A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

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    Default Damage Based on Skill Checks

    I play in a 3.5 game with some wacky homebrew rules that make it easy to get high skill check modifiers. (Several members of our mid-level party have skills with modifiers of 70 and above.) I have been thinking about how our party can leverage skills for damage in combat. I know of a few examples, but I'm hoping the Playground can help me find some additional abilities to share with my group.

    Here are the ways I know of to deal damage based on a skill check:
    1. Insightful Strike and Greater Insightful Strike maneuvers (Tome of Battle, p63-64)
    2. Song of Cosmic Fire, Sublime Chord class feature (Complete Arcane, p62)
    3. Iaijutsu Focus skill (Oriental Adventures, p58)
    4. Knowledge Devotion feat (Complete Champion, p60)

    I'm also familiar with the shenanigans you can pull off with Battle Jump (Unapproachable East, p42) simply by jumping repeatedly, but I am more interested in effects directly based on the skill check.

    Are there any other methods of using a skill check directly to calculate damage? Do you know of any ways to heal based on a skill check other than the epic heal options? I prefer 3.5 answers, but Pathfinder answers might be useful as homebrew inspiration.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    The Stormsinger PrC for bards (Stormwrack I think) has an ability at 3rd level that lets you burn a Bardic Music usage to do damage equal to a performance check as a standard. Touch attack I believe.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Truenamer can "cast" twice per turn at level 9 with a high enough check. And a high check makes the repeat use penalty for Truespeaking the same Utterance irrelevant

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by FauxKnee View Post
    I'm also familiar with the shenanigans you can pull off with Battle Jump (Unapproachable East, p42) simply by jumping repeatedly
    You can't actually. Battle Jump implies jump down, not high jump. You need start your turn staying on something above your enemy.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by loky1109 View Post
    You can't actually. Battle Jump implies jump down, not high jump. You need start your turn staying on something above your enemy.
    Just use a plain iron wall you carry around with you and put on the ground next to your opponent then you jump up the iron wall then battle jump down the wall then repeat.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    This can work.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Airstep Sandals would work with Battle Jump as you drop after moving and therefore would not be affected by the fly effect at the time of the drop.

    Airwalk is also usable as it's effect isn't mandatory and works as if you are on the ground.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Note that Battle Jump is a lot harder to qualify for than people assume. You need to take it at 1st level, and either be a taer or have 2 ranks in Knowledge (local: taer).

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by RaiKirah View Post
    The Stormsinger PrC for bards (Stormwrack I think) has an ability at 3rd level that lets you burn a Bardic Music usage to do damage equal to a performance check as a standard. Touch attack I believe.
    Great, find, thank you! This is exactly the sort of stuff I was looking for. (As an aside for anyone else interested, Stormsinger is in Frostburn p70.)

    Quote Originally Posted by pabelfly View Post
    Truenamer can "cast" twice per turn at level 9 with a high enough check. And a high check makes the repeat use penalty for Truespeaking the same Utterance irrelevant
    I've never really given Truenaming the close look it deserves, but one of these days I intend to go through Zak's handbook and try to grok the class. At a glance, the Quicken Utterance feat (and truenaming in general) seems to be in the grey area between Knowledge Devotion (interested) and Battle Jump (not interested) as far as "weaponize a skill check" goes.


    While the Battle Jump discussion is valuable, I would prefer to drop that topic and focus on skill checks that more directly cause harm. (As stated in the OP, Battle Jump is an example of an effect I'm not interested in right now.)

    I finally remembered the spell that I thought did damage based on a skill check, but I had misremembered. Holy fire (Forge of War, p114) is actually based on the turning damage roll rather than a skill check. (Of course, there are dozens of ways to boost turning checks, but it's not a skill check.) I still have a vague recollection of a spell that provided healing based on a skill check, but for the life of me I haven't been able to find it.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    I think you're thinking of Healing Lorecall?


