Level Up (A5E) Parrying Weapons & Duelist subclass.

It seems another possible reading could be that the "reaction" portion of the definition is specific to a parry that is followed by the use of an exertion point and the "thrust". This limits you to one thrust reaction, so even if you parry twice to get a thrust you must spend your reaction.
 

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Stone Dog

Adventurer
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.
 

Doskious

Explorer
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.
I don't at all disagree with you, in fact, that's largely where I come out on this as well.

Honestly, regardless of intentions, I do plan to run the features as:
  • "Expertise dice", whenever and under whatever circumstances they are gained, will be interpreted as intended to be rolled and the results used to modify whatever value they were indicated as having been gained in relation to, unless being evaluated in the context of a passive interaction in which case the statistical average (rounded up) of the relevant expertise die (were it to be rolled) will be used as a modifier instead of a roll (but this interpretation for passive application does not apply to any Parrying capability, though, as all Parrying features are described as an action taken by the character parrying: an active undertaking to obtain a situational increase to the normally relatively static value of AC, not a passive one).
  • "Expertise dice", whenever and under whatever circumstances they are gained, from multiple sources, that modify the same value in the context of applicability, shall increase the size of the largest granted expertise die by one step per other expertise die up to a normal ceiling of 1d8 (but with a hard ceiling of 1d12 able to be reached through the application of any specific abilities that either explicitly state that they bypass the normal 1d8 ceiling for expertise die growth, or that state that they increase the stage of the obtained expertise die rather than actually granting an expertise die, when such an ability logically triggers in a sufficiently late position in the order of operations and the associated resolution of effects).
Regrettably, as applied to the 15th level Duelist dual-wielding parrying weapons (any weapons with either the parrying or the finesse properties, in the hands of that character) in possession of the Parrying Counter combat maneuver, their ability to enhance their Armor Class under my above interpretations is capped at 1d8 of expertise, I believe.

Elusive, the ability that grants the "increase by one stage" feature, specifies that to gain the increased-stage to the expertise die, you must be using your reaction to parry an attack using a Parrying weapon. The only actual mechanism in the game, RAW, that comes close to approaching an ability to use your reaction to parry an attack (and therefore the only way in which anyone might be able to satisfy the requirement to do so "using a Parrying weapon") is through the use of Parrying Counter, which specifies that you point "your weapon at your foe to challenge them" and thereby gain an expertise die to your AC against any attacks made by that opponent until the start of your next turn.

Technically, under the strictest possible reading, there is no correlation mandated by the Parrying Counter maneuver between the use of the reaction and the use of your weapon (which must be a parrying weapon) to explicitly parry anything; the expertise die to your AC granted against that opponent is not in any way described as you using your weapon to deflect the attack (which is the definition of parrying). That said, the strictest reading of RAW would make Elusive unusable, so we can rely on the fact that the "Parrying" Counter maneuver grants a similar effect as the use of the Parrying property (in terms of the mechanical benefits) to conclude that this is the "use of a reaction to parry an attack" that could be executed while wielding a Parrying weapon, which would trigger Elusive.

Thus, the Elusive die increase happens in conjunction with you using your reaction to (enable you to) parry an attack with your weapon while that weapon is possessed of the Parrying property. However, having used your reaction to (enable you to) parry an attack, you are still wielding at least one weapon with the parrying property. It is not an action, simply an ability to be declared as used in the moment, to elect to add an expertise die to your AC using the Parrying property. This necessarily happens after the enemy has actually initiated their attack, and therefore necessarily after you have already used your reaction to set up your ability to parry with an expertise die (d4, from Parrying Counter) that has been increased by one stage (d6, from Elusive) -- recall, the reaction trigger that Parrying Counter is reacting to is "the end of your turn". At that point, under my interpretation, your election to employ the Parrying property, then, once the expertise die is already at a d6 potential, would bump it to a d8, using the interpretations I outlined above.

But the expertise die from the Parrying property is just that: an expertise die. It has no special caveats that allow it being added to another expertise die that would bypass the 1d8 ceiling. Therefore, the decision, if the Duelist is wielding two weapons both of which possess the Parrying property in their hands (or other manipulating membranes), to parry one attack with both weapons would waste the contribution of the expertise die from the second Parrying weapon, whereas using the second parrying weapon to parry a second attack would grant a d8 expertise die to AC against both parried attacks. (A different d8 to AC, though, as the d8 of expertise against the second attack is from a different source than the d8 of expertise against the first attack.)

(It is possible that my players will prevail upon me to adopt a houserule that rephrases Elusive as starting the relevant phrase with "while" rather than "when", which would provide a measure of discretion to the player as to the point at which the expertise die increase from Elusive is applied, in which case one would assume that a Duelist of at least 15th level wielding two parrying weapons who elected to set up a Parrying Counter and then parry their foe's first attack with both parrying weapons would also elect to apply the Elusive increase at the end to obtain a d10 expertise die.)

But that's just me.
 

Doskious

Explorer
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.

I get something different out of the RAW text of Elusive:
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.
(emphasis mine)

To me, that says "you must use your reaction to parry an attack" and "you must parry an attack using a Parrying weapon".

As I indicated above, under the strictest reading of RAW, I don't think that's presently possible, since use of the Parrying property is not described as something that uses your reaction to do.

I don't have a terrible objection to an interpretation that you can use a reaction to get the benefits of Elusive, and I may adopt that interpretation also, though.
 

Stone Dog

Adventurer
under the strictest reading of RAW

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.
 

Doskious

Explorer
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.
I don't disagree with you.

I'm on record in several places with the stated intent to run my games a particular way that is in largely line with your suggestions. :D

I don't need convincing, and I don't think that I have a problem that remains in need of a solution about this topic for my own personal purposes.

That said, I've played with enough different people to know that there are some, with whom I've enjoyed playing, for whom the hair-splitting interpretations of the rules is part of the fun. It is with those people in mind that I have continued to comment, because reading between the lines (while something I view as basically required for situations like these) is not an activity that is universally accepted, and this (the degree and manner in which a Narrator is planning to read between the lines) is one of the things that would be ideal to come up in a Session 0 discussion.

I would hope that Session 0 discussions would, some of them, draw on conversations like these to identify content in need of discussion, and that is why I replied (with a notable lack of exposition detailing my motives to be sure ;) ).
 

Stone Dog

Adventurer
I've been called a rules lawyer in the past and I object (ha) to the definition. A lawyer wants to win the case for their side. I don't want that. I want the game to go well for all players and avoid fouls and misdeeds, accidental or not.

I'm a REFEREE.
 

Stellardrifter

First Post
Hello all, coming through with a late bump. Mike Myler From the A5E Design team came through on the Discord with the answers!

Thank you all for taking the time to give it some thought and your answers.
 

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Is 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.)
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Is 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.)
No I don't think it is a concern. I find players with a parry weapon are more likely toprrss the attack than those without
 

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