Level Up (A5E) Question on Wounding Strike

lichmaster

Adventurer
On a5e.tools, the entry for wounding strike says

Choose a weapon when you learn this combat maneuver. If you hit with your next attack roll using the chosen weapon against a living creature, you deliver a wound that deals 1d4 ongoing damage.
At the start of each of the wounded creature's turns, it makes a Constitution saving throw , ending the effect on itself on a success.
Alternatively, the wounded creature, or a creature within 5 feet of it, can use an action to make a Medicine check against your maneuver DC, ending the ongoing damage on a success.
The description for ongoing damage says
Some attacks, spells, and effects deal ongoing damage. This hit point loss happens at the end of each of your turns. Unless the effect states a damage type, the hit point loss is unaffected by damage resistance or vulnerability (see below).
The ongoing damage continues until the duration ends, or a creature uses an action to end the effect, as described by the effect that caused it.
For example, a fire elemental’s touch will cause its target to catch on fire. The burning creature takes 1d10 ongoing fire damage at the end of each of its turns until a creature uses an action to smother the flames.
So, from the two descriptions, it appears that a Wounding Strike may do absolutely nothing at all:
  • a hit from wounding strikes caues the wound to bleed, causing 1d4 ongoing damage
  • the ongoing damage is applied at the end of the target's turn
  • the wounded target makes a save to end the effect at the beginning of the turn, without spending any action (as opposed to the general description for ongoing damage)

Is this an oversight, or is this a design choice?

In the second case, it seems to me that this maneouver is in general a relatively bad deal: you immediately spend exertion to activate it, if you miss, the exertion is wasted. Even if you hit, the target makes a save at the beginning of the round, and if it saves the exertion is wasted again because the damage is applied at the end of its round. The save itself does not cost any resource to the target either, differently from the general instance of ongoing damage (as in the fire elemental example). On top of that, this maneouvre is a bonus action that modifies the following attack (and only one attack, not even all attacks in case of Extra attack feature). So it is also very expensive from an action economy pov.

The only situation where it makes sense activating this maneouvre is if you expect to make an attack of opportunity: in that case, you activate this maneouvre, and spend exertion and the bonus action on your turn. Then, when you take a reaction to perform the attack of opportunity, if your attack hits, you inflict the wound. Since the save is performed at the beginning of the target's round, they may take one instance of the 1d4 ongoing damage. Even in this case, for a measly instance of 1d4 damage, it seems a bad deal (better use a bonus action for a simple extra attack).
 
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noodohs

Explorer
It seems intentional to me. The target doesn't make any save when hit by the attack, so they make the save at the beginning of their turn like with most ongoing saves. This would be the same for all sources of ongoing damage (at least the ones that specifically call it out as "ongoing damage"), not just this strike. It's just a nice way to have a little bonus damage every round and realistically, what else are you going to do with that bonus action? Plus the damage can't be resisted, so imagine you hit a creature and they are immune to the weapon's damage. You still have an option to do damage every round without even having to attack (after you wound them).
 

Langy

Explorer
What else would you use a bonus action on? A strike from a second weapon using two weapon fighting is an obvious choice. Bunch of other options that aren't patently naughty word - 1d4 of non-stacking damage each round is almost worthless unless that damage were guaranteed. As is, it's very likely to not even happen with Wounding Strike.
 

noodohs

Explorer
But it does stack. Heck, AFAIK each wound is unique, so you could do it multiple times. You use a bonus action once and every round until the creature saves or is treated (there is no stated expiration for this particular one), that creature takes 1d4 damage that requires no further action from you. So every round thereafter, you can do all of your attacks and bonus action attacks and still get the 1d4 on top of that. Get your maneuver DC up high enough and isolate the creature from its friends and you could keep that going a while.
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
It seems intentional to me. The target doesn't make any save when hit by the attack, so they make the save at the beginning of their turn like with most ongoing saves. This would be the same for all sources of ongoing damage (at least the ones that specifically call it out as "ongoing damage"), not just this strike.
The example of fire elemental is very interesting for me, as there's no save initially or onwards. You or someone has to spend an action to douse the flames. This makes it way more threatening. Sure, this is a degree 1 maneouvre, but still doesn't seem worth the expenditure of the required resources.
It's just a nice way to have a little bonus damage every round and realistically, what else are you going to do with that bonus action?
Like, litereally everything else: attack with off hand weapon, shove using the shield, activate some other power or spell, etc.
Plus the damage can't be resisted, so imagine you hit a creature and they are immune to the weapon's damage. You still have an option to do damage every round without even having to attack (after you wound them).
Sure, but this seems so niche that's barely gonna happen ever.