    Cavalry Charger (tactical)
    Leaping Charge adds a little bit of damage on a charge via Ride.

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    Thurbane's Avatar

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Not really what OP is asking for, but Shattering Strike is an epic feat that lets you make a Concentration check instead of a Str check to break items with an unarmed strike.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by FauxKnee View Post
    I've never really given Truenaming the close look it deserves, but one of these days I intend to go through Zak's handbook and try to grok the class. At a glance, the Quicken Utterance feat (and truenaming in general) seems to be in the grey area between Knowledge Devotion (interested) and Battle Jump (not interested) as far as "weaponize a skill check" goes.
    Truenamers are an interesting class, I think they're pretty fun if you get past the poor writing. They're INT-based "casters" with lots of skill points per level, and you can do a lot to minmax one without worrying about outclassing other players at a table. If you can get a ridiculous truespeak check and can cast your SLAs pretty much at-will, I'd peg them as a solid T4 class. With Quicken Utterance and Truenamers having 3/4 BAB, you could also come up with a few ideas for gishy builds if you don't want to go full caster.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Troll in the Playground
     
    The Viscount's Avatar

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    A number of Tiger Claw strikes call for you to make Jump checks.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Ride checks to spur your mount for speed do 2 points of damage and increase with usage

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    So it's not damage but Relentless Shield from Ashworm Dragoon (Sandstorm) allows you make a ride check to negate all attacks that would hit your mount.

    Deft Strike (CAd & Drac) allows a spot check to let you ignore target's armor and NA.

    Going along with Tiger claw maneuvers, Leap Attack and Mantis Leap give you bonus damage, I have seen people combine these with Blade Dancer PRC (OR) to do some crazy stuff

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Song of Festering Death (Book of Vile Darkness): Perform (singing) check to do 2d6 damage per round

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    Thurbane's Avatar

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    Deft Strike (CAd & Drac) allows a spot check to let you ignore target's armor and NA.
    On a related note, the Spot the Weak Point skill trick allows you to make a Spot check against the targets AC, and if it succeeds, your next attack on that target is a touch attack, if it's no later than your next turn.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by darkdragoon View Post
    I think you're thinking of Healing Lorecall?

    Cavalry Charger (tactical)
    Leaping Charge adds a little bit of damage on a charge via Ride.
    The secondary effect of healing lorecall is interesting, as a fake CL boost of up to +3 under non-cheese circumstances. Cavalry charger also fits the bill--one of my party members likes doing mounted builds, so I'll be sure to mention that to her in case she wasn't aware of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    Not really what OP is asking for, but Shattering Strike is an epic feat that lets you make a Concentration check instead of a Str check to break items with an unarmed strike.
    Big-picture, any way to take advantage of high skill numbers in unexpected ways may come in useful. Thanks for sharing.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Viscount View Post
    A number of Tiger Claw strikes call for you to make Jump checks.
    Yeah, when I started thinking about weaponizing skill checks I had looked pretty carefully through the maneuvers to see if any did damage based on the check result. The closest thing I found was Swooping Dragon Strike, which might just as well say "your foe is stunned one round" given how easy Jump checks are to boost, even in typical campaigns. Several maneuvers do replace an attack roll with the jump check though, so you're right to point out they're useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    So it's not damage but Relentless Shield from Ashworm Dragoon (Sandstorm) allows you make a ride check to negate all attacks that would hit your mount.

    Deft Strike (CAd & Drac) allows a spot check to let you ignore target's armor and NA.

