re: Debates on if Trip / Shove / etc. Traits plus Finesse trait allow Dex for maneuvers.


Rules Discussion


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So, I've seen this debated in several places and don't think I could successfully hunt them all down, so I'm making this singular post. (Note, the phrasing might seem just slightly awkward as I've largely copied it from a post I made in another thread that prompted me to make this, I'm being slightly lazy there but also wanted to make sure I didn't mix anything up)

There's been a lot of debate on if that's true because people say Athletics checks for maneuvers aren't technically attack rolls, and Finesse calls out attack rolls, but I finally found and corralled together the relevant bits of text that indicate it is supposed to work that way (aside from, you know, devs saying it does).

CRB P446, under "Attack Rolls", "When you use a Strike action or any other attack action, you attempt a check called an attack roll."

P446, under "Multiple Attack Penalty", "The second time you use an attack action during your turn, you take...Every check that has the attack trait counts toward your multiple attack penalty, including Strikes, spell attack rolls, certain skill actions like Shove, and many others."

P629, Glossary, attack trait, "an ability with this trait involves an attack..."

P282, under Finesse trait, "You can use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier on attack rolls using this melee weapon..."

P283, under Trip trait, "You can use this weapon to Trip with the Athletics skill..."

Taken all together it's actually pretty clear that action with attack trait = attack and attack = attack roll so action with attack trait = attack roll, and Finesse lets you replace Str with Dex on attack rolls using the weapon "and Trip let's you use the weapon to Trip", so a Finesse weapon with Trip or another maneuver trait allows Dex in place of Str with that maneuver.

Deep breath hopefully that'll put an end to the debate on Finesse trait maneuvers finally.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment: Suppose we get a class that is a Strength-based caster (let's say Magus) and has a Focus spell that is cast through their weapon but is explicitly a spell attack roll (a likely situation, in the case of Magus).

Would they be able to use Dex for their spell attack roll if they used a finesse weapon?


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

That would depend on the specific wording of the Magus ability.


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MaxAstro wrote:

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment: Suppose we get a class that is a Strength-based caster (let's say Magus) and has a Focus spell that is cast through their weapon but is explicitly a spell attack roll (a likely situation, in the case of Magus).

Would they be able to use Dex for their spell attack roll if they used a finesse weapon?

Given the Finesse trait specifies using Dex in place of Str, rather than just saying ise Dex, I don't think it would.


MaxAstro wrote:

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment: Suppose we get a class that is a Strength-based caster (let's say Magus) and has a Focus spell that is cast through their weapon but is explicitly a spell attack roll (a likely situation, in the case of Magus).

Would they be able to use Dex for their spell attack roll if they used a finesse weapon?

Not only would you use Dex, you’d also likely use your weapon proficiency rather than spell casting. That’s how Spellstrike Ammunition works.

Edit: As Edge93 noted, using Dex would be predicated on replacing the spell casting check with a weapon attack check.

Edit2: Just realized you said that the check was specifically a spell casting check. Poor reading comprehension on my part. That’s a “no”, then.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Edge93 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment: Suppose we get a class that is a Strength-based caster (let's say Magus) and has a Focus spell that is cast through their weapon but is explicitly a spell attack roll (a likely situation, in the case of Magus).

Would they be able to use Dex for their spell attack roll if they used a finesse weapon?

Given the Finesse trait specifies using Dex in place of Str, rather than just saying ise Dex, I don't think it would.

I addressed that; see the bolded part of my post.

Here's my point of contention:

Just like combat maneuvers, spell attack rolls have the attack trait. If combat maneuvers are attack rolls for the purposes of finesse, then any spell attack roll that involves a finesse weapon and would normally be Strength-based should be able to be Dex-based instead.

However, that interpretation seems weird. Why does picking up a different weapon change what attribute your magic is based on?

In the same way, the interpretation that a skill suddenly becomes a Dex-based skill based on the weapon you pick up seems weird.

