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Dervish Dance + Katana


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Hello, I am a GM who is new to PF. We are just starting our first PF campaign and though I have played D&D 3 and 3.5 I don't feel confident enough to decide on some things.

One of my players wants to use dervish dance but with Katanas. Is there any game balance reason this shouldn't be allowed if he has the feat for exotic weapon (katana)?

I realize this feat is intended as a cultural feat, hence the scimitars. However, I generally want to allow the players freedom, since it's important to me that they can create the character they envision.

So, will it lead to game balance trouble or not?

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Not really.

I'd prefer they just made a generic version of Dervish Dance that could be used with any finesse weapon, or even just any weapon. If you want to burn that many feats to reduce ability dependence, go right ahead, I say. No reason to fluff it for scimitar wielding desert dwellers only.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

No specific reason other than cultural flavor AFIAK. I would limit it to the Finesse-able weapon lines though.


The basic gist of Dervish Dance is that it takes what is normally a martial, non-finesseable slashing weapon and gives it dex to both attack and defense and allows it to do piercing damage. I see no real reason not to houserule an expansion to that rule to include other similar martial (or, in this case, exotic), non-finesseable slashing weapons as options.

What I'd see not working well would be to apply the benefit to finesseable weapons such as the Whip or light weapons. So long as the weapon he chooses can be wielded 1-handed, deals slashing damage but not piercing damage, and cannot be finessed, I say go for it.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Game Balance? I don't see a reason. I would require him to have the EWP (not rely on martial ability).

Fluffwise? Well Dervish Dance is (in Golarion) associated with Saranae and dervishes. You might want to figure out where katanas come from. (When a Wakazashi and Naginada love each other very much...) and make the feat belong to a 'school' of sword styles. IE, Role playing oportunity.

I mean also in Golarion we have the Aldori dueling schools...


Thanks for your quick replies. This is good news for the player. :)

Matthew - Yes, we will be sure to make some fluff around her training and such. :)


The katana deals +1 average damage more than the Scimitar at the cost of a feat. It is otherwise identical. Seems like a bad trade to me, so I'd totally allow it.

That said, I don't really think finessing a Katana is even a remotely believable fighting style (not that I believe finessing a Scimitar makes sense, either).

Osirion

mplindustries wrote:

The katana deals +1 average damage more than the Scimitar at the cost of a feat. It is otherwise identical. Seems like a bad trade to me, so I'd totally allow it.

In the case of the Kensai, there is no trade involved. You get 1 weapon, martial or exotic.


One thing you should do, is sit down with your player and figure out what exactly dervish dance allows with the off hand. As there's been a number of threads dealing with this question.


Dervish dance as it is intended (one handed attacks only) is a pretty acceptable feat. You get to add dex to damage at the cost of an additional feat (beyond weapon finesse) and at the cost of using the least effective attack method. I have done something similar in my game with rapiers (fencers dance) and I dont see an issue with doing it for the katana as long as the user is profficient. It isnt dramatically better then a scimitar. And honestly, I dont want every dex based melee character at my table using a scimitar because its just so much better then all the other options, that is fairly stupid to me.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Wielding two Agile Wakizashi is better.

The Dervish Dance feat is a free-hand fighter's delight.

Imagining a dashing fencer with a Katana seems silly to me.

Power-wise, you should be fine though.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The dervish dance feat was meant to help out a certain type of fighter while not creating a generic "dex to damage" feat, which the guy who had dervish dance added found to be too powerful. Just changing the weapon allowed kind of gets around this, but it's your game :)

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rasta wrote:

Hello, I am a GM who is new to PF. We are just starting our first PF campaign and though I have played D&D 3 and 3.5 I don't feel confident enough to decide on some things.

One of my players wants to use dervish dance but with Katanas. Is there any game balance reason this shouldn't be allowed if he has the feat for exotic weapon (katana)?

I realize this feat is intended as a cultural feat, hence the scimitars. However, I generally want to allow the players freedom, since it's important to me that they can create the character they envision.

So, will it lead to game balance trouble or not?

This makes an already very powerful feat even more extremely powerful. It's also problematic because the Katana is not a finessable weapon.

At that point, you might as well allow weapon finesse with two handed greatswords.


LazarX wrote:
Rasta wrote:

Hello, I am a GM who is new to PF. We are just starting our first PF campaign and though I have played D&D 3 and 3.5 I don't feel confident enough to decide on some things.

One of my players wants to use dervish dance but with Katanas. Is there any game balance reason this shouldn't be allowed if he has the feat for exotic weapon (katana)?

I realize this feat is intended as a cultural feat, hence the scimitars. However, I generally want to allow the players freedom, since it's important to me that they can create the character they envision.

