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D&D 3E
charging, cleaving, lances 
3rd-Mar-2006 03:40 pm
boke1
I'm planning on submitting this to Sage Advice, but I'd like to know what you all think. Also let me know if there is anything else that may modify or apply to this situation that you think I should ask about when I send in my letter.


The combat rules for Charge state:
"Even if you have extra attacks, such as from having a high enough base attack bonus or from using multiple weapons, you only get to make one attack during a charge"

The description of Cleave states:
"If you deal a creature enough damage to make it drop (typically by dropping it to below 0 hit points or killing it), you get an immediate, extra melee attack against another creature within reach"

How do they work together? If a character with the Cleave or Great Cleave feat charges and kills their opponent, do they get additional attacks from the feat?

The description of Cleave also says:
"The extra attack is with the same weapon and at the same bonus as the attack that dropped the previous creature"

If the charging character is entitled to additional attacks from Cleave, do they still do double or triple damage as may apply when using a lance, or would subsequent attacks granted by Cleave with the lance do normal damage since the charge is presumably over?
Comments 
3rd-Mar-2006 08:57 pm (UTC)
I would allow a Cleave to take place against a creature directly behind (relative to the charging character) the creature killed by the charge.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:04 pm (UTC)
that's kind of how i ruled in the game when it happened. what i said was if the foes were on the same line as the charge she could cleave with the lance with the same damage bonus. i said since a longsword is a slashing weapon that on a cleave with a sword on a charge that the foes need not be lined up. i have a few problems with my ruling though. the rules don't say anything about the foes being lined up. one rule says: you get one attack only, the other rule says: if you kill someone you get one more attack. neither one really puts conditions about the weapons used, and the weapon description for the lance doesn't say anything about it. i think that what i need to do is weigh the language in the two rules and see which is stronger and o with that. the language in the charge description seems stronger. it says "even if you have xtra attacks such as from a high bab or from using multiple weapons you only get to make one attack during a charge". but if i wanted to get really tedious and legalistic, and i kind of do, it says you only get to make one attack. but, the cleave attack can be considered a continuation of that one attack you get.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:10 pm (UTC)
I always viewed a Cleave as an extension of the original attack, but, yes, I can see where this rule gets confusing in the Core sense.

As for Piercing versus Slashing damage, I've always found that balance needs to take precident over realism.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:11 pm (UTC) - balance needs to take precident over realism.
absolutely. which is why when a rule is clear, even if it doesn't really make sense, i go with what the rule seems to be saying. in this case its tricky.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:22 pm (UTC)
This doesn't work at all, by the rules.

Cleave does not kill, nor is a Cleave attack, even with a lance, a guaranteed impalement.

As an example, Someone with nonlethal damage who gets dropped with a lance/Cleave: that person isn't even close to being impaled.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:25 pm (UTC)
No, but a Cleave requires a creature to be killed.

Thus, assuming the target of a charge is killed (and assuming that you can Cleave along with a charge, which is the debate), then I would limit the available targets of the Cleave attack (reads "adjacent" in the text) to "behind, relative to the charging character".

Nowhere did I speak of guaranteed death or impalement, so I'm not quite sure where you pulled that from.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:30 pm (UTC)
"but a Cleave requires a creature to be killed"

Not true. "If you deal a creature enough damage to make it drop (typically by dropping it to below 0 hit points or killing it)," (SRD).

Drop is not the same as kill.

Also, Cleave does not say "adjacent", it says "within reach". You could drop the person in front of you, and then use your Cleave attack one someone 270 degrees opposite from them.

Beyond this, no other weapon requires you to only attack a character behind, relative to the charging character, including other piercing weapons. So someone charging with a longspear can attack anyone within reach if they drop that target and have Cleave.

As for the guaranteed death or impalement, the only way to strike someone behind (and out of Reach) the target of a lance attack is to go through that person.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:42 pm (UTC)
So would you allow a Cleave attack in conjunction with a trip attack?

And, in terms of a medium attacker, opponents that are "within reach" are typically going to be "adjacent" to the creature "dropped" (also, typically, killed).

I didn't bring up damage type. Why are you responding to issues I didn't raise?

Impalement isn't a necessity. You could knock them over (glancing off their armor, perhaps).

I say striking the target behind that because a charge's effects take place due to the momentum of the charge. He asked a question and I answered him based on how I would rule (or recommend) and then backed up my decision with reasoning (both realistic and mechanical).

Happy gaming, kid.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:47 pm (UTC)
I would not allow a Cleave attack in conjunction with a Trip, since that's not the definition of "drop" being used here. In fact, the majority of attacks that drop (being reduced to 0 or fewer hit points) do not kill.

Given one medium attacker, and even ignoring reach weapons, of seven possible locations for enemies adjacent to the attacker, only two of those locations are also adjacent to the creature dropped.

