New feat for Finesse Fighters


Homebrew and House Rules


I was wondering if you guys would give me your opinions on a reinterpretation of the Derviish Dancer feat that might open it up to other finesse fighters.

Agile Swordsman (Combat)
You have learned to turn your agility into power.

Prerequisites: Dexterity 15, Weapon Finesse, Acrobatics 5 ranks,
proficient with a finesse-able martial weapon.

Benefit: When wielding a weapon that qualifies for the Weapon
Finesse feat with one hand, you can use your Dexterity modifier
instead of your Strength modifier on melee attack and damage rolls.
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.
This feat does not allow you to use your Dexterity modifier instead of
your Strength modifier with the Power Attack feat.

So whadya think?


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I think there's a good reason why after all this time, there still hasn't been such a feat in PFRPG. Even after Ultimate Combat.


Cheapy wrote:
I think there's a good reason why after all this time, there still hasn't been such a feat in PFRPG. Even after Ultimate Combat.

Isn't 'Dervish Dance' such a feat? It seems like all that the proposed feat does is widen the list of possible weapons.

Liberty's Edge

Dex is already one of the best (if not the best) stat in the game.

Leave poor strength alone.

Would you consider a feat to let a character use strength in place of dex for AC?


BadBird wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
I think there's a good reason why after all this time, there still hasn't been such a feat in PFRPG. Even after Ultimate Combat.
Isn't 'Dervish Dance' such a feat? It seems like all that the proposed feat does is widen the list of possible weapons.

Exactly my reasoning BB, plus pulling out some of the specific flavor that Dervish Dance has.

And by limiting it to a single, one-handed weapon and not allowing Dex to power attack, you prevent the Elf fighter with the Elven Curve Blade from being able to dump stat his strength and still hit like a full THF.

The other thought I had was to limit its use to those wearing light or no armor. Hopefully further reducing the cheese and OP factor.

Feral - There's already the Dervish Dance feat, and the Agile weapon property. This would just allow a larger selection of weapons for the highly underpowered finesse fighter instead of having to wait until he can afford a +2 weapon.


Strength for AC? Yes! As long as it didn't stack with Armor Bonus. I can see Barbarians who shrug off blows with their thick rubbery Walrus-like skin and burst into battle naked save their loincloth.

Cheezy, annoying builds? Live it a little! We'll iron out the details in post.

As for the Dex to Damage feat I like it. It makes scimitars a bit of a faster buy (Assuming you keep Dervish Dancing), but gives more versatility with weapon choice at a later time.


I like it. It takes 2 feats and at least 5 levels to be able to do subpar damage, but have better reflex, initiative and skill checks. Add a 3rd feat if you want to be decent at all combat maneuvers.

About adding Str to AC. I'd love that feat too. Something like, "as long as you are wielding a shield, you can add half your Str modifier to AC"

Want more incentive to use Str instead of Dex? Power Attack. Make the 1-to-3 ratio apply whenever the character is using Strength to attack, not just when wielding a two-handed weapon. Two-handed already gain the 1,5x Str to damage benefit.

I'd be happy with a way to add Int instead of Str/Dex to damage, but that somehow feels more like precision damage. In fact, that is one of the changes i'd make to Rogues, at 5th level they get to add their Int modifier to damage rolls in addition to Str, but this extra damage is precision damage (not too much of a problem in PF).

Honestly... Weapon Finesse, Combat Expertise, Power Attack and Deadly Aim should be attack options instead of feats. You are already taking a penalty for the benefit and most (if not all) martial classes will take PA/DA anyway, so why not just give it to them and remove the Feat tax AND reduce the Feat bloat problem?


What I'd like to see is a feat that lets you use weapon finesse while otherwise using normal two-hand methods. People who dump-stat their strength wouldn't gain much other than a tiny bit more damage and a few more options (enough to make pure dex fighter slightly more interesting), while people who had high dex without trashing their strength would be rewarded for building a more balanced character. The idea that you can't benefit from being both strong and dextrous with, oh I don't know, a katana for example, is ridiculous.

Edit: Or more simply changing Weapon Finesse to 'with a light weapon or a one hand weapon wielded with both hands...'


Thurin wrote:

I was wondering if you guys would give me your opinions on a reinterpretation of the Derviish Dancer feat that might open it up to other finesse fighters.

Agile Swordsman (Combat)
You have learned to turn your agility into power.

Prerequisites: Dexterity 15, Weapon Finesse, Acrobatics 5 ranks,
proficient with a finesse-able martial weapon.

Benefit: When wielding a weapon that qualifies for the Weapon
Finesse feat with one hand, you can use your Dexterity modifier
instead of your Strength modifier on melee attack and damage rolls.
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.
This feat does not allow you to use your Dexterity modifier instead of
your Strength modifier with the Power Attack feat.

So whadya think?

I think the same thing I have thought for a while now, that Dex is already over-loaded as a score and the game just does not need this. What I would suggest instead, if you really want to give the smart, quick-witted and quick-bladed swordsman an advantage to match the mountain of muscle, is Int or Wis bonus to damage, stacking with strength.

