[3.5] Supreme Cleave question

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How exactly does SUpreme Celave work (from Frenzied Berserker PrC in the Complete Warrior)? The wording sounds confusing. The way it reads is you can do a 5 foot step when you cleave, only if you didn't use a 5 foot step yet, only 1 time a round...thats how it sounds, but its not clear.

 We have a member in the group who uses that move...He kills a little minion, takes a five foot step, kills another minion, says "superior cleave" and takes another 5 foot step, kills another minion, then takes ANOTHER 5ft step, kills AANNOOTTHHER minion...etc...He sometimes ends up killing like 16 people before his turn is up. He has like 3 attacks, not including his greater and superior cleave. It makes many battles boring, and he INSISTS he can make a 5ft step EVERY time he cleaves. He is the only "experienced" one at the table, so no one questions him.

Also, if someone has a DR of X/+3...does that mean it reduces magical weapon of a +1 and +2 as well as normal weapons, and the weapon HAS to be a +3 or higher to hurt me? or does it mean something else?
How exactly does SUpreme Celave work (from Frenzied Berserker PrC in the Complete Warrior)? The wording sounds confusing. The way it reads is you can do a 5 foot step when you cleave, only if you didn't use a 5 foot step yet, only 1 time a round...thats how it sounds, but its not clear.

 We have a member in the group who uses that move...He kills a little minion, takes a five foot step, kills another minion, says "superior cleave" and takes another 5 foot step, kills another minion, then takes ANOTHER 5ft step, kills AANNOOTTHHER minion...etc...He sometimes ends up killing like 16 people before his turn is up. He has like 3 attacks, not including his greater and superior cleave. It makes many battles boring, and he INSISTS he can make a 5ft step EVERY time he cleaves. He is the only "experienced" one at the table, so no one questions him.

Also, if someone has a DR of X/+3...does that mean it reduces magical weapon of a +1 and +2 as well as normal weapons, and the weapon HAS to be a +3 or higher to hurt me? or does it mean something else?


1) Cleave allows you to attack ONE other adjacent enemy when you drop one.  Great Cleave allows to keep attacking another adjacent enemy every time you drop one until there are no more standing.  Neither one of those allows movement in between.  Supreme Cleave works like Cleave/Great Cleave (whichever feat you have), except that it allows you to take your 5-ft. step between attacks.  That means that, if the player has Cleave, but not Great Cleave, he can only attack ONE other enemy.  It also means (like it says in the SC description) that you may use your single 5-ft. step in between attacks, unless you have already used it that round.  Your "experienced" player is dead wrong.
2) The way DR works is this: the number before the "/" (X in your example) is the amount taken off of every physical attack UNLESS the weapon/natural weapon meets the quality of "Y" (which is the word or "+" after the "/").  As an example, the spell Righteous Might grants DR "5/evil".  That means: if the attacker does not have an evil-aligned weapon or natural weapon, their attack deals 5 less damage.  So with your example, if you have DR "X/+3", then any physical attack that is not dealt with a +3 (or better) weapon or natural weapon will deal X less damage.
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I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
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He is the only "experienced" one at the table, so no one questions him.

If your DM won't, then you should because in this case he's wrong (and who knows how many other things he's wrong about then?).  Really, this doesn't even pass the smell test.  OF COURSE it doesn't work that way.  Even if the wording in Complete Warrior seems unclear it doesn't take much poking around online to find that if he's not deliberately misinterpreting then he still ought to know better.  You should ask the DM to review this and put it to an end.  Tell the DM this is not about ruining the fun of the player in question, nor even questioning his motives (though that's possible), this is about the negative effect it has on the game for yourself and others at the table.  Even if he were CORRECT in his interpretation it should be nerfed.

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Supreme Cleave: At 2nd level and higher, a frenzied berserker can take a 5-foot step between attacks when using the Cleave or Great Cleave feat. She is still limited to one such adjustment per round, so she cannot use this ability during a round in which she has already taken a 5-foot step.

To translate:
Barbarian must choose which feat he's using, is it cleave or great cleave?
Cleave? Fine, he makes an attack, takes 5-foot step then makes another. It's over, he's done.

Great cleave? Fine, he makes an attack. Is there another enemy within melee reach? Fine, he makes another attack. Rinse and repeat until they're gone from around him. Takes a 5-foot step to the closest enemy (provided a 5-foot step brings him within range), then makes another, Is there another enemy within reach? Fine, he makes another attack. Rinse and repeat until enemies around him are gone. It's over, he's done, no more 5-foot steps.

