Please, explain to me why Dex to damage costs so much in terms of character resources


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Unchained is out, and, well, I am frustrated that the Rogue's Dex to damage doesn't kick in until 3rd level. Why does Paizo seem to value Dex to damage so highly that it charges such high costs to attain it?

You need:
1) 3 levels of Unchained Rogue
2) 4 levels of Whirling Dervish Swashbuckler
3) Weapon Finesse + 2 Ranks of Perform + Dervish Dance + a Scimitar + an empty offhand
4) 1 level of Dawnflower Dervish Bard + all those restrictions above
5) Weapon Finesse + Weapon Focus + Slashing or Fencing Grace + one specific one-handed weapon
6) 4,000+ gp for an Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists (but you'll lack a +1 enhancement bonus, so, you'll lose more damage to DR and the slightly reduced accuracy)
7) 8,000+ gp for any other Agile weapon

My question is, uh, why?

I understand fearing level dips--or rather I don't, because I think multiclassing is not something that should be discouraged, but even if it were, Favored Class Bonuses and generally delayed feature access are sufficient punishment in my book, but I at least get that Paizo fears people dipping. And, I mean, that's all well and good for stopping (I have no idea what power builds to insert here, but let's pretend dipping one level of Rogue to get Dex to damage somehow made some specific build incredibly amazing), but what are Dex based warriors (especially Unchained Rogues and Whirling Dervish Swashbucklers not intending to multiclass at all) supposed to do for 3+ levels while they wait for their class features to kick in?

Seriously, low level is all about the damage--enemies are still one-shottable at this stage, so bog-standard-full-bab-Power-Attacker-with-18 -Strength has a ridiculously huge advantage, throwing around 2d6+9 or so like it's nothing. Meanwhile, Dex Rogues are left with, assuming ideal conditions with their Sneak Attack, something like 2d6+1 or 2 maybe, if they even have any Strength at all. That's a huge divide--double damage or more. And it doesn't get better at 2nd, since there's generally no feat or other damage adding ability to pick up Power Attack with.

Then, even when you finally get Dex to damage, you have to use a weapon with a smaller damage die, you lose out on 1.5x damage scaling for both your stat and Power Attack and like 80% of common melee buffs (which rely on Dex destroying size increases or flat out Strength boosts), and you've also spent [choose one: lots of money, several feats, wasted class levels] that the normal Strength based fighter didn't need to worry about and could use on other stuff.

It's not even like Dex is actually a better stat than Strength. Despite common perceptions, Dex builds do not get more AC than Strength builds, because Strength builds just wear medium or heavy armor (which have higher Armor + Max Dex Totals to begin with). Dex has Reflex saves, but they are generally the least important saves in the game. It has slightly more skills, sure, and Initiative, which is awesome, but is that really worth at least 50% more damage (and probably more)? Honestly, I'd wager even Swashbucklers would do more damage with a Strength build than a Dex one, despite their free Weapon Finesse.

So, what am I missing? Why is Dex to damage so highly valued/feared that it costs so much to get? Why are Dex warriors punished so severely? I am willing to accept that I am wrong here, just give me an explanation as to why.


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Dex is designed with other benefits. AC and reflex saves and ranged attacks in particular. If it didn't cost anything to use Dex instead of Str for melee attacks, there would not be much benefit to Str at all, and only Dex would matter.

Honestly, it is already much easier to get Dex to damage than it is Str to AC, so I don't think one can say it is the Dex warrior that is being punished.


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Because Dex is your major defense against Touch attacks. If Dex as the primary offensive stat were easy to get, even if it were sub-par compared to Str, you'd go for it because you can more easily avoid Touch attacks. A martial character's biggest weakness is supposed to be vs magic. Armor doesn't help against touch attacks. By contrast, a Dex-based character is designed to go up against magic users. Dex lets them avoid touch attacks and, while they deal less damage, you don't need much damage to take out a squishy caster. Thus, it all balances out; Strength-based Martials vs Dex-based Martials, Dex-based Martials vs Casters, and Casters vs Strength-based Martials. A Dex-based Fighter isn't supposed to be going toe-to-toe with Str-based Fighters; they're supposed to be surgically eliminating casters, dodging scorching rays and shocking grasps on the way in. Make Dex to Damage too easy to get, and you unbalance that whole rock-paper-scissors setup because Dex-builds become equally viable against both casters AND Str Martials (it's hard enough to balance as-is)

Sovereign Court

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Two big reasons

1. Strength based combatants still need a decent dex while Dex based combatants can essentially ignore strength entirely.