I actually kinda like it, honestly, but I question whether it is intended.


MaxAstro wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment: Suppose we get a class that is a Strength-based caster (let's say Magus) and has a Focus spell that is cast through their weapon but is explicitly a spell attack roll (a likely situation, in the case of Magus).

Would they be able to use Dex for their spell attack roll if they used a finesse weapon?

Given the Finesse trait specifies using Dex in place of Str, rather than just saying ise Dex, I don't think it would.

I addressed that; see the bolded part of my post.

Here's my point of contention:

Just like combat maneuvers, spell attack rolls have the attack trait. If combat maneuvers are attack rolls for the purposes of finesse, then any spell attack roll that involves a finesse weapon and would normally be Strength-based should be able to be Dex-based instead.

However, that interpretation seems weird. Why does picking up a different weapon change what attribute your magic is based on?

In the same way, the interpretation that a skill suddenly becomes a Dex-based skill based on the weapon you pick up seems weird.

I actually kinda like it, honestly, but I question whether it is intended.

well, for starters there aren't any Str-based spell attacks.

So all this is theoretical in case they ever introduce a Str based spellcaster (which is kinda sketchy given that i can't recall any "official" Str based caster, ever.)

Secondly, Spell attacks, in their very description have this to say for them:

"Attack rolls take
a variety of forms and are often highly variable based on
the weapon you are using for the attack, but there are three
main types: melee attack rolls, ranged attack rolls, and spell
attack rolls. Spell attack rolls work a little bit differently, so
they are explained separately on the next page."

So... we KNOW, by RAW, that spell attacks are "weird".

So, let's worry for that at least after we actually get a Str Caster which is what the whole premise is built upon.

As for a skill changing Stat, that is actually doable even without a Finesse equipment.

I even think it's called out in the book somewhere that it can happen if another stat is more relevant.

here:

"As the actions of a skill aren’t comprehensive,
there may be times when the GM asks you to attempt
a skill check without using any of the listed actions, or
times when the GM asks you to roll using a different key
ability modifier.
"

Imo, dnd 5e did the BEST description of the proficiency/ability split.

You have skill, proficiency shows how competent you are. You have the ability score, which is "usually" but not always, how you apply said proficiency.

So, thievery is Dex, because it usually involves Dex things. Giving a lecture on Thievery would be based on a thievery+Int/Cha though, not Dex.


I could have sworn in one of the threads where this was discussed one of the devs chimed in and said yes.

But I can't recall which thread. I also don't have the best memory and could have imagined it.

But if someone were inclined they could go hunting.


MaxAstro wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment: Suppose we get a class that is a Strength-based caster (let's say Magus) and has a Focus spell that is cast through their weapon but is explicitly a spell attack roll (a likely situation, in the case of Magus).

Would they be able to use Dex for their spell attack roll if they used a finesse weapon?

Given the Finesse trait specifies using Dex in place of Str, rather than just saying ise Dex, I don't think it would.

I addressed that; see the bolded part of my post.

Here's my point of contention:

Just like combat maneuvers, spell attack rolls have the attack trait. If combat maneuvers are attack rolls for the purposes of finesse, then any spell attack roll that involves a finesse weapon and would normally be Strength-based should be able to be Dex-based instead.

However, that interpretation seems weird. Why does picking up a different weapon change what attribute your magic is based on?

In the same way, the interpretation that a skill suddenly becomes a Dex-based skill based on the weapon you pick up seems weird.

I actually kinda like it, honestly, but I question whether it is intended.

Whoops, I derped and missed that, sorry. XD


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My issue was never about the key attribute. The Weapon Traits section begins: “Weapon(s) and Unarmed attacks with the weapon trait can have the following traits:”

You’re using the weapon as a spell focus not a melee weapon nor are you using a weapon attack or an unarmed attack.

