Weapon Specialization and Wild Shape?


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Does Weapon Specialization add damage to the Unarmed Attacks gained from Battle Forms when using Wild Shape? Thank you in advance for replies.

Weapon Specialization (CRB, Druid, pg. 133), "You’ve learned how to inflict greater injuries with the weapons you know best. You deal 2 additional damage with weapons and unarmed attacks in which you are an expert. This damage increases to 3 if you’re a master, and to 4 if you’re legendary."

Polymorph (CRB, Other Spell Traits, pg. 301), "If you take on a battle form with a polymorph spell, the special statistics can be adjusted only by circumstance bonuses, status bonuses, and penalties."

Increasing Damage (CRB, Damage, pg. 451), "In some cases, you increase the number of dice you roll when making weapon damage rolls. Magic weapons etched with the striking rune can add one or more weapon damage dice to your damage roll. These extra dice are the same die size as the weapon’s damage die. At certain levels, most characters gain the ability to deal extra damage from the weapon specialization class feature."


From that polymorph rule, no, as it isn't circumstance or status.

You'd get the damage bonus from inspire courage or the like, but not weapon specialization.

The 'form' spells having their own progression built in (and the multiple damage dice don't play well with magic handwraps of striking), the only exception is druids getting an attack bonus from Wild Shape.


Thank you for your help.


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Is Weapon Specialisation a bonus though? CRB pg. 444 makes it clear that there is no such thing as a untyped bonus anymore. Weapon specialisation is never called a "bonus". It calls out things like item bonuses, status bonuses and conditional bonuses. In fact CRB pg. 450 talks about weapon specialization in a separate section after the bonus section, grouping it with other things that are not bonuses (like additional dice).

If its not a bonus, then its not adjusting a special statistic. Using Animal Form as an example (CRB pg. 317) under the statistics and abilities you gain it lists:

"One or more unarmed melee attacks specific to the battle form you choose, which are the only attacks you an use. You’re trained with them. Your attack modifier is +9, and your damage bonus is +1."

If weapon specialisation is not a bonus, its not modifying that statistic. Its just something that is added after.

This may or may not be relevant, but if the additional damage from a Barbarians weapon specialisation is a "bonus", then it wont stack with their additional damage from Rage, as that uses the exact same wording and bonuses of the same type don't stack. I am pretty sure those two things stack, and are not "bonuses" as they are defined in the rules.


But on the other hand, the form spells give you a set bonus (by spell and heightening), regardless of what you're usual ones are. So it seems unlikely anything would apply in addition, despite the non-definition of terms.


cyberferrel wrote:

Is Weapon Specialisation a bonus though? CRB pg. 444 makes it clear that there is no such thing as a untyped bonus anymore. Weapon specialisation is never called a "bonus". It calls out things like item bonuses, status bonuses and conditional bonuses. In fact CRB pg. 450 talks about weapon specialization in a separate section after the bonus section, grouping it with other things that are not bonuses (like additional dice).

If its not a bonus, then its not adjusting a special statistic. Using Animal Form as an example (CRB pg. 317) under the statistics and abilities you gain it lists:

"One or more unarmed melee attacks specific to the battle form you choose, which are the only attacks you an use. You’re trained with them. Your attack modifier is +9, and your damage bonus is +1."

If weapon specialisation is not a bonus, its not modifying that statistic. Its just something that is added after.

This may or may not be relevant, but if the additional damage from a Barbarians weapon specialisation is a "bonus", then it wont stack with their additional damage from Rage, as that uses the exact same wording and bonuses of the same type don't stack. I am pretty sure those two things stack, and are not "bonuses" as they are defined in the rules.

This is an interesting point. As there are no Untyped Bonuses (CRB, pgs. 344-345), then what are Rage and Weapon Specialization? They both use the phrase "you deal additional damage". How does "additional damage" interact with battle forms?


Houngan wrote:
cyberferrel wrote:

Is Weapon Specialisation a bonus though? CRB pg. 444 makes it clear that there is no such thing as a untyped bonus anymore. Weapon specialisation is never called a "bonus". It calls out things like item bonuses, status bonuses and conditional bonuses. In fact CRB pg. 450 talks about weapon specialization in a separate section after the bonus section, grouping it with other things that are not bonuses (like additional dice).

If its not a bonus, then its not adjusting a special statistic. Using Animal Form as an example (CRB pg. 317) under the statistics and abilities you gain it lists:

"One or more unarmed melee attacks specific to the battle form you choose, which are the only attacks you an use. You’re trained with them. Your attack modifier is +9, and your damage bonus is +1."

If weapon specialisation is not a bonus, its not modifying that statistic. Its just something that is added after.

This may or may not be relevant, but if the additional damage from a Barbarians weapon specialisation is a "bonus", then it wont stack with their additional damage from Rage, as that uses the exact same wording and bonuses of the same type don't stack. I am pretty sure those two things stack, and are not "bonuses" as they are defined in the rules.

This is an interesting point. As there are no Untyped Bonuses (CRB, pgs. 344-345), then what are Rage and Weapon Specialization? They both use the phrase "you deal additional damage". How does "additional damage" interact with battle forms?

Good question, anyone know the answer to this?


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Atalius wrote:
Houngan wrote:
This is an interesting point. As there are no Untyped Bonuses (CRB, pgs. 344-345), then what are Rage and Weapon Specialization? They both use the phrase "you deal additional damage". How does "additional damage" interact with battle forms?
Good question, anyone know the answer to this?

I've hassled Mark Seifter before about whether damage could get an untyped bonus, and I'll paraphrase his immediate and gently corrective response: It's literally "additional damage" and not an untyped bonus.

That aside, here's what the polymorph trait says:

Polymorph trait excerpt, p.635 wrote:
If you take on a battle form with a polymorph spell, the special statistics can be adjusted only by circumstance bonuses, status bonuses, and penalties.

To repeat what everyone else has said, though: "Additional damage" is not a circumstance bonus, status bonus, or penalty, so none of their sources would be included, whether or not additional damage is/is not an untyped bonus.

The AC penalty from Raging would apply. The temp HP is mayyyybe arguable, but it'd be weird if you were somehow immune to temporary HP from other sources because of a battle form versus the standard "pick one temp HP source/value and go with that" rule.

(Also, the bonus damage for the polymorph spells scales fairly roughly alongside items/class damage bonuses, so it would probably be really ridiculous for those additional damage bonuses to be included.)


I think there's a bit more evidence in the dragon transformation feat that dragon instinct barbarians can take. It specifies you to get the extra damage from rage. If all forms got it, I would think this wouldn't need to be specified if it applied to all forms.


RicoTheBold wrote:
Atalius wrote:
Houngan wrote:
This is an interesting point. As there are no Untyped Bonuses (CRB, pgs. 344-345), then what are Rage and Weapon Specialization? They both use the phrase "you deal additional damage". How does "additional damage" interact with battle forms?
Good question, anyone know the answer to this?

I've hassled Mark Seifter before about whether damage could get an untyped bonus, and I'll paraphrase his immediate and gently corrective response: It's literally "additional damage" and not an untyped bonus.

That aside, here's what the polymorph trait says:

Polymorph trait excerpt, p.635 wrote:
If you take on a battle form with a polymorph spell, the special statistics can be adjusted only by circumstance bonuses, status bonuses, and penalties.

To repeat what everyone else has said, though: "Additional damage" is not a circumstance bonus, status bonus, or penalty, so none of their sources would be included, whether or not additional damage is/is not an untyped bonus.

The AC penalty from Raging would apply. The temp HP is mayyyybe arguable, but it'd be weird if you were somehow immune to temporary HP from other sources because of a battle form versus the standard "pick one temp HP source/value and go with that" rule.

(Also, the bonus damage for the polymorph spells scales fairly roughly alongside items/class damage bonuses, so it would probably be really ridiculous for those additional damage bonuses to be included.)

The anwser from Mark is fine. But I really don't see the interaction with the battle form spells the same way the you do.

"Additional damage" is just "additional damage", so correct it doesn't modify the "damage bonus" in the form spells, but it does add to the result in the end.

Arguments can be made about whether or not more damage is fair - you are saying it isn't - but really you could consider likely magic items that a martial character might have, to say it was.

I guess what I'm asking is, in a game with terms and traits with specific meanings - what is "additional damage"?


Also consider this post from Mark


From my understanding, additional damage should be added. It's not a bonus, it's like an other source of damage.
It's perfectly logical for runes (as other runes, like Ghost Touch, apply, so why flaming runes would not?). It's also quite logical for Sneak Attack and Rage, as you are modifying the way you deliver your attacks. So, in my opinion, it should be the case for Weapon Specialization, even if I find that a bit weird in this case.


I'm about to make a new character, and this topic is make or break for the concept I would like to go with. We're very unlikely to get an official response, but what is the general consensus? Yes, or no to rage/sneak attack/weapon specialization?