2. Strength's only real value is hitting things in melee and doing damage. Dexterity is useful for all sorts of things. (AC/Saves/Skills/ranged attacks etc.) While Strength builds can get approx as much AC as dex builds (though needing at least a dex of 16 by mid levels - a significant stat investment) - they're doing so by giving up mobility and hurting skills more through ACP. And that's assuming that the class isn't limited to lighter armor for some reason.

Therefore - at the core, dex to damage is superior to str to damage. Therefore there need to be additional costs involved to get it.

Also - I have to say that your #7 is wrong about DR. By the time a monk can afford an AoMF at all his fists already count as being magical.


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Not entirely relevant, but the Hero system has similar functionality where STR boosts damage, carrying capacity, and to a lesser extent, HP. DEX increases AC, initiative, ranged combat, number of attacks per round, resistances, and tons of useful skills. In that game, increasing DEX costs 3x more than increasing STR.

By way of comparison, imagine making a new Pathfinder character using point-buy and you say you want to raise your STR to 12 and the GM says that costs two points, then you say you want to raise your DEX to 12 and the GM says that costs SIX points...

Bringing it back to Pathfinder, DEX already does WAY more than STR and there are methods to let DEX take over EVERYTHING that STR can do except carrying capacity, and with a cheap magic item or judicious use of a low-level spell, or even purchasing a pack mule, carrying capacity is almost never an issue anyway.

The fact that these methods can be resource-intensive is by design to make it an option rather than a mandatory "I-WIN" solution that's egregiously better than all other builds.


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You knew where this thread would go and you did it anyway...

Anyways, my biggest suspicion is that designers often want to preserve ability score uniqueness so wouldn't give away dex to damage wholesale in the main game. I think that if anything in Pathfinder truly shifted it would more likely make SAD classes MAD rather than the other way around.

I also suspect that there's some group of non martials that I'm not thinking of that would get too strong with it negating any kind of help that it would give to those classes that need it.


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Because DEX is probably the best attribute in the game. And overvaluing it as such may eliminate STR's usefulness entirely.


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I think dexterity-based combat should be less restricted than it currently is in Pathfinder, but I wouldn't make it baseline. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what the ACG errata does to Slashing Grace, since Paizo seem to be coming around on this issue lately.

My group started playing with houserules to make dex-to-combat less awful about two years ago (introduced a feat akin to Dervish Dance that worked with any one 1-handed finesse weapon), and gradually relaxed the restrictions until we're now essentially using Deadly Agility from Dreamscarred, but with the caveats that damage is reduced for off-hand attacks as normal and that a negative strength modifier still affects your damage. My experience so far is that Dex-based combat is more frequent for classes that don't get medium+ armor proficiency, such as investigators, bards and rogues. Similarly dex-based combat is very popular if you plan to use TWF, since you can now do it without splitting strength and dexterity. There is still a strong showing of high-strength characters, but they're typically fighters, barbarians, paladins, slayers, bloodragers, brawlers, clerics, warpriests, rangers etc. - classes that either get better armor proficiency by default, have class features that synergize well with high strength such as Rage and combat style feats, or simply don't have the feats available to sink into dex-based combat.

In my experience Strength tends to deal (considerably) more damage and have a higher flat-footed AC than Dexterity, but Dexterity tends to be more mobile and have a higher touch AC. Obviously dex-combatants have better reflex saves.

It's worth noting that we also homebrewed some feats to make strength less of a one-trick pony stat- For example we turned the hurling belt into a feat, allowing you to use your strength modifier on attack rolls with thrown weapons. We also base Intimidate checks on strength or charisma, whichever is higher.

Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Also - I have to say that your #7 is wrong about DR. By the time a monk can afford an AoMF at all his fists already count as being magical.

Monks aren't the only one who's interested in an agile AoMF though. Natural weapon barbarians, feral alchemists and wildshape druids all run into this problem.


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Because they hold a strange notion that players should have to suffer through a miserable early game as the price of having fun in the later game. You're only allowed to have a decent early game if you play a big dumb fighter that gets boring after a few levels. This stupid tradition goes all the way back to MUs that get one spell per day when they start out.

Free dex to attack and damage will only break the game if you don't use encumbrance.