1) It stops overloading the poor Dex stat
2) It's just as representative of the verisimilitude of the fencer concept
3) It gives fighters another good reason not to dump Int or Wis.


Dabbler wrote:
Thurin wrote:

I was wondering if you guys would give me your opinions on a reinterpretation of the Derviish Dancer feat that might open it up to other finesse fighters.

Agile Swordsman (Combat)
You have learned to turn your agility into power.

Prerequisites: Dexterity 15, Weapon Finesse, Acrobatics 5 ranks,
proficient with a finesse-able martial weapon.

Benefit: When wielding a weapon that qualifies for the Weapon
Finesse feat with one hand, you can use your Dexterity modifier
instead of your Strength modifier on melee attack and damage rolls.
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.
This feat does not allow you to use your Dexterity modifier instead of
your Strength modifier with the Power Attack feat.

So whadya think?

I think the same thing I have thought for a while now, that Dex is already over-loaded as a score and the game just does not need this. What I would suggest instead, if you really want to give the smart, quick-witted and quick-bladed swordsman an advantage to match the mountain of muscle, is Int or Wis bonus to damage, stacking with strength.

1) It stops overloading the poor Dex stat
2) It's just as representative of the verisimilitude of the fencer concept
3) It gives fighters another good reason not to dump Int or Wis.

The feat does not do anything that can not already be done with a scimitar, and is properly restricted by not allowing two-handed bonus damage and a lesser base damage die.

Weapon Finesse, dexterity 15, Acrobatics 2 ranks, Weapon Focus or weapon training.

Only allow it to work with weapons in which you have either weapon focus or weapon training and which are finessable. Took acrobatics down a bit, it is not fun to wait for several levels to do what you want your character to do, this way a fighter can do it at level 2. A rogue can do it at level 3 if she sinks two feats and a talent in it, others might have to wait till level 5.

The weapon training addition gives fighters the ability to use it with all light blades for example, which seems fair since weapon mastery is their thing.


for those that thinks it's unbalanced for dex, i propose drop all req's other than weapon finesse, call it improved finesse and make the dex damage that is added in place of str. precision damage.


Remco Sommeling wrote:
The feat does not do anything that can not already be done with a scimitar, and is properly restricted by not allowing two-handed bonus damage and a lesser base damage die.

That does not make it a good idea, though. It's still over-loading dexterity.

Where is this damage coming from? Precision? What guides precision?
Dexterity? No, that's speed and coordination. Precision comes from awareness and quick thinking - wisdom and intelligence.

Rather than over-stacking one stat, it allows you to spread to two which is a lot less broken if you add damage from Intelligence or Wisdom rather than Dex. The other thing is that you can (and should) stack it with strength, because more strength still hits harder. It's less broken because you are spreading over three stats now: St for damage, Dex for hitting, Int/Wis for bonus damage. You man make is less limited (after all there's only one or two two-handed finesse weapons, why discriminate against them).

Liberty's Edge

I think its like every other "dex to damage" feat I've ever seen. A couple cosmetic differences, but that's about it.


Not trying to ape your thread or anything, but I'll throw up a suggestion instead of just denying the whole concept.

I think the best way to do weapon finesse is to make sure that STR isn't forgotten in the equation. And while I like your idea of restricting it to one hand, allowing the fighter to drop STR really just doesn't jive well with most people's view of how such a character should be built, even if the character is meant to be lithe and not a muscleman. Though I think that it is less about game balance than people say; Dervish Dance hasn't broken the game really, and neither have Agile weapons, but you end up with swordsmen who are physically weaker than the party wizard. Understandably, that seems ridiculous.

I wrote up a feat that addresses that sort of issue a while ago. I honestly think it should (ad originally wrote it to) just replace weapon finesse, so that finesse weapons/light weapons can inherently allow dex to attack, but I'll post a modified version that could be added without rules revision.

Spoiler:

Improved Weapon Finesse (Combat)

Your style and finesse in combat allow you to apply your strength in more damaging ways.

Prerequisites: Str 13, Dex 15, Weapon Finesse

Benefit: With a light melee weapon or finesse weapon made for a creature of your size category, you may choose to add the lowest of either your Dexterity modifier or twice your Strength modifier to damage rolls in place of your Strength modifier. You do not multiply this modifier for two-handed or off hand weapons.

Special: Natural weapons are considered light weapons.


here's what i got out of everything said in the thread so far..

improved weapon finesse
Requirements: dex 13, int 13, weapon finesse
Benefits: add your int modifier to damage as well as your str. modifier. This only applies to weapons that qualify for weapon finesse.
Normal: only your str. mod is applied to weapon damage.


Dabbler wrote:

Where is this damage coming from? Precision? What guides precision? Dexterity? No, that's speed and coordination. Precision comes from awareness and quick thinking - wisdom and intelligence.

You could argue for all three abilities; you may be smart or insightful enough to know where you should strike, but without the speed and coordination to actually strike where you need to that knowledge is pointless. I think an INT prerequisite for DEX to damage would make more sense than straight INT to damage in this context.