I brought up damage type because the lance is piercing, rather than any other damage type. As for knocking a target over, that would be an Overrun.

I've already noted the issue about momentum of charges.

Finally, you know nothing about me, my age, or my experience, so calling me "kid" is unnecessary, potentially demeaning, and, in fact, incorrect.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:52 pm (UTC)
Dropping and opponent to 0 or fewer hit points is pretty much killing your opponent ...

Yes. Enemies tend to advance in ranks, which is why I said "typically".

Yes, but you don't require a Lance (or even a mount) to make a charge. And you're the one that started talking about "dropping" opponents in a way other than killing them.

Noted and then disregarded?

It's good that you caught that since it was intended to be casually insulting. =P
3rd-Mar-2006 09:58 pm (UTC)
You've never had an opponent stabilize, and you've never had a party wish to question an opponent? And you call me "kid"?

Only intelligent enemies using ranked formations tend to advance in ranks. Smart enemies in a fantasy world rarely do, because proximity to their allies makes them easy targets for area effects.

Since you don't require a lance or mount to charge, I was pointing out that even using a longspear or another piercing weapon doesn't require these yoga-like rules manipulations.

Noted and answered: "Note that you can attack someone on either side with the end of a lance charge; the only restriction is that you charge to the closest square from which you could attack your target." The rules for choosing targets in a lance charge are identical to the rules for choosing targets in a sword charge.

As for your unnecessary insult, that's betraying more about your level of maturity than mine. Hint: I'm significantly older than you are, and I've demonstrated more rules knowledge than you have.
3rd-Mar-2006 10:04 pm (UTC)
I tend to not charge and Cleave opponents I intend on keeping alive.

Whatever you say, kid. I'm not gonna debate NPC tactics with you.

You're the one that assumed I was speaking only in terms of using a Lance (which implies the use of a mount) in the first place ... And, again, bringing up the irrelevant issue of damage types.

... Okay? This is pertinent in what way?

Congratulations? Your level of maturity is truly demonstrated in your zealous efforts to prove your superiority. But, y'know, whatever you need to tell yourself to sleep at night.
3rd-Mar-2006 10:59 pm (UTC)
Whoa guys, this is a debate, lets keep it that way. This banter is unneccessary. It's a valid question with multiple interpretations. Lets just discuss the issue. (and I don't care who started it, lets just talk about rules and gaming like good geeks lol).
4th-Mar-2006 09:24 am (UTC)
The banter is amusing. C'mon. Admit it.

=P
4th-Mar-2006 12:30 am (UTC)
Your attacks are still unnecessary.

While you may choose to ignore the possibility that a kill is not the only instance when Cleave functions, I do not, nor do the rules.

You're right, I assumed you were speaking of lances. However, if you're not speaking of lances, your decision to talk about moving into the space of the Cleave target to attack only the target behind them is just more house rules, and doesn't really help in a discussion of the rules themselves.

I brought up piercing weapons to demonstrate that your assertion that a Cleave is an extension of the attack is invalid. For example: 1) you are using a rapier (a weapon that must be thrust at the opponent to do effective damage); 2) you have Cleave; 3) you drop an opponent, whether by reducing them below 0 hit points, by killing them, or by reducing their current hit point total below their nonlethal damage total; 4) you may than take your Cleave attack against any target in your reach, which includes people who were behind you when you made the attack which triggered Cleave.

It is pertinent because it makes it clear that directional momentum is not an element in Cleave. Tactical momentum is the relevant effect here.

Finally, this is not any form of "superiority"; my posts were accurate, and you attacked me for it, insulting for no good reason.
4th-Mar-2006 09:35 am (UTC)
When did I claim that it wasn't unnecessary?

Forgive me for calling a "drop below 0 hit points" a "kill" rather than a "drop". I didn't realize irrelevant semantic nuances were that important to you.

It's a realistic ruling based on a specific point where the rules are ambiguous. Like it or leave it, but shut up about it.

... Okay? This, again, is irrelevant to the issue being discussed. Why is it that you enjoy bringing up ponits to debate with yourself?

Changing direction is the equivilent of a 5 foot step in terms of movement. Thus, in the specific instance of a charge + Cleave it is reasonable to rule that directional momentum is the determining factor, not "tactical momentum" (unless you wanna pull something else out of your ass). I don't know how to spell it out any clearer for you.

If you really feel that a complete stranger you calling you "kid" in an online forum is a deep and personal affront to your being ... Well, I think that sorta says enough right there ...
3rd-Mar-2006 09:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, another note I thought of...

You're giving away a free extra 5 feet of reach with this method. Anyone "behind" the charged target will be out of reach in most cases.

