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Level Up (A5E) Parrying Weapons & Duelist subclass.

Personally I'm not going to allow the parry property to stack with two weapons because I think it's over-powered compared to other weapon properties. (I haven't worried about the Duelist yet.)
 

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Doskious

Explorer
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.
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.

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.

The 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. Indeed, the Elusive feature actually explicitly calls out that whenever you use your reaction to Parry an attack using a Parrying weapon (something that is possible to do under RAW only when using a Finesse -- and therefore, in the hands of a 15th level Duelist, a Parrying -- weapon in conjunction with the Parrying Counter combat maneuver), the expertise die to your AC increases by one stage.

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?

To be clear: I'm nearly certain that the RAW interpretation I'm presenting as the logical construction of the actual rules text we have was not the intent of the authors. I do hope that, if that's the case, the whole collection of abilities gets flagged as errata and addressed.
 

Stalker0

Legend
The 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.
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.
 
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Stalker0

Legend
I talked about a first order interpretation, what would be a second-order one for context?

Page 402 gives us rules for "ability checks that are not rolls" aka Passive Checks like Passive Perception. Pg 19 tells us what Armor Class means. Unfortunately, it doesn't mention it's an ability check of any kind. However, it does say unarmored AC is 10 + dexterity. This is very similar to what a passive dexterity check would look like.

As a 2nd order interpretation, we could argue that AC = passive dexterity check (its 2nd order because nothing in the rules tells us this is true, but the mechanic of one thing appears near equal to the mechanic of another, so we assume an equivalency). And since we have rules on how to apply an expertise die to a passive ability check (d4 = +3), you could rule that parrying weapons just add +3 to your AC against a single attack.

If you go with this interpretation, there are no rules for stacking mentioned for passive checks and expertise die. The only specific value given is +3 for 1 die.... no value for 2 or 3 die is given. Therefore, using this interpretation, you should NOT stack parrying weapons together.... unless you have already allowed for multiple expertise die to apply to passive checks. If you do, then using the same method of multiple parrying weapons would be the most consistent way to play it.


Generally speaking, its best to use 1st order over 2nd order, as the further down the slope you get the more messy things get. Quick example, heavy armor has no dexterity component, just a single AC value. Does that now mean your AC is no longer a passive dexterity roll = no longer a passive check = no longer gains +3 from parrying. Aka parrying does not work with heavy armor. Its easy to start the slope of interpretations once you get into these grayer areas.
 

Stone Dog

Adventurer
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.

Specific only overrides general in the specific case it applies to.

  • General- Expertise die rules
    • You can apply an expertise die to rolled values.
    • An expertise die is one 1d4 applied to your d20 roll.
    • If you have more than one expertise die that applies to your roll, it upgrades the die type: 1d4-1d6-1d8.
  • Specific- Parrying Weapon
    • You can apply an expertise die to your AC.
The specific rule only overrides one part of the general rule. Nothing else.


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?

The reason is that each thing that grants you an expertise die only gives you one. Using a parrying weapon only gives you a single expertise die to your AC. If you want another die, you need a second weapon (which I'm not 100% convinced is RAW, but I love it so much I don't care anymore).

Elusive doesn't grant an expertise die, it lets you roll your expertise die one size up than you normally could. A single weapon duelist is rolling a 1d6 for their AC for that parry not because they have multiple dice, but because they have a special rule saying they get a bigger die type.

I bet this is to future proof the ability so that it interacts with other possible ED to AC abilities. Normally you have a maximum of 1d8 for your ED. Elusive lets you get past the cap without increasing the cap in general. If you have somehow gained a1d8 to your AC for all the ED that apply, congrats, now you have a 1d10. If you had a 1d10 before, it is now 1d12.
 

Stone Dog

Adventurer
The rules on page 402 are for Passive Checks only and have specific cases in which they apply.
  1. The average result for a task done repeatedly or continuously, such as taking in the details of a room on first sight.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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.

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.
 

Stalker0

Legend
The rules on page 402 are for Passive Checks only and have specific cases in which they apply.
  1. The average result for a task done repeatedly or continuously, such as taking in the details of a room on first sight.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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.

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 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.

I think the 1st order interpretation I outline in the post above that is the superior reading.
 


Doskious

Explorer
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.
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..."

Under the first order interpretation, though, it either still provides not identifiable meaning, or it doesn't address why the Elusive ability specifically calls out that the die increases by one stage. Assuming your first order interpretation, expertise dice stack: up to a d8 from having three sources that provide unspecified or d4 specified expertise dice to something, or from two sources one of which provides a d6 expertise die to something, or from one source that provides a d8 expertise die to something, or up to a d10 or a d12 in the event that abilities are employed that make use of specific caveats to the general cap at d8. Why, then, is Elusive phrased as explicitly scaling up the expertise die rather than as adding another (stacking) expertise die?

The only conclusion I came to was that the dice didn't stack in this context, but I agree that this conclusion not supported by RAW.

I do agree that descending beyond the first order interpretation is folly, though.

I should also note that my planned conclusion (posted on Morrus' discord in #homebrew) is to make all possible sourced of expertise dice stack and scale as applying a modifier to your AC when using any of these options, which makes it less impenetrable, but still potentially satisfying to add 8 to your AC against an attack.
 

Stalker0

Legend
it doesn't address why the Elusive ability specifically calls out that the die increases by one stage.
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.
 

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