Question about proficiency and non-proficiency


Rules Questions

Silver Crusade

24 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 2 people marked this as a favorite.

So say I wanted to create a character who did damage by throwing rocks. I don't mean a stone or hill giant, just a regular old human who threw baseball sized rocks.

Are you automatically assumed to be proficient in rocks, and if not, is there any way to gain proficiency?

I welcome debate on the topic, but would also appreciate people clicking the FAQ button.-

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Improvised weapons typically have a -4 penalty associated with them.

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Bigdaddyjug wrote:

So say I wanted to create a character who did damage by throwing rocks. I don't mean a stone or hill giant, just a regular old human who threw baseball sized rocks.

Are you automatically assumed to be proficient in rocks, and if not, is there any way to gain proficiency?

I welcome debate on the topic, but would also appreciate people clicking the FAQ button.-

Take the Throw Anything feat at first level and you now do not suffer any penalties for ranged improvised weapons.

Silver Crusade

Yes, there is a way to get rid of the non-prociency penalty, but I specifically need a way to gain proficiency, because there are certain feats that require prociency in a weapon before you can take them, like Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, and others.


Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Yes, there is a way to get rid of the non-prociency penalty, but I specifically need a way to gain proficiency, because there are certain feats that require prociency in a weapon before you can take them, like Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, and others.

In non-PFS games, as a GM, I would consider removing the penalty associated with use as an improvised weapon equivalent to gaining proficiency.

The difference between being proficient in a martial weapon and not being proficient is generally the -4 penalty associated with atack rolls. So, if you remove the penalty I would consider you proficient. But that's just my opinion.

Quote:

Martial Weapon Proficiency (Combat)

Choose a type of martial weapon. You understand how to use that type of martial weapon in combat.

Benefit: You make attack rolls with the selected weapon normally (without the non-proficient penalty).

Normal: When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a –4 penalty on attack rolls.

Special: Barbarians, fighters, paladins, and rangers are proficient with all martial weapons. They need not select this feat.

You can gain Martial Weapon Proficiency multiple times. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new type of weapon.

Shadow Lodge

Claxon wrote:


In non-PFS games, as a GM, I would consider removing the penalty associated with use as an improvised weapon equivalent to gaining proficiency.

The difference between being proficient in a martial weapon and not being proficient is generally the -4 penalty associated with atack rolls. So, if you remove the penalty I would consider you proficient. But that's just my opinion.

As Claxon said your GM may allow Catch Off Guard or Throw Anything to count as proficiency.

I personally, as a GM, would hesitate to do that because there are some Fighter and Monk archetypes that already give some nifty abilities with improvised weapons. To allow them to also focus and specialize may be unbalanced. Consider a Monk of the Empty Hand that can pick up a pair of chopsticks to make them deal any type of damage he wants and spend Ki to make the damage equal to his unarmed strike. With Improvised Weapon Mastery and other feats I think it might be over the top to then allow them focus and specializations as well.

Silver Crusade

Well, this is for a PFS game, which is why I'm looking for a way to gain proficiency. I was very specific about the question I asked in the first post. I re-wrote it 3 or 4 times in the hopes I would get answers to the question I actually asked. Instead, I'm getting answers to the questions I deleted.

Shadow Lodge

Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Well, this is for a PFS game, which is why I'm looking for a way to gain proficiency. I was very specific about the question I asked in the first post. I re-wrote it 3 or 4 times in the hopes I would get answers to the question I actually asked. Instead, I'm getting answers to the questions I deleted.

You didn't mention anything about PFS in your OP. Isn't that kind of an important piece of information if you want only PFS legal answers. People were just trying to help you do what you want to do so it is kind of tacky for you to be rude about not getting answers you like.

PFS Answer = NO, you cannot gain proficiency period.

Happy?

Silver Crusade

No, it's not important. I asked a specific question. Are you automatically proficient, and if not is there any way to gain proficiency? PFS just follows RAW, and since I posted this in the Rules Questions forums, it would be a pretty safe bet I was looking for an answer that was within the rules. I then proceeded to not get a single answer to the question I asked.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The Cliff Giant in Bestiary IV has Weapon Focus (rock). Therefore it is a valid weapon choice for proficiency and weapon feats.

