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Temperans wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:
I was assuming he was just using Enlarge Person or something, but yes you do need a way to wield a large two-handed weapon if that's what you're trying to do.

So 4d6 is better than 2d8: mean damage is 14 vs. 9

What if the wielder was using Enlarge Person and Lead Blades?

Then it's 5d6 vs. 3d8: 17.5, vs. 13.5.

What if the wielder were a Goliath Druid (Huge Giant) or a high level Psychic Warrior (Augmenting Expansion) and had a Wand of Lead Blades?

6d6 vs 4d8: 21 vs. 18.

Then you are talking about Vital Strike, so 42 vs. 36.

Seems like Butchering Axe just does more damage.

Damage dice increase follows a table were every increase after 2d6/2d8 doubles doubles every 2 size increases.

The actual progression would be:
Large: 4d6 vs 2d8 (14 vs 9), 24 vs 18 w/ VS.
Huge: 6d6 vs 3d8 (21 vs 13.5), 42 vs 27 w/ VS.
Gargantuan: 8d6 vs 4d8 (28 vs 18), 56 vs 36 w/ VS.
Colossal: 12d6 vs 6d8 (42 vs 27), 82 vs 54 w/ VS.

Later versions of Vital Strike makes it even more pronounced.

Bastard Sword should have 1 natural size increase over B.axe since it can naturally start as a 1h weapon. A character can start off with a Bastard sword that is large before any other size stacking. IMO apples to apples table would be:

Med B.Axe 3d6 vs Large B.Sword: 2d8 -2tohit (10.5 vs 9), 21 vs 18 w/VS.
Large B.Axe 4d6 vs Huge B.Sword: 3d8 -2tohit (14 vs 12.5), 28 vs 25 w/VS.
Huge B.Axe 6d6 vs GargantuanB.Sword: 4d8 -2tohit (21 vs 18), 42 vs 36 w/VS.
Gargantuan B.Axe 8d6 vs ColossalB.Sword: 6d8 -2tohit (28 vs 27), 36 vs 34 w/VS.

So a large B.Sword will always lag behind B.Axe in based damage and be less accurate but have a far better chance to land a crit.


Got it. It only affects tohit and no other property. So the primary function is really just the extra "hand" so the rod doesn't need to be stowed or retrieved.


So Aroden's Spellsword says:
"If the rod or staff can be used to make attacks, you can attack normally with the weapon or use the weapon as if it were the merged rod or staff. If the effect created by the rod or staff requires an attack roll to successfully strike a foe, you can make the attack roll as if you were making an attack with the weapon at its highest bonus (including any bonuses the weapon would normally receive) rather than just a normal attack with the rod or staff—doing so does not allow you to add the weapon’s damage to the attack, but instead allows you to use your skill with the weapon to boost your chance of hitting with the rod or staff’s attack, spell, or effect."

If you put a rod of lordly might into a plain wooden staff, would your monk flurry with a 1d8, x3 crit, +4 slashing weapon if the rod was stored as the battle axe? Would it be bludgeoning but keep the other stats or something in the middle?


It seems pretty clear that Shadow Weapons are being treated as a group. Shadow Weapons are not a Fighter Group so it is called out that you take Shadow Weapons in place of a current group. However they do not go so far as to create a Shadow Weapon group so it would seem to prevent AWT that affect entire groups from affecting all Shadow Weapons.

It looks to me that the only AWT that can be taken with the feat are:
abundant tactics
armed bravery
dazzling intimidation
defensive weapon training (stuck at +1 shield bonus)
fighters reflexes
fighter's tactics
inspiring confidence
item mastery
weapon mastery

I think arguments could be made for others like Spirit Warrior as long as the Gloomblade kept the same weapon all day. Maybe focused weapon that only affected the weapons associated with the weapon focus skill. As stated above, this could have been written more clearly. Sill a cool archetype.


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Mixing chemicals from an alchemical lab certainly sounds like alchemy to me. A class specific form of alchemy, but alchemy none the less.

For some who see it as alchemy the color will be enough. For those that disagree it will not be enough.

Ask your GM.


3 seems like the mostly likely reading.


Magus: Kensai - Int based gish fighter that doesn't need armor. How can it not be #1

Rogue: Swashbuckler - A 2h weapon wielding rogue that tumbles better than the rest... yes please. Archetype really should be called Blade Master.