Shadow Lodge

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Stephen Radney-Macfarland Comment in 2nd Ed Pathfinder Playtest Facebook Group


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I think what pushes me towards the OP's interpretation in the end is that if that isn't how it works then any weapon with both finesse and a maneuver trait inherently sucks.

Weapons have their damage dice balanced around the number and impact of the traits they have - the whip, for example, has a very small damage dice as a martial weapon because of a ludicrous number of traits. However, if you can't use finesse and trip on the same character then a weapon with both necessarily "wastes" one of those traits - if your strength is higher than dexterity you can use the trip property but not the finesse property, if it's the other way around you use finesse but trip is wasted.

I think Edge covers the RAW pretty well, and this logic argues for the RAI. If you can't trip with dexterity then the whip is absolutely terrible and doesn't even qualify as a martial weapon.

Exo-Guardians

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OP is obviously correct. The only reason this is even a debate is because some people are still stuck in the mindset of of PF1, where "attacks" and "combat maneuvers" were totally separate categories.

In PF2, anything with the Attack tag is an attack, and any rule or ability relating to "attacks" applies to everything with that tag. It's very clear and staightforward, thanks to the tag system.

If people would take the PF2 RAW at face value instead of trying to interpret everything through the lens of PF1, there'd be a lot less confusion.


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Just to copy-paste (developer) Stephen Radney-MacFarlane's comment from Facebook:

Stephen Radney-MacFarlane 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.

So that's clear.

I'm not quite clear on his follow up:

Quote:

Sammy Tamimi: 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?

SRMF: 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.

When Athletics:Trip (and Disarm, Shove, Grapple) says "Requirements You have at least one hand free" that is just pre-req, it doesn't indicate it "uses" unarmed attacks. If the intent was for all skill "maneuvers" to use unarmed strike by default, it should just say "wielding unarmed attack" which inherently conflicts with holding 2 items for most people (of course, monks can kick while holding 2 items). Or perhaps just say "wielding unarmed attack or other Trip weapon" and actually add Trip, Shove, Disarm, Grapple traits to Fist and all unarmed strikes as a group, which transparently exposes the critical mechanics. It would also makes sense for meat of ability to directly state "you make attack with unarmed attack or other Trip weapon you are wielding, using your Athletics proficiency in place of weapon proficiency". Since Finesse is already tied to default and universal unarmed attack, it also seems reasonable to remind that DEX may be swapped for usual STR part of Athletics check.

But other rules seem to directly contradict that intent. If unarmed attacks all benefit from Trip trait without having it, why does Feats like Wolf Stance grant Trip trait to unarmed attack? And Flurry of Maneuvers allows skill "maneuvers" replacing Flurry of Blows attacks (although that not only works with UAS but Monastic Weapons).

I think the wording would need updating if intent is to allow Wrap item bonus to generic Trip/Shove/Grapple without weapon that has specific Trait. And if that is the case, at least Wolf Stance and Flurry of Blows seem like they need major update since they would not actually be doing as much as they suggest. Not sure if this was a case where editing process left two different rules paradigms expressed inconsistently in different mechanics...?


As an aside, by extension to these rules things like Bless that provide a bonus to attack rolls in general would also bolster maneuvers, which is nice.


Quandary wrote:
If unarmed attacks all benefit from Trip trait without having it, why does Feats like Wolf Stance grant Trip trait to unarmed attack?

The trip trait lets you add the weapon's item bonus, which gives Wolf Stance an edge on tripping that other stances won't have. I'm not really seeing a problem.

Quote:
And Flurry of Maneuvers allows skill "maneuvers" replacing Flurry of Blows attacks

This doesn't seem like a problem either. Flurry is two attacks for one action, Flurry of Maneuvers lets you insert trips or grapples into that attack routine. So without FoM you could Flurry for make two strikes or spend one action on a trip attack. With FoM you could trip>strike or strike>trip as part of the single flurry.