Shadow Lodge

Ravingdork wrote:
The Cliff Giant in Bestiary IV has Weapon Focus (rock). Therefore it is a valid weapon choice for proficiency and weapon feats.

Nope. Monsters can sometimes do things characters can't. So you can't use something a Monster has and say that it is applicable to characters. Sorry.

Digital Products Assistant

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Removed a post. Leave personal insults out of the conversation, please.

Silver Crusade

I swear I have been a Chris Lambertz magnet lately. At least this time he wasn't removing my posts, even though the posts of mine that were removed didn't have any personal attacks in them. :/


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Generally, when a monster can do something a character can't, it is explicitly spelled out in the rules. This doesn't seem to be the case here.

EDIT: From another thread.

Ashe wrote:

A I know its not listed but if I was GM'ing home game or PFS game a rock is a simple of a weapon as you can get to me. Thats why the giants have weapon focus in it. Its a simple weapon, everyone is proficient. Now this is just me using sense and well wouldn't be RAW if thats what your looking for.

Further evidence is under sling where it states you can throw regular stones from the sling, the damage die just goes down a step and your are at a -1 to hit because they are not shaped to sit well in the sling pouch. No non proficiency. Stones are simple weapons have been since the dawn of time.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
PatientWolf wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
The Cliff Giant in Bestiary IV has Weapon Focus (rock). Therefore it is a valid weapon choice for proficiency and weapon feats.
Nope. Monsters can sometimes do things characters can't. So you can't use something a Monster has and say that it is applicable to characters. Sorry.

I will agree with PatientWolf here, but for different reasons. If you look into the Universal Monster ability "Rock Throwing" it describes what a "rock" is.

Since that description is lacking from the CRB, a PFS character cannot use it as a weapon, due to the Additional Resources clause.


Ravingdork wrote:
The Cliff Giant in Bestiary IV has Weapon Focus (rock). Therefore it is a valid weapon choice for proficiency and weapon feats.

Unless that's a very specific exception to the general rule, because rocks aren't in any list of actual weapons.

Realistically, natural rocks may be too diverse to gain anything resembling true prowess in weaponising them. But it's hardly overpowered, so there's no real reason not to add them.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
I swear I have been a Chris Lambertz magnet lately. At least this time she wasn't removing my posts

Fixed that for you ;-)

Scarab Sages

Nefreet wrote:
PatientWolf wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
The Cliff Giant in Bestiary IV has Weapon Focus (rock). Therefore it is a valid weapon choice for proficiency and weapon feats.
Nope. Monsters can sometimes do things characters can't. So you can't use something a Monster has and say that it is applicable to characters. Sorry.

I will agree with PatientWolf here, but for different reasons. If you look into the Universal Monster ability "Rock Throwing" it describes what a "rock" is.

Since that description is lacking from the CRB, a PFS character cannot use it as a weapon, due to the Additional Resources clause.

Well, let us take a look at both the ability of the Stone Oracle and the Universal Monster Rule:

Rock Throwing (Ex) - The Oracle One:

You are an accomplished rock thrower and have a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls with thrown rocks. You can hurl rocks up to two categories smaller than your own size. The range increment for a rock is 20 feet, and you can hurl it up to 5 range increments. Damage for a hurled rock is 2d4 for a Medium creature or 2d3 for a Small creature, plus 1-1/2 your Strength bonus.

Rock Throwing - The UMR One:
This creature is an accomplished rock thrower and has a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls with thrown rocks. The creature can hurl rocks up to two categories smaller than its size; for example, a Large hill giant can hurl Small rocks. A “rock” is any large, bulky, and relatively regularly shaped object made of any material with a hardness of at least 5. The creature can hurl the rock up to five range increments. The size of the range increment varies with the creature. Damage from a thrown rock is generally twice the creature's base slam damage plus 1-1/2 times its Strength bonus.

Format
rock throwing (120 ft.); Location: Special Attacks (damage is listed in Ranged attack).

I don't know if this helps or not.