In retrospect, unless great cleave + supreme cleave can only be used a certain number of times per encounter that is a pretty overpowered ability against weaklings, unless they're spread out AND unless the barbarian isn't using a weapon with reach. In tight clustered groups, great cleave is going to take out a lot of enemies, and if there are more JUST out of reach, a single five foot (he'd only ever be allowed the one anyway) step plus a weapon with reach would be enough to decimate enemy numbers. Can't take out enough this round? Come next round he'll do it again.
Let me begin by saying I agree with everyone here: It's only a single five-foot step, total.

However, I disagree with Man in the Funny Hat and CyberMastah about the ability being overpowering. Setting aside its situational nature (i.e. if you're unable to take down your foe in a single hit, there's no difference between Great Cleave and Cleave, and thus it's most useful when facing nearly insignificant foes), it amounts to a single character wiping out large numbers of inferior, swarming mooks in a single round. 

I fail to see how that's any different, in principle, from a wizard dropping a fireball and wiping out the mooks, except it runs a LOT slower at the table due to extra rolls.

Fundamentally, even the extreme supreme many-5'-steps version is just a matter of scale. You defend against both of them exactly the same way - use tougher minions or don't bunch up. The only in principle difference is now you have a warrior clearing the room instead of a spellcaster, and the warrior had to specialize into a very particular prestige class to do this while the mage gets it for free. I don't consider that to be a problem in and of itself.

Now, there are practical differences, and concerns with this, but I would argue that's not intrinsic to Supreme Cleave. For one, if the berserker is charging (and built the way nearly every Frenzied Berserker ever is), he'll outdamage nearly every damage spell by a LOT, probably dealing enough damage to wipe out a full player character in one hit, and second, with the damage spell, friendly fire is only done if the wizard's player wants to, whereas with the berserker, it happens because he stepped on a pointy stick. But these are specific problems with the Frenzied Berserker and not with the Supreme Cleave ability in a nutshell.

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Bleed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
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[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

The questions have been answered but just let me warn you to be careful when you have one "experienced" player that seems to be making the most of any give rule.  Having experienced players is GREAT but instead of not questioning things he says you should feel obligated to question EVERYTHING he says.  Maybe not everything during the game but certainly anything new; this is how inexperienced players become experienced players.  While you may go off of memory ONCE the experience player should be ready to provide support for his rules interpretations especially in truely questionable cases such as this one.

An experienced player should be viewed as a resource that can be used for find the original sources for things instead of being a personal clearing house of information.
 
I have a question about cleave as well. I am pretty sure that cleave works whenever you drop a target, so even on an attack of oppurtunity. Right?

On a sort of related note, can you make a full attack with your first attack being a trip attack?
I have a question about cleave as well. I am pretty sure that cleave works whenever you drop a target, so even on an attack of oppurtunity. Right?

On a sort of related note, can you make a full attack with your first attack being a trip attack?


When you make a full attack, your attacks can be normal attacks or anything that replacesa normal attack (trip, disarm, sunder, grapple, etc).

You could, in theory, take a full attack and start it off with Trip, then trigger Improved Trip on that (for a free attack at your full bonus against a prone foe), and then use that followup attack to sunder the fellow's shield (if you have Combat Brute, you can even Sundering Cleave from there onto the prone guy himself, with an extra +4 from Improved Sunder, of all things - and that cleave attack could be a disarm if you wanted), and then follow it up with two normal attacks and finalize it with a grapple. (This is accomplishable with Base Attack +16, Improved Trip, and potentially Combat Brute if you feel like sundering, which is almost never).

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Bleed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

I have a question about cleave as well. I am pretty sure that cleave works whenever you drop a target, so even on an attack of oppurtunity. Right?

On a sort of related note, can you make a full attack with your first attack being a trip attack?


Although it is not the RAW I treat any Cleave triggering attack as an attack that didn't happen (except to expend any one use things like True Strike or Smite) essentially "giving back" that attack to be used again.  If you make an AoO that triggers Cleave I would give you back that AoO to be used the next time you can make an AoO before your next turn.

I REALLY HATE the RAW answer for how Cleave works on an AoO.  I believe the RAW answer is that "yes, an AoO can trigger cleave.  That attack can strike ANYONE in range."  My issue is that the cleave attack could go toward someone who you could not otherwise attack.  The other issue is what happens if there is a three way fight an one guy bails trigger AoO from EACH of the other combatants who could use that attack to kill the runner and make a "free" attack against the other.


As for using Trip as one of the attacks when making a Full Attack I believe Tempest explained that as well as I would.