Disarm intentionally made inefficient? (cont'd)


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james014Aura wrote:


If a 10 is just barely enough, then Warrior needs a nat 20 base to do it. But, Warrior has +4 str as opposed to the flat 10 the skill used from assurance and gets +2 effective from Skills doing a disarm. Also +1 Heroism. Instead of nat 20, they need only a 13 to do it. 40% to end the enemy's ability to fight, for 5 actions (disarm 1, heroism was 2, and warrior's disarm was another, then one more action to pick up their weapon so they can't use it). Trip could be a 6th, but that's just a diagnostic to check their defenses (and give them a different debuff).

...

Again, that's a battle-ender. It's an I-win button. Yes, it takes two people to do it well, but you CAN do it, and it's something you can build to spam, unlike Baleful Polymorph or Phantasmal Killer.

I request you add three items to your analysis, before concluding it's the best thing since sliced bread:

1) opportunity cost - if the team didn't do disarm, what would they have accomplished instead?
2) contingency - if you have worse luck than expected, how do you save the encounter? I mean, if you keep trying until you succeed, chances are you die instead. Why? Because every attempt that isn't a critical does absolutely nothing long-term.
3) evaluation - what kind of enemy do you get a 40% chance for? I mean, is this enemy significant enough to really deserve the epithet "a battle-ender."

"It's an I-win button" only if the enemy is powerful enough.


Martialmasters wrote:
Disarm should normally only be allowed within a reaction or readied action is the issue. Or somewhere explained that's how you get value from it.

This is a very smart observation! Thanks!


Where did the post go? Ah there it is :)


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WatersLethe wrote:

In media, when one swordfighter makes another drop their weapon it's almost always a sign that the disarmed combatant is significantly less skilled than the other, or that the fight is nearly over.

Attempting a Disarm in real life is risky and unlikely to succeed. In combat, you're much better off trying to cut off the opponents hand than to try to pry their weapon from their grip while they're trying to kill you.

If you want a reliable way to consistently remove a weapon from an equal level foe, you're asking to be overpowered, to the detriment of the gameplay and storytelling and realism.

As it is, Disarm is great for:
* A gamble at possibly ending a fight with an equal level opponent
* A way to disable and humiliate low level opponents

Even without a better Success condition, it's a welcome addition to a toolkit.

However, I do agree that a slightly better Success condition would be welcome. An action to regrip to remove the penalty, or extending the penalty to the end of their turn are both options for this.

That being said, what's with this uncouth second thread to try to get back control over the discussion? Please don't make a habit of this.

Well, a rpg is a game, not a narrative. And as you know, dice have no memory.

That is, in order for disarm to pay off, you will want to do it as soon as possible.

A first round disarm = monster without weapon for four rounds perhaps = good value.

A fourth round disarm = why not just kill it already

So you see, media portrayals and real life have absolutely nothing to do with weighing in-game action options. Conversely, an action's design and probabilities determine its worth.

Contrast with a meta point (or magic item, say) that let you automatically disarm once a day. This puts narrative power into the hands of the player in just the way you're discussing; you can make sure disarm happens precisely when it makes sense, and for dramatic/role-play purposes.

This has very little to do with gameplay probabilities, the thing that decides the actions of rational players, I'm afraid.

Regards


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Zapp wrote:
Well, a rpg is a game, not a narrative.

That's gonna be a hard disagree from me. TTRPGs are such a narratively focused game. They use the rules and the game to structure and tell a story.


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Zapp wrote:
Well, a rpg is a game, not a narrative.

The game itself is a tool to help form a narrative collaboratively. Claiming the narrative that the game engine is designed to support is unimportant misses the point of the game at all.

EDIT: ninja'd


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Well, PF2e is now the kind of game where you will essentially never generate a narrative where a swashbuckling hero will disarm his arch-rival since the game disincentivizes the swashbuckler from ever trying in the first place and 95% of idiots who try will fail and waste what was probably their best chance at effecting the narrative that turn.


Zapp wrote:
Why not instead redefine "disarm" to be playable?

Because there's no way to make it playable for the PCs.

I can't find any level 5+ monster who's really crippled by being disarmed. eg let's consider an efreeti: disarming it reduce its attack bonus by -1, and its damages by 20% (1d4+11+2d6 instead of 2d6+11+2d6). That's an OK debuf, but in no way an auto-win.

Spoiler:
That's before you even consider the creatures that can't be disarm, and the creatures that are probably more dangerous when disarmed (eg drider).

In the other hand, against disarming a high level PC cripples him so much, he can't fight any level-appropriate monster until he finds a new weapon - if he can find a new weapon; I'm not sure the treasure rules assume a character will find several high level weapon per level.

So yeah, it's probably better to have this action as unplayable in the hand of the monsters as in the hand of the PCs.


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Zapp wrote:
james014Aura wrote:


If a 10 is just barely enough, then Warrior needs a nat 20 base to do it. But, Warrior has +4 str as opposed to the flat 10 the skill used from assurance and gets +2 effective from Skills doing a disarm. Also +1 Heroism. Instead of nat 20, they need only a 13 to do it. 40% to end the enemy's ability to fight, for 5 actions (disarm 1, heroism was 2, and warrior's disarm was another, then one more action to pick up their weapon so they can't use it). Trip could be a 6th, but that's just a diagnostic to check their defenses (and give them a different debuff).

...

