Scout Skirmish Ability Question

Swedish Chef

Explorer
Greetings all.

I'm looking for a bit of input here. A question came up in our last session concerning the Scout's Skirmish ability and how it works with additional attacks. This is 3.5 Edition.

Basically, the player believes that once he can make additional attacks in a round, he automatically can move 10 feet and add his skirmish bonus to all attacks.

For example, he has just reached 4th level. He wants to take the Rapid Shot feat and then be able to move 10 feet a round and fire 2 arrows, thereby gaining +1d6 damage to each shot for his skirmish ability.

I'm the DM. Now, before anyone states "You're the DM, you make the rules", I want it to be clear that the group does abide by my rulings in game, but we do discuss issues afterward to clarify. We have discussed it, but the player does not fully understand all the rules (I'm trying to lay it out simply for him, but this game is anything but simple at times!), so at the request of a third player, I'm posting here in a "neutral site" to get feedback to hopefully help him understand better.

According to the Rapid Shot feat, you must use the Full Attack in order to fire the extra arrow. According to the PHB rules on actions in a round, a Full Attack is a Full Round Action, and therefore he would not be able to move the 10 feet required to use the feat, as you are limited to only a 5 foot step in that instance.

The player's contention is that if he must use a Full Attack all the time to gain his additional attacks, he is being unfairly penalized vis-a-vis his skirmish ability as he will never be able to utilize it unless he makes single attacks. He also believes that the write up for the skirmish ability allows for him to make multiple attacks without penalty. I believe it to be just a bit of ambiguous writing, but the section in question is :"She deals an extra 1d6 points of damage on all attacks she makes during any round in which she moves at least 10 feet. The extra damage applies only to attacks taken during the scout’s turn."

My contention is that the designers did that specifically to try and maintain balance. Further to that, there are specific feats that *will* allow him to make multiple attacks as a standard action (Manyshot is one example, and I've not looked for a melee feat, but I suspect there is at least one). Further, the write up in the skirmish section that mentions attacks (plural) is there simply to clarify that *if* the scout has the ability to make multiple attacks as a *standard* action, then the bonus damage would apply to all those attacks that round, provided the scout moved the required distance.

So, I leave it to ENWorld to weigh in on this. Whose interpretation of the rules is correct?
 

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StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
You're correct. Normally if you full attack, you cannot move more than 5 ft, making Skirmish impossible. However, there are many, many methods to move 10 or more ft in a round and still have a full round action to use Rapid Shot with. What those options are depend on the books you allow (Magic Item Compendium on its own opens up at least 4 different items to move the necessary distance or gain an extra 5 ft step on top of the one normally allowed as a swift action; all havingl imited uses/day, of course) and if he has any spellcasters willing to help him out (lots of spells to help him move without expending any action on his part).
 

Forged Fury

First Post
Essentially, what StreamOfTheSky said.

Note that Greater Manyshots is required to get skirmish attack on each arrow if he wants to move around normally. Skirmish damage is considered precision damage and Manyshots is considered a volley attack. Volleys only apply precision damage to the first attack in the volley that hits. Greater Manyshots explicitly allows each attack to apply precision damage.

There are many tricks that allow a Scout to move 10' or 20' in a round and still get a full attack. The most popular one seems to be picking up the Travel Domain and then swapping it for Travel Devotion in Complete Champion. It allows you to move your speed as a swift action a limited number of times/day. A strict melee way to do it is usually to pick up a class or race that gives the Pounce ability, allowing you to full-attack on the end of a charge.

As long as you're flexible with the definition of what counts as "moving," there are a number of spells/psionic effects that grant swift action teleporting.
 
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krupintupple

First Post
as everyone else already said anything of real value, i'll just chime in and say that your player inadvertently discovered why rogues > scouts.

skirmish is nice, as you can do it nearly every round as it has few conditions. sneak attack is harder to pull off, but works a lot nicer.
 

