# Lightspeed supreme cleave, does it work?

Minsc the barbarian has to warn Dynaheir of impending doom because Thay is on the move. Unfortunately he is deep in Rashemen mountains, and Dyn' is studying in Candlekeep.

Minsc is lv 20, well equipped, has supreme cleave, boots of flying and a wish ring with 2 charge.

Seeing his master's distress, Boo whispers to him his idea[1]:

• Use the first wish on the ring to wish for an endless stream of unarmed unarmored levitating summoned kobolds each one 5 foot apart from the previous from a space adjacent to Minsc and going in the direction of candlekeep over the surface of land or water. Pop the kobolds up or down or across a curve as it is needed to cross over any mountain range in the path.
• Use the last wish to turn all 1s in attack rolls into 2s for the next round.
• beat up the first kobold, trigger supreme cleave and get to candlekeep in a single round.

Assuming the DM has let him get away with those wishes, is it doable? If it is not and there is something that can be changed to make it happen, what is it?

[1]: cut the space hamster some slack. His animal companion intelligence couldn't think of using a single wish to emulate teleport without error

• It is an interesting variation of Peasant Railgun – Revolver_Ocelot Jun 29 '17 at 11:28
• The biggest issue I have with this question is that Minsc is a ranger that just happens to have the ability to rage, but he's not a barbarian. ;) – Umbranus Jun 29 '17 at 13:43
• That's a fun idea and all, but why not just use wish to teleport? – samuraiseoul Jun 29 '17 at 14:26
• @Umbranus prestige classes... – Mindwin Jun 29 '17 at 15:04
• @Samuraisoulification I addressed it in the footnote. cut the space hamster some slack. His animal companion intelligence couldn't think of using a single wish to emulate teleport without error – Mindwin Jun 29 '17 at 15:07

Probably not, no.

Assuming that Minsc is a knight-protector, rather than a frenzied berserker, then this works up to a point. But since Minsc is a barbarian, the frenzied berserker prestige class is much more likely, and that won’t work. Why is simple: the frenzied berserker version of the supreme cleave class feature is limited to only one 5-ft. step per round. The knight protector class feature of the same name, however, does not mention any such restriction.

But even for a knight protector, a 5-ft. step is a free action, and the rules state that DMs are allowed to limit those to some reasonable number. You could argue that knight protector is more specific than that rule, so when it says that the knight protector “can” take a 5-ft. step that includes overcoming that limit, but that’s a stretch. And it is very unlikely that a DM is going to consider the 2.5 million free actions necessary here “reasonable.”

Then again, this is a DM who allowed wish to create 2.5 million kobolds, so maybe he will...

• Do they all 2.5 million kobolds have the same last name: Tucker? – KorvinStarmast Jun 29 '17 at 13:03
• not create, summon. And even so they don't need to appear all at once. Let's Apply Toyota's just in time – Mindwin Jun 29 '17 at 15:05
• Well even if he somehow manages to get as many as 5-ft steps as needed isn't he still limited to the amount he can move each round? – Victor Jun 29 '17 at 20:04
• @Victor No, he is not. Your movement speed only applies to things that specifically reference it, like, well, move actions. And exceeding it is certainly possible—for example by charging or running—so it cannot be seen as some universal speed limit. It’s just your “usual” speed. By repeatedly allowing the character to move 5 feet at a time, without reference to the character’s movement speed, this could blow right past that number without concern. On the other hand, that speed does suggest an obvious “reasonable” limit on the number of free actions can be spent on 5-ft. steps. – KRyan Jun 29 '17 at 20:17
• Am I just being nitpicky by mentioning that taking a 5-ft. is typically not a free action but no action? – Hey I Can Chan Sep 19 '17 at 18:49

If Minsc plans to employ the special ability supreme cleave of the prestige class frenzied berserker (Complete Warrior 34-6), Minsc is out of luck—that special ability is specifically limited to once per round. However, Minsc may have better luck convincing the DM this will work if Minsc is using a different version of the special ability supreme cleave like that of the prestige classes knight protector (55-7) or master samurai (Sword and Fist 29-30 yet sadly rendered obsolete by this document).

Even then, Minsc's player must argue against the Sword and Fist FAQ that includes this exchange:

Is there any limit to how many 5-foot steps a master samurai can make when using the supreme cleave ability? The Cleave feat says you can attack another creature in the immediate vicinity when you drop a foe with a melee attack. What is the definition of “immediate vicinity?” How does that change when using supreme cleave?

A character can take only one 5-foot step each round, and then only if the character has not otherwise moved during the round. Supreme cleave lets you step between cleave attacks, but you still can step only once.

In the case of Cleave, “immediate vicinity” means within melee reach. A character using supreme cleave can first take a 5-foot step to determine who is within melee reach before choosing a target for a cleave attack. (3)

(This is the only official-ish word I'm aware of on the special ability supreme cleave, and, while it's for , the 3.5 revision left the special ability supreme cleave largely unchanged.)

To be clear, the knight protector's extraordinary ability supreme cleave says, "Beginning at 3rd level, a knight protector can take a 5-foot step between attacks when using the Cleave or Great Cleave feat" (CW 56), and the master samurai's extraordinary ability supreme cleave says, "At 2nd level, the master samurai gains the ability to take a 5-foot step before making a Cleave or Great Cleave attack" (SF 30).

