Weapon finesse and grapple


Rules Questions


if one has weapon finesse, can they use their dex instead of strength for the cmb for a grapple check (as folks with weapon finesse when tripping with a rapier, for example, may use their weapon finesse modified rapier attack in calculating their trip attempt)?
or would one have to take agile maneuvers?

thanks in advance

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
elgabalawi wrote:

if one has weapon finesse, can they use their dex instead of strength for the cmb for a grapple check (as folks with weapon finesse when tripping with a rapier, for example, may use their weapon finesse modified rapier attack in calculating their trip attempt)?

or would one have to take agile maneuvers?

thanks in advance

Considering that that's what the feat is FOR... than it's rather obvious that the latter applies.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

No, Weapon Finesse doesn't apply to grapple checks (unless you have some kind of exception). Weapon Finesse only applies to maneuvers delivered via a weapon (and unarmed strikes count as "weapons" for this purpose), which is usually only disarm, sunder and trip.

See this link for more information.


But it also adds that it is GM fiat to rule on other maneuvers that could utilize the weapon, with the example of a sap for dirty trick.

As Such, ask your GM, since i'd argue that grapple uses any unarmed attack bonuses you might have, and dirty trick (as SKR pointed out) has a -lot- of grey areas that could apply.

EDIT: Personally I hate the feat tax for dex over str, it already costs a +1 to a weapon to get the damage, so I let people assign whichever they want at creation, for that character. But RAW, and per SKR, if it -could- use the weapon to make the maneuver, you have a reason to ask the GM. So the blanket statement of "No, it doesn't work at all." is inconsistent with the link you posted right under it.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

It adds the caveat of GM fiat for specific situations, not blanket contradictions of the rules. I.e., "you can use Weapon Finesse on your grapple in X situation", not "you can always use Weapon Finesse on your grapples".

If your GM lets you use Weapon Finesse but could tell you a different situation where you couldn't (with the same maneuver), then it's the kind of "special circumstance" the blog was talking about. If your GM lets you always use Weapon Finesse on grapples, that's a houserule and has its own whole subforum in which to discuss its merits.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Jiggy has the right of it, and I agree with you on the feat tax TGMaxMaxer. Finesse should be a property of light weapons and a few specific weapons, not a feat you need, and the same applies to maneuvers.


thanks for the responses jiggly, TG, and Dab.


Does anybody know of a feat that will allow a character to use their Dexterity [or any other stat, for that matter...] instead of Strength to determine their Combat Maneuver Bonus?


Quote:

Agile Maneuvers (Combat)

You've learned to use your quickness in place of brute force when performing combat maneuvers.

Benefit: You add your Dexterity bonus to your base attack bonus and size bonus when determining your Combat Maneuver Bonus instead of your Strength bonus.

Normal: You add your Strength bonus to your base attack bonus and size bonus when determining your Combat Maneuver Bonus.

This is the wording from the d20pfsrd...couldn't get the prd to copy from my phone :(


Thank you.
So...Agile Maneuvers is the Weapon Finesse for combat maneuvers.
Neato.


Well it's the all around for it yes...if all you want to do is trip, disarm, or sunder you can do those with your weapon...meaning with weapon finesse you can bypass the need for agile maneuvers

Also there are circumstances that would be RAI for you to use DEX for other maneuvers with weapons...one being grapple with a whip...always run that by your GM first though as it isn't RAW


Just take Weapon Finesse and perform combat maneuvers with a finessed unarmed strike. For some characters it's like Agile Maneuvers, but better!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Troubleshooter wrote:
Just take Weapon Finesse and perform combat maneuvers with a finessed unarmed strike. For some characters it's like Agile Maneuvers, but better!

Unarmed strike counts as a weapon and therefore is only used for weapon-based maneuvers: disarm, sunder and trip; the same ones you could use your sword for.

See the link near the beginning of the thread for more information.


And here it comes again ... the kasurigama

A grapple weapon, is it finessible .... no but I think I read some posts about people house ruling it. But that is not RAW.

Sczarni

Jiggy wrote:
Troubleshooter wrote:
Just take Weapon Finesse and perform combat maneuvers with a finessed unarmed strike. For some characters it's like Agile Maneuvers, but better!

Unarmed strike counts as a weapon and therefore is only used for weapon-based maneuvers: disarm, sunder and trip; the same ones you could use your sword for.

See the link near the beginning of the thread for more information.

The blog is being permissive, saying unarmed and natural bonuses add for those three. I did not read it as saying they were only good for those three. IUS ( and certainly the monk's version) describe the use of the body as a weapon. Since your using your hands in a grapple you should get any bonuses to your unarmed strike to your grapple CMB. The grapple maneuver even cites a penalty for not having both hands available.