Scarab Sages

I also made a note on other issues with proficiency in the advice thread. Examples include alchemists fire andthe Magic Stone spell.

Shadow Lodge

Ravingdork wrote:

Generally, when a monster can do something a character can't, it is explicitly spelled out in the rules. This doesn't seem to be the case here.

EDIT: From another thread.

Ashe wrote:

A I know its not listed but if I was GM'ing home game or PFS game a rock is a simple of a weapon as you can get to me. Thats why the giants have weapon focus in it. Its a simple weapon, everyone is proficient. Now this is just me using sense and well wouldn't be RAW if thats what your looking for.

Further evidence is under sling where it states you can throw regular stones from the sling, the damage die just goes down a step and your are at a -1 to hit because they are not shaped to sit well in the sling pouch. No non proficiency. Stones are simple weapons have been since the dawn of time.

There are two possible explanations for Cliff Giants having Weapon Focus(Rock) other than concluding it is allowable for PCs. One could be the that the devs simply wanted it to be better at rock throwing than other giants and so they just threw the feat on there because they don't have to exactly follow the rules. Second it could have been an oversight and they didn't think about the fact that there is no Rock Proficiency. It is not a logical leap from a monster having an ability to concluding it is allowed for characters.

The quote regarding slings is irrelevant because we are talking about a character throwing a rock not using a sling so you can't imply that special rules for a sling apply elsewhere.

Rocks are improvised weapons. There isn't a proficiency for improvised weapons. Therefore, by RAW you can't take weapon focus in improvised weapons.

Shadow Lodge

Cao Phen wrote:
I also made a note on other issues with proficiency in the advice thread. Examples include alchemists fire andthe Magic Stone spell.

Alchemist's fire is a splash weapon. The rules for Splash Weapons specifically states they require no proficiency. They are not considered and improvised weapon. Also because there is no proficiency you could not take Weapon Focus in splash weapons

Magic Stone is a spell that has a specific effect which is adjudicated in the text of the spell and can't be taken out of context and applied to other conditions.

Scarab Sages

Well, said Stone Oracle's Rock Throwing is an Extraordinary Ability.

Extraordinary Abilities wrote:
Extraordinary abilities are nonmagical. They are, however, not something that just anyone can do or even learn to do without extensive training. Effects or areas that suppress or negate magic have no effect on extraordinary abilities.

Emphasis mine. So with extensive training, the extraordinary ability for Rock Throwing is still a nonproficient weapon?

Shadow Lodge

Cao Phen wrote:

Well, said Stone Oracle's Rock Throwing is an Extraordinary Ability.

Extraordinary Abilities wrote:
Extraordinary abilities are nonmagical. They are, however, not something that just anyone can do or even learn to do without extensive training. Effects or areas that suppress or negate magic have no effect on extraordinary abilities.
Emphasis mine. So with extensive training, the extraordinary ability for Rock Throwing is still a nonproficient weapon?

By RAW that is correct. The RAI appears to be that you don't suffer any non-proficiency penalties but not suffering penalties is not the same thing as having proficiency (See Catch Off Guard and Throw Anything).


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
PatientWolf wrote:
Cao Phen wrote:

Well, said Stone Oracle's Rock Throwing is an Extraordinary Ability.

Extraordinary Abilities wrote:
Extraordinary abilities are nonmagical. They are, however, not something that just anyone can do or even learn to do without extensive training. Effects or areas that suppress or negate magic have no effect on extraordinary abilities.
Emphasis mine. So with extensive training, the extraordinary ability for Rock Throwing is still a nonproficient weapon?
By RAW that is correct. The RAI appears to be that you don't suffer any non-proficiency penalties but not suffering penalties is not the same thing as having proficiency (See Catch Off Guard and Throw Anything).

Except the Cliff Giant has Weapon Focus which is proof of his proficiency since it is a prerequisite for Weapon Focus.

If we assume that proficiency comes with Rock Throwing, then it is safe to say that the Earth Oracle is proficient as well.

Shadow Lodge

Ravingdork wrote:
PatientWolf wrote:
Cao Phen wrote:

Well, said Stone Oracle's Rock Throwing is an Extraordinary Ability.