Gaulin wrote:
I'm about to make a new character, and this topic is make or break for the concept I would like to go with. We're very unlikely to get an official response, but what is the general consensus? Yes, or no to rage/sneak attack/weapon specialization?

There is dissent, people don't like it or see it as too strong, but read the question here and the post from Mark.

I think it applies. If some of the posters who initially said otherwise agreed, then I think we could say we have consensus.

But until then check with your GM.


Even that doesn't seem to solve it though, can forms benefit from additional damage. I see that he says it's not a typed damage, but the wording of polymorph makes it seem like certain types of bonuses are the only types that apply. Which seems wrong to me, as things like sneak attack should work, RAI

Edit - has anyone in pfs gotten a ruling?

Silver Crusade

I don't think there is consensus. I, for one, still think that weapon specialization does NOT apply. I understand the arguments as to why it does apply and, while the arguments are reasonable, I still think they're a little too weak to overcome the OTHER reasonable arguments against it.

So, in PFS, expect table variation. In non PFS, ask your GM.


Gaulin wrote:

Even that doesn't seem to solve it though, can forms benefit from additional damage. I see that he says it's not a typed damage, but the wording of polymorph makes it seem like certain types of bonuses are the only types that apply. Which seems wrong to me, as things like sneak attack should work, RAI

Sneak Attack, Rage Damage, Weapon Specialization all work in Animal Form. Also Precision damage from the Hunters Edge (the terminology is a bit different). So does Flurry of Blows BTW

Additional Damage applies because it is not a bonus or a penalty, therefore the whole limitation of the polymorph rule does not apply to it. No statistics are ever adjusted. The Additional Damage just gets added as more damage in the end.

It is a semantic argument. I wish Mark hadn't made it but he did.


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Gortle wrote:
Gaulin wrote:

Even that doesn't seem to solve it though, can forms benefit from additional damage. I see that he says it's not a typed damage, but the wording of polymorph makes it seem like certain types of bonuses are the only types that apply. Which seems wrong to me, as things like sneak attack should work, RAI

Sneak Attack, Rage Damage, Weapon Specialization all work in Animal Form.

None of those work in animal form, because additional damage modifies a statistic and is not a bonus, so it definitely isn't a status bonus or circumstance bonus, which are the only things that apply.


citricking wrote:
because additional damage modifies a statistic

Does it?

I'm not sure anymore that it's entirely clear that it is. Per Mark's comments, it's not a bonus of any kind, which suggests that rather than modifying an existing statistic it's, well, additional. It's not part of the standard formula for calculating a weapon's damage, either.


Squiggit wrote:
citricking wrote:
because additional damage modifies a statistic

Does it?

I'm not sure anymore that it's entirely clear that it is. Per Mark's comments, it's not a bonus of any kind, which suggests that rather than modifying an existing statistic it's, well, additional.

That's some mighty microscopic hair-splitting there...

Also:
"Melee damage roll = damage die of weapon or unarmed attack + Strength modifier + bonuses + penalties

Ranged damage roll = damage die of weapon + Strength modifier for thrown weapons + bonuses + penalties

Spell (and similar effects) damage roll = damage die of the effect + bonuses + penalties"

Where is the 'additional damage' listing? Even with clever wordplay, it leaves the damage section looking incorrect.


graystone wrote:
That's some mighty microscopic hair-splitting there...

If it were just us talking I might agree with you, but 'not a bonus' is word of god here and that has to mean something.

Quote:
Where is the 'additional damage' listing? Even with clever wordplay, it leaves the damage section looking incorrect.

There conspicuously isn't one. Which, again, suggests the damage is not part of the basic damage calculation and therefore isn't modifying the statistics of the attack directly (and is instead providing something 'additional').

I don't even think it's necessarily that strange either. The end result might be numerically similar, but I think there's enough difference conceptually between an effect directly modifying the die size of an attack (as an example) vs an effect adding additional damage when you hit an opponent that it's not unreasonable for one to work and another not to.


Squiggit wrote:
If it were just us talking I might agree with you, but 'not a bonus' is word of god here and that has to mean something.

Oh, I understand but it doesn't change how I feel about the justification.

Squiggit wrote:
There conspicuously isn't one. Which, again, suggests the damage is not part of the basic damage calculation and therefore isn't modifying the statistics of the attack directly (and is instead providing something 'additional').

But it's not mentioned anywhere in the damage section: you'd think an exception would be noted if nothing else. For instance, Persistent Damage is mentioned when it isn't added to the die at all. Add to that: "When you hit with an ability that grants you precision damage, you increase the attack’s listed damage, using the same damage type, rather than tracking a separate pool of damage." it's not a separate total but added together SO it's a positive modifier to a damage roll that's totally not a bonus... Sounds like the old 'it's not an attack action but an action you used to attack'...

Squiggit wrote:
I don't even think it's necessarily that strange either.

I wouldn't think it strange concept: My issue it it wasn't mentioned as an exception anyplace in the books. It goes to great pains to give you a formula on how to figure out damage including bleed damage, multiple weapon dice and all the various bonus types... It seems super strange tumbleweeds are there for 'additional damage' even though it seems like an important concept.

So, I'm not disagreeing what the answer is, but more complaining that it could have been done in a way easier and less convoluted way by just adding a sentence on 'additional damage' in the damage section vs wordplay over a bonus vs an addition, two synonymous words... I know I never would have split that hair without the post from Mark.


All good points. So far we are about 3:3 split on this issue for the people who have posted an opinion.

Is it a balance problem?

This situation applies:
a) for a druid multiclassing into a martial class where they could get a small 2 point rage or 1d6 sneak attack damage or similar increase. Honestly that is no bigger bonus than one martial class gets by multiclassing into a second martial class - it seems totally fair.

b) for a martial class mulitclassing into a wildshape druid. They are restricted from the better forms because of the half level for taking druid feats. But it is a significant bonus to those forms, full rage/sneak attack plus specialization. But it is at the expense of whatever extra runes they might have on their weapons. Is this really such a problem we have a fighter stacking a bit of extra damage onto an Ape or eventually Dinosaur form, but its not going onto a Dragon or Monstrosity? It doesn't seem much stronger that the case above. Maybe in places because the lower level form spells heighten reasonably, but not in a gross way.


I lean toward yes, Weapon Specialization would count for Battle Form attacks.

Additional Damage is not called out as a bonus in the book, and we have a direct quote from Mr. Seifter stating as much. Thus additional damage is not subject to the same rules and restrictions as a damage bonus.

I see additional damage from sources like sneak attack, Weapon specialization and various runes or other effects as being what they are advertised as being: Additional to the standard damage formula.

So a melee damage roll would be:

Melee damage roll = damage die of weapon or unarmed attack + Strength modifier + bonuses + penalties + additional damage

Since everything is additive, it wouldn't matter at what point you added the additional damage, just that you do so. So tack it on at the end.

@Gortle, I don't see this as a balance problem at all. In fact, it would be even weirder if for some reason you lost additional damage from a class feature because you are polymorphed. Assuming you meet the training or other requirements, I see no reason why you would ever not benefit from the feature, whether that is Sneak Attack or Weapon Specialization.


I would also lean towards adding Weapons Specialization damage to polymorph forms as "additional damage".
Because otherwise, if a martial class gets access to a polymorph spell they might lose their primary class feature. No sneak attack damage, no precision for ranger, no rage damage... it would be strange and make polymorph forms samey for all classes. Also no T-rexes with flaming rune maws.

The rules text is really vague there but I'm on team "Add that" for fun of play.


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beowulf99 wrote:

Thus additional damage is not subject to the same rules and restrictions as a damage bonus.

The restrictions aren't about bonuses though, they are about anything that modifies a statistic, and additional damage is clearly modifying the amount of damage you do (which clearly seems like a statistic).

And as for it being balanced, Wildshape stays close to a consistent proportion of fighter damage if you don't add weapon specialization or damage runes.


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citricking wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:

Thus additional damage is not subject to the same rules and restrictions as a damage bonus.

The restrictions aren't about bonuses though, they are about anything that modifies a statistic, and additional damage is clearly modifying the amount of damage you do (which clearly seems like a statistic).

And as for it being balanced, Wildshape stays close to a consistent proportion of fighter damage if you don't add weapon specialization or damage runes.

Incorrect. The only additive that is ever restricted by the core rules in the book is specifically bonuses and penalties of the same type. Any other restrictions must be called out in the ability or spell specifically.

For instance: When you are under the effects of a polymorph spell and take a battle form, you no longer gain the benefits of the runes on your weapons, so any bonuses or additional damage they would generate do not apply to your attacks.

It is important to note that you can have both a Bonus to Damage and instances of Additional Damage. Inspire Courage provides a Status Bonus to damage rolls. This is different than an effect granting an attack additional damage, like say a Flaming rune which states, "The weapon deals an additional 1d6 fire damage on a successful Strike..." or Weapon Specialization which states that, "You deal 2 additional damage with weapons and unarmed attacks in which you are an expert..."

