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Face_P0lluti0n's Guide to Weapon Finesse


Advice

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Scarab Sages

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Face_p0lluti0n's Guide to Weapon Finesse

It's still a work in progress. Continued from this thread

Taking advice, critiques, builds I haven't mentioned, basically anything you think needs added or changed!


Dotting.

Scarab Sages

Okay, added some stuff, including Crane Wing and Flag Bearer.


dot dot dot


You mention in the guide getting an AoMF for Agile, but AoMF only applies to unarmed and natural attacks. So it's great for a dex-based monk or unarmed combatant, but picking up a scimitar or elven curve blade makes that AoMF just a 5000 gp dead weight around your neck... that also cost you +1 natural armor.

Scarab Sages

Mauril wrote:
You mention in the guide getting an AoMF for Agile, but AoMF only applies to unarmed and natural attacks. So it's great for a dex-based monk or unarmed combatant, but picking up a scimitar or elven curve blade makes that AoMF just a 5000 gp dead weight around your neck... that also cost you +1 natural armor.

I will clarify that it was added to the guide as an option only for pure Dex monks.

Liberty's Edge

You keep referring to two weapon warriors not being feat starved, are you talking about people that use two weapons because that's a significant investment if they're not getting bonus feats from somewhere or are you talking about people who wield their weapon in two hands (ie. elven curve blade). You do this in a few places throughout the guide and it gets confusing. (For an example, see Vital strike.)

Scarab Sages

ShadowcatX wrote:
You keep referring to two weapon warriors not being feat starved, are you talking about people that use two weapons because that's a significant investment if they're not getting bonus feats from somewhere or are you talking about people who wield their weapon in two hands (ie. elven curve blade). You do this in a few places throughout the guide and it gets confusing. (For an example, see Vital strike.)

Thanks for catching that. The Vital Strike one was a typo. I meant to say "Two-handed warrior". Correction has been made in the guide.

Star Voter 2013

.

Liberty's Edge

You're also missing intelligence out of the attribute ratings.

Honestly, I wouldn't even bother with attribute ratings since this isn't based around a single class. A monk is going to want different mental attributes than a magus or a bard.


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You have suggested Dervish Dance as something of a saving grace. However, Dervish Dance requires Weapon Finesse and perform 2. This means it costs 2 feats, 2 skill ranks, and two hands to get what a strength based character would get with 1 hand at first level for free. This is a major hole to dig their way out of.

Also, dervish dance closes out two weapon fighting, which is the other fighting style that needs lots of dex. Note that TWFing only allows 1/2 str damage in the off-hand, which doesn't really change the static modifiers of dex builds much.

Finesse is much like two weapon fighting, in that it's only useful if you have huge modifiers to damage from things like sneak attack, and therefore are better off maximizing to hit and number of attacks instead of static damage modifiers. It's also primarily for those that have essential skills that require dex, such as Disable Device, and for small creatures like halflings that have a strength penalty or no strength bonus for other reasons, like a few animal companions.

All of this suggests that Finesse is best for rogues, who can afford a very high dex, and honestly are going to be better off going two fighting than power attack and dervish dance.

However, finesse builds still not going to be very damaging compared to a str druid, alchemist or two handed melee types. For example, my druid's level 1 ANIMAL COMPANION alone (1d6+4, 2x1d4+4= 20.5)
matches the damage (without power attack) of a level 3 finesse TWFing rogue (2x 3d6+0= 21 damage on average). They have equal accuracy at this point and do equal damage.

At level 7, the companion with weapon focus twice and improve natural attack is attacking at 13/13/13 and doing (3x1d8+9=40.5) without requring flanking. The level 9 rogue with 20 starting dex is attacking at 10/10/5/5 and doing 21 damage per hit with flanking. A CR 9 monster has an average AC of 23. This means the level 7 animal companion, with flanking, hits 65% of the time, and is doing 26.35 damage on average. The level 9 rogue, with flanking, is hitting 50% and 25% of the time, doing 35.7 on average. So the 9 twfing rogue does about 9 more damage on average than the level 7 animal companion.

The same rogue with Dervish Dance and weapon focus instead of twf and itwf would attack at 13/8 and do 27 damage a hit with flanking at 9.5 without. This would do 25.6 damage to the average CR9 with flanking. Notice how this approxamately the same damage as the level 7 animal companion, despite the same number of feats spent and 2 extra levels.