I can understand the arguments about 'overloading' DEX in theory, but I'm not sure in practice its unbalanced. Sure, you might get a few more points of damage, but if it's restricted to one weapon wielded in one hand with no shield or offhand, it's not going to be competing with what you can get with a high strength two-handed weapon setup - even though its effectively the same thing. I'm not even sure that you would need to restrict power attack, since with its STR 13 requirement, people wanting to power attack with their DEX would then effectively need to be 'using' strength anyways, and they would still be unable to benefit from two-handed power attack and furious focus.


bad the reason it doesn't balance is two weapon fighting, those feats require high dex so if you can ignore strength all together you will have more damage output than someone doing str and a half with a 2 hander since you'd have an additional attack that did full dex (with the double slice feat)


^ If you can actually make all of your attacks, which without pounce or other way to move and full attack is very questionable. Such a feat doesn't change the ability to get strength on thrown weapon either, which is a improvement for TWFs.

Cheapy wrote:
I think there's a good reason why after all this time, there still hasn't been such a feat in PFRPG. Even after Ultimate Combat.

Nah, in 3.5 it was pretty easy to get every stats BUT dex to attack AND damage, even Paizo fell into this (Guided enchantment). It's mostly just sacred cowness because Weapon Finesse is a core feat and can't be upstaged.


soulofwolf wrote:
bad the reason it doesn't balance is two weapon fighting, those feats require high dex so if you can ignore strength all together you will have more damage output than someone doing str and a half with a 2 hander since you'd have an additional attack that did full dex (with the double slice feat)

"but if it's restricted to one weapon wielded in one hand with no shield or offhand" being the qualifier.


soulofwolf wrote:
bad the reason it doesn't balance is two weapon fighting, those feats require high dex so if you can ignore strength all together you will have more damage output than someone doing str and a half with a 2 hander since you'd have an additional attack that did full dex (with the double slice feat)

Thus the "You cannot use this feat if you are carrying a weapon or shield in your off hand."

Silver Crusade

Thurin wrote:
soulofwolf wrote:
bad the reason it doesn't balance is two weapon fighting, those feats require high dex so if you can ignore strength all together you will have more damage output than someone doing str and a half with a 2 hander since you'd have an additional attack that did full dex (with the double slice feat)
Thus the "You cannot use this feat if you are carrying a weapon or shield in your off hand."

No problem, just have to TWF with armor spikes, bladed boot or my brainy fist.


BadBird wrote:
Dabbler wrote:

Where is this damage coming from? Precision? What guides precision? Dexterity? No, that's speed and coordination. Precision comes from awareness and quick thinking - wisdom and intelligence.

You could argue for all three abilities; you may be smart or insightful enough to know where you should strike, but without the speed and coordination to actually strike where you need to that knowledge is pointless. I think an INT prerequisite for DEX to damage would make more sense than straight INT to damage in this context.

I can understand the arguments about 'overloading' DEX in theory, but I'm not sure in practice its unbalanced. Sure, you might get a few more points of damage, but if it's restricted to one weapon wielded in one hand with no shield or offhand, it's not going to be competing with what you can get with a high strength two-handed weapon setup - even though its effectively the same thing. I'm not even sure that you would need to restrict power attack, since with its STR 13 requirement, people wanting to power attack with their DEX would then effectively need to be 'using' strength anyways, and they would still be unable to benefit from two-handed power attack and furious focus.

Good points BB. I hadn't thought about an INT prereq. Perhaps requiring Combat Expertise?

I was trying to keep in mind the overloading DEX problem, thus limiting the feat the way I did. I think you might be right about Power Attack, but I still think it goes against the flavor of the feat, agility vs. power.

Honestly, I thought that I was making it too narrowly focused. It is really only good for Duelist/Fighters, 1-handed Rogues and Magi. It's probably more unbalancing for a Magus build, but doesn't even come halfway to closing the gap between finesse fighters and a STR-based THF, even with the benefits of being able to concentrate on DEX.


Quote:
Thus the "You cannot use this feat if you are carrying a weapon or shield in your off hand."

must have completely overlooked that line, though admittedly i don't see the point of being a dex fighter without two weapon fighting since it's built around dex. I can see a 1 handed rogue maybe since sneak attack should be a big deal of their damage anyway, but the damage gap for a 1h dex fighter would be huge compared to a 2h str fighter.


How about these edits:

Agile Swordsman (Combat)
You have learned to use your agility to strike where it hurts.

Prerequisites: Dexterity 15, Combat Expertise, Weapon Finesse, Acrobatics 5 ranks, Weapon Focus with a martial weapon that qualifies for the Weapon Finesse feat.

Benefit: When wielding a martial weapon that qualifies for the Weapon Finesse feat with one hand, you can use your Dexterity modifier
instead of your Strength modifier on melee attack and damage rolls.
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. This feat does not allow you to use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier with the Power Attack feat.


soulofwolf wrote:
Quote:
Thus the "You cannot use this feat if you are carrying a weapon or shield in your off hand."
must have completely overlooked that line, though admittedly i don't see the point of being a dex fighter without two weapon fighting since it's built around dex. I can see a 1 handed rogue maybe since sneak attack should be a big deal of their damage anyway, but the damage gap for a 1h dex fighter would be huge compared to a 2h str fighter.