These are not bonuses. There is no rule preventing these from being added to any effect or ability that they qualify for.

A flaming rune would not trigger on a non-strike attack for instance, since the rune itself stipulates the damage is done on a successful strike. Weapon Specialization states that you deal its additional damage on attacks that you are an expert in. So long as you are an expert in that weapon or unarmed attack, you deal that damage.

Quote me a rule that states that anything but same typed bonuses and penalties are excluded in the CRB. I would be interested to see these, since I can't find them.


I used to think all the additional damage didn't apply because of the bonuses to damage granted in each form is around the same as weapon specialization, but the more I think about it the less sense it makes. You wouldn't forget how to rage or how to sneak attack. Plus martials still have plenty of advantages over a form; tons of versatility in different weapons and weapon traits and runes, feats only allowable with weapons, can cast spells and access their bag and manipulate things, etc. And form spells are limited duration, cost actions to use at all, and need a bunch of feats. Not to mention they're situational with their sizes.

Silver Crusade

Gortle wrote:

All good points. So far we are about 3:3 split on this issue for the people who have posted an opinion.

Is it a balance problem?

In my opinion there is a thematic issue. I don't really want the barbarian/wild shaped druid to be better in animal form than the base barbarian.

Druid wild shape is very attractive for its non combat utility and for the extra options it gives in combat. I don't think it should also be the best damaging option as well, even if the extra damage isn't all that huge.

There is a second unresolved issue which also affects this. Does the bonus from handwraps apply to wild shape in the "if your hit bonus is better" clause? If it does, the advantage of wild shape grows


beowulf99 wrote:
citricking wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:

Thus additional damage is not subject to the same rules and restrictions as a damage bonus.

The restrictions aren't about bonuses though, they are about anything that modifies a statistic, and additional damage is clearly modifying the amount of damage you do (which clearly seems like a statistic).

And as for it being balanced, Wildshape stays close to a consistent proportion of fighter damage if you don't add weapon specialization or damage runes.

Incorrect. The only additive that is ever restricted by the core rules in the book is specifically bonuses and penalties of the same type. Any other restrictions must be called out in the ability or spell specifically.

It is called out in the spell: "If you take on a battle form with a polymorph spell, the special statistics can be adjusted only by circumstance bonuses, status bonuses, and penalties." Why else have that text their? To you really think that was only to exclude item bonuses? If it was just too exclude item bonuses why not say that like with animal companions.


citricking wrote:


It is called out in the spell: "If you take on a battle form with a polymorph spell, the special statistics can be adjusted only by circumstance bonuses, status bonuses, and penalties." Why else have that text their? To you really think that was only to exclude item bonuses? If it was just too exclude item bonuses why not say that like with animal companions.

Mage armor and barding: animal companions are build to be able to wear it while wildshape is balanced around not having it: adding 3 to armor is a big difference.

Silver Crusade

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I'm pretty sure that at this point it is clear

1) both sides have reasonable arguments
2) there is NOT consensus
3) expect table variation. Only your GM knows for sure
4) developer commentary would be welcome.

I think it's time to drop the subject and move on


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If really no additional damage is allowed with battle form, even feats like Power Attack or Furious Finish would not work while in battle form. Also Ki Strike, which is made for unarmed strikes, would not add its damage.


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graystone wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
citricking wrote:
because additional damage modifies a statistic

Does it?

I'm not sure anymore that it's entirely clear that it is. Per Mark's comments, it's not a bonus of any kind, which suggests that rather than modifying an existing statistic it's, well, additional.

That's some mighty microscopic hair-splitting there...

It really isn't though.

Polymorph clearly states only three things change the statistics:
- circumstance bonuses
- status bonuses
- penalties

Additional damage is not...
- a circumstance bonus
- a status bonus
- a penalty

...and so does not apply.

I'm not sure how that could be less hair-splitting. Whether it was the RAI or not, the RAW reads rather plainly in this instance.


Additional damage is added after the attack cause three listed are things that are affected durning a roll for damage, while additional damage doesn't change.


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Reziburno25 wrote:
Additional damage is added after the attack cause three listed are things that are affected durning a roll for damage, while additional damage doesn't change.

Polymorph doesn't even mention order of operations, so I'm not sure why this matters.