Extraordinary Abilities wrote:
Extraordinary abilities are nonmagical. They are, however, not something that just anyone can do or even learn to do without extensive training. Effects or areas that suppress or negate magic have no effect on extraordinary abilities.
Emphasis mine. So with extensive training, the extraordinary ability for Rock Throwing is still a nonproficient weapon?
By RAW that is correct. The RAI appears to be that you don't suffer any non-proficiency penalties but not suffering penalties is not the same thing as having proficiency (See Catch Off Guard and Throw Anything).

Except the Cliff Giant has Weapon Focus which is proof of his proficiency since it is a prerequisite for Weapon Focus.

If we assume that proficiency comes with Rock Throwing, then it is safe to say that the Earth Oracle is proficient as well.

You are once again using a single monster entry as the basis for your conclusion which isn't valid logic. I presented above a couple of other reasons why that monster may have weapon focus. Maybe cliff giants have a racial proficiency with rocks.

The phrase "If we assume" is the entire problem. Why should we accept that assumption? You have not given any valid evidence for it beyond your particular opinion about cliff giants.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, a second level Ranger can have Weapon Focus(Rock), and still not be proficient with rocks.

Maybe the Cliff Giant ignores the prerequisites, like a Ranger does with his combat style feats.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Hmm. The idea that a Ranger can take Weapon Focus in virtually anything, from rocks to frying pans, might make some of those improvised weapon builds actually feasible. Intriguing.

Silver Crusade

What about throwing a feat into martial weapon proficiency (rock)? I mean, I can't imagine a rock is an exotic weapon.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

To me, Weapon Proficiency(Rock), is the same as Weapon Proficiency(Arrow).

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hmmm interesting.

Arrow says " An arrow used as a melee weapon is treated as a light improvised weapon (–4 penalty on attack rolls) and deals damage as a dagger of its size (critical multiplier ×2)."

Under sling its says "You can hurl ordinary stones with a sling, but stones are not as dense or as round as bullets. Thus, such an attack deals damage as if the weapon were designed for a creature one size category smaller than you and you take a –1 penalty on attack rolls.", but nothing about using that stone as an improvised weapon....

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
What about throwing a feat into martial weapon proficiency (rock)? I mean, I can't imagine a rock is an exotic weapon.

A Rock is not listed as a "weapon" in any PFS legal source. It is not simple, martial, or exotic. It is no more a weapon than a Frying Pan.

But a Ranger can ignore that fact.

Silver Crusade

Yes but I don't want to be a ranger. So I've got to find a way to get weapon proficiency (rock).

Silver Crusade

Throw clubs, reskin to rocks. Both are free, both are primitive, and both suck. Problem solved.


Nefreet wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
What about throwing a feat into martial weapon proficiency (rock)? I mean, I can't imagine a rock is an exotic weapon.

A Rock is not listed as a "weapon" in any PFS legal source. It is not simple, martial, or exotic. It is no more a weapon than a Frying Pan.

But a Ranger can ignore that fact.

Neither is grapple or a ray, but those are allowed to have weapon focus, even though they are called out in the ability. I can't take weapon proficiency(grapple) (ray).

Silver Crusade

Riuken it has to be a rock, unfortunately.

Silver Crusade

Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Riuken it has to be a rock, unfortunately.

Then you can't be proficient, unfortunately. Rocks are improvised weapons as they fit the description of being not crafted to be weapons (and in fact not crafted at all).

"Improvised Weapons: Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat. Because such objects are not designed for this use, any creature that uses an improvised weapon in combat is considered to be nonproficient with it and takes a –4 penalty on attack rolls made with that object."

Stone weapons, meaning weapons made of stone, are a different matter. If this wasn't PFS, I'd tell you to work with your GM to have "crafted rocks" that were made for you to throw. Within the limits of PFS however, it appears you are out of luck :(


PatientWolf wrote:


There are two possible explanations for Cliff Giants having Weapon Focus(Rock) other than concluding it is allowable for PCs. One could be the that the devs simply wanted it to be better at rock throwing than other giants and so they just threw the feat on there because they don't have to exactly follow the rules. Second it could have been an oversight and they didn't think about the fact that there is no Rock Proficiency. It is not a logical leap from a monster having an ability to concluding it is allowed for characters.

