Stacking AC bonuses from CHA


Rules Questions

Scarab Sages

Hey hivemind.

I have been toying with an idea for a Samurai build.

I intend to take the Warrior Poet archetype. Obviously, this adds CHA to AC as a bonus. This seems to be an untyped bonus. It is an [EX] type of bonus to AC.

I had intended for flavor reasons, as well as to kind of embrace the entire "Eastern" ascetic, to Multiclass into a Monk. A sort of unarmed/armed build, with a lot of flexibility.

I really enjoy the idea of a completely unarmored combatant.

I intend to choose the Order of the Cockatrice. I will have a CHA of 16 or so.

SO, looking at Monk archetypes, I come across the Scaled Fist. This guy ALSO gets his CHA to AC in place of WIS. This is ALSO a seemingly untyped bonus, and is a [SU] ability.

Do they stack?

Now, I've read the FAQ. It's still a bit of a mystery to me.

I was told that the Water Dancer Monk archetype which ALSO gets its CHA to AC as a bonus WOULD stack because the Water Dancer's bonus is listed specifically as a "dodge bonus" instead of an untyped bonus.

Now, my understanding is that untyped bonuses stack.

My understanding is that typed bonuses also stack with untyped bonuses.

What is the official ruling on this, please?


The official ruling is that untyped ability bonuses are their own type of bonus and they don't stack with each other.

So warrior poet and scaled fist Cha bonuses to AC don't stack, sorry.

Grand Lodge

avr wrote:

The official ruling is that untyped ability bonuses are their own type of bonus and they don't stack with each other.

So warrior poet and scaled fist Cha bonuses to AC don't stack, sorry.

Close but not quite. 2 untyped ability bonuses from the same ability score (in this case Cha) are considered to be the same source which is why they don't stack.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Bomanz wrote:

Now, my understanding is that untyped bonuses stack.

My understanding is that typed bonuses also stack with untyped bonuses.

Both are true, but there is one exception:

"With the exception of dodge bonuses, most circumstance bonuses, and racial bonuses, only the better bonus of a given type works (...) Bonuses without a type always stack, unless they are from the same source." CRB pg. 208
Since per this FAQ an ability score bonus counts the ability score as the source, rather than the class feature, two charisma bonuses to AC are two untyped bonuses from the same source, and thus don't stack.

While we're at it and because it's a very common misconception, that "same source" thing only applies to untyped bonuses, not to typed bonuses (of course, most bonus types never stack, so it's only dodge, circumstance, and racial bonuses affected by that).

avr wrote:
The official ruling is that untyped ability bonuses are their own type of bonus and they don't stack with each other.

Not quite correct - they aren't their own type, they're still untyped, but they count the ability score as the source.

Scarab Sages

Awesome, thank you.

What about from the Water Dancer Monk archetype and the Warrior Poet Samurai Archetype?

Grand Lodge

Bomanz wrote:

Awesome, thank you.

What about from the Water Dancer Monk archetype and the Warrior Poet Samurai Archetype?

That would stack with Warrior Poet because it's a Dodge bonus rather than another untyped bonus.


Actually, Water Dancer stacks with itself. The dodge bonus doesn't replace the Monk's regular AC Bonus feature, and since a Water Dance "uses his Charisma score instead of his Wisdom score to determine (...) the DC and effects of monk class features.", Water Dancer gets charisma to AC twice. The dodge bonus (capped at 1 point per Monk level) stacks with Warrior Poet's ability, but Dancer’s Grace is still redundant because you already have the full charisma bonus to AC from Water Dancer.

As a dip for a Warrior Poet, Water Dancer is crap - you get almost nothing except base saves and +1 AC per level you dip. A dip into regular unchained Monk* would probably work better, allowing you to Flurry with a Waveblade, you can get Dodge as a bonus feat, and if you have positive wisdom, even get more AC.

*) Possible archetypes: Perfect Scholar or Serpent-Fire Adept for more class skills, Sage Counselor if you want something that requires Combat Expertise, or Invested Regent for a save bonus.

Grand Lodge

So, do multiple abilities that add cha as a dodge bonus stack? Say a water dancer monk takes Osyluth Guile, do those stack?


Syries wrote:
So, do multiple abilities that add cha as a dodge bonus stack? Say a water dancer monk takes Osyluth Guile, do those stack?

Those would, as dodge bonuses stack (note that only untyped bonuses have the same source restriction). Similarly devoted muse and water dancer would stack their dodge bonuses.

We've somewhat covered this before.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If you aren't dumping wisdom, you could dip Unchained Monk without using a charisma based archetype. Wis to AC and Cha to AC definitely do stack.


Syries wrote:
So, do multiple abilities that add cha as a dodge bonus stack? Say a water dancer monk takes Osyluth Guile, do those stack?

Dodge bonuses, circumstance bonuses, and racial bonuses always stack, unless something explicitly says otherwise. "Explicity" means is says "do not stack" or "does not stack" (e.g. Dervish Dancer Brad's Rain of Blows or unMonk's Defensive Spin style strike).


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Derklord wrote:
Syries wrote:
So, do multiple abilities that add cha as a dodge bonus stack? Say a water dancer monk takes Osyluth Guile, do those stack?
Dodge bonuses, circumstance bonuses, and racial bonuses always stack, unless something explicitly says otherwise. "Explicity" means is says "do not stack" or "does not stack" (e.g. Dervish Dancer Brad's Rain of Blows or unMonk's Defensive Spin style strike).

They also don't stack if they come from the same source. For example, if a spell gives you a dodge bonus to AC, the bonus from a recasting of that same spell generally would not stack even if there is no explicit statement to that effect.

Shadow Lodge

As others said, you can't stack cha to AC from scaled fist, warrior poet, and water dancer. However, you can stack them with the Oracle ability nature whispers or sidestep secret since those replace your dexterity modifier with your charisma modifier.


You can't stack Oracle Cha to AC with Warrior Poet or Scaled Fist Cha to AC, because its treated as an untyped bonus with Charisma source.

* It's also one the reason why we got the FAQ in the first place.

Silver Crusade

It should probably be explicitly pointed out that this is an area where GMs are prone to ignore the RAW and just decide what they want to happen in THEIR game. So, unless this is for PFS, I'd definitely recommend asking your GM.


David knott 242 wrote:
They also don't stack if they come from the same source. For example, if a spell gives you a dodge bonus to AC, the bonus from a recasting of that same spell generally would not stack even if there is no explicit statement to that effect.

You're both wrong and right. Dodge bonuses from the same source can stack*, because there is absolutely nothing in the rules that says they don't, but spells have their own very special stacking rules, which are completely ibndependent from bonus types. "Spells that provide bonuses or penalties on attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and other attributes usually do not stack with themselves." CRB pg. 208

*) It's a pretty rare occurance, most notably the Offensive Defense (cRogue only) and Emboldening Strike Rogue talents stack with themself.


Derklord wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
They also don't stack if they come from the same source. For example, if a spell gives you a dodge bonus to AC, the bonus from a recasting of that same spell generally would not stack even if there is no explicit statement to that effect.

You're both wrong and right. Dodge bonuses from the same source can stack*, because there is absolutely nothing in the rules that says they don't, but spells have their own very special stacking rules, which are completely ibndependent from bonus types. "Spells that provide bonuses or penalties on attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and other attributes usually do not stack with themselves." CRB pg. 208

*) It's a pretty rare occurance, most notably the Offensive Defense (cRogue only) and Emboldening Strike Rogue talents stack with themself.

FAQ wrote:

Rogue: Does the dodge bonus from the “offensive defensive” rogue talent (page 131) stack with itself? Does it apply to everyone, or just to the target I’m attacking?

There are two issues relating to this rogue talent.

One, in the first printing it provided a +1 circumstance bonus against the attacked target, which was a very weak ability. The second printing update changed it from a circumstance bonus to a dodge bonus, but accidentally omitted the “against that creature” text, which made it a very strong ability.

Two, it doesn’t specify whether the dodge bonus stacks with itself, and because this creates a strange place in the rules where bonuses don’t stack from the same source but dodge bonuses always stack. While we haven’t reached a final decision on what to do about this talent, we are leaning toward this solution: the dodge bonus only applies against the creature you sneak attacked, and the dodge bonus does not stack with itself. This prevents you from getting a dodge bonus to AC against a strong creature by sneak attacking a weak creature, and prevents you from reaching an absurdly high AC by sneak attacking multiple times in the same round.

FAQ on Offensive Defensive would say otherwise that dodge bonuses from the same source don't stack, though I will note that it does say it is what they are learning towards and not a final decision.


Honestly, Offensive Defensive is super weird breaking the standard for dodge scaling, usually its +1, +1 per penalty, or +Stat (usually ~+5). Imagine getting guaranteed 20+ dodge per rd just because you have a familar.

Having said that, it is their stance that FAQs should not be used beyond the scope of the question. Although they can be used as a guide, or ignored completely. In this case the FAQ was because Offensive Defensive without that extra wording is broken. It was not an FAQ on whether dodge stacks from the same source in general.


Rather than trying to fix an earlier fix for the rogue I'd suggest that simply making the unRogue standard saves headaches. Outside PFS (where not everyone can even use the unRogue) that is.


The_Tarrasque wrote:
FAQ on Offensive Defensive would say otherwise that dodge bonuses from the same source don't stack, though I will note that it does say it is what they are learning towards and not a final decision.