Ravingdork wrote:
It really isn't though.
The argument wasn't that it wasn't a 'circumstance bonuses, status bonuses or penalties' but that it wasn't a bonus at all...
Mark Seifter wrote:
It isn't a bonus, it's additional damage

Second:

"If you take on a battle form with a polymorph spell, the special statistics can be adjusted only by circumstance bonuses, status bonuses, and penalties" vs "Sometimes, especially in the case of weapons, you’ll apply modifiers, bonuses, and penalties to the damage."

So additional damage isn't a "modifiers, bonuses, and penalties" but somehow IS an 'adjustment' to a stat? Adjust vs modify vs adding IS "hair-splitting". Adding vs modifying/bonus IS "hair-splitting". You're taking synonymous words and giving them different meanings. I'm not sure how to look at it any other way.

Ravingdork wrote:
I'm not sure how that could be less hair-splitting.

Pretty easily actually: keyword Additional. So sneak attack does 'Additional 1d6 precision damage', rage says 'You deal 2 Additional damage', ect. Then list Additional in the sidebar in the damage section and the keywords. 'Additional: Additional trait modifies a stat without being a bonus.' Then change "adjusted" to "modify" is it's meant to add to battleforms.


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graystone wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
It really isn't though.
The argument wasn't that it wasn't a 'circumstance bonuses, status bonuses or penalties' but that it wasn't a bonus at all...
Mark Seifter wrote:
It isn't a bonus, it's additional damage

And I'm arguing that, whether or not t is a bonus or not, is inconsequential. It's not on the list of things that effects the statistics. Period.

It's like saying only John, Jack, and Jill were invited to enter the private home, and then claiming that Lesley should be allowed entrance because she's a veteran.

Lesley's status does not matter. Her name is not on the invite list. No entrance.

/analogy

I'm not saying that's the way it was intended (I am concerned about rage, sneak attack, et al), but that's certainly the way it reads.


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Ravingdork wrote:
but that's certainly the way it reads.

Would you argue that attacks made while polymorphed bypass resistances and don't benefit from weaknesses?


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Squiggit wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
but that's certainly the way it reads.
Would you argue that attacks made while polymorphed bypass resistances and don't benefit from weaknesses?

No. Why would I? (I'm sure you've got some clever response planned, and I for one am eager to read it.)


citricking wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:
citricking wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:

Thus additional damage is not subject to the same rules and restrictions as a damage bonus.

The restrictions aren't about bonuses though, they are about anything that modifies a statistic, and additional damage is clearly modifying the amount of damage you do (which clearly seems like a statistic).

And as for it being balanced, Wildshape stays close to a consistent proportion of fighter damage if you don't add weapon specialization or damage runes.

Incorrect. The only additive that is ever restricted by the core rules in the book is specifically bonuses and penalties of the same type. Any other restrictions must be called out in the ability or spell specifically.

It is called out in the spell: "If you take on a battle form with a polymorph spell, the special statistics can be adjusted only by circumstance bonuses, status bonuses, and penalties." Why else have that text their? To you really think that was only to exclude item bonuses? If it was just too exclude item bonuses why not say that like with animal companions.

I believe this is where the rub is. You are arguing that additional damage is added to a statistic. It is not. It is added to the result of a roll that uses those statistics.

It would be different if Weapon Specialization called out being added to your Strength modifier on a damage roll, or something similar. But that would make it a bonus rather than an additional source of damage.

Additional damage does not modify any of the special statistics of a battle form, so is not affected by that wording.


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beowulf99 wrote:

I believe this is where the rub is. You are arguing that additional damage is added to a statistic. It is not. It is added to the result of a roll that uses those statistics.

It would be different if Weapon Specialization called out being added to your Strength modifier on a damage roll, or something similar. But that would make it a bonus rather than an additional source of damage.

Additional damage does not modify any of the special statistics of a battle form, so is not affected by that wording.

Ah, now I see where you guys are coming from.

Not certain yet that I agree it's not part of the statistics, but at least I have a better idea of your meaning.


Ravingdork wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:

I believe this is where the rub is. You are arguing that additional damage is added to a statistic. It is not. It is added to the result of a roll that uses those statistics.

It would be different if Weapon Specialization called out being added to your Strength modifier on a damage roll, or something similar. But that would make it a bonus rather than an additional source of damage.

Additional damage does not modify any of the special statistics of a battle form, so is not affected by that wording.

Ah, now I see where you guys are coming from.

Not certain yet that I agree it's not part of the statistics, but at least I have a better idea of your meaning.

I think of sources of additional damage as being their own distinct "statistics" that are added to a roll.

The best example is additional die of damage. How could you add a die value to a statistic? The damage calculation never indicates that you do, otherwise it would be a slightly more complicated equation that included parenthesis for order of operations purposes.

It is much simpler to consider additional damage as their own distinct statistics put into the damage calculation in their own place.


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Ravingdork wrote:
graystone wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
It really isn't though.
The argument wasn't that it wasn't a 'circumstance bonuses, status bonuses or penalties' but that it wasn't a bonus at all...
Mark Seifter wrote:
It isn't a bonus, it's additional damage

And I'm arguing that, whether or not t is a bonus or not, is inconsequential. It's not on the list of things that effects the statistics.

There are two points of difficulty here.

Nowhere is it precisely defined what special statistics that can't be adjusted except by certain things. There is a broad list of stuff in the battle form spells [Animal Form, Elemental Form some of which is listed as statistics and abilities some of it as specific abilities. The boundaries of special statistics are totaly unclear.

However I do expect that the damage bonus and the damage dice are some of those special statistics. They can't be adjusted? Which means damage bonus can't be adjusted

It isn't a bonus, it's additional damage, sneak attack does additional damage too, or flaming rune with extra fire damage, etc. (I think he has made the comment elsewhere as well if someone can find it)

The damage roll is defined as.
Melee damage roll = damage die of weapon or unarmed attack + Strength modifier + bonuses + penalties

The standard reading of the polymorph rules is that this equation cannot be adjusted. I think we all agree here. We have implicitly accepted a wider scope for the word modify, meaning modifies the outcome, not modifes the individual special statistics. This is a point we could argue, but I'm not going to.

Then we have this odd ball of additional damage What is it? We don't have clear guidance that I can see.
is it part of the one damage bonus statistic ?
is it another bonus? The term used in the formula is plural so a second bonus is completely legitimate
As I read it Mark says no to both of these. It is clearly not a bonus
is it another term that gets added into the damage equation but still counts as modifiying the special statistics? Maybe
is it damage that is not part of the equation at all. But we still apply it anyway? I think Mark implies this
is it another damage source? Definitely hinted at as well.

Impossible to tell. They have been using plain English langauge not glossary defined terms. The language is just too loose. I await a clarification from Paizo telling me what I've missed, or how they expect it to be interpreted.


I think the worst part is how important this is to some builds. Expecting table variation on something that a character could spend multiple feats on, only to find it doesn't work at certain tables with their classes core mechanic, would be very upsetting.


Gortle wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
graystone wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
It really isn't though.
The argument wasn't that it wasn't a 'circumstance bonuses, status bonuses or penalties' but that it wasn't a bonus at all...
Mark Seifter wrote:
It isn't a bonus, it's additional damage

And I'm arguing that, whether or not t is a bonus or not, is inconsequential. It's not on the list of things that effects the statistics.

There are two points of difficulty here.

Nowhere is it precisely defined what special statistics that can't be adjusted except by certain things. There is a broad list of stuff in the battle form spells [Animal Form, Elemental Form some of which is listed as statistics and abilities some of it as specific abilities. The boundaries of special statistics are totaly unclear.

However I do expect that the damage bonus and the damage dice are some of those special statistics. They can't be adjusted? Which means damage bonus can't be adjusted

It isn't a bonus, it's additional damage, sneak attack does additional damage too, or flaming rune with extra fire damage, etc. (I think he has made the comment elsewhere as well if someone can find it)

The damage roll is defined as.
Melee damage roll = damage die of weapon or unarmed attack + Strength modifier + bonuses + penalties

The standard reading of the polymorph rules is that this equation cannot be adjusted. I think we all agree here. We have implicitly accepted a wider scope for the word modify, meaning modifies the outcome, not modifes the individual special statistics. This is a point we could argue, but I'm not going to.

Then we have this odd ball of additional damage What is it? We don't have clear guidance that I can see.
is it part of the one damage bonus statistic ?
is it another bonus? The term used in the formula is plural so a second bonus is completely...

Good job! That explained the point a lot better. Now I see what you mean.


pauljathome wrote:
Gortle wrote:


Is it a balance problem?

In my opinion there is a thematic issue. I don't really want the barbarian/wild shaped druid to be better in animal form than the base barbarian.

Druid wild shape is very attractive for its non combat utility and for the extra options it gives in combat. I don't think it should also be the best damaging option as well, even if the extra damage isn't all that huge.

There is a second unresolved issue which also affects this. Does the bonus from handwraps apply to wild shape in the "if your hit bonus is better" clause? If it does, the advantage of wild shape grows

I'm not sure it is better, the barbarian has a lot of good feats. Even a single classs barbarian is going to have to make some difficult choices. You also have to consider the two actions it costs to get into wildshape form. That is a major cost. Most combats are not very long.

