Do you lose the benefits of Two-Weapon Fighting feat if Enlarge Person drops your Dex below 15?


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Sczarni

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Title has my question - or in other words:

Does a player lose the benefits of a feat if they no longer meet the prerequisites because of a temporary condition?


Yes.

In order to use a feat, you must meet the prerequisites when you are using it. If circumstances, including temporary ability score modifiers, cause you to fail to meet the prerequisites, then you lose access to the feat until such time as you again meet the prerequisites.


Yep


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No. Just as a temporary bonus to a stat doesn't let you qualify for a feat you wouldn't otherwise qualify for, a temporary penalty to a stat doesn't disqualify you from a feat you would otherwise qualify for.

By contrast, if you suffer stat drain from some source, that does affect the stat directly and could potentially cancel out stat-prereqs on feats you already have. Alternatively, if you wear a stat-changing item for more than 24 hours, the change becomes permanent (so long as you keep using the item) which could meet prereqs. But if you removed the item, the stat boost goes away and if this drops you under the prereq amount, you've got to go through the 24 hour waiting period again to get it back.


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Kazaan wrote:

No. Just as a temporary bonus to a stat doesn't let you qualify for a feat you wouldn't otherwise qualify for, a temporary penalty to a stat doesn't disqualify you from a feat you would otherwise qualify for.

By contrast, if you suffer stat drain from some source, that does affect the stat directly and could potentially cancel out stat-prereqs on feats you already have. Alternatively, if you wear a stat-changing item for more than 24 hours, the change becomes permanent (so long as you keep using the item) which could meet prereqs. But if you removed the item, the stat boost goes away and if this drops you under the prereq amount, you've got to go through the 24 hour waiting period again to get it back.

Quoted directly from the PRD

Quote:

Prerequisites

Some feats have prerequisites. Your character must have the indicated ability score, class feature, feat, skill, base attack bonus, or other quality designated in order to select or use that feat. A character can gain a feat at the same level at which he gains the prerequisite.

A character can't use a feat if he loses a prerequisite, but he does not lose the feat itself. If, at a later time, he regains the lost prerequisite, he immediately regains full use of the feat that prerequisite enables.

You must have the prerequisite ability score.


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Enlarge person doesn't apply drain or damage though. It is -2 size penalty to dex. Which falls outside of the normal rules for temporary ability effects.


A penalty to a character's Dexterity actually adjusts that caharacter's Dexterity score. This can certainly affect the caharacter's ability to use a feat.

Similarly, a bonus to a character's Dexterity score can allow a character to qualify for a feat. If the bonus is removed, the feat may become unusable.


Quote:

Prerequisites

Some feats have prerequisites. Your character must have the indicated ability score, class feature, feat, skill, base attack bonus, or other quality designated in order to select or use that feat. A character can gain a feat at the same level at which he gains the prerequisite.

A character can't use a feat if he loses a prerequisite, but he does not lose the feat itself. If, at a later time, he regains the lost prerequisite, he immediately regains full use of the feat that prerequisite enables.

This is pretty clear cut, I think. It doesn't make a concession for "temporary" anywhere in there.


I disagree with several of these statements. FOR EXAMPLE ,a two weapon fighting ranger does NOT require even 2 points of dex to use both weapons. That being said, if your level of two weapon fighting ARE dependent upon the dex, i still dont think that would matter as it is a temporary condition. You have already learned how to fight with both weapons. The prerequisite is to learn the feat, and does not state you lose it if your dex drops.


Exactly. If you have the ability score, you qualify for the feat and can take and use it. If you do not, then you can't take the feat and cannot use it if you already have it. How you arrive at the requisite ability score isn't relevant.


Evilserran wrote:
I disagree with several of these statements. FOR EXAMPLE ,a two weapon fighting ranger does NOT require even 2 points of dex to use both weapons. That being said, if your level of two weapon fighting ARE dependent upon the dex, i still dont think that would matter. You have already learned how to fight with both weapons. The prerequisite is to learn the feat, and does not state you lose it if your dex drops.

A TWF ranger is specifically exempt from the prerequisites for those feats. This exemption is irrelevant to the general case this thread is about.

