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The Truth about Cleave

 
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Dark_Lord_Galen
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:06 pm    Post subject: The Truth about Cleave Reply with quote

The intent of this thread is to discuss the 3.5 D20 Version of (and if different PF and other versions IF noted so) the Cleave Feat and its related feats, Whirlwind, Great Cleave, etc.

Lookin first for Guideline interpretation of the 3.5 Edition of the PHB and as identified, home-brew variants with the why logic.
Thanks for your round tabling support.
DLG
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PHBp92
CLEAVE [GENERAL]
You can follow through with powerful blows.
Prerequisites: Str 13, Power Attack.
Benefit: If you deal a creature enough damage to make it drop (typically by dropping it to below 0 hit points or killing it), you get an immediate, extra melee attack against another creature within reach. You cannot take a 5-foot step before making this extra attack.
The extra attack is with the same weapon and at the same bonus as the attack that dropped the previous creature. You can use this ability once per round.
Special: A fighter may select Cleave as one of his fighter bonus feats (see page 38).

GREAT CLEAVE [GENERAL]
You can wield a melee weapon with such power that you can strike
multiple times when you fell your foes.
Prerequisites: Str 13, Cleave, Power Attack, base attack bonus +4.
[i/]Benefit:[/i] This feat works like Cleave, except that there is no limit to the number of times you can use it per round.
Special: A fighter may select Great Cleave as one of his fighter bonus feats (see page 38).
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Dark_Lord_Galen
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now to set the stage.
My interpretation of this is as follows.
Don't really have an issue with cleave by itself....
The water becomes muddy for my PC when we move on to greater cleave.... some of it stemming from grey editing of the 3.5e PHB
contentions
CLEAVE FEAT
    1st-5' Step- My perspective is you don't get it UNLESS it's AFTER the cleave feat is settled out... just like Attacks of opportunity, the extra attack the cleave feat awards is resolved THEN a 5'step may occur AFTER that. The Cleave Feat says" You cannot take a 5-foot step before making this extra attack." doesn't say anything about after.
    2nd-# of Uses- One per Round (remember this is important)

GREAT CLEAVE FEAT
    1st-5' Step- As noted above
    2nd-# of Uses- the PHB says "This feat works like Cleave, except that there is no limit to the number of times you can use it per round. To me this means, just like cleave it is a feat that takes one standard action to use, SO, to use it multiple times you must first have more than one Standard Action Available.
    3rd-Resolution of uses- Each Cleave Resolves independently. If first swing fell foe, then Cleave gives you ONE extra swing. if that fails to fell the foe, you "could" if you have another action left, chose to swing again to finish him. IF it then fells your foe, that 2nd cleave, once again gives you ONE extra swing IF their is someone within your melee attack radius.
    If the first "extra Swing" from the first cleave fells your foe, you don't continue swinging till you miss, this felled foe is the result of the "bonus swing" All Great cleave grants you is the ability to use the cleave feat more than once in a round.
    You only continue your melee attacks IF you have an action still available to use.
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Dark_Lord_Galen
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lastly,
I realize some may feel that the "Attacker" get to continue swinging each time they fell a foe, but near as I can tell, this "appears" to be more of an excepted Homebrew akin to getting money on "free parking" in monopoly.

And that is perfectly acceptable (have played that "variant" in monopoly for years).

But if that variant is allowed then other such "feats" created by third party publishing become even more difficult to align with.

Such As:
Ultimate Cleave-
Located Here Which comes from "Netbook of Feats (presumably OGLD20 but non-SRD)

PF Cleave-
Located Here Which is like Cleave of 3.5e EXCEPT the next foe must be ADJACENT to the first.

Whirling Cleave-
Located Here A homebrew posted on the D&D Wiki Similar as SRD 3.5e cleave BUT can be construed as kills all within reach (friend or foe)

Great Cleave (Modified)
Located Here Similar as SRD 3.5e cleave BUT can be construed as kills all foes within reach AND you get a 5' step between EACH step So again is listed as "Homebrew"

Supreme Cleave-
Which "technically isn't a feat but a class ability but seems to fit the discussion so what the heck hehe

It makes appearances in Sword & Fist (p30)
"Supreme Cleave: At 2nd level, the master samurai gains the ability to take a 5-foot step before making a Cleave or Great Cleave attack."

