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The vector symbiat archetype, from Champions of the Spheres, has the ability Kinetic Overload, which reads, in part:

When a Brute, Scoundrel, or Wrestling talent would grant the vector an attack against a target within his telekinesis range as the result of performing a maneuver [emphasis mine], he may choose to make a ranged attack roll to pummel his target in place of the attack, dealing 1d6 + his casting ability modifier bludgeoning damage. This damage increases by 1d6 at 3rd level and every two levels thereafter and counts as magic.

My question is which martial talents from these three spheres actually grant these attacks? Some seem to obviously grant the attack (Scoundrel's Mug, Wrestling's Chink in the Armor), and others probably not (Wrestling's Slip and Strike), but what about an ability such as Wrestling's Piledriver?

When you successfully maintain a grapple against a creature you have already pinned, instead of one of the options normally available when you maintain a grapple, you may lift them over your head and smash them into the ground, automatically threatening a critical hit with your unarmed strike and rolling to confirm as normal. If the critical threat confirms successfully, the creature must make a successful Fortitude save or be staggered for 1 round. Use of this talent breaks your grapple on the creature. At +10 base attack bonus, the target is dazed for 1 round instead.

Does this fulfill the twin parts of Kinetic Overload, namely, "making an attack" (it's automatically threatening a critical hit; no attack roll is being made, but a confirmation roll is called for), and "as the result of performing a maneuver" (it's an option upon maintaining a grapple)? Does Kinetic Overload's option to make the attack with telekinetic force override Piledriver's requirement that the attack be made with an unarmed strike?

Piledriver's the most confusing example I've found in my readings, but I'd like to see either a specific set of tests (does it have to be an attack roll, does it have to allow any weapon to be used with it, etc.) or a full list of all talents that grant an attack that Kinetic Overload can replace this way (probably no more than a dozen unless it's a lot more generally applicable than I'm understanding it to be). I'm also working under the understanding that the attacks made as part of shove, marked target, and snag do not qualify, since they're handled in their own paragraph of Kinetic Overload.

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Technically No.

At least for Piledriver. It doesn't allow you to make an attack, or 'grant' you an attack, or 'make an attack at your highest bonus' etc or use that wording. It gives you a thing you can do instead of an option of a grapple, which is its own thing. If you had an ability that triggered when you confirmed a critical hit then it would apply, but not an ability that triggers from being granted 'an attack'.

This is a bit of an edge case and you might find people who disagree with that reading (it's not as entirely clear cut as some stuff), but I definitely would rule it as coming down on the 'not by RAW' side of the line.

However this is exactly the kind of thing you would normally take to the GM, have them rule on it, and then use that ruling for whatever game it comes up in. It's pretty clear that Kinetic Overload is designed to allow the Vector to substitute a Bludgeon telekinetic attack (although weirdly, one that scales differently in damage to the usual Bludgeon) for attacks granted by combat spheres which typically assume you're Bull Rushing or whatever with your actual physical body, rather than the Vector's schtick, which is grappling or bullrushing people with telekinetic force Magneto-style. Part of the GM's job is interpreting rules such that they make sense with the intent of providing whatever ability they're meant to, so presumably that's what should be done in this situation.

The issue is where a GM tries to enforce some kind of balance between characters via rules interpretations rather than just directly, which can lead to some pretty weird arguments and tortured wording, but that's a whole nother question to ask really.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll admit, I was hoping for something at least a bit more concrete than "ask your GM", but it doesn't look like anything else is forthcoming. \$\endgroup\$ – Klinkin Mar 28 at 13:42

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