So, will it lead to game balance trouble or not?

This makes an already very powerful feat even more extremely powerful. It's also problematic because the Katana is not a finessable weapon.

At that point, you might as well allow weapon finesse with two handed greatswords.

Scimitar isn't a finesseable weapon, either. The benefit of the feat should be limited to one-handed, non-finesseable, slashing-not-piercing weapons. Plain and simple.

Cheliax

Why is it problematic because the weapon is non-finessable?
If anything, that is the one requirement that is absolutely necessary, to prevent dual-wielding cheese.

Mmmm, cheese.

Where's my lunch?


I would allow it. It's your home game and as others have pointed out, the katana is not that much better than the scimitar. I would require that if your player wants to wield his katana two-handed that his attack and damage bonuses revert to strength, but that's the only limit I'd put on it.


Lamontius wrote:

Why is it problematic because the weapon is non-finessable?

If anything, that is the one requirement that is absolutely necessary, to prevent dual-wielding cheese.

Agreed. The non-finessable weapon requirement is actually a reasonable limitation. Dervish Dance is very strong. Limiting it to a heavier weapon makes it harder to combine it with other abilities that take advantage of light weapons, like Piranha Strike or Two-Weapon Fighting. The fact that Dervish Dance requires a feat tax of Weapon Finesse despite using a weapon that can not be finessed should be an indication of that intention.


You might want to be sure that they're only getting the benefit of Dervish Dancing when using the katana one handed, if you want to keep the feat at the same level of power as it is in its original form. Giving someone with 18 or 20 dex the same damage output as someone with 18 or 20 str when wielding a two hander would probably noticeably change how a martial class works.

There are supposed to be trade offs in the game, they keep life interesting. "I roflstomp the bad guy while his buddies can't touch me" is fun for a while, but gets old for most people fairly quickly.

mplindustries wrote:
That said, I don't really think finessing a Katana is even a remotely believable fighting style (not that I believe finessing a Scimitar makes sense, either).

Actually, I was surprised that the katana wasn't finessable since there's already a finessable two hander. It's really not a brute force weapon and (irl, for what that's worth) is pretty close to the weight of a rapier.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Wielding two Agile Wakizashi is better.

The Dervish Dance feat is a free-hand fighter's delight.

Imagining a dashing fencer with a Katana seems silly to me.

Power-wise, you should be fine though.

And, there's always one. The OP is simply asking if there was mechanical reasoning behind the scimitar, and if the katana would break that mechanic. It's nothing at all to do with efficacy or optimization. No min-maxing or munchkin involved. Nothing is "better" or "worse" here. It was a yes or no question...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You are nicer than I would be. I would say use the exact stats for a scimitar and skin it as a katana.

He can call it whatever he wants as long as the stats don't change.

If you don't, you might run into unintended bumps down the road that you will have to deal with.

Besides, he is just saying, "This is a cool feat, I want it to do more damage." I have players ask that all the time. You can be sure if you allow it for one, you will have to allow it for all. As GM you have to decide for yourself where to draw the line.

If it is soley about flavor, ie a western vs eastern thing, skin it.


Akerlof wrote:
You might want to be sure that they're only getting the benefit of Dervish Dancing when using the katana one handed

Using the weapon in one hand and having the off hand free is part of the Dervish Dance feat--if it's just a simple weapon substitution, no further wording should be necessary.

Akerlof wrote:
Actually, I was surprised that the katana wasn't finessable since there's already a finessable two hander. It's really not a brute force weapon and (irl, for what that's worth) is pretty close to the weight of a rapier.

Ok, this is a bit off topic, but I totally disagree. The popular perception is that it's all finesseful and whatever because of anime, but the Katana is a brute force chopping weapon if there ever was one--just look at the curved blade (never mind hundreds of years of power chopping sword techniques). But like I said, I have the same objection in regards to the Scimitar, which is also a brute force chopping weapon.

And yes, the katana only weighs a little bit more than a rapier--do you know what else weighs just a little bit more than a rapier? A longsword.

But then, if I were to go down a pedantic rant path, I'd argue that almost none of the finesse weapons are really finessable in the real world, as to me, finesse would suggest the weapon is just as effective in the hands of a weakling like me as it is in the hands of a linebacker. The weapons that would actually fit that criteria are all polearms, so I know there's something different about the game's definition of "finesse" and the real world's.

I'm pretty sure that when they say "finesse" weapon in D&D, they really mean, "a weapon elves and rogues would typically be seen with," as the feat clearly serves more to reduce MAD for non-str melee classes than it does to actually emulate anything realistic.