Kazaan wrote:
A Dex-based Fighter isn't supposed to be going toe-to-toe with Str-based Fighters; they're supposed to be surgically eliminating casters, dodging scorching rays and shocking grasps on the way in.

Casters typically have very high mental stats, which means they're smart or wise enough not to target the nimble rogue with AC or Ref-based attacks. If the rogue closes in on the caster, they can use their immediate action to cast a defensive spell and survive the initial burst, and then cast something on the rogue that targets their Fort or Will, like Dominate or Flesh to Stone.

Even at low levels, a caster can Wave Shield and then Charm Person, Colour Spray or Cause Fear.

Melee is actually the best at dealing with casters because they tend to have high Fort saves and enough HP to where they can facetank anything that requires a Reflex save, plus bonuses to AC and on saves vs. mind-affecting effects are very easy to purchase. Not to mention all the anti-caster feats and maneuvers they have.

Sovereign Court

Atarlost wrote:
Free dex to attack and damage will only break the game if you don't use encumbrance.

Nope. Encumbrance is a virtual non-issue. A mild inconvenience at most.

It's been proven many times.

At low levels you wear leather and have a pack mule, then upgrade to mithril Agile Breastplate - a full 12.5 lbs - and have a handy haversack. Not to mention that you can burn a trait to have your strength count as +2 for encumbrance.

Of course - it all becomes moot by 7ish if you grab a pearl of power & get the wizard to cast Ant Haul daily (by then it lasts all day).

Like I said - it's a a mild inconvenience at most.

Sovereign Court

Shadow Knight 12 wrote:
If the rogue closes in on the caster, they can use their immediate action to cast a defensive spell and survive the initial burst, and then cast something on the rogue that targets their Fort or Will, like Dominate or Flesh to Stone.

He said dex fighters - not rogues. Dex fighters have Fort saves every bit as high as strength fighters while getting better touch AC & reflex saves.

Of course - his post was also incorrect - dex fighters can go toe to toe with strength fighters just fine when there's no significant extra cost.


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Shadow Knight 12 wrote:
If the rogue closes in on the caster, they can use their immediate action to cast a defensive spell and survive the initial burst, and then cast something on the rogue that targets their Fort or Will, like Dominate or Flesh to Stone.
He said dex fighters - not rogues. Dex fighters have Fort saves every bit as high as strength fighters while getting better touch AC & reflex saves.

I was actually willing to give the notion a bit of credit since rogues get access to Slippery Mind (and I think there's one or two other Will-related talents?), so while they're more susceptible to Fort-based spells, they at least have a way out with that (plus with rogue UMD, you can pick up wands, scrolls and other magic items that give you bonuses on saves vs. mind-affecting effects, or outright immunity).

If the fighter can afford to have an NPC wizard cast Mind Blank on her, though, that's basically straight up better than the rogue.

Of course, another point in the fighter's favour is all the combat maneuvers they can do, and anti-caster feats they can pick up, while all the rogue really has is "surprise burst damage."


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It's been said in one form or another upthread, but "God stats" can make for silly games.

Runequest 2 was a great example: You could buy up every stat except INT, "Size", and CHA. So every single starting character on a point-based build had an INT of 21. It was amazing that every single PC in the entire world was a super-genius. But since it was the only stat that mattered, everyone was a genius. It made for stupid games.

Pathfinder did its utmost to spread out stats so it's really unpleasant to do that. Want an INT 20 wizard? Welcome to, "I fail every Fortitude save, and please please PLEASE never hit me"-ville.

DEX still got more than its share. Initiative, Reflex saves, and armor class bonus to start. Weapon Finesse and Combat Reflexes add attack bonus and number of attacks of opportunity to the mix. Throw in damage, and you're all set: Max out DEX, take a little CON, and you're a melee monster.

I agree with many posters who say that it's not THAT broken, since Will saves will still be painful. But I wince whenever I see a 7/20/16/7/10/7 character sheet pop up.

It's an intentional attempt to force you to spread out your stats. I personally like this. Your mileage may vary.


It's clearly a ploy by the corporate goons at Big Strength (and their running dog lackeys in the tabletop RPG industry) to try to downgrade the competition. WAKE UP SHEEPLE! THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE!

Dark Archive

I don't care if Dex to damage becomes an easy-to-get-and-equally-effective thing... so long as Strength becomes easy to add to all Dexterity skills, Init, AC, etc. Then it's just flavor. And options for flavor are great.