I think a case could also be made to use bonuses to unarmed strike for the CMB for bullrush and overrun. Either could be a sumo style push with the hands instead of a football body check.

Right now the RAW is rather vague on when you can use bonuses for some CMBs, and leaves it to GM adjudication. I'm ok with that, but I also don't think a +1 CMB for grapple, bull rush, etc, is OP for weapon focus (IUS).

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

How is "natural weapons and unarmed strikes are considered weapons for this purpose" ambiguous?

The linked blog says that you only get weapon-related bonuses if you use a weapon; then it says that only disarm, sunder and trip use weapons; then says that unarmed strikes are considered weapons. There is no ambiguity there.

Sczarni

Jiggy wrote:

How is "natural weapons and unarmed strikes are considered weapons for this purpose" ambiguous?

The linked blog says that you only get weapon-related bonuses if you use a weapon; then it says that only disarm, sunder and trip use weapons; then says that unarmed strikes are considered weapons. There is no ambiguity there.

Under the blog is four pages of posts with that very question asked a couple of times. SKR said he'd confab with JJ and get a reply. There's even a post from you asking him for an update on this, but it's almost two years old.

On the attached posts to the blog, I just quoted your and SKR's exchange asking for an update.

All that being said, it's still damn ambiguous as it says those three are normally the only ones that use weapons. Since ALL weapons can use all three, but other CMs only would get a bonus from IUS, that still qualifies as normally. The blog was NOT definitive and left wiggle room.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If Weapon Finesse allowed you to grapple using dexterity when unarmed, there'd be no need for Agile Maneuvers at all - not just for this character, but for anyone. Grapple does not use a weapon, except when you have a rare 'grapple' type weapon, therefore weapon finesse does not apply. Me, I'd love it if one feat covered all options, but it doesn't.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

The Weapon Focus Feat allows you to apply its benefit for one type of weapon. It then states "You can also choose unarmed strike or grapple [...] as your weapon for the purposes of this feat."

I think that sets a precedent Unarmed Strike and Grapple are different things, and therefore even if you had Weapon Finesse (Unarmed Strike) that wouldn't apply to grappling, rather you would need Weapon Finesse (Grapple). But of course no one would ever take Weapon Finesse (Grapple) as you are always better off taking Agile Manoeuvres (it allows you to use Dex for Grapple and also other combat manoeuvres).

Sczarni

Jiggy wrote:

No, Weapon Finesse doesn't apply to grapple checks (unless you have some kind of exception). Weapon Finesse only applies to maneuvers delivered via a weapon (and unarmed strikes count as "weapons" for this purpose), which is usually only disarm, sunder and trip.

See this link for more information.

@Jiggy - if I came across as a jerk for citing your earlier posts that might contradict your current position, I didn't mean to. I don't carry the rep on these boards that you or @wraithstrike, @ravingdork, or @cheapy do, but I do have a comparable system mastery...I just happen to be a professional lurker rather than an avid poster. So, I do want your opinion, but please you and others read through mine as well.

For the OP, IMO Weapon Finesse could be used for a grapple check, but only with unarmed strike, or Hamatula Strike and a piercing weapon. Now, how I get to this conclusion is important and relies on the SKR blog post that Jiggy cited, as well as the SRD for CMB.

SRD wrote:
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.

(emphasis mine)

As I already pointed out above, the question about bonuses to grapple was asked in the posts following the Blog linked above in @jiggy's post and SKR said he would consult with JJ and get back to us. As it's been two years, I'm not holding my breath (and yes they're busy and have higher priorities, but I would love to see this readdressed...so hit FAQ! And in this case, I really think it needs it, and is NOT an overuse of the FAQ). The blog post isn't quite as good as an errata; the RAW often can't withstand a detailed parsing of their contents; and the blog didn't go through the devs review process the way an errata would, but it's what we have to work with.

A. The blog post muddied the waters IMO for unarmed strikes with grapple. The SRD quote above was what I always used to allow unarmed strike bonuses for grapple, as your clearly using your hands. And I mean clearly . Under the grapple rules, you take a -4 penalty for not using both hands to make the grapple. Once you have the grapple condition (attacker or defender) you can only use actions that require one hand, meaning your other hand is involved. So an attack to grapple is clearly using your hands by game mechanics.

Now to SKR's blog. He says

SKR wrote:
Disarm, sunder, and trip are normally the only kinds of combat maneuvers in which you’re actually using a weapon (natural weapons and unarmed strikes are considered weapons for this purpose) to perform the maneuver, and therefore the weapon’s bonuses (enhancement bonuses, feats such as Weapon Focus, fighter weapon training, and so on) apply to the roll.