Monk: Sohei - Must flurry with 2 hand weapon

Fighter: Learned Duelist - max damage vital strikes for the win. Maneuverable and so perfect to mix with Style feats

Hunter: Forester - It is like someone knew exactly what I wanted from the Hunter class and gave me an early xmas present.


Brawler TWF can be used as prereq for all TWF feats. The only caveat is the feats built on it can only be used with qualifying weapons.


Pax Miles wrote:
Bladelock wrote:
So for Pathfinder, is there an official definition of a hafted weapon?

No, but there is an official source of where that term originates:

In the CRB, in additional rules, at the very end are the rules for weapon HP and hardness. That is where the first pathfinder use of "hafted weapons" occurs.

Using the table at the very bottom of the linked rules, which catagory do you think a Nodachi best fits? I'd put it in the "two-handed blade" group.

This is a good reference tool. I guess the GM and player can decide together if the weapon they are using is more of a large katana or a pole arm. The decision will affect it's hardness as well as materials that can be used to construct it.


So for Pathfinder, is there an official definition of a hafted weapon?


I never knew that there was any question about power attack applying to non-lethal damage. Wow!


Is nodachi a hafted weapon?

I've seen some real world pictures of Nodachi that make them look like large katana and others that look more like long bladed pole arms. In Pathfinder they are both in the Heavy Blades Fighter Group as well as the Pole Arm Fighter Group. Pole arms are hafted in D&D while swords generally are not.

*reason*
I ask because wyroot can only be applied to hafted weapons (such as spears) and would like to know if it applies to a nodachi.


Looks great so far!!

Thanks.


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My hope is that Reactions do not always need to be called out. If you have a feat that allows a Reaction to a Trigger, then the character has the option to spend his action on the Reaction or save it for another Trigger.

I think the only time a Reaction should need to be called out ahead of time is if there is no feat supporting it.


In terms of damage, daggers with the knife master archetype, and the river rat trait are generally the best way to go.

At later levels I like to pick up lunge and ranged skills so the character can threaten for flanking from 5ft away for SA, and get extra damage and attacks from throwing.


Shinigami02 wrote:
Bladelock wrote:

The Phantom Blade does not have:

-access to scaling weapon damage

While for the most part you are correct, this part is explicitly wrong.

Weapon of the Mind wrote:
While the weapon is harbored, the phantom blade gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat and treats her unarmed strike damage as a monk of her level – 2.

Nice! I never noticed that before.


nighttree wrote:
Well hell.....it's looking like a Phantom Blade/Spiritualist who just keeps their weapon harbored can do this concept a fair stretch better :P

I don't see how a Phantom Blade could do this better. The Phantom Blade does not have:

-access to scaling weapon damage
-ability to enhance a weapon with Impact
-a pool that can be interchanged with Ki
-the ability to focus on int with two weapon fighting

Phantom Blade can do some interesting things but in terms of damage output and skill utility, they are not on par with an Esoteric.


Brawler can be a good option for feat efficiency on a high level build that is not using Dragon Style. 2 levels of Brawler get the same number of needed feats as a fighter plus Martial Flexibility

The main issue is the delay in receiving touch based attacks and powerful combat spells. Not really an issue in a higher level campaign, but a pain to bring all on line if starting from level 1.


There is a clear argument that question #2 should be a "yes" RAW.

HOWEVER

RAI it is likely that Bladed Brush is meant to have a second line that says "when using a glaive as a glaive.

For example if one where using a glaive as an improvised weapon (see monk of the empty hand) then it is likely Bladed Brush would not apply. The butt of the staff is not an improvised weapon with Spear Dancing Style, but I think the concepts are similar.

TLDR
This is definitely deep in "ask your GM" territory.


Cool concept. Investigator seems to be closer to what you're looking for. A large amount of versatility you described doesn't come online for an Underground Chemist until after lvl 10.

Also check out the Investigator archetypes:
- Toxin Codexer (Potions & Poisons companion) and
- Empiricist.


Derklord wrote:

Thing I'm not sure about:

● The ability to deal nonlethal damage without penalty (on one hand, that basically comes from the general rules for US, but on the other hand, it it explicitly mentioned in the Unarmed Strike class feature)
● Weapon Finesse
● Effects that only apply to natural attacks - the "is treated as (...) a natural weapon [blah]" line does make US better, but only indirectly.

