View Full Version : Dex-based Attack for Melee

2013-08-12, 06:12 PM
I'm toying with the idea of splitting up accuracy and damage when a character attacks. It seems, to me, that in order to hit, you can't just swing with raw power; you need a bit of dexterity to guide your attack to a vital area. So what would your opinions be on making the attack BAB + Dex mod + other mods, and the damage for melee be weapon + Str mod + other mods and for ranged be weapon + other mods? Has anyone tried something like this before?

2013-08-12, 06:19 PM
Weapon Finesse already lets you do this for light weapons, natural weapons and unarmed attacks. You substitute your Dex for your Str. Adding more modifiers is a pain and will slow combat even more. Plus then you have to balance it with AC. You can't add a modifier on only one side of the equation.


2013-08-12, 06:24 PM
This makes melee more MAD. It also means that a number of monsters (dragons, for example) are much less accurate. It leaves ranged attacks, special attacks, and spells about the same though. It also sort-of buffs weapon finesse users; they get a feat back and they don't lose accuracy like everyone else does.

This sort of makes it harder to be a fighter/barbarian/paladin/beatstick, but it depends on what you are fighting. Ogres will have more trouble hitting you, but goblins and wolves and such will be about the same.

2013-08-12, 06:37 PM
It certainly makes sense, but it throws the game's balance, such as it is, out of whack. It wold essentially make melee fighters hit less reliably, deal less damage, or both. You can't really do it without re-adjusting AC and HP values of enemies, which are already pretty wonky. So... good idea in theory, impossible to put into practice in 3e D&D without serious changes.

2013-08-12, 06:40 PM
Good points thus far.

So, what if instead of Weapon Finesse, I change it around and add a feat that adds Str to the attack. Basically, Weapon Finesse for brutes. Then Weapon Finesse would be banned.

To address the MAD issue, I'm also toying around with a weapon skills (like actual skills). So the dependency might be loose as a character can funnel points into the weapon skill of their choice. Instead of weapon proficiencies, classes would start off with X number of weapon skills as class skills. This would also keep the character from being ultra proficient in everything. This may make ranged and rogue-types uncanny attackers...

Still, the Dragon issue Glimbur mentioned vexes me.

EDIT: Oh, I'm already using the Armor & DR variant from the SRD. This lowers AC but gives enemies DR. It may cover the gap left behind by a clumsy barbarian type. Still, I have no solution for the uber sniper ranged types. They would hit no matter what.

2013-08-12, 06:49 PM
Adding a feat to let a character use Str for attack would make it feat tax for most melee warriors. And you'd essentially need to give it to all Strength-based monsters or else they'd be weaker. All in all, the system is balanced - well, kinda-sorta-not-really balanced - around Strength being used for attacks and damage. Messing with that will cause problems to spread around the whole game, and hurt those who are already ailing, namely the beat-sticks.

The weapon proficiency idea is a whole other issue, but I'm not sure where you're going with it.

2013-08-12, 09:39 PM
It seems, to me, that in order to hit, you can't just swing with raw power; you need a bit of dexterity to guide your attack to a vital area.

What does a greataxe consider a vital area? It doesn't really matter where you hit someone, it's gonna hurt. The hard part is hitting their body despite their armour. That's where strength comes in - if you hit hard enough, you can bust through the armour, or at least put a painful dent in it/apply enough force that it hurts them anyway.

"vital areas" are essentially covered by critical hits anyway, and Weapon Finesse represents using your coordination to find weak spots.