(emphasis on normally mine).

B. SKR references unarmed strikes (US) as weapons for the three CMs. This is important if you have neither the feat IUS (FIUS) or the Monk's IUS (MIUS). The MIUS is the only one that says your hands become weapons. So SKR's comment is important in that it allows both those with just FIUS and without the feat to count their hands as weapons for Trip, Disarm and Sunder. It's being permissive for USs and natural weapons against those three CMs. It is NOT being restrictive in saying the CANNOT apply to other CMs. Further more, the IUS feat says "You are skilled at fighting while unarmed.", which could be fairly inclusive for CMs.

C. SKR says normally only those three use weapons, allowing for exceptions. He cites a couple in 1) polearm master using a polearm to bull rush, 2) weapons with trip property for drag or reposition. There are clearly other exception as with shield slam feat and supporting feats (shield focus, shield specialization, weapon focus shield).

D.

SKR wrote:
For other maneuvers, either you’re not using a weapon at all, or the weapon is incidental to making the maneuver and its bonuses shouldn’t make you better at attempting the maneuver.

This is generally true, and I hate to infer what SKR was saying, but I assess in this context he was saying 'weapon' as in a manufactured weapon. The examples he uses are a longsword and a dagger, which aren't helpful in a grapple (unless you have Hamatula Strike and a piercing weapon). As I pointed out above, hands are used in a grapple and are certainly not just "incidental" to the grapple based upon the grapple rules and the penalties required for using hands. So they are an exception.

E.

SKR wrote:
Of course, the GM is free to rule that in certain circumstances, a creature can apply weapon bonuses for these maneuvers

From my points above, I have always ruled that bonuses to unarmed strike support the grapple CM, and by extension, weapon finesse would support this as unarmed strike is a light weapon.

Grapple to me is the most clear cut case, the other CMs are more ambiguous to me.
1. Drag - in most circumstances would include you grabbing your opponent with your hands (or a weapon) and dragging them with you. So yes to unarmed strike.
2. Reposition - less clear. If you are manhandling them into the new square, then yes unarmed strike would apply, but if you do it through constantly threatening their left side so the move right, then no. Leaves some room for interpretation.
3. Bull rush - maybe if you did a sumo wrestling style push, but probably not. Shields work awfully well with the right feats and shield focus and weapon focus (shield) would help out). Without them, this one benefits from Agile Maneuvers and not much else (if you have a high DEX build obviously).
4. Over run - I would probably allow shields to help, and any feats that increased their proficiency. Agile Manuevers still helps here without shield builds (and the shields is just my (probably generous) interpretation.
5. Steal - definitely use hands. Rules even allow the use of a whip. However it's an odd one and not an 'attack' per se like the others, so unarmed strike probably wouldn't help. But it is an attack cause it uses CMB. Hell, I don't know on this one. Never seen it in play.
6. Feint - NOT a CM and uses a different mechanic.

Noting how a bull rush build can easily be made using shields, and drag and reposition can use weapons with the 'trip' property, grapple, overrun and steal are getting left behind.

I believe this whole issue is important for a couple of game balance issues. If you don't allow something like unarmed strike to be used with a grapple, then by mid levels when compared to trip, disarm and sunder, grapple and the other CMs start to fall behind in their CMB check by 4-5 points, and it gets worse. This clearly makes some CMs superior to others on just what you can add to CMB, which doesn't support variety of play, nor do I think is good for the game. We all know that CMD climbs into the stratosphere in the late game, so the only way to have grapple, overrun, bullrush to keep up with Trip, sunder, and disarm is to have some way to help add to them.

The other game balance issue is that allowing bonuses to unarmed strike to support the CMB for grapple, you help the monk with an AoMF just a little by keeping grapple a good option for them. Everyone know's they need it.

Last point. Weapon Focus (WF) lists grapple as a possible focus. While this is currently RAW, I think it causes more problems than helping. If I can take grapple, I can take trip. If I have a WF (flail) and WF (trip), they stack, causing further inflation of the three you can clearly use with weapons.

SKR and the other devs still should provide an answer on the use of unarmed strike bonuses with grapple CMB, but I think my points above provide solid support that they should, both mechanically from how the rules are written, as well as from a game balance perspective.

Scarab Sages

Suppose I play a Dex-based Shifter with the Tiger aspect. She has the Grab ability on her bite and her two claws, which she wields with Weapon Finesse. Does that qualify as executing the grapple maneuver with a finesse weapon?


Welcome to 2018, posters from 2013!

Scarab Sages

turn undead

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / Rules Questions / Weapon finesse and grapple All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.