The Hive Custodian

28th of October, 2005, 06:38

Here's where I (and anybody else who's interested) can describe how to optimize the use of feats, items, and anything else. I'll start with feats whose use can be toggled at the start of every round.

Combat Expertise

The following conditions favor full Combat Expertise:

> You hit only on a 20.

> You wish to prolong combat.

> Your attacks have a better chance of hitting than your opponent's attacks.

The following conditions do not favor Combat Expertise:

> Your opponent hits only on a 20.

> You wish to end combat quickly.

> Your opponent's attacks have a better chance of hitting than your attacks.

Karmic Strike

The following conditions favor Karmic Strike:

> Each hit you deal is worth more than each hit you take.

> You wish to end combat quickly.

> Your own attacks have a high chance of hitting.

> Your opponent's attacks have a high chance of hitting.

> You have Combat Reflexes and enough Dexterity to respond to all attacks.

The following conditions do not favor Karmic Strike:

> Each hit you take is worth more than each hit you deal.

> You wish to prolong combat.

> Your own attacks have a low chance of hitting.

> Your opponent's attacks have a low chance of hitting.

> You do not have Combat Reflexes and enough Dexterity to respond to all attacks.

Barring extreme attack bonus and AC differences, this expression gives the number of attacks of opportunity that will be provoked for every time you are hit due to the AC penalty of Karmic Strike:

1 + 5 * your opponent's average chances of hitting your non-Karmic Strike AC.

For example, if your opponent hits you 60% of the time, you will get 1 + 5 * 0.6 = 4 attacks of opportunity provoked for every extra hit you take.

Assuming you have enough attacks of opportunity from Combat Reflexes, you can multiply this by your own chances of hitting to get the number of hits you will deal for every hit extra hit you take.

Power Attack

Barring extreme attack bonuses and AC differences, and critical ranges, you can optimize your average damage using Power Attack using the following steps.

A. Calculate your average chances of hitting out of 20. Call this number A.

B. Calculate your average damage without Power Attack. Call this number B.

C. Find how much extra damage you get from Power Attack for every point of attack bonus you give up. Call this number C.

D. The number of points of attack bonus you should sacrifice for Power Attack is (A - B/C) / 2. If you get zero or a negative number, don't use Power Attack. Round fractions to the nearest whole number.

For example, if you hit 80% of the time (16 chances out of 20), deal 12 points of damage on average without Power Attack, and get 2 extra points of damage from Power Attack for every point of attack bonus you give up, you should sacrifice (16 - 12/2) / 2 = 5 points of attack bonus for Power Attack. You now hit 55% of the time for 22 points of damage on average.

Extreme Conditions:

> If you already hit only on a 20, Power Attack for your full base attack bonus.

> If you only miss on a 1 due to the automatic miss rule, Power Attack until you no longer do so before applying this calculation.

> If you fight with multiple weapons, take the average values of all of them.

> Be wary of reducing your attack bonus so far that your critical threats aren't always hits. Apply your critical multiplier to the "value" of each point of attack bonus in your critical range.

Concluding Remarks

In general, Combat Expertise does not go well with the other two feats. Expertise reduces your chances of hitting and your opponent's chances of hitting, reducing the effectiveness of Karmic Strike and the amount of attack bonus available to Power Attack. Karmic Strike and Power Attack have no effect on each other; the use of one does not encourage or discourage the use of the other, unless you have iterative attacks at lower attack bonuses, in which case a few more points of attack bonus should be sacrificed to Power Attack (Attacks of opportunity are made at the highest attack bonus, thus effectively raising the average chances of hitting. Although Power Attack reduces your chances of hitting with attacks of opportunity, it also increases the damage of such attacks, so there the effect is neutral.)

Of the three feats, Combat Expertise generally has the most dramatic effect on combat if your opponent's attacks do not have a high chance of hitting or if you have Superior Expertise, provided your attacks have a better chance of hitting than theirs.

Combat Expertise

The following conditions favor full Combat Expertise:

> You hit only on a 20.

> You wish to prolong combat.

> Your attacks have a better chance of hitting than your opponent's attacks.

The following conditions do not favor Combat Expertise:

> Your opponent hits only on a 20.

> You wish to end combat quickly.

> Your opponent's attacks have a better chance of hitting than your attacks.

Karmic Strike

The following conditions favor Karmic Strike:

> Each hit you deal is worth more than each hit you take.

> You wish to end combat quickly.

> Your own attacks have a high chance of hitting.

> Your opponent's attacks have a high chance of hitting.

> You have Combat Reflexes and enough Dexterity to respond to all attacks.

The following conditions do not favor Karmic Strike:

> Each hit you take is worth more than each hit you deal.

> You wish to prolong combat.

> Your own attacks have a low chance of hitting.

> Your opponent's attacks have a low chance of hitting.

> You do not have Combat Reflexes and enough Dexterity to respond to all attacks.

Barring extreme attack bonus and AC differences, this expression gives the number of attacks of opportunity that will be provoked for every time you are hit due to the AC penalty of Karmic Strike:

1 + 5 * your opponent's average chances of hitting your non-Karmic Strike AC.

For example, if your opponent hits you 60% of the time, you will get 1 + 5 * 0.6 = 4 attacks of opportunity provoked for every extra hit you take.

Assuming you have enough attacks of opportunity from Combat Reflexes, you can multiply this by your own chances of hitting to get the number of hits you will deal for every hit extra hit you take.

Power Attack

Barring extreme attack bonuses and AC differences, and critical ranges, you can optimize your average damage using Power Attack using the following steps.

A. Calculate your average chances of hitting out of 20. Call this number A.

B. Calculate your average damage without Power Attack. Call this number B.

C. Find how much extra damage you get from Power Attack for every point of attack bonus you give up. Call this number C.

D. The number of points of attack bonus you should sacrifice for Power Attack is (A - B/C) / 2. If you get zero or a negative number, don't use Power Attack. Round fractions to the nearest whole number.

For example, if you hit 80% of the time (16 chances out of 20), deal 12 points of damage on average without Power Attack, and get 2 extra points of damage from Power Attack for every point of attack bonus you give up, you should sacrifice (16 - 12/2) / 2 = 5 points of attack bonus for Power Attack. You now hit 55% of the time for 22 points of damage on average.

Extreme Conditions:

> If you already hit only on a 20, Power Attack for your full base attack bonus.

> If you only miss on a 1 due to the automatic miss rule, Power Attack until you no longer do so before applying this calculation.

> If you fight with multiple weapons, take the average values of all of them.

> Be wary of reducing your attack bonus so far that your critical threats aren't always hits. Apply your critical multiplier to the "value" of each point of attack bonus in your critical range.

Concluding Remarks

In general, Combat Expertise does not go well with the other two feats. Expertise reduces your chances of hitting and your opponent's chances of hitting, reducing the effectiveness of Karmic Strike and the amount of attack bonus available to Power Attack. Karmic Strike and Power Attack have no effect on each other; the use of one does not encourage or discourage the use of the other, unless you have iterative attacks at lower attack bonuses, in which case a few more points of attack bonus should be sacrificed to Power Attack (Attacks of opportunity are made at the highest attack bonus, thus effectively raising the average chances of hitting. Although Power Attack reduces your chances of hitting with attacks of opportunity, it also increases the damage of such attacks, so there the effect is neutral.)

Of the three feats, Combat Expertise generally has the most dramatic effect on combat if your opponent's attacks do not have a high chance of hitting or if you have Superior Expertise, provided your attacks have a better chance of hitting than theirs.