More in general, I think that whatever effects that require an expenditure of limited resources and can be totally negated by a successful save are not great. Partial negate should be the way.
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
But it does stack. Heck, AFAIK each wound is unique, so you could do it multiple times. You use a bonus action once and every round until the creature saves or is treated (there is no stated expiration for this particular one), that creature takes 1d4 damage that requires no further action from you. So every round thereafter, you can do all of your attacks and bonus action attacks and still get the 1d4 on top of that. Get your maneuver DC up high enough and isolate the creature from its friends and you could keep that going a while.
Sure, it does stack, but simply put is way too easy to negate. Wounding Strike requires a CON save, which most creatures have proeficiency with.
Even if they don't, there's very little ways to impose some kind of disadvantage on the save (the only condition that does is 4 levels of fatigue!).
Also, after a quick search there's no non magical way to do so, and only a handful spells can have that effect.
 

noodohs

Explorer
If you're building yourself out to have a decent maneuver DC, it's not going to be that easy. Plus if you are, for example, a low level adept using this, the 1d4 is the same damage as each of your attacks and those can miss just as easily as someone can hit the save on this. I really don't see any issues with the maneuver. Will it be outpaced later on? Probably. But as a low level one, especially for an adept, it's pretty nice.
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
If you're building yourself out to have a decent maneuver DC, it's not going to be that easy. Plus if you are, for example, a low level adept using this, the 1d4 is the same damage as each of your attacks and those can miss just as easily as someone can hit the save on this.
Not really: for this maneouvre to do something you have to
  • spend a bonus action (same as unarmed strike)
  • spend 2 exertion (1 extra unarmed strike does not require resources)
  • hit the target (same as unarmed strike)
  • the target has to fail its save at the beginning of its round (not required by unarmed strike)
  • neither the target or any of its allies have to take actions that heal it before the end of its round (not even applicable to unarmed strike)

So, the difference is really remarkable. Of course if the stars align you may deal 1d4 extra damage every round without doing anything afterwards, but that's little more than wishful thinking. The potential stacking also is of little importance, as even in case of multiple attackers using this maneouvre to inflict multiple instances of ongoing damage, ALL instances of ongoing damage would be negated by 1 single save, at the cost of 2 exaustion and 1 bonus action per attacker for no effect whatsoever, and no cost for the defender.

For the cost, I'd at least grant 1d4 extra damage immediately, and bump up the ongoing damage so that it stays relevant at higher levels.
 


lichmaster

Adventurer
Why would all instances be negated by a single save? You roll saves separately for each instance, AFAIK.
Because the stacking from this maneouvre does not even happen, see here.
Also, I forgot to mention that the bonus action itself doesn't even let you do the strike: for that you need to spend a separate reaction, action or bonus action. The comparison with the extra unarmed attack of the monk gets even worse if we consider this
 



Stalker0

Legend
I have argued in my various maneuvers reviews that wounding strike is one of the worst maneuvers in the game. Absolute garbage. And yes to confirm, there are two scenarios where you can spend your 2 exertion points for nothing:
  • You miss with the attack (the maneuver must be activated before you make the attack not after).
  • The opponent makes their first save.
Damage over Time is just not that great in 5e, but the way this maneuver is setup its just really bad.

I dropped it to 1 cost and an immediate 1d4 damage before the saves, but even then, no one in my group has taken it.
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
I have argued in my various maneuvers reviews that wounding strike is one of the worst maneuvers in the game. Absolute garbage. And yes to confirm, there are two scenarios where you can spend your 2 exertion points for nothing:
  • You miss with the attack (the maneuver must be activated before you make the attack not after).
  • The opponent makes their first save.
Damage over Time is just not that great in 5e, but the way this maneuver is setup its just really bad.

I dropped it to 1 cost and an immediate 1d4 damage before the saves, but even then, no one in my group has taken it.
I was considering making exactly the same changes, and also bumping the damage over time so it stays more relevant as levels grow. But it's probably still a very hard sell
 

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