Speaking of skills, how many dex skills are there? I know there's only two strength skills. Strength and dex skills both suffer from from being rendered obsolete by magic, but it's worse for strength skills.

Everyone makes one dexterity check per battle. How often are we making str checks? There are many ways but they are often ignored. Encumbrance is also often ignored, and overcome by magic.

I am ok with resource taxes on making dex more useful. And I must also say I am personally tired of super agile, dancing scimitar wielders.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Speaking of skills, how many dex skills are there? I know there's only two strength skills. Strength and dex skills both suffer from from being rendered obsolete by magic, but it's worse for strength skills.

Seven. Acrobatics, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Fly, Ride, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:
I am ok with resource taxes on making dex more useful. And I must also say I am personally tired of super agile, dancing scimitar wielders.

This was the exact reason why we started experimenting with better dex-to-damage options, we were unhappy with the options available in Pathfinder. Dervish Dance is thematically extremely narrow in scope and only works with what's arguably the second best one-handed melee weapon in the game so opening it up to other finesse weapons wasn't a problem. Agile is balanced around WBL (a quadratically scaling resource) which is problematic at both levels (can't afford until level ~7) and high levels (past level ~12 the price is a non-issue).

Unfortunately Slashing Grace is currently mechanically nonfunctional unless you dip swashbuckler and Fencing Grace fell into the exact same trap Dervish Dance did.


see but i don't think it should be so hard to add dex to damage, because their are a million ways to get bonuses to Strength but so few ways to get bonuses to Dex. anyone here can easily make a lvl 20 char with 50+ str, but very few ways of getting above 40 dex and thats if you take specific classes

Dark Archive

Koshimo wrote:
see but i don't think it should be so hard to add dex to damage, because their are a million ways to get bonuses to Strength but so few ways to get bonuses to Dex. anyone here can easily make a lvl 20 char with 50+ str, but very few ways of getting above 40 dex and thats if you take specific classes

That's not really true. Most of the things you can do to get bonuses to Strength (size bonuses, mutagen and rage bonuses) can also be used to get bonuses to Dex (reduce person or polymorph effects, Dex mutagen, Urban Barbarian/Savage Technologist rage, etc.). Then they pretty much share everything else (level bonuses, Wish bonuses, item bonuses, etc.) are pretty much exactly the same across the board.


you are picking out specific archetypes for the Dex bonuses, the Str ones are much easier for the average character to add, and also reduce person lowers your damage at the same time your Dex goes up while STR size bonuses raise your dice and static damage


Seranov wrote:
That's not really true. Most of the things you can do to get bonuses to Strength (size bonuses, mutagen and rage bonuses) can also be used to get bonuses to Dex (reduce person or polymorph effects, Dex mutagen, Urban Barbarian/Savage Technologist rage, etc.). Then they pretty much share everything else (level bonuses, Wish bonuses, item bonuses, etc.) are pretty much exactly the same across the board.

I mostly agree, though it's worth noting strength has much better synergy with size changes. Your damage die increases, your strength increases (nullifying the attack penalty from size increase), you take an AC penalty and, perhaps most importantly, your reach improves.

Conversely size decreases penalize your damage, improves your to hit and AC, and again, perhaps most importantly, your reach decreases to 0 once you become Tiny. Being Tiny or smaller means you'll provoke AoOs from just about anything you'll fight.

Edit: Added quotes to make it more clear who I am replying to. :)


Dave Justus wrote:
Dex is designed with other benefits. AC and reflex saves and ranged attacks in particular. If it didn't cost anything to use Dex instead of Str for melee attacks, there would not be much benefit to Str at all, and only Dex would matter.

4e D&D allowed easy access to Dex to damage attacks. Some classes/attacks used Dex and some used Str, and you just chose which ones you liked. Hell, there were Intelligence attacks and Charisma attacks and everything else, too. You always did damage with the stat that made the attack. Strength was never replaced by Dex. Plenty of characters used Strength.

Likewise, in 5e, using Dex for damage is simply a function of weapon--weapons with the Finesse quality can use Dex for hit and damage by anyone, at no cost.

And no, Dex is not the only stat people use. Plenty of people use Strength because it still does other stuff. For one, big two handed weapons use Strength and they deal more damage, and a few tactical options use Strength still, like shoving/shield pushes and whatnot. And yeah, people without Dex don't have lower AC because of heavy armor, just like in Pathfinder.