No problem. This is mainly for a Duelist build fighter, who has to wield a weapon one-handed and doesn't want to be limited to a scimitar (Aldori Swordlord, I'm looking at you). A rapier Rogue would like this, but where it would really shine is with a Magus. That's the one thing I think might unbalance this.


I think the requirements are overly high. Just give it the 13 int requirement outright instead of Expertise. Weapon Focus is uneeded as well.


Thurin wrote:

I think you might be right about Power Attack, but I still think it goes against the flavor of the feat, agility vs. power.

One of the basic issues I've always had with PF and its ancestors is that agility and strength are fundamentally linked in any realistic conceptualization of combat. If you lack strength, your weapon is "heavier" and you can't utilize natural speed and coordination to its potential. If you lack agility, then you can't utilize your strength well because you can't coordinate your movements and target your attacks.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to try to rewrite the system; I just like the idea of things that allow some kind of collaboration between strength and dexterity, which is why in my opinion allowing power attack would make conceptual sense. Having power attack means the character must have some muscle, and I have no issues with the idea of a very agile fighter putting more force into his strikes at a cost of a little agility.

Its the same logic behind my desire to see a character with high DEX and decent STR able to finesse a one-handed weapon while wielding it with two hands; their reward for not dumping STR on a DEX fighter and committing both hands to a one-handed weapon is the ability to make good use of both STR and DEX for offense. Historically both the katana and the bastard sword saw use in duels with a high degree of 'finesse.'


BadBird wrote:
Dabbler wrote:

Where is this damage coming from? Precision? What guides precision? Dexterity? No, that's speed and coordination. Precision comes from awareness and quick thinking - wisdom and intelligence.

You could argue for all three abilities; you may be smart or insightful enough to know where you should strike, but without the speed and coordination to actually strike where you need to that knowledge is pointless. I think an INT prerequisite for DEX to damage would make more sense than straight INT to damage in this context.

I disagree. Here is why:

soulofwolf wrote:
bad the reason it doesn't balance is two weapon fighting, those feats require high dex so if you can ignore strength all together you will have more damage output than someone doing str and a half with a 2 hander since you'd have an additional attack that did full dex (with the double slice feat)

It all comes down to MADness. If you have a SAD character, a two-handed fighter for example, you get a lot of damage over less attacks. If you use TWF you have more attacks but less damage per attack, because you have to split your points between Dex and Strength. Drop the requirement for strength and suddenly you have a SAD character with all the bonus attacks and all the bonus damage.

Thurin wrote:
No problem. This is mainly for a Duelist build fighter, who has to wield a weapon one-handed and doesn't want to be limited to a scimitar (Aldori Swordlord, I'm looking at you). A rapier Rogue would like this, but where it would really shine is with a Magus. That's the one thing I think might unbalance this.

Thurin, you aren't getting it: Keep It Simple.

You are throwing in provisos and restrictions that overly complicate matters, to stop the feat being broken. Just make it Int to damage, and all those go away because:

The Duelist needs high Int, so he still benefits the most from this.
The TWF still needs to be MAD, so he does not benefit too much from this.

Also, you have finally demonstrated that brain really CAN beat brawn.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Since there already is a new weapon enchantment called "Agile", which allows to use dexterity instead of damage, I think the feat really isn't necessary.

Agile weapon enchantment.


Maxximilius wrote:
Thurin wrote:
soulofwolf wrote:
bad the reason it doesn't balance is two weapon fighting, those feats require high dex so if you can ignore strength all together you will have more damage output than someone doing str and a half with a 2 hander since you'd have an additional attack that did full dex (with the double slice feat)
Thus the "You cannot use this feat if you are carrying a weapon or shield in your off hand."
No problem, just have to TWF with armor spikes, bladed boot or my brainy fist.

Which doesn't matter if the only weapon dexterity applies to is the one weapon you wield. Unless you invest in strength you will not get decent damage on those attacks, in which case again it doesn't matter.


Modified steal from the Duelist ability, made into a feat :

Precise Strike

Requirements : Int 13, Acrobatics 2 ranks, Weapon Finesse

A duelist gains the ability to strike precisely with a light or one-handed (removed reference to piercing) weapon, adding her dexterity bonus to her damage roll. The bonus to damage can not be higher than 1+1 per 4 BAB. This does not stack with other effects adding dexterity bonus to damage.

When making a precise strike, a duelist cannot attack with a weapon in her other hand or use a shield. A duelist's precise strike only works against living creatures with discernible anatomies. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is also immune to a precise strike, and any item or ability that protects a creature from critical hits also protects a creature from a precise strike.


Dabbler wrote:

I disagree. Here is why:

soulofwolf wrote:
bad the reason it doesn't balance is two weapon fighting, those feats require high dex so if you can ignore strength all together you will have more damage output than someone doing str and a half with a 2 hander since you'd have an additional attack that did full dex (with the double slice feat)
It all comes down to MADness. If you have a SAD character, a two-handed fighter for example, you get a lot of damage over less attacks. If you use TWF you have more attacks but less damage per attack, because you have to split your points between Dex and Strength. Drop the requirement for strength and suddenly you have a SAD character with all the bonus attacks and all the bonus damage.
soulofwolf wrote:
Quote:
Thus the "You cannot use this feat if you are carrying a weapon or shield in your off hand."
must have completely overlooked that line, though admittedly i don't see the point of being a dex fighter without two weapon fighting since it's built around dex. I can see a 1 handed rogue maybe since sneak attack should be a big deal of their damage anyway, but the damage gap for a 1h dex fighter would be huge compared to a 2h str fighter.

