Amazing Disarm Build


Advice


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Looking to make a character that excels at the Disarm combat maneuver under Athletics. How do I do it? What would you recommend?


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The fighter's Disarming Twist and the swashbuckler's Disarming Flair come to mind. Derring-Do from swashbuckler would also help with actually disarming an enemy, rather than just succeeding at a Disarm attempt.

Scarab Sages

Disarming Twist (Fighter level 10) is the best disarm feat. Disarming Stance gives a small bonus to Disarm. The Duelist archetype offers both L12 and L8 respectively.

Swashbucklers come in second with have Disarming Flair and Derring-Do, barbarians have Disarming Assault. The Bastion Archetype has Disarming Block and the Zephyr Guard archetype has Relentless Disarm.

Ifrits can cause fire damage on a Disarm attempt once per day, and lizardfolk can Disarm from 10 feet away.

Shadow Lodge

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Ravingdork wrote:
Looking to make a character that excels at the Disarm combat maneuver under Athletics. How do I do it? What would you recommend?

Personally, I'd recommend walking away...

Seriously, Disarm is either completely worthless (foes that can't be disarmed or the DC is just too high) or sickeningly overpowered (martial foe is disarmed without any possible counter and is reduced from a 4d12+2d6 endgame weapon to a 1d4 punch), which makes balancing encounters nearly impossible.

Sometimes, the only winning move is not to play...builds like this.


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Ravingdork wrote:
Looking to make a character that excels at the Disarm combat maneuver under Athletics. How do I do it? What would you recommend?

The only class with significantly more than 10% chance of success (without massive party help) is the Summoner. Grab One for All (or Inspire Competence) and Amp Guidance and you combine max Strength, max Circumstance bonus and max Status bonus. Once at level 10 you'll have roughly one chance on 3 to Disarm an at level enemy.

If you have party help, then the Swash with Derring-Do can get to the highest. But it asks for a lot of party coordination, I hardly imagine a party helping so much on such a random check.


SuperBidi wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Looking to make a character that excels at the Disarm combat maneuver under Athletics. How do I do it? What would you recommend?

The only class with significantly more than 10% chance of success (without massive party help) is the Summoner. Grab One for All (or Inspire Competence) and Amp Guidance and you combine max Strength, max Circumstance bonus and max Status bonus. Once at level 10 you'll have roughly one chance on 3 to Disarm an at level enemy.

If you have party help, then the Swash with Derring-Do can get to the highest. But it asks for a lot of party coordination, I hardly imagine a party helping so much on such a random check.

Sorry if I'm missing something obvious, but how could you combine One for All and Amp Guidance given that they both require a reaction? Does Amp Guidance allow you to use the +2 status bonus while preserving the 1 action cost instead of the reaction?


kit3 wrote:
Sorry if I'm missing something obvious, but how could you combine One for All and Amp Guidance given that they both require a reaction? Does Amp Guidance allow you to use the +2 status bonus while preserving the 1 action cost instead of the reaction?

Amp Guidance doesn't indicate that it has to be cast as a Reaction, just that you can cast it as a Reaction. So for me it works as normal Guidance if you want to. And you need this for the build I'm giving as you can't cast Amp Guidance as a Reaction to get a critical success (which is what you aim for with Disarm).

You can replace Amp Guidance by Heroism. It's more costly (spell slots are expensive for a Summoner) that's why I prefer the Amp Guidance way of doing it.


SuperBidi wrote:
kit3 wrote:
Sorry if I'm missing something obvious, but how could you combine One for All and Amp Guidance given that they both require a reaction? Does Amp Guidance allow you to use the +2 status bonus while preserving the 1 action cost instead of the reaction?

Amp Guidance doesn't indicate that it has to be cast as a Reaction, just that you can cast it as a Reaction. So for me it works as normal Guidance if you want to. And you need this for the build I'm giving as you can't cast Amp Guidance as a Reaction to get a critical success (which is what you aim for with Disarm).

You can replace Amp Guidance by Heroism. It's more costly (spell slots are expensive for a Summoner) that's why I prefer the Amp Guidance way of doing it.

That makes sense, thanks.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Looking to make a character that excels at the Disarm combat maneuver under Athletics. How do I do it? What would you recommend?
Personally, I'd recommend walking away...

If we don't challenge ourselves, how can we ever expect to improve? ;P

Now, venture forth and earn your XP!


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Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Looking to make a character that excels at the Disarm combat maneuver under Athletics. How do I do it? What would you recommend?

Personally, I'd recommend walking away...

