Any way to finesse a staff?


Rules Questions


Title says it all ... any way to get DEX bonus to attack rolls with a staff?

Scarab Sages

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Quote:
CRB pg141: Double Weapons: Dire flails, dwarven urgroshes, gnome hooked hammers, orc double axes, quarterstaves, and two-bladed swords are double weapons. A character can fight with both ends of a double weapon as if fighting with two weapons, but he incurs all the normal attack penalties associated with two-weapon combat, just as though the character were wielding a one-handed weapon and a light weapon (see page 202).

By RAW, a Quarter staff used as a double weapon can be finessed, but only on the off hand end.

You could argue that, RAW, a one handed weapon and a light is no different the a light and a light for TWF purposes, and therefore that, RAI, both ends should be considered light for the purposes of TWF, because one end is no different then the other, so is Finesse-able via TWF. But thats probably a DM call.


So, as long as I only attack with one end and don't try to claim extra attacks, Finesse will work?

I'm asking in regards to a Staff Magus, if that changes anything.


You'd have to be using one end as part of two-weapon fighting for it to be considered light (and thus be finessable).

So half of your attack routine would be finesse and the other wouldn't.

Not sure thats what you have in mind.

-S


RAW from above, it seems since you are effectively wielding a one handed and a light, and you are choosing not to attack with the one handed weapon,
your number of attacks stays the same,
you do not take the minuses to hit for two weapon fighting that round,
you do not take the penalty of half strength for off hand attacks,
and your main hand is considered to be occupied.

Scarab Sages

Zhayne wrote:
So, as long as I only attack with one end and don't try to claim extra attacks, Finesse will work?

As commented by Segard, no. In fact, only the attacks labeled as off-hand that you gain by TWF get finessed.

Your best bet is to try to argue to your DM that, given one side is light while TWF, RAI and logic means both are light and you can therefore finesse when TWF. But not all DMs will agree.

I might also argue, alternatively that once you get Quarterstaff Mastery (that clearly is reducing the effort to wield a Staff) either A) you can finesse both ends while TWF, or B) finesse any attack while using two hands but not taking the 1-1/2 strength bonus.

Neither of these are RAW though, they all are either RAI or grey areas that a DM may rule in your favor.

Given the Quarterstaff's history as a weapon of skill and maneuver rather then outright brute strength I'd give it to you. But a different DM can rule differently.


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There's an interesting FAQ on the combat page (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/combat#TOC-Two-Weapon-Fighting) of which I'll quote a possibly relevant statement here:

"The penalties end as soon as you have completed the full-attack action that allowed you to attack with both weapons."

Given this statement, it appears that your off-hand weapon only functions as an off-hand weapon *during* a full-attack action in which you attack with two weapons. In all other circumstances when you are attacking with a single weapon, it is considered to be in your main hand, regardless of which hand (or other kind of limb) is actually being used to make the attack.

Edit (didn't finish post...): Given the above, it seems that in order for your off-hand staff attacks to benefit from weapon finesse, you have to actually attempt attacks with both ends of the weapon during your full-attack action, which starts with your main-hand attack first.


Silly question, can you use a double weapon in a single hand? Important because quarterstaff master specifies being a one handed weapon. The text infers that you can't use it one handed, but that's kind of stupid.

Anyways, the shadow hand school from 3.5 could get dex to attack with certain weapons, but not quarterstaff. At best the only thing I could think of is 3PP; the nimble blade archetype for soul knifes. Toss on gifted blade and you could get some casting, but I think that might be something totally different than your looking for.

My honest suggestion is... ask your GM nicely. Preferably over sweets.

Scarab Sages

Juke wrote:

RAW from above, it seems since you are effectively wielding a one handed and a light, and you are choosing not to attack with the one handed weapon,

your number of attacks stays the same,
you do not take the minuses to hit for two weapon fighting that round,
you do not take the penalty of half strength for off hand attacks,
and your main hand is considered to be occupied.