Both of these seem fine as written.


Great work Edge, interesting so if I'm aiding with my Whip and using Athletics it would be Dex also correct?


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Atalius wrote:
Great work Edge, interesting so if I'm aiding with my Whip and using Athletics it would be Dex also correct?

Slight GM discretion there, but assuming you're Aiding a Trip attempt, presumably (Since otherwise you couldn't use your Whip for Athletics barring GM fiat).

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

This generally all makes sense to me, but I'd be hesitant to base a Society character on any of it until an official non-playtest FAQ or errata is available. Might make a strength-based maneuver user in the meantime!

Exo-Guardians

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Note that Aid actions don't have the be the same kind of check as the one you're trying to aid. The text for the Aid action says

CRB pg 470 wrote:


You try to help your ally with a task. To use this reaction, you
must first prepare to help, usually by using an action during
your turn. You must explain to the GM exactly how you’re trying
to help, and they determine whether you can Aid your ally.
When you use your Aid reaction, attempt a skill check or
attack roll of a type decided by the GM. The typical DC is 20, but
the GM might adjust this DC for particularly hard or easy tasks.
The GM can add any relevant traits to your preparatory action
or to your Aid reaction depending on the situation, or even allow
you to Aid checks other than skill checks and attack rolls.

So it seems you could theoretically Aid your ally's Trip attack with a Deception skill check to create a diversion, or Aid their Intimidate skill check with a Shove attack, or even just speak or do something specific that's not defined in the book, as long as you spend an Action and a Reaction to do it and your GM agrees that it makes sense and could be helpful to the task you're trying to Aid. I think I like it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So as a follow up, does a Monk with Wolf Stance get the benefit of the "if you crit fail you can drop the weapon instead" part of the Trip weapon trait?

Since you can't drop your hands I figured you could instead drop out of the stance? As resuming a stance is the same action cost as picking up a weapon?


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

That seems like it could be a reasonable way of running things, but I definitely can't say that it's part of the published rules, instead of an improvisation based on the rules.


Yeah, to be clear of the ones I mentioned, only Wolf Stance seems fundamentally in conflict with SRMF's opinion of Trip/UAS functionality... There may be other conflicts elsewhere in book, but I just glanced at Monk quickly, and overlooked specificity of (base) Flurry's "Strike" which is 'normal damage attack' specific and precludes "maneuvers" even if weapon has trait (as Squiggit clarified).

I don't really oppose the end result of all maneuvers using UAS by default (since that is simplest, fairest way to allow item bonuses), but the approach taken to wording seems rather dubious, and at least Wolf Stance seems like it really needs Errata considering any UAS benefits from item bonuses anyways (according to SRMF).

Actually, if anybody else notices other Feats/etc involving UAS and "maneuver" that would be superfluous if all UAS can "deliver" "maneuvers" by default, please post them that should help Errata.

One thing I almost forgot, most of the "maneuvers" plausibly don't actually need to assert "free-hand", if UAS is just clearly asserted with "maneuver" traits etc. But Grapple is one that might need such specifity, at least humanoids needing hand (or Fist) free/wielded (or other specific Grapple weapon), if "kicks" are desired to not be sufficient for Grapple. (not entirely far-out, but maybe that would be specifically enabled by Flurry of Maneuvers?) Possibly just specifying Fist as uniquely having Grapple trait, but other UAS don't have that by default could be simplest approach? I don't know, maybe Paizo doesn't care so much and allowing Grappling with all parts of body is fine considering humanoids generally need special option (Flurry, Bite etc) to have non-Fist UAS in first place. ...Just seemed like worth noting amidst all this.


