Dexterity vs strength a discussion of style and theme


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Okay so before i begin, i will state take your mechanical speak else where as this is not the discussion thread for it.

What this thread is for is what you as a pathfinder / role-player what you image fighting with pure strength or dexterity looks like in terms of form, how a hit looks, ectera.

personally i am a man of dexterity and view it as attacking with precision , fast and quick strikes, whereas strength i have difficulties seeing it as anything but formless attacking. apologies to those who prefer strength builds.

honestly i am curious as to what people see and think as i often have trouble seeing this in depth sometimes


Technically there is no "just strength" even in PF. And there is no "just strength" in the real world - you have skill.

Skilled warrior learns his owns limitations and trains to overcome them. He also learns about his own advantages and trains to use them.

Strong warrior would not just hack at his enemies without care, no. Instead he would pretend that this is all he can do and after that make a switch in tactics to get in advantageous position only now using all his strength to finish fight in one or two strikes.

Strong and heavy warriors are not as fast or precise in their attacks, so they rely much more on their skill. Shorter movements, tighter defenses all in the wait for the right moment to attack and end combat at the same time.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Just watch the fights against Inigo and Fezzik in The Princess Bride.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dex Fighters aren't inherently "better" or more skilled than Strength Fighters. Both make the best use of of what natural assets they have.

Sovereign Court

I think people forget that in Pathfinder DEX doesn't represent skill in combat - BAB does.

A Dex combatant would be someone who fights with quick wrists, while a Str one swings their whole arm faster than the Dex combatant can. Both have equal accuracy overall.


I think I see a little of the stereotype of 'brute using just force' with how rage works. That berserker is leaving herself a little more open when she's swinging that greataxe at you, after all.

I actually like the image of someone powering through a defence. 'Oh, you have a shield. I hit your shield hard enough you punch yourself in the mouth.' But in general you still need skill, and the most direct measure of that is BAB, with feats and other stuff adjusting as needed. Weapon Focus (thingy) means you trained with it more. Rage adds to your skill because you're taking more chances, about -2 of AC worth of chances. Power Attack and Deadly Aim both mean you're going for something that makes you attack a little worse, but if it lands it'll hurt them more. And so on.

If nothing else, keep in mind that even the most dexterous fighters aren't outright weak, and even the biggest and strongest have some agility to get themselves into the right position.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Qaianna wrote:

I think I see a little of the stereotype of 'brute using just force' with how rage works. That berserker is leaving herself a little more open when she's swinging that greataxe at you, after all.

But the discussion is about Str battlers in general not just barbarians. So we're talking in addition, Fighters, Rangers, Paladins, and those 5 Magi in the world who aren't Dex to damage scimitar wielding dervishes.


it is indeed supposed to be a generalization, that being said i have nothing personal against strength, just trying to find a reason to start liking strength over dexterity.

Barbarians of course get the excuse for being muscle bound and strong in the stereotypical sense.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ammon Knight of Ragathiel wrote:

it is indeed supposed to be a generalization, that being said i have nothing personal against strength, just trying to find a reason to start liking strength over dexterity.

To be different is one of them.

Sovereign Court

Any one else read the thread and think of this? I think you'll appreciate the strength fighter during 2:00-4:00 :)


Ammon Knight of Ragathiel wrote:

it is indeed supposed to be a generalization, that being said i have nothing personal against strength, just trying to find a reason to start liking strength over dexterity.

Barbarians of course get the excuse for being muscle bound and strong in the stereotypical sense.

Like whichever one you like better and have fun with it. Besides, when looking for finesse or power, wouldn't it be better if you had both instead? Gracefully stride over the battlefield, parry the enemy's clumsy weak blows, and then with smooth care and attention to form SMASH THEM INTO THE GROUND WITH AN EARTHBREAKER! AND AGAIN!

Ahem. Excuse me..


Ammon Knight of Ragathiel wrote:

personally i am a man of dexterity and view it as attacking with precision , fast and quick strikes, whereas strength i have difficulties seeing it as anything but formless attacking. apologies to those who prefer strength builds.

honestly i am curious as to what people see and think as i often have trouble seeing this in depth sometimes

Have you watched Naruto? The styles of Rock Lee (strength) and Neji (dexterity) are decent examples. Regardless, it's an abstraction.