The problem is that, by the current RAW in this thread, the staff is only light in his 'Off-Hand". As I say, logic suggests that both ends are actually light, and given that a Light and a Light IS a one handed and a light for TWF purposes, RAI suggests that a staff is finesse-able. But RAI and logic rulings are up to a DM.


Can't I just attack with the off-hand end? Like if someone was holding a longsword and a shortsword, and just chose to attack with only the shortsword?


No, because its only light when you are using it as part of a twf routine.

(its not actually light. It is just considered light when you use it in that fashion.)

-S


Zhayne wrote:
Can't I just attack with the off-hand end? Like if someone was holding a longsword and a shortsword, and just chose to attack with only the shortsword?

Well, since your a staff magus your using the Quarterstaff Mastery feat to wield it in one hand while you use spell combat. Its sort of crazy that you have to wield it as a light as part of TWF and not as a single attack though... Best ask your GM. Spell combat works similar to TWF though, but that's probably a whole different can of worms.

Scarab Sages

Zhayne wrote:
Can't I just attack with the off-hand end? Like if someone was holding a longsword and a shortsword, and just chose to attack with only the shortsword?

Because My next question is which end is your off-hand? A staff, normally, is not a light weapon. I argue, that when TWF, if one end is light both should be. Hence, my commentary on RAI and logic. But, that isn't RAW. So convincing us does nothing to convince your DM. Various abilities you specifically have should help your arguement. but a strict read of the rules, (and my own experience fighting with a staff) says wielding it in the center and swinging the top around isn't making the top (or the bottom) any easier to wield. Its only when you get the advantage of being able to use both ends interchangeably that your dexterity really changes the game.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Because Quarterstaff Master allows you to "wield a quarterstaff as a one-handed weapon", can you use the Transformative magical property to transform it into another one-handed weapon, such as a rapier, and finesse with it?

If you transform a quarterstaff into another weapon, is it still considered a magical "staff" for the other class abilities of a Staff Magus?

Quarterstaff Defense (@7th level): "At 7th level, while wielding a quarterstaff, the staff magus gains a shield bonus...." This implies that it must be a physical quarterstaff

Staff Weapon (@ 10th level): "At 10th level, a staff magus treats any magical staff as a magical quarterstaff with an enhancement bonus....." This implies, by RAW, that anything that is considered a "magical staff" can be weilded as a quarterstaff, which would trigger Quarterstaff Defense.

Lastly, some magical staffs are defined as walking sticks (Staff of Journeys, Staff of Travel). Could you use Transformative to change them into a light mace, finesse it, then at 10th level use Staff Weapon to trigger all abilities that require you to wield a quarterstaff?


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I don't know of any RAW way of finessing a quarterstaff. For my own games, I added the following feat:

Staff Fighter (Combat)
Your skill with a simple staff allows you to make a flurry of agile strikes.
Prerequisites: Weapon Focus (Quarterstaff)
Benefit: You can apply the effects of Weapon Finesse when using a quarterstaff. In addition, when using a quarterstaff as a double-weapon, you can fight as if you possess the Two-Weapon Fighting feat.

Obviously doesn't help for PFS, and in a home game you'd have to convince the DM it's fair.


A double weapon only counts as a one-handed and light weapon for TWF penalties, not general purposes. By RAW, there's no way to get Dex to attack or damage on a quarterstaff. And believe me, I've looked. Had an awesome idea for a Staff of Martial Duality, a Bo Staff with Agile and Vicious on one end and Guided and Merciful on the other, but Agile requires a finesseable weapon which the Bo isn't.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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CRB wrote:
Double Weapons: Dire flails, dwarven urgroshes, gnome hooked hammers, orc double axes, quarterstaves, and two-bladed swords are double weapons. A character can fight with both ends of a double weapon as if fighting with two weapons, but he incurs all the normal attack penalties associated with two-weapon combat, just as though the character were wielding a one-handed weapon and a light weapon (see page 202).

The rule does not say that the off-hand attack is treated as a light weapon in all ways. It only says that it's treated as a light weapon for the purpose of the two-weapon combat penalties. It does not allow you to use Weapon Finesse with any of the attacks.

It would be cool if you could, but I know of no way.


Kalshane wrote:
A double weapon only counts as a one-handed and light weapon for TWF penalties, not general purposes.
RainyDayNinja wrote:
The rule does not say that the off-hand attack is treated as a light weapon in all ways. It only says that it's treated as a light weapon for the purpose of the two-weapon combat penalties.

Kazaan and RainyDayNinja are correct. The offhand end of a double weapon is not a light weapon; it just gets the same penalties that a light weapon gets when two-weapon fighting. A double weapon is always a double weapon, and its type never changes.

If you're desperate for that DEX bonus, see if you can work with your GM to develop a homebrew feat. Something like...

Staff Spinner (Combat)
You are adept with a staff and can spin and twirl it with deadly effect.
Benefit: When wielding a quarterstaff or bo staff made for your size as a double weapon, you may use your Dexterity modifier in place of your Strength modifier on attack rolls made with both ends. You still use your Strength modifier when wielding the staff as a two-handed weapon (or one-handed, if you have the Quarterstaff Master feat).


Since this is the rules forum, just to be clear, the answer to the original question is:

No.

Out of curiosity, why would you want to finesse the staff anyway? Seeing that strength will also add to your staff's damage and you can't dervish dance with a staff....why not just go the strength route?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Why not use a Hanbo?


Lord Pendragon wrote:
Out of curiosity, why would you want to finesse the staff anyway? Seeing that strength will also add to your staff's damage and you can't dervish dance with a staff....why not just go the strength route?

If I had to guess, he's going for "on-hit" effects and is only really concerned about landing the hits to trigger those effects and discounting Str-to-Damage so as not to spread stats too thin. Either that, or it's a fetish build.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A quarterstaff is not a light weapon, no matter which end of it you're holding it by, so the answer is no.


Selgard wrote:

You'd have to be using one end as part of two-weapon fighting for it to be considered light (and thus be finessable).

So half of your attack routine would be finesse and the other wouldn't.

Not sure thats what you have in mind.

-S

Interesting. Does this mean that to a monk a quaterstaff is in it's entirety a finesse weapon, seeing as he can treat one end as a light weapon and make all attacks in a flurry of blows with that end? I suspect not, as FoB has no "off hand".


Dabbler wrote:
Selgard wrote:

You'd have to be using one end as part of two-weapon fighting for it to be considered light (and thus be finessable).

So half of your attack routine would be finesse and the other wouldn't.

Not sure thats what you have in mind.

-S

Interesting. Does this mean that to a monk a quaterstaff is in it's entirety a finesse weapon, seeing as he can treat one end as a light weapon and make all attacks in a flurry of blows with that end? I suspect not, as FoB has no "off hand".

If you are using an attack routine that by RAW has no off hand equivalent then you wouldn't be able to use the off-hand version of a weapon during that routine.

You get the offhand as light when you are using the other end as the main hand. If you aren't doing the latter then you aren't getting the former.

To put it another way-
If you aren't using the quarterstaff in a TWF routine then neither end is treated as light.

But if you are, then you can. So you could swing with the main hand (gettin str bonus) and then finesse the light half while doing so.
But if you were just making one attack with it (say, an AOO or just a standard action swing) then you couldn't finesse with it.

-S


From Combat

PRD wrote:
Double Weapons: You can use a double weapon to make an extra attack with the off-hand end of the weapon as if you were fighting with two weapons. The penalties apply as if the off-hand end of the weapon was a light weapon.

From Equipment

PRD wrote:
Double Weapons: Dire flails, dwarven urgroshes, gnome hooked hammers, orc double axes, quarterstaves, and two-bladed swords are double weapons. A character can fight with both ends of a double weapon as if fighting with two weapons, but he incurs all the normal attack penalties associated with two-weapon combat, just as though the character were wielding a one-handed weapon and a light weapon.