Finesse isn't about weapon 'weight' so much as it is about weapon 'balance'. A katana may only weigh a little more than a rapier, but a rapier is balanced much different than a katana. Also, finesse isn't about a weapon being "not based on strength" so much as "is based on dexterity". A weakling may do worse with a finessed weapon than a linebacker if the weakling has less dex than said linebacker. Finesse is about the power coming from the snap maneuvers of the wrist more than the heavy maneuvers of the shoulder. What Dervish Dance does is take a weapon that is normally used for heavy "shoulder-based" chopping attacks and making it a snap-thrust weapon.

And all this just made me think of an equivalent feat for 2h polearms... maybe we'll call it Poledancing.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Barry Armstrong wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Wielding two Agile Wakizashi is better.

The Dervish Dance feat is a free-hand fighter's delight.

Imagining a dashing fencer with a Katana seems silly to me.

Power-wise, you should be fine though.

And, there's always one. The OP is simply asking if there was mechanical reasoning behind the scimitar, and if the katana would break that mechanic. It's nothing at all to do with efficacy or optimization. No min-maxing or munchkin involved. Nothing is "better" or "worse" here. It was a yes or no question...

Don't be a jerk.

I simply simply stating there was other paths besides creating a houserule.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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I think another way to look at feats like dervish dance, katana kathakali, falcata flamengo, hunga munga hokey pokey or whatever is that it represents an advanced style of fusing different styles together. (mechanically, you're taking the crunch of "I can use my dex to hit" and turning it into "I can use my dex with this weapon, and damage too" by spending a feat (and a couple skill points).

If you want to make it more 'costly' add Weapon focus to the style.

For example:
Sharp and Pointy Two Step
You adapt your style of precision over power to an unusual weapon.

Spoiler:
Prerequisites: Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus with slashing or piercing weapon of choice, Perform (dance) 2 ranks, proficiency with slashing or piercing weapon of choice.
BenefitWhen wielding the chosen weapon with one hand, you can use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier on melee attack and damage rolls. You treat the weapon as a one-handed piercing weapon for all feats and class abilities that require such a weapon (such as a duelist’s precise strike ability). The weapon must be for a creature of your size. You cannot use this feat if you are carrying a weapon or shield in your off hand.

Then you could add.
Curveblade Carioca
You adapt your style further to mix agility and power.

Spoiler:
Prerequisites: Sharp and Pointy Two Step (katana or bastard sword), Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (katana or bastard sword) Perform (dance) 4 ranks, proficiency with katana or bastard sword.
Benefit: You may use weapon finesse when using your weapon two handed. You may also use either your dexterity bonus to damage or 1.5X your strength bonus.

Cheliax

Ways to have your cake and Dervish it, too.


I can see it being ok as long as he is wielding the Katana one handed and has the other hand empty.

Might see it also requiring weapon focus katana, simply because it is unusual.

What I am mad about is the fact their is no feat to use a Rapier with dex to damage.

You would think there would be just another feat with weapon finesse as a prerequisite that least you use Dex to damage.

I want this feat:

Agile Attack

Pre-requisite:
Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus in a finesse-able weapon, Dex 15.

Benefit:

For any weapon that you have weapon focus with as well as qualifies for weapon finesse, you may apply your dexterity modifier to damage instead of strength.


For balance the Wakizashi is a better fit for a 1:1 swap.
I'd suggest he use that and just call it a Katana.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I really dislike this feat. Dexterity should not apply to damage ever. I can see intelligence or even wisdom but not Dexterity.


Personally in my games I tell my players I am fine with them using Dervish Dance with any of the 1d6 18-20 x2 weapons. Flavor as appropriate. Though I haven't had a player yet really take advantage of it, they seem to prefer two handed strength builds or non melee characters.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Barry Armstrong wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Wielding two Agile Wakizashi is better.

The Dervish Dance feat is a free-hand fighter's delight.

Imagining a dashing fencer with a Katana seems silly to me.

Power-wise, you should be fine though.

And, there's always one. The OP is simply asking if there was mechanical reasoning behind the scimitar, and if the katana would break that mechanic. It's nothing at all to do with efficacy or optimization. No min-maxing or munchkin involved. Nothing is "better" or "worse" here. It was a yes or no question...

Don't be a jerk.

I simply simply stating there was other paths besides creating a houserule.

When in rome. That was not how your post came off. It came off as "My thing is better than your thing. And your thing is silly because it's not my thing." That's exactly how your post reads.

Don't be a jerk, and I won't call you out on it.


voska66 wrote:
I really dislike this feat. Dexterity should not apply to damage ever. I can see intelligence or even wisdom but not Dexterity.

The problem you face with that though is that it makes it extremely hard for a more agile, dexterous person to cause damage.

