Well, generally, yes, you can't apply expertise dice to AC, as AC isn't a rolled value, and expertise dice are only generally described as applying, and stacking, to rolled values.By the same argument, you can't apply expertise dice to AC at all because AC isn't a rolled value. Only "an attack roll or saving throw, or in a specific skill or tool proficiency" gets an expertise die.
However, due to the specific rule for parrying weapons we can add an expertise die to AC. The specific rule doesn't mention the stacking rule, so the general rule for stacking should still apply.
Oh we can slice this a few waysThe scaling mechanic, rules-as-written, however, still only applies to rolls, no matter how you slice it, and none of the features include verbiage to indicate otherwise.
Specific overrides general, though, and the Parrying property, the Duelist Parry and Thrust and Elusive features, and the Parrying Counter combat maneuver specifically say you can, which means ... that you can.
If, as you've presented it, the general rule for stacking applied, why would Elusive need to call out the feature in that way, rather than simply stating that you gain an expertise die the way that everything else that grants expertise does?
I agree, I was really just using that as a context for 1st order vs 2nd order interpretations, with the goal of showing that 2nd order tend to be "weaker" interpretations than 1st order.The rules on page 402 are for Passive Checks only and have specific cases in which they apply.
AC sort of looks like a passive check if you just go by adding numbers without considering anything else. AC isn't a passive check because when a character is being attacked, they are under pressure and can't take as long as they need.
- The average result for a task done repeatedly or continuously, such as taking in the details of a room on first sight.
- When a character is under no pressure and can take as long as they need, such as opening a locked chest in a safe location during downtime.
- To determine a character’s knowledge or awareness (possibly in secret) without rolling dice, such as recalling a local culture’s legend or noticing an ambush.
A passive check is closer to what 3.x called "taking ten" than it is to AC, even though AC also starts out at 10.
I concede the point: the rules as written, under the strictest interpretation provide no identified meaning to the phrase "...you can gain an expertise die to your AC..."Oh we can slice this a few ways
Pg 11 of the AG "
When you make a d20 roll with which you have gained an expertise die, roll 1d4 and add the number rolled to the result of your check." I will also note that all rules regarding stacking expertise dice are found in this section of the book, meaning that they are all collected together to explain the function of expertise dice.
The specifics of parrying allow us to gain an expertise die to our AC. However, that does not actually tell us how to use that expertise die with a non-rolled value.
By the absolute strictest interpretation of RAW, gaining an expertise die to my AC still does nothing, because no D20 roll has occurred, and so there is no trigger for me to roll a 1d4 and add it to my AC. General design principles suggest that any ability specifically given that has absolutely no game impact is in error....and the strictest RAW fails that test.
We then take it one step out with a first order interpretation. We apply the normal rules of expertise dice....but now apply them to a static value (in this case, AC). However, now that we have opened the door of normal expertise usage, the closest to RAW would be to use ALL normal rules (aka you can't start cherrypicking which section of the expertise die section you would like to use). Again looking at the section that explain how to use expertise die, also includes the section that explains what to do if you have multiple expertise die. Both must be followed to remain within normal rules. Therefore, stacking of expertise die on AC is the closest to RAW we can manage.
In summary: I am forced to make a non-RAW interpretation of the parrying ability in order to make it work at all. The least interpretation is to use the normal rules for expertise dice and apply it to the non-rolled thing that the ability specified (in this case AC). So I am now using normal expertise dice rules, and therefore....the closest to RAW would be to use ALL normal rules for expertise dice, which includes stacking.
Technically, the "increase by one stage" language gives us 1 additional benefit over normal expertise die stacking..... the ability to go beyond 1d8.it doesn't address why the Elusive ability specifically calls out that the die increases by one stage.
I don't at all disagree with you, in fact, that's largely where I come out on this as well.Technically, the "increase by one stage" language gives us 1 additional benefit over normal expertise die stacking..... the ability to go beyond 1d8.
