Grapple question and Ranged Finesse observation/question.


The rules for Grappling only list Str as an ability modifier. However, creatures with higher Dex than Str all add Dex to their Grapple bonuses.

Is Dex a legitimate Grapple modifier, or is this an error in the creature stat blocs?

Ranged Finesse
A look at the Ranged Finesse feat, from someone who has not yet seen Conan combat in action, seems to indicate that this feat is severely crippled.

A full round spent aiming, in order to get a single finessed attack, as long as the selected target remains within 30'.

It seems to me that the specialised archer will already be at a disadvantage against medium to heavily armoured foes, and the extreme limitations placed on this feat mean that it is very hard to actually employ. Add to that the difficulty of actually beating Defence + DV on the odd occasion the feat is useful, and Ranged Finesse seems to me to be a rather large waste of a feat slot.

Do others with more experience with the system consider the feat worthwhile? If so, why? If not, does anyone feel removing the aiming requirement (effectively allowing all shots at 30' or less to be finessed) would be inappropriate?

Note that I'm not looking to make archers APFSDS-DU armour killers. Just make the feat a little more enticing, and provide them with a little more utility.

Oh, and while I'm here, anyone care to take a look at my Web of Death thread and comment?
It's the "spend a round aiming" part that bugs me. Why wouldn't I be able to spend a round aiming at, say, 100'? Okay, maybe that's too far...say 65' just to pull a distance out of thin air. Finesse indicates to me an amazing ammount of skill, and it's always been my understanding that shooting attacks in D&D took into account aiming.

It's no harder to roll high on a archary attack than it is to roll high on a dagger attack and gain the effects of Finesse. That's not an issue. Arrow damage being low compared to other weapons for combat within 30' makes me wonder, but ya know...all it takes is one Crit at 30' range with a 1d8 arrow x 3. That's gonn a hurt.

The round aiming means that enemies get to have a round to close and will then likely be in an adjacent square, so does the round of aiming begin within 30' or beyond 30' and shooting only when the target is within 30'?

Whatdo they list as prereqs?
SableWyvern said:
The rules for Grappling only list Str as an ability modifier. However, creatures with higher Dex than Str all add Dex to their Grapple bonuses.

Is Dex a legitimate Grapple modifier, or is this an error in the creature stat blocs?
Dex should only be a legitimate Grapple modifier if it mentions in the creatures description that it has the ability to do so...

It's similar to vermin in D&D using Dex for Climb rolls instead of Str.
Ranged Finesse pre-req: Precise Shot.

Requires a full round action aiming. The target can begin at any range, but must be within 30' when the shot is taken. Only the first shot taken after the aiming can be Finessed.

Pretty much, makes it useful for the first round of an ambush, and only then. Admitedly, it is quite potent in those circumstances, given that the target will likely be flat-footed. But it is practically useless in any other circumstance. Especially with multiple attacks, an archer would almost certainly be better served taking their shots and hoping for a crit over the course of the round that would otherwise be spent aiming.

Anyway, Sutek, you seem tenatively in agreement with my inclination to remove the aiming requirement but otherwise keep as is.

Spydacarnage: Interesting. The animals in C:AE seem to be using strength, but all the monsters with Dex higher than Str use Dex, with no explanation why. Unless I'm misreading something - only the Bodiless Slimer has it's total grapple bonus itemised, which includes Dex. For the rest, I'm just reverse-engineering the final value, which seems to be indicating a Dex add.

Edit: back-engineering? :roll:
I would say that a ranged finesse shot should only be in the first range increment (far shot can increase this) and does not require a turn to aim.

I just read a non-Conan Sword-and-Sorcery short story in which the archer intentionally put an arrow into the eye slot of the helmet of a nearly impregnably armored foe.