What is interesting here is in this "published rendition" they take the time to even spell out allowing the 5' step BEFORE making the melee attack.

But EVEN More interesting is the same feat also appears in "Complete Warrior" p35 and says "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.

The interesting part is the publisher here felt the need to further define that the 5' step could only be used ONCE per round. hummmm

And last but not least

Reaping Cleave-
Located Here Another homebrew, but certainly a cool name for it.... it allows multiple 5'steps up to the attackers base move rate.


*******************************
Again I do realize some of these (and I'm sure there are others I just didn't find) are not "official" nor would I even consider some of them. But they do share some common threads... all attempt to twist or clarify the wording around the original SRD published version.

So in sticking with the "rules" published, And I am not a rule lawyer type but we all have dealt with those that are (how I long for the days when they where "just guidelines") I hope to stir the waters of creativity and debate.

MY intent is using the examples for discussion and debate, my questions cast into the "CF Water" are as follows:


    How do you interpret them?
    How does it work, in the case of a ranger, with multiple melee weapons?
    And he succeeds at felling his foe with the second, off hand attack?
    How about in a Full round action like Full Attack instead of a standard one?
    How about those ranged weapons that get strength modifiers instead of Dexterity ones like thrown? they could be "semi- melee" since strength is at the core of their damage as well as the intent of the feat.


Let the Debates begin.. and thanks in advance for your feedback

My PC Barbarians will no doubt be anxiously looking at the results hehehe

Evil Grin
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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just need to say that I disagree with your interpretation of the Greater Cleave's allowance of multiple attacks in a single Standard Action.

To me, that is exactly the benefit of the feat. Without it, the feat is rarely useful. Remember that the feat's usefulness is limited to the number of attackers nearby. So, even if the PC had the ability to score a killing hit with every strike, he would still have to stop at three if only three opponents were within reach. If a PC high enough level to have Greater Cleave was surrounded by eight goblins and could kill each one in a single hit, why is that unreasonable for such a high level PC against such weak foes?

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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

These feats allow for extra attacks. Great Cleave allows extra attacks beyond the one extra attack Cleave allows for, but neither Feat adds extra movement. You normally only ever get one 5' step that counts as a free action, and it can be used in the midst of a full round attack action, but it cannot be made in conjunction with the use of the Cleave or Great Cleave Feats. the reason for this is somewhat obviously linked to Cleave/Great Cleave representing a single/multiple sweeping blow(s).

Example of proper use:

A 10 level fighter with Cleave and Great Cleave has two base attacks made at +10/+5. The fighter has four opponents within 5 feet (i.e. adjacent), and three more 5 feet away. The fighter elects to make a full round attack. His first basic attack (at +10) against one adjacent opponent and kills it. Using Great Cleave, he then attacks (still at +10) the other three adjacent opponents, and successively kills them all. The fighter then take his free 5' step, bringing him within 5" of, and adjacent to, the remaining three opponents. The Fighter then competes his full round attack by making his second basic attack, this time at +5 to hit. He hits and kills the first of the three opponents, and using Great Cleave attack the second opponent, killing it. The Fighter then rolls to hit the final opponent, but misses.

So, I agree with your initial assessment...mostly. A character doesn't specifically need another *action* to use the 5' step, just an additional attack that they can make after the first attack+Cleave/Great Cleave, which all really counts as only having made a single basic attack. Gaining an extra action usable as an attack, such as from a haste spell, is another way to be able to take that 5' step and then attack+Cleave/Great Cleave again.

With just Cleave and Great Cleave, a fighter can do a great deal of damage to many weak foes, but he can't run around using a billion free 5" steps (because no such extra movement is gained/imparted by Cleave/Great Cleave) while doing it without also having other Feats/abilities that enable such bonus movement, and which specifically state that such movement can be used in conjunction with the Cleave/Great Cleave feats.

As for the Samurai's Supreme Cleve, he gains the ability to take the free 5' step before making further Cleave/Great Cleave attack, but not before EVERY Cleave/Great Cleave attack.

