Obscure details of exactly how certain feats work or function when using multiple characters. I’m writing this guide to save people the time and effort of testing to figure out what the confusing ability text actually means and how it works.
Tips and Details to Combat Mechanic
Vital Strike BAB 6, Improved Vital Strike BAB 11, Greater Vital Strike BAB 16.
What is Vital Strike? Vital Strike is a standard action that replaces all your attacks. What does this mean? Basically:
Vital Strike hits a target with one BIG hit.
Anytime you would gain an extra attack via BAB, you instead add your weapons damage dice (excluding energy damage dice from magic effects) to the one attack. You will no longer attack the target more than once.
- As a standard action, you can move first and then attack with Vital Strike, unlike normal where moving would lose your extra attacks. You only get extra attacks when attacking as a Full Round Action (basically you can’t move). So you maintain damage potential.
- All your damage hits at once before DR/- anything.
- You only have to land one attack roll, and it uses your highest BAB, no -5 penalty for each extra attack since there aren’t any extra attacks.
- With Mythic Vital Strike, all the damage via Vital Strike can crit, effectively negating the Con described below.
- Only the first set of damage dice from Vital Strike can crit. (example will be shown below)
- Feat investment. Vital Strike BAB 6, Improved Vital Strike BAB 11, Greater Vital Strike BAB 16.
- With only one attack, you can only proc effects like precision damage from Sneak Attack once. Generally you won’t go heavy on Sneak Attack with Vital Strike because Sneak Attack benefits from landing lots of hits to roll more often.
You’re a level 11 fighter. You have a BAB of 11 thus you have 3 attacks. You’re wielding a scythe +2 b/c you like that 4x crit multiplier and it has 2d4 damage.
Non Vital Strike
- BAB: +11, +6, +1
- Damage: 2d4 + 2, 2d4 + 2, 2d4 + 2
- 3 attacks, each hit can hit/miss & crit w/ Sneak Attack (3 procs).
- BAB: +11
- Damage: 6d4 + 6
- 1 attack, only 2d4 + 2 of the above damage may crit with only 1 Sneak Attack proc.
With Mythic Vital Strike, still 1 attack but now all 6d4 + 6 is multiplied on a crit. Still only 1 Sneak Attack proc.
- Vital Strike cannot be used with Cleave, however it will work on Cleaving Finish which triggers automatically.
- An attack made using Vital Strike will only proc on the original attack not on effects like Wide Sweep which splash to nearby hostiles from the scythe weapon Wide Sweep.
What is ‘shaken’?
Shaken is a status effect that causes -2 on all attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.
- Dazzling Display – Full Round Action, the prerequisite to the other feats. 30ft AoE shaken.
- Cornugon Smash – Free Action, on melee power attack hit, can intimidate check to apply ‘shaken’.
- Shatter Defenses – Passive, targets who are ‘shaken’ are considered flat-footed.
- Dreadful Carnage – Free Action, reducing an enemy to 0 hp allows you to 30ft AoE intimidate check to apply ‘shaken’.
One of the main reasons to invest into applying ‘shaken’ is ‘flat-footed’. By inflicting ‘shaken’ a character with the feat Shatter Defenses will treat all ‘shaken’ foes as flat footed. This
Flat-footed causes targets to:
- Lose their dex bonus – Targets are significantly easier to hit.
- Lose the ability to perform attacks of opportunity.
- Be sneak attacked.
In PF: WotR sneak attacks need a target to be unaware or flanked by a friendly target in melee OR be flat-footed.
When applying ‘shaken’ for every 5 you beat the enemy DC, you add 1 round to the duration. Applying ‘shaken’ to an already ‘shaken’ target extends the duration. To easily check this, I included a picture of the Demoralize (Persuasion) ability that all characters naturally possess.
- When a character takes Shatter Defenses the text is kind of confusing. After some testing I have discovered that it’s needlessly confusing. Basically when you take this feat, any target you hit who is ‘shaken’ prior to you hitting them will be flat-footed. You don’t have to hit them twice, you don’t need someone who has the feat to apply ‘shaken’. Anyone can apply ‘shaken’. Though generally someone who has shatter defenses will also end up taking Dreadful Carnage for convenience of application.
- If you have Cornugon Smash, it applies ‘shaken’ after the damage roll is made for the attack. Thus Shatter Defenses won’t apply on the same hit Cornugon Smash applies ‘shaken’.
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