The quote regarding slings is irrelevant because we are talking about a character throwing a rock not using a sling so you can't imply that special rules for a sling apply elsewhere.

Rocks are improvised weapons. There isn't a proficiency for improvised weapons. Therefore, by RAW you can't take weapon focus in improvised weapons.

If not a bonus feat, then it is a oversight or they are simple weapons.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Are large sized weapons available in PFS?

Noticing now that rocks are a valid ammunition for Slings, one could use large sized Sling ammunition.

Makes it easier to deal with, ruleswise.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Large weapons are permitted in PFS.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I forgot about Amiri.

I should have remembered.

So, large sling stones it is.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

But, wouldn't you need a Large-sized Sling? You can't fire Large-sized Arrows with a Medium-sized Bow, after all.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Not if you are using the Sling Stones themselves as a weapon.

You can attack with an arrow, and not have a bow.

Silver Crusade

An arrow used as a weapon is also improvised. I don't see the incredible discovery here. There are no rules to use a sling stone as a weapon, and even so, the only similar example treats it as improvised anyway.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Yes, it would be an improvised weapon.

So, there are rules to use a sling stone as a weapon, as there are rules for improvised weapons.

I never suggested otherwise.


So, hey, on the other thread...

Tels wrote:

On the subject of Proficiency, funny thing, did you know that feats like 'Simple Weapon Proficiency', 'Martial Weapon Proficicency', and 'Exotic Weapon Proficiency', don't actually grant proficiency with the weapon?

Feats wrote:

SWP: Benefit: You make attack rolls with simple weapons without penalty.

Normal: When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a –4 penalty on attack rolls.

MWP: Benefit: You make attack rolls with the selected weapon normally (without the non-proficient penalty).

Normal: When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a –4 penalty on attack rolls.

EWP: Benefit: You make attack rolls with the weapon normally.

Normal: A character who uses a weapon with which he is not proficient takes a –4 penalty on attack rolls.

Nowhere in the feats does it actually say you actually become proficient with the weapon, you simply don't take the penalty. So in the context of Pathfinder, I would have to say that not taking the penalty on the attack roll is the same as being proficient with the weapon.
Tacticslion wrote:

... okay, that's awesome. Well played, Tels. Well played.

EDIT: Linkage!
Simple
Martial
Exotic

Yeah, that pretty much seals it. There's non-standard English ways of explaining the RAW and noting that the feats don't grant proficiency, but then you're being pedantic for... no real purpose. PFS would almost have to accept the ruling that not taking the penalties is the same as being proficient.

That pretty much means that the only way to argue against rock proficiency is the fact that the feats aren't named "proficiency" which is a really poor argument to make, considering some feats are named in ways that seem contrary to the purpose, or have no bearing on mechanics.

Just as an example, Burn! Burn! Burn! doesn't actually cause something to "burn"*, but rather to be burned (a little - 1d4 fire) and to get a bonus to reflex saves to avoid being burned. That's... an odd feature for a feat titled "Burn! Burn! Burn!".

Ultimately, isn't it what we're always told: go with the rules text rather than titles? In this case, there's no mechanical way to differentiate between the different feats.

* I.e. the verb-command form of "to burn" that we normally associate with someone yelling "Burn!" at something*, in which the implied sentence is "You, burn!" for getting across the idea, "I want you to burn!", either because there is a desire for fire or (more normally) a hatred of the thing in particular. I mean, I suppose, sure, you could argue that the designers meant that the little goblin is just jumping up and down yelling about the noun, "burn" as in "this is a burn!" but that's a pretty silly thing to argue. Of course, goblins are kind of silly, so... I could see it. None of that invalidates the point, though, that it would be a very-non-standard form of English to arrive at the conclusion that the Proficiency feats don't grant proficiency... or that they only grant proficiency due to their nomenclature instead of their actual rules text.

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