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    Mechaviking's Avatar

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    d6 Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Ok So I havent seen any thread that specifically deals with the fighting styles in 5e their uses and overall effectiveness(usefulness) and scaling.

    Since these are available to Fighters, Paladins and Rangers we can pick them apart individually and see what is what.

    Archery

    Classes: Fighter & Ranger

    Pros: Gives a sizable bonus to hit with ranged weapons.

    Cons: Only works on ranged weapon attacks, may require up to 2 feats for it to be fully realized.

    Defense

    Classes: Fighter, Paladin & Ranger

    Pros: Increases Armor Class, requires no setup, great for multiclassing

    Cons: Requires you to wear armor(not really a problem)

    Dueling

    Classes: Fighter, Paladin & Ranger

    Pros: Increases damage for weapons wielded in one hand significantly

    Cons: limited weapon use and limited offensive feat support

    Great Weapon Fighting

    Classes: Fighter & Paladin

    Pros: Slightly increases damage on two handed weapons, Criticals hit harder, Lots of feat support & works with paladin smites.

    Cons: Overall Lower defense

    Protection

    Classes: Fighter & Paladin

    Pros: Benefits your party, allows you to manipulate attacks of monsters.

    Cons: Requires a reaction, defensive feats require the use of a Reaction already, will not help you personally in the slightest, Has to be used before the attack roll.

    Two Weapon Fighting

    Classes: Fighter & Ranger

    Pros: Increases damage significantly, really good early on, feels badass

    Cons: Scales poorly, requires a bonus action to use, requires multiple magic weapons for full effect.


    Fighter arguably makes better uses of most of these if the campaign moves into the later stages(11+).

    Fighting style defense requires the least amount of setup and works equally well for all classes and is great for multiclassing.

    Still a WIP

    I have to get some sleep now so feel free to discuss inform me of you findings so I can update and add to the post :D
    Last edited by Mechaviking; 2014-10-13 at 06:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Protection Style is especially bad because you have to use it BEFORE the attack is rolled. That means there's a very good chance the attack would've failed anyway and your reaction will change nothing. Compare that with Defensive Duelist, where you get to see what the roll is before you decide whether you want to block is.

    Great Weapon Style works with Paladin smites. This is good, but it's not really overpowered or anything. It's kind of necessary for 2-handed weapons to be worthwhile for Paladins in the first place. It's about a 15% boost to your overall damage, depending on your build. With Great Weapon Mastery, it's probably closer to 10%.

    Compared to other fighting styles, Two Weapon Fighting keeps is superior from levels 1 - 4, equal from levels 5 - 10, and inferior from 11+.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Rise my minion! I am ressurecting this thread because it deals with a problematic choice I am about to face. Playing a dexterity based fighter soon I have to decide on a figthing style and I am considering Dueling and Two-Weapon Fighting. All the analyses I have read and my own math are pointing to the inevitable conclusion that for a fighter Two-Weapon Fighting is plain and simply inferior to Dueling in the long run.

    What Two-Weapon Fighting gives you (compared to Dueling):

    - More damge (roughly 30%-40% more before Extra Attack, roughly 10% more after Extra Attack)
    - Protection from bad rolls (when your first attack fails you still have another one)
    - You are better at spreading your damage around (you don't deliver your damage in one big hit, but two smaller packages that you can fine tune to the "needs" of the targets)

    What Dueling gives you (compared to Two-Weapon Fighting):

    - +2 AC
    - More damage on opportunity attacks
    - Bonus Action can be used for different things (like Second Wind)
    - Synergy with Action Surge

    Before Extra Attack Two-Weapon Fighting is strictly better than Dueling, after Extra Attack both styles seem to be pretty much balanced, but after receiving Extra Attack for a second time at level 11 all the Two-Weapon Fighting benefits simply evaporate. Is there something obvious I am missing? I know there is the Dual Wielder Feat, but you should not need optional feats to patch up stuff thats supposed to function in basic.
    Last edited by Flötenschlumpf; 2014-10-23 at 11:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    I'm also building a swashbuckling Dex fighter, so I have some thoughts re: Dueling and feat support. Gotta do something with that shield. So, Shield Master. Problem: You're a Dex build, so your bonus action shoves aren't going to be great. Solution: Rogue dip for Athletics Expertise and Sneak Attack at level 1.