And then, there's just about every other RPG ever where the stat you use to attack with determines your damage.

Dave Justus wrote:
Honestly, it is already much easier to get Dex to damage than it is Str to AC, so I don't think one can say it is the Dex warrior that is being punished.

I disagree--heavy armor is basically already Strength to AC.

Kazaan wrote:

Because Dex is your major defense against Touch attacks.

If Dex as the primary offensive stat were easy to get, even if it were sub-par compared to Str, you'd go for it because you can more easily avoid Touch attacks. A martial character's biggest weakness is supposed to be vs magic. Armor doesn't help against touch attacks. By contrast, a Dex-based character is designed to go up against magic users.

I sort of get this, but, the real threats are Will and Fort saves. The vast majority of Reflex saves and touch attacks are just damage, which means very little compared to losing control of your character. I'm not saying there aren't any save or lose Reflex effects (Reverse Gravity, for example), they just aren't as common.

Charon's Little Helper wrote:
1. Strength based combatants still need a decent dex while Dex based combatants can essentially ignore strength entirely.

That's actually a really good point. I think Dex fighters dumping Strength completely might have some GMs not really following the encumbrance rules, but that's ok and pretty common, so, Strength might need some love. I think Piranha Strike probably screwed Strength over harder than Slashing Grace, since you at least still needed 13 Str for Power Attack before.

Charon's Little Helper wrote:
2. Strength's only real value is hitting things in melee and doing damage. Dexterity is useful for all sorts of things.

I get this, but Strength is so much more damage. I feel like it might be a fair trade--you're giving up a lot of damage for the other things. I would dispute the AC (because Heavy Armor) and the ranged attacks (since ranged damage still requires Strength unless you're talking about guns), but yeah, you trade a lot of damage for skills, initiative, and reflex saves.

Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Also - I have to say that your #7 is wrong about DR. By the time a monk can afford an AoMF at all his fists already count as being magical.

I actually was mentally writing monks off for the most part. The vast majority of AoMF users I've played/seen were relying on Natural Attacks, not unarmed strikes (Feral Mutagen, Wild Shape, certain races, rage powers, etc., and they basically have no recourse for counting as magical other than the AoMF and Magic Fang--maybe Eldritch Claws).

DM_Blake wrote:

Not entirely relevant, but the Hero system has similar functionality where STR boosts damage, carrying capacity, and to a lesser extent, HP. DEX increases AC, initiative, ranged combat, number of attacks per round, resistances, and tons of useful skills. In that game, increasing DEX costs 3x more than increasing STR.

Dexterity costs 3 times as much because of one specific thing: Dex increases actions per round. Everything in the game is an additive bonus, except Dex somehow gives a multiplicative bonus.

It'd only be comparable to Pathfinder if Strength gave you a bonus to hit and damage, but you got additional standard actions each round equal to your Dex mod. That's how widlly more powerful Dex is in HERO. In Pathfinder, it's arguably less powerful, since damage is generally more valuable in the majority of games than a few points to a handful of skills and Reflex saves.

Domestichauscat wrote:
Because DEX is probably the best attribute in the game. And overvaluing it as such may eliminate STR's usefulness entirely.

I would argue Wisdom is probably the best, but it's definitely not Dex. Plenty of characters can make do with a 10-12 Dex. Heavy Armor keeps your AC up, and most skills (except maybe Perception, UMD, and Knowledges) are obsoleted by spells and other special abilities anyway.

Charon's Little Helper wrote:
He said dex fighters - not rogues.

I actually said Dex warriors, which I intended to include any and all characters that might want to use Dex to damage, not any specific class.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Everyone makes one dexterity check per battle. How often are we making str checks? There are many ways but they are often ignored.

I agree the skills are better, but I think, far less significant over all. +3 damage is significantly more valuable than +3 to a skill.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:
I am ok with resource taxes on making dex more useful. And I must also say I am personally tired of super agile, dancing scimitar wielders.

Me, too. I'd rather you be utterly unable to get Dex to damage, or that you could get it easily at level 1. The current system in which you can get it, but only after suffering 3 levels of crap, giving up significant amounts of combat effectiveness (seriously, is nobody recognizing how many bog standard buffs are useless to Dex-based warriors?), and being seriously limited in weapon choice, for mostly flavor purposes and some skills.


Playing in mythic using the dex for damage didn't even come close to the STR build in terms of damage - and they had at par or better AC (not touch) than I was working with due to plate armor. Dex for damage doesn't qualify you for feats like power attack.

