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Thread: DnD 3.5 edition - Pounce attack

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    DnD 3.5 edition - Pounce attack

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    Hello, I have a discussion on Pounce attack. Here is the argument:

    Side A: It does not specifically say that a pounce has to be resolved with natural weapons only but instead can use any weapon, natural or not. In fact there is a class in the Complete Champion (Lion Totem Barbarian) that allows a human barbarian to gain "pounce" and gain full attacks after a charge.

    Side B: A "pounce" attack implies the use of natural weapons only. All creatures that have the pounce ability have natural weapons listed as the preferred attack. A pounce would allow the charge and then a full attack - but with natural weapons only.

    Effects:

    Side A - an 11th level Human race lion barbarian can charge and make 2 attacks with his greatsword.

    Side B - an 11th level Human race lion barbarian cannot charge and make 2 attacks with his greatsword. He could however charge and take 2 slam attacks (punching the opponent).

    The only reason for Side B to take Lion barbarian would be to allow a Race (without pounce as an EX ability) but with natural attacks to take full attacks after a charge as a Pounce (Ex) ability. Otherwise you lose the benefits of pounce when using non-natural weapons.

    Anyone else run into this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!

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    By the description of Pounce, the creature is not limited to natural attacks. It gains a full attack at the end of the charge.

    What you have here is that the Lion Totem ability just very powerful in certain circumstances. The Barbarian would be able to get two off two good hits raging and power attacking as he reaches his target (before the other spell caster kill everything else).

    This will be most useful at level 6, though will wane after level 11 as the other classes (wizard, druid, cleric) starts commanding the battlefield.


    If you claim the totem barbarian could only use slam attacks then he would be provoking unless he had the unarmed strike feat. Fortunately, a barbarian can't multi-class with a monk, otherwise the pounce would be extremely powerful.

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    I would have to agree that the description of the feat (in the Monster Manual at least) indicates that the attacker may make a full-attack a the end of his charge. If there it is being added as a feat to a player character then I'd just flavor it by changing the name of the ability. The end result is that the character gets a full attack at the end of his charge, not that he is literally pouncing on something.

    I do question the appropriateness of a player character having such a feat though. It's a little questionable. If the player combines this with other options, it may quickly result in the character being able to move around the battlefield freely and make full attacks. I'm not sure that the feat is weighted correctly if the PC ends up "spamming," this ability as often as they can.
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    Farcaster makes good points.

    Though the pounce ability is not a feat but a class ability replacing fast movement for animal spirit totem barbarians. The other include an improve grab(bear), +4 to move silently/hide(Fox) +4 search and spot (Eagle) and an additional +2 to flanking (Wolf). In some ways, these abilities are a bit better than extra movement; though pounce with the extra movement would have been sweet. You can also min/max the charge through feats to do hefty damage.

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    Part of the issue is time: a PC can only make one attack at the end of a charge because of the time allotted, most (half?) of it is spent moving. PCs, as humanoids, make their attacks sequentially, requiring more time for each attack.

    An animal, in "game" theory, can make its attacks simultaneously, especially while airborne and not relying on its weapons (paws) to hold it off the ground. So the extra time to make extra swings is not required.

    How would a PC pull this off? Piercing weapons could be used simultaneously in a charge (but lack the advantage of being reinforced by full body weight). Swung weapons, no, not likely.

    The other part of the issue is the intent of the feat. People don't pounce. Animals do. Maybe your person is animalistic, and so could use a pounce - a jumping maneuver - to combine a weapon attack and something else, like a bite, grapple, touch attack, or overrun. Just remember that an animal has four legs to support landing, and the PC...not so many.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    An animal, in "game" theory, can make its attacks simultaneously, especially while airborne and not relying on its weapons (paws) to hold it off the ground. So the extra time to make extra swings is not required.

    How would a PC pull this off? Piercing weapons could be used simultaneously in a charge (but lack the advantage of being reinforced by full body weight). Swung weapons, no, not likely.
    This is my view - and as a member of a group of DM's that handle a single game I am trying to make the point that the game "implies" animal/natural weapons only when talking about the pounce ability. I also believe that this was the intention of the original writers and creators of "pounce" and that because it was implied as common sense, it was therefore not written. The others, however, are looking at it just from a ruling standpoint rather than making a decision outside the rules of the game for the good of the game.

    The exact situation is this:
    A feral template half ogre that has taken Lion Totem Barbarian. We are playing 13th-14th level and this thing can roll upwards of 20 dice just for the weapon damage - not to mention the strength score.

    My argument was that pounce implies natural weapons only (animalistic) and that because the feral templates add fangs and claws - then these were the weapons intended for the pounce ability - not a great axe.

    Any more thoughts?
    Last edited by Farcaster; 10-08-2009 at 03:25 PM. Reason: Fixed quote box.