    I'm probably going to go Battlemaster 8 for Dex 20 and Shield Master, then do my Rogue 1 at character level 9. By end of tier two, I'll have Dueling Style, Action Surge, Extra Attack, Superiority, Shield Master bonus-action shoves at +10 on the check, and 1d6 Sneak Attack any time my opponent is prone (which will be usually). I'll be dumping ogres on their butts with ease. Tier 3 I'll pick up the second Extra Attack, Cunning Action, Assassinate, Sneak Attack +2d6, and Sentinel for reaction sneak attacks.
    Last edited by Finieous; 2014-10-23 at 11:57 AM.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by Flötenschlumpf View Post
    Before Extra Attack Two-Weapon Fighting is strictly better than Dueling, after Extra Attack both styles seem to be pretty much balanced, but after receiving Extra Attack for a second time at level 11 all the Two-Weapon Fighting benefits simply evaporate. Is there something obvious I am missing? I know there is the Dual Wielder Feat, but you should not need optional feats to patch up stuff thats supposed to function in basic.
    You're not missing anything. Two-weapon is good at low levels, but loses steam later.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by Galen View Post
    You're not missing anything. Two-weapon is good at low levels, but loses steam later.
    Which strikes me as strange since thus far I had the impression that 5e discontinued the tradition of laying traps for the unwary...

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    I would argue it is inferior at 5th level not 11th as the +2 AC in the new bounded system for a melee fighter is going to be more obvious as battles become slanted more toward attrition. Also, I feel like if you go two-weapon fighting you will feel pressured to take the feat which does bump your AC 1, dmg die one, and give you + mod to offhand, but in the big picture is still not enough to justify not having your bonus action which becomes more useful later. If the feat took away the AC but gave you an extra offhand attack at 11+ then I would say it's worth it.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by BigONotation View Post
    Also, I feel like if you go two-weapon fighting you will feel pressured to take the feat which does bump your AC 1, dmg die one, and give you + mod to offhand
    Fighting style gives you +mod to offhand; feat just gives +1 AC and +1 dmg.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by Flötenschlumpf View Post
    Which strikes me as strange since thus far I had the impression that 5e discontinued the tradition of laying traps for the unwary...
    It's not a trap for the unwary. Level 20 is not the only level that exists in the game.

    On average, across level 1-20 career, TWF is about as good as Dueling. If you're ONLY playing a high-level game, take Dueling, knock yourself out. In a practical campaign, that starts at level 1, the choice is not clear-cut. You could take Dueling, and then ... the campaign ends at level 10, before you get your 3rd attack - so you never got to be awesome, while the other PC who took TWF was doing better than you on levels 1-5 and at least equal on levels 6-10. Now who's been trapped?

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    TWF only falls behind at 11+. Until then, it's arguably the better option due to initiative and common DEX saves, plus very comparable damage to GWF. In addition, more races get bonus DEX than strength.

    In my signature is a character build that will beat the DPR of any pure fighter after 14 (dual wielding battlelock). That's in addition to having higher armor than a pure DEX build and delicious spells. Use it if you like.

    A similar build can be done with assassin rogues multiclassing sorcerer for thirsting blade and lifedrinker + spells (and 18AC). I may write that one up some time. A monk can do similar, but with more difficulty.
    Breaking BM: Revised - an updated look at the beast-mounted halfling ranger based on the Revised Ranger: Beast Conclave.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    A simple solution is to ask your DM to allow you to retrain upon reaching higher levels. Just switch builds, if the DM will allow it.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by Rezby View Post
    A simple solution is to ask your DM to allow you to retrain upon reaching higher levels. Just switch builds, if the DM will allow it.
    Give this man a Medal :D

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by Galen View Post
    It's not a trap for the unwary. Level 20 is not the only level that exists in the game.

