View Full Version : Combat Expertise, Shields and Dodge as useful source of AC

2012-01-04, 02:37 AM
Well, given the fact that PA multipliers exist, and PA is capped only by BAB, I was thinking about how Combat Expertise compares to Power attack.

In short: Badly.

CE only allows 1:1 ratio of attack penalty/AC gained, and there are no CE multipliers that I know of.

Hence, I thought about introducing such multipliers, but soon realized that doing so could turn combat into a very long series of misses, something I'd rather avoid.

Hence, I looked at Pathfinder and copied their Power Attack/Combat Expertise mechanic.

Now, Combat expertise in Pathfinder still has the 1:1(penalty/AC) ratio, and the penalty is limited by your (BAB/4)+1, so it's actually worse in Pathfinder than in 3.5.

However, if you make shields a x2 CE multiplier, and the Dodge feat a x2 CE Multiplier, you'd have a 1:4 ratio (penalty/AC) vs your dodge target, and 1:2 ratio vs everyone else when using CE and a shield.

That is, a fighter 1 with Combat expertise and Dodge, using a shield, could take a -1 penalty to attack and gain +2 AC vs all, and +4 AC vs his Dodge Target.
At level 4, he'd have +4 AC vs all, and +8 vs his Dodge Target...
-> at level 20, he'd have +10 AC vs all and +20 vs the Dodge Target

Since Combat expertise requires a melee attack action, it isn't compatible with spells that don't use melee attacks, limiting the benefit Spellcasters can draw from these bonuses.

2012-01-04, 02:52 AM
I guess you might not be aware of this, but there's a feat called Improved Combat Expertise from Complete Warrior (I think) that raises CE's maximum to your BAB instead of 5.

If you took that, and took the full penalty at level 20 with your modifiers, you would have a +40 bonus to your AC against everyone else, and a +80 bonus to AC versus your Dodge target.

2012-01-04, 03:44 AM
In order to avoid feat tax and large lowlevel usefulness which diminishes later, I chose the Pathfinder CE to combine with these multipliers, as it doesn't allow you to take a penalty up to your BAB, but instead offers a fixed penalty that is dependant on your current BAB(-1 at 1-3 BAB, -2 at 4-7, -3 at 8-11, -4 at 12-15, -5 at 16-19, -6 at 20-23, etc)

2012-01-04, 08:12 AM
The thing about CE is that the more AC you have, the more valuable each point is, so full CE (together with the ability to use it for more than +5) together with a defensive build can make you extremely hard to hit (and it does work against those annoying ranged touch attacks). Of course, it also makes it very hard for you to hit any enemies who've put anything into AC; it's still a good tactic against uberchargers and certain wizard builds, though.