That last statement cuts to the core of reasoning for feats like Dervish Dance and this. The feat isn't going to overshadow 2h STR fighters, and isn't going to overshadow a TWF DEX fighter. It just makes a 1h DEX fighter a more functional option.

Personally I don't see anything about this as overly complicated, but that's more subjective. Also, if you want to demonstrate that brain really CAN beat brawn, just roll a wizard. In the world of hand-to-hand combat brains are a big advantage, but the bottom line is that you better bring some physical ability or you're going to be left theorizing about the best ways to hurt someone while someone puts a pointy object in you.


The problem is you are arbitrarily restricting the feat to prevent abuse, which is actually the problem with Dervish Dance.

The point of finesse weapons is that they are finesseable, the point of the feat is to improve the effectiveness of finesse weapons (after all, running somebody through the heart is a lethal as chopping their head off).

Then you place exclusions on it so it doesn't improve half the builds that use finesse weapons because it could be over-abused?

If you have to correct your basic design this way, consider that your basic design may be flawed and get it right from the start, or there will only be MORE feats proposed to fix the fix that didn't fix everything it should have.


Dabbler wrote:

The problem is you are arbitrarily restricting the feat to prevent abuse, which is actually the problem with Dervish Dance.

The point of finesse weapons is that they are finesseable, the point of the feat is to improve the effectiveness of finesse weapons (after all, running somebody through the heart is a lethal as chopping their head off).

Then you place exclusions on it so it doesn't improve half the builds that use finesse weapons because it could be over-abused?

If you have to correct your basic design this way, consider that your basic design may be flawed and get it right from the start, or there will only be MORE feats proposed to fix the fix that didn't fix everything it should have.

Restricting things so that they don't get 'over-abused' is a cornerstone of the entire game system. I wouldn't consider a restriction such as 'no offhand or shield' arbitrary, considering that a character who doesn't use two weapons or a shield has far more freedom to utilize his agility (in particular momentum, which is arguably the way agility could most substitute for strength) with one weapon.

I wouldn't have posted anything without considering it. Personally I think the feat satisfies on both conceptual and mechanical grounds, doesn't overshadow anything, and allows a valid style of fighting to be better represented for people who want to play a character who fights that way.


i have to agree with dabbler here badbird, what your proposing sounds more like an alternate class feature for duelists and less like a finesse feat the more you go into it.


soulofwolf wrote:
i have to agree with dabbler here badbird, what your proposing sounds more like an alternate class feature for duelists and less like a finesse feat the more you go into it.

Technically I'm defending Thurin's proposed feat rather than proposing it. To me, 'finesse a single weapon with a hand free for further DEX benefits' sounds like a logical feat extension of weapon finesse - "you are trained in using your agility in melee combat, as opposed to brute strength" - but debating what it 'sounds like' is going to get into a highly subjective and unproductive argument over semantics and multiple layers of conceptualization.

I think it works for the reasons I've listed above, so personally I would allow it unless someone made an objection more specific and objective than 'that doesn't sound right to me.' Are you suggesting that it makes the Duelist redundant? That was one objection I considered fairly seriously, but I concluded that the Duelist A)is about quite a bit more than just boosting finessed weapon damage and B)can hardly be made that redundant by a feat which it could benefit from.


i wasn't suggesting it made the duelist redundant, i was specifically saying that they would benefit from it but not many others would so as it was written by thurin it would be better as an alternate class feature than as a feat. weapon finesse is supposed to go along with things like spiked chains and elven curved blades, and it is fairly safe to say it's intended to go along with two weapon fighting since 2wf is dependant on dex requirements, so limiting it to a single weapon with a hand free doesn't fit the theme of weapon finesse as i see it. I was not intending to be vague i thought the arguments against it applying to only a single weapon had already been made. Out of all the things said so far i still like the idea of improved weapon finesse adding int onto str damage for finesse weapons, additional restrictions geared to specific classes really shouldn't be included.


I can see where you're coming from, but for me the benefit of a feat like this is specifically that it frees a high DEX character from automatically just assuming they should go TWF. For example, an acrobatic rogue who uses a fluid, whirling fighting style to drop surprisingly heavy hits with a light mace on soft spots, a pure free-hand fighter with a rapier who uses high agility to stab and slash with more momentum, or a high dexterity cleric who focuses on wide, precise slashes with a sickle are all interesting and plausible characters who could benefit.

For me, the restriction on single weapon, free hand isn't about patching up a potential balance problem (though that is an important consideration). It's about the concept that if you aren't burdened with having to position your body for offhand attacks, then your main hand attacks will have more force through balance and momentum - which is part of the reason that TWF in real life was exceptionally rare.