In short, finesse builds have to work to keep up with the damage an animal companion 2 levels lower can do.

Finesse builds largely boil down to making the most of a bad situation.

Scarab Sages

Furious Kender wrote:

You have suggested Dervish Dance as something of a saving grace. However, Dervish Dance requires Weapon Finesse and perform 2. This means it costs 2 feats, 2 skill ranks, and two hands to get what a strength based character would get with 1 hand at first level for free. This is a major hole to dig their way out of.

Also, dervish dance closes out two weapon fighting, which is the other fighting style that needs lots of dex. Note that TWFing only allows 1/2 str damage in the off-hand, which doesn't really change the static modifiers of dex builds much.

Finesse is much like two weapon fighting, in that it's only useful if you have huge modifiers to damage from things like sneak attack, and therefore are better off maximizing to hit and number of attacks instead of static damage modifiers. It's also primarily for those that have essential skills that require dex, such as Disable Device, and for small creatures like halflings that have a strength penalty or no strength bonus for other reasons, like a few animal companions.

All of this suggests that Finesse is best for rogues, who can afford a very high dex, and honestly are going to be better off going two fighting than power attack and dervish dance.

However, finesse builds still not going to be very damaging compared to a str druid, alchemist or two handed melee types. For example, my druid's level 1 ANIMAL COMPANION alone (1d6+4, 2x1d4+4= 20.5)
matches the damage (without power attack) of a level 3 finesse TWFing rogue (2x 3d6+0= 21 damage on average). They have equal accuracy at this point and do equal damage.

At level 7, the companion with weapon focus twice and improve natural attack is attacking at 13/13/13 and doing (3x1d8+9=40.5) without requring flanking. The level 9 rogue with 20 starting dex is attacking at 10/10/5/5 and doing 21 damage per hit with flanking. A CR 9 monster has an average AC of 23. This means the level 7 animal companion, with flanking, hits 65% of the time, and is doing 26.35 damage on average. The level...

I address this in the guide. There are sections explaining that Dervish Dance is not 100% optimal by itself, and that Finesse characters will never deal as much damage as Strength builds.


You never mentionned rogue or sneak attack past the first sentence. Two weapon fighting also isn't mentionned much, which is surprising given its synergy with finesse and the small damage dice of finesse weapons. Nor is small size mentionned, say a halfing knifefighter rogue, who frequently take weapon finesse to get around their strength penalty to attack and who tend to use smaller weapons anyway. For example, human dagger fighting rogue will do less damage on average than a halfling dagger fighter rogue after a couple of levels as the +1 to hit for small size becomes more important the more sneak attack you have.

These are pretty much the only ways a finesse character can equal a good animal companion by midlevel, much less an actual strength character.

With that said, I like your trip analysis.

Liberty's Edge

Furious Kender wrote:
You have suggested Dervish Dance as something of a saving grace. However, Dervish Dance requires Weapon Finesse and perform 2. This means it costs 2 feats, 2 skill ranks, and two hands to get what a strength based character would get with 1 hand at first level for free. This is a major hole to dig their way out of.

Its only a major hole if you consider damage per round the only standard by which a character can be judged. Would you, on a melee focused character, dedicated two slots to feats that said "gain +2 to initiative and +2 to armor class"?

Furious Kender wrote:

You never mentionned rogue or sneak attack past the first sentence. Two weapon fighting also isn't mentionned much, which is surprising given its synergy with finesse and the small damage dice of finesse weapons. Nor is small size mentionned, say a halfing knifefighter rogue, who frequently take weapon finesse to get around their strength penalty to attack and who tend to use smaller weapons anyway. For example, human dagger fighting rogue will do less damage on average than a halfling dagger fighter rogue after a couple of levels as the +1 to hit for small size becomes more important the more sneak attack you have.

These are pretty much the only ways a finesse character can equal a good animal companion by midlevel, much less an actual strength character.

With that said, I like your trip analysis.

First, a dex rogue is generally less powerful than a strength based rogue. And I know it looks like dex based should be far superior, but run the numbers, they're simply not. Finesse, dual wielding rogues are a trap.

As far as I'm concerned, so far, the guide is pretty well on course, a dervish dancing magus is very powerful, and lore warden can stand the strength loss to work off of dexterity.