Again, that's a battle-ender. It's an I-win button. Yes, it takes two people to do it well, but you CAN do it, and it's something you can build to spam, unlike Baleful Polymorph or Phantasmal Killer.

I request you add three items to your analysis, before concluding it's the best thing since sliced bread:

1) opportunity cost - if the team didn't do disarm, what would they have accomplished instead?
2) contingency - if you have worse luck than expected, how do you save the encounter? I mean, if you keep trying until you succeed, chances are you die instead. Why? Because every attempt that isn't a critical does absolutely nothing long-term.
3) evaluation - what kind of enemy do you get a 40% chance for? I mean, is this enemy significant enough to really deserve the epithet "a battle-ender."

"It's an I-win button" only if the enemy is powerful enough.

1) For the minimal optimization (2 people investing in it), a third action aka the weakest part of their turn. If the enemy is too strong, that's ALL they use. If not, they have at least a 35% chance of winning in round one, probably more if the party has more buffs than that. Used: stuff you were going to use anyway, and one more attack. So, a third action and a first attack for a 35% MINIMUM of winning in one round, probably longer.

2) Contingency: I don't deny that it's high-risk, but the reward is an instant win. In just two actions, you do what's expected to take 2-4 ROUNDS. I'm assuming the first part of it, using assurance, works here; if it doesn't, then you just don't keep trying. But, if you roll that badly... you likely weren't much better off using that as an attack roll, unless you JUST BARELY missed.
3) Any humanoid enemy - and some armed monsters - with a Reflex no higher than your level + max proficiency level. I admit, it's not a sure thing. I built a Fighter 5 - strength oriented - that needs a nat 20 (18-20 if someone else got the weaker version first) to disarm another of itself. But that's because Bulwark inflated its effective Dex. Dropping it to levels 3 and 4 (or scale it up to 7-9), a 17-20 does the full disarm without help or a 15-20 with. At 10-Apex and Apex-19 and 20, +5% more each. 20-30% there, so the Assurance strat doesn't work. But then, it's a Fighter. They're one of the three classes with the highest overall defense (alongside Champion and Cleric). It makes sense for them to resist that.

10% at 1-2, 20% at 3-4, 15% at 5-6 (Bulwark is -10% and starts around here, though, so I'll say the Fighter uses that), then 20% at 7-9, 25% at 10-17, get Apex immediately so 25% at 18-19, and 30% at 20.

Not as good as I hoped, but the sure bet option warns you not to try it in the first place, so you only use a third attack to learn that.

But, that's against someone with a good Reflex. You can use it to take a staff away from any Mage (except Bard) or a weapon away from a Champion (watch out for heavy armor, though) or a Barbarian. And then there's a couple bonuses you can stack with magic, to raise the odds to actually rather decent.

I don't purport it as an absolutely guaranteed win. Try fighting severely under-leveled enemies for that. I don't purport it anything other than a high-risk, high-reward option (that, *if successful* is a win) that's better against some enemies than others. It's more skewed towards victory or nothing than most spells are, now, but that appears to be the general design philosophy - the more powerful the option, the less likely it is to work. Attacks, likely to hit but only do HP damage. Disarm, ends fights but requires a crit, and doesn't do much if you don't get that.

Also, there are ways for everyone to target at least two different saves, and you can use Assurance with your third action to check if making the attempt in full is worth your time. If it isn't, then no big loss of action. If it is, you just gained really important information. And you don't lose much by making the investment of skill points, if you're a warrior or skill monkey. And the investment in disarming ALSO makes you able to target Fort, not just Ref.

____________

So, how do I really see it being used? On Humanoids and similar enemies
1) Bosses once you beat their minions. The action tradeoff expected value is generally good.
2) Capture people alive. Champion's best friend there.
3) Against slightly lower-level groups of enemies. A third attack and a warrior's first attack (and third action that wouldn't be very accurate outside certain builds) to disable an entire enemy. Raise it from each guy, say Rogue and Fighter, taking out one enemy per turn each to taking out two together and wounding a third.
4) Against enemies with fast healing / regeneration / ability to spam Heal for ludicrous HP totals (Clerics of Lamashtu, looking at you!)

Again, I acknowledge that some enemies are more resistant to this than others. But it's an option which shuts down a couple types of enemy and has powerful results if it works, and you can check if it's plausible to attempt for the low cost of an already-weak action.


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Excaliburproxy wrote:

Well, PF2e is now the kind of game where you will essentially never generate a narrative where a swashbuckling hero will disarm his arch-rival since the game disincentivizes the swashbuckler from ever trying in the first place and 95% of idiots who try will fail and waste what was probably their best chance at effecting the narrative that turn.

Kinda, because the support for the swashbuckling hero is encompassed in a class we do not have yet (Swashbuckler coming in the APG), but also kinda not. If said swashbuckling hero is a fighter (closest to swashbuckler) disarming stance and duelist's riposte gives them a good disarm attempt they can make when the archvillain makes a tactical blunder (crit fail), and disarming twist gives them a shot at disarm every round even if they aren't primarily focused on disarming. The odds of it happening on the first round of a fight are low, but they are decent within the first three (perhaps around the time of the climax of the battle).


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Paradozen wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:

Well, PF2e is now the kind of game where you will essentially never generate a narrative where a swashbuckling hero will disarm his arch-rival since the game disincentivizes the swashbuckler from ever trying in the first place and 95% of idiots who try will fail and waste what was probably their best chance at effecting the narrative that turn.