For the cost of 3 feats being able to add dexterity to damage instead of strength is very reasonable.

Think of it like the difference in using a Rapier and a Longsword.

A long sword you slash and hack your way through your enemies defense to get your attacks through.

However a Rapier or the like how strong you are does not really mean anything, it is how quick and agile you are to get them before they react.

Both are just as deadly, both are just as damaging but they are used completely differently.

Without a feat like that though the barbarian with 20 str but a dex of 8 is a beast with a rapier or dagger but the elven noble with a Str of 8 and a dex of 20 is almost worthless.

Strength is the norm for melee, but if you are willing to put 3 feats into it you should be able to do it in slightly different way.


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Whisperknives wrote:
The problem you face with that though is that it makes it extremely hard for a more agile, dexterous person to cause damage.

Which is exactly how it should be. The strong guy should hit harder

Whisperknives wrote:
For the cost of 3 feats being able to add dexterity to damage instead of strength is very reasonable.

It's two feats

Whisperknives wrote:

Think of it like the difference in using a Rapier and a Longsword.

A long sword you slash and hack your way through your enemies defense to get your attacks through.

However a Rapier or the like how strong you are does not really mean anything, it is how quick and agile you are to get them before they react.

Both are just as deadly, both are just as damaging but they are used completely differently.

Inaccurate. Longswords did much more damage. That's why they were able to cut through armor and rapiers weren't.

Whisperknives wrote:
Without a feat like that though the barbarian with 20 str but a dex of 8 is a beast with a rapier or dagger but the elven noble with a Str of 8 and a dex of 20 is almost worthless.

Unless they take the Weapon Fineese feat, then they hit just as often but they don't do as much damage, which is as it should be, because the DEX guy won't get hit as often, and will go first more often. Seems like balance to me.

Whisperknives wrote:
Strength is the norm for melee, but if you are willing to put 3 feats into it you should be able to do it in slightly different way.

Again 2 feats, but I won't agree until there are 2 feats that allow STR for AC and Init.


1. It is 3 feats; Weapon finesse, Weapon focus and then Agile Attack

2. Rapiers were made to go around armor or through it if it was a chain shirt. Longswords were made for slashing through shields and beating on people. In game terms the added mass of a longsword is why it does a D8 and a rapier does a D6. Longswords and Rapiers were just as effective against armor as the other just in different ways against different kinds of armor.

Against a chain shirt more than likely unless you are swinging hard enough to break something underneath a Longsword was not going to do that great, however a rapier could pierce its way though the links.

Against leather, they were both fine Longswords could cut through it and rapiers pierced it.

Against plate, neither of them were getting through but a longsword was better at knocking shields and such out of the way for the strike, rapiers were better and hitting the kinks in the armor.

3. The bonus to a strength based guy is that he does not really need dex to help his combat, he can still use a shield and heavy armor. On top of that it does not even take any feats to do it.
A dex based guy has to spend feats just to be able to do any of it.

4. How are those feats any different than having the feats that used to let you use Strength for thrown weapons.


Whisperknives wrote:
The problem you face with that though is that it makes it extremely hard for a more agile, dexterous person to cause damage.

No, it means two things:

1) Those fast, agile guys should really have more Strength than they usually do, because agility is really just proportional strength.
2) Attributes probably contribute more to damage than they should--weapon damage should probably matter more and there should be some sort of skill based damage bonus (BAB based?) that should eclipse the stat mods.
3) Hit point systems are inherently flawed simulations

Whisperknives wrote:
For the cost of 3 feats being able to add dexterity to damage instead of strength is very reasonable.

For reference, I think the third feat he's referring to is EWP: Katana.

Whisperknives wrote:
However a Rapier or the like how strong you are does not really mean anything, it is how quick and agile you are to get them before they react.

I disagree. Having wielded rapiers, I can say two things:

1) They are awkward--you'd never expect it, but they are really, really long and that makes for a very poor balance. On a scale, the weapon is light, but it feels extremely heavy in your hand and really puts strain on your wrist.
2) Being stronger absolutely makes wielding a rapier more effective. Being coordinated does not make up for lacking the strength to hold this extremely long thing out in defensive positions for extended periods of time. Yes, you can kind of fake it since it's so long and just hope you hit them at reach before they hit you, but it's just not as effective for that job as a polearm is, and that's totally ineffective in a hit point system, since it's relying on the idea of people being unable to take multiple sword blows.

Whisperknives wrote:
Both are just as deadly

If the other guy is unarmored, which was the entire point of the Rapier. It was developed for winning fights against other unarmored guys also wielding similar weaponry.