The prerequisite is required to learn and use the feat, as has been cited already:

Quote:
A character can't use a feat if he loses a prerequisite, but he does not lose the feat itself. If, at a later time, he regains the lost prerequisite, he immediately regains full use of the feat that prerequisite enables.


Claxon wrote:
Enlarge person doesn't apply drain or damage though. It is -2 size penalty to dex. Which falls outside of the normal rules for temporary ability effects.
Some spells and abilities cause you to take an ability penalty for a limited amount of time. While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage, but they cannot cause you to fall unconscious or die. In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1.

Enlarge Person causes a temporary ability penalty, thus it functions like ability damage (except it can't go below an equivalent of a score of 1). And Ability Damage, from the same section, doesn't directly reduce the stat but just things calculated off the stat (excluding prerequisites). So the logic still stands; a temporary penalty or ability damage to a stat has no bearing on meeting prerequisites based on that stat because they apply indirectly while ability drain is what actually reduces the stat itself and would apply to prerequisites.


Agreed with blahpers. If for any reason you no longer meet the requirements for a feat, you lose the benefits from that feat. You still have the feat, it just doesn't function.


Your character must have the indicated ability score... in order to select or use that feat.

A character can't use a feat if he loses a prerequisite...

Anybody have any rule they can quote that refutes this?

Dark Archive

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You can still use it.

As has been noted, the rules state that penalties from Enlarge count as Ability Damage and the rules on that are;

Paizo PRD wrote:

Ability Score Damage, Penalty, and Drain

Diseases, poisons, spells, and other abilities can all deal damage directly to your ability scores. This damage does not actually reduce an ability, but it does apply a penalty to the skills and statistics that are based on that ability.

Your Dex is not reduced below the prerequisite and thus you continue to be able to use the feat. Ability Drain would cause the loss of ability to use the feat however.


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The Crusader wrote:

Your character must have the indicated ability score... in order to select or use that feat.

A character can't use a feat if he loses a prerequisite...

Anybody have any rule they can quote that refutes this?

That's correct, but you also have to understand that there are codified rules as to what counts as losing the actual ability score and what doesn't. In the section I linked above on ability damage, penalties, and drain, the rules explicitly set up a dichotomy between ability damage which reduces derived statistics and ability drain which reduces the ability score directly. 2 points of Dex damage, for instance, does not reduce your Dex score by 2. It reduces your "effective Dex modifier" by 1. So, if you have 15 Dex and suffer 2 Dex damage, you still have 15 Dex but you do all calculations as if your Dex Mod were +1 rather than +2. This also means that if you have 14 Dex, one point of Dex damage will not drop your effective Dex mod just because a Dex score of 13 would only have a mod of +1; it takes 2 full points of Dex damage to drop your effective mod by 1 point. Dex drain, however, does apply directly to the ability score so 1 point of Drain on a 14 Dex character drops their mod by 1 while it does nothing to a 15 Dex character.

And, as I quoted above, temporary penalties to a stat (such as imposed by Enlarge Person) are treated as ability damage.


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Suthainn has the right of it. Ability damage does not actually reduce a stat it only applies penalties to skill based on it. So the answer is no you dont lose access to the feat.

This is a change from 3.5 which people might have missed.


Kazaan wrote:
{The Correct Answer}

Preach it brother.


Majuba wrote:
Kazaan wrote:
{The Correct Answer}
Preach it brother.

Can'a get'a AMEN'uh


You know, I was originally on the "you can't use it while Enlarged" camp, but Kazaan is pretty convincing. They went out of their way to state that spell penalties like this count as damage, and define damage as not interfering with prerequisites.

It seems likely to me that this is intended to insure characters such as two-weapon fighters or some casters from losing their best abilities to low-level spells. Or a combat maneuver specialist losing all his feats to a Touch of Idiocy when his Int dropped to 12.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Bizbag wrote:

You know, I was originally on the "you can't use it while Enlarged" camp, but Kazaan is pretty convincing. They went out of their way to state that spell penalties like this count as damage, and define damage as not interfering with prerequisites.