BadBird wrote:

Restricting things so that they don't get 'over-abused' is a cornerstone of the entire game system. I wouldn't consider a restriction such as 'no offhand or shield' arbitrary, considering that a character who doesn't use two weapons or a shield has far more freedom to utilize his agility (in particular momentum, which is arguably the way agility could most substitute for strength) with one weapon.

I wouldn't have posted anything without considering it. Personally I think the feat satisfies on both conceptual and mechanical grounds, doesn't overshadow anything, and allows a valid style of fighting to be better represented for people who want to play a character who fights that way.

Conceptually it sucks, because of the restrictions. You are saying OK, this guy can use this light weapon more precisely, and he is smart, so he will hit where it hurts most adding his agility (not his brains, for some reason) to damage. Oh, but he can't do that using a shield, and he can't do that with a second weapon...which kind of ruins the concept.

soulofwolf wrote:
i have to agree with dabbler here badbird, what your proposing sounds more like an alternate class feature for duelists and less like a finesse feat the more you go into it.

That's exactly what it is. It's not meant for any other finesse fighters, they are still left out in the cold. They have to be, because Dex is too darned good otherwise and Dex fighters would become SAD characters.

Worse thing is, for the duelist an Agile weapon is a much better idea because he will want to save his feats for other things, and anyway he only has to buy the one weapon. The restrictions don't allow this feat to be good for the classes that really could use it (and if they could, it would be too good) but isn't actually worth that much to the one class that it's aimed at.

A feat that adds Int or Wis bonus to damage as an insight bonus is much better, because:


  • It restricts total damage output from beating Strength based fighters by keeping Dex-based TWF fighters relatively MAD, while still being useful for them
  • It's a handy little boost for rogues, bards and other classes that rely ion brains not brawn
  • It's great for the duelist because he needs intelligence as well as Dex anyway.

In short, making it a mental stat makes the feat have far wider appeal, yet still achieves what is desired: a damage power-up for finesse-based fighters (and if you make it Wis-based too, monks). The only downside is that is doesn't allow a dex based fighter to be completely SAD, which is actually not such a bad thing anyway.


I think making intelligence or wisdom based fighter types sucks, being clever int 13+ is quite a bit different than being the Albert Einstein of swashbuckling int 20+, I do not want to have a genius level swashbuckler type just a clever one.

Wizards, Magi or EKs should not outdo fighter because they have more intelligence, you just make sure they find more uses for intelligence.

Wisdom, there is much to be said for wisdom for pretty much anything you do or don't do but likewise the elderly wise woman should not kick your ass in a round of swashbuckling hitting you for massive damage.

Dexterity involves trained coordination, thinking on your feet and agility, some clever analysis of an opponenets weak points will get you a long way but few martial artists are boy genius really.. you do not have to be above average intelligence/wisdom to master a specific technique or be a focused combatant.


Perhaps changing some feats to have higher strength and other requirements will resolve things a bit, dexterity based builds are feat intensive either way I doubt they will come out ahead. If they have to spread points to make a more balanced character they might have to sacrifice some constitution / strength for more mental stats and a high focus on dexterity, but not able to ignore strength and constitution completely.


Remco Sommeling wrote:
I think making intelligence or wisdom based fighter types sucks, being clever int 13+ is quite a bit different than being the Albert Einstein of swashbuckling int 20+, I do not want to have a genius level swashbuckler type just a clever one.

Which is perfectly fine if that is what you want. However, a duelist gains a lot from canny defense if he has the intelligence, so why not put it to more use? Intelligence is to the duelist almost as Wisdom is to the Monk.

There are those that say making anything other than a strength-based fighter sucks, and object strongly that any fighter with a focus on anything but strength should not be effective.

Personally, I think dexterity and intelligence/wisdom should be rewarded, because brain sometimes does beat brawn.

Remco Sommeling wrote:
Wizards, Magi or EKs should not outdo fighter because they have more intelligence, you just make sure they find more uses for intelligence.

Nor would they. A wizard isn't going to take this feat and get into a fight, he has spells. If it concerns you, a simple BAB requirement will eliminate the wizard from the field for most of his career.

Remco Sommeling wrote:
Wisdom, there is much to be said for wisdom for pretty much anything you do or don't do but likewise the elderly wise woman should not kick your ass in a round of swashbuckling hitting you for massive damage.

Nor will she, as crippled physical stats would probably prohibit her from the feat as well.

Remco Sommeling wrote:
Dexterity involves trained coordination, thinking on your feet and agility, some clever analysis of an opponenets weak points will get you a long way but few martial artists are boy genius really.. you do not have to be above average intelligence/wisdom to master a specific technique or be a focused combatant.

Dexterity is way over-used already. For dexterity to add to damage you are already justifying using intelligence in the concept of the feat: that an agile fighter can place a blow were it hurts the most. Doing that takes not just dexterity but intelligence.

As for few martial artists being geniuses, well Bruce Lee and Mohamed Ali both had degrees, and a lot of other fighters have been smart as well as strong and fast.

Moreover, because I am suggesting intelligence as an insight bonus to damage, it will stack with strength, so a fighter doesn't need to be a genius to get a lot out of this feat without making strength a dump-stat.