That's a finesse shot, not a critical. A crticial relies on pure luck. A finesse shot means you can pull off a stunt like that becasue of skill and with relatively predictable results.
I agree 100%. It should be something based off of other feats as pre-rewquisites rather than actions in a round. If I'm a 20th level guy and I still gotta aim to pull that off...something isn't right.
Evilschemer said:
I would say that a ranged finesse shot should only be in the first range increment (far shot can increase this) and does not require a turn to aim.

Thats 150 feet for far shot with a Shemite bow!!

While the feat might not seem entirely "fantasy realistic" it sounds balanced. Compare a melee combatant with an archer. Bows do damage comparable to melee weapons plus St bonus damage and have AP of comparable value as well. But the archer doens't have to stand next to his opponent and risk being hit back.
I could see a Thief using the precise shot feat to take a guard out by surprise. 5th level thief d12 bow maybe +2 for STR and +1 for point blank shot 3d8 sneak attack damage ignoring armor and trying to cause a death save.
Once the combat is joined the same thief prowls the edge of the battle keeping his friends between himself and his target and snipes at them.
I would be careful simply increasing the range and taking out the aiming requirement, I believe it would be far too powerful. Maybe you could give the archer the option, aim and use the feat as is, don't aim and get -5(?) to hit. Would make it really hard to hit but if your high level.

Sutek said:
arrow damage is nowhere near comprable to melee weapons...

Are we looking at the same game?
broadsword d10 +str
Shemite Bow d10+str

War sword d12+str
Bossonian Longbow d12+Str

Arbalest 2d8 AP 6

I havent got the book in front of me so I can't remember the ath AP of the bows though Im sure the Shemite bow is around 3 and the Bossonian is around 5 or 6.
Sure these are exotic weapons but if you are looking to make an archer character aren't you going to choose one that gets the appropriate exotic feat for free?

So how is that not comparable? Or are you considering power attack, big two handed weapons(which aren't finessable) and that sort of thing. Or are just looking at Hunting bows?

spydacarnage said:
Ranged weapons lose AP over distance...

Absolutely. But most melee weapons aren't useful beyond 5 feet. For thrown weapons this will probably be an issue but most of the bows probably not, especially for a character with far shot.
The problem with aim plus range 30' is threefold:

While aiming, it is eminently possible that your target will move beyond 30', move adjacent to you, or not enter the 30' range if already beyond it. In any of these three cases, a wasted round.

While aiming, a character is losing up to 4 non-finessed attacks. A character with 3 attacks who manages to successfully aim and fire (regardless of the results) four times over the course of a battle, has missed out on at least 12 opportunities to deal damage and crits.

For all this, he is given one finessed attack each time. Against armour heavy enough for the finesse to be offer a reasonable reward for his efforts, there is a fair chance that he won't manage to roll high enough to gain a worthwhile result anyway.

Once every other round at the absolute maximum, for a feat whose utility is always uncertain until after it is employed, seems overly harsh.

I think that I will settle for no aiming, but keep the 30' limit -- that being the consistent range at which the game limits other kinds of highly accurate shots (ie, sneak attack, point blank shot).

Thanks for your thoughts.
AZZA said:
So how is that not comparable? Or are you considering power attack, big two handed weapons(which aren't finessable) and that sort of thing. Or are just looking at Hunting bows?

It's all about the feats, man. 8)

Bows are still screwey in all versions of d20 games, but Conan is at least closer. Arrow tips are designed to dig in and keep causing damage, but the thing is, HP damage isn't really wound damage - it's fatigue. The result is ther will never be realistic damage for arrows. Pull and release pounds are increased and because all that impact is hitting with the same or greater force than a man can swing a sword but compressed right on the point of the arrow tip...hundred of pounds of pressure in less than a square millimeter. ConanRPG bows get closer by virtue of dealing more damage, but it's still not equivalent when you take even feats like Cleave into account. Close combat is intended to be the mean of the combat system and so archery falls by the wayside a little.

I plan to institute a penalty to shooting within 30' anyway, so aiming will muck with that even more than what it does now. I don't think it's necessary because I assume a western philosophy of archery - aim/fire. Eastern archery is based on Zen and feeling the shot and all that, so aiming is never a consieration. You just train yourself to know when to loose the arrow. This is how Japanese Samurai nailed rabbits and quail from horseback at full gallop - raise/loose. Speed or release was more emphasized than in western style.