Aside from which Rage and a Battle Form, clash on temporary hitpoints, and take 3 actions to fully power up. Its actually not a great combo.

Personally I'd go Fighter Druid. Fighters have less feat competition.

Yeah I was keeping quiet about handwraps. One issue at a time.


Gortle wrote:

The damage roll is defined as.

Melee damage roll = damage die of weapon or unarmed attack + Strength modifier + bonuses + penalties

The standard reading of the polymorph rules is that this equation cannot be adjusted. I think we all agree here. We have implicitly accepted a wider scope for the word modify, meaning modifies the outcome, not modifes the individual special statistics. This is a point we could argue, but I'm not going to.

I believe we definitely can argue this. I don't see anything in the Polymorph trait that states that the damage equation cannot be adjusted. I don't think you got your point across here, as it sounds to me as though you are arguing that you cannot ever add a new statistic to an existing damage roll.

But that is the only way you could ever resolve Sneak Attack, right? You don't add sneak attack to your ability score or the weapon's damage right? They aren't weapon damage die, they aren't a bonus and they certainly aren't a penalty. So the only way to resolve additional damage is to add it as it's own statistic to that formula.

Gortle wrote:

Then we have this odd ball of additional damage What is it? We don't have clear guidance that I can see.

is it part of the one damage bonus statistic ?
is it another bonus? The term used in the formula is plural so a second bonus is completely legitimate
As I read it Mark says no to both of these. It is clearly not a bonus
is it another term that gets added into the damage equation but still counts as modifiying the special statistics? Maybe
is it damage that is not part of the equation at all. But we still apply it anyway? I think Mark implies this
is it another damage source? Definitely hinted at as well.

Impossible to tell. They have been using plain English langauge not glossary defined terms. The language is just too loose. I await a clarification from Paizo telling me what I've missed, or how they expect it to be interpreted.

Definitely not impossible to tell. I think you are overthinking this bit. By saying that Sneak Attack or Weapon Specialization et al are "additional damage", it is pretty clear that they are added to the result of your damage roll, which logically means that they are added to the damage roll formula.

Could Paizo have dedicated a blurb to tell you exactly how to include these sources of damage in the equation? Sure they could have. But I don't think they need to at all. Do what you do naturally at the table. If an ability tells you to do an additional 1d6 fire damage, you roll another d6 and add it to the total right? Well, where in the Damage equation would that fit?

It's not a weapon damage die, as it doesn't follow the "standard" die size of your weapon. It isn't part of you Strength bonus. It isn't called out as a Bonus or Penalty. So you would naturally have to tack it on somewhere in there in it's own statistic.

Hence why I argue that a Battle Form would naturally benefit from Additional Damage: It doesn't modify any of the "special statistics" of the battle form.

That is actually another point of contention for me: It is obvious on a cursory reading what "special statistics" Polymorph is speaking about: The statistics granted by the Polymorph effect. But that is beside the point.


pauljathome wrote:
Gortle wrote:

All good points. So far we are about 3:3 split on this issue for the people who have posted an opinion.

Is it a balance problem?

In my opinion there is a thematic issue. I don't really want the barbarian/wild shaped druid to be better in animal form than the base barbarian.

Druid wild shape is very attractive for its non combat utility and for the extra options it gives in combat. I don't think it should also be the best damaging option as well, even if the extra damage isn't all that huge.

There is a second unresolved issue which also affects this. Does the bonus from handwraps apply to wild shape in the "if your hit bonus is better" clause? If it does, the advantage of wild shape grows

Wild Shape is essentially only a combat buff now. The utility is severely curtailed given how limited you are now in usage, limited duration, and special abilities.

After all, if the wild shaped barb/druid does slightly more damage after spending a round changing for ten rounds, I find that acceptable. The base barb will still be better for most encounters.

Silver Crusade

Toxie2725 wrote:


Wild Shape is essentially only a combat buff now.

I totally, utterly and completely disagree with this.

Its an insanely useful non combat buff, especially for characters that have dumped their physical stats.

In PFS play, since my cleric/MC druid got wildshape he has used it at least once every single session (7 due to quests). Getting a climb speed or a swim speed or a decent athletics score can be a really, really good thing.

For that character it is pretty much ONLY a non combat buff. I think he's used it in combat once where mobility was really important and it was worth the 3 actions (shift, shift back). I don't think he's actually attacked anyone yet with it

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