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Martial Scientist's Experimental Strike is powerful/vague

DonTadow

First Post
I'm pretty sure, if not for the power gamer at my table, that I would possibly never have noticed the potency of this ability.

It feels that this feat needs some specific mechanical rules to avoid abuse. It essentially provides a second backup attack that can be far more beneficial than the 1st attack.

1. Can a player purposely miss to get the 2nd attack?

2. What are the limitations of the benefit. Attacking the BBEG wizard and missing on an attack, then hitting and pinning him under a column in one blow drained the life out of my combat and players.

3 How have others used it in their games and what do they suggest. ?

At the moment, I am thinking of house ruling to only allow the attack to apply specific minor conditions (dazzled, deafened, entangled, Shaken, sickened) with a critical allowing introducing the next step of each of these.
 

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gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
There's always one who has to spoil it for the rest of us!

You're right, your power gamer is the problem. My martial scientist player hasn't presented me with any real difficulties.

The key word in the power for your purposes is 'attempt', and the flavour of the power is to inspire ingenuity not superheroism. The player should have to describe in detail something they are trying to achieve, and that action must be something they could physically make happen. It must consist of an action that isnt covered by a power card or 'rule' (so no bull rushing or grabbing).

Certainly, chopping down a column (a column of stone, I presume) would be something a normal person might very well attempt, but almost certainly fail to achieve. And how did he ensure it actually landed on the wizard?

And how can a player miss on purpose?
 

DonTadow

First Post
There's always one who has to spoil it for the rest of us!

You're right, your power gamer is the problem. My martial scientist player hasn't presented me with any real difficulties.

The key word in the power for your purposes is 'attempt', and the flavour of the power is to inspire ingenuity not superheroism. The player should have to describe in detail something they are trying to achieve, and that action must be something they could physically make happen. It must consist of an action that isnt covered by a power card or 'rule' (so no bull rushing or grabbing).

Certainly, chopping down a column (a column of stone, I presume) would be something a normal person might very well attempt, but almost certainly fail to achieve. And how did he ensure it actually landed on the wizard?

And how can a player miss on purpose?
FOr the sake of not sounding like an incompetent dm, i should note that they were in a crumbling tomb and i did describe much rubble and decay (i think my mistake was saying , it looked as if the place could come down at any minute).

He wants to spend his actual action looking for something to do manipulate. (I've already vetoed this).

Unlike some of the other choices, it doesnt have a once per combat or once per day limit. And the power level is a wide range with examples that say blind an opponent or take an opponent out of combat.
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
You don't sound incompetent at all. Dealing with power gamers can be tough. And it's a shame you have to be prescriptive here, because the power is so flavourful. If played in the spirit it was intended, it should enhance the game, not spoil it. Your player must surely realise he's overdoing it if he can take out the BBEG with an encounter power. But if he insists on being a rules lawyer, you must respond by invoking statute and changing the rule. (It is a house-rule after all.)

Thing is, the interaction between player & DM is everything. I love this power precisely because it does what 4E often fails to do and encourages players to think beyond their character sheet. It invites the player to do the sort of thing they might ordinarily be tempted to try but view as suboptimal in comparison to an encounter power. Here, what do they have to lose?

I would limit the damage possible to the regular expression of an encounter power of the appropriate level, and be prepared to repay any power gaming in kind:

And if a player of mine knocked over a pillar in a crumbling tomb, they'd be liable to bring down a chunk of the ceiling on their own head!
 

Goldkatana

First Post
Our Martial Scientist understands that his Ex Strike will only produce as much damage as his most powerful normal attack, or regular damage to up to a 3 x 3 area. In certain situations where he had the time to set up something ahead of time or the player came up with a really cool explanation of how it happened, I've let him have some effect (1/2 damage, knock prone, whatever) on a miss.

We pretty much ignore the trigger, he uses it as he wants. Too cool to limit it as a miss trigger.
 

ve4grm

First Post
Nah, you don't seem incompetent at all. For the purposes of my answers, I assume (from your condition list) that you're playing Pathfinder?

First off, I'd say that no, you can't purposely miss. If you could, then you weren't attacking your target, and thus didn't miss at all. In fact, you hit exactly what you were trying to. Nothing.

Second, as for its potency, remember that you're the final arbiter of the effect of what the power does. Nothing done with this power should be an instant win (unless the idea was just that cool and inventive).

If the player attempts to trap the BBEG with a crumbling pillar, fine. That's pretty neat. But the pillar is crumbling, and will probably break apart on the way down. How about some damage (say, 2d8, reflex half), and a Fortitude save or he's knocked prone? Maybe he could be slowed for a round, too.

That's still well worth the power, but isn't game-breaking.

Perhaps you want it to do more damage? Fine. Up the damage to 3d8 or 4d8, but everyone else adjacent to the pillar (aka the PC) might also take 2d8 damage (again, reflex half).

Remember, when playing with this ability and a power gamer, he will often ask for the most beneficial possible outcome, but deciding the outcome isn't his job. He gets to dictate his action, and you give the outcome. You also give the consequences, if any.
 

Cheezmo Miner

80's DungeonMaster
For Pathfinder I changed the rule to:

Whenever you miss with all attacks during a full attack action, you may immediately try one Combat Maneuver at your highest base attack bonus.

I wanted to encourage trying these maneuvers, even though they have little chance of succeeding and provoke an AOO without the appropriate feat. The maneuver "Dirty Trick" basically accomplishes what the original wording of the feat does.
 

Falkus

Explorer
For Pathfinder I changed the rule to:

Whenever you miss with all attacks during a full attack action, you may immediately try one Combat Maneuver at your highest base attack bonus.

I wanted to encourage trying these maneuvers, even though they have little chance of succeeding and provoke an AOO without the appropriate feat. The maneuver "Dirty Trick" basically accomplishes what the original wording of the feat does.

That's what my group did too; we rewrote it so that you got to use Dirty Trick without provoking an attack of opportunity when you missed with all your attacks when you took a full attack action. It worked out pretty well.
 

ve4grm

First Post
For Pathfinder I changed the rule to:

Whenever you miss with all attacks during a full attack action, you may immediately try one Combat Maneuver at your highest base attack bonus.

I wanted to encourage trying these maneuvers, even though they have little chance of succeeding and provoke an AOO without the appropriate feat. The maneuver "Dirty Trick" basically accomplishes what the original wording of the feat does.
That works rather well, actually. Good thought.

Not being a Pathfinder player, I narly forgot about the Combat Maneuver rules, and I don't think I ever knew about Dirty Trick.

It feels weird to me to only trigger off a full attack action, but I suppose that's how it was written in the player's guide. Oh well.
 

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