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    I would think, if I were in that situation I would say you can only pounce with light weapons, which is what fists and natural weapons are classified as in some cases. E.G. Sword + punch = two weapon attack with your punch as a light. Or in mixed martial arts, coming out from your corner at full speed, fists flying.

    Daggers, nekode's, kukris, hooked daggers I think are appropriate for pounce. Trying to get a full attack after you jump at someone with a great sword? That's a lot harder.

    Part of the great sword's power when it hits isn't so much the edge, but just the amount of MASS behind that edge. Swinging it in short little strokes won't have the power of a full fledged attack. Same argument can be made of most other weapons too.

    Bottom line though is that it's YOUR game. If you feel it's game breaking, it's game breaking, 'nuff said.

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    Pouncing is what cats do when fighting each other: it is a simultaneous strike with both its front paws utilizing its forward momentum. As such it makes no sense to allow two attacks with the same hand/hands one after the other as the momentum would have been used up on the first strike.

    There is a feat in PHB2 called Two Weapon Pounce that allows a character to make an off-hand attack along with his/her main hand attack on a charge. IMO this should be good enough to satisfy any warrior, and to start adapting feats to light weapons etc. is unnecessary.

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    Thanks for your input everyone.

    I did mis-state the option B where the barbarian rushed in - would not be a "slam" attack, it was supposed to be with claws - so a natural weapon attack.

    I think the biggest thing for me is that, in my opinion, it is a loophole in the rules that has been taken advantage of by many other entries on the books. A buddy of mine came up with a huge list of classes, spells, and creatures that gave the pounce ability to a character - and all referred back to the few lines in the monster manual that did not discriminate against natural weapons or manufactured weapons.

    I am playing with a group of 4 other people - one of which is a friend and co-player of more than 20 years. Two of the others are brand new to the game and one has played (but never DM'd) for over 15 years. The game we are playing is one where ALL of us are taking turns with DM'ing - so the others are learning the game not only as players, but also as Judges.

    What I saw was a ruling in the books that A) did not make physical sense and B) was way overpowered as it was written. Even though the books allow pounces to be executed with weapons, I don't believe that was the original intention of the use of "pounce". However, all in my playing group were voting to go by the rules because "that's what the rules say" - even though they would state that "yeah that doesn't make sense with the meaning of the word pounce."

    Surprised the hell out of me because my buddy of over 25 years used to be a huge "if we need to make a house rule then let's make it" player. But not this time because of the sheer amount of entries within all of the books regarding pounce.

    So, to make a point about blindly following rules even though they don't make sense and favor playing advanatges, I used Pun-Pun.

    Delivered it as a Trojan Horse (none of them knew why I was playing a little kobold) and when all of a sudden the little kobold became an almost literal god and all of them were scrambling in the books to read the rules that supported it - I think they got the point then. I know it was overkill but thought it would at least be a memorable example of "that's what the rules say".

    Think I went too far on that one? The DM currently handling the game was all upset about me getting thief abilities (since they are Ex), regeneration, fly at will, any and all supernatural powers and whatnot. Was even able to give myself wish and wished the monsters away. On top of that - I gave the Kobold the ability to "pounce" and used a quarterstaff to do it with (with a strength of 100 of course).

    I found it amusing, but they did not. However, the pounce rule was changed in our game to only include natural weapons very quickly. Unfortunately the use of Manipulate Forms was forbidden, but I was not too upset about that one.

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    I love Pun-Pun

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    A druid could use pounce...maybe in bunny rabbit form???
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    But wouldn't a bunny rabbit use it's big sharp teeth and go AAAARRGGHH!!! ?

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    The pounce ability allows a full attack at the end of the charge, period.
    Trying to nerf this combo just necesitates the nerfing of at least twenty other combos like a the dervish class ability. Don't worry about a character being too powerful, worry about the players having fun. Then, make a few NPC's with super powers for them to fight against to see how they like it.
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    If I remember correctly Pounce is a monstrous ability and not available to players, under normal circumstances. Hence the Two Weapon Pounce Feat which allows a charging character to make an off hand attack in addition to his/her main hand attack. No one is nerfing anything

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    The pounce ability is offered as a class trait for the Totem Spirit Barbarian. In this case, pounce is offered as a players ability. As written it makes no mention that you need natural attacks to make it work. The issue is if it's overpowering. Considering that it will only come into play by multiple attacks (6th at minimum) and beyond, the DM has to determine if it's too powerful.

    If he/she wants to allow it but under the rule you can only be used with natural attacks, then it loses it's appeal unless you build specifically to exploit it. That is a nerf by definition.

    Two weapon pounce is totally different. That is a feat with prerequisites for 2weapon fighting.

    In either case, the build of unarmed attacks or two weapons is not an ideal build for a class that relies on strength.

    However, the ability could be quite powerful at mid level depending on the campaign. In a campaign where the spell casters are just not living up to their potential, the Barbarian would take center stage. Is that such a bad thing? Some DM's seem to always have problem giving the melee combatants an extra edge. That edge usually disapears pretty soon.

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