Honestly after playtesting it - no one thought it was really a big deal at all and made us consider just adding a 'dex to damage' feat into the game that anyone can take.

The bigger difference of course is that there are more ways for your character to boost STR than there are dex.

Item bonuses to STR...

+5 enhancement
+4 sacred
+2 competence

Spell...

+4 enhancement
+2 profane
+2 morale (up to +10)
+8 enhancement (torag only)
+4 size
+6 size
+8 enhancement (level 8 spell)
+2 size
+2 morale straight
+6 morale

Mix and match - if you really wanted to do so - you could get all the following stacking modifiers...

+8 enhancement, +10 morale, +6 size, +2 profane, +2 competence, +4 sacred...

For a total of 32 *extra* strength - yes it would require specific items/spells - but it's possible with items which use different slots - and spells from a cleric and wizard. Dex isn't even close.

Dark Archive

Koshimo wrote:
you are picking out specific archetypes for the Dex bonuses, the Str ones are much easier for the average character to add, and also reduce person lowers your damage at the same time your Dex goes up while STR size bonuses raise your dice and static damage

Damage dice are mostly irrelevant until a certain point anyway, so I hardly see Reduce Person or w/e as being a problem (additionally there are Air Elemental forms that give big bonuses to Dex that don't have that problem).

Furthermore, yeah, of course you need to pick archetypes and stuff that benefit your character. Dex-to-damage is not a standard consideration, so most martial stuff is designed around boosting Strength to help the majority of characters out.

Kudaku wrote:
Seranov wrote:
That's not really true. Most of the things you can do to get bonuses to Strength (size bonuses, mutagen and rage bonuses) can also be used to get bonuses to Dex (reduce person or polymorph effects, Dex mutagen, Urban Barbarian/Savage Technologist rage, etc.). Then they pretty much share everything else (level bonuses, Wish bonuses, item bonuses, etc.) are pretty much exactly the same across the board.

I mostly agree, though it's worth noting strength has much better synergy with size changes. Your damage die increases, your strength increases (nullifying the attack penalty from size increase), you take an AC penalty and, perhaps most importantly, your reach improves.

Conversely size decreases penalize your damage, improves your to hit and AC, and again, perhaps most importantly, your reach decreases to 0 once you become Tiny. Being Tiny or smaller means you'll provoke AoOs from just about anything you'll fight.

Edit: Added quotes to make it more clear who I am replying to. :)

I acknowledge that Reach and such are huge boons, but I feel it's another of the balancing points. You lose defenses, you don't actually get 100% better at hitting things (the size bonus is cancelled out by the size penalty to attacks in things like Enlarge Person, but this becomes less noticeable as you move on to higher level size changing/polypmorph spells) and the damage dice chance is usually like a whopping 1.5-3 extra damage over what you were doing before.

mplindustries wrote:
Stuff

In 4e, how many skills does Strength include? Does it improve defenses? Does it do anything besides to-hit, damage and carrying capacity?

If the answer to that last question is "Yes," (which I assume it is, because I seem to recall that's how 4e handled stuff) then there's no problem with getting the choice between Str and Dex. But when all Str has going for it is "HIT STUFF HARD" while Dex has numerous important effects, you're damn right it shouldn't be easy to have Dex further encroach on what is supposed to be Str's deal without at least a minor expenditure of resources.

Liberty's Edge

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Dexterity is already a super powerful stat. Strength does very little by comparison.

As soon as there's a strength-to-AC mechanic somewhere I'll be okay with dex to damage.


4e Strength:
-Melee basic attacks
-Fort saves, if it's better than Con
-Some class' powers (Fighter, for example)
-Athletics skill

4e Dex:
-Ranged basic attacks
-Reflex, if it's better than Int
-AC, if you're in light armor and it's better than Int
-Some class' powers (Rogue, for example)
-Acrobatics, Stealth, Thievery skills

So... yeah. Fort saves are the only new thing that Strength really does in 4e, outside of class-specific stuff. That matters less than you might think. Many classes use two stats, and you can build to dodge one pretty easily. In fact, 4e's player handbook calls out five classes as having abilities based on Strength... you could get by without it for the Cleric, Paladin, and Ranger, which only leaves Fighter and Warlord. And it was usually the easier stat to drop, for those with two key stats. A Paladin with good Cha, bad Strength can target a wide variety of defenses (at level four, he can hammer AC, Reflex, or Will without too much trouble). A Paladin with good Str and bad Cha can only hammer AC, and he's not pulling off better moves for it.