Eman Resu

First Post
but the class as written is intended for skirmish to apply to only 1 attack
as written the Scout runs up to an enemy attacks and then stands there until next melee round where he can attack again without skirmish damage or run away possibly getting AoO.

Is it just me or does this class seem to not be thought out. I like the premise but they need to add in a shot on the run or run by attack, class feature. As is the Scout is left standing next to opponents after attacking unless he buys feats to offset the classes shortcummins such as , shot on the run, spring attack, then bounding assault, or mounted ride by attack.

Ambiguity seems to be the lay of the land. Try to explain by RAW what happens to a Doppelgangers belongings while changing form.
 

Forged Fury

First Post
I like the premise but they need to add in a shot on the run or run by attack, class feature.
Well... not quite the same thing, but Spring Attack and Shot on the Run (as well as their prerequisites) are offered as bonus feats the scout may take at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th levels. So it does seem they at least thought about it.

Also, errata changed it so a mount's movement does not count to generate skirmish damage, so ride by attack wouldn't do anything for you.

I'm not a big fan of melee scouts unless you can get Pounce and a swift action teleport.
 


Swedish Chef

Explorer
but the class as written is intended for skirmish to apply to only 1 attack
as written the Scout runs up to an enemy attacks and then stands there until next melee round where he can attack again without skirmish damage or run away possibly getting AoO.

Is it just me or does this class seem to not be thought out. I like the premise but they need to add in a shot on the run or run by attack, class feature. As is the Scout is left standing next to opponents after attacking unless he buys feats to offset the classes shortcomings such as , shot on the run, spring attack, then bounding assault, or mounted ride by attack.

Yes and no. The way I read it, you can take a 5 foot step pretty much any time. We allow that, provided you do not provoke an attack of opportunity. So, in most cases, if the scout wishes to melee an opponent, he would move, attack, then 5 foot step straight back, hopefully out of reach. Assuming the opponent is otherwise engaged, he won't be able to follow, allowing the scout to again move, attack and 5 foot step next round. Not always an ideal combat situation, but by holding their attack until later, or engaging solo enemies, it works quite well.

In our case, the scout is specializing in bow, so he rarely goes into melee. He's forever running around the edge of combat, firing into melee and generally causing havoc, which is his intended role. He receives his bonus dice regularly. He just wants more of them. :D
 

Forged Fury

First Post
To the OP: Also make sure to check the Errata. The text you are referencing has been updated. It now reads:


She deals an extra 1d6 points of damage on all attacks she makes during any round in which she moves at least 10 feet away from where she was at the start of her turn. The extra damage applies only to attacks made after the scout has moved at least 10 feet. The skirmish ability cannot be used while mounted.



 

Forged Fury

First Post
Yes and no. The way I read it, you can take a 5 foot step pretty much any time. We allow that, provided you do not provoke an attack of opportunity. So, in most cases, if the scout wishes to melee an opponent, he would move, attack, then 5 foot step straight back, hopefully out of reach.
It's certainly your game, but that's most definitely not RAW. Per the SRD:
You can move 5 feet in any round when you don’t perform any other kind of movement. Taking this 5-foot step never provokes an attack of opportunity. You can’t take more than one 5-foot step in a round, and you can’t take a 5-foot step in the same round when you move any distance.
 

StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
but the class as written is intended for skirmish to apply to only 1 attack

Why?

Core Rogue can get full attack sneak attacks, and skirmish is already only half of the bonus damage that sneak attack grants. If your goal is to make Scout unplayably awful, then yeah, I guess the intent is "clear."

Skirmish even explicitly says on "all attacks" after moving 10 ft, so I'm really interested to hear why you think the intent is only once/round no matter what.
 

Forged Fury

First Post
I'm really interested to hear why you think the intent is only once/round no matter what.
Not sure about the OP but...