Non-lethal without penalty is inherent to IUS. Neither Ascetic Style nor Strike confer this to ability.

Weapon finesse is available to IUS solely because the weapon, your limbs, happens to be light. If a spell caused limbs to become heavier, like a 1h or 2h weapon, then the character wouldn't be able to use WF with IUS. Neither Ascetic Style nor Strike confer this to ability.

Effects that apply to natural attacks is a very good question. I don't think transferal of affects works beyond the first step. My guess would be that even though a spell like Magic Fang would modify monk IUS damage, it would not affect an Ascetic Style weapon. Definitely not sure.


Even though Flurry and Spell Combat don't stack, a magus with a quickened spell could still get an extra attack via Spell Strike.


NopeDK wrote:

1: It would be Int * 4 total, you add a static bonus equal to twice your Int, it is not a multiplication effect like critical hits, lances or spirited charge.

2: No, as per FAQ http://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fm#v5748eaic9sgk

I thought this might be the case but wasn't sure if Kirin really applied to that FAQ.


The description calls out spells specifically so it isn't made to work with supernatural abilities.


Kirin strike allows you to add untyped damage to an attack as a swift action after you hit. The damage is x2 the character's int mod.

Question 1
If the Kirin Strike damage is added to a crit, does the entire Kirin Damage get modified or does it follow rule of adding multipliers? For example:

Crit with x2 weapon and use Kirin Strike. Is the damage
Int mod*(2+1)
or is it
(Int mod*2)*2

ALSO

Question 2
Can Kirin Strike be used with a feat that allows Int to be used for damage rather than strength, such as Elven Battle Focus?


VRMH wrote:

The Perfect Style feat gives "a ki pool that you can use to activate abilities of your chosen House of Perfection style".

Does that allow a character to use said ki pool for other ki-fueled abilities too?

Yes you can use the Ki pool for other ki fueled powers. Feats requiring ki pools, powers that come from other pools that are interchangeable with ki pools, and abilities that require ki pools that can be picked before having them (such as ninja talents taken by rogues), etc... all function with perfect style ki.


I think Gish is saying simply the ability to take bleeding attack is a new class feature.

I think Empress is saying that Bleeding Attack is the feature and becomes a replacement feature if taken, as with Qinggong.

Risner is then saying that Qinggong is an exception to the rule (but not supporting it with a citation).

I have seen Archetypes ruled the way Empress is viewing them, but Gish's view also looks highly plausible. It would be great if someone found some dev comments on RAI. I can't find any but will look again tonight.


Slyme wrote:

Don't need the rogue talent to get Frostbite...the Warlock gets access to that spell already, fitting in enforcer and shatter defenses might be a bit more challenging...

Assumed you would only be picking up a level or 2 of Vigilante. See the build now.


I have some unreasonable dislike to being beholden to some sentient being. Kind of keeps me away from the whole divine thing.

Hunters and Shamans work best for me.


Magus Black wrote:
There is no way to avoid the damage without homebrew...except if you use throwing melee weapons.

If the damage is changed to non-lethal there are many ways to avoid it. Non-lethal defenses do not differentiate between physical or energy.


Take the rogue talent Major Magic for the frostbite spell, Enforcer and Shatter defenses for full combat SA.

Wanted to do this rogue/vigilante combo but GM isn't using Vigilante in this campaign.


The only way I see avoiding Vicious damage is to use it the Merciful enhancement. Then use something that reduces non-lethal damage like a bloodline, spell, or certain archetypes.


I am also a big fan of the unchained rogue/Uchained Monk combo. I personally went with spear dancing style on mine because nothing is cooler than flurrying with a Giant Katana (i.e. a Nodachi). Very expensive, but solid and the style I like.

If you are going unarmed you may want to look at Jabbing Style as it rocks with Flurry's extra attacks. If you wanted Dragon Style for the movement over terrain, there are other options. The archetype WindStep Master gives you wind walk at level 4 which works perfectly with flying kick. Also allows you move back to Wisdom rather than Charisma.


Also look at Maneuver Master. It allows for an extra maneuver on top of your iteratives, twf and natural attacks. Great for trip builds (see vicious stomp, imp trip).