And for the record, while the game calls a Rapier a piercing weapon, it is really designed as a slashing weapon (whereas something like a scimitar would be a chopping weapon).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jodokai wrote:
Whisperknives wrote:
The problem you face with that though is that it makes it extremely hard for a more agile, dexterous person to cause damage.

Which is exactly how it should be. The strong guy should hit harder

Whisperknives wrote:
For the cost of 3 feats being able to add dexterity to damage instead of strength is very reasonable.

It's two feats

Whisperknives wrote:

Think of it like the difference in using a Rapier and a Longsword.

A long sword you slash and hack your way through your enemies defense to get your attacks through.

However a Rapier or the like how strong you are does not really mean anything, it is how quick and agile you are to get them before they react.

Both are just as deadly, both are just as damaging but they are used completely differently.

Inaccurate. Longswords did much more damage. That's why they were able to cut through armor and rapiers weren't.

Whisperknives wrote:
Without a feat like that though the barbarian with 20 str but a dex of 8 is a beast with a rapier or dagger but the elven noble with a Str of 8 and a dex of 20 is almost worthless.

Unless they take the Weapon Fineese feat, then they hit just as often but they don't do as much damage, which is as it should be, because the DEX guy won't get hit as often, and will go first more often. Seems like balance to me.

Whisperknives wrote:
Strength is the norm for melee, but if you are willing to put 3 feats into it you should be able to do it in slightly different way.
Again 2 feats, but I won't agree until there are 2 feats that allow STR for AC and Init.

I'd say it's 1 feat really. Technically Dervish Dance is just allowing you to use weapon finesse with a Scimitar which you normally couldn't and since weapon finesse is requirement you can take Dervish Dance without it. As well since on requirement is Dance Rank 2 you can't pick this up till level 2 earliest depending on the class you take those being the rogue and fighter. All other class have to wait till level 3. So Weapon Finesse with another weapon is pretty much needed till you get this feat.

For me this feat should also have few other restrictions on it. One should be that you have to good alignment and worshiper of Saerena.


voska66 wrote:
As well since on requirement is Dance Rank 2 you can't pick this up till level 2 earliest depending on the class you take

Dawnflower Dervish archetype bards get it at level 1 as a bonus feat.


I think we are off on 2 different things, I was talking about 3 feats for the one I listed, not dervish dance.

I disagree with dervish dance myself as there is no feat that does the same thing for normally finesse able weapons.

Dervish dance allows you to use a Scimitar as a finesse able weapon AND lets you use dex for damage instead of str.

However there is no feat that lets you do that with other finesse able weapons such as rapiers, daggers, short swords ect.

I hate the Dervish Dance feat, that is why I put the other feat I use in there as an alternative.

Personally I think that there should be a feat like the one I listed that lets you use dex for damage on finesse able weapons (that you have weapon focus on) and THEN you can take Dervish dance to count a Scimitar as a finesse able weapon.

As it stands without magical enhancements the Scimitar is the only melee weapon that can use dex to damage, that is garbage.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You can already enchant any finessable weapon with the Agile enchantment, and use dex for damage.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Whisperknives wrote:

I think we are off on 2 different things, I was talking about 3 feats for the one I listed, not dervish dance.

I disagree with dervish dance myself as there is no feat that does the same thing for normally finesse able weapons.

Dervish dance allows you to use a Scimitar as a finesse able weapon AND lets you use dex for damage instead of str.

However there is no feat that lets you do that with other finesse able weapons such as rapiers, daggers, short swords ect.

I hate the Dervish Dance feat, that is why I put the other feat I use in there as an alternative.

Personally I think that there should be a feat like the one I listed that lets you use dex for damage on finesse able weapons (that you have weapon focus on) and THEN you can take Dervish dance to count a Scimitar as a finesse able weapon.

As it stands without magical enhancements the Scimitar is the only melee weapon that can use dex to damage, that is garbage.

The only issue I have with your feat is why would ever take strength. You get a bonus to hit, to damage, to AC, and Reflex saves and you can dump your strength to get the high Dex. Even with the cost being 3 feats to get why wouldn't you do it? Strength just become stat to figure out what you can carry.

I played another game where damage was figured out with set of tables that took you Strength, Agility, and skill with the weapon. You'd go use strength cross reference by you encumbrance to get value. Then you'd cross reference that value on chart with Agility to get another value. Take value and cross reference that with you skill modified by the ease other use of the weapon. Some weapons were harder to use than others so it could raise or lower you skill. The end result was how much damage you did and how quick you were for initiative and the faster you were for initiative you gave you more actions. It was a cool system. Much more complex. I don't think this system is designed to allow Dex to play that big of role in damage.