A war sword is finessable and some larger weapons are too. However, because of the way they operate, they don't need to be on the whole. Damage jacks up pretty fast and pretty soon they can hurt with consideration of DR. On top of that, heavy weapons that cannot be Finessed have better AP. On top of that there are more feats to make the more productive. Archery just doesn't size up. This type of feat goes a ways towards helping out, but the round of aiming is a little silly IMO.
I've had a bit of a back flip on this one :D
I was thinking about it and it occured to me that aiming for a full round just isn't really practical. After holding a bow knocked and drawn for 6 seconds I can't imagine your aim getting any better, only getting worse as your arms tire from the strain. Even holding up a crossbow or arbalest for that long is going to start to tire someone out.
I still think the base weapon damages are compareable but feats do maketh the man!
So I had a thought. Why not make finesse range attacks part of the standard rules and then include a feat progression?
I was thinking something along the lines of

Standard rule;
Character takes a move action to aim at his target. He must make a spot role vs DC 10 + targets DR to pick the weak point in the armor. If successful he may make a ranged attack up to 30 feet as finesse attack. The characters strength is still added to hs AP for determining DR if he does not exceed the defenders DV by his DR or more.

Ok thats the standard rule. Then you can add in the feat

Finesse Shot
Prerequiste: precise shot(?)
Benefit: Character takes a move action to aim at his target. He may then perform a a ranged attack up to 30 feet as finesse attack. The characters strength is still added to hs AP for determining DR if he does not exceed
the defenders DV by his DR or more.

Improved Finesse Shot
Prerequisite: Finesse Shot, Improved precise shot
Benefit: Character may aim as a free action

I think we should leave in the STR to AP as I can't see how the arrow would hit wiht any less impact.

I know I have left the aiming in but I think it is a good idea, but not for a whole round.


That's essentially what I plan to do as a house rule.

I want a penalty to shooting within 30 feet, one that gets worse the closer in you get, so that shooting an arrow with opponents next to you not only provokes an AOO, but it's also not even likely to hit because targets are moving around too quickly. Bows are ranged weapons, not at all intended to shoot that close. That's what x-bows are for.

-0 = ? 30'
-2 = 29' - 20'
-4 = 19' - 10'
-6 = less than 10'

Through advancememt and attribute point allocation, someone wanting to excell in archery can do so. It's not easy, but it's possible.

I'd then create two or three feats that reduce those penalties and create some that add trick shots and those kinds of special things to make archers just flat out cooler. This latter area is where I see Finesse shot falling, somewhere up the ladder after a couple of key archery feats are reducing penalties substantially.

However, I will also suggest that arrows are Light and always count as finesse attacks when I run Conan. Even at a huge range, taking into consideration penalties for range increments, a high roll should always ignore the targets DR for armor worn - that's why arrows were invented in real life and I can't rationalize otherwise in a realistic low-fantasy environment, particularly with the level of brutality and violence inherent to the Conan genre.

How d'ya like them apples... :lol:
My PC's would linch me if I put in a penalty for firing at close range. :lol:

Maybe what is needed are some archery maneuvers?
Yeah, I'm with AZZA. I wouldn't get lynched, but I'm pretty sure at least some players would be disgruntled (although they'd probably accept my judgement). I wouldn't try to convince them though, because I'm not sure I agree anyway. There is some merit in the idea, but I'm not sure it is really accurate. At point blank range, yeah, but AoOs are already enough disincentive for me.

I have decided to steal some of AZZA's ideas and some of Sutek's for my final (at this stage) decision.

Ranged Finesse requires aiming as a move-equivalent action, is effective under one range increment, and a shot that doesn't beat Defence + DR still uses AP + Str normally.

Thanks guys.
Well, the more I think about it, the more I've reconