The feat Small But Deadly allows you to "ignore your Strength penalty to damage when making attacks with your racial natural weapons and weapons for which you have the Weapon Focus feat."
I'm confused, does this mean that, if you have a penalty to strength (as in, having an 8 or 7) due to your race, you can ignore it? Or does it mean that you can add to your strength modifier the amount lost from your race, only when you're using natural attacks or weapons with which you have weapon focus with (As in, if you rolled/bought 14 strength, and it was pulled down to 12 from your race)?
When I tried looking for an answer, I saw relatively little talk about it, and the few discussions about it didn't conclude much.
Either it means it you have STR score that gives you a penalty instead of a bonus you ignore it, but don't switch it and give yourself a boost.
Or it allows you to ignore your racial penalty to STR and would use the unpenalized score for attacks.
The feat is from Kobolds of Golarion, and those guys get like what, a -4?
There has apparently been no clarification for it.
Since you didn't quote the entire feat, I can only go by what you've posted and what I can see and find myself.
You have learned to make the most of certain weapons, despite your physical weakness.
Prerequisite(s): Weapon Focus or natural weapon, Small size or smaller.
Benefit(s): You ignore your Strength penalty to damage when making attacks with your racial natural weapons and weapons for which you have the Weapon Focus feat.
Editor's NoteThis feat is a bit confusing, as it can be interpreted in two distinct ways:
1) This feat lets you ignore penalties to your damage from having a negative Strength score caused by your racial penalty. For example, a halfling with a Strength score of 9 normally takes a -1 penalty to his damage with melee or thrown weapons. This feat would allow him to treat his Strength as a 10 for calculating damage with the listed types of weapons. This CANNOT raise your effective Strength score higher than 10 for calculating damage, since characters with a Strength score higher than 10 do not take a penalty on damage.
2) This feat lets you ignore racial penalties to your Strength when calculating your damage, irregardless of your current Strength score. For example, a halfling with a Strength score of 12 (after applying his racial penalty of -2 to Strength) normally gets a +1 to damage with melee or thrown weapons. This feat would allow him to treat his Strength as a 14 for calculating damage with the listed types of weapons, giving him a +2 bonus to damage.
As of now, there has been no ruling, official or unofficial, on this feat, so GMs are encouraged to make their own judgment about its utility for any given character.
By strict reading of the rules, I would almost have to rule that any Strength penalty (bringing your strength below 10) would not count. It could easily be interpetted to apply to Strength damage from a Shadow or from a poison. I see absolutely nothing in the feat that specifies that it only applies to racial penalties, size penalties, etc.
By the wording of the feat, if you took this feat and normally had a Strength of 14 (there is not Str. requirement in the pre-requisite) then recieved 6 Str damage (or drain, or penalty) you would still count as having 10 Str (for damage purposes, basically a 0 modifier) and this would be the case up to even 13 Str damage where you had the equivalent of 1 Strength and then even to where you had 0 Strength, though you would likely be paralyzed and unable to move to make any attacks. Like you said though, there is no official clarification.
Seems to me that it ignores your strength penalty rather than your racial strength adjustment. The race only comes into it in terms of WHAT attacks you can ignore your strength penalty on... racial natural weapons and weapons you have Weapon Focus for.
Yeah, I legitimately can't read it in any way other than applying to your post-racial Strength score, if if happens to be negative. There is no wording at all about racial penalties, only racial natural weapons (so excluding natural weapons gained due to class features).
If you set your Strength to 8 and being a kobold reduces it to 4, this lets you ignore the -3 to damage. If you set your Strength to 14 and being a kobold reduces it to 10... no benefit.
Str penalty is short for negative str modifier.
Str bonus is short for positive str modifier.
Penalty to str is str damage/drain territory, clearly not what the feat is about.
racial modifiers are done and gone after character creation. Your character isn't 18str with a -4 racial adjustment. It's a guy with 14 str.
Thus the clear meaning is you ignore -str to damage.
By the rules, the feat negates any penalty to damage from Str modifiers. There is no mention of racial bonuses at all. While most small sized races will have Strength penalties, this is not in any way universal. It is entirely possible for a small-sized or smaller race to actually have no racial Strength modifier or even a racial Strength bonus. While it would certainly be highly unusual (since Strength penalty is the obvious choice for balancing out the race with other bonuses) it is possible. Monkey Goblins, for instance have no actual racial Strength penalty, despite being Small.
It's possible for you to have a racial bonus to Strength and still end up below 10, in which case, this feat will apply. Obviously depending on what creation methods you use (and remember this feat doesn't necessarily only apply to created characters made by the many very generous creation methods) you could have a +2 Strength bonus and still end up below 10, possibly due to a Flaw or Age or Size change (from a spell likely).
The only fair way to read it and thus rule it is to basically count any damage penalties to damage from Strength as though the character's Strength score was a 10. It's the simplest way to rule it and also means it works equally for everyone based on their actual Strength, not their race (which is never mentioned at all in the Feat description.)
- You're a Kobold with 8 Strength? You count as having 10 Strength for damage (with natural weapons or Weapon Focused weapons.)
- You're a Gnome with 8 Strength? You count as having 10 Strength for damage.
- You're a Pixie with 8 Strength? You count as having 10 Strength for damage.
- You're a diminutive Bat with 8 Strength? You count as having 10 Strength for damage.
- You're a Kobold who once had an 8 Strength, but are now Venerable and have a Strength of 2 and were just hit by a Shadow for 1 Strength damage and you're swinging a silver dagger (which you have Weapon Focus for)? You count as having 10 Strength for damage and have a -1 to damage because it's a silver slashing or piercing weapon. (You still probably have a hellacious time actually hitting, since the feat doesn't help with attack penalties.)
- You're a Gnome who normally has 8 Strength but someone cast bull's strength on you, making your Strength count as 12? Then you do +1 damage from Strength as usual for any creature with 12 Strength.