This is not so much sharing a house rule which I would put in the house rule forum, but more of a question to the CharOp folks if they can let me know if they see any serious issues with this idea.
Since you can use Intimidate on a Bloodied foe to get them to surrender (suffer a -10 to the check) I want to allow something like this power:
Target: One Bloodied Creature
Effect: Make a Basic Attack against the Target with a -10 penalty to the Attack Roll.
On a Hit: The damage dealt by the Basic Attack is non-lethal and the Target is Knocked Out (Until the End of the Encounter)
Whether or not I decide to say that any damage the target takes wakes them up or not, it basically means they suffer the same basic result as if they surrendered more or less. Has some neat flavor to it, you can say it represents a disarm and getting the foe to back down, or a sword to the throat threat, or just pulling a "Spock" and knocking them out with a well placed blow, etc. Any issues here I may be missing? Thanks
Can't anyone already deal non-lethal damage with basic attacks, without having to take a -10 to hit?
That's far far far more powerful than using Intimidate, it's even more powerful than saying "You can Coup de Grace Bloodied Enemies, but only with a MBA". The whole point of the Intimidate trick is to encourage a tactic other than "MOAR STRIKER", this does the opposite, people already are likely to optimize MBA's to some degree.
The game has some ridiculous temporary attack bonuses from various powers that neighbor in the +9 range by epic, but quite significant even in heroic. An easy example is a warlord with Tactical Supervision. The warlord just pops that when a PC is doing his finishing move and boom, almost no penalty. If it's an avenger or something with double rolls, target will go down no problem. So, if the question is can this be abused? Absolutely.
Because we're on CharOp, and Hypothetical PC's always have a massive bonus.
-10 to hit is quite manageable for a decently optimized melee character. And I'm not talking level 16, I'm talking level 4.
Assume combat advantage, expertise, a +2 weapon with +3 proficiency and 20 in the main stat. That alone gives you +13. Now take stuff like rogue or fighter weapon talent, Nimble Blade or a Slayer/Knight stance, and you can increase that to +16. A level 4 monster has 19 AC, so you KO it on a 13 or higher. Add a warlord or a double roll or whatever to the equation, and bloodied monsters easily go nighty-night.
This option, like surrendering, either never works or works so well it's broken. I don't even want to think about what this does to elites and solos. I'd advice against it. Also, if you do introduce it, don't hesitate to give it to your monsters as well.
If you want to introduce finishing moves to the game, maybe take a page from the Executioner. At levels 3, 13 and 23 they get the Death Attack feature.
When you hit an enemy with a melee or a ranged attack that deals damage, you can choose to reduce the enemy to 0 hit points automatically if it has 10/20/30 hit points or fewer after the damage is dealt.
You could give all daily powers the Death Attack feature. This might entice the players to save their big damaging daily powers for the knockout blow.
Thanks for the input, very helpful. I was thinking that what you could do for skill checks you could do for attacks, but now I see that bonuses to attacks are more common and generally more useful than those to skills making this an option that would not really balance well with the Intimidate option.
As for the Death Attack feature idea, I wanted to find something more significant than that but that also used up a Standard Action.
I wanted an alternative to Intimidate, so perhaps I will just go with some other options, like allowing PCs trained in Thievery, Acrobatics or Athletics to use those skills at -10 to knock out an adjacent mob who is bloodied and living (no undead or constructs, unless they also make a Religion/Dungeoneering Hard DC check) with a Standard Action check -10 vs. Fortitude if they know its vulnerable points or something.
It plays a bit different in my games, because I work in a difference between killing vs. KOing a foe, in some cases the PCs can gain an advantage for KOing rather than killing (but it may also prove an additional hassle as well, the fun part). But I impose a -5 to hit on all attacks they want to do non-lethal damage (my house rule), so they have to really want to take that option (but I make it so that just 1 hit at -5 is enough so they will not be killed when they drop to 0 or less, unless a critical is scored against them after the -5 hit which negates it and forces the PCs to land another -5 hit for that effect)
So giving them more options to KO a foe was my intent.
For my last followup question on this topic, does anyone know if there is any issue with using either Athletics, Acrobatics or Thievery checks at -10 vs. Fort against an Adjacent Bloodied foe as a Standard Action to KO them? I know about Intimidate pretty well (I play an intimidomancer in another game) but I am concerned there may be some common or readily available options to gain bigger bonuses to these 3 skills than available to intimidate, or even get an auto 20 on them as an Encounter power that I am not aware of. As long as the option is a daily or on an Uncommon or Rare item, I may have no issue, but if it is something on a Common item or useable as an Encounter or At-Will, I would have issues with those.
Thanks for your responses thus far and for any you may give to the above question.
The Wood Elf Agility and Agile Athlete feats are pretty far above any intimidate support, but fort does tend to be higher than will, so YMMV.
But having a free reroll and minimum of 8 is dangerous if the character finds a way to pump athletics/acrobatics up enough to KO on an 8.
IMO the best way to do this is just circumvent any mechanics and use your DM intuition. If a fight is basically over and you want to skip the mop-up, have the enemies run or faint or seppuku or whatever. Or just describe the next hit as doing something awesome to take the monster out.
This isn't really a CharOp type of solution because mechanics are everything here. But it's much easier and more flexible than trying to balance some kind of houseruled mechanic.
If you must have a mechanic, a couple times I've modified the existing Intimidate mechanic by giving the PCs ways to lower the DC for surrender. Mostly by killing the enemy's allies, but you could run some skill checks or other actions that cumulatively and permanently lower the Intimidate DC in that combat.
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