ShadowcatX wrote:


Dervish Dance is only a major hole if you consider damage per round the only standard by which a character can be judged. Would you, on a melee focused character, dedicated two slots to feats that said "gain +2 to initiative and +2 to armor class"?

Well, as long as you're not a arcane caster or have some other reason you need a hand free, you could just pick up a darkwood shield, even if you're not profecient for 257 or so gold. If you are an arcane caster, you need a mithral buckler. So, it's 2 feats for +2 intitiative, which could have been used for dodge and improved initiative if defense and initiative were concerns. Oh, and you can enchant the shield, but there is only so much you can do with the emply hand.

Yes, Dervish Dance is typically a trap, except for the fact that disable device is dex based and a few classes that need a free hand.

Magus and Duelist seem to be the classes that benefits the most from Dervish Dance, as they need a free hand and/or cannot use shields.

[

ShadowcatX wrote:

First, a dex rogue is generally less powerful than a strength based rogue. And I know it looks like dex based should be far superior, but run the numbers, they're simply not. Finesse, dual wielding rogues are a trap.

I'm well aware strength rogues do more damage than dex rogues. However, if you're two weapon fighting, you are going to need a 17+ dex. This makes a lot of twfing rogues go finesse as they cannot easily have an 18 post racial in strength and 17 post racial in dex. That is at least 16 points, just for a 16/16 preracial.

Scarab Sages

Furious Kender wrote:

You never mentionned rogue or sneak attack past the first sentence. Two weapon fighting also isn't mentionned much, which is surprising given its synergy with finesse and the small damage dice of finesse weapons. Nor is small size mentionned, say a halfing knifefighter rogue, who frequently take weapon finesse to get around their strength penalty to attack and who tend to use smaller weapons anyway. For example, human dagger fighting rogue will do less damage on average than a halfling dagger fighter rogue after a couple of levels as the +1 to hit for small size becomes more important the more sneak attack you have.

These are pretty much the only ways a finesse character can equal a good animal companion by midlevel, much less an actual strength character.

With that said, I like your trip analysis.

It is still a work in progress. I consider myself less than halfway done. I'll cover the Rogue next in the classes section, along with Vivisectionist, Archaeologist, Ninja, etc.

I've yet to really run everyone through a DPR calc or come up with final builds. I personally expect that the Dervish Magus and the Lore Warden Tripper will be the two builds that are fully equal to 100% optimized DPR Olympics competitors. I've yet to put Knife Masters through their paces though.

Quote:
Well, as long as you're not a arcane caster or have some other reason you need a hand free, you could just pick up a darkwood shield, even if you're not profecient for 257 or so gold. If you are an arcane caster, you need a mithral buckler. So, it's 2 feats for +2 intitiative, which could have been used for dodge and improved initiative if defense and initiative were concerns.

Part of the analysis is based on the idea that it is more efficient to pick one stat and pour all wealth and ability increases into it. The difference at first level will only be +1 to +3, but that gap will widen to +4 to +6 later on. I'd definitely spend a feat for +4 Init and +4 AC (Inc. Touch)

The free hand thing is problem though, and I'm still exploring effective ways to use that off-hand. The best one I have so far is using it for Magus spells. We'll see how the rest shakes out.

Liberty's Edge

Furious Kender wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:


Dervish Dance is only a major hole if you consider damage per round the only standard by which a character can be judged. Would you, on a melee focused character, dedicated two slots to feats that said "gain +2 to initiative and +2 to armor class"?
Well, as long as you're not a arcane caster or have some other reason you need a hand free, you could just pick up a darkwood shield, even if you're not profecient for 257 or so gold. If you are an arcane caster, you need a mithral buckler. So, it's 2 feats for +2 intitiative, which could have been used for dodge and improved initiative if defense and initiative were concerns. Oh, and you can enchant the shield, but there is only so much you can do with the emply hand.

Now you're roughly equal on number of feats, AC, initiative, and damage (since you're now wielding a 1 handed weapon and a shield), except your shield cost you 257 gold, which the dervish dance character can use on something much more interesting than a shield.

Quote:
[
ShadowcatX wrote:

First, a dex rogue is generally less powerful than a strength based rogue. And I know it looks like dex based should be far superior, but run the numbers, they're simply not. Finesse, dual wielding rogues are a trap.