It seems likely to me that this is intended to insure characters such as two-weapon fighters or some casters from losing their best abilities to low-level spells. Or a combat maneuver specialist losing all his feats to a Touch of Idiocy when his Int dropped to 12.

Yep, I agree with this.


cartmanbeck wrote:
Bizbag wrote:

You know, I was originally on the "you can't use it while Enlarged" camp, but Kazaan is pretty convincing. They went out of their way to state that spell penalties like this count as damage, and define damage as not interfering with prerequisites.

It seems likely to me that this is intended to insure characters such as two-weapon fighters or some casters from losing their best abilities to low-level spells. Or a combat maneuver specialist losing all his feats to a Touch of Idiocy when his Int dropped to 12.

Yep, I agree with this.

I was also originally in the "you can't use it when enlarged camp", but I think I would have been wrong. Good quote there Kazaan.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Last time this debate came around I think he won that one, too.


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Quote:


Some spells and abilities cause you to take an ability penalty for a limited amount of time. While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage, but they cannot cause you to fall unconscious or die. In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1.

To me that says they "function" like ability damage in how they affect you, but ARE actually a reduction. Just like slumber hex has the effect of the sleep spell but is actually a supernatural ability that takes a standard action. Otherwise, the last sentence there is complete nonsense.

I say, yes, penalties can cause you to lose access to a feat.


RJGrady wrote:
Quote:


Some spells and abilities cause you to take an ability penalty for a limited amount of time. While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage, but they cannot cause you to fall unconscious or die. In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1.
To me that says they "function" like ability damage in how they affect you, but ARE actually a reduction.

I don't find it convincing to say that something "functions" like something else but doesn't actually function like it. Ability Damage functions like a reduction in the ability score modifier for each two points of damage. Ability Penalties function like that. If it actually reduced the score, it would have entirely different effects. Such as giving a reduction when the penalty is only 1, if the score is even.


Why would you not just assume that you use the ability damage calculations, but track that the ability score is "actually" whatever score it is after you apply the penalty? Dex as a modifier doesn't actually have any direct relationship to Dex as a prerequisite. When it says there is a penalty to an ability score, I'm inclined to read it literally.

What do you think this means?

Quote:


In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Kazaan wrote:

No. Just as a temporary bonus to a stat doesn't let you qualify for a feat you wouldn't otherwise qualify for, a temporary penalty to a stat doesn't disqualify you from a feat you would otherwise qualify for.

I'm not sure that's exactly true. In this FAQ, they seem to indicate that temporary bonuses are the same as permanent bonuses in most instances, the limited list of effects was just a space issue.

"Temporary ability bonuses should apply to anything relating to that ability score, just as permanent ability score bonuses do."

I would think that the same would be true of penalties.

Sczarni

RJGrady wrote:

Why would you not just assume that you use the ability damage calculations, but track that the ability score is "actually" whatever score it is after you apply the penalty? Dex as a modifier doesn't actually have any direct relationship to Dex as a prerequisite. When it says there is a penalty to an ability score, I'm inclined to read it literally.

What do you think this means?

Quote:


In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1.

I think it means what it says. It is also being used to reiterate what was said immediately before > the penalties imposed by some spells function like ability damage, only they can't cause you to fall unconscious or die (which is what would usually happen if your ability score was reduced to less than 1.

Read the link that Kazaan posted. Makes it quite clear when read in its entirety... I was in the other camp prior to reading that link (which for some reason I cannot copy from on my iPad).


RJGrady wrote:
Why would you not just assume that you use the ability damage calculations, but track that the ability score is "actually" whatever score it is after you apply the penalty?

Because it doesn't say to do so, it specifically says how it functions.

RJGrady wrote:

What do you think this means?

Quote:
In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1.

I think it means that:

Quote:
they cannot cause you to fall unconscious or die.

Ssalarn: The FAQ is pointing out that the changes in effective ability score modifiers impact all the normal things that they impact. But the FAQ does not contradict the clear rule that the ability score itself does not change.