Did you actually read the FAQ? They aren't making a ruling. "While we haven’t reached a final decision on what to do about this talent, we are leaning toward this solution: the dodge bonus only applies against the creature you sneak attacked, and the dodge bonus does not stack with itself." What you bolded is not what they declared, nor what the rules say, but what a future wording change (that will never happen) might look like.

That FAQ is about the worst waste of space in the history of mankind - an FAQ answer telling us that there is no answer yet. In addition, the existence of that "pseudo-FAQ" probably made them forget to make a proper answer, and as if that wasn't bad enough, they also get the actual rules wrong: "this creates a strange place in the rules where bonuses don’t stack from the same source but dodge bonuses always stack" is objectively a false statement, because as I've shown above, the same source thing only exists for untyped bonuses.

Yeah, I had this discussion more than once. We can have this discussion again if you want, I have plenty of old posts where I can copy paste from. Of course, it doesn't really have anything to do with the thread. I'm not even surprised - it seems like every other week people make a huge discussion because they don't understand the rules behind some example I've made.

And to be honest, I would even allow it (dito for Emboldening Strike). Rogue is one of the weakest classes in the game, and Offensive Defense is not viable for unRogue. A full attack Sneak Attack is highly conditional, so when it does happen, it granting a large bonus is far from overpowered.

Scarab Sages

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Thanks for all the advice and information.

My goal was to essentially build an unarmored Onna Bugeisha samurai, with some unarmed strike capability.

I like the Warrior Poet Archetype because of the focus on Katana and Naginata as main weapons, allowing for DEX based build.

I was going to take Order of the Cockatrice, because I tend to play face characters, I like the CHA synergy and demoralize mechanics, I like the order adding to damage, and the bonus to hit when you attack a demoralized foe.

Using a 20 point buy, with Half-Elf as race, 16 DEX and 16 CHA are all that's available, with a +2 static to throw into something else.

The problem I'm coming up against is that bonuses to AC are few and far between. I don't really have the luxury of stacking WIS too, and I didn't want to really do more than dip Monk anyhow.

The main focus on this would be to be a Samurai.

Likewise, the party makeup will be a Barbarian, an archery focused Ranger, a Rogue of some sort, A sorcerer, and a Cleric.

Not sure I would need to be a typical "tank" build samurai, with high AC, high HP, and resolve to stand in the front line taking blow after blow. Further, I think the Barb will outdamage this build, and draw the most "agro" from the DM/NPCs.

I like this flowing/unarmored build, but I do worry about the effectiveness in combat and being overshadowed in almost every way.


The warrior poet is a mobile class getting lots and lots of abilities to help you do so. So going high AC high HP would most likely harm your other abilities. Specially since you lost your bonus combat feats, so unbreakable resolve can be costly.

In combat assuming lv 10 and str 0, you deal +15 dmg on the first atk and +5 dmg on all the rest. The Rogue assuming Dex 20, deals +5 dmg on each attack; it also deal 5d6 on sneak attacks. So you have more consistent dmg vs the Rogue's burst.

Going the feint + intimidate route, let's you provide support for the team ensuring they land their hits, or at least let's the Rogue sneak attack more consistently. And you get more benefits thx to your order.

Overall, I would say to focus on crowd control/support and overall skirmish tactics that your team (baring the archer) can't do easily. Looking at damage is just asking to feel overshadowed.

****************
If you are desperate for the feats consider 2 lvs of Spear Fighter for 3 feats.


Bomanz wrote:
I like the Warrior Poet Archetype because of the focus on Katana and Naginata as main weapons, allowing for DEX based build.

As you should! Well, naginata (or glaive) anyway, katana would be a bit of a waste.

Bomanz wrote:
The problem I'm coming up against is that bonuses to AC are few and far between.

Well, the Order of the Songbird (explicitly designed to be used with Warrior Poet) helps in that regard, but do you really need an AC boost? Buy a Wand of Mage Armor and hand it to the Sorcerer, and you're fit to go!

Bomanz wrote:
I like this flowing/unarmored build, but I do worry about the effectiveness in combat and being overshadowed in almost every way.

Well, nowadays, unarmed is a rather viable playstyle, but you have to ask yourself "what's the gain?" Unarmed has bad base stats, and being disarmed/weaponless is normally too rare to care about, so unaremd only really has two benefits: First, it has a bunch of specific feats, most notably style feats. With no bonus feats, and only low strength, the only good style feat path I can see is Pummeling Style into Pummeling Charge, but that goes against the whole spring attack stuff the archetype grants. The second benefit has the same problems - thanks to handwraps, unarmed TWF is highly cost efficient when it comes to weapon enchantments, and you do have the dex for the feats (and the bonus damage from Graceful Strike), but again it clashes with the Spring Attack stuff.

If you only want to be able to flurry with it, a waveblade is just plain better than unarmed strike.

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