View Full Version : IH - Tumbling Attack Power?

2007-04-23, 08:30 AM
This is a topic about a combat option in Iron Heroes. However it is a balance issue and not so much a rules issue, so I suppose everyone can enter the discussion, but mind that if you don't know the IH rules you might miss some things.
Also please note that I do know the D&D rules.

The relevant rule (Between brackets was added by me, to reflect errata.)

Tumbling Attack: You can combine a Tumble check with an attack. Before attacking your target, you must use [the action you need to tumble the distance you move, usually a move action] to tumble into or out of his threatened area. Your Tumble check is opposed by his base attack check. Should his check fail, you can choose one of two effects: Either your opponent loses his active bonus to defense against your attacks for the rest of your action or he loses his active bonus against one ally of your choice until your next action. In the former case, you make an unexpected, dazzling move to launch an attack from an unexpected
direction. In the latter, you distract the foe from the true threat. In either case, you must then make an attack against the target to gain the benefits of this action.

Things to keep in mind:
- In Iron Heroes Active Defense is everything. There is no such thing as an Armor Bonus to Defense. For most people their Passive (~flat-footed) Defense is 10. With a shield an a few feats this can get near 20 but apart from someone very specialised that is how high you will get your passive defense.
- 'Action' is used ambiguously, it either means 'your turn' (not round) or it means a move action, a standard action or a free action. When the rules say "until your next action" and you then perform another action that round, they mean your whole turn.
- BAB Checks are BAB + Str or Dex. (Always players choice, melee or ranged)

On to the balance part:
I think this combat option is totally overpowered, I think it is too easy, too strong and too long.

Too easy
A character who maxes out tumble and has 16 dex will have a tumble modifier of CL + 6 at any given level. Someone with tumble will almost always have Jump, synergies make the Tumble CL + 8.
Base Attack Checks on the other hand, are usually at about CL + 3 or 4 (depending on Strength or Dex scores, most classed have full BAB progression)
This means that someone who only put some ranks in two skills will have a 3/4 chance of succeeding at a tumbling attack against a creature of roughly the same level.
Additionally, there is no bad stuff for failure. If the tumbling attack fails, you just move into the threatened area and still get to attack.
I think this is too easy.

Too strong
Like I said in the keep in mind section, Active Defense is everything. Use this action against the right opponents (ie not those with shields, ie almost everyone) and they will have a Defense of 10. Full out on the Power Attack, because you will probably only miss on a roll of 1. (This is more true the higher level you become, but already very true in my level 4 IH party)

Too long
When you use the option to have the enemy lose active defense against someone else, that someone else can use his full attack routine. (Some classes you also do it for themselves and still get a full attack, not really the point though.) Imagine a acrobatic guy and a large weapon wielding raging Berserker. The acrobat denies active defense for the Berserker, the Berserker goes full out, maximum power attack on all attacks.
At my current party level, this drops about 50% of enemies in one round, the other 45% in the next round and the remaining 5% in the two next rounds.

Fixing Tumbling Attack
I think that at least 2 and maybe even all three areas need to get some toning down for Tumbling Attack to be fair. My party has chosen the Too easy and the Too long areas:
- The defendant gets a +5 to his BAB check.
I like this fix, for non-specialised tumblers this makes chances of succes about 50/50. This fix also has precedent in the rules, there are other uses of tumble where there is a bonus to the opposing BAB check.
- If you fail the check by 10 or more (that is, the BAB check is 10 higher than your Tumble check), there is Bad Stuff (I can't recall what my GM made up for bad stuff, it probably is lose attack or something similar. Maybe even provoke AoO).
- You can always only make the opponent lose Active Defense against one attack. If you can, you can make more attacks, but only one will be against Passive Defense.

The toning down my party started using seems very harsh. It is indeed a hard nerfing of a skill use. From 'way overpowered' I think we toned it down to mediocre. We could've toned it down to 'good'. We did this because tumble is already a very good skill. Tumble does so many things, and so many good things, it didn't need an additional great use (I'm not even talking an additional overpowered use). Tumble does well enough with an additional mediocre use.

- What do you think of this tumble use.
- What do you think of tumble in general
- What about changing some things about this tumble use
- Do you like how we fixed it

2007-04-23, 02:56 PM
I have to agree that it seems somewhat overpowered. Your fix also seems okay to me, but, then, I think Tumble is the single most anoying Skill in D&D (and its variants). If Skills Caps and BAB were matched, this wouldn't be such a big problem, but as it is even Characters with full BAB are going to be suffering because Skill Ranks cap three points higher and gain synergy Bonuses - so, +5 sounds about right to me.

2007-04-24, 03:58 AM
Why not add bad stuff if it fails? Like if you fail your tumble attack, you end up prone in the enemies square, similiar to the DnD rules for failing if I remember correctly...Or if that is too harsh, just tone it down a bit... allow an AoO or something..

2007-04-24, 10:45 AM
Keep in mind, active defense is only SORT OF everything....most characters will have DR, too. But it seems that what a new addition of Iron heroes needs very badly are effects that halve active defense in addition to ones that remove it altogether. This would be a good canidate for halving.

2007-04-29, 05:11 AM
It is indeed true that most characters have DR, but they have that regardless. I think it is not the same as normal AC and touch AC.
The halving might be a good idea, I hadn't thought of that!