    On average, across level 1-20 career, TWF is about as good as Dueling. If you're ONLY playing a high-level game, take Dueling, knock yourself out. In a practical campaign, that starts at level 1, the choice is not clear-cut. You could take Dueling, and then ... the campaign ends at level 10, before you get your 3rd attack - so you never got to be awesome, while the other PC who took TWF was doing better than you on levels 1-5 and at least equal on levels 6-10. Now who's been trapped?
    so, in other words, it all depends on what level you expect to reach, just like everything else does.
    I usually post from my phone, so please excuse any horrendous typos.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    [to somebody getting upset over somebody else's house rule] Maybe you should take a break, you're getting rather worked up over magic elf games.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by Finieous View Post
    I'm also building a swashbuckling Dex fighter, so I have some thoughts re: Dueling and feat support. Gotta do something with that shield. So, Shield Master. Problem: You're a Dex build, so your bonus action shoves aren't going to be great. Solution: Rogue dip for Athletics Expertise and Sneak Attack at level 1.

    I'm probably going to go Battlemaster 8 for Dex 20 and Shield Master, then do my Rogue 1 at character level 9. By end of tier two, I'll have Dueling Style, Action Surge, Extra Attack, Superiority, Shield Master bonus-action shoves at +10 on the check, and 1d6 Sneak Attack any time my opponent is prone (which will be usually). I'll be dumping ogres on their butts with ease. Tier 3 I'll pick up the second Extra Attack, Cunning Action, Assassinate, Sneak Attack +2d6, and Sentinel for reaction sneak attacks.
    You don't need a Rogue dip to get Athletics; that's on the Fighter list too. Or you can get it from your background.

    Don't forget that if you go for Champion instead of Battle Master, you automatically get a second fighting style at level 10. Considering that 11th level is where Dueling starts doing more damage than TWF for a DEX build (assuming no feats for either), that could be very useful.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
    You don't need a Rogue dip to get Athletics; that's on the Fighter list too. Or you can get it from your background.
    but can you get expertise in athletics from either of those two methods? those are two different things.
    I usually post from my phone, so please excuse any horrendous typos.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    [to somebody getting upset over somebody else's house rule] Maybe you should take a break, you're getting rather worked up over magic elf games.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
    You don't need a Rogue dip to get Athletics; that's on the Fighter list too. Or you can get it from your background.

    Don't forget that if you go for Champion instead of Battle Master, you automatically get a second fighting style at level 10. Considering that 11th level is where Dueling starts doing more damage than TWF for a DEX build (assuming no feats for either), that could be very useful.
    Yeah, as rlc notes, I want Expertise -- double proficiency bonus. And I much prefer Battlemaster, both for fluff and for maneuvers such as Riposte with its second sneak attack opportunity every round.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    The simple hombrew solution to TWFvis to let the fighter attack twice with his off-hand weapon starting at level 11. This allows a TWF to keep in line with the other styles quite neatly.
    Excellent avatar by Elder Tsofu.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    The simple hombrew solution to TWFvis to let the fighter attack twice with his off-hand weapon starting at level 11. This allows a TWF to keep in line with the other styles quite neatly.
    That homebrew may imbalance the DW battlelock build in my sig.
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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    That homebrew may imbalance the DW battlelock build in my sig.
    That's because it relies on getting Lifedrinker at level 11 instead of Warlock level 11.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strill View Post
    That's because it relies on getting Lifedrinker at level 11 instead of Warlock level 11.
    Level 14 for a level 12 invocation, actually. The text doesn't limit it to warlock level 12 only. Considering I didn't need a homebrew to do it, just a RAW reading, I don't see how it's less noble.
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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    That homebrew may imbalance the DW battlelock build in my sig.
    Well, no, because that build doesn't work by RAW, since you can only have one pact weapon, and there's no such thing as a double weapon. You could do it with a Quarterstaff or other polearm, but then you aren't getting the second off-hand attack since you're not dual wielding.