I'm well aware strength rogues do more damage than dex rogues. However, if you're two weapon fighting, you are going to need a 17+ dex. This makes a lot of twfing rogues go finesse as they cannot easily have an 18 post racial in strength and 17 post racial in dex. That is at least 16 points, just for a 16/16 preracial.

That's the point, rogues should not be two weapon fighting. Optimally a rogue should go half-orc, pick up a falchion and use it to split in twain all the other members of the guild who think TWF is the way to go on a rogue.


I like the breakdown of finesse + maneuvers


Furious Kender wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:


Dervish Dance is only a major hole if you consider damage per round the only standard by which a character can be judged. Would you, on a melee focused character, dedicated two slots to feats that said "gain +2 to initiative and +2 to armor class"?
Well, as long as you're not a arcane caster or have some other reason you need a hand free, you could just pick up a darkwood shield, even if you're not profecient for 257 or so gold. If you are an arcane caster, you need a mithral buckler. So, it's 2 feats for +2 intitiative, which could have been used for dodge and improved initiative if defense and initiative were concerns. Oh, and you can enchant the shield, but there is only so much you can do with the emply hand.

Two points:

1. The guide specifically addresses this in the section on Dervish Dance.

2. This is a guide to weapon finesse, so that is a given. This would be a poor guide to weapon finesse if the first option was "don't use weapon finesse", and he even has a section talking about the drawbacks of using weapon finesse. In the context of the guide, Dervish Dance costs 1 feat and 2 skill points to give you bonus damage at the cost of some flexibility in your off hand slot and weapon choice.

@Face_P0lluti0n
IMO, two-weapon fighting should be one of the things compared in the "How to do damage" section along with the ones already there (Dervish Dance, "Agile" weapons, ECB) and should cover using two weapons or a weapon and shield (again IMO).

Great start on the guide.

Liberty's Edge

I would point out that a TWF section would be good, just not with rogues as the poster boy for it. Paladins on the other hand rock out TWF.


Just to throw it out there but one of the best combos we have found for Dervish dance is a 2 level dip into monk for...

Crane wing
Crane Style
(not as good) but also the ability to throw a punch.

so long as you have to have a hand free for DD may as well crane it up.

You only lose 1 BAB from all lore warden, gain 3 feats and evasion.

Scarab Sages

ShadowcatX wrote:
I would point out that a TWF section would be good, just not with rogues as the poster boy for it. Paladins on the other hand rock out TWF.
slacks wrote:
IMO, two-weapon fighting should be one of the things compared in the "How to do damage" section along with the ones already there (Dervish Dance, "Agile" weapons, ECB) and should cover using two weapons or a weapon and shield (again IMO).

Ok, TWF section in progress.


Iirc, for rogues, Twf > str when full attacking with SA, but str >>> twf when not. So it depends on how ogten you get full attack SA

Liberty's Edge

stringburka wrote:
Iirc, for rogues, Twf > str when full attacking with SA, but str >>> twf when not. So it depends on how ogten you get full attack SA

That's the general belief, but much of the time it simply isn't true. A finesse / TWF is generally -5 or so to hit behind a strength build, and that just puts too much of a damper on their damage.

(-2 to hit from TWF, -2 from having to wield 2 agile weapons as opposed to a single +3 weapon, and +1 from a feat that could've been used for Weapon Focus)

That's why the paladin is the perfect poster child for TWF, he gets a huge bonus to damage but still gets to keep his attack up.

Scarab Sages

Thefurmonger wrote:

Just to throw it out there but one of the best combos we have found for Dervish dance is a 2 level dip into monk for...

Crane wing
Crane Style
(not as good) but also the ability to throw a punch.

so long as you have to have a hand free for DD may as well crane it up.

You only lose 1 BAB from all lore warden, gain 3 feats and evasion.

I address this idea in passing on page 5, and I plan to go into detail on it when I start the builds section.


It's looking good, but I would add a build: Dawnflower Dervish bard. Scimitar proficiency, Dervish Dance for free at first level (without finesse, but you don't need it if you're using the scimitar), move action or less to activate inspire courage, which only affects you but gets double the bonuses, along with some other fun things (the ability to spend a move action to quicken a cure spell, for example - not great, but it does allow you do sooooorta do the magus' "cast and smack" thing, though only with cure spells and a single attack).