When it come Dervish Dance I think it's more of thing granted by the deity as that's how it's flavored and why the feat isn't in the core rule sets but feat for campaign setting. When I view like that it's not as annoying.


voska66 wrote:
Whisperknives wrote:

I think we are off on 2 different things, I was talking about 3 feats for the one I listed, not dervish dance.

I disagree with dervish dance myself as there is no feat that does the same thing for normally finesse able weapons.

Dervish dance allows you to use a Scimitar as a finesse able weapon AND lets you use dex for damage instead of str.

However there is no feat that lets you do that with other finesse able weapons such as rapiers, daggers, short swords ect.

I hate the Dervish Dance feat, that is why I put the other feat I use in there as an alternative.

Personally I think that there should be a feat like the one I listed that lets you use dex for damage on finesse able weapons (that you have weapon focus on) and THEN you can take Dervish dance to count a Scimitar as a finesse able weapon.

As it stands without magical enhancements the Scimitar is the only melee weapon that can use dex to damage, that is garbage.

The only issue I have with your feat is why would ever take strength. You get a bonus to hit, to damage, to AC, and Reflex saves and you can dump your strength to get the high Dex. Even with the cost being 3 feats to get why wouldn't you do it? Strength just become stat to figure out what you can carry.

I played another game where damage was figured out with set of tables that took you Strength, Agility, and skill with the weapon. You'd go use strength cross reference by you encumbrance to get value. Then you'd cross reference that value on chart with Agility to get another value. Take value and cross reference that with you skill modified by the ease other use of the weapon. Some weapons were harder to use than others so it could raise or lower you skill. The end result was how much damage you did and how quick you were for initiative and the faster you were for initiative you gave you more actions. It was a cool system. Much more complex. I don't think this system is designed to allow Dex to play that big of role in damage.

When it...

The reason to go strength is that it would not cost you 2 feats the normal way, or 3 if you use the feat I was talking about

Strength and a half on 2 handing a weapon, better power attack damage, and more makes a 2 hander still better.

In the time it would take one character to apply dex to hit and damage with just a Scimitar (1D6)
someone else could take Power Attack, Furious Focus, or whatever feat you wanted (shield of swings, weapon focus, ect.) and swing with a D10, 2D6, or D12

In the game I am in right now I am using Dervish Dance, we also have a Barbarian who just carries around a nodachi, his damage is WAY higher than mine and it even has the same threat range.

Lets put some numbers to this.

At level 3, lets use fighters, to be even.

Dervish, with 10 STR and 18 dex. (Must use scimitar)

Feats: Weapon Finesse, Dervish Dance, Weapon Focus, Piranha Strike

Hit: + 7 and Damage of 1d6 + 6

AC: 18 (10 base, 4 dex, 4 chain shirt. can't use a shield due to dervish dance)

2 hand guy: 10 dex 18 str (common great sword)

Feats: Power Attack, Furious focus, Cleave, and Weapon Focus

Hit: + 8 and Damage 2D6 + 9 and hitting 2 people a turn

AC: 19 (10 base, 9 armor, 0 dex) 23 if using shield of swings

At higher levels the difference is fear amount does not matter as much but the damage will always be better for the 2 hander guy.

If you wanted to go sword and board you are SOL, you can not use a shield while using dervish dance.

I am still just pissed there is not a feat equivalent for a rapier.


Why does everyone think that european long swords were made to cut through heavy shields and armor? If they were, they would be designed with far more emphasis on cutting power, which typically comes from a pronounced curve. No, a straight sword typically is used for thrusting, although the long sword does balance both aspects.

Despite the image of total protection, pretty much all armors have a vital weak spot: under the arm. This is due to a need for a greater range of movement. Combat would come down to getting around your opponent's shield and armor rather than breaking through it. Fights are fights. Very few battles were the elegant displays of swordsmanship you see in movies, and more like brawls. And let's face it: swords are expensive, and hitting against a metal shield is little better than hitting a rock. Would you go around smacking you last line of defense against a rock. If people wanted to tear through armor, they would use a halberd. The heavy ax-head at the end of the spear would get enough momentum due to the length of the weapon. War pick and hammers were also favorites of bursting through armor since armor does not stop the force of a hit, it only redirects it enough to prevent cutting. Large swords did serve a role in combat, however, since they could more easily chop through enemy pikes than axes. Otherwise they were either side arms or meant for close quarters combat than spears, much like how a pistol serves today. They were also a sign of class for nobility and a fashion accessory, but that hardly matters.

On another note, the interesting thing about rapiers were that they were much better in duels than in actual combat. If you impale an enemy with your sword, you would have to remove it before making another attack, and sometimes it would be difficult to do so smoothly as it might get somewhat stuck. So they were best if you only were facing off against one man. More common long swords are better due to the ability of crowd control (if three men were standing together, and started swinging at them, wouldn't they all move back?)