Example: A 10th level Samurai is in the midst of a crowd of attackers. He attacks his first opponent, killing him, and then, unlike other characters without this ability, can step into the dead opponent's space and then execute follow-up Clever/Great Cleave attacks against opponents that had not initially been within reach, but which now are due to his special *option* to take the free 5' step in the middle of his Attack+Cleave/Great Cleave routine. He kills many of them before missing. He then makes his second attack, killing another enemy, and then proceeds to Cleave/Great Cleve a few more that are in reach of his *current* position. Note that the Samurai does NOT make another free 5" step while conducting this second Attack+Cleave/Great Cleave routine, because he already made his free 5" step for the round. The Samurai does not get potentially unlimited free 5' steps so long as he is cleaving successfully. He just gets the very useful *option* to use that free 5' step in the midst of a Cleave/Great Cleave routine, nothing more. Supreme Cleave from Complete Warrior was indeed written to make sure people understood this.

Note that the "free" 5' step is ONLY gained when conducting a Full-Round Action. A character cannot Move (a Standard Action), Attack once +Cleaver/Great Cleave (all counting as a single Attack Action), and then get a free 5" step somewhere in there as well. There is no additional free 5' step allowed for in that sequence because access to the *one* free 5' step is only gained in conjunction with taking a *Full-Round Action*, which is usually a melee, ranged, or spell attack.

Relevant references:

"The only movement you can take during a full-round action is a 5-foot step before, during, or after the action." - PHB, p.121

"TABLE 8–1: FUNDAMENTAL ACTIONS IN COMBAT" - PHB, p.122

Bonus relevant (and useful to know Wink) reference:

"If your entire move for the round is 5 feet (a 5-foot step), enemies do not get attacks of opportunity for you moving." - PHB, p.17
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Dark_Lord_Galen
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SirXaris wrote:
I just need to say that I disagree with your interpretation of the Greater Cleave's allowance of multiple attacks in a single Standard Action.
To me, that is exactly the benefit of the feat. Without it, the feat is rarely useful.
I fundamentally agree, and I’m not trying to neuter the feat, it’s just the as written for a “Standard Action (Attack)” it’s not what is implied. If it was, I would think it would take note to say (ie if written applies guideline) “per Action” not “Per Round” when comparing Greater Cleave to Cleave.
SirXaris wrote:
Remember that the feat's usefulness is limited to the number of attackers nearby. So, even if the PC had the ability to score a killing hit with every strike, he would still have to stop at three if only three opponents were within reach. If a PC high enough level to have Greater Cleave was surrounded by eight goblins and could kill each one in a single hit, why is that unreasonable for such a high level PC against such weak foes?
Not saying it’s unreasonable, just undocumented for support, at least near as I can find…. And as Detailed above by Big C, if the high enough level PC employed as a Full round action, I’m good with it, it’s the for lack of a better way of phrasing, the multiple standard actions if a move action is deferred. And thinking off the cuff, perhaps that is the stumbling block, is there anywhere that suggests only one standard action is allowed? I have allowed 1 standard and 1 move or 2 standard no move or 1 move and a readying etc. Thoughts? Maybe I miss interpret by allowing two standard actions within a round?
GENERAL.
Sir X and Big C.. (and any following along) Note this is a quest for comparative interpretation and information. I’m not opposed to, and in fact currently using some of the described methods, BUT IF we take heart (And to quote you big C) to the “what is written philosophy”, it says “PER ROUND”.
Now if the Attacker declares a FULL ROUND ACTION then I can certainly see the points you most learned gents are making. IF the Attack is intending to utilize “only” a standard action (attack) then I don’t see were, in any book, it supports the “continuation of attacks” beyond the initial attack plus one (which cleave grants and Great Cleave Mimics). To me, “as written”, the feat gives you the ability to employ the “Cleave Feat” more than once in a round. That’s it.

Cebrion wrote:
Also, the rules for recharging magic items were very purposely removed from the 3E core rules. Don't ever go with an argument of, "The rules don't say I can't do this.", because no rules for something means you can't do it, period. The rules tell you what you can do within the confines of the game...unless the DM decides to add a new rule for something, which of course means you then can do it. Wink

Lastly, I Agree with your detailing of application Brian, IF employed as you describe by an efficiently high enough level character in a Full Action.
Thanks as Always gents for your wisdom and input..
DLG
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