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Finesse rebalance

Charlaquin

Explorer
d. They tend to climb, jump, swim and other Athletics abilities.
e. They opt to wear heavy armor
f. They push, shove, trip, or grapple.

I've yet to see a Strength fighter that is truly suboptimal. The biggest concern is that Dex saves are more prevalent than Str saves, and Initiative is keyed off Dex. That said, the only place I see 8 Str/18 Dex fighters is Char-Op boards and theorycrafted DPS spreadsheets.
By 5e’s rules as written, any character can climb at half their speed outside of conditions that would make doing so both reasonably likely to fail and dangerous for doing so, and jump up to their strength score feet in length or 3 + their strength mod feet in height (or half as much if they can’t get a 10+ foot running start) without a check, so d is not usually a significant concern, though it’s worth asking your DM how they plan to handle running, jumping, and climbing if you plan to dump strength. And even if they do house-buff Athletics, that’s one skill vs. the 3 Dex applies to, and this difference only gets more significant if they use the Skills With Different Ability Scores optional rule. Heavy armor gives you a grand total of +1 AC vs light armor at the cost of 1,425 gp or Medium armor at the cost of 750gp (or equal AC if you take Medium Armor Master) if you keep up with your Dex ASIs, so e is equivalent to one ASI worth of both AC and damage (since non-Finesse weapons tend to be 1 damage die higher than finesse weapons) - not completely insignificant, but well worth the difference in Initiatives and Skills. Pushing, shoving, tripping, and grappling is generally less effective than killing your opponents one or more rounds faster, so I would file what you call f under c.

Maybe you don’t see many characters that dump Str and buff Dex in actual play, in which case it makes sense that rebalancing Finesse wouldn’t really be worthwhile for you. Personally, I see far, far more such builds than I see pump Str in actual play, and the builds I do see pump it tend to keep Dex at 10-12, so for me it well worthwhile.
 

Arilyn

Explorer
I recently made a human wizard. She has a 16 Dex and 14 Int. I focussed more on dex because I'm making a dagger wielding fighter/ wizard, without the need for multiclassing. As a variant human, she took light armour proficiency, which also let me up her dex by one point. She wields two daggers in combat and has a good AC. Because her Int. is little lower than a typical wizard, she focuses on spells that require no saves, and lives with less known spells in her book. But she doesn't need to waste slot on mage armour. She carries extra daggers and is willing to throw or drop one if she needs a hand free for casting. She does well in combat. She took the abjuration school, which has been a great choice for her. She's got good dex save, good dex skills and those dex boosts for armour class and hitting. I could dip into fighter or rogue, but I kinda like this fighter/ wizard who is actually pure wizard. On the other hand, I'll admit it feels wrong... It shouldn't be this easy. I'm gaming the system! This isn't me! and she has a low str. Didn't I just complain about that??

Ah well, I'm waiting for those magic daggers no one cares about...😊
 

Laurefindel

Explorer
Another avenue to explore: what if finesse had a damage value, similar to versatile. For example:

Scimitar 25gp 1d6 slashing 3lbs. Light, finesse (1d6)

Doing this could open the possibility of different damage values.
Scimitar 1d8 slashing, light, finesse (1d6). Or rapier 1d8 finesse (1d6)
 

Elfcrusher

Explorer
The problem isn't that that rapiers are too good from a balance perspective; it's that only people who hate Dungeons & Dragons and everything the game stands for choose to use them.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
The problem isn't that that rapiers are too good from a balance perspective; it's that only people who hate Dungeons & Dragons and everything the game stands for choose to use them.
What do rapiers have to do with caster supremacy, Monty Haul, treasure hunting, pixel-bitching, 5MWD, magic-item Xmass trees, Vancian spell-grenades, d20s, Fruedian psionics, 10' poles, white-room DPR calculations, cursed magic itens, 30mm lead pewter figures labeled 25mm, rules lawyers, Killer DMs, home-invasion-robbery, LFQW, name recognition, 20-level builds, spiked everything, plant/reptile boobs, perverting the intent of Wish, mapping, teen suicide, Devil worship, and sexism?

...

Oh, I get it: nothing.
 
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CapnZapp

Adventurer
What do rapiers have to do with caster supremacy, Monty Haul, treasure hunting, pixel-bitching, 5MWD, magic-item Xmass trees, Vancian spell-grenades, d20s, Fruedian psionics, 10' poles, white-room DPR calculations, cursed magic itens, 30mm lead pewter figures labeled 25mm, rules lawyers, Killer DMs, home-invasion-robbery, LFQW, name recognition, 20-level builds, spiked everything, plant/reptile boobs, perverting the intent of Wish, mapping, teen suicide, Devil worship, and sexism?

...

Oh, I get it: nothing.
No, you were onto the right answer: people get emotional when it comes to D&D even though once in a while the game itself is blameless; they're only projecting their own insecurities and prejudice.

In other words, there's absolutely nothing special about a rapier discussion that's different from discussing Monty Haul, reptile boobs or Satanism.

It's just one more thing to get riled up about.
 

Flamestrike

Registered User
Is Dex to hit in melee any good?

I mean when it comes to Melee damage the main offenders are:

1) GWM
2) PAM (and GWM!)
3) Barbarians
4) Paladin smites (And Paladins need Charisma, Con and Strength, and get heavy armor meaning they invariably dump Dex)

I've never known 'Rapier' to be any sort of 'go-to' for damage builds. I mean Rogues often use one (unless TWF) but so what?

The advantage of Strength is you get to dump Dex and wear heavy armor. Of the 'big three' Save stats, Dex is the easiest to dump as failing a save rarely (if ever) imposes a nasty condition (just usually more damage).

Who is having a problem with 'Dex builds' exactly?
 

Flamestrike

Registered User
Like seriously.

Give me 4 fighters. At 5th level - 3 are Dex Fighters (defence style) using rapiers and sheilds. (15+Dex AC). AC 19, 1d8+4 damage (8.5 average), +7 to hit, 2 attacks, +4 Initiative. No feat exists to make rapiers better; shield master might be an option?

The 4th is a Plate wearing Greatsword guy (same style). AC also 19, 2d6+4 damage (11 average), 2 attacks, +7 to hit, Power attack and Cleave via GWM, -1 initiative.

The first 3 guys better keep a close look at encumbrance also. Strength dumped to 8 = 40lbs max. Studded leather, a shield and rapier = 21 lbs already. Throw in a ranged weapon, dagger and ammunition and you're pushing 30lbs before adding any adventuring equipment.

Play those 4 together and the Greatsword guy will stand out from the others in a good way.
 

Charlaquin

Explorer
Is Dex to hit in melee any good?

I mean when it comes to Melee damage the main offenders are:

1) GWM
2) PAM (and GWM!)
3) Barbarians
4) Paladin smites (And Paladins need Charisma, Con and Strength, and get heavy armor meaning they invariably dump Dex)
Dex characters can take Sharpshooter and Crossbow Expert, so 1 and 2 are a wash. Dex-based Barbarians and Paladins are at least as effective as Str-based ones.

I've never known 'Rapier' to be any sort of 'go-to' for damage builds. I mean Rogues often use one (unless TWF) but so what?
I have, so it’s worth considering a house-rule to make them not an objectively better choice than longswords.

The advantage of Strength is you get to dump Dex and wear heavy armor. Of the 'big three' Save stats, Dex is the easiest to dump as failing a save rarely (if ever) imposes a nasty condition (just usually more damag
Or, to rephrase that, the advantage of Dex is you get to dump Str and wear light armor. For the low price of 1 AC, you save yourself 1,455 gp and get +6 to Initiative and one of the big three saves.

Who is having a problem with 'Dex builds' exactly?
A lot of DMs, myself included. If you’re not, bulky for you. What are you doing in this thread, telling people who are having a problem with it that they’re wrong?
 

Charlaquin

Explorer
Like seriously.

Give me 4 fighters. At 5th level - 3 are Dex Fighters (defence style) using rapiers and sheilds. (15+Dex AC). AC 19, 1d8+4 damage (8.5 average), +7 to hit, 2 attacks, +4 Initiative. No feat exists to make rapiers better; shield master might be an option?

The 4th is a Plate wearing Greatsword guy (same style). AC also 19, 2d6+4 damage (11 average), 2 attacks, +7 to hit, Power attack and Cleave via GWM, -1 initiative.

The first 3 guys better keep a close look at encumbrance also. Strength dumped to 8 = 40lbs max. Studded leather, a shield and rapier = 21 lbs already. Throw in a ranged weapon, dagger and ammunition and you're pushing 30lbs before adding any adventuring equipment.

Play those 4 together and the Greatsword guy will stand out from the others in a good way.
Thats if the DM is both bothering to keep track of carry weight and using the variant encumbrance rules, both of which are very big ifs. Also, why are the Dex fighters using defense style and using rapiers and shields? Especially if we’re comparing to a GWM fighter, they ought to be taking Archery and Sharpshooter, and using longbows.
 

Flamestrike

Registered User
Dex characters can take Sharpshooter and Crossbow Expert, so 1 and 2 are a wash.
If they're taking either of those feats, they're ranged characters and the rapier is for show only. Finesse is a non issue.

Dex-based Barbarians and Paladins are at least as effective as Str-based ones.
No, they're not. Firstly, you need Str 13 to MC as a Barbarian or Paladin. Secondly Dex based barbarians miss out on Rage damage with dex. They miss out on using reckless attack + advantage to land GWM hits. Their capstone becomes half useless. The advantage on Strength checks when raging becomes meh. They can use Dex based ranged weapons, but why would they? Youll never see Sharpshooter or Crossbow expert on a Paladin or Barbarian. Ever.

Paladins cant smite at range, putting them into melee combat. Again V-Paladin and D-Paladin get oath abilities that grant big bonuses to hit (mitigating GWM's -5 to hit) - either advantage to hit or +Charisma to hit. Even A-Paladins get to restrain their target with their oath ability also granting a bonus to hit (and making GWM much better). Paladins are also highly MAD - Charisma is vital, as is Con. Dumping Wisdom is a no-no, leaving only 2 stats to dump. Intelligence or one of Dex or Strength.

Seeing as you're proficient in Heavy armor from level 1, and need a minimum of Str 13 to multi-class later, its a no-brainer to dump Dex.

I have, so it’s worth considering a house-rule to make them not an objectively better choice than longswords.
They're not better than longswords.

Or, to rephrase that, the advantage of Dex is you get to dump Str and wear light armor. For the low price of 1 AC, you save yourself 1,455 gp and get +6 to Initiative and one of the big three saves.
Screw that. You cant dump Strength on a Paladin or Barbarian and multi-class. Dumping Strength on a Paladin or Barbarian also rules you out of GWM and Heavy weapons which is a bad idea on those classes generally.

A lot of DMs, myself included. If you’re not, bulky for you. What are you doing in this thread, telling people who are having a problem with it that they’re wrong?
Im pointing out that your 'problem' is illusory, and that there is no need to do it.

Thats if the DM is both bothering to keep track of carry weight and using the variant encumbrance rules
That's not the DMs job, that's the players job.

And I guess If you're allowing players to dump Strength willy nilly and never bothering to deal with encumbrance, then that could be a problem.

But that's not a problem with finesse weapons; its a problem with you ignoring the rules.

The same can be said for Hexblades and Charisma to hit and damage (plus medium armor). I lol every time I see one with Strength 8 and Halfplate and shield.

He's moving at 20'.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Explorer
Is Dex to hit in melee any good?

I mean when it comes to Melee damage the main offenders are:

1) GWM
2) PAM (and GWM!)
3) Barbarians
4) Paladin smites (And Paladins need Charisma, Con and Strength, and get heavy armor meaning they invariably dump Dex)

I've never known 'Rapier' to be any sort of 'go-to' for damage builds. I mean Rogues often use one (unless TWF) but so what?

The advantage of Strength is you get to dump Dex and wear heavy armor. Of the 'big three' Save stats, Dex is the easiest to dump as failing a save rarely (if ever) imposes a nasty condition (just usually more damage).

Who is having a problem with 'Dex builds' exactly?
I believe (I have some houserules that mean that some of these do not apply) the issue lies when you're comparing Dex builds against Str in featless or other situations where the Str character is not leveraging a few specific feats to optimise, or when you consider factors other than raw white-room melee damage.

Str-based characters are at least competitive with Dex-based characters when it comes to melee DPR calculations.
They also have the advantage of +1 better AC assuming enough cash and availability to pick up full-plate.

The issue lies with the aspects of the characters outside of that rather narrow focus on melee damage.
The dex-based character has superior:
1) Ranged damage
2) Skills. (Athletics is a useful skill. But its the only Str skill. Dex has several useful skills.)
3) Initiative.

I'd regard saves as even: Str saves generally resist forced movement, which can be dangerous in some situations, and/or may result in losing combat rounds. Dex saves are common to reduce damage, whether from spells, or other elemental effects.

Paladins do not "invariably dump Dex". Dual-wielding is rather effective fighting style for a Paladin since it allows both greater burst and more crit chances. GWM offers less to paladins than Fighters and Barbarians.
 

Flamestrike

Registered User
I believe (I have some houserules that mean that some of these do not apply) the issue lies when you're comparing Dex builds against Str in featless or other situations where the Str character is not leveraging a few specific feats to optimise, or when you consider factors other than raw white-room melee damage.
So what's our assumption here? A feat-less game that also bans Multiclassing (where Str 13 is required for Paladin and Barb?).


I'd regard saves as even: Str saves generally resist forced movement, which can be dangerous in some situations, and/or may result in losing combat rounds. Dex saves are common to reduce damage, whether from spells, or other elemental effects.
Failing a Str save often means being knocked prone or restrained or pushed somewhere you dont want to go. They're rarer but often have bad status effects imposed.

Failed Dex saves usually just mean 'more damage'.

Paladins do not "invariably dump Dex". Dual-wielding is rather effective fighting style for a Paladin since it allows both greater burst and more crit chances. GWM offers less to paladins than Fighters and Barbarians.
Paladins dont get dual weilding as a fighting style.

And I disagree re GWM and Paladins (who have the second best source of at-will hit buffs in the game after reckless attack). All PHB paladins have short rest based channel divinities that grant advantage to hit (or +Cha to hit) to offset GWM's -5.

While they get a lot of damage from smites (thus hitting and doing small base damage is often better than missing due to -5), those smites burn up quick at lower levels, particularly on default (6 encounter) adventuring days.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
In a featless game grappling is probably more of a problem, not less, and while I realize that's not your specific point, it plays into the issue at hand. Grappling is possibly the goofiest thing in 5E, and I don't think DEX based characters should feel obligated to take Acrobatics just to prevent shenanigans.

Your point about DEX saves in general is on point though. Mostly they prevent damage, whereas STR saves are often against effect, and effect that will often result in a whole pile of non-savable damage. At least when the GM is playing by the same rules as the players anyway.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Explorer
So what's our assumption here? A feat-less game that also bans Multiclassing (where Str 13 is required for Paladin and Barb?).
Nope. Any situation where the Str-based character doesn't pick up one or two specific feats.
IME featless games are very rare, but characters not picking up GWM are not.
If you believe GWM and Polearm Expert are significant in this comparison, we can compare like-for-like with a Sharpshooter and Crossbow Expert Dex-based character.

Failing a Str save often means being knocked prone or restrained or pushed somewhere you dont want to go. They're rarer but often have bad status effects imposed.

