Rage & the Combat Expertise tree

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Y'all know how it stipulates in the barbarian's Rage ability that he can use any feat but Combat Expertise? Well, my question is, are you "using" Combat Expertise (because it is a pre-req) while you want to use Improved Disarm or Improved Trip? I had a raging barbarian npc last night that I was visualizing attempting to disarm one of my players (visions of the Kurgan knocking the Highlander's katana out of his grasp, actually).

To be on the safe side, I decided to just use a couple of sunder attacks instead, until I got some opinions from you guys today.

The npc barbarian is an unresolved opponent, still at large; It'll come up again...

I don't envision the rage of a barbarian (especially a CG barbarian) to necessarily be a murderous frenzy, so I can definitely see a raging barbarian swatting his opponent's weapon from his hand and pushing him to the ground, especially if the goal is to subdue rather that decapitate. (This type of situation is also why I allow Str-based Intimidate checks in certain situations rather than Cha-based).

The Rage description says that he cannot use Combat Expertise, not that he's treated as not having it. I believe the reason for it is that a rager is supposed to be focused on offense rather than defense. Plus, Combat Expertise allows him to effectively just transfer the 2 points he got from strength to attack to his AC instead, thereby negating that Rage penalty.

Long story short, I see no reason a raging barbarian would lose access to the Combat Expertise tree just because he can't utilize the prerequisite.
I agree with Ahruhn. Especially since Wolf Totem Barbarian gives Improved Trip. I see it more as being so angry that he can't think straight, and therefore can't use a feat with an Int requirement.
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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.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
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When she meets CJ's mom?
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In all honesty, I view the use of Sunder as the strong armed version of disarm.  When successful I say it "breaks" an item enough that it is definitely no longer useful  for th duration of the combat but actually destroying a weapon completely goes just one step further before it becomes unrepairable.  Sunder becomes a LOT more acceptable to players if you can just spend a little gold to "fix what you almost broke" instead of viewing it as "destroying treasure" which is the case in most groups.

Is there anything saying a Raging Barbarian couldn't use the Trip or Disarm actions?  No?  Then I don't see any reason that the "Improved" feats should change anything.