Yes. Dragon Ferocity on a Brawler does allow for Elemental Fist damage to scale up.


Renata, DR stands for Damage Reduction.

...also agree with Renata. Pummeling style had that extra language put in to stop it from working with things like Ascetic Style.


Check out this prestige class:

Lantern Bearer.


Toasted you may be right. There are three legitimate ways to read the rules.

Reading 1. There is no need for an off hand to take advantage of TWF
Reading 2. The wpn used during BF is treated as two weapons, both primary and off hand
Reading 3. The wpn is treated as one weapon, without acting as two, while acting as both primary and secondary weapons.

Your interpretation could be the direction the devs want to go with in a future FAQ. However I continue to think Reading-1 is the strongest option and Reading-3 requires 2 actual changes rather than one (although still a real possible dev ruling).


Whether you can or not, awesome concept for a character! Exploding first to the face for the win!!!


We have gone over all of this.

- Double weapons cannot be used in twf while being wielded two handed. When they are used in TWF they act as 2 weapons.
- Monk Flurry is not Brawler Flurry. Monk is a special case related to TWF but it is not TWF. Brawler is a special case for TWF. Nothing in either of those rules alters the core two weapon fighting.

As I have mentioned before, without a special case, there is no way to 2 weapon fight with anything other than 2 weapons that are either light or 1 handed.

Throughout this tread you have tried to pull whatever rule you can, even misapply them, to push your opinion. Your vision of Brawler's Flurry is not supported by the rules.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
- offhand attack is terminology which merely refers to an extra attack, unrelated to hands used to wield. It is a historical term, which is now unfortunately obfuscatory.

Even if flurry was -4/-4, this is simply wrong.

However you have exhausted me. I leave you to your ideas... which are wholly unsupported by the rules.


toastedamphibian wrote:
Bladelock wrote:


The off hand attack is defined by the weapon. The weapons are designated by the user as primary or off hand. There can only be a primary and off hand if there are two weapons.
Why?

That is how it is defined in the general core rules for two weapon fighting.

See the rules below. In the second half of the first sentence of the two weapon fighting rules, it says you can get an extra attack if you meet certain conditions. In the first half of the sentence the conditions are defined: wielding a second weapon in what becomes the off hand.

Core Rules wrote:
(1)If you wield a second weapon in your off hand,... (2)you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon. You suffer a –6 penalty with your regular attack or attacks with your primary hand and a –10 penalty to the attack with your off hand when you fight this way. You can reduce these penalties in two ways. First, if your off-hand weapon is light, the penalties are reduced by 2 each. An unarmed strike is always considered light. Second, the Two-Weapon Fighting feat lessens the primary hand penalty by 2, and the off-hand penalty by 6.

It is the designated second weapon, which must be a light or 1h weapon (or double which acts as 2 wpns), that becomes the off hand. Anything else is undefined without a specific rule to override this general one. Brawler allows TWF with one weapon, so if that one weapon is be both primary and off hand then it is acting as two weapons unless we are told otherwise. The more likely option is that BF simply allows TWF to work with no off hand, removing the need for a second weapon.


Double weapons act as two weapons. You continually bringing them up only weakens your argument. btw a Tiger Fork isn't a double weapon so your can't use it as a primary and an off hand weapon.

Monks do not use an off hand attack when they flurry with a Tiger Fork but they get an extra attack. Again this is a tangent that has nothing to do with the discussion, but if it did, it would only weaken your argument.


Perfect Tommy wrote:

Shall I quote you the more than 20 times you said that was impossible? And then you said it was unlikely to be the right ruling. And now you've agree.

Great. Now that you agree the user designates whether the attack is primary or secondary;

And you've agreed he can designate any particular attack (with any particular weapon) to be primary or secondary.

So your last particular argument was that the same weapon could not both be primary and secondary.

So I ask you again, just like I did more than 300 posts ago, to explain how, if you thought a user could not make primary and secondary attacks with one weapon, how a monk can flurry with a Tiger fork?

And if, indeed he can designate the tiger fork to make the primary and secondary attacks with the Tiger fork - why is it that you think the Brawler cannot do the same thing?

Hmmmm?

No. That is specifically not what I said. I did not say, imply, or allude to the user designating any particular attack with any particular weapon being primary or off hand (secondary).