    You still get a pretty hefty damage boost, but you're also spending at least four of your five ABI bonuses in order to maximize your damage, and if you want to get the Dual Wield feat that's all of your ABIs. A pure TWF fighter on the other hand, gets two more ABIs than you, and only needs two to max his main stat, letting them max out constitution for great HP and saves, and potentially boost their wisdom or pick up more feats to increase their overall performance.

    Fighter 11/Warlock 3 is a nice build, certainly, especially for a polearm fighter, but it's by no means overpowered, with or without the dual wield homebrew.
    Excellent avatar by Elder Tsofu.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    Well, no, because that build doesn't work by RAW, since you can only have one pact weapon, and there's no such thing as a double weapon.
    ...
    You still get a pretty hefty damage boost, but you're also spending at least four of your five ABI bonuses in order to maximize your damage, and if you want to get the Dual Wield feat that's all of your ABIs. A pure TWF fighter on the other hand, gets two more ABIs than you, and only needs two to max his main stat, letting them max out constitution for great HP and saves, and potentially boost their wisdom or pick up more feats to increase their overall performance.

    Fighter 11/Warlock 3 is a nice build, certainly, especially for a polearm fighter, but it's by no means overpowered, with or without the dual wield homebrew.
    The DW pact weapon variant is a fairly common and easily argued house rule, but only adds 5 DPR and is only needed for one variant of the build. Do it with duelist + rapier for perfectly acceptable DPR that still outperforms the pure fighter by a considerable margin. (1D8+2+5+5)*3 is 49.5 DPR before haste or hex. Hex increases it to 60DPR at level 14, which is sustainable. pure fighters with GWM fighters don't even hit those numbers at 17. As said, this build could also be done with STR for a little more damage (if DW pact is not allowed), but competitive DW DPR was the goal of the build.

    Dual wielders have little feat support. Other feats can increase some out of battle effectiveness, but probably not nearly as much as 9 levels of warlock casting. I'd argue that spells are stronger than the fighter boosts between 11 and 20, particularly in combination with the other warlock features.
    Last edited by Easy_Lee; 2014-10-24 at 04:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    People keep saying that when some option uses a bonus action that makes it a bad thing. That I find is misplaced. If you never take anything that uses a bonus action because it costs a bonus action to use, then you're never using your bonus action for anything. What are you saving it for if you're not going to use it?

    Some class abilities you get merely by leveling cost a bonus action to use. That benefit is not a sign telling you never, ever voluntarily take anything else that requires a bonus action to use. It is not a calamity that your character has at least two abilities which both require a bonus action to use. Not using a particular ability because you used another ability instead doesn't demand you wear "the cone of shame". You don't need to use an ability every time all the time. Having more than one ability that uses the bonus action just means you have a versatility of choice of what to do with your bonus action. Choosing which to use is the fun if both are equally useful for the moment at hand. If one is clearly better than the other for a particular situation then obviously use that option. Your other bonus action is not going to cry in the corner feeling unloved. You will use that bonus action when it is more appropriate in a different situation.

    A not misplaced argument for not having more than one bonus action is when those actions overlap in what they do. For example, no monk should fight with two weapons or even take the two weapon fighting feat because they already get a bonus action of making an attack as a class feature. Open Hand monks can get two attacks with that one bonus action. However, having that bonus action should not forbid monks from getting another ability that uses a bonus action that doesn't involve making an attack for those times using that other bonus action ability would be a very good idea.
    Last edited by Pex; 2014-10-24 at 05:03 PM.
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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    The DW pact weapon variant is a fairly common and easily argued house rule, but only adds 5 DPR and is only needed for one variant of the build. Do it with duelist + rapier for perfectly acceptable DPR that still outperforms the pure fighter by a considerable margin. (1D8+2+5+5)*3 is 49.5 DPR before haste or hex. Hex increases it to 60DPR at level 14, which is sustainable. pure fighters with GWM fighters don't even hit those numbers at 17. As said, this build could also be done with STR for a little more damage (if DW pact is not allowed), but competitive DW DPR was the goal of the build.