Your answer, based on how you would rule or recommend, was not in keeping with the rules, either realistically or mechanically.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:53 pm (UTC)
Unless, of course, you take momentum into account ...
3rd-Mar-2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
So the lance charger who Cleaves moves forward 5 feet to attack the extra target, then moves back 5 feet to their original spot? What about the rules regarding not getting to move before a Cleave attack?

You're adding extra rules to cover your interpretation.

My interpretation fits all the rules already in place.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:58 pm (UTC)
Nope. I'd have the charging character end in the square that he "dropped" (meaning "killed").

As I said, I see a Cleave as an extension of the original attack.

Kinda sorta in a not really sort of way.
3rd-Mar-2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
So at this point, you're heavily in house rule territory: you've added in rules, and violated the stated rules of how Cleave works.

This doesn't really help the original poster, given that this is strictly a rules discussion (as evidenced by his option to send it in to the Sage).
3rd-Mar-2006 10:05 pm (UTC)
Except where he agreed with me when I said that Cleave was pretty much an extension of the original attack ...
4th-Mar-2006 12:07 am (UTC)
This is not the case, though. Cleave cannot be an extension of the original attack, because Cleave works perfectly well on opponents on the opposite side of you from the enemy you dropped.

Example: you're flanked. You kill one flanking enemy. You may now take your Cleave attack on the other enemy who had been flanking you, because they are within your reach.

People read too much into Cleave that isn't there.
4th-Mar-2006 09:26 am (UTC)
Okay. You've made it abundantly clear that you don't care to read anything anyone else posts.

Thanks for playing, door's to your left.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:12 pm (UTC)
Good questions.

I'd say that the bonus attack from Cleave is not included in the Charge rules; note that the example "extra attacks" listed for Charge are only usable in full attacks, which Charge isn't. I say yes, a charger with Cleave or Great Cleave gets their bonus attack(s).

All bonuses carry over to the extra attack, but I'm not sure I'd apply the double or triple damage for a lance, since that's all about momentum. Given that the damage multiplier only applies to the first target, there shouldn't be any location restriction (as suggested by the poster above) for the Cleave bonus attack other than the attacker's reach.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:15 pm (UTC)
I'd say that the Cleave attack can only be made against someone diectly behind the original target, because you can't swing the lance around like a sword. And the Charge damage multiplier wouldn't apply, because you slowed down too much on the first hit.

Sound fair?
3rd-Mar-2006 09:18 pm (UTC)
No. The "behind" is a red herring, and not useful.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:32 pm (UTC)
As a note: All responses that are forcing "adjacent", or "behind" to be required for the target of the bonus attack, remember this:

That restriction makes Cleave virtually worthless as a feat.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:38 pm (UTC)
i don't think it does. the replies that require a target to be adjacent or behind only require that of a lance attack on a charge. they assume this because of momentum and the charge rules. honestly, i suspect that when i write in the sage is gonna say you don't get a cleave on a charge, which makes the whole thing moot anyway. i guess we'll see, assuming they even answer my question.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
This is all based on the assumption that a lance charge is always the "knight with couched lance". However, the rules for a lance charge do not assume that. Note that you can attack someone on either side with the end of a lance charge; the only restriction is that you charge to the closest square from which you could attack your target.

As for the Sage answer, that's not going to happen. The charge restriction is only talking about iterative or multiple weapon attacks, not bonus attacks such as those granted by Cleave. I will check the FAQ when I get home, because I believe this kind of thing is already covered.
3rd-Mar-2006 10:39 pm (UTC)
This is all based on the assumption that a lance charge is always the "knight with couched lance". However, the rules for a lance charge do not assume that.

In 3.5 they do. Maybe in 3.0 -- I'm too lazy to look.

Quoth the SRD:

A lance deals double damage when used from the back of a charging mount.

All of the possible iterations of "lance on the back of a charging mount" are essentially derivations of a knight with a couched lance. Anything else doesn't get you double damage.
4th-Mar-2006 12:26 am (UTC)
Given the rule that using a lance mounted lets you wield it in only one hand, one might think that, but you can make charge attacks with a lance that would result in very bizarre directions to be thrusting with the lance.

The complication being that the rules allow a charge with a lance to be followed by a Cleave in a completely different direction (in fact, the standard Medium character can Cleave someone up to twenty feet away from the original target) just makes things clearer that it's not the standard "couched-lance" trick.
4th-Mar-2006 05:21 am (UTC)
The complication being that the rules allow a charge with a lance to be followed by a Cleave in a completely different direction (in fact, the standard Medium character can Cleave someone up to twenty feet away from the original target) just makes things clearer that it's not the standard "couched-lance" trick.

Sure it is. Couch up the lance in a charge, hit your opponent, and then bring your lance tip down on someone else you can reach.