What I did say is that the character designates which of two weapons being wielded, which can only be a light or 1 hand(medium effort) weapon, are the primary and the off hand (secondary) weapon.

Tommy this isn't a high school debate. Your "any attack, any weapon" idea is not in the rules.

You are simply wrong.


No Tommy. I am not wrong.

The off hand attack is defined by the weapon. The weapons are designated by the user as primary or off hand. There can only be a primary and off hand if there are two weapons. One weapon is designated as primary and one is designated as off hand. There is nothing stopping a character from drawing another weapon (or using a foot or elbow) and re-designating that new weapon as the off hand weapon.

So in a small way you are right that the designation doesn't reside with the weapon, nor does it reside with the attack. The character designates which of their two weapons is the primary weapon and which is the off hand for any set of attacks.

In other words, you are making a logic leap that is not supported by the rules.

game.set.match.champion of the universe for all infinity.no take backsies (really??)


Perfect Tommy wrote:

No Mr. Bladelock.

We do not agree that you can define them as primary and secondary weapons, as that is wrong.

If you have a twf who throws daggers at 11th level he will throw three daggers.

You keep trying to define this as tied to weapon, erroneously. If it were tied to weapon, you have yet another rule problem, since your thrower is now using what a tertiary weapon? As you have thrown your primary and secondary.

Which, if course is not covered by the rules, requiring you to make yet another rules exception.

At thus point, I think you realize you are wrong.

No Tommy. It is not wrong. It is what the rules say.

Core Rules wrote:
If you wield a second weapon in your off hand, you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon. You suffer a –6 penalty with your regular attack or attacks with your primary hand and a –10 penalty to the attack with your off hand when you fight this way.

The thrower will need to identify which weapon is the primary and which is the off hand for each set of thrown weapons. There is no need to identify a tertiary weapon. This tangent has nothing to do with actual conversation because it still works just like regular two weapon fighting. There still needs to be a second weapon to define the off hand (secondary) weapon.

At thus point, I think you should realize you are wrong, but I somehow doubt it.


toastedamphibian wrote:
Bladelock wrote:

...

An off hand weapon is clearly defined in the rules. You are correct that the off hand weapon could be another legally designated second weapon that is unrelated to an actual hand, but there needs to be a second weapon. That second weapon must be declared in order to take an extra attack. If there is no second weapon the off hand is undefined for two weapon fighting.

If you remove the need for a second weapon, the only things supported by the rules are that:
- the weapon is either acting as two weapons
or
- there is no need for a designated off hand weapon to take advantage of two weapon fighting.

Or option 3, you remove the requirement that the "designated off hand weapon" not be the same weapon as the "designated primary weapon"?

The normal rule is that the off hand weapon needs to be a SECOND weapon, brawler removes the requirement that it be a SECOND weapon. I really do not understand the nature of the disconnect here.

This requires two steps away from the rules rather than 1 step.

If you remove the need for a physical second weapon while two weapon fighting, then as per core rules you need a weapon that acts as two weapons, like a double weapon, to take an off hand attack. It would take a second modification to then also say that the one weapon continues to act as one weapon in all other regards, including other two weapon feats... except feats along the two weapon chain... except if it calls out a second weapon... except (some future feat or ability yet to come).

If the weapon acts as 1 weapon, and can be allowed to two weapon fight, then it can take the additional attack from TWF without declaring an off hand: which is defined by a second weapon.


Perfect Tommy wrote:


Mr. Bladelock.

A 5th level unarmed brawler may make two trip attempts.

What is the weapon?

We don't know. Perhaps it is his left leg. Perhaps it is his right leg. Perhaps he is using his hands to throw you off balance.

Can the brawler make a completely legal turn without specifying which leg he is using to trip?

Yes. Or do you really think the GM is going to ask - are you tripping him with your left leg, or your right. Or maybe your right hand?

The question of the weapon is completely immaterial. He gets the twf penalties because he took an extra attack.

So, which unspecified weapon, which uses no hands, is his offhand weapon?
We know, because the rules tell us.

""my primary weapon gets my main attack and my iterative attack, and my off hand weapon only gets the extra attack, and I apply two-weapon fighting penalties."

The primary, or main attack is the one to which you are normally entitled. The offhand attack is the extra attack.