Str to AC and initiative. :)


Seranov wrote:
In 4e, how many skills does Strength include? Does it improve defenses? Does it do anything besides to-hit, damage and carrying capacity?

It covered one skill, Athletics (Dex had at least three--Acrobatics, Stealth, and Thievery, maybe more, I don't quite remember). In fact, the skill list in 4e was pretty close to identical to the skill list in Unchained's Consolidated skill system.

Strength did improve Fortitude if it was higher than Con. Dex improved AC and Reflex, but if Intelligence was higher, it covered that instead.

It did Fortitude if higher than Con, one skill, carrying capacity, and hit and damage for Strength powers.

Seranov wrote:
But when all Str has going for it is "HIT STUFF HARD" while Dex has numerous important effects, you're damn right it shouldn't be easy to have Dex further encroach on what is supposed to be Str's deal without at least a minor expenditure of resources.

Even if "Hit Stuff Harder" is that significantly more damage? I think people are ignoring just how extreme the damage gap is.

Feral wrote:
As soon as there's a strength-to-AC mechanic somewhere I'll be okay with dex to damage.

You mean, like, Heavy Armor where you need enough Str to actually wear the stuff?


The problem is that how extreme the damage gap is depends on the classes we're talking about.

It's obvious for Barbarian vs. Rogue. Less so for Barbarian vs. Daring Champion.


mplindustries wrote:
Seranov wrote:
But when all Str has going for it is "HIT STUFF HARD" while Dex has numerous important effects, you're damn right it shouldn't be easy to have Dex further encroach on what is supposed to be Str's deal without at least a minor expenditure of resources.
Even if "Hit Stuff Harder" is that significantly more damage? I think people are ignoring just how extreme the damage gap is.

I think what Seranov is saying is this: The fact that strength is so superior to dex in terms of damage numbers is what is keeping it relevant as an ability score. Making Dex almost as good as strength in the "hitting things" department will make strength almost irrelevant.

Dark Archive

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kestral287 wrote:

The problem is that how extreme the damage gap is depends on the classes we're talking about.

It's obvious for Barbarian vs. Rogue. Less so for Barbarian vs. Daring Champion.

This is very true. Even the Fighter can get some damn good use out of Dex. I saw a Mutation Warrior Fighter on /tg/ that had like 50-something Dex at level 20 and could do crazy DPR if stuff stood still so it could use all its TWF attacks against it.

I personally don't see a problem with giving everyone Weapon Finesse for free (that's something I really liked in the 5e playtest) but dex-to-damage should definitely require resource investment. Especially since the weapon style that Dex favors (TWF) doesn't really get significantly more from using Str (because you get 1x MH + 0.5x OH either way).

Snowblind wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
Seranov wrote:
But when all Str has going for it is "HIT STUFF HARD" while Dex has numerous important effects, you're damn right it shouldn't be easy to have Dex further encroach on what is supposed to be Str's deal without at least a minor expenditure of resources.
Even if "Hit Stuff Harder" is that significantly more damage? I think people are ignoring just how extreme the damage gap is.
I think what Seranov is saying is this: The fact that strength is so superior to dex in terms of damage numbers is what is keeping it relevant as an ability score. Making Dex almost as good as strength in the "hitting things" department will make strength almost irrelevant.

100% this.

Either you make them equivalent or you don't, and I'm very much in favor of the former. Making A strictly better than B in most things, and then making A nearly comparable to B's focus is downright ridiculous. It's not fair to people who enjoy B's shtick better, or the fluff involved, or whatever.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Snowblind wrote:
I think what Seranov is saying is this: The fact that strength is so superior to dex in terms of damage numbers is what is keeping it relevant as an ability score. Making Dex almost as good as strength in the "hitting things" department will make strength almost irrelevant.

Pretty much this.

mplindustries wrote:
4e D&D allowed easy access to Dex to damage attacks. Some classes/attacks used Dex and some used Str, and you just chose which ones you liked.

How's that any different from Pathfinder where you go with the new rogue or swashbuckler? If anything, it's more flexible because you can either pick one of the class based options or use one of several other ways to get Dex to Damage.

Since 4e doesn't have multi-classing the way Pathfinder does, it makes it hard to compare the two this way.


