Kulkor Arms Master's feature Smite the Fallen

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A free melee basic attack when you knock an opponent prone is overpowered, especially when combined with polearm momentum.  See here for an example, but has become the default paragon path for a lot melee striker builds in charop.  It is also a problem when combined with world serpents grasp and the other ways to relatively easiliy prone enemies.

Possible fix: require the attack to be made with a "kulkor" weapon.  Make it a damage bonus when you prone an enemy or when you attack a prone enemy.
I haven't been an advocate of nerfs in quite some time, but I'll gladly make an exception here. This one is way the heck ahead of the power curve.
My two preferred fixes are limiting the bonus attack to versatile axes, hammers, and maces--just like the other features of the PP--or granting +1[W] to attacks against prone targets.

Though I suppose there's no harm in combining the two solutions, though: "When you use an axe, a hammer, or a mace with the versatile property and hit with a melee attack against a prone target, you deal 1[W] extra damage."
I personally hate that fix. Turns a fantastic feature into rubbish. So much so that nobody will take the PP. It is completely lackluster without smite the fallen to begin with.

I would say just require a Versitle axe, hammer or mace and make the MBA once per turn. That way fighters might take it with their prone powers and maybe wardens with their slow at-will and world serpents grasp and slow powers. Knights would like it too. But it won't be completely overpowered, just good.
...once per turn?  No way.  If it stays a MBA, once per round.  Tops.
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I personally hate that fix. Turns a fantastic feature into rubbish. So much so that nobody will take the PP. It is completely lackluster without smite the fallen to begin with. I would say just require a Versitle axe, hammer or mace and make the MBA once per turn. That way fighters might take it with their prone powers and maybe wardens with their slow at-will and world serpents grasp and slow powers. Knights would like it too. But it won't be completely overpowered, just good.



How would it be rubbish exactly? I think +1[W] might be a little low, but +2[W] when you knock prone or attack a prone enemy would do quite fine. That would be an extra 11 avg. damage on most of the Kulkor weapons that matter (and 13 avg. for a waraxe). That's considerably more damage than Pit Fighter can ever add, and last I checked that one's still pretty good.

Also, if the PP is lackluster without Smite the Fallen (which I tend to agree with, by the way), then offer some compensatory buffs to its other features or powers. Like allow the encounter power to make its secondary attack against the primary target. That would be fair.

The extra MBA IS too powerful. No two ways about it. I mean, as a comparison, people complain (unjustly) about the Morninglord, but that one only adds 10 damage. Kulkor can add 70+.
Lol got mixed up between turn and round.

Who will use the PP with that update? Req prone. Using a onehanded axe hammer or mace. And only gives a W. That's a lot of reqs for just a W.
Make it a damage bonus when you prone an enemy or when you attack a prone enemy.

I like that.  You replace the extra attack (and mountain of static damage modifiers and attack riders), with a flat x[W] damage bonus and provide an extra condition (attacking already prone enemies) that triggers the damage bonus.  Good call.

Alternatively, provide a +[W] damage modifier when you knock an enemy prone, and the enemy gains Vulnerable (something): All until the end of your next turn.  Everybody gets a bit of smiting.



Lol got mixed up between turn and round. Who will use the PP with that update? Req prone. Using a onehanded axe hammer or mace. And only gives a W. That's a lot of reqs for just a W.



Which is why I recommended +2[W] and a compensatory buff to his encounter power, if you actually bothered to read what I posted.
Send an email to WotC too. Smite the fallen takes all the fun out of optimization; it simply turns into a discussion about how quickly in one's career one can use it at-will.
Send an email to WotC too. Smite the fallen takes all the fun out of optimization; it simply turns into a discussion about how quickly in one's career one can use it at-will.




Actually there is no discussion about that .... 16 is the soonest. hehe

But seriously, I think requiring using one of the Kulkor weapons is the nerf it should get. Why ruin a perfectly fine PP with more than that. I think that will make people look at their weapon choices more and it will make it more unlikely for knights/slayers to use it because they don't get any bonuses to any of the listed weapons in Kulkors. 
But seriously, I think requiring using one of the Kulkor weapons is the nerf it should get. Why ruin a perfectly fine PP with more than that. I think that will make people look at their weapon choices more and it will make it more unlikely for knights/slayers to use it because they don't get any bonuses to any of the listed weapons in Kulkors. 

If it were just knights and slayers, I wouldn't mind so much.  It's the thieves, hexblades, and wizards that are starting to get under my skin...