Fighting with both ends of a double weapon does not count as using a one-handed and light weapon for all purposes. You cannot finesse the off-hand attack nor can you employ Piranha Strike or any other effect that relies on wielding a light weapon. If there are any abilities that require wielding a 1-h weapon, the main-hand end of the double weapon, likewise, doesn't satisfy the requirement. The only thing happening is that you incur the attack penalties associated with two-weapon combat as if you were wielding a light weapon in the off-hand.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Seriously, the Hanbo is a slightly shorter Quarterstaff, and is a light weapon.

It is not perfect solution, but the flavor is kept.


bbt: the flavor may be kept, but the build is ruined, which is why your suggestion was largely ignored. He wants to be a Staff Magus. Hanbo is not going to cut it.

edit: until he hits level 10+ that is.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

shame there's no bo-staff options, and just quarterstaves.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

( well, i mean no option to finesse a bo-staff either , i see now there's a bo-staff, but it doesn't help )

there should just be some exotic light wood quarterstaff that's finesseable. =P


Depending on the final rules for a Swashbuckler, a dip might satisfy the wish to finesse a quarterstaff with Quarterstaff Master.


The next edition should just allow quarterstaves to be finessable. If getting a big strength bonus to damage was important to the character, they wouldn't need it to be finessable, and it's just a d6/x2 weapon, so no big deal.

I also think the cost of magic weapons should be rebalanced to make TWF more viable, but that's a separate issue.


Use a smaller weapon!

A Tiny staff in the hands of a Medium creature is a light weapon, and thus can be finessed.

Yes, you get a -4 penalty for wielding a wrongly-sized weapon, and the damage output is a measly 1d3 that can't be wielded as a double weapon, but you can wield two of them!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zhayne wrote:

So, as long as I only attack with one end and don't try to claim extra attacks, Finesse will work?

I'm asking in regards to a Staff Magus, if that changes anything.

As a Staff Magus, you're generally going to be using it one handed. (that's why you get that free Quarterstaff Mastery feat.) A staff is not a light weapon, so Finessing is not an option in any case.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wrong John Silver wrote:

Use a smaller weapon!

A Tiny staff in the hands of a Medium creature is a light weapon, and thus can be finessed.

Yes, you get a -4 penalty for wielding a wrongly-sized weapon, and the damage output is a measly 1d3 that can't be wielded as a double weapon, but you can wield two of them!

All you need now is Son Wukong's magical size-changing staff!


finesse only works on a weapon of your size category.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Majuba wrote:
Depending on the final rules for a Swashbuckler, a dip might satisfy the wish to finesse a quarterstaff with Quarterstaff Master.

the revised version has a feat to let you finesse a slashing weapon, nothing so far for bludgeoning weapons.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
burkoJames wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
So, as long as I only attack with one end and don't try to claim extra attacks, Finesse will work?

As commented by Segard, no. In fact, only the attacks labeled as off-hand that you gain by TWF get finessed.

Your best bet is to try to argue to your DM that, given one side is light while TWF, RAI and logic means both are light and you can therefore finesse when TWF. But not all DMs will agree.

I might also argue, alternatively that once you get Quarterstaff Mastery (that clearly is reducing the effort to wield a Staff) either A) you can finesse both ends while TWF, or B) finesse any attack while using two hands but not taking the 1-1/2 strength bonus.

Neither of these are RAW though, they all are either RAI or grey areas that a DM may rule in your favor.

Given the Quarterstaff's history as a weapon of skill and maneuver rather then outright brute strength I'd give it to you. But a different DM can rule differently.

He's a magus, he's not going to be using it in a two weapon fighting style. He's going to be using it one handed as I presume he does not want to give up the class's main feature... spell combat. And unless you're breaking the staff in two pieces, if you can't finesse with one end, you certainly can not do it with the other.


I would at least sometimes me TWFing with it, since you can't afford to Spell Combat every turn.


As a house rule, I'd rule that a quarterstaff is finessable, but never for two-handed damage. For example, if you move and make 1 attack, you can get STR to hit and 1.5x STR (as normal), or you can get DEX to hit and 1.0x STR to damage.

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