Face_P0lluti0n wrote:
Mauril wrote:
You mention in the guide getting an AoMF for Agile, but AoMF only applies to unarmed and natural attacks. So it's great for a dex-based monk or unarmed combatant, but picking up a scimitar or elven curve blade makes that AoMF just a 5000 gp dead weight around your neck... that also cost you +1 natural armor.
I will clarify that it was added to the guide as an option only for pure Dex monks.

Actually, as the one who pointed out Agile AoMF in the first place, I did so for the purpose of a character with a bunch of natural weapons attacks (in particular, the ViV. alchemist w/ feral mutagen, though Synth. summoner and others also work well). As always, such characters get far more use out of the AoMF than the monk does.

*shrug*


DrowVampyre wrote:
It's looking good, but I would add a build: Dawnflower Dervish bard. Scimitar proficiency, Dervish Dance for free at first level (without finesse, but you don't need it if you're using the scimitar), move action or less to activate inspire courage, which only affects you but gets double the bonuses, along with some other fun things (the ability to spend a move action to quicken a cure spell, for example - not great, but it does allow you do sooooorta do the magus' "cast and smack" thing, though only with cure spells and a single attack).

Yup, that and the Viv. Alchemist were the two I submitted for review in the other thread. :)

Dawnflower Dervish can be pretty decent damage even without power attack. Say at level 20 you have a +9 dex, a +5 weapon, and your +8 inspire courage going. That's 1d6+22 damage per swing and +37 to hit, not too shabby. And that's not even trying hard to optimize the damage output.

Scarab Sages

StreamOfTheSky wrote:
Face_P0lluti0n wrote:
Mauril wrote:
You mention in the guide getting an AoMF for Agile, but AoMF only applies to unarmed and natural attacks. So it's great for a dex-based monk or unarmed combatant, but picking up a scimitar or elven curve blade makes that AoMF just a 5000 gp dead weight around your neck... that also cost you +1 natural armor.
I will clarify that it was added to the guide as an option only for pure Dex monks.

Actually, as the one who pointed out Agile AoMF in the first place, I did so for the purpose of a character with a bunch of natural weapons attacks (in particular, the ViV. alchemist w/ feral mutagen, though Synth. summoner and others also work well). As always, such characters get far more use out of the AoMF than the monk does.

*shrug*

My apologies. I intended to add the Dervish builds you suggested, but must have misread - I didn't link of AoMF with those builds. Sorry, my bad. Will correct.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
DrowVampyre wrote:
It's looking good, but I would add a build: Dawnflower Dervish bard. Scimitar proficiency, Dervish Dance for free at first level (without finesse, but you don't need it if you're using the scimitar), move action or less to activate inspire courage, which only affects you but gets double the bonuses, along with some other fun things (the ability to spend a move action to quicken a cure spell, for example - not great, but it does allow you do sooooorta do the magus' "cast and smack" thing, though only with cure spells and a single attack).

Yup, that and the Viv. Alchemist were the two I submitted for review in the other thread. :)

Dawnflower Dervish can be pretty decent damage even without power attack. Say at level 20 you have a +9 dex, a +5 weapon, and your +8 inspire courage going. That's 1d6+22 damage per swing and +37 to hit, not too shabby. And that's not even trying hard to optimize the damage output.

And you can stick Discordant Voice on (even though you're...dancing...it doesn't require you to use your voice <_<) for an extra d6 sonic, plus whatever buff spells you stack on yourself.

I actually don't think I'd even bother with PA for the Dawnflower Dervish...you don't get the 3:1 thing, since you're dervish dancing, and you have other ways to buff your attacks, and since you saved at least 1 feat (Dervish Dancer - you probably saved 2, not picking up Finesse either) you can get some of the goodies like Crane Wing earlier. And you can pretty well dump strength then too (since you're a light armor, high dex character who doesn't care about PA and gets to use dex for hit and damage starting form level 1 and all), and save build points for more dex/cha (or con or int or wis, whatever you want).


you can still hold a torch or lantern with dervish dance. they are neither a weapon nor shield. or your offhand attack can be done with an unarmed strike, or a spiked gaunlet. the latter can also be done with a magus.


DrowVampyre wrote:
...since you saved at least 1 feat (Dervish Dancer - you probably saved 2, not picking up Finesse either) you can get some of the goodies like Crane Wing earlier.