Seriously, Disarm is either completely worthless (foes that can't be disarmed or the DC is just too high) or sickeningly overpowered (martial foe is disarmed without any possible counter and is reduced from a 4d12+2d6 endgame weapon to a 1d4 punch), which makes balancing encounters nearly impossible.

Sometimes, the only winning move is not to play...builds like this.

I wouldn't. Maximizing Disarm comes with nice side advantages. You'll certainly also maximize Grapple and Trip. And Grapple critical success restrains a creature, which is also very strong for an effect.

So you have a bunch of available maneuvers with strong effects: Disarming, Restraining or Tripping. And they target either Reflex or Fortitude, so a bit of versatility, too.
In my opinion, a maneuver oriented character is playable as long as your chances for a critical success are high (which means level 10+). I thought of playing such a Summoner but have been discouraged by the 9 first levels. But if you play at high level enough or are ok to play a more generic Summoner in the meantime, I don't see why not going for this build.

Shadow Lodge

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Ravingdork wrote:
Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Looking to make a character that excels at the Disarm combat maneuver under Athletics. How do I do it? What would you recommend?
Personally, I'd recommend walking away...

If we don't challenge ourselves, how can we ever expect to improve? ;P

Now, venture forth and earn your XP!

Here's how I see it:

If your build fails, you 'lose' because you wasted your time.
If your build succeeds, you still 'lose' because you broke the game.

Which of these outcomes do you consider to be an improvement?


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think you're overselling how bad for the game it is if a complete disarm actually lands.

It's rare enough that when it does happen it's an interesting change of pace not a "multiple times every combat" thing. Enemies with weapons can also retrieve the disarmed weapon, or pull out a backup, or flee. The GM also doesn't have to drop the enemy all the way down to a 1d4 fist attack, because NPCs have different rules, and especially if it's something naturally deadly like a giant or golem they can easily swap in a much beefier fist attack.

And like SuperBidi said, you also have trips and grapples at your disposal.

Personally, I think it would be rad as heck to make a character who has a chance of disarming a powerful foe at a critical moment because it takes a lot of setup and can yield a cool and otherwise unachievable scenario.


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Nearly all monsters with weapons have an unarmed attack which is worse than the weapon attack but still quite competitive. So Disarm is very far from a "you win" button. It's still really powerful as the monster will also lose all the special abilities coming with the weapon.


Yep, and even if the enemy NPC doesn't have a stated unarmed attack, the GM has the power (and is encouraged to) adjudicate the situation.

Personally, I would at most drop the damage die from their main weapon by 2. So an NPC wielding a 2d12 weapon normally would be wielding a 2d8 weapon instead. It's a significant decrease in effectiveness, without reducing an NPC to a non-threat. Of course, you should let players know in advance if you're going to do something like that, because disarm is already ineffective against non-weapon wielding enemies (which is a lot of enemies based on the different stated NPCs, but maybe not that many i terms of what you will encounter, depends on the game). That way players can evaluate if they want to focus on it or not.


I'd do the same if it's a boss that has been disarmed. On a mook, I don't care if it ends up doing miserable damage, I consider that Disarming a mook should nearly eliminate it considering how difficult is the action.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
I'd do the same if it's a boss that has been disarmed. On a mook, I don't care if it ends up doing miserable damage, I consider that Disarming a mook should nearly eliminate it considering how difficult is the action.

If it was a boss that had a particularly notable weapon, or had been set up to have a towering superiority complex, I'd probably let a dramatic disarm totally change the course of the battle.

If it was a smart boss like a Magus or something that knew about the party's tactics I might even have them prepare with a Called rune for that dramatic uno reverse F-U.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

If it's up to the GM whether or not it is all worthwhile in the end, I've totally lost interest.

Thank you for your input.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

If it's up to the GM whether or not it is all worthwhile in the end, I've totally lost interest.

Thank you for your input.

Yeah that's probably for the best. It is probably THE most GM dependent combat tactic available. I would personally only go in for it if I had a discussion with my GM about it in advance, similar to the old-school favored enemy talk.


Honestly, disarming flair by itself makes it worthwhile on a regular success.


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I think Investigator is one of the best for it. Not because it does it better, but because you know when it's going to work. Either Athletic Strategist or Wrestler with Elbow Breaker.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I think the best disarm feat by a massive margin is disarming block, because of two major benefits:

  • Your disarm is at your 0 MAP accuracy.
  • There is almost no action economy cost (You have to raise your shield and shield block, but you still get the normal benefits of those abilities, so the disarm attempt is "free")

    Although it doesn't increase your raw chances, being able to fish for disarm crits without spending actions is nice. The penalties from a disarm success also apply to any further attacks that creature makes on the same turn, since the debuff doesn't drop off until the start of their next turn.

    A swashbuckler that archetypes into Bastion for disarming block seems particularly nice, because you now have reaction coverage for both foes critically missing you and hitting you (between shield block and opportune riposte), and you eventually get derring-do. If you have reflexive riposte, you can shield block the first attack against you, succeed on a disarm attempt, then have a massively enhanced chance the foe will crit miss you if they attempt a follow up attack, letting you riposte them. Just seems like a nice synergy.


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    WatersLethe wrote:
    Ravingdork wrote:

    If it's up to the GM whether or not it is all worthwhile in the end, I've totally lost interest.

    Thank you for your input.

    Yeah that's probably for the best. It is probably THE most GM dependent combat tactic available. I would personally only go in for it if I had a discussion with my GM about it in advance, similar to the old-school favored enemy talk.

    +1


    I think this is the first time I've hear Amazing and Disarm Build in the same breath...


    I don’t see the issue with disarm as a tool. It’s high risk for high reward as it probably should be. Most monsters don’t get disadvantaged that badly due to alternative attacks available, and those that do give reason for the PCs to even try. Plus, unless one is assuming the damage modifier creatures get is a reflection of striking runes and not just natural to the creature, they don’t really lose so much damage as to invalidate them. Requiring a critical success to work is already challenging enough to then have a GM decide the creature still keeps their damage dice or near it.
    I think considering that the weapon lands at their feet upon successfully disarming, which in turn opens up AoO if a PC goes to grab the weapon, is also worth noting for balance. Otherwise, the enemy just picks up the weapon on their turn (yes opening up AoO as well) burning an action to do so.


    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
    graystone wrote:
    I think this is the first time I've hear Amazing and Disarm Build in the same breath...

    That was kind if the point. I wanted to generate discussion to see if there were any new options out there that could make it worthwhile.

    It sounds to me like a GM would be well within his rights to maintain the villain's damage despite being disarmed though, and that doesn't sit well with me.

    As long as that remains a possibility, I just don't see the point. Even if there were some amazing disarm abilities, they would all just be trap options.

    At best it leads to needless table confusion as play grinds to a hault and everyone asks, "what's their damage supposed to be now?"


    Ravingdork wrote:
    graystone wrote:
    I think this is the first time I've hear Amazing and Disarm Build in the same breath...
    That was kind if the point. I wanted to generate discussion to see if there were any new options out there that could make it worthwhile.

    Disarm has always been strange place, as the ability means that enemies could do so also which when you take into account the necessity to have/use magic items in combat: this meant that as good as it felt to disarm a foe and make them useless also meant than when it happened to you is sucked pretty bad. It's like PF1 sunder in that way. except you can't then pick up the item as your loot got destroyed. Generally, most groups I was in had a 'gentleman's' agreement that neither players or foes would use those maneuvers.

    Now with how hard it is to pull off for players and bad guys not following the same rules means it's even in a worse place IMO.


    graystone wrote:
    I think this is the first time I've hear Amazing and Disarm Build in the same breath...

    It is like a unicorn. It doesn't really exist.

    Except that that is a bad analogy to make on this forum.

    Yes if you get a critical success it can work out well. Just like say a critical fail on a save versus a level 1 Fear spell can end an encounter. It just doesn't normally do it.

    Scarab Sages

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    graystone wrote:
    Ravingdork wrote:
    graystone wrote:
    I think this is the first time I've hear Amazing and Disarm Build in the same breath...
    That was kind if the point. I wanted to generate discussion to see if there were any new options out there that could make it worthwhile.

    Disarm has always been strange place, as the ability means that enemies could do so also which when you take into account the necessity to have/use magic items in combat: this meant that as good as it felt to disarm a foe and make them useless also meant than when it happened to you is sucked pretty bad. It's like PF1 sunder in that way. except you can't then pick up the item as your loot got destroyed. Generally, most groups I was in had a 'gentleman's' agreement that neither players or foes would use those maneuvers.

    Now with how hard it is to pull off for players and bad guys not following the same rules means it's even in a worse place IMO.

    I'm annoyed that Disarm has to be nerfed into worthlessness just so PCs could remain dependent on magic weapons. Why not just make Disarm go the way of Sunder?

    ABP should have been standard, since relying on purchasing equipment to stay on the math treadmill isn't heroic or interesting.