Everyone - not impacting prerequisites was entirely why these changes were made. Your character isn't supposed to collapse like that. For instance, you could have a fighter with as many as 8 feats dedicated to Cleaving (including the dwarf ones). If you happen to take Strength damage you will be hurt. But you won't have every feat you have deactivated.


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I've carefully re-read the FAQ, and I think what I said before is the correct reading: temporary effects affect everything. The way they affect bonuses and penalties is streamlined for play, but they do actually change the ability score for all purposes.

Quote:


Everyone - not impacting prerequisites was entirely why these changes were made.

The FAQ doesn't say that. It says because of hard maths.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Unfortunately, there are various places in the rules where the rule change for ability damage from 3.5 to Pathfinder has not been taken into consideration, or the text was simply copied from the earlier rules and not adjusted.

For example, you might find the rules of a spell or a monster special ability talking about ability damage and then stating that this or that effect occurs when the character is damaged to an ability score of 0. Following the rules to the point would mean the effect never happens, since the ability score is never actually reduced. In most of these cases, the intent is obvious and the rule should always be read as "when the ability damage total equals or exceeds the character's ability score".

The statement "In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1" obviously is an example of these glitches, since temporary penalties can never actually reduce an ability score. Only permanent ability penalties (e.g. aging effects) can reduce the actual ability score.

Unfortunately there not just a few of these cases, and they have never been corrected, and unfortunately this error still happens now and then even in new products. It would be great if these glitches could be caught in editing.


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Kazaan is correct.

Let's use Touch of Idiocy as a good example of why.

If a wizard with an 18 int has their intelligence reduced to 12 by touch of idiocy, all of a sudden their DCs drop a lot, because a DC is a derived ability.

However, they don't actually lose the ability to cast spells higher than 2nd level (which normally would require an Int score of higher than 12 to do).

That's because they still have the prerequisite ability score to cast the spells, they just aren't going to be as effective with them because it has ben weakened.

Weakened is not the same as gone.


The rules are written with "plain English" and understanding in mind. This is the same principal as why they list a Half-Elf as having the "Elf Blood" Racial trait, even though such a trait doesn't really exist; it's a shorthand way of presenting the function of having the Humanoid creature type with both Human and Elf subtypes. It says a temporary penalty can't "reduce you below 1 point" because that's easier to say and conceptualize and takes less space than saying that you can only suffer temporary penalties up to the value of the attribute minus one.

Regarding the FAQ, that's about a different topic altogether. The question posed was whether Temporary stat bonuses only apply to the explicitly listed derived statistics or if they would apply similarly in any and all cases. For example, would a temporary bonus to Strength increase the damage done by the bonus added to unarmed strikes by Dragon Ferocity, an untyped bonus equal to 50% of your Str bonus. The answer, ultimately, was that the bonus to your mod does apply to any usages of that mod, both those explicitly listed in the section and any more specific uses. A temporary bonus to Str applies to all the same derived values as a permanent bonus. But it still doesn't apply to things like qualifying for prerequisites.


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Doomed Hero wrote:

Kazaan is correct.

Let's use Touch of Idiocy as a good example of why.

If a wizard with an 18 int has their intelligence reduced to 12 by touch of idiocy, all of a sudden their DCs drop a lot, because a DC is a derived ability.

However, they don't actually lose the ability to cast spells higher than 2nd level (which normally would require an Int score of higher than 12 to do).

That's because they still have the prerequisite ability score to cast the spells, they just aren't going to be as effective with them because it has ben weakened.

Weakened is not the same as gone.

Did I just fail my detect sarcasm roll?

Quote:


This spell's effect may make it impossible for the target to cast some or all of its spells, if the requisite ability score drops below the minimum required to cast spells of that level.

Anyway, that settles it for me. Penalties affect prerequisites.

Dark Archive

Some spells and abilities cause you to take an ability penalty for a limited amount of time. While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage
Paizo PRD wrote:

Ability Score Damage

Diseases, poisons, spells, and other abilities can all deal damage directly to your ability scores. This damage does not actually reduce an ability, but it does apply a penalty to the skills and statistics that are based on that ability.

Is there some part of this that you don't see as clear cut?