Failed Dex saves usually just mean 'more damage'.
In a game where hit point and spell slot attrition are the main resource issues, there is no "just" about damage. You either need to spend hit dice, long rests, or spell slots to recover them, and losing them puts you at risk of character death.
With no attacks of opportunity for forced movement or rising from prone, Str saving throws do not always have an impact.

Paladins dont get dual weilding as a fighting style.
Paladins can and do use dual-wielding as a fighting technique. They don't have access to the Two Weapon Fighting fighting style.
 

Flamestrike

Registered User
So Finesse weapons are only a problem:

1) In featless games with no multiclassing, in which case it amounts to (at best) a minor if indeed any benefit to fighters, and a net loss to Paladins and Barbarians.

2) In games with feats... due to Sharpshooter (i.e. on characters that dont even use Finessable melee weapons)?

If we're doing Dex to hit and Str to damage for martials, lets also make it Int to hit with spell attacks and Charisma to damage for spells shall we?

Those guys gt single stat to hit and damage for melee and ranged spell attacks and no-one blinks an eye.
 

DEFCON 1

Hero
In my humble opinion, I suspect the REAL issue here is that there is only a single d8 Finesse weapon in the game, and thus people are just tired of seeing the word 'rapier' everywhere. The mechanics are negligible enough that most people probably don't really care about it (okay, a d8 finesse weapon, great)... they just want to cut down on the number of "rapiers" used across the game. The creativity and interesting design paradigm of potential characters is lessened when there is only one fluffy way to get a single game mechanic.

So really, the solution is thus: Do not tie weapon fluff to the game mechanic.

As a DM... just decide to allow players to select the game mechanic they want for their weapons, and then let them define WHAT their weapons are as they wish. Yes, you probably will want to work with them to avoid stupid or silly decisions and choices ("Hey, I'm calling my 2d6 Heavy weapon a Hatchet!" but other than that, there's no reason NOT to.

If a Dwarf player with a miner background would like to use a pick two-handed because it fits his character as a miner... why not just let them use the maul or greatsword mechanics (2d6, Heavy, Two-Handed) and fluff the weapon as a heavy pick? Likewise... for all the people tired of rapiers in the world, just let them fluff a 1d8 Finesse weapon as they please. If they want a curved blade a la scimitar? They have a falchion. If they want a wider-bladed sword? It's a katana. If they want a chain weapon? Pretend the flail has the finesse property and let them use that. Heck, in my game worlds I just removed the "rapier" as a weapon altogether and just made longswords finesse weapons (which thus makes rogues and elves proficiency in them have a semblance of sense.)

And you know what? It's all completely fine. I have a bugbear player in one of my current Eberron campaigns using a "heavy flail"-- a two-handed heavy flail that does not currently exist on the weapon chart. And we got it by saying "Use the maul's mechanics but we'll call it a flail". And there has not been a single issue with it thus far.
 

Flamestrike

Registered User
In my humble opinion, I suspect the REAL issue here is that there is only a single d8 Finesse weapon in the game, and thus people are just tired of seeing the word 'rapier' everywhere.
In my games all weapons can be re-fluffed. It's not just a thing Monks can do.

That includes damage type.

For example a Sabre (same stats as a rapier, deals Slashing damage) is a thing. As is a Sap (same stats as a dagger, deals Bludgeoning damage).

Bam presto: archetypal finessable bludgeoning weapons now exist, and the weird mental image of someone dual wielding rapiers is resolved. As an added benefit, more player concepts are available and the game is more fun.

I go one step further and include the ubiquitous and morphable 'Monk weapon'. It's a 1d6 [versatile 1d8] Simple weapon that does S, B or P (your choice). Same stats as a Staff or Spear.

Want your Monk using a lajatang, 3 ringed broadsword, temple sword, dragon sword, spiked chain, kusuri-gama, lead coated halfling, tetsubo, ladder, two shoes tied together by their laces, lightsaber or whatever else you have in your minds eye? Fluff the above weapon accordingly.
 
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