    Going along with Tiger claw maneuvers, Leap Attack and Mantis Leap give you bonus damage, I have seen people combine these with Blade Dancer PRC (OR) to do some crazy stuff
    The Relentless Shield ability is pretty cool. There's probably some clever stuff you can do with polymorph effects to extend the "immune to attacks" benefit to another party member. Maybe it's an excuse to do one of those "I'm with tiny" builds where your real character is the mount and your follower is the rider. (This is another thing I'll have to mention to my mount-loving co-player.) Leap Attack is definitely crazy (and I always thought it was funny that the errata did absolutely nothing about the likeliest use case.) Mantis Leap is something I usually hear in the same breath as Battle Jump, so I had initially discarded it. After another look, I think you probably could combine it with a maneuver like you suggest for some handy damage multipliers.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShurikVch View Post
    Song of Festering Death (Book of Vile Darkness): Perform (singing) check to do 2d6 damage per round
    2d6 isn't incredible, but there's good thematic synergy between song of the festering death and sonorous hum. It's interesting that so far most of the ways to directly harm foes via skills are available to bards (and bard-like classes.)


    I'm appreciating the ideas, folks! As another idea, I did remember Lucid Dreaming, where you can do several dice split among types of energy damage by pulling a creature into the dreamheart. Not the most practical, but it's definitely a way to hurt someone via skill checks.

    EDIT: meant to also remark on Deft Strike, which I didn't realize exist. I knew about the skill trick version, Spot the Weak Point (C. Scoundrel) but the feat has use cases too. Potentially abusable with schism, since "considering your foe to determine the gap in their armor" is probably a mental action. If not, there's always the classic schism-manifested synchronicity to transform the mental standard action into any standard action.
    Last edited by FauxKnee; 2021-09-22 at 05:36 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Thurbane's Avatar

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    In the vein of Knowledge Devotion, Archivists and Urban Savants are allowed knowledge checks to get numeric advantages against enemies. In terms of bonus damage, Archivist's Dark Knowledge (foe) can give up to 3d6 bonus damage on weapon attacks to allies.

    I have a nagging feeling there may be one or two other PrCs that use similar mechanics, but I can't recall which ones.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Sneak Attack/Sudden Strike via Bluff (Feint) or Tumble (Acrobatic Backstab skill trick)

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by ShurikVch View Post
    Sneak Attack/Sudden Strike via Bluff (Feint) or Tumble (Acrobatic Backstab skill trick)
    It makes me sad that SA based on Bluff [feint] got nerfed it is a fun idea that you have someone mixing feints in with real attacks to catch a person by surprise to do more damage and doesn't break things.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    It makes me sad that SA based on Bluff [feint] got nerfed it is a fun idea that you have someone mixing feints in with real attacks to catch a person by surprise to do more damage and doesn't break things.
    What do you mean by that? From 3.0 to 3.5 improved feint was added to the PHB which makes feinting a move action. Invisible blade or Scarlet Corsair allow you to make feints as free actions. Drow of the Underdark has Surprising Riposte which makes your feint target flat footed for a round if you hit with your next attack so all your attacks get the benefit. Or you could use spring attack to keep some movement.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Darg View Post
    What do you mean by that? From 3.0 to 3.5 improved feint was added to the PHB which makes feinting a move action. Invisible blade or Scarlet Corsair allow you to make feints as free actions. Drow of the Underdark has Surprising Riposte which makes your feint target flat footed for a round if you hit with your next attack so all your attacks get the benefit. Or you could use spring attack to keep some movement.
    I was referring more to the nerf the errata did to Invisible Blade, I wasn't aware of surprising riposte that makes the invisible blade nerf moot though that is still quite the investment 5 to 6 feats depending on if uncanny feint can replace improved feint. I suppose a decent build to take advantage of that could be elf cloistered cleric 1 (war, elf, and knowledge) swashbuckler3/Rogue2/Invisible blade 5/swordsage 2/Fighter 2/Assasin 3/Unseen seer 2

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Damage Based on Skill Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by loky1109 View Post
    You can't actually. Battle Jump implies jump down, not high jump. You need start your turn staying on something above your enemy.
    I'm not seeing anything in the text that prohibits the downward drop from being achieved via a preceding upward jump.
    Last edited by frogglesmash; 2021-09-23 at 04:29 PM.

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