    Dual wielders have little feat support. Other feats can increase some out of battle effectiveness, but probably not nearly as much as 9 levels of warlock casting. I'd argue that spells are stronger than the fighter boosts between 11 and 20, particularly in combination with the other warlock features.
    Sure, but this wasn't a discussion on whether Fighter/Warlock gishes are OP, but about the TWF extra attack homebrew.
    Excellent avatar by Elder Tsofu.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    Sure, but this wasn't a discussion on whether Fighter/Warlock gishes are OP, but about the TWF extra attack homebrew.
    Never said they we're OP; the common warlock/sorcerer build can still put out more damage with more consistency than any other build I've yet seen, including a gish. I just wanted to let people know that, for DW characters wanting to deal damage that's competitive with GWM types, there are options. It's not all bad as it seems, it just takes some creativity. The homebrew extra attacks for DW may not be necessary.
    Last edited by Easy_Lee; 2014-10-24 at 05:29 PM.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    I just wanted to let people know that, for DW characters wanting to deal damage that's competitive with GWM types, there are options. It's not all bad as it seems, it just takes some creativity. The homebrew extra attacks for DW may not be necessary.
    Um, I suspect most DMs would use the extra bonus action for 11+ level TWFing fighters before they'd allow invocation raw cheese. I certainly think it's appropriate to focus on balanced fixes for the TWF mechanic.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    People keep saying that when some option uses a bonus action that makes it a bad thing. That I find is misplaced. If you never take anything that uses a bonus action because it costs a bonus action to use, then you're never using your bonus action for anything. What are you saving it for if you're not going to use it?
    True. In effect, your bonus action, reaction, and ability to maintain concentration are all resources. If you have exactly one thing that uses exactly one of those resources you can use it pretty freely. If you have more things that use the same resource, you start to feel the limitation.

    Thus it makes sense to make certain you have at least one thing you'd like/be able to use most rounds that uses a bonus action, one that uses a reaction, and one that requires concentration. With reactions, particularly, it helps to have multiple options with very different triggers so your reaction is less likely to be 'wasted.'

    Where it becomes bad is when you have things that you'd want/need to use at the same time that require the same action. There are a number of "defender" style features & feats that seem to fall into that trap.

    Similarly, people assume that Concentration is an equally brutal limitation - but it's really not, you should probably cast a concentration spell early in every battle, so you're not wasting your 'concentration economy.' But you can always use your slots for non-concentration spells, so you don't really 'lose' anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finieous View Post
    Um, I suspect most DMs would use the extra bonus action for 11+ level TWFing fighters before they'd allow invocation raw cheese. I certainly think it's appropriate to focus on balanced fixes for the TWF mechanic.
    You sure about that? I'm a DM and I would reward creativity a lot sooner than "this is not strong enough so fix it".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    You sure about that? I'm a DM and I would reward creativity a lot sooner than "this is not strong enough so fix it".
    Yeah, very sure. And I don't think there's anything creative about cheese, though this sentiment would be irrelevant to my ruling.

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    Default Re: Fighting Styles Overview/Discussion/Whathaveyou

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    You sure about that? I'm a DM and I would reward creativity a lot sooner than "this is not strong enough so fix it".
    I would likewise allow Invokers to maximize Fire Bolt. Not only is it RAW, but they are then giving up the ability to maximize Meteor Swarm without killing themselves[1]. It's a valid choice IMO, and it's not even particularly powerful. Short range, medium-high damage, commonly-resisted damage type. The Sharpshooter and the Warlock will still be doing more damage to most targets.

    [1] Although... I suppose Death Ward might let them drop down to only 1 HP.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2014-10-24 at 07:06 PM.

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