5E GWM Bonus Attack
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  1. #1

    GWM Bonus Attack

    How do you represent the bonus attack from the great weapon master?

    We started a campaign with a group of newbie players and experienced dm.

    One of the guys is a variant human with the gwm feat.

    The dm rules that the bonus action represents a single swing swipe through one enemy into another. Practically, that means:
    1. You can't move to take your bonus action
    2. If an ally is flanked by two baddies, you can't use your bonus from one guy to hit the other.

    Makes sense thematically, but maybe not RAW. How do you guys treat this strike?

  2. #2
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    I treat it as written. Once the requirement is met, you gain the ability to use the bonus action any time later in that turn to make the attack. It does not need to be on a target that was near you when the trigger was met.
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  3. #3
    I'd do it as written. But that's kinda a cool interpretation that I wouldn't fret about unless it reaaaallllyyy played havoc with the parties surviving.


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    Raises a red flag that such a conditional ability is being nerfed, though.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    Raises a red flag that such a conditional ability is being nerfed, though.
    Our dm isn't not nerfing them because of power. It's all about story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BenKester View Post
    Our dm isn't not nerfing them because of power. It's all about story.
    Doesn't matter. He's nerfing it.
    The story can be adjusted. After all, he's the one defining it as swinging through one enemy into another.
    He could of just as easily described it as an adrenaline rush from the kill, or as you swinging through one enemy and using that momentum to carry you into another.

    Nothing about it as written limits movement. The only thing that does that are the arbitrary limits he has applied because of the narrow flavour he has imposed.

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    While it's cool to describe it that way in instances where it works out, it's incredibly limiting on the feat in question. (Especially since the Bonus Attack is not the part people complain about when they claim the feat is overpowered.) I certainly wouldn't limit to only situations where enemies are adjacent when I'm DMing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BenKester View Post
    Our dm isn't not nerfing them because of power. It's all about story.
    Okay, here's a cool story: every time you crit with a melee weapon or take an enemy down to 0 hp with one, all the target's allies drop dead from shock!

    Cool story, eh?

    'Cool story' either changes the rules, or it doesn't. If it does then there are no limits apart from 'cool'.

    The DM can narrate what the rules adjudicate actually happened, and if you kill one enemy and then use the bonus attack granted by GWM to attack a foe adjacent to the original target, then sure he can narrate it as a cleave. But If you kill the target then move 20 feet and use the bonus attack to strike another baddy then the DM is going to have to find another way to narrate it. You can narrate it, and do it in such a way that makes sense bearing in mind what your PC actually did.

    It is wrong for the DM to nerf your PC by deliberately choosing a particular narration that takes away your abilities. Imagine that you are DMing him and whenever his wizard casts a spell you rule that the magical backlash causes him to make a Con save or fall unconscious. Y'know, for story reasons. Think he'll be okay with 'story trumps rules' then?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BenKester View Post
    How do you represent the bonus attack from the great weapon master?

    We started a campaign with a group of newbie players and experienced dm.

    One of the guys is a variant human with the gwm feat.

    The dm rules that the bonus action represents a single swing swipe through one enemy into another. Practically, that means:
    1. You can't move to take your bonus action
    2. If an ally is flanked by two baddies, you can't use your bonus from one guy to hit the other.

    Makes sense thematically, but maybe not RAW. How do you guys treat this strike?

    He's interpretting it as a "Cleave" attack. It makes sense, for the old Cleave ability...but this isn't Cleave.

    You have struck the enemy with such force as to deal a killing blow. Just like chopping wood, when you get a clean cut the blade goes straight through without resistance. Using the momentum of that swing the character can then move and utilize that momentum for an extra strike. In a way, its bit like Action Surge in that you are getting a burst of action on top of your normal action.

  10. #10
    How to RP it:
    Blood-lust - if the fighter is particularly barbaric, he may see the damage he inflicted and give him a rush of adrenaline to quickly follow with another attack.

    Cleaving/follow-through - Slashing entirely through an enemy and carrying onto a nearby target. Additionally, if this is used against the same target, you can see a downward slash, chopping the targets arm then leg.

    Redirecting Momentum - Any broadly swung weapon could be seen as the critical hit as the attacker having such perfect timing as to recover from the attack much quicker than normal. For example, He was able to follow through from a high guard to a low guard perfectly after the attack, thus enabling a reverse swing much quicker than a blocked attack that made him return to high guard.
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