The effects of losing Dex due to Wild Shape


Advice


So my back up character that I am working on is an Adaptive Shifter that focuses on grappling. It is currently level 9. So, unsurprisingly, the general plan is to wild shape into the biggest thing I can with grab. Right now, that is the Allosaurus. To add onto this, I have a lot of the grappling feats, Like improved grapple, greater grapple, throat slicer and whatnot. I have a base Dex of 14. Here is my question:
If I wild shape into a huge animal, and my Dex goes down below 13 as a result, can I still use my grapple feats?
I've tried to find the answer in the rules, and have even seen a post or two that says I wouldn't lose my feats, but they didn't say where they found the rule. I just want to know whether or not I would lose access to the feats while wild shaped, and where I could find this in the rules to show to my GM.


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Short answer: you're fine, grapple away!

Reasoning: attribute penalties do not actually lower the attribute, they apply a penalty to certain rolls and stastics that are based on that stat. In your case: you have a 14 dex, but also have a -1 applied to AC, ranged attack rolls, ref saves, initiative and dex based skills.


Thanks for the quick and concise answer.


Quite welcome, this is based on the definition of Ability damage, drain and penalty in the CRB glossary, if you need the reference.


"For every 2 points of damage you take to a single ability, apply a –1 penalty to skills and statistics listed with the relevant ability. (...) [Ability] penalties function just like ability damage, but they cannot cause you to fall unconscious or die." CRB pg. 555

Sovereign Court

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I would say you do lose access to those feats. Temporary changes to your ability scores (such as the changes from polymorphs) can change your scores for access to feats. You just lose access to using those feats when you no longer have the requisite score. These changes are not damage, so that section doesn’t really apply.


Ellias Aubec wrote:
These changes are not damage, so that section doesn’t really apply.

I quoted the part that says that ability penalties function just like ability damage in the post right above yours. Full section of the rules, emphasis mine:

"Ability Score Damage, Penalty, and Drain
Diseases, poisons, spells, and other abilities can all deal damage directly to your ability scores. This damage does not actually reduce an ability, but it does apply a penalty to the skills and statistics that are based on that ability.
For every 2 points of damage you take to a single ability, apply a –1 penalty to skills and statistics listed with the relevant ability. If the amount of ability damage you have taken equals or exceeds your ability score, you immediately fall unconscious until the damage is less than your ability score. The only exception to this is your Constitution score. If the damage to your Constitution is equal to or greater than your Constitution score, you die. Unless otherwise noted, damage to your ability scores is healed at the rate of 1 per day to each ability score that has been damaged. Ability damage can be healed through the use of spells, such as lesser restoration.
Some spells and abilities cause you to take an ability penalty for a limited amount of time. While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage, but they cannot cause you to fall unconscious or die. In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1." CRB pg. 555

Sovereign Court

So, to extend that reasoning, you wouldn't lose out on any Attacks of Opportunity with Combat Reflexes then?
Taking ability damage to your spellcasting stat doesn't reduce your DC or spells you can cast?


Re the effects of ability penalties, it's not that simple. See this FAQ on temporary ability bonuses. Which I think should inform the reading of that section on penalties as well.


As written, that FAQ only applies to bonuses. Applying it to penalties/damage as well results in some rather weird things, including losing spells per day (do you get to pick? do you need to re-prepare tham afterwards?), and losing skill ranks if you level up under those effects, which you don't ever regain RAW.

Firebug wrote:

So, to extend that reasoning, you wouldn't lose out on any Attacks of Opportunity with Combat Reflexes then?

Taking ability damage to your spellcasting stat doesn't reduce your DC or spells you can cast?

Spell DCs are listed, the rest isn't. Stuff that also doesn't get lowered are non-spell DCs, limited use abilities like an Alchemist's Bombs, and anything that keys off a unusual ability score, including Weapon Finesse.

Yes, it's a mess. I don't think anyone actually fully uses that FAQ, because it's ridiculous and about as ill thought off as it gets. There really should be somne middle ground, where most things are adjusted, but not all of them.


I think it might end up coming down to "Ask your GM." To be safe, I suggest getting the Deep Red Ioun Stone for a +2 to your Dex.

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