Normal e die stacking caps at 1d8. However, increasing by 1 step allows us to go to 1d10, whereas just adding an extra expertise die would not. So now the test of that, is there a scenario where we can get 1d10 through elusive + expertise die to AC? So at base we have two parrying weapons + elusive = 1d8. Is there another source of "expertise die to AC" that exists in the rules currently?
There are a few, namely the parrying counter maneuver. Two parrying weapons + parrying counter + elusive is only 1d8 under the "its just an expertise die" interpretation, and 1d10 under the "it increases the expertise die, which ignores normal stacking limits". So there is a small but present niche.
This means the existence of Elusive in no way invalidates our interpretation of how parrying weapons stack.
In hindsight, it might be better to say improves rather than stacks, to match the text on page 11. An expertise die does not stack, it improves once per additional feature or trait that grants one to a normal maximum of 1d8.
However, I'd say I'd only count traits that immediately apply when you are totaling up what gives you a die. I think the issue there isn't one of improving or stacking, but one of timing, but it does get in the way of my interpretation of Parrying Counter.
Let's say my 15th level Duelist has an AC 12, just for the sake of it. Maybe they are having a bad day, I don't know.
- At the end of my turn I'm wielding two parrying weapons, I use a reaction, spend one exertion and activate Parrying Counter (if a combat maneuver called Parrying Counter doesn't count as a parry, I'd riot. Politely.)
- I get an expertise die from Parrying Counter and since that is a reaction to parry Elusive improves it to a d6. I roll that die right away and add it to my AC. I roll a three, nice and average. My AC against that creature only is now 15. This lasts until my next turn begins because the specific rule of Parrying Counter overrides the general rule of once per roll.
- The creature hasn't actually attacked me yet, so the parrying weapons don't apply. Their abilities only trigger when there is an actual attack and the creature might not attack me.
- At some point after my turn the creature actually attacks me! This is a completely different event than me activating Parrying Counter, so the number of traits that are granting me an expertise die starts out at zero.
- Use the parrying weapon quality using one weapon- My AC against that attack is 15+d4 because I've already used up my reaction and I'm just using the weapon trait, so Elusive doesn't apply to this.
- If I have two weapons and I'm using them both on one attack, my AC vs that attack will be 15+d6 instead. My reaction is still spent, Elusive doesn't apply.
Let's say that there was a different Maneuver, though. Let's call it "Cross Blade" and say it is a reaction to parry a specific attack with an expertise die and some other side effect riding it, it doesn't matter what. You can use any two weapons with it, but it doesn't specify that it needs parrying weapons. I'm using parrying weapons, though.
I activate Cross Blade and use both weapon properties. That is three things and a reaction at the same time. The expertise die is 1d8 for the three things and with the reaction Elusive bumps it up to 1d10.
If you are just activating parrying weapons I do think you can use a reaction and get Elusive even without special manuevers. The text of Elusive just also leaves it open to future maneuvers that might be published as well.
(emphasis mine)At 15th level, you can move effortlessly and untouched through any battlefield. Your move- ment out of a creature’s threatened area does not provoke opportunity attacks. In addition, whenever you use your reaction to parry an attack using a Parrying weapon the expertise die to your AC increases by one stage.
under the strictest reading of RAW
I don't disagree with you.I think that is your problem right there. This isn't programming code. If you read between the lines a bit the book isn't going to crash.
The easiest way that doesn't just shut down a class feature entirely is to let Elusive work when you are a) using a reaction to parry and b) you are using a parrying weapon.
The question then becomes "Is there a good reason for Parrying Counter to not count as a parry?" I don't see one. A 15th level character shouldn't be cheated out of their specialty because the wording wouldn't hold up in a court of law.
No I don't think it is a concern. I find players with a parry weapon are more likely toprrss the attack than those withoutIs anyone else concerned at all that being able parry twice is going to be better than using a shield unless you get attacked more than twice in a round? It seems to me, since a parrying weapon is also granting you an attack, that it should always be defensively inferior to a shield. (Yes, negating crits is good, but that shouldn’t be the only reason to use a medium shield.)