The penalty from Enlarge is Ability Damage.
Ability Damage does not reduce an ability.

If your ability is not reduced you still meet prerequisites. There's nothing foggy or uncertain in that, simple & clear rules statements which show you do not lose feat access, that's all.


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RJGrady wrote:
Quote:


This spell's effect may make it impossible for the target to cast some or all of its spells, if the requisite ability score drops below the minimum required to cast spells of that level.
Anyway, that settles it for me. Penalties affect prerequisites.

Specific trumps general. It affects your spellcasting because it specifically overrides the general rule.


Kazaan wrote:
RJGrady wrote:
Quote:


This spell's effect may make it impossible for the target to cast some or all of its spells, if the requisite ability score drops below the minimum required to cast spells of that level.
Anyway, that settles it for me. Penalties affect prerequisites.
Specific trumps general. It affects your spellcasting because it specifically overrides the general rule.

Well, if you're claiming penalties don't actually lower a score, then that sentence of Touch of Idiocy is wasted ink.


Suthainn wrote:
Some spells and abilities cause you to take an ability penalty for a limited amount of time. While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage
Paizo PRD wrote:

Ability Score Damage

Diseases, poisons, spells, and other abilities can all deal damage directly to your ability scores. This damage does not actually reduce an ability, but it does apply a penalty to the skills and statistics that are based on that ability.

Is there some part of this that you don't see as clear cut?

The penalty from Enlarge is Ability Damage.
Ability Damage does not reduce an ability.

If your ability is not reduced you still meet prerequisites. There's nothing foggy or uncertain in that, simple & clear rules statements which show you do not lose feat access, that's all.

This also makes sense when looked at this way - Cat's grace doesn't allow you to qualify for a new feat for the three 3 minutes that it is active, so why should enlarge person cause you to lose access to a feat for the 3 minutes it is active?


Not if the intent was for ToI to be able to reduce spellcasting ability despite ability penalties not normally being able to. By default, an ability penalty is ability damage that cannot total to more than one less than the total value of the stat it affects. This means that it can never render a target unconscious. However, the presumed intent, given the additional line regarding spellcasters, is that they wanted it to actually affect spellcasting like Ability Drain would. But they didn't want it to KO the target. Without that clause, it would work just like normal Ability Penalty; it affects your effective stat mod only and cannot knock you out. With the clause, it still cannot knock you out, but it takes a single page out of the book of Ability Drain and can reduce the highest level of spell you're able to cast. It still wouldn't affect feat prerequisites. So, if that's the intent (and no reason to presume it isn't), then it's most certainly not a waste of ink. It's a very necessary expenditure of space to make the RAW work in line with the RAI.


MechE_ wrote:
Suthainn wrote:
Some spells and abilities cause you to take an ability penalty for a limited amount of time. While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage
Paizo PRD wrote:

Ability Score Damage

Diseases, poisons, spells, and other abilities can all deal damage directly to your ability scores. This damage does not actually reduce an ability, but it does apply a penalty to the skills and statistics that are based on that ability.

Is there some part of this that you don't see as clear cut?

The penalty from Enlarge is Ability Damage.
Ability Damage does not reduce an ability.

If your ability is not reduced you still meet prerequisites. There's nothing foggy or uncertain in that, simple & clear rules statements which show you do not lose feat access, that's all.

This also makes sense when looked at this way - Cat's grace doesn't allow you to qualify for a new feat for the three 3 minutes that it is active, so why should enlarge person cause you to lose access to a feat for the 3 minutes it is active?

Well the argument would be that cats grace gives you an enhancement bonus which is specifically called out as not actually increasing your score (unless it last longer than 24 hours) and enlarge person giving you a size penalty to an ability score. A size penalty does change your ability score. However, according to the link Kazaan posted (thanks, I hadn't read that) the size modifier is treated as temporary damage because the penalty originates from a spell.


Where does it say the ability penalty works like ability damage?


lordzack wrote:
Where does it say the ability penalty works like ability damage?

Click the link in my post directly above yours.