Using the resources that were available at the time the Scout class was created (PHB, DMG, MM, CWar, CArc, I think?) I have to agree with the OP that it was difficult (ignoring Greater Manyshot from XPH) to get a scout to generate skirmish damage on more than one attack per round, mainly because it was somewhat difficult to generate a Full Attack and move 10' in the same round without abilities available in later books like CC (Travel Devotion), CPsi (Dimension Hop), or the MIC (Anklets of Translocation and probably 5 or 6 more items).

Edit: Also, as to the Rogue, I think the designers thought the largely ranged nature of the scout class would make the ability to have skirmish available for iterative attacks at range overpowered. A rogue might be able to pull off full-attack ranged SA during the surprise round when everything was flatfooted, but was unlikely to be able to do that again during thae rest of the encounter. If the rogue wanted to get their SA, they were getting close enough to get hit in return.

I'm just happy that there are ways of getting around the problem through feats, spells, and powers.
 
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Eman Resu

First Post
Why?

Core Rogue can get full attack sneak attacks, and skirmish is already only half of the bonus damage that sneak attack grants. If your goal is to make Scout unplayably awful, then yeah, I guess the intent is "clear."

Skirmish even explicitly says on "all attacks" after moving 10 ft, so I'm really interested to hear why you think the intent is only once/round no matter what.

unaware of updated info but the original class was suppose to move and strike, be this out
 

Runestar

First Post
Scout is a bit of a contradiction in that aspect. Yes, skirmish can apply to multiple attacks, but the onus is on you to acquire pounce or greater manyshot by yourself, since the class doesn't give you the ability to make more than 1 attack after a move.

Seems like a testbed for a sneak attack variant, is it worth it if you can make only 1 SA each round if it were more consistent? :erm:
 

StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
Seems like a testbed for a sneak attack variant, is it worth it if you can make only 1 SA each round if it were more consistent? :erm:

Until Deadeye Shot came along. :)

To be fair, before that 3.0 had Quicker than the Eye. God I loved that feat, the fact it wasn't updated was a travesty, not many DMs would allow 3.0 stuff.

The thing is...it's NOT much more consistent. Yeah, you can get it at least once every round if you want. But it still is foiled by all the stupid bs that sneak attack is, which IME more often than not was the real cause of being "unreliable." Swift Hunter feat of course helped fix this, Swift Hunter s just the holy grail class rebalancing. At mid levels, with Arcane Trickster or some other caster hybrid, or even later on with a ring of blinking, full attack sneak attack became fairly easy to get at range or in melee...just so long as the massive list of no-nos (undead, construct, oozes, plants, fog, fortification armor, night time, swarms...) didn't come up.
 


Empirate

First Post
Even right when Complete Adventurer came out, there were methods of getting several skirmish attacks per round off - namely, Attacks of Opportunity. Nowhere does it say that you have to take your skirmish attacks on your turn. Scouts probably invest into Dex a lot, anyway, so they'd be well advised to pick up a reach weapon and Combat Reflexes!
Think of it as a concept along the lines of "On the field of battle, I go where I'm needed most, then hold that position for a short time before moving on. This way, the enemy can never pin me down - but I can pin them down first here, then there, then over there...".
 

Forged Fury

First Post
Nowhere does it say that you have to take your skirmish attacks on your turn.
The original text of the Skirmish ability stated:
"The extra damage only applies to attacks taken during the scout's turn."
Which would seem to be a point against your argument. While it's not entirely clear, the errata seems to have corrected that problem and now says that skirmish damage applies to any attack made by the scout after they have moved 10' in a round. It's one of the reasons it's good to have a high Initiative modifier and a reach weapon, if that's your thing.
 

Empirate

First Post
So I was technically wrong, but Errata made me right again? Hmm, that's what I get for not consulting my books before I post - narrow escape there... thanks for clarifying, Forged Fury!
 

StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
It's an easy thing to confuse, because again, it's something you can do with sneak attack (get it on AoOs). I'm glad the eratta removed that line, though I still dislike it for not allowing the juke n' jive or the Mongol horse archer.
 

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