Combat Expertise as a pre-requisite means at least 13 intelligence. Weapon Finesse as a pre-requisite means a good dexterity is also likely possessed. So a 14 intelligence will give you a +2 damage bonus added to your strength, well worth a feat. Put on a headband of intellect as you go up levels and you improve it further.


Dabbler wrote:

Conceptually it sucks, because of the restrictions. You are saying OK, this guy can use this light weapon more precisely, and he is smart, so he will hit where it hurts most adding his agility (not his brains, for some reason) to damage. Oh, but he can't do that using a shield, and he can't do that with a second weapon...which kind of ruins the concept.

It's not meant for any other finesse fighters, they are still left out in the cold. They have to be, because Dex is too darned good otherwise and Dex fighters would become SAD characters.
... I have to wonder if you actually read my preceding posts that categorically address the complaints you keep remaking. I've pointed out why I don't think the abstract argument about balance issues is a practical problem within these parameters. I've listed several character concepts I think would benefit that have nothing to do with taking a specialized prestige class. I've also discussed the core of the concept for me:
Badbird wrote:
It's about the concept that if you aren't burdened with having to position your body for offhand attacks, then your main hand attacks will have more force through balance and momentum

Or to put it as simply as I can while paraphrasing fencing principles - 1. Much power comes from the body. 2. You may have two arms, but you only have one body.

EDIT: Incidentally, I totally agree with you that intelligence is a major asset in combat and I said as much in a previous post here. I'm not totally opposed to something that allows intelligence to improve damage, but I think its a much more tricky area conceptually.


BadBird wrote:
Dabbler wrote:

Conceptually it sucks, because of the restrictions. You are saying OK, this guy can use this light weapon more precisely, and he is smart, so he will hit where it hurts most adding his agility (not his brains, for some reason) to damage. Oh, but he can't do that using a shield, and he can't do that with a second weapon...which kind of ruins the concept.

It's not meant for any other finesse fighters, they are still left out in the cold. They have to be, because Dex is too darned good otherwise and Dex fighters would become SAD characters.
... I have to wonder if you actually read my preceding posts that categorically address the complaints you just keep remaking.

That's because you addressed them to your satisfaction, not mine. Being quick does can help you hit, but why does it help you inflict damage? Because you know where to strike precisely. Operative word there is 'know' and that's either int or wis. So why not add them instead of overloaded dex?

BadBird wrote:
I've pointed out why I don't think the abstract argument about balance issues is a practical problem within these parameters.

Dex IS overloaded: It's added to chances to hit, to a save (Reflex), to AC, and to a lot of skills. More than any other single attribute and that is before you start stacking it onto damage. It's too much.

That's the issue, and you haven't addressed it, because you haven't made dexterity not apply to any of these things. If your fighter had to divert dex bonus from his AC to apply to damage, THAT would be worth sitting up and taking notice of, but you've not done that.

BadBird wrote:
I've listed several character concepts I think would benefit that have nothing to do with taking a specialized prestige class.

And several more that don't:

The finesse-based TWFer
The rapier & buckler fighter
The elven curveblade wielder

I cannot see a single reason to exclude these that isn't contrived in order to balance an intrinsically unbalanced idea. I like the concept of giving the finesse warrior a boost, but this is not the way to do it. So instead of using constant caveats, switch the idea to one that would work.

BadBird wrote:

I've also discussed the core of the concept for me:

Badbird wrote:
It's about the concept that if you aren't burdened with having to position your body for offhand attacks, then your main hand attacks will have more force through balance and momentum
Or to put it as simply as I can while paraphrasing fencing principles - 1. Much power comes from the body. 2. You may have two arms, but you only have one body.

I am aware of the concept, but it doesn't hold up for the two-handed finesse weapon, and as the duelist already has that same limitation that causes great frustration in those wanting other finesse-warrior builds than rapier-fencers (or scimitar fencers with Dervish Dance) I see no need to repeat the mistake.

Further, the agile weapon property supplies as much to those builds you do support with your feat, so why would they waste a feat to do it?

Dark Archive

Thurin wrote:


Prerequisites: Dexterity 15, Weapon Finesse, Acrobatics 5 ranks,
proficient with a finesse-able martial weapon.

Why Acrobatics 5? Why can't I play the concept I want to play from Level 1?


I wasn't asking you to agree, just acknowledge, which you now did.

Quote:
Being quick does can help you hit, but why does it help you inflict damage? Because you know where to strike precisely.

I think we've gotten stuck debating two different concepts here; its an easy trap to fall into when so much about PnP rules tends to be highly simplified abstract (like AC). If you were to propose in another threat a feat that added INT scores to damage through 'precision' I would have concerns, but I'm actually not unsympathetic to the concept - I said as much above in an edit, but I think you posted before it (I should have just made a new post but I have a superstitious hate of posting twice.)

Quote:
Dex is overloaded... you haven't addressed it, because you haven't made dexterity not apply to any of these things.

