Question about Fighter (Archer) trick shot ability for doing a Ranged Sunder

Rules Questions

Does anyone know if the Fighter (Archer alternate class) trick shot ability of doing a Ranged Sunder uses the DEX bonus of a bow (since you're using a bow) or if you still use your STR bonus since it is a Combat Maneuver. Ranged Sunder doesn't say either way... It does NOT say to substitute DEX for STR for the trick shot, so I would think you'd go by whatever the default mechanic is and your CMB is BAB + STR +other modifiers... However, the default of using a Bow attack is to use DEX. So which general vs specific trumps the other? Does CMB rules trump the fact that you are using a Bow or does the fact that you are using a Bow which is a DEX based attack trump the CMB rules/formula???

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Unless it is specifically written to substitute, it doesn't.

As written, you use your Combat Maneuver Bonus.

However, there is precedent (and I can't find the FAQ) that you apply any bonuses that you would have on an attack roll to a combat maneuver that use a weapon (traditionally disarm, sunder, and trip) and in my mind that would include substituting dex for strength if it's higher.


FAQ wrote:

Weapon Finesse: If I have this feat, can I apply my Dex bonus to my combat maneuver checks instead of my Strength bonus?
It depends on what combat maneuver you're attempting. Disarm, sunder, and trip are normally the only kinds of combat maneuvers in which you’re actually using a weapon to perform the maneuver, and therefore the weapon’s bonuses apply to the roll. Therefore, if you're attempting a disarm, sunder, or trip maneuver, you can apply your Dex bonus instead of your Str mod on the combat maneuver check (assuming you're using a finessable weapon, of course). For other combat maneuvers, you use the normal rule for determining CMB (Str instead of Dex).

The Agile Maneuvers feat applies to all combat maneuvers, not just disarm, sunder, and trip, so it is still a useful option for a Dex-based creature that uses combat maneuvers.

The only thing using a combat maneuver in this case should do is target a different "AC" and apply any bonuses specifically to sunder, over your regular attack roll.

Yes, that is approximately how the math should work out.

It is important to keep in mind that normally you can't make a sunder attempt with a ranged weapon (which I think is silly) but those are the rules.

Unfortunately, having a separate calculation for combat maneuvers but having some maneuvers use weapons (and any bonuses that apply to that weapon) really makes it confusing.

I mean, it doesn't make sense how when you cut through someone's armor to make the armor less effective, you don't also cut into the thing beneath the armor, but that's neither here nor there. All combat maneuver checks should honestly have spelled out that you are using a "weapon" and apply all bonuses for that weapon, but simply that some combat maneuver's weapons are locked to being unarmed strike (e.g. grapple). They also shouldn't have made the maneuver crit/strike feats not use actual CMB and combat maneuver bonuses because it set a weird precedent, but too late now.

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