I'm not sold one way or the other quite yet. I believe temp ability damage from a spell wouldn't make you lose a feat per ability and drain rules as the the posted link. However, enlarge/reduce person simply state you physically change size catagories and then follow that statment by listing the effect of changing a size. No where in the link does it say treat size changes as ability damage, or ALL spells for that matter. The spell does not directly do damage to an ability score it simply changes your size catagory.


RunebladeX wrote:
I'm not sold one way or the other quite yet. I believe temp ability damage from a spell wouldn't make you lose a feat per ability and drain rules as the the posted link. However, enlarge/reduce person simply state you physically change size catagories and then follow that statment by listing the effect of changing a size. No where in the link does it say treat size changes as ability damage, or ALL spells for that matter. The spell does not directly do damage to an ability score it simply changes your size catagory.

Giants are type "humanoid", and can be targeted by Enlarge Person - but if you target a Cloud Giant with it, it just gets the -1 penalty, instead of the normal -2 it'd normally get for becoming Gargantuan. It's a flat effect of the spell, not a natural result of changing size. Otherwise it'd make reference to the Monster Advancement rules.


It's not ability damage because it's caused by a size change. But it's an ability penalty which is treated the same as ability damage, save for the fact that it can't KO you by totaling greater than the applicable score. That's why it isn't called damage; they didn't want you to be able to KO someone by casting Enlarge Person if they were particularly clumsy.

To reiterate, the relevant line specifies spells and abilities that cause "ability penalties". Ability Penalties would include the size penalty to Dex from Enlarge Person, the penalty to Str from Reduce Person. The fact that these penalties have a specific type (size) has no significant impact here. Another example; the Fatigued condition causes penalties to Str and Dex. It's not Damage so you can't fall unconscious from Fatigue due to ability penalty, but it's adjudicated the same way ability damage would be. It doesn't matter that it might be an ability or rules element that causes the fatigue which, in turn, causes the penalty. Otherwise, how exactly is "dexterity penalty" defined in the rules that isn't already covered by ability Damage, Drain, or Penalty in the linked section? What does a Size Penalty to Dexterity mean if not what's listed under one of those headings and what good reason is there to exclude it from all three?


RunebladeX wrote:
I'm not sold one way or the other quite yet. I believe temp ability damage from a spell wouldn't make you lose a feat per ability and drain rules as the the posted link. However, enlarge/reduce person simply state you physically change size catagories and then follow that statment by listing the effect of changing a size. No where in the link does it say treat size changes as ability damage, or ALL spells for that matter. The spell does not directly do damage to an ability score it simply changes your size catagory.

Reread the link again (not trying to be snippy, I didn't catch it the first time either). The last paragraph says to treat penalties as temporary ability damage. The size penalty, while normally affecting your actual score, is treated as temporary ability damage because the change is a result of the spell.

Lantern Lodge

As a note, we know that temporary bonuses already act differently from penalties such as damage. For instance, temporary bonuses do not stack, but penalties do.

Here's the text for those following this:

Quotes:

FAQ Temporary Bonuses wrote:

Temporary Ability Score Increases vs. Permanent Ability Score Increases: Why do temporary bonuses only apply to some things?

Temporary ability bonuses should apply to anything relating to that ability score, just as permanent ability score bonuses do. The section in the glossary was very tight on space and it was not possible to list every single ability score-related game effect that an ability score bones would affect.

The purpose of the temporary ability score ruling is to make it so you don't have to rebuild your character every time you get a bull's strength or similar spell; it just summarizes the most common game effects relative to that ability score.

For example, most of the time when you get bull's strength, you're using it for combat, so the glossary mentions Strength-based skill checks, melee attack rolls, Strength-based weapon damage rolls, CMB, and CMD. It doesn't call out melee attack rolls that use Dex instead of Str (such as when using Weapon Finesse) or situations where your applied Str bonus should be halved or multiplied (such as whith off-hand or two-handed weapons). You're usually not using the spell for a 1 min./level increase in your carrying capacity, so that isn't mentioned there, but the bonus should still apply to that, as well as to Strength checks to break down doors.

