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The Curmudgeon's Lair

Why have At-Will powers?

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I'm starting to think that At-Will exploits should have been Encounter exploits or something else. Why? because a basic melee attack and basic ranged attacks should have been At-Will exploits. As it is, there is little reason to use one or the other of these unless you lack either ranged or melee exploits. Take my Warlord character for example, there is no reason to use his basic melee attack because he has three At-Will exploits that do the same thing, plus a little extra. So why would you ever bother to make a boring old basic attack? Well, other than as a free action or an opportunity attack. Why not just simplify and give each class some type of combat bonus, an extra feat or something and skip the At-Will stuff?

This was all brought on by Encounter A10: The Stewards Lair and the fact that the main protagonist of the encounter, Helarr the Hobgoblin Ranger, has two attacks each turn because of his exploits. Why would such a character ever use a normal attack (or take a different exploit for that matter)? I'd wager money that this encounter as I have it written would end in a TPK or near TPK. Helarr has the potential to kill one 1st level PC each turn. Toss in the two Rage Drakes and it's really going to get ugly, but I digress.

The Twin Strike power I think ought to have been dropped and replaced with exploits like Fient (+1 to attack), Off-hand Attack (twin strike), Guarding Blade (+1 to AC) that were minor actions. You could still do a twin strike but at least this way they would count as an extra action, even if it is a minor one, instead of just a single standard action. Not to mention it would have been a little more versatile and interesting than "I stab him twice" and "okay I stab him twice again". Then of course you would have to come up with something for the Archer Rangers. Maybe something like; I Aim Real Good and Hard, Shooting Below the Belt (or maybe Cheap Shot), or Indiscriminate Shot (guaranteed to hit someone, maybe even your friends).

I dunno, just makes me wonder.

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  1. yukonhorror's Avatar
    I'll say this. Commander's strike allows for a basic melee atk, opportunity attacks allow for basic melee atks.

    So there is the need for basic melee atks. The @-wills are slightly more powerful than a basic melee atk. Although they are at-will, they can't be used in every circumstance, unless there is some feat or other power that says otherwise.

    There is my insight on your problem.
  2. yukonhorror's Avatar
    also, can only use basic melee atk on charge, unless you have a power that says otherwise
  3. Groqx's Avatar
    Essentially, as I understand it, encounter and daily attack powers/exploits are all more powerful than at-will powers/exploits. Once the encounter and daily attack powers/exploits are used up the character can still rely on his at-will powers/exploits even if they do less damage. It works really well with the Wizard, who in the 3.5e and earlier versions quickly ran out of their usefulness in battle...then had to rely on their darts or dagger...or staff. Here they are treated like any martial class in that respect. Once their more powerful spells are exhausted, they can still cast that magic missile spell each round, as a Ranger might an arrow, or a fighter might attack with his sword.
  4. Sascha's Avatar
    Part of this is likely a reaction to the perceived (and anecdotally 'verified') problem with power scaling. That is, a low-level spellcaster isn't much use without enough mojo in a fight (as mentioned above), due to BAB/THAC0 working against basic attacks.

    On the flip side, once you get to tactically-interesting spells and enough of them, the melee folk can be left out, still spamming their basic, full-attack/power attack, as things become immune/resistant to their lower-level tricks.

    Giving every class at-will abilities is one way of ensuring everyone has something interesting to do, each round of every fight. (It's also operating on the assumptions that no-frills attacks are dull, and you want everyone to have something interesting to do, each round of each fight. Not everyone, in fact, does want this )

    I suppose you *could* strip out at-wills (or bump them up to encounter/daily status), but you'll run into classes whose prime stats leave them behind the expected to-hit curve (as they were in previous editions, though not nearly as far), once they spend the limited resource powers.