I love seeing these topics appear over and over on message boards.

Wakizashi actually were more of a brute strength weapon than katana.

Katana could be called finesse weapons, much more than rapiers. Curved blades in general gain a lot of their damage because of the curve, as it meant the blade doesn't hit straight on, but is pulled through the wound, slicing it like a kitchen knife would slice meat.

Longswords did not work vs. serious armour. If you ever wonder why some large weapons had spikes on the cross guard or pommel it was to get into those vulnerable spots (like under the arms) when at close range with a fully armoured opponent. Even in Japan it wasn't unheard of for 2 samurai to adopt similar tactics; in a battle between 2 fully armoured opponents crossing blades it could easily progress into a wrestling match with drawn tantos trying to get at the weak spots.

I have had some formal training with a katana and from that training comes my belief that dexterity plays a role in using a katana. It is only the strength or dex system of D&D and Pathfinder that messes things up.

Grand Lodge

Lythe Featherblade wrote:

I love seeing these topics appear over and over on message boards.

Wakizashi actually were more of a brute strength weapon than katana.

Katana could be called finesse weapons, much more than rapiers. Curved blades in general gain a lot of their damage because of the curve, as it meant the blade doesn't hit straight on, but is pulled through the wound, slicing it like a kitchen knife would slice meat.

Longswords did not work vs. serious armour. If you ever wonder why some large weapons had spikes on the cross guard or pommel it was to get into those vulnerable spots (like under the arms) when at close range with a fully armoured opponent. Even in Japan it wasn't unheard of for 2 samurai to adopt similar tactics; in a battle between 2 fully armoured opponents crossing blades it could easily progress into a wrestling match with drawn tantos trying to get at the weak spots.

I have had some formal training with a katana and from that training comes my belief that dexterity plays a role in using a katana. It is only the strength or dex system of D&D and Pathfinder that messes things up.

If a katana is a finesse weapon, then so is a greatsword. Sorry, but I have done kenjitsu along with WMA and historical fencing...and the katana is by far the MOST strength based weapon of all those swords. Curved blade means you can be messy and still cut okay...it does not make a sword more prone for use with finesse. The katana is balanced horribly for finesse...as it is balanced as far out as a greatsword would be...with a shorter blade. That is not a weapon you finesse with...that is a weapon you cleave and do grevious bodily damage with.

As for the longsword vs serious armor...half swording was invented for a reason. The japanese sword art also has a version of half swording as well...but most schools have forgotten those techniques as not many schools still study armored combat.


To be fair, my best friend has trained extensively in dueling with rapiers, both tournament and real versions. He's learned how to fight to score points, and to kill quickly and efficiently with a rapier.

He told me once, that there are, essentially, three types of rapiers. One time, was made purely for thrusting; it has no edge, just a really sharp point. It's what the modern fencing foil is based off of.

The second type is the one referred to as having a 'razors edge'. It was a cutting weapon with one of the sharpest edges ever made for a combat weapon. This rapier was more strength than the first rapier as you really needed to swing it to for great effect.

The third type was a colossal failure. It tried to be both a piercing and slashing rapier at the same time. The problem comes from the blade being to thick to quickly thrust, like the first type, and the edge not being thick enough to sustain it's edge for very long.

The first rapier is the one we see being represented most often in movies and games. If you've ever seen the movie Scarmouche, then you might recall that the use of such a thrusting rapier is controlled mainly by the fingers. It's not the wrist or arm that does the work, it's the fingers and grip that is important. This rapier is all about dexterity and finesse. Strength matters not with such a rapier, because it's little more than a 3 foot long needle. Because it had no edge, you could easily slap it way, use cloaks to entangle it, snap it with a main gauche etc.

If you're interested in a good documentary/film about swords, watch Reclaiming the Blade. It's a fantastic film that goes into the history of swords and the study of their use in combat. It's got some great guest speakers, including Bob Anderson, who, if you didn't know, is the choreographer of some of the greatest fights in film history, including Star Wars, Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings etc. and he was even the guy that did most of lightsaber fights as Darth Vader in Episode V and VI.

Grand Lodge

Tels wrote:

To be fair, my best friend has trained extensively in dueling with rapiers, both tournament and real versions. He's learned how to fight to score points, and to kill quickly and efficiently with a rapier.

He told me once, that there are, essentially, three types of rapiers. One time, was made purely for thrusting; it has no edge, just a really sharp point. It's what the modern fencing foil is based off of.

The second type is the one referred to as having a 'razors edge'. It was a cutting weapon with one of the sharpest edges ever made for a combat weapon. This rapier was more strength than the first rapier as you really needed to swing it to for great effect.