So what Minsc's player must do is convince the DM that the special ability supreme cleave overrides the typical limit on taking a 5-ft. step: "You can move 5 feet in any round when you don’t perform any other kind of movement" (PH 144)… and, of course, that the Sword and Fist FAQ is wrong. (Pro Tip: Sometimes FAQs are.)

In some cases, this will be easy: The DM may rule that the special ability grants the creature as many 5-ft. steps as are needed, specifically independent of the existing rules. That is, a special ability enables the creature to do it—regardless of what it is and regardless of the existing rules, the special ability existing essentially as an independent operator, the whole of it a specific exception to the general rules. This is totally valid and enables lightspeed supreme cleave: as long as Minsc never rolls a 1 on the attack roll, Minsc can, by hacking through kobolds, travel from Rashemen to Candlekeep during one attack.

(To clarify further, taking a 5-foot step is no action. A DM can, by the rules, arbitrarily limit the number of free actions a creature can take in a round, but the DM must make a house rule that says there's a similar limit on no action actions.)

However, in other cases, Minsc will find this more difficult. This DM, for instance, rules that the normal rules apply unless a special ability specifically overrides the normal rules—and while some abilities specifically enable multiple 5-ft. steps—the feats Psionic Sidestep (Expanding Your Mind Web column "New Psychic Warrior Feats, Powers, and Ranged Weapon Enhancements") et al., Pursue (Eberron Campaign Setting 58), and Sidestep (Miniatures Handbook 28), for example—, the special ability supreme cleave of the knight protector and master samurai does not, so this DM otherwise hews to the printed rules.

Thus, in this DM's campaigns, the DM sides with the harder rules and the FAQ and the knight protector and master samurai special ability supreme cleave allows only one lone 5-ft. step per round between one attack triggered by the feats Cleave (PH 92) et al. and that 5-ft. step granted by the special ability supreme cleave is limited as normal—the creature can't've taken any other movement during the round, including another 5-ft. step.1 So unless Minsc has some other way to take multiple 5-ft. steps during a round this DM's disabled lightspeed cleave, and Minsc is stuck in Rashemen, and instead of suggesting Minsc use a wish for kobolds sufficient to overrun Mulhorand, Boo should've urged Minsc to wish for—I dunno—, like, a really high kibble mountain and a surfboard or something.

### An alternative: lightspeed mounting and dismounting

Instead of using the wish for kobolds, Boo could've suggested using the wish for a line of horses (or some other kind of mount appropriate for Minsc), starting adjacent to Minsc and each horse thereafter 5 ft. apart, stretching from Rashemen to Candlekeep.

Minsc then could've taken a free action to make a Ride skill check to fast mount the adjacent horse (DC 20 but an armor check penalty applies) then take a free action to make a Ride skill check to fast dismount the horse (DC and potential penalty the same) on that horse's opposite side then repeat the process until, in the space of a free action, Minsc reaches Candlekeep.

However, the DM will likely limit the number of free action Minsc can take to fast mount and dismount. (In this case, this DM tends toward a limit like a creature's Dexterity bonus, minimum 1.) Further, this article—a Rules of the Game column, so be skeptical—restricts greatly the fast mount skill use of the Ride skill. But assuming a sufficient Ride skill modifier and using only the core rules and if the DM's extremely generous, a goldfish, or a stunningly lifelike computer simulation, Minsc could fast mount and dismount from Rashemen to Candlekeep in the blink of an eye.

1 That might sound terrible—and it kind of is now—, but bear in mind that all three of the prestige classes frenzied berserker, knight protector, and master samurai—so far as I'm aware, the only official classes that have the special ability supreme cleave—originate from Sword and Fist (Jan. 2001), one of 's earliest supplements, and its and roots show: those earlier games often demanded PCs murder hordes of inadequate foes.2 In such situations, being surrounded by such foes—hence unable to move—, killing all those foes, then being able to take a 5-ft. step to kill also the next wave was kind of a big deal, perhaps saving for the next encounter the wizard's fireball.
2 Used to the more conservative number of foes in , players in my current campaign that has the PCs venture into classic dungeons have been taken aback at the sheer volume of foes the adventure expects their PCs to face: sometimes, like, twenty or more antagonists all at once… in the Keep on the Borderlands! The players like their characters but they sort of regret not taking the feats Cleave et al., and the special ability supreme cleave—even if it enables only a lone 5-ft. step—is useful in such situations.

First, I think Wish has a limit to the amount of hit dice it can produce. I'd probably reference how many hit dice it can teleport or heal to get a solid max.

Second, while my first instinct would be your maximum dash movement, at the very least, your character would reach their fatigue limits before they got through all the kobolds, considering combat hard labor/exertion.

• D&D 3.5e's Wish spell doesn't mention "hit dice" or "hit die" anywhere in its SRD entry. It's probably the case that the kobolds necessary are an extraordinary use of Wish — the kind open to that being twisted by the GM — and the GM has chosen to allow it in this scenario. – doppelgreener Jun 29 '17 at 7:14