    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
    NECR0G1ANT wrote:
    ABP should have been standard, since relying on purchasing equipment to stay on the math treadmill isn't heroic or interesting.

    Thank you for sharing your subjective opinion.

    I for one like math-based treasure. It's almost like a level up in between level ups.


    NECR0G1ANT wrote:
    graystone wrote:
    Now with how hard it is to pull off for players and bad guys not following the same rules means it's even in a worse place IMO.

    I'm annoyed that Disarm has to be nerfed into worthlessness just so PCs could remain dependent on magic weapons. Why not just make Disarm go the way of Sunder?

    ABP should have been standard, since relying on purchasing equipment to stay on the math treadmill isn't heroic or interesting.

    Yes it is strange that the hero picks up a second weapon and it is not very effective. On the other hand Excalibur is an important concept for this genre. Of course if every weapon is special then no weapon is special.

    I don't see an easy resolution to this. I suspect ABP might be a better place so I am giving it a trial.

    Scarab Sages

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    Gortle wrote:
    NECR0G1ANT wrote:
    graystone wrote:
    Now with how hard it is to pull off for players and bad guys not following the same rules means it's even in a worse place IMO.

    I'm annoyed that Disarm has to be nerfed into worthlessness just so PCs could remain dependent on magic weapons. Why not just make Disarm go the way of Sunder?

    ABP should have been standard, since relying on purchasing equipment to stay on the math treadmill isn't heroic or interesting.

    Yes it is strange that the hero picks up a second weapon and it is not very effective. On the other hand Excalibur is an important concept for this genre. Of course if every weapon is special then no weapon is special.

    I don't see an easy resolution to this. I suspect ABP might be a better place so I am giving it a trial.

    ABP still has magic weapons via property runes & artifacts, so you can still tell those sorts of stories.

    As a GM, I like ABP because I can be more relaxed about assigning treasure. As a player, I like having skill potency & multiple viable weapons.


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    Ravingdork wrote:

    It sounds to me like a GM would be well within his rights to maintain the villain's damage despite being disarmed though, and that doesn't sit well with me.

    I mean a GM is "well within his rights" to do whatever he wants, but fiating away something so hard to pull off feels a little mean-spirited considering the investment the player has put in in this example. Especially since in this scenario the rules are being applied so asymmetrically. That's just bad GMing.

    Would be better to just ban disarming outright.

    Gortle wrote:
    On the other hand Excalibur is an important concept for this genre. Of course if every weapon is special then no weapon is special.

    Excalibur is important, but Arthur isn't usually described as functionally helpless without it (and fights with a variety of weapons in some stories).

    A high level fighter who gets their +3 major striking flaming frost shocking greatsword disarmed loses like 80% of their damage and essentially cannot function as a character.

    Sometimes a magic weapon being necessary to defeat some evil is a fictional device, but it's always a plot element itself. In PF2 it's just a fact of existence because your gear wholly defines you.


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    Squiggit wrote:
    Ravingdork wrote:

    It sounds to me like a GM would be well within his rights to maintain the villain's damage despite being disarmed though, and that doesn't sit well with me.

    I mean a GM is "well within his rights" to do whatever he wants, but fiating away something so hard to pull off feels a little mean-spirited considering the investment the player has put in in this example. Especially since in this scenario the rules are being applied so asymmetrically. That's just bad GMing.

    Would be better to just ban disarming outright.

    The rules seem petty clear. Disarming reduces accuracy but only in the case where it has no backup attack and does little to reduce damage numbers. Worthwhile if you can land it and have the actions remaining to pick up the weapon yourself but ultimately high risk (miniscule success rate) for little reward.


    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
    NECR0G1ANT wrote:
    As a GM, I like ABP because I can be more relaxed about assigning treasure. As a player, I like having skill potency & multiple viable weapons.

    More relaxed? Thinking about having to rework the worth of treasure is just another source of anxiety for me.


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    Ravingdork wrote:
    NECR0G1ANT wrote:
    As a GM, I like ABP because I can be more relaxed about assigning treasure. As a player, I like having skill potency & multiple viable weapons.
    More relaxed? Thinking about having to rework the worth of treasure is just another source of anxiety for me.

    There's the option of not adjusting. Half the point of ABP is freeing up players to spend their gold on things that aren't just mandatory math fixers. You could adjust treasure down so that they still can't buy anything, but why bother?