The primary attack is at -6 (lessened to -2, for feat+light) and the offhand is -10, (lessened to -2 for feat + light).

Its not really interesting for you to simply repeat my position isn't supported by the rules when lots of people have said, in fact the position is exactly right.

I've invited you to reconsider your position - assume my position is correct and try to come up with rule cases that show it is wrong.

Your argument is that because the off hand weapon is not defined as an actual "hand" the off hand's sole defining quality is that it is the additional attack when two weapon fighting. We all agree that that both the primary and off hand weapon can be any legal weapon and does not need to be a hand. We can refer to them as the primary and secondary weapon if you prefer?

However the off hand (or secondary weapon) is clearly defined in the rules. It is a second weapon - only defined as light or 1 handed (or medium effort weapon to avoid hand confusion) - that is used to make the off hand (or secondary weapon) attacks.

This is clearly defined in the text bolded in the rules below.

Core Rules wrote:
If you wield a second weapon in your off hand, you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon. You suffer a –6 penalty with your regular attack or attacks with your primary hand and a –10 penalty to the attack with your off hand when you fight this way. You can reduce these penalties in two ways. First, if your off-hand weapon is light, the penalties are reduced by 2 each. An unarmed strike is always considered light. Second, the Two-Weapon Fighting feat lessens the primary hand penalty by 2, and the off-hand penalty by 6.

The bolded text is not flavor. It is a clear definition that a second weapon is required. As we discussed above, the off hand can be a foot, a weapon, or an elbow but that does not negate the need for a clearly defined second weapon as per the rules.

The Brawler Flurry removes the need for an actual physical second weapon. That means the weapon used in the Flurry either acts as two weapons or doesn't require an off hand (or secondary weapon) attack.


Perfect Tommy wrote:

It has nothing to do with disagreeing with my opinion. There are certainly cases where one can legitimitely have different opinions, each supported by conflicting rules.

It is more a failure to even discuss the alternative. It is symptomatic - I have said since the start of this thread that offhand attacks merely refer to extra attacks. Yet you won't even consider that perhaps that position is right.

I have tried to engage you in a discussion of it; but each time you refuse. Such as when I asked you "What was the first step in two weapon fighting."

So when you present what the options are you say...

** spoiler omitted **

Instead of even including the possibility.

Either the weapon is behaving as two weapons...
or
- it is behaving as one weapon
or
- offhand attack is terminology which merely refers to an extra attack, unrelated to hands used to wield. It is a historical term, which is now unfortunately obfuscatory.

And yes, your position leads you to numerous rules problems, which you've outlined above. If my term is overly snarky, ok I apologize.

But how about start from the position I say

"offhand attacks refers to an extra attack" and then try to find where that causes a substantive rule disconnect, as your rule position have caused you.

For while this position suffers from a lot of verbiage issues because of how paizo (wotc) has changed how the term means which leads to confusion it doesn't actually cause any problems with how the rules function. Or at least I haven't found any.

No, your tone goes beyond snarky and ventures into the realm of condescension and nastiness. Also asking tangential questions, in order to hide the flaws in your argument and twist someone to your way of thinking, is not engagement. I prefer to discuss merits and flaws clearly without those games.

However this one post was civil so I will give you a civil answer.

Your assertion that:

Perfect Tommy wrote:
"- offhand attack is terminology which merely refers to an extra attack, unrelated to hands used to wield. It is a historical term, which is now unfortunately obfuscatory."

is not supported by the rules. Off hand attack is also not in the rules. It is simply a term used to describe the attack taken by the designated off hand weapon.

An off hand weapon is clearly defined in the rules. You are correct that the off hand weapon could be another legally designated second weapon that is unrelated to an actual hand, but there needs to be a second weapon. That second weapon must be declared in order to take an extra attack. If there is no second weapon the off hand is undefined for two weapon fighting.

If you remove the need for a second weapon, the only things supported by the rules are that:
- the weapon is either acting as two weapons
or
- there is no need for a designated off hand weapon to take advantage of two weapon fighting.


I have a character optimized for slight of hand now.

In past other skills, so guess most optimization would be around combat or skills.


ccs wrote:
Optimizing is me using the rules as best I can to mechanically represent the character I'm envisioning.

Very well said and fits my thinking exactly.

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