TWF requires extra feat investment (on top of that already needed to gain dex to damage), generally speaking puts out less DPR than THF, is more expensive to get online and maintain since you need to enchant two weapons, has significantly worse AoOs, a complete reliance on full attacks from level 1, and more than likely very poor reach compared to an enlarged strength user with power attack and a glaive.

I don't mean to sound dismissive, but when more viable dex-based combat options are introduced and TWF becomes less of a trap option, I'd personally call that a win.

Dark Archive

If you can reliably get lots of static damage increases, TWF can pull ahead of using a 2H (on full attacks, at least). You are correct that it has weaknesses, but it IS capable of being more DPR.

Again, I am totally okay with more viable combat options for Dex-based characters! When Str-based characters get more non-combat viable options. Everyone should get nice things, otherwise it's just taking the nice thing from one option and giving it to the other, with no recompense.


One Str based non-Combat and combat viable option: Intimidating Prowess.

Hellooooo free -2 to enemy to-hit/saves and a free attack every round with Cornugon Smash and Hurtful on top.

Intimidating Prowess makes the DC a non-issue.

As for the main topic...it's hard to get because Paizo doesn't liike it. There's no real mechanical reason. It does not make Dex fighters better at dealing damage than Str fighters, it makes them passable at dealing damage, and gives them slightly better defenses.

Just allow Dreamscarred Press' stuff as if it were "official", use Deadly Agility, and leave these petty arguments behind.

Dark Archive

Problem is mostly that that's the ONLY Str-based option for improving both in- and out-of-combat utility, and it's based on Intimidate, which has its own problems (like how the Intimidate check gets harder every time you make it, how generally bullying people to do what you want has a way to come back and bite you in the ass, etc.) so it's not really a perfect solution.


To appease grognards.


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Insain Dragoon wrote:
To appease grognards.

Damn right and proud of it.

Appease ME!

The millions of dollars spent by myself and other grognards kept some RPG companies, and indeed the entire RPG industry, in the black before you were an itch in your daddy's pants.

This game wouldn't even be here if not for us grognards so show some respect and start the appeasing...


Yeah, but what have you done lately?


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Complain?


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Yep and 30 years from now I'll be like this I bet

What you don't realize is that the picture describes you.


And because I have a feeling someone will report for the next line I made it a separate post.

Also when did we stop judging people by the content of their character, but by the length of their beard?

Dark Archive

Steve Geddes wrote:
Complain?

MY SHOES ARE TOO TIGHT


My problem with dex to damage is that, feat expencive or not it is a bad var to show that nimble melee dudes can also be cool. Hard hitters should have been hitting hard and nimble guys should have ok nimble options.
I am not gonna make a 3 feat chain to get str to AC instead of Dex but i expect paizo soon will.


kestral287 wrote:

The problem is that how extreme the damage gap is depends on the classes we're talking about.

It's obvious for Barbarian vs. Rogue. Less so for Barbarian vs. Daring Champion.

But dex to damage is only a little part of the daring champs damage.


Cap. Darling wrote:

My problem with dex to damage is that, feat expencive or not it is a bad var to show that nimble melee dudes can also be cool. Hard hitters should have been hitting hard and nimble guys should have ok nimble options.

I am not gonna make a 3 feat chain to get str to AC instead of Dex but i expect paizo soon will.

How about a feat chain requiring dex that allows for extra 5' steps?


mplindustries wrote:


My question is, uh, why?

Because it needs to be balanced somehow.

At least there IS a way to do it. Now way of getting strength to AC or ref saves or to hit with projectile weapons. Because "Armor is strength to AC is a lie. And a stupid one."


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Just a Guess wrote:
mplindustries wrote:


My question is, uh, why?

Because it needs to be balanced somehow.

At least there IS a way to do it. Now way of getting strength to AC or ref saves or to hit with projectile weapons. Because "Armor is strength to AC is a lie. And a stupid one."

It would be balanced with something as simple as "Greater weapon Finesse" that didn't require a weapon focus and specified you don't 1.5x it when two handing or gain 3 for 1 when power attacking two handing.

Also I'd be all for a feat that gives something like your shield bonus to reflex save or has str remove some/all ACP. A feat to use str to qualify for 2WF feats+some other benefit like treating one handed weapons as light weapons...

A lot of these ideas are shamelessly ripped off from Dreamscarred Press.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

We have a feat for adding your shield bonus to some Reflex saves. Against all AoEs, I believe...

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