Kinda, because the support for the swashbuckling hero is encompassed in a class we do not have yet (Swashbuckler coming in the APG), but also kinda not. If said swashbuckling hero is a fighter (closest to swashbuckler) disarming stance and duelist's riposte gives them a good disarm attempt they can make when the archvillain makes a tactical blunder (crit fail), and disarming twist gives them a shot at disarm every round even if they aren't primarily focused on disarming. The odds of it happening on the first round of a fight are low, but they are decent within the first three (perhaps around the time of the climax of the battle).

Yeah I feel like saying that the Swashbuckler can’t is just a lie. Fighters have a lot of the old Swashbuckler abilities in Class Feats now including a feat to disarm with a reaction, which is not only a huge value on action economy, but also gives them a +2 to disarm them when it hits their turn and a -2 to any further attacks at them in the same round.

And that’s just one feat, and it gives you the option to use a strike instead (so not even a steep investment).

I just don’t see the issue with disarm as is. If you change it to be like other maneuvers it’s just a variant. It’s a unique high risk high reward situation ability with low investment cost.

Sovereign Court

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Let's do a thought experiment into probabilities. We have a level 3 fighter with some friends facing off against an Ogre Warrior (Bestiary p. 252). The warrior has an ogre hook which with its Fatal 1d10 trait is just scary. So we want to disarm it.

Our fighter is level 3 and is an expert in Athletics. He's such a jock. His strength of 18 lets him ignore armor check penalty. So he has a (4+4+3)=11 to Athletics. To disarm the ogre, he needs to critically beat the ogre's Reflex DC of 16, so he needs a 26. To do that he would need to roll a 15+

He's got a non-coward rogue in the party who's flanking the ogre, making the ogre flat-footed. Now he needs a 13+.

There's a bard in the party who intimidated the ogre, making it Frightened 1 and reducing the desired number to 12+. The bard also used Inspire Courage, which works with Disarm since it has the attack trait. We're looking for an 11+ now.

---

So far, we're looking at a party that has done nothing to specialize in Disarm, and they've got it down to 50% odds.

Now we could add some optimizations:
* The rogue could have also been an Expert in Athletics, and used Assurance with his last action to get a 10+4+3=17 result to lower the ogre's disarm DC by 2. This could be part of a general rogue build where you exploit your skills to push people around, so we're still not specializing towards Disarm here; all these abilities are useful in other ways too. But now we only need a 9 to disarm the ogre.
* At level 4, there's some dramatic shifts happening. The fighter decided to dip into the Runescarred archetype and get True Strike. He's also gone up a level. So we only need an 8 to disarm the ogre, and we can roll twice and take the best result. At this point, we're looking at a 87.75% chance of success for a level 4 fighter, with some help, to disarm a level 3 ogre. And still, we haven't had to buy any ability specific to Disarm; all of this still is useful in many other ways.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Zapp wrote:
james014Aura wrote:
And no one is making you use Disarm.
That's the other thread. This thread is where we discuss why they didn't go for a more ambitious design, where the goal was to create an action that is useful and balanced.

How can we "discuss" why someone else did something? You mean guess? There doesn't seem to be any back-and-forth possible.

I think they decided it wasn't a recipe for an interesting and dynamic game, so didn't include it as a regular "this is the kind of thing I do in battles all the time" option.

However, there's no doubt that in some game at some time, a player is going to want to knock a BBEG's weapon out of their hand. (Or probably more likely, take the Plot MacGuffin from them). So they've included rules for how to do that. It's not a viable, "main schtick" but it's got a consistent structure for when the plot suggests this is the obvious desperate tactic.

I don't really see how we can discuss it though. That's my guess. What's your guess for why they did it?


Midnightoker wrote:
Paradozen wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:

Well, PF2e is now the kind of game where you will essentially never generate a narrative where a swashbuckling hero will disarm his arch-rival since the game disincentivizes the swashbuckler from ever trying in the first place and 95% of idiots who try will fail and waste what was probably their best chance at effecting the narrative that turn.

Kinda, because the support for the swashbuckling hero is encompassed in a class we do not have yet (Swashbuckler coming in the APG), but also kinda not. If said swashbuckling hero is a fighter (closest to swashbuckler) disarming stance and duelist's riposte gives them a good disarm attempt they can make when the archvillain makes a tactical blunder (crit fail), and disarming twist gives them a shot at disarm every round even if they aren't primarily focused on disarming. The odds of it happening on the first round of a fight are low, but they are decent within the first three (perhaps around the time of the climax of the battle).

Yeah I feel like saying that the Swashbuckler can’t is just a lie. Fighters have a lot of the old Swashbuckler abilities in Class Feats now including a feat to disarm with a reaction, which is not only a huge value on action economy, but also gives them a +2 to disarm them when it hits their turn and a -2 to any further attacks at them in the same round.

And that’s just one feat, and it gives you the option to use a strike instead (so not even a steep investment).

I just don’t see the issue with disarm as is. If you change it to be like other maneuvers it’s just a variant. It’s a unique high risk high reward situation ability with low investment cost.

A lie is probably the wrong word. I just forgot about that feat and did not check the fighter feat list before posting. I did however check through the skill feats (where you would think to include disarm feats), general feats, and rogue feats (as rogue seems closer to Swashbuckler than fighter) before posting though. So I guess fighters can disarm people starting at level 10? Cool but still limiting the action to a very narrow range of builds.

