can use them on a standard attack or a charge attack.

2009-09-18, 08:41 AM
Too complicated, i would a prefer a simpler idea.

First off I don't understand "the problem" with BAB, and second the numbers are hard to remember, if I need to be checking on a table all the time i prefer to play the game as it is.

A while ago somebody posted a very neat solution for BAB attack, it was simple, elegant, easy to remember and helped meleers (specially board and sword) a lot:

All characters can make 1 attack as a standard action.
All characters can make 2 attacks as a full round action, but the second attack has a penalty of -10.
Regular physical attacks have the BAB of the attacker as a bonus to damage.
This make attacks more valuable, simpler, and less abusable (charging pounce anyone); after this you need some fine tunning:
Extra attacks like those granted by spells (haste), enhancements (speed weapon), class features (flurry of blows), feats (improved two weapon fighting, rapidshot) may or may not receive the BAB to damage bonus, i would rule that they do not.
Fix all possibilities of extra attacks to match the two normal attacks, one with full attack bonus and the second with a -10 to attack. For example make the feat Improved Two Weapon Fighting not grant a second attack with a -5 penalty but to grant a +1 bonus to attack with two weapons, so the character can only have 2 attacks with the off hand, one with the normal attack bonus and one with a -10 penalty from Greater Two Weapon Fighting. Another thing to fix is the archery, Manyshot should be rewritten or simply taken out.
Anyway, reducing the attacks per round but making them more valuable is the way to go, more attacks only means more dice throwing and more bookkeeping, less attacks means less abuse and faster battles.