Agile weapon math seems odd


Rules Discussion


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Agile weapons:

Core Rulebook pg. 282 wrote:
The multiple attack penalty you take with this weapon on the second attack on your turn is –4 instead of –5, and –8 instead of –10 on the third and subsequent attacks in the turn.

All things being equal - while welding an agile weapon, a character has a 5% greater chance to hit with a second attack than a character wielding a non-agile weapon. This makes sense. It is agile after all, so it should be easier to attack multiple times with.

However, on a third attack a character has a 10% greater chance to hit than a character wielding a non-agile weapon. This seems odd to me. It feels like agile weapons should just have a penalty of 1 less on any attack after the first (ie: -4 and then -9).

Anyone else?


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I don't see a problem, here.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think the disconnect for me is that because the penalty on the 3rd attack is 2 less it feels as if the third attack is more effective than the 2nd attack compared to a character with a non-agile weapon.

Not saying this is a problem at all. Or that I disagree with how the rule works. I suppose I was just wondering if anyone else had to stop and scratch their head for a moment at this.


I assume agile weapons are largely intended for characters who would consider using all 3 actions to Strike. In that case, having the bonus scale with higher Multiple Attack Penalty makes sense.


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Think of it like this:

The MAP for a regular weapon is -5 per additional attack: 0 – 5 – 5 = –10
The MAP for an agile weapon is -4 per additional attack: 0 – 4 – 4 = –8

Does that help?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bardic Dave wrote:

Think of it like this:

The MAP for a regular weapon is -5 per additional attack: 0 – 5 – 5 = –10
The MAP for an agile weapon is -4 per additional attack: 0 – 4 – 4 = –8

Does that help?

Actually it does. Even though I understood in my head how it gets to the disparity between the -10 and the -8, seeing it written out was the "aha!" moment.

Move along folks. Nothing more to see here....


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

There is also the point that if the agile property only applied to MAP built up by one strike, you would have the same bonus if your 2nd and 3rd strikes were with a non-agile weapon.

It would be weird.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Both are 20% penalty reductions.
So to hit with an 18 stat a 1st with a traine weapon.
Not agile; 2(trained) + 1(level) + 4(stat) = +7/+2(-5map)/-3(-10map)

Agile; 2(trained) + 1(level) + 4(stat) = +7/+3/-1

AC for level 1 monsters seems to be between 16 and 20 so average 18 without looking at every creature in the bestiry.

Both hit on an average roll of 11. On the second attack agile is 5% ahead. On the third attack a non agile can only hit on a 20 while agile hits on a 19 so still only 5%.

The gap seems to get 10% bigger for the 3rd attack going forward. However I think this is fair because it seems like most agile weapons are also finesse and have lower damage die than those that aren't. So hitting 5% and 10% more often seems like an equal trade to more average base damage.

But we will have to see how this plays out in the long run. My gut says with the bonus damage from feats and stuff they will be really close in dpr.


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Percents can really confuse things too, because they are particular to what you are talking about. For instance if you can only hit on a roll of 20 and you get a +1 that allows you to hit on a 19 or 20, then your odds of hitting have increased by 100%, which isn't the same thing as the 5% increase from a +1 that we are talking about here.

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In my head, if you attack 3 times (Normal-Agile-Normal) I assumed the bonuses would be +0/-4/-9, or (Normal-Normal-Agile) +0/-5/-9 so that you subtract either 4 or 5 from the previous attack depending on the weapon. But I guess it would be +0/-4/-10 or +0/-5/-8 by the rules.


Grumpus wrote:
In my head, if you attack 3 times (Normal-Agile-Normal) I assumed the bonuses would be +0/-4/-9, or (Normal-Normal-Agile) +0/-5/-9 so that you subtract either 4 or 5 from the previous attack depending on the weapon. But I guess it would be +0/-4/-10 or +0/-5/-8 by the rules.

Only the number of previous attacks, and the agility or not of the current attack, matter. You may note that a lot of monsters in the Bestiary have a normal attack and an agile one, like bite + claw.


Melkiador wrote:
Percents can really confuse things too, because they are particular to what you are talking about. For instance if you can only hit on a roll of 20 and you get a +1 that allows you to hit on a 19 or 20, then your odds of hitting have increased by 100%, which isn't the same thing as the 5% increase from a +1 that we are talking about here.

Yeah, that absolute percentage vs relative percentages.

As you said, if I originally hit only on a 20 and now I hit on a 19 or 20, I've doubled (100% increase) how often I hit.

However, my chance to hit has only gone from 5% (assuming 20 sided die) to 10% (absolute percentage). The change in the absolute percentage actually reflects the changes in the relative percentage (it also doubled), but relative percentage changes are actually quite misleading when you have a fixed continuum of outcomes. Saying "I hit twice as much!" while accurate is misleading, because you had a miserable chance to hit in the first place.


AgentBlack wrote:
I assume agile weapons are largely intended for characters who would consider using all 3 actions to Strike. In that case, having the bonus scale with higher Multiple Attack Penalty makes sense.

Actually they're more intended for characters who can make 4 strikes (rangers and monks)

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