Also, I can't help but notice that Ascalafus choose to run his thought experiment with an Ogre in mind rather than the Bugbear Tormentor (which has a dex save of +10). That certainly narrows the window of success considerably. Also, I was unaware that flat-footed applied to a creature's reflex DC. Is reflex DC a kind of AC?

Ascalaphus wrote:


He's got a non-coward rogue in the party who's flanking the ogre, making the ogre flat-footed. Now he needs a 13+.

Flatfooted reads as follows on Nethys:

"
You’re distracted or otherwise unable to focus your full attention on defense. You take a –2 circumstance penalty to AC. Some effects give you the flat-footed condition only to certain creatures or against certain attacks. Others—especially conditions—can make you universally flat-footed against everything. If a rule doesn’t specify that the condition applies only to certain circumstances, it applies to all of them; for example, many effects simply say “The target is flat-footed.”
"


Ascalaphus wrote:

Let's do a thought experiment into probabilities. We have a level 3 fighter with some friends facing off against an Ogre Warrior (Bestiary p. 252). The warrior has an ogre hook which with its Fatal 1d10 trait is just scary. So we want to disarm it.

Our fighter is level 3 and is an expert in Athletics. He's such a jock. His strength of 18 lets him ignore armor check penalty. So he has a (4+4+3)=11 to Athletics. To disarm the ogre, he needs to critically beat the ogre's Reflex DC of 16, so he needs a 26. To do that he would need to roll a 15+

He's got a non-coward rogue in the party who's flanking the ogre, making the ogre flat-footed. Now he needs a 13+.

There's a bard in the party who intimidated the ogre, making it Frightened 1 and reducing the desired number to 12+. The bard also used Inspire Courage, which works with Disarm since it has the attack trait. We're looking for an 11+ now.

---

So far, we're looking at a party that has done nothing to specialize in Disarm, and they've got it down to 50% odds.

Now we could add some optimizations:
* The rogue could have also been an Expert in Athletics, and used Assurance with his last action to get a 10+4+3=17 result to lower the ogre's disarm DC by 2. This could be part of a general rogue build where you exploit your skills to push people around, so we're still not specializing towards Disarm here; all these abilities are useful in other ways too. But now we only need a 9 to disarm the ogre.
* At level 4, there's some dramatic shifts happening. The fighter decided to dip into the Runescarred archetype and get True Strike. He's also gone up a level. So we only need an 8 to disarm the ogre, and we can roll twice and take the best result. At this point, we're looking at a 87.75% chance of success for a level 4 fighter, with some help, to disarm a level 3 ogre. And still, we haven't had to buy any ability specific to Disarm; all of this still is useful in many other ways.

Minor note, flanking reduces AC but I don't think it affects Reflex DC.


It starts being optimal for investment at about level 6 but yeah.

Even with a scenario like provided where an ogre is chosen instead of another creature, that just means there’s a time to disarm and a time not to disarm.

Why does disarm always need to be a good option?

Like I wouldn’t use a frost spell against a white dragon, that doesn’t mean frost spells are bad, it means I should try something else.


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Midnightoker wrote:

It starts being optimal for investment at about level 6 but yeah.

Even with a scenario like provided where an ogre is chosen instead of another creature, that just means there’s a time to disarm and a time not to disarm.

Why does disarm always need to be a good option?

Like I wouldn’t use a frost spell against a white dragon, that doesn’t mean frost spells are bad, it means I should try something else.

Yeah, maneuvers are now easier to pull off but require you to pick your targets. Luckily it is usually easy to pick when a target is suitable based on obvious in game things like size. Disarm would be a terrible choice against the bugbear tormentor anyway because it carries 3 weapons, which is also pretty obvious.


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Re Ogre talk:
I would argue that even against the ogre, the disarm is probably going to be a bad investment anyways. Damage is much lower risk and will actually end the fight whereas disarming the ogre does not end the fight and requires some characters to burn actions picking up and/or stowing the item (lest they be penalized for carrying a large weapon). Meanwhile, the disarmed ogre can still punch (probs at a d4+7 at +12 nonlethal/+10 lethal) or grab/trip an opponent to open up the target for friends (which he probably has unless this is a fairly routine encounter).

Sovereign Court

Excaliburproxy wrote:
Also, I can't help but notice that Ascalafus choose to run his thought experiment with an Ogre in mind rather than the Bugbear Tormentor (which has a dex save of +10). That certainly narrows the window of success considerably. Also, I was unaware that flat-footed applied to a creature's reflex DC. Is reflex DC a kind of AC?

Hmm, I hadn't realized that flat-footed would not help against maneuvers, that's an interesting new quirk. The new rules can surprise me.

It changes the numbers a bit, but I think my overall story stays relevant: working together to stack some modifiers, you can get the odds of disarm to be good enough that it's a gamble but not just fishing for 20s.

It's possible that at that level the fighter's weapon has an item bonus to hit that would help, if the weapon had the disarm trait. But I was trying to keep my example free of any character build choices that specifically work for disarm.

---

I chose the ogre quite arbitrarily, and indeed they're on the "hard-hitting but clumsy" part of the spectrum. So disarm is both worth more (that really is a very scary weapon, on a crit that's 3d10+14) and easier.

Sovereign Court

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Excaliburproxy wrote:

Re Ogre talk:

I would argue that even against the ogre, the disarm is probably going to be a bad investment anyways. Damage is much lower risk and will actually end the fight whereas disarming the ogre does not end the fight and requires some characters to burn actions picking up and/or stowing the item (lest they be penalized for carrying a large weapon). Meanwhile, the disarmed ogre can still punch (probs at a d4+7 at +12 nonlethal/+10 lethal) or grab/trip an opponent to open up the target for friends (which he probably has unless this is a fairly routine encounter).

I'm a lot less scared of an ogre punching for 1d4+7, or even critting for 2d4+14, than I am of it critting with that ogre hook for 3d10+14.


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Ascalaphus wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:

Re Ogre talk:

I would argue that even against the ogre, the disarm is probably going to be a bad investment anyways. Damage is much lower risk and will actually end the fight whereas disarming the ogre does not end the fight and requires some characters to burn actions picking up and/or stowing the item (lest they be penalized for carrying a large weapon). Meanwhile, the disarmed ogre can still punch (probs at a d4+7 at +12 nonlethal/+10 lethal) or grab/trip an opponent to open up the target for friends (which he probably has unless this is a fairly routine encounter).
I'm a lot less scared of an ogre punching for 1d4+7, or even critting for 2d4+14, than I am of it critting with that ogre hook for 3d10+14.

I am even less scared of a dead ogre.


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Excaliburproxy wrote:

Well, PF2e is now the kind of game where you will essentially never generate a narrative where a swashbuckling hero will disarm his arch-rival since the game disincentivizes the swashbuckler from ever trying in the first place and 95% of idiots who try will fail and waste what was probably their best chance at effecting the narrative that turn.

I love you :)


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Excaliburproxy wrote:

Re Ogre talk:

I would argue that even against the ogre, the disarm is probably going to be a bad investment anyways. Damage is much lower risk and will actually end the fight whereas disarming the ogre does not end the fight and requires some characters to burn actions picking up and/or stowing the item (lest they be penalized for carrying a large weapon). Meanwhile, the disarmed ogre can still punch (probs at a d4+7 at +12 nonlethal/+10 lethal) or grab/trip an opponent to open up the target for friends (which he probably has unless this is a fairly routine encounter).

It is actually fairly unlikely that the ogre has multiple friends in this encounter because he is equal level to the party. He's 40 XP by himself. There might be one more ogre, or a couple of level 0 minion's, but odds are they can flank anyway to get you flat-footed.

The ogre also has a lot of hit points for it's level, so simply trying to wear it down is going to take a bit. Which means there is more time for it to crit with that deadly weapon than there would be against other foes.


Gaterie wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Why not instead redefine "disarm" to be playable?

Because there's no way to make it playable for the PCs.

I can't find any level 5+ monster who's really crippled by being disarmed. eg let's consider an efreeti: disarming it reduce its attack bonus by -1, and its damages by 20% (1d4+11+2d6 instead of 2d6+11+2d6). That's an OK debuf, but in no way an auto-win.
** spoiler omitted **
In the other hand, against disarming a high level PC cripples him so much, he can't fight any level-appropriate monster until he finds a new weapon - if he can find a new weapon; I'm not sure the treasure rules assume a character will find several high level weapon per level.

So yeah, it's probably better to have this action as unplayable in the hand of the monsters as in the hand of the PCs.

I am sorry but this is such a narrow-minded approach I have to speak up.

Consider the 5E approach, where monsters never rely on magic swords.

Just say every humanoid tool-user carry not only their katana, but their wakizashi as well. And that they could always grab a club or dagger as a last resort.

I mean, it's not as if the problem is NEARLY as unsolvable as you make it out to be.

The real problem is the devs limited horizon here.

At first, they could not let go of the idea you absolutely need your primary weapon to be useful.

Then they could not let go of the idea a disarm absolutely must deprive you of your weapon.

Challenging either of these assumptions would have opened up so many solutions...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Unless, of course, future books will introduce classes/feats that explore the disarm niche. But noticing future-proofing requires, wait, this is going to be really funny, a broad horizon of looking at the ruleset.


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Disarming not disarming is...

Honestly, just imagine a trip that doesn't knock the target prone or a grapple that doesn't grapple the target.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I can totally imagine a feat that allows you to attempt disarm and on a success, the opponent is disarmed but recovers their weapon automatically after spending X actions to do so. There, your dazzling swashbuckler. If a friendly Rogue with enough proficiency in Thievery is around, they might be able to swipe the weapon away. Or a caster might tk it away. There, tactical options and broad horizons. If you want to compensate me for this brilliant bit of design, my PayPal is...


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"DISARM WAS EASY LAST EDITION AND MADE EVERYONE WEAR LOCKED GAUNTLETS!

WHY IS IT HARD TO REMOVE A WEAPON/ITEM FROM SOMEONE'S HANDS???

REALISTICALLY IT WOULD BE LIKE THAT IN AN ACTUAL COMBAT FOR ANYONE NOT SPECIALIZED IN DISARMING OTHERS, BUT I REALLY WANT TO BE ABLE TO USE DISARM EVERY ROUND ON ANY OPPONENT DESPITE THE FACT THAT TRIP AND GRAPPLE ALSO HAVE LIMITATIONS OF OPPONENTS THEY WORK ON!"

The notion the disarming someone should be "easy" is silly to me.

Without even specializing a Fighter has an insanely high chance to disarm a Barbarian of equal level, which if the Barbarian is a Giant Instinct that's 100% a fight ender. Change that to the success tier instead of Critical Success, and boom Disarm just became meta.

There doesn't seem to be a single scenario suggested so far that is okay with "Success does not = an unarmed combatant".

And that's not even a Fighter specialized, just a plain +4 Expert Fighter with reasonable to hit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDlZ_SXx5gA

In both cases of the disarms in this video, the person is a literal swashbuckler with Class Feats clearly invested in this type of sword play, against an opponent who is "taken aback" by a sudden change (in one case a feint, another in a lie/feint?)

Whether or not FF applies to Reflex DC by RAW, I guess not, but I do believe it should (how does being FF not make you less likely to dodge something, it's implied in the condition itself). Perhaps they were worried about evokers with crits.

Either way, disarm is head and shoulders better than where it was previous edition in both application of the mechanic and support within characters.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Excaliburproxy wrote:

Well, PF2e is now the kind of game where you will essentially never generate a narrative where a swashbuckling hero will disarm his arch-rival since the game disincentivizes the swashbuckler from ever trying in the first place and 95% of idiots who try will fail and waste what was probably their best chance at effecting the narrative that turn.

he then steps away and uses a scroll to teleport out.

most of the time, i'd say these sort of things are actually just "grapples" that involve a sword. in fact i'd say you mostly see trips into grapples where the enemy throws down their sword with yours at their neck is more common.

disarming really only ever happens against people who seem to think they're good with a sword and really aren't. I also think people shouldn't just casually be able to do it.

if you and your rival both have a 50%(or better on your first attack) chance to disarm, how long until it just turns into a fist fight as you both disarm each other. you don't need a weapon to disarm someone.


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Ascalaphus wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:

Re Ogre talk:

I would argue that even against the ogre, the disarm is probably going to be a bad investment anyways. Damage is much lower risk and will actually end the fight whereas disarming the ogre does not end the fight and requires some characters to burn actions picking up and/or stowing the item (lest they be penalized for carrying a large weapon). Meanwhile, the disarmed ogre can still punch (probs at a d4+7 at +12 nonlethal/+10 lethal) or grab/trip an opponent to open up the target for friends (which he probably has unless this is a fairly routine encounter).
I'm a lot less scared of an ogre punching for 1d4+7, or even critting for 2d4+14, than I am of it critting with that ogre hook for 3d10+14.

You're comparing a party trying to disarm vs a party doing nothing. Of course the party trying to disarm is more efficient than the party doing nothing. When there is an ogre in front of you, doing something is always better than doing nothing.

If the party is just attacking, the ogre should die before the end of round 2 (using the configuration you explained: level 3, a fighter and a rogue flanking the ogre, and a bard). What do you think is the most scary:
1/ an ogre attacking during two rounds for 1d10+7 (crit for 3d10+14), and then attacking during two rounds for 1d4+7
2/ an ogre attacking during two rounds for 1d10+7 (crit for 3d10+14).

Note: the ogre has ~50% chance of being dead before the end of round 1. As you explained, you have ~50% of disarming him. Since the probabilities are almost the same, we can ask ourselves what is the most scary:
1/ a dead ogre.
2/ a disarmed ogre.

At level 4, if the fighter has a striking weapon (for 2d8+5 damage), now there's a solid chance (>80%) the ogre dies before the end of first round. Either you can 100% disarm him (while dealing damages), either disarm isn't worth it.

... As I explained, I don't think there's any monster past level 5 in the whole bestiary that's worth a disarm attempt. Now you convinced me there isn't any monster past level 3 that's worth a disarm attempt. The only creature that may be screwed by the disarm maneuver are... The PCs.


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You know, it seems strange to me that some people are simultaneously claiming both:
A. If disarming were easily doable, it would break the game
B. Without very much investment, disarming is currently very doable.

To the people arguing that disarming is difficult to do in real life and therefore should be very difficult in the game I say “this is why martials can’t have nice things”. I have seen this argument manifest over and over and over again in different contexts. You know, some may ask, is it really all that possible to grapple a person holding a sword? Does armor really provide much protection against warhammers? Why can’t the Katana one hit kill? I mean seriously, at some point you just have to suspend your disbelief.

A fighter can spend actions to have a fairly low chance of instantly forcing a single humanoid enemy who has no natural attacks, who is not a spellcaster or monk and who does not carry a spare weapon and is in melee range, to run away. A wizard can cast charm.

Disarming was much more doable in 3.5, PF 1, and 5e. Though, to my knowledge, in none of these cases was it ever considered to be a meta-defining ability.

All this being said, in 2e, I’m very happy that disarm is so difficult to pull off. As has already been noted, players need their magic weapons to keep up with the game’s tight math and these magic weapons are not easily replaceable. Conversely, in 3.5 or 5e, magic weapons aren’t all that necessary. Honestly, I REALLY prefer the latter model, but if I have to live with the former, I’d like options that permanently reduce my character’s functionality and fun to be tightly restricted or just absent.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zecrin wrote:

You know, it seems strange to me that some people are simultaneously claiming both:

A. If disarming were easily doable, it would break the game
B. Without very much investment, disarming is currently very doable.

There's a wide difference between being able to pull it off if your group is in place, and disarming being easily doable all the time.

Like anything in PF2, combat tactics have a big effect on the likelihood of success. If a fighter can walk up to another equal level fighter and have a 50% chance of disarming them, it would break the game.

Zecrin wrote:
To the people arguing that disarming is difficult to do in real life and therefore should be very difficult in the game I say “this is why martials can’t have nice things”. I have seen this argument manifest over and over and over again in different contexts. You know, some may ask, is it really all that possible to grapple a person holding a sword? Does armor really provide much protection against warhammers? Why can’t the Katana one hit kill? I mean seriously, at some point you just have to suspend your disbelief.

Being able to reliably end an otherwise challenging fight with one action at the start of the first round is not something worth suspending disbelief to allow.

Regularly disarming an equally skilled opponent does not make for a good story or gameplay, that it doesn't follow reality is just another strike against it.

There is unavoidably a point at which suspension of disbelief can go no further. Being able to reliably disarm enemies at the drop of a hat is past that limit. You're arguing against your own point with many of your examples. Asking to disarm reliably and quickly with no setup, against powerful enemies is essentially the same as arguing that you should be able to make a called shot to someone's neck to insta-kill them. It's a mechanic that just won't work, and the "Martials can't have nice things" argument is taken to absurdity.

Zecrin wrote:
A fighter can spend actions to have a fairly low chance of instantly forcing a single humanoid enemy who has no natural attacks, who is not a spellcaster or monk and who does not carry a spare weapon and is in melee range, to run away. A wizard can cast charm.

Disarm is a free consequence of having Athletics. You can attempt it all day every day. Spells have slots.

Zecrin wrote:
Disarming was much more doable in 3.5, PF 1, and 5e. Though, to my knowledge, in none of these cases was it ever considered to be a meta-defining ability.

Locked gauntlets. Weapon chains.

Zecrin wrote:

All this being said, in 2e, I’m very happy that disarm is so difficult to pull off. As has already been noted, players need their magic weapons to keep up with the game’s tight math and these magic weapons are not easily replaceable. Conversely, in 3.5 or 5e, magic weapons aren’t all that necessary. Honestly, I REALLY prefer the latter model, but if I have to live with the former, I’d like options that permanently reduce my character’s functionality and fun to be tightly restricted or just absent.

I am also happy that disarm is difficult to pull off.


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Gorbacz wrote:

Unless, of course, future books will introduce classes/feats that explore the disarm niche. But noticing future-proofing requires, wait, this is going to be really funny, a broad horizon of looking at the ruleset.

*shrug*

If you think it reasonable not to be able to evaluate and review the core rulebook on its own, sure.


Zecrin wrote:

You know, it seems strange to me that some people are simultaneously claiming both:

A. If disarming were easily doable, it would break the game
B. Without very much investment, disarming is currently very doable.

Depends on how you want to define "doable".

With little investment and lots of team coordination, setup, and tactics, it's doable. A kind of "doable" that feels good to me.

A single Fighter with no specialization being able to Disarm on a Success instead of a Critical Success would break the game.

Fighters could trigger a regular success more than a failure. That's not a good healthy interaction to deal with (on either side of the table).

A Fighter that wants to make Disarming his schtick? Totally "doable" and even realistically viable.

Disarm is the action equivalent of a SoS that really sucks. It might not be as bad to fail as say a spell, but a Spell costs resources that Disarm quite frankly doesn't cost.

And the first Feat that you can invest into Disarm, it becomes extremely viable and good.

It's literally a non-issue. How often were Disarm checks even being used in prior editions without specialty? Never.

How often can they be used now? Realistically? Whenever the circumstances support it.

How is tactically relevant choice not a good thing for the game?


WatersLethe wrote:
being able to pull it off if your group is in place

And proper positioning counts as just having a rogue and fighter flank an enemy (which they’d be doing anyway) and having a bard nearby (which they already should be)? Seems like a pretty low bar for supposedly instant win, game breaking tactics.

WatersLethe wrote:
If a fighter can walk up to another equal level fighter and have a 50% chance of disarming them, it would break the game.

I assure you, PC fighters disarming their foes wasn’t what broke 3.5. Likewise, 5e battlemaster didn’t break any games. Sure 3.5 had locked gauntlets, but it also had sunder. A fighter could sunder a locked gauntlet and then disarm the enemy as normal in the same turn.

WatersLethe wrote:
Being able to reliably end an otherwise challenging fight with one action at the start of the first round is not something worth suspending disbelief to allow.

You’ll notice that here I was refuting the argument “disarm is hard in real life and thus should be hard in the game,” not “disarm should be hard in the game.” In fact, I agree with this second argument. Do you agree with the first?

WatersLethe wrote:
Disarm is a free consequence of having Athletics. You can attempt it all day every day. Spells have slots.

Now this is the argument I take issue with. This exact logic is why spellcasters are almost always more powerful than melee characters. Would you allow a disarm on a success if the fighter could only do it 3/day? Because, if disarm is as game-breaking as some have claimed, then you couldn’t possibly.


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Lot of people's posts are imo missing the point.

I don't think the critical success should be easy to get. I do think the basic success should be as much value as the other maneuvers without having to jump through wierd hoops.

The effect should last until the end of the afflicted opponent's turn

They should have the option on their turn to spend an action to readjust their grip.


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I've read along with this thread, and thought about the question, and have come up with my answer for why Disarming has such a low chance of actually disarming a weapon: Disarm now requires no investment to do it safely.

Consider Pathfinder 1st Edition. Anyone can attempt to disarm an enemy. But, if you don't have the Improved Disarm feat (or similar ability), you provoked an attack of opportunity from your opponent in the attempt. This generally discouraged people who did not have the Improved Disarm feat from attempting to disarm an opponent.

To actually be good at disarming in PF1, you needed two feats: Combat Expertise, and Improved Disarm. Improved Disarm got rid of the attack of opportunity and gave you a +2 bonus on disarm attempts. From there, you could further specialize, but these two feats were required to be effective at disarming opponents.

Now, look at PF2. It is no longer possible for anyone to attempt to disarm an enemy. In order to even make the attempt, you must be Trained in Athletics (or be able to use Trained skill applications untrained). However, if you are trained in Athletics, you don't have to worry about an attack of opportunity if you do attempt to disarm your opponent. Thus, there's no drawback to attempting the disarm, apart from the loss of an action. The only mandatory investment, in order to keep up with the numbers, is continuing to invest in increasing your proficiency in Athletics, which is hardly a fairly small investment, given that you can use Athletics for other combat maneuvers (Grapple, Shove, Trip), and that Athletics has several good skill feats, should you choose to go that way.

That's my theory for why disarm is no longer as efficient.

Now, whether or not that's better is a different discussion.

I'll admit, Zapp, I'm still not entirely sure what your goal with this thread is. As Steve Geddes said above, we can only guess at why the devs made the decision they did with regard to disarm. I'm not sure what there is to discuss, apart from the question of whether making disarm less efficient is good or not. That question is entirely subjective, as well, depending on personal playstyle and experience.

Myself? The only disarm attempts I've seen playing D&D 3.X and PF1 were when a caster used the spell burning disarm, and once in a duel between an Aldori Swordlord PC and an NPC. It has never come up at any table I've been at as a viable tactic, so I can't say whether or not this change makes the game better. I just don't have the frame of reference for it.

EDIT: I like Martialmasters's suggestion that the penalty should last until the end of the enemy's turn, not the beginning, and the enemy should have the option to take an action to readjust their grip and remove the penalty.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I do not think skill actions need to be balanced in the same way that class feats should be balanced. I think it is more important that they reflect what is going on in the narrative.


Honestly, disarm seems like something a Sarenrae or maybe Shelyn follower would heavily spec in.

**************

Spoiler:
About martials cant have nice things

1st I'm not looking to derail, if you want to respond PM me.

Now usually that phrase is used in relation to giving martials magic abilities and some people's belief that anything "anime" is bad and overpowered. Which is honestly true for most western action media, most action film heroes spend the entire movie running around from explosions to fist fights and the only damage is a slight cut; Heck about half the movies have everything occur on the same day or with few if any break, but the characters never get fatigue.
Most superheroes dont even have progresion, they usually are super power from the get go and only unlock more power cause now they are fighting a "bigger enemy".

* Just to make sure it gets through. I dont believe Realism should be used to limit characters to a "max height", but as the minimum bar for characters should be able to do.


I just don't think that Disarm is something everyone should be good at by default.

Disarm in the sense of deftly making a weapon slip out of someone's hand requires tactical training usually. Disarming via hand to hand for instance requires specific placement of the hands in relation to the weapon (and varies depending on enemy arm) with the weapon itself often dictating exactly how to disarm.

Jo-schmo the random guy shouldn't be able to disarm anyone effectively.

So if you want to argue that a Skill Feat should exist that says "Exceptional Disarm" that extends the duration to end of enemy turn, and then simply note "can remove this penalty with a manipulate action to tighten grip" then problem solved.

My point is the baseline Disarm is fine as is and anyone that wishes to specialize can use it effectively.

In no way should the success metric by default be any better. It's already almost as good as Grease (which costs a spell known and a slot to even use).


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So, a little personal anecdotal info on why I personally think disarming on a crit makes sense.

I'm a fairly strong dude. Mid-20s, 6' 2", 240 lbs. Okay, not as much of that is muscle as I'd like but three years of karate at a fairly traditional school and some pretty physical jobs have left me fairly strong.

And yet in mock swordfights I find it actually quite difficult to disarm my 12 year old brother if he's paying attention. When he's actually gripping his weapon and not just loosely holding it it's quite difficult to knock away. I'm not particularly schooled in swordfighting but I've tried rudimentary binds, hitting near the hilt to jar his grip, hitting so the force goes towards his thumb when his grip is weakest, just hitting really hard, and combinations thereof. Not much of it is effective, and I'm twice the boy's age and significantly heftier.

Granted a trained swordfighter would be -much- more skilled at it, but if basic knowledge on break grips combined with major size and strength advantage doesnt make it easy I don't think it's as easy as some people think. XD

And of course the game isn't all realistic, but sometimes a dose of realism matters when someone says x should or shouldn't be.

Oh, and to tap on the conparison to trip or grapple, I can EASILY drop him to the ground or get him in a hold. It's not even a contest. So, yeah, those happen on a Success for me IRL but disarm needs a crit IRL. XD


All disarm really needs to be a reasonable choice in a variety of situations is the ability to land a nastier debuff or more impressive effect on a (non-critical) success. That's the sort of thing feats are for. Something like "flat-footed" or "do damage".


PossibleCabbage wrote:
All disarm really needs to be a reasonable choice in a variety of situations is the ability to land a nastier debuff or more impressive effect on a (non-critical) success. That's the sort of thing feats are for. Something like "flat-footed" or "do damage".

You know, in general more skill feats for combat maneuvers could be fun. Then again, Athletics already has great feats and we want to avoid over-focusing on combat with skill feats. Maybe class feats is tge better space, or even an archetype.


Martialmasters wrote:

Lot of people's posts are imo missing the point.

Amen, brother.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Folks...

We are not making additional threads of the same topic, just to have the same discussion in another place.

This thread is locked.

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