On Wolf Stance, I realized an interpretation by which it doesn't need to be fixed to account for SRMF's stated functionality:
SRMF's statement de facto granting Trip, Disarm, Shove, Grapple to UAS-as-free-hand only applies to "Fist", not other weapons (althoug he didn't specify this in short comment, and other UAS may equally utilize "free hand"). So for example, all Barbarian Instict attacks would not get them (note, several include specific single "maneuver" traits), and I guess Monk Stance attacks also wouldn't (thus giving Wolf Stance a real benefit). This reinforces my belief that said functionality should be conveyed by Errata giving UAS:Fist those specific maneuver traits (trip, disarm, shove, grapple).

Or at least that feels closest along adequate solution, there is still open questions, like would Ape fist not have other traits? (it also lacks Agile and Finesse, and perhaps there is open question whether Ape Instinct Barbarian could make Ape Fist attack and then "normal" fist attack with agile?) Some Monk stances are exclusive in dictating what weapons you can attack with, but I believe that only applies to "Strikes" thus allow normal UAS (or indeed manufactured weapons) to make Athletics-maneuvers since those are not "Strikes". (???)

Anyhow, clearly a nuanced topic that deserves FAQ & Errata, possibly reaching into different adjacent abilities etc.


Saros Palanthios wrote:

Note that Aid actions don't have the be the same kind of check as the one you're trying to aid. The text for the Aid action says

CRB pg 470 wrote:


You try to help your ally with a task. To use this reaction, you
must first prepare to help, usually by using an action during
your turn. You must explain to the GM exactly how you’re trying
to help, and they determine whether you can Aid your ally.
When you use your Aid reaction, attempt a skill check or
attack roll of a type decided by the GM. The typical DC is 20, but
the GM might adjust this DC for particularly hard or easy tasks.
The GM can add any relevant traits to your preparatory action
or to your Aid reaction depending on the situation, or even allow
you to Aid checks other than skill checks and attack rolls.
So it seems you could theoretically Aid your ally's Trip attack with a Deception skill check to create a diversion, or Aid their Intimidate skill check with a Shove attack, or even just speak or do something specific that's not defined in the book, as long as you spend an Action and a Reaction to do it and your GM agrees that it makes sense and could be helpful to the task you're trying to Aid. I think I like it.

Keep in mind that as long as "Assisting Shot" is a Feat, it heavily implies that assisting an "attack" is done at melee range with an attack.

Since, if it was "i can assist with anything from anywhere" the feat wouldn't have a reason of existence.

So, it's either the Feat that's wrong, or the Aid action was heavily squeezed for word count and it lost a lot of it's stuff.

ofc it all comes down to GM fiat what is and what isn't allowed as an "Aid in an attack" but the feats existence is really, really troublesome.


That reminds me of something I earlier wrote, on the value of Errata which reduces word count, which is actually fairly commonly the case. But besides the benefit of more correct function in original rule, there is side benefit to issuing such Errata, in that it tends to open "free space" which is then available for other potential Errata which might need MORE space. So even when a shorter Errata might not be strictly necessary, even shorter Errate for purposes of clarity can be beneficial editorial strategy by enabling other (longer than original) Errata to be possible without disturbing page # references etc.


Adding onto discussion of "maneuvers" using UAS as intended function of "free hand" requirement (from SRMF comment),

I was curious what consensus on how "free hand"-required "maneuvers" interact with Monk ability to make UAS with any body part...
From what I can tell, nothing in RAW actually says anything to negate "free hand" requirement of "maneuvers",
although if INTENTION of "free hand" requirment is implying UAS "delivers" "maneuver" (thus real requirement is "free UAS"),
then Monks who can use all parts of body for UAS plausibly could have both hands occupied yet still do "maneuver".

I don't think there is any RAW spelling that out though, so this issue seems worthy to consider in Errata around this.
Of course, free hand requirement could just be removed completely and "maneuvers" just specified as attack using weapon with appropriate trait,
which in case of Monk with 2H Bo Staff and Monk kicks etc, they obviously have active wielded weapons (UAS) with all "maneuver" traits,
just as somebody with Bite with Grapple trait should be able to make Grapple checks even when holding other 2H weapon/object.


Quandary wrote:

Adding onto discussion of "maneuvers" using UAS as intended function of "free hand" requirement (from SRMF comment),

I was curious what consensus on how "free hand"-required "maneuvers" interact with Monk ability to make UAS with any body part...
From what I can tell, nothing in RAW actually says anything to negate "free hand" requirement of "maneuvers",
although if INTENTION of "free hand" requirment is implying UAS "delivers" "maneuver" (thus real requirement is "free UAS"),
then Monks who can use all parts of body for UAS plausibly could have both hands occupied yet still do "maneuver".

I don't think there is any RAW spelling that out though, so this issue seems worthy to consider in Errata around this.
Of course, free hand requirement could just be removed completely and "maneuvers" just specified as attack using weapon with appropriate trait,
which in case of Monk with 2H Bo Staff and Monk kicks etc, they obviously have active wielded weapons (UAS) with all "maneuver" traits,
just as somebody with Bite with Grapple trait should be able to make Grapple checks even when holding other 2H weapon/object.

i'm persoanlly still not convinced from said comment, even if it's from a developer till i see it in "official" errata since it invalidates all sorts of unarmed attacks with actual Maneuver traits.

That said, a "free hand" requirement means a free hand, not a free "body part". I wouldn't let a monk grapple and trip opponents with head butts personally.

Using other parts of your body to Strike doesn't means you somehow treat them as "free hands" similary to how you can't draw a potion from your belt with your foot imo.


Well, as I wrote earlier, it doesn't have to invalidate other UAS with Maneuver traits, if only Fist would gain those maneuver traits, a Bite/Claw/etc with maneuver trait would still be valid and relevant (if less flexible than Fist).

Kick Trip seems pretty legit to me, I could see case for Monk Grapple not working without real free hand (although it's also plausible a Monk could use legs AND elbows/arms to Grapple even while holding something in both hands), but that could be worded specifically... Maybe with Monk UAS either indepently specifying it's Traits OR specifying it works like Fist "minus" Grapple Trait.

The whole situation clearly is Errata material, but it's a question of what Errata and how that interacts with all these details. Keeping "Req: Free hand" wording AND expressing all the UAS/item bonus stuff ends up being alot more wordy and awkward, so I don't assume they will even keep "Free hand" Requirement if essence is UAS:Fist has desired maneuver Traits and maneuvers just specify attack with relevant trait. And Monk UAS can likewise diverge from Fist if e.g. non-free-hand Grapple isn't desired. No rules explanation or special requirements needed, just traits where they need to be to function as you'd expect.


Quandary wrote:

Well, as I wrote earlier, it doesn't have to invalidate other UAS with Maneuver traits, if only Fist would gain those maneuver traits, a Bite/Claw/etc with maneuver trait would still be valid and relevant (if less flexible than Fist).

Kick Trip seems pretty legit to me, I could see case for Monk Grapple not working without real free hand (although it's also plausible a Monk could use legs AND elbows/arms to Grapple even while holding something in both hands), but that could be worded specifically... Maybe with Monk UAS either indepently specifying it's Traits OR specifying it works like Fist "minus" Grapple Trait.

The whole situation clearly is Errata material, but it's a question of what Errata and how that interacts with all these details. Keeping "Req: Free hand" wording AND expressing all the UAS/item bonus stuff ends up being alot more wordy and awkward, so I don't assume they will even keep "Free hand" Requirement if essence is UAS which Fist can specify desired maneuver Traits. And Monk UAS can likewise diverge if e.g. non-free-hand Grapple isn't desired. No narrative explanation needed, just traits where you'd expect them.

the issue, is that as he worded his answer, he seems to imply that it's the "free hand" with the traits, not "fist" specifically.

hence why i said that we'll have to wait for something more official, since a facebook answer is probably given with less thought and/or addressed to a more general population that what you'd expect from a strict rule perspective.

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