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    My gaming group adopted ABP a long time ago for PF1 and we pretty much just run the game by having you double check your gear at level up to make sure it adds up to wealth by level. In between level ups you can accumulate and use stuff, but it generally means way less tracking and no one has to write down loot that no one has any intention of using, just stuff that someone actually wants to use. The sacrifice in verisimilitude has been worth the reduced tracking for us.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    Cellion wrote:

    I think the best disarm feat by a massive margin is disarming block, because of two major benefits:

  • Your disarm is at your 0 MAP accuracy.
  • There is almost no action economy cost (You have to raise your shield and shield block, but you still get the normal benefits of those abilities, so the disarm attempt is "free")

    Although it doesn't increase your raw chances, being able to fish for disarm crits without spending actions is nice. The penalties from a disarm success also apply to any further attacks that creature makes on the same turn, since the debuff doesn't drop off until the start of their next turn.

    A swashbuckler that archetypes into Bastion for disarming block seems particularly nice, because you now have reaction coverage for both foes critically missing you and hitting you (between shield block and opportune riposte), and you eventually get derring-do. If you have reflexive riposte, you can shield block the first attack against you, succeed on a disarm attempt, then have a massively enhanced chance the foe will crit miss you if they attempt a follow up attack, letting you riposte them. Just seems like a nice synergy.

  • Best idea I've heard. A gymnast swashbuckler in heavy armor and a shield actually seems surprisingly viable to me. Cranking your AC up to max for extra ripostes is neat. You've actually got the strength to ignore the penalties, and a little less speed shouldn't be the end of the world. Snag an unarmed strike so your hand is free and go to town.


    Captain Morgan wrote:
    Best idea I've heard. A gymnast swashbuckler in heavy armor and a shield actually seems surprisingly viable to me. Cranking your AC up to max for extra ripostes is neat. You've actually got the strength to ignore the penalties, and a little less speed shouldn't be the end of the world. Snag an unarmed strike so your hand is free and go to town.

    That is good from level 10.

    It is funny that you can Tumble Through with no armour penalty if you have enough Strength.

    Barbarian (with shield and either heavy armour or animal instinct) with Furious Bully for that sweet +2 circumstance bonus.

    Champion of Desna with a Bossed Shield and Sleepwalker Dedication and Vision of Foresight
    which comes on line at level 6 but has an action cost.

    IE these are all generic athletics builds. Nothing really special about it except perhaps weapon choice. But I wouldn't choose that weapon because I'd want to have the option of all athletics maneuvers.

    Pretty much anyone can pick up riposte via a dedication. It is pretty good too.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    Worth noting that disarm being bad mainly protects PCs, not NPCs, because of how much of their damage comes from runes. NPCs tend to have underleveled weapons so using humanoids doesn't break the WBL curve, and instead get big static weapon modifiers or special abilities. Many warrior themed monsters, like grave knights and certain devils, automatically empower any weapon they wield, so as long as they have a back up (which might be a gauntlet or a even just a fist) you've just changed their damage dice size.

    I think you could probably make disarm good again without horribly upsetting encounter balance, but the second the strategy got turned on the PCs they'd be livid. If you wanted to patch it into the game, I'd suggest making it a feat so that PCs have access to it but few NPCs will.


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    Ravingdork wrote:
    NECR0G1ANT wrote:
    As a GM, I like ABP because I can be more relaxed about assigning treasure. As a player, I like having skill potency & multiple viable weapons.
    More relaxed? Thinking about having to rework the worth of treasure is just another source of anxiety for me.

    The only reason you need to check treasure is because you can buy the items that are covered by the APB.

    Once you give these bonuses for free and as such remove any problematic item from the game you can give between 0 and a lot of gold pieces to your PCs and they will have a power level in a tight bracket.
    Most items have very few impact on your power level. You need a bazillion gold pieces to really imbalance the game once APB is on.


    I've been running ABP and playing it for a while and it fixes a lot of headaches and frees up players to experiment with a variety of weapons. Only hiccup it has is when a low level party faces creatures that have resistance to non magical attacks. Standard potency comes in early but with ABP, non magical weapons stick around a lot longer

    Edit: and alchemical items/bombs. It's a bit up in the air with how a lot of consumables work with ABP.


    aobst128 wrote:
    Only hiccup it has is when a low level party faces creatures that have resistance to non magical attacks. Standard potency comes in early but with ABP, non magical weapons stick around a lot longer

    While that sucks for many martial classes, it is nice that this makes Monks and Barbarians feel special and extends the usefulness of Magic Weapon/Magic Fang. Personally I like that feature.

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