Generally, PF assumes that strength adds to melee damage, while Dex does not. Given that 'accuracy' comes from the attack roll, and those can be the same, it would generally mean the strength attack was faster and/or had better follow-through with the same accuracy. A Dex fighter can use their agility to make a hit, but lacks any real "punch" behind it.


A dex-based fighter uses their reflexes and hand-eye-coordination to respond quickly to openings their enemy gives them, whereas a strength based fighter creates their own openings by swatting weapons out of the way or body checking opponents?


Here's a video of two fighters with bastard swords, one in full-plate, one unarmored. Kinda cheating, cause the swords are blunt, and armor-guy is having to make sure he doesn't give unarmored-guy a concussion or break something, but still gets some of the point(oh, the puns) across. Pretty good material for my concept of strength-based fighters. You rely on skill mostly to land your hit, but use strength and leverage to move your weapon about where it needs to go, and timing, timing, timing.

Then, when you finally hit, it's either for killing or on the other guy's head so you can take him down with your next move.

Liberty's Edge

To go with a non-weapon example, I view it as similar to the difference between point (dexterity) and free/knockdown sparring in something like karate. People who focus on point sparring tend to be flashier and look for openings where they can make contact, but they don't usually get in solid hits. People who focus on free, and especially knockdown, sparring tend to be more stable and conservative in their movements, but they make openings by moving their opponents' guards around, whether it's through feints, parries, or just physically bashing it out of the way.


I see strength as not focused on accuracy, but instead using force to overcome defenses. A more brutal style. Like a mace caving in a helmet and the head beneath it.

I see dexterity as focused on coordination, hitting the right place to avoid defenses. A more precise style. Like a knife in the gap between helmet and chest plate.


Strength: speed and power. Mostly straightforward attacks. They use their entire body to deliver powerful blows very quickly.

Dexterity: agility and quick reactions. Unpredictable or curved attack arcs. They nimbly step and spin in ways to bring their strikes around to unprotected areas.

Neither is about precision or skill, that belongs to BAB.


LazarX wrote:
Ammon Knight of Ragathiel wrote:

it is indeed supposed to be a generalization, that being said i have nothing personal against strength, just trying to find a reason to start liking strength over dexterity.

To be "normal" is one of them.

FTFY.

When Strength is the standard for melee attacks (both hit and damage), going Dexterity to that is what constitutes different, as you have to contribute resources.

@ OP: The thought behind Strength is you use Velocity and Force to deal devastating attacks. Their amount of defenses might help cushion a blow to not really be effective.

The thought behind Dexterity is you use precision and agility to target the weak points of a foe. Although their overall defenses might be too much for a direct attack, a Dexterity character knows how to exploit vulnerabilities, and uses their agility for a more fine assault.

In either case, having a higher BAB precludes your capability of using either sort of attack method effectively. Consider it a "Skill level," if you will.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Ammon Knight of Ragathiel wrote:

it is indeed supposed to be a generalization, that being said i have nothing personal against strength, just trying to find a reason to start liking strength over dexterity.

To be "normal" is one of them.

FTFY.

When Strength is the standard for melee attacks (both hit and damage), going Dexterity to that is what constitutes different, as you have to contribute resources.

@ OP: The thought behind Strength is you use Velocity and Force to deal devastating attacks. Their amount of defenses might help cushion a blow to not really be effective.

The thought behind Dexterity is you use precision and agility to target the weak points of a foe. Although their overall defenses might be too much for a direct attack, a Dexterity character knows how to exploit vulnerabilities, and uses their agility for a more fine assault.

In either case, having a higher BAB precludes your capability of using either sort of attack method effectively. Consider it a "Skill level," if you will.

i think he intended to say what he said.

Shadow Lodge

It's a matter of style. So you want to be an action hero. Is your character
a classic 80s-90s American action hero? Then you are a strength fighter, you crush your puny foes with your massive manly muscles.
Or are you a modern action star? You dance about with quick flurries and fancy acrobatics.

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