The third type was a colossal failure. It tried to be both a piercing and slashing rapier at the same time. The problem comes from the blade being to thick to quickly thrust, like the first type, and the edge not being thick enough to sustain it's edge for very long.

The first rapier is the one we see being represented most often in movies and games. If you've ever seen the movie Scarmouche, then you might recall that the use of such a thrusting rapier is controlled mainly by the fingers. It's not the wrist or arm that does the work, it's the fingers and grip that is important. This rapier is all about dexterity and finesse. Strength matters not with such a rapier, because it's little more than a 3 foot long needle. Because it had no edge, you could easily slap it way, use cloaks to entangle it, snap it with a main gauche etc.

Somewhat mistaken. The cut and thrust wasn't a failure...it was what the rapiers started off as. When rapiers grew out of the cut and thrust swords, they retained that cut and thrust quality. When the use of the sword became more and more for civilian usage, you got a push for more and more pokie swords. However at the same time, rapiers were still used in wars. That is where you would get those more cut oriented rapiers. So the third type is what it started off as...a sword that could kinda sorta do it all and then it eveolved into more specialized roles.

As for finger and wrist control...I can do that with my longsword. I can cut a single mat using my longsword holding it out straight and 3 inches away by using my fingers and wrist.


mplindustries wrote:
Akerlof wrote:
You might want to be sure that they're only getting the benefit of Dervish Dancing when using the katana one handed

Using the weapon in one hand and having the off hand free is part of the Dervish Dance feat--if it's just a simple weapon substitution, no further wording should be necessary.

Akerlof wrote:
Actually, I was surprised that the katana wasn't finessable since there's already a finessable two hander. It's really not a brute force weapon and (irl, for what that's worth) is pretty close to the weight of a rapier.

Ok, this is a bit off topic, but I totally disagree. The popular perception is that it's all finesseful and whatever because of anime, but the Katana is a brute force chopping weapon if there ever was one--just look at the curved blade (never mind hundreds of years of power chopping sword techniques). But like I said, I have the same objection in regards to the Scimitar, which is also a brute force chopping weapon.

And yes, the katana only weighs a little bit more than a rapier--do you know what else weighs just a little bit more than a rapier? A longsword.

But then, if I were to go down a pedantic rant path, I'd argue that almost none of the finesse weapons are really finessable in the real world, as to me, finesse would suggest the weapon is just as effective in the hands of a weakling like me as it is in the hands of a linebacker. The weapons that would actually fit that criteria are all polearms, so I know there's something different about the game's definition of "finesse" and the real world's.

I'm pretty sure that when they say "finesse" weapon in D&D, they really mean, "a weapon elves and rogues would typically be seen with," as the feat clearly serves more to reduce MAD for non-str melee classes than it does to actually emulate anything realistic.

I train in traditional Japanese martial arts, a katana is not a chopping weapon, but very much a slicing weapon which it two distinct movements. To cut properly, you don't strength behind it.

Also, depending on the length, a daito could weigh as little as 5 lbs or as much as 12lbs. Fencing with a katana is a mater of fractions of an inch between a nick and bleeding out. Also when fighting with katana and shoto, the shoto turns into a paryying and slashing while the katana turns to a stabbing weapon.

Grand Lodge

krevon wrote:


Also, depending on the length, a daito could weigh as little as 5 lbs or as much as 12lbs. Fencing with a katana is a mater of fractions of an inch between a nick and bleeding out. Also when fighting with katana and shoto, the shoto turns into a paryying and slashing while the katana turns to a stabbing weapon.

Yes...but the katana is a HORRIBLE stabbing weapon. It's not balanced for it. If the target is the entire body...yeah sure, you can stab at it...but need to aim for the arm pit or the space between the do and mempo? Yeah...your boned.

Also as LITTLE as 5 lb for a daito? Really? That is about as heavy as daito got before they became cerimonial pieces. That kinda makes me think you really don't practice any form of kenjitsu.

And when using a shoto and daito, you use the daito to stab while the shoto parries and slashes? Sure your not mistaking the usage of a rapier and main gauche there? The most famous usage of the daito and shoto is from musashi and he DEFINATELY said to slash with both weapons. Not many ryu teach the use of both swords...and of the few that do, I don't know of a single one that teachs you to use them like a rapier and main gauche. This seriously makes me think you are not taking kenjitsu...and if you paying for classes...your not paying for kenjitsu classes.


i have no problems with dervish dance applying to just about any one handed or light weapon. whether rapier, katana, dagger or whip. the penalty is in using the least optimal fighting style out there. and the best melee 1hander, barring classes with excess feats to spend, is the scimitar.

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