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D&D 3E
Telling Blow, Part Deux 
25th-Jun-2006 05:12 pm
sunshine
So I've still been thinking about Telling Blow. We've got another session coming up with it tomorrow, and it's really got me thinking about how good it's going to be under most circumstances. I have no doubt the GM is prepared for it, but we'll see what comes of it. The power of this feat with a light, high critical threat range weapon seems overwhelming.

The comparison to Power Attack made in the previous thread is one that leaps out at me. Power Attack is a feat that is often argued as being strong-but-fair. So, to compare the 'benefit' of both feats, I've decided to run some example numbers, including some tests with sneak attacks assuming that the sneak damage bonus from Telling Blow stacks.

For the sake of argument, let's use a 19th-level fighter and a 19th-level rogue, the fighter wielding a +2 keen greatsword and the rogue will use a +2 "keen" rapier. I'll assume the rogue has wasted one of his feats on Weapon Finesse, and if your GM doesn't allow you to use keen or something similar on thrusters, we'll assume the rogue blew yet another feat for Improved Critical. The rogue, as a nineteenth-level rogue, will have a +10d6 sneak attack. Neither have any other feats designed to improve their damage output (Deadly Precision, Weapon Specialization, and so forth).

While I did contemplate giving the Fighter a rapier or kukri, it is worth nothing that by doing so they would be unable to wield the weapon two-handed to truly benefit from Power Attack (the damage is higher with a two-handed weapon) -- and if we're giving the rogue the best weapon for Telling Blow, we shouldn't give the fighter a crummy weapon for Power Attack.

There are plenty of 'flaws' in this 'test', but I figured it would be a good example to run through. We can twink the builds all we want, but this is a straight-forward comparison using only core rules (plus Telling Blow)

Let's say that their "attack" stat is a base of 15, and they have a +6 item, having dumped three of their level-based increases into that stat. We will also assume that both are human. This means that the fighter has a Strength of 24, and the rogue has a Dexterity of 24. We will assume the fighter power attacks for a little over half his BAB -- a nice round number of ten. We will have the rogue use a 'second best' stat of 14 for Strength with a +4 item, for fun, giving him 18 Strength.

The comparisons I made are as follows:

Fighter w/o Power Attack
Fighter w/ Power Attack (5, same to-hit as rogue)
Fighter w/ Power Attack (10, to-hit 5 lower than rogue)
Rogue w/ Telling Blow
Rogue w/o Telling Blow

For these tests we will assume that Telling Blow stacks.


I have included all of the 'raw' data in a backdated, LJ-cut post in my journal, found here.

Single Attack Graph: http://img323.imageshack.us/my.php?image=singleattackchart9qu.jpg
Full Attack Graph: http://img456.imageshack.us/img456/1142/fullattackchart0mh.jpg


On a single attack,
> vs. AC 10, Telling Blow provides about a 10 point increase. +85% on a regular hit; +22% on a Sneak Attack.
> vs. AC 24, Telling Blow provides about a 10 point increase. +85% on a regular hit; +22% on a Sneak Attack.
> vs. AC 29, Telling Blow provides about an 8 point increase. +85% on a regular hit; +22% on a Sneak Attack.
> vs. AC 34, Telling Blow provides about a 5 point increase. +85% on a regular hit; +22% on a Sneak Attack.
> vs. AC 39, Telling Blow provides about a 2 point increase. +74% on a regular hit; +18% on a Sneak Attack.
> vs. AC 44, Telling Blow provides about a 0.1 point increase. +17% on a regular hit; +4% on a Sneak Attack.
> vs. AC 100, Telling Blow provides about a 0.1 point increase. +17% on a regular hit; +4% on a Sneak Attack.

On a full attack,
> vs. AC 10, Telling Blow provides about a 30 point increase. +85% on a regular hit; +22% on a Sneak Attack.
> vs. AC 24, Telling Blow provides about a 23 point increase. +85% on a regular hit; +22% on a Sneak Attack.
> vs. AC 29, Telling Blow provides about an 15 point increase. +85% on a regular hit; +22% on a Sneak Attack.
> vs. AC 34, Telling Blow provides about a 7.5 point increase. +85% on a regular hit; +22% on a Sneak Attack.
> vs. AC 39, Telling Blow provides about a 2.5 point increase. +78% on a regular hit; +20% on a Sneak Attack.
> vs. AC 44, Telling Blow provides about a 0.3 point increase. +17% on a regular hit; +4% on a Sneak Attack.
> vs. AC 100, Telling Blow provides about a 0.3 point increase. +17% on a regular hit; +4% on a Sneak Attack.


However, there are a three major (in my opinion) things to make note of:

> A multi-class fighter (into classes with full BAB) will still retain the same modifiers and benefits from Power Attack listed above; a multi-class rogue (losing sneak attack dice) will suffer a significant dropoff in damage.
> A rogue loses the benefit of Telling Blow against constructs, elementals, oozes, plants, undead, swarms, incorporeal creatures and possibly creatures with fortification armour (depending on level). There are a few instances where they retain it when a sneak attack would not normally be possible (such as concealment), as it is not considered a sneak attack but simply adding sneak attack damage to the roll.
> The value of Telling Blow is greatly diminished as the critical threat range of the weapon is reduced. The value of Power Attack less so (especially if you increase the weapon's multiplier).

Anyway, these are just my incoherent rambling thoughts on the subject and some numbers I ran. Allowing them to stack for about a 20% gain does not seem to be a major boost. Personally? I feel it's overpowered because it permits a damage gain of at least 75% on most targets on a regular hit; the effect on a sneak attack is negligible.

Discuss away.
Comments 
26th-Jun-2006 12:32 am (UTC)
Even stacking, it doesn't seem that broken to me.

The effectiveness of a rogue's damage dealing potential relies heavily on what the DM pits him against, much less so for a fighter. Also, a fighter is going to be 1) harder to hit and 2) able to take a lot more hits before going down, so a rogue being able to out-damage him in, we'll say, most cases doesn't diminish the relative effectiveness of a fighter since a fighter has more fight in him (for lack of a better phrase).
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