The lance's extra damage is soley from couching it. The fact that fantasy knights can whip that lance around to skewer somone behind them is just, well, part and parcel of D&D.

3rd-Mar-2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
Not really. We're discussing the use of the Cleave feat in light of one instance for its use where the rules happen to conflict.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:39 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm going to voice the opposition here. I think a great example would be two weapon fighting. Two weapon fighting allows you to make an extra melee attack blah blah blah, however you cannot use two weapon fighting when combined with a charge. Since charge states you get a single melee attack and no other attacks, this supercedes the rules for Cleave.

I would be interested to hear what sage advice would say. I think you stated the problem efficiently enough in your initial statement and do not think anything needs to be added.
3rd-Mar-2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
The difference is that two-weapon fighting only allows an extra attack when using the full attack action. Same for iterative attacks. Cleave is neither of these; Cleave even permits a bonus attack on an attack of opportunity.
3rd-Mar-2006 10:55 pm (UTC)
Making a charge attack is a full round action which is in essence the same as a full attack action. In my opinion the last paragraph of the description of the Charge action where it states implicitely that no other attacks can be made holds to the spirit of not allowing other attacks to be made regardless.
4th-Mar-2006 12:08 am (UTC)
This is not true. Charge is a full-round action. Full Attack is a different full-round action which cannot be combined with a Charge. The quoted rules from Charge are redundant reiteration of a common rule, like so much else in the D&D rules.
4th-Mar-2006 01:31 am (UTC)
There is a subtle difference, possibly. In the text following that part of the charge description it mentions the example of "with another weapon" (thus dis-allowing two weapon fighting etc.). With a specific example in this case there is obviously more of an intent than a rhetorical reiteration.
4th-Mar-2006 01:59 am (UTC)
It's more than just a subtle difference. "Charging is a special full-round action" (SRD)

Full Attack action (a full-round action) includes the following text: "The only movement you can take during a full attack is a 5-foot step." (SRD)

Obviously, charging involves (must involve, in fact) more movement than a 5-foot step. Charge and Full Attack are two completely separate full-round actions, with completely different rules governing what can be done during the action (including the rule for the standard action Charge if limited to only standard or move actions during a round).

In addition, Cleave is definitely independent of action type: "The extra attack granted by the Cleave feat or Great Cleave feat can be taken whenever they apply. This is an exception to the normal limit to the number of attacks you can take when not using a full attack action." (SRD)
3rd-Mar-2006 10:37 pm (UTC)
How do they work together? If a character with the Cleave or Great Cleave feat charges and [drops] their opponent, do they get additional attacks from the feat?

Yes. Cleave as a feat that enables bonus attacks. Charge is a full-round action that does not allow one to make use of the Full Attack action.

If the charging character is entitled to additional attacks from Cleave, do they still do double or triple damage as may apply when using a lance, or would subsequent attacks granted by Cleave with the lance do normal damage since the charge is presumably over?

You are correct in the latter instance. The word "bonus" in the rules you quoted refers to attack bonus, not the special damage bonus from charging. Similarly, someone who used True Strike to drop their opponent would not gain +20 on any cleave attacks they made.

In standard D&D iterative attacks, if you strike someone down with one of your iterative attacks, your cleave attacks are at THAT bonus--at -5, -10, or -15 relative to your ordinary attack roll.


4th-Mar-2006 12:28 am (UTC)
While this is completely correct, I wanted to note one thing:
Similarly, someone who used True Strike to drop their opponent would not gain +20 on any cleave attacks they made.

This is not because of the lack of bonus damage. This is because true strike explicitly grants its bonus to the "next single attack roll", and only that attack roll (meaning it is not granted to Cleave attacks). Any other bonuses to one's attack roll would still apply. However, bonus damage only applies if its condition is still met; a Cleave attack after a charge is not a charging attack, just like a Cleave attack with a flaming burst weapon after a critical dropped an opponent does not automatically get the increased damage from a critical.
4th-Mar-2006 02:06 am (UTC)
Petty childish banter aside, I'd always wondered how a guy uses a lance when he's not charging from a mount. It just never seemed like a practical weapon at less then 20mph.
4th-Mar-2006 05:24 am (UTC)
Have you ever seen a real sharpened lance? I haven't, but I gather that they're somewhat more flexible and violent than the huge things used in the show-jousts we see nowadays. With a sharp pointy end and an ammount of weight and thrust at least equal to an eighteen inch steel sword.

Plus, in D&D at least, they're two-handed weapons.
4th-Mar-2006 12:49 pm (UTC)
I just imagine beating people with the side of it as you try to swing it around
4th-Mar-2006 05:18 am (UTC)
If you submit this to Sage Advice, please post the reply in it's entirety. I am curious about the response, but I don't subscribe to Dragon.
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