Finesse weapons with trip / disarm


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


Our group is having a disagreement regarding the whip. One person says that it should use dex for tripping as finesse says "You can use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier when making attack rolls" and trip is listed as an attack. The other says Trip only specifies using the weapon's reach and item bonuses but because trip specifically mentions those things that it excludes all other weapon traits.

Has this been clarified anywhere?


In Pathfinder 1, any Finesse weapon used for a combat maneuver got to apply Dex to the maneuver check. The Playtest book is very dry to read, so I don't recall finding anything in the book to state that this is still the case.

As far as I'm concerned, it could be ruled either way.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Finesse only works on melee attack rolls (page 178), which Trip is not.

While Trip has the attack trait, it's a skill check against an enemy reflex DC. (page 147)

The only thing the attack trait does for the Trip is give the second and third trip attempt the multiple attack penalty on the skill check.


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Damanta wrote:

Finesse only works on melee attack rolls (page 178), which Trip is not.

While Trip has the attack trait, it's a skill check against an enemy reflex DC. (page 147)

The only thing the attack trait does for the Trip is give the second and third trip attempt the multiple attack penalty on the skill check.

On the other hand, the definition of Attack on page 420 says:

"Most attack rolls are made using the Strike action, but the attack trait sometimes appears on spells or other abilities (such as Shove)."

Putting these two things in the same sentence implies that Shove, a combat maneuver, is an example of one of the "attack rolls" that are not done as a Strike. I.e. an "attack roll" is "a roll using the attack trait".

And page 178 does not say that finesse applies to "melee attack rolls". It says it applies to "attack rolls with this melee weapon". A crucial difference, I'd say. An attack roll with a melee weapon is a much wider definition than a melee attack roll.

A whip is a melee weapon. A trip roll has the attack trait. That ought to make a trip roll into a an attack roll with a melee weapon, even if it is not a "melee attack roll" as defined on page 178.

Well, it is not 100% clear-cut, but...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

"Your melee attack modifer is the sum of your profciency modifer with a weapon plus your Strength modifer (or optionally, your Dexterity modifer for weapons with the fnesse trait)."

Trip is an Athletics check not a melee attack, even if it has the Attack trait.


Damanta wrote:

"Your melee attack modifer is the sum of your profciency modifer with a weapon plus your Strength modifer (or optionally, your Dexterity modifer for weapons with the fnesse trait)."

Trip is an Athletics check not a melee attack, even if it has the Attack trait.

A trip with a whip is not a "melee attack", but a trip with a whip is an "attack with a melee weapon", and that is what matters for finesse, as currently defined. :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The Trip trait allows you to add the weapon's item bonus to the Athletics check and use the weapon's reach. It is still a skill check :)


Yes, it is a skill check. It is also an attack that uses a melee weapon. The trait system enables actions to be more than one thing at a time.


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Got a developer clarification for this on Facebook:

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:

If you are performing the Trip with a finesse weapon (such as the whip that has the trip trait), you add your Dexterity instead of Strength to that particular Athletics attack roll.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Bleh. Stupid ruling. Dex already does more than enough, it doesn't need all these extra abilities.

Ah well.

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Mats Öhrman wrote:

Got a developer clarification for this on Facebook:

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:

If you are performing the Trip with a finesse weapon (such as the whip that has the trip trait), you add your Dexterity instead of Strength to that particular Athletics attack roll.

Oh thank goodness.


Some more developer clarifications from Facebook regarding the fact that "Fist" is also a Finesse weapon and that it comes with a "free hand" (which means you don't need the Trip trait to trip with it). Quotes below are from the Facebook thread:

Sammy Tamimi wrote:
Follow up: #1 Does the weapon need to have the Trip trait or only need be finesse? For DEX-based Unarmed trippers, would they be able to use their DEX and get a bonus from their Handwraps? #2 Since trip/grapple is an athletics skill check, can you use Assurance?
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
#1 Typically a weapon needs to have the trip trait to trip even if you don’t have a free hand (Trip trait page 183). Because a trip is usually done with a free hand, it does not need to have the trip trait. And yes, you would gain any potency bonus from the wraps. #2 Yes, you can use Assurance with those checks (and not apply any bonuses, penalties, or modifiers), as normal.

As you can see, Assurance on combat maneuvers also seem to be ok for now.


Damanta wrote:

Bleh. Stupid ruling. Dex already does more than enough, it doesn't need all these extra abilities.

Ah well.

I concur

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