Think of it in the same way that a simple template has "quick rules" and "rebuild rules;" they're supposed to create monsters which are roughly equivalent in terms of stats, but the quick rules are a short cut that misses some details compared to using the rebuild rules. Likewise, the temporary ability score rule is intended as a short cut to speed up gameplay, not as the most precise way of applying the bonus.

A temporary ability score bonus should affect all of the same stats and rolls that a permanent ability score bonus does.

CRB Glossary wrote:

Diseases, poisons, spells, and other abilities can all deal damage directly to your ability scores. This damage does not actually reduce an ability, but it does apply a penalty to the skills and statistics that are based on that ability.

For every 2 points of damage you take to a single ability, apply a –1 penalty to skills and statistics listed with the relevant ability. If the amount of ability damage you have taken equals or exceeds your ability score, you immediately fall unconscious until the damage is less than your ability score. The only exception to this is your Constitution score. If the damage to your Constitution is equal to or greater than your Constitution score, you die. Unless otherwise noted, damage to your ability scores is healed at the rate of 1 per day to each ability score that has been damaged. Ability damage can be healed through the use of spells, such as lesser restoration.

Some spells and abilities cause you to take an ability penalty for a limited amount of time. While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage, but they cannot cause you to fall unconscious or die. In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1.
...
Ability Drain: Ability drain actually reduces the relevant ability score. Modify all skills and statistics related to that ability. This might cause you to lose skill points, hit points, and other bonuses. Ability drain can be healed through the use of spells such as restoration.

Bonuses ALWAYS increase the stat itself. That was what the FAQ was about, whether or not temporary bonuses was increasing the ability stat or just a few derived things (like cmb, hit, etc...).

This is NOT TRUE for ability damage, that is specifically called out as a feature of ability drain (see the quotes below). This means that the FAQ does NOT apply to ability damage.

Penalties and Damage wrote:
Diseases, poisons, spells, and other abilities can all deal damage directly to your ability scores. This damage does not actually reduce an ability, but it does apply a penalty to the skills and statistics that are based on that ability.
Ability Drain wrote:
Ability drain actually reduces the relevant ability score... This might cause you to lose skill points, hit points, and other bonuses. (Such as feats, anyone?)


Some developer commentary. Note that he's speaking of bonuses, which are different from modifiers, but I believe the logic should carry through.

Dark Archive

Cheapy wrote:
Some developer commentary. Note that he's speaking of bonuses, which are different from modifiers, but I believe the logic should carry through.

Seems like a pretty good comment to show Dev intent, if Temporary bonuses don't count for feat prerequisites then it would presumably follow that neither would temporary penalties. Especially when taking into account all the other rules we've seen on how only Ability Drain, a very specific form of damage that is called out as such in the rules whenever it occurs, actually reduces a stat numerically.


Kazaan wrote:
Not if the intent was for ToI to be able to reduce spellcasting ability despite ability penalties not normally being able to. By default, an ability penalty is ability damage that cannot total to more than one less than the total value of the stat it affects. This means that it can never render a target unconscious. However, the presumed intent, given the additional line regarding spellcasters, is that they wanted it to actually affect spellcasting like Ability Drain would. But they didn't want it to KO the target. Without that clause, it would work just like normal Ability Penalty; it affects your effective stat mod only and cannot knock you out. With the clause, it still cannot knock you out, but it takes a single page out of the book of Ability Drain and can reduce the highest level of spell you're able to cast. It still wouldn't affect feat prerequisites. So, if that's the intent (and no reason to presume it isn't), then it's most certainly not a waste of ink. It's a very necessary expenditure of space to make the RAW work in line with the RAI.

It still works just like ability damage. If you don't acknowledge a penalty doesn't reduce the ability score, then that line is never triggered.

Example: You have Intelligence 17. You are hit with 6 points of Intelligence damage from Touch of Idiocy. Since you say the penalty doesn't reduce your Intelligence, your Int is still 17 and you can still cast second level spells.

The reason you can't use temporary bonuses for qualifying for feats is because you have to have a permanent score to select the feat. It's the same kind of thing as when you don't gain extra skill ranks for Intelligence bonuses that are temporary.

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