To be fair...w/o multiclassing, you're basically stuck waiting till level 7 to meet Crane Wing's +5 BAB requirement, no matter how soon you can compile the other feats it needs. :)

But yeah, I also wouldn't bother with power attack on a Dawnflower Dervish. As it is, Crane Style will give you something to reduce your attack bonus on that's worthwhile. And much later on, you could pick up Dazing Assault perhaps. Plenty of options for converting excessive attack bonus into goodies.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
DrowVampyre wrote:
...since you saved at least 1 feat (Dervish Dancer - you probably saved 2, not picking up Finesse either) you can get some of the goodies like Crane Wing earlier.

To be fair...w/o multiclassing, you're basically stuck waiting till level 7 to meet Crane Wing's +5 BAB requirement, no matter how soon you can compile the other feats it needs. :)

But yeah, I also wouldn't bother with power attack on a Dawnflower Dervish. As it is, Crane Style will give you something to reduce your attack bonus on that's worthwhile. And much later on, you could pick up Dazing Assault perhaps. Plenty of options for converting excessive attack bonus into goodies.

True, but it's tough to pull that off when you're looking at having to drop your first two feats on Finesse and Dervish Dancing, and there's lots of stuff to pick up earlier than that that you'd want either way.

For a human, say, Arcane Strike or Weapon Focus (scimitar) and Dodge at 1, IUS at 3, Crane Style at 5, Crane Wing at 7. If you're not a human, you're already locked in with nothing optional to get Crane Wing at 7 without spending 2 feats for Finesse and Dervish, and even getting those two free and getting the bonus from human, if you want Crane Wing ASAP, you're gonna be waiting til 9 for either Weapon Focus or Arcane Strike (or pick them both up, but delay Crane Wing til later).


You need BAB +1 for weapon focus, so that makes the choice for the level 1 human DD pretty easy. :)

(In my case, I took a 3rd option for my level 1 feat alongside Dodge -- Enforcer. You're already worshipping Saranrae and using a slahing weapon anyway, may as well pick up Blade of Mercy trait and do +1 damage and fear effect on every attack you make)


Riiight, sorry, lol. I confused myself while writing it and ended up sticking that in the wrong spot (shoulda been IUS or Arcane Strike, and then Weapon Focus at 3, assuming people are going to want focus before Crane Style).

Enforcer's one of those weird feats, to me, that with the right build can be awesome, but there's only one build I can think of offhand that really makes use of it (nonlethal rogue/ninja/vivisectionist who also picks up sap adept, sap master, and shatter defenses), but that takes so long to get going I'm not sure it's worth it...but I'm probably missing what's so great about shaken. Granted, frightened is pretty nice, but is only on crit and can cause its own problems...

Grand Lodge

Could use mention of Piranha Strike (Power Attack for light weapons only, no Str pre-requisite). It's from a less commonly owned source, but PFS legal.

Also, dotting.


DrowVampyre wrote:
Enforcer's one of those weird feats, to me, that with the right build can be awesome, but there's only one build I can think of offhand that really makes use of it (nonlethal rogue/ninja/vivisectionist who also picks up sap adept, sap master, and shatter defenses), but that takes so long to get going I'm not sure it's worth it...but I'm probably missing what's so great about shaken. Granted, frightened is pretty nice, but is only on crit and can cause its own problems...

Well, if nothing else, it's still a -2 on all d20 rolls, that's a decent minor debuff to chain on every attack you make. Costs skill ranks, but you get 6 + int, so that's not so bad.

And later on...you'll have a keen scmitar (replaced later by Imp. Critical feat, perhaps), and will be threatening a crit on a 15+, so that is some nice synergy, too.

EDIT: And with the nice, long shaken duration, it's easy to stack with other fear effects. I've seen people claim intimidate's demoralize was nerfed into the ground to not stack w/ anything at all, but the official rules document says no such thing. IIRC, it was a PF Society only ruling.

Scarab Sages

Arutema wrote:

Could use mention of Piranha Strike (Power Attack for light weapons only, no Str pre-requisite). It's from a less commonly owned source, but PFS legal.

Also, dotting.

I do mention Piranha Strike in the guide, or I will. It's not very good because dump-statting Strength is not a good idea IMO. Power Attack is not that hard to qualify for and you can PA with light weapons.

Sczarni

I like this guide. I do have some questions - and maybe those questions warrant their own thread but I'd like to run them by you here in the event that you may want to address them in your guide...