I'm saying it would ruin it for knights/slayers ... also for thieves, but not for people who can dual wield or are bound to single handed weapons anyhow, like a scout. They have some good stances that can go with charging/Kulkor stuff. But turning it to Kulkor weapons only would very much limit the use of this PP.
I agree.  Just changing the feature to require Kulkor Weapons would keep the feel of the class and stop many of the shenanigans currently being used to exploit it. 
Making it KAM weapons only is good and sensible, certainly.

But if that's the only change you make, you're changing it from a 70 damage addition for some builds to a 60 damage addition for a subset of those builds. That doesn't really solve the problem, simply narrow the design space further.

I'd be most tempted to see it just be a flat 10 extra damage for attacks that successfully prone or against prone targets, and move on... 1 or 2W has some elegance to it, but also invites questions like "Knockdown Assault with 2W, so now I add all my damage bonuses right?" or "Brutal Barrage with 2W extra, so I get 4 attacks that and they all get damage bonuses now, right?"
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
How about keeping the free MBA, as a once-per-encounter thing? It's obviously a huge nerf, and it would prevent the path from being a top choice anymore, but I see this version as decent enough to remain playable and interesting.
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The whole keeping it to KAM weapons thing is a pretty good thought, but still a bit much in my opinion. Sure it limits it to certain classes, but some of those classes are not necessarily in need of a huge increase to potential DPR anyways (why exactly should Fighter be putting out Striker level damage? Not that this is a new problem specific to the KAM in any way). 

I would look towards Draconic Arrogance for the right idea to how to fix it. Have it do damage when you knock someone prone, that way you avoid the multi-attack issue. Personally I would suggest keeping this number high, it is always a bummer when a previously great option drops to completely worthless (maybe a flat 20? or possibly twice your STR mod which would limit it to the "intended" range of classes). 
How about keeping the free MBA, as a once-per-encounter thing? It's obviously a huge nerf, and it would prevent the path from being a top choice anymore, but I see this version as decent enough to remain playable and interesting.



The only problem with that is that it is a level 16 feature.  I am pretty sure all those are constant benefits and even though the fix would work, it is not elegant in that it breaks the standard for that part of the game design.
How about keeping the free MBA, as a once-per-encounter thing? It's obviously a huge nerf, and it would prevent the path from being a top choice anymore, but I see this version as decent enough to remain playable and interesting.



The only problem with that is that it is a level 16 feature.  I am pretty sure all those are constant benefits and even though the fix would work, it is not elegant in that it breaks the standard for that part of the game design.




I wouldn't say that's a hard rule. Granted, most level 16 features are of that type, but even in the first PHB you can find a bunch of exceptions. As an example, three of the Wizard paragon paths in that book have features that trigger 1/encounter, at that level (including Blood Mages, which are far from obscure choices). And looking at later books, in PHB2 we can find a L16 feature that explicitly states 1/encounter (Unveiled Visage), and a couple more which trigger on the use of a racial power, so they have the same frequency of use for most purposes (Bloodfury Savage and Turathi Highborn). It seems to me there's enough precedent to say that this doesn't break any existing design law.
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Don't over-nerf...unless you want people to stop using the class (which could very well be the goal; look what happened to throw and stab and the Pit Fighter).

What you do is change it from usable with any weapon to usable with Kulkor weapons only (as has been suggested previously).  Then, the shenigans with Thief hitting Ref and getting prone + another basic attack every turn get lessened, and people using spear or polearm with polearm momentum stop (halberd is not versatile and thus is not a Kulkor weapon), and the flavor and fun of the class are not diminished too much.

Personally, it's the responsibility of the DM to decide what is appropriate or not in a campaign anyway, so most nerfs really should have been just "recommended" IMO but that's another issue.
It should be KAM, regardless. That's an error, to have people wasting several feats and several class features, just to get that one 16th level thing.

The second question is how you balance it, and restricting it to KAM just takes out a few builds (and/or moves some of them to Eberron) and reduces the damage by a couple points. As a reasonable litmus test, if you made it instead "Deal 20 extra damage when you knock a target prone" it would be a heavy nerf, and 20 damage is a _lot_ of damage. (For optimized play, replace it with 40 damage or even higher, and the statement still applies) 
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
*cough*
Huzzah!  Its fixed! And they used a modified version of my OP proposed fixed.  A damage bonus of half your level when you prone someone. 

Its still a good path, but for a much, much smaller number of builds.  Non-dwarf wardens for instance can still get a lot out of it.
*pops the champagne*
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