I do understand the problem there, and it's a valid point. From my point of view, it comes down to a practical assessment of whether or not that theoretical problem translates into a real one, and I don't believe it does. I haven't seen people complaining that either dervish dance or agile weapons were making DEX melee suddenly outclass their STR melee.

Quote:

The finesse-based TWFer

The rapier & buckler fighter
The elven curveblade wielder

I cannot see a single reason to exclude these that isn't contrived in order to balance an intrinsically unbalanced idea. I like the concept of giving the finesse warrior a boost, but this is not the way to do it. So instead of using constant caveats, switch the idea to one that would work.

We'll have to disagree on the first two points then, since I don't see the idea of momentum and balance adding to force as 'contrived,' though technically speaking I would say that using something in the offhand is the problem rather than simply having something in the offhand. As for the elven curve blade,

Quote:
I am aware of the concept, but it doesn't hold up for the two-handed finesse weapon, and as the duelist already has that same limitation that causes great frustration in those wanting other finesse-warrior builds...

That's a very valid point regarding the elven curve blade, and one which I could see either way.

On the one hand, having to put two hands on a weapon is automatically going to place more restrictions on how you work your center of gravity, and how you position your body. For the Duelist, I think that single-hand attack makes sense because it allows the body to remain side-on and much further back - hence improved AC through intelligent positioning. If you imagine a classical rapier duelist attempting to attack an on-guard foe by putting both hands on his weapon or stabbing with his offhand dagger, he's literally going to be walking onto his opponent's point.
On the other hand, wielding a two-hand weapon isn't going to be nearly as restrictive as simultaneously trying to strike with both hands or keep a shield up on guard. If you were to suggest that the restriction be changed to 'while wielding a single weapon and no shield,' I would have no problem with that at all. I've always wondered if the elven curve blade being a two-handed weapon was just a simple way of saying 'this thing isn't about to be finessed with only one hand on it.'

Quote:
Further, the agile weapon property supplies as much to those builds you do support with your feat, so why would they waste a feat to do it?

From a narrow, optimized-character end-result point of view, sure. But from the RP character concept point of view, I would say 'striking with deadly momentum through agility is something inherent to how my character fights, not a bonus they can only gain through a magical weapon property.'

I think that we're more on the same side here than it might seem regarding wanting to see finesse fighters a boost, and I'm not trying to say that I wouldn't potentially support other ideas on how to do it. I think I mentioned way above that I would like to see the idea of weapon finesse potentially extended to larger weapons under the condition that they are wielded in both hands - for example, a dexterity based Samurai finessing a katana with a two-hand grip (crazy, I know). I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when the PF katana description used the words 'graceful hacking.'


Oh definitely. I just know that every time Dex-to-damage has come up - especially replacing strength - it gets shouted down on the same points, and they are valid ones. Such as the pixie fighter using a sewing needle to dish more damage than a mad half-orc barbarian with a greataxe.

The way I worked it was like this:

Improved Weapon Finesse
Your well-aimed blows inflict additional damage.
Prerequisites: Weapon Finesse and Combat Expertise.
Benefit: When attacking with a finesse weapon you add your intelligence modifier to your damage in addition to other effects and bonuses. This is precision damage, and will not affect creatures immune to critical hits or sneak attacks. If you have a secondary weapon (from two weapon fighting or multiple natural attacks) you add only half your intelligence modifier to each of your attacks with the secondary weapon.


Dabbler wrote:

Oh definitely. I just know that every time Dex-to-damage has come up - especially replacing strength - it gets shouted down on the same points, and they are valid ones. Such as the pixie fighter using a sewing needle to dish more damage than a mad half-orc barbarian with a greataxe.

The way I worked it was like this:

Improved Weapon Finesse
Your well-aimed blows inflict additional damage.
Prerequisites: Weapon Finesse and Combat Expertise.
Benefit: When attacking with a finesse weapon you add your intelligence modifier to your damage in addition to other effects and bonuses. This is precision damage, and will not affect creatures immune to critical hits or sneak attacks. If you have a secondary weapon (from two weapon fighting or multiple natural attacks) you add only half your intelligence modifier to each of your attacks with the secondary weapon.

I could see that; I'd be concerned about a situation where STR10/INT20 could produce the same damage as STR20/INT10, but I'm not opposed to the general concept.

As far as dex damage goes, I could see something like (rough sketch):
"You have learned to use balance and momentum to add to the force of your attacks. When attacking with a finesse weapon you may add your dexterity modifier to damage instead of strength, though a negative strength modifier must still be applied. Wielding any secondary weapons or a shield halves this bonus for all attacks."
One thing I would have much preferred to see with 'Dervish Dance' (not to mention with 'Agility' weapons) was that qualifier that negative strength modifier still matters. Sure, strength isn't the main focus anymore for a character slicing away with a whirling scimitar, but a weakling is still a weakling.

On a greater conceptual level, I'd like to see a way to acknowledge the benefits of attacking with solid strength AND dexterity, but it either gets complicated (half and half?) or potentially unbalanced (add them together?). I keep coming back to something that I've posted before and will probably shamelessly post again: finesse and power with a bastard sword looks pretty cool to me, and doesn't seem to fit into either 'you fight with raw strength' or 'you fight with pure agility.'

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