CMB: In the rules it states "When you attempt to perform a combat maneuver, make an attack roll and add your CMB in place of your normal attack bonus. Add any bonuses you currently have on attack rolls due to spells, feats, and other effects. These bonuses must be applicable to the weapon or attack used to perform the maneuver."

We already know that Weapon Finesse lets you include your DEX mod on the attack roll, which you then add to your CMB. But how does this work in conjunction with Agile Maneuvres??

Your CMB is normally comprised of BAB + STR Mod + Special Size Bonus. Agile Maneuvres lets you use your DEX in place of your STR to determine your CMB.

So would Agile Maneuvres + Weapon Finess allow you to use your DEX mod twice - once when calculating your CMB (in place of STR) and again as the bonus on attack rolls as explained above (in bold)?

If so it should make Agile Maneuvres Blue in your guide. If not I'd say make it Red because without it you at least get to add your STR mod - and if people follow your advice that should be an extra +1 or +2 (I prefer 14 STR to get that extra +1 to damage when using a Curveblade).

Either way you cut it using Weapon Finesse when making a Combat Maneuvre should give you a bit of an edge over a Strength based build as your DEX mod should at least be equal to the BSF's STR Mod. Since there are no feats that let you add your STR mod to a melee attack roll (on account that you already do) it seems as if a Finesse build could in fact come out slightly ahead on CMB.

Liberty's Edge

No, you can not add dexterity to CMB rolls twice. Weapon finesse is not a bonus to attack rolls, it is simply allowing you to replace your normal attack stat with another attack stat.

Scarab Sages

Daryl MacLeod wrote:

I like this guide. I do have some questions - and maybe those questions warrant their own thread but I'd like to run them by you here in the event that you may want to address them in your guide...

CMB: In the rules it states "When you attempt to perform a combat maneuver, make an attack roll and add your CMB in place of your normal attack bonus. Add any bonuses you currently have on attack rolls due to spells, feats, and other effects. These bonuses must be applicable to the weapon or attack used to perform the maneuver."

We already know that Weapon Finesse lets you include your DEX mod on the attack roll, which you then add to your CMB. But how does this work in conjunction with Agile Maneuvres??

Your CMB is normally comprised of BAB + STR Mod + Special Size Bonus. Agile Maneuvres lets you use your DEX in place of your STR to determine your CMB.

So would Agile Maneuvres + Weapon Finess allow you to use your DEX mod twice - once when calculating your CMB (in place of STR) and again as the bonus on attack rolls as explained above (in bold)?

If so it should make Agile Maneuvres Blue in your guide. If not I'd say make it Red because without it you at least get to add your STR mod - and if people follow your advice that should be an extra +1 or +2 (I prefer 14 STR to get that extra +1 to damage when using a Curveblade).

Either way you cut it using Weapon Finesse when making a Combat Maneuvre should give you a bit of an edge over a Strength based build as your DEX mod should at least be equal to the BSF's STR Mod. Since there are no feats that let you add your STR mod to a melee attack roll (on account that you already do) it seems as if a Finesse build could in fact come out slightly ahead on CMB.

Shadowcat's interpretation of the rule is the one I am going with. There's been some debate about this, and the general consensus is to go with the more conservative version of the rules.


You can't that way, no, but you can double-dip Dex for trip via Fury's Fall (it says add Dex to CMB, not in place of anything).


Still missing Piranha Strike. And please add Viv. Alchemist to the builds list. With it, you can have the Agile amulet w/ 3 primary natural weapons (feral mutagen), you get the Alchemical Allocation for Greater Magic Fang to make up for the loss, you get Greater Invisibility, and eventually pounce (beastmorph). It's a dex rogue build that actually works.

I'm sure a pouncing Quadruped Eidolon/Synthesist w/ the amulet could be pretty devastating, too. Not as much as a str-based one, but still...good enough.

Liberty's Edge

ShadowcatX wrote:
No, you can not add dexterity to CMB rolls twice. Weapon finesse is not a bonus to attack rolls, it is simply allowing you to replace your normal attack stat with another attack stat.

Not quite 100% correct.

Both Weapon Finesse and Agile Maneuvers replace the Str mod with the Dex mod for combat maneuvers. WF works with a more limited palette of weapons only, while AM is a blanket replacement for all combat maneuvers.

However, there is a feat out of the Cheliax book, Fury's Fall, which adds your Dex mod as an untyped bonus to Trip attacks only. So, for trip attacks, with the correct feats, you can get your Dex mod twice. Now watch them call me a cheese weasel, even though I explicitly have never done this combo myself, when one of my PFS GMs expressed his dislike of the idea.

Sczarni

DrowVampyre wrote:
You can't that way, no, but you can double-dip Dex for trip via Fury's Fall (it says add Dex to CMB, not in place of anything).

That's splitting hairs but whatever - if you can add DEX (effectively twice) with Fury's Fall I don't see how being able to include it via Agile Maneuvres would be any diiferent by RAW.

But that's really secondary. The fact that a Finesse build can come out ahead (even minutely) at CMB's over a STR build is promising.

Take Agile Maneuvres & Fury's Fall out of the picture and the Finesse build is adding his STR mod (calculated in his CMB) and then his DEX mod (via Weapon Finesse on Trip & Disarm maneuvres with a finesse weapon). Where as a the BSF is just adding his STR mod once (calculated in his CMB).

If we assume the Finesse build puts an 18 in DEX & 14 in STR @ level 1, and the BSF puts an 18 in STR & 14 in DEX the Finesse build will be 2 points better on his CMB, or roughly 10%.

I never thought that would have been the case... Am I missing something???


The Finesse build is only adding str and dex to CMB if he has fury's fall (and he could just be doubling his dex instead, not sure why he'd use str and dex in that case).

If he just has weapon finesse, dex is replacing str. You're not adding both.


Daryl MacLeod wrote:
DrowVampyre wrote:
You can't that way, no, but you can double-dip Dex for trip via Fury's Fall (it says add Dex to CMB, not in place of anything).

That's splitting hairs but whatever - if you can add DEX (effectively twice) with Fury's Fall I don't see how being able to include it via Agile Maneuvres would be any diiferent by RAW.

But that's really secondary. The fact that a Finesse build can come out ahead (even minutely) at CMB's over a STR build is promising.

Take Agile Maneuvres & Fury's Fall out of the picture and the Finesse build is adding his STR mod (calculated in his CMB) and then his DEX mod (via Weapon Finesse on Trip & Disarm maneuvres with a finesse weapon). Where as a the BSF is just adding his STR mod once (calculated in his CMB).

If we assume the Finesse build puts an 18 in DEX & 14 in STR @ level 1, and the BSF puts an 18 in STR & 14 in DEX the Finesse build will be 2 points better on his CMB, or roughly 10%.

I never thought that would have been the case... Am I missing something???

The difference is that Weapon Finesse doesn't provide Dex as a bonus, it provides it as a replacement, as does Agile Maneuvers. So you don't add Str and Dex, you add Dex to CMB instead of Str with finesse weapons.

On the other hand, Fury's Fall does add Dex as a bonus, in addition to Str (which you've replaced with Dex via Finesse or Agile Maneuvers).


You might consider some of the Fighter (Aldori Swordlord) builds out there as well.

Scarab Sages

Sean Mahoney wrote:
You might consider some of the Fighter (Aldori Swordlord) builds out there as well.

Most of the good builds I have seen are Strength-based. I'm taking suggestions for Dex based builds! : )


I really, really like this guide and I thank you for putting it together. I wanted to post here a build I've tinkering with and would appreciate any suggestions you all could provide me.

Race: Elf (or Half-Elf, haven't decided)
Class: Samurai (Sword Saint) / Magus (Blackblade & Kensai)

Strength: 10
Dexterity: 18
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 18
Wisdom 8
Charisma 13

From another thread here, I got the idea of a wandering swordsman who doesn't draw his sword unless fighting a "worthy" opponent. To that end I want to make use of the Equipment Trick feat, so here are my thoughts on the first ten levels of my progression:

1 Samurai - Weapon Finesse
2 Magus
3 Samurai - Combat Expertise
4 Magus
5 Magus - Improved Trip
6 Samurai
7 Magus - Equipment Trick (Heavy Blade Scabbard)
8 Magus (5) - Combat Reflexes
9 Magus - Greater Trip
10 Magus

I like the synergy of the three archetypes (that and combining the Kensai and Sword Saint archetypes satisfies my OCD) and think that it might make for a pretty good maneuvers guy. Any suggestions, particularly on how best to utilize equipment trick, or when best to take the feat? I mostly want to use Samurai and Magus, but would be very perceptive to any other class suggestions.

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