View Full Version : Power Attack

2007-06-19, 03:51 PM
So I've seen that power attack is generally pretty worthwhile, but reading over a few threads on this forum makes it seem like people think its better than my own experience would indicate.

Basically the problem is even though your BAB is increasing with levels, so is your enemies armor class. The way I see it, a typical level 11 fighter has 11 BAB, +5 to hit from strength, and probably a +4 weapon. (The Wealth by level guideline is 66000.) If at least +1 of that is some type of enchantment, that's +19 to hit overall. So lets say he attacks with a Flaming greatsword +3; his attack bonuses are +19/14/9. His basic damage is going to be 3d6 + 10.

Now I looked up the SRD monsters with CR 11, and they had ACs ranging from 20 to 29, with most between 24-27. If you're fighting someone with AC 25, how do you decide how much to use on power attack? Your second attack is already missing 50% of the time... its not like you can power attack for 10 and add 20 damage... maybe one or two at most in typical situations... am I missing something that makes power attack better than I'm seeing?

2007-06-19, 03:55 PM
There is a feat that allows you power attack from your AC, for example.

2007-06-19, 03:58 PM
Power Attack is a good Feat by itself, but coupled with Leap Attack, Cleave, Shock Trooper and other such things, it becomes ridiculously good.

Mad Wizard
2007-06-19, 03:58 PM
What book is that feat from? What's the name?

Edit: Replying to this:
There is a feat that allows you power attack from your AC, for example.

2007-06-19, 03:59 PM
Shock Trooper is the Feat in question, it works during a Charge, as does Leap Attack. Complete Warrior and Complete Adventurer, respectively, I think (both are available at Level 6, as a Fighter you can get them together).

[Edit] Basically, as a Fighter 6, you can charge a line of two (or three with great Cleave) Ogres with these Feats and potentially kill them all. With Strength 18, you're Character is doing something like 2D6+24 Damage with a Great Sword and hitting on a 4 (BAB 6 + Strength 4 + Charge 2) or more before Magic.

Yuki Akuma
2007-06-19, 04:03 PM
Power Attack is also pretty good with Deep Impact, although that forces you to spend your psionic focus each time you use it. Best saved for a beginning charge at an enemy (perhaps in conjunction with Leap Attack).

2007-06-19, 04:10 PM
On it's own, Power Attack is just good, boosting your average damage a little bit against low AC enemies, and letting you smash objects more easily. It becomes incredibly powerful when you combine it with effects that make your attack into a touch attack (like Deep Impact or Wraithstrike or Emerald Razor) or things like Shock Trooper which let you Power Attack for full and still be almost sure to hit.

For normal fights, though, you're right - Power Attack just good, not great.

- saph

2007-06-19, 05:52 PM
If you look here (http://direpress.bin.sh/tools/power.html), you can find the lovely Power Attack Calculator. It tells you what level of Power Attack will give you the most damage, on average, against a given foe, even taking into account your increased chances of missing due to the penalties that Power Attack gives you.

In my experience, almost any level-appropriate encounter will have the Fighter power attacking for 1 to 3 points at least. Usually not more. Still, that +2 to +6 damage is nice!

2007-06-19, 07:04 PM
The module I have been playing have thrown multiple CR 7-9 monsters on our level 11 party, with a few level 9-12 monsters in between. Typical EL is 9-12

The power attacking, cleaving, improved critical, falchion wielding character is usually power attacking for around 5, 10 if it is against AC 20 or lower...

11bab +4str +1focus +1superior focus, +2 weapon, +1 haste, +2 dragonlance buff spell = +22 to hit.

Damage is quite nice at 2d4+6str+2weapon spez+2weapon+10power attack = average 25, or 50 on those reoccurring crits. On a crit he usually cleaves... So he usually gets 4-5 attacks on a good round ;)

It might be because we are playing a big party and meeting rather large amount of monsters, or the amount of buffing being done, but the straight fighter whoops ass ;)

Using the above mentioned power attack calculator gives 41 average damage pr round vs AC 25, vs AC 20 it is 63 and vs ac 30 it is 23.

The character could be said to be sub-optimal, and with not too much gear. Giving the character a +4str item, +3 weapon and 20 base str (18+2stat gains) would give the character +23 to hit before any buff spells were cast...

With the same buff spells and optimal gear, he would be hitting for 58 damage/round vs AC 25. And that doesn't take into account for the cleaves that would probably happen every other round - or every round if other characters soften up monsters with area of effect spells (quite common)

(we are playing core+dragonlance stuff, so no wacky feats/prc's that synergizes wildly with PA, but its a great feat anyway)

2007-06-19, 07:10 PM
The strength of PA comes from adding another feat

PA + Leap Attack
PA + Shock Trooper
PA + Favored Power Attack
PA + Brutal Strike
PA + Knockdown

Just a 2-5 penaly causes mayhem with these babies. Then you stack 'em. Then you add pounces and spells and lion charges and...

2007-06-19, 08:30 PM
Or, you know, run as an Orc. A one level dip into Lion Totem Barbarian to pick up Pounce, Shock Trooper to power-dump your AC into your Damage. Headlong Rush to double the total quantity of your performed attack damage. THF to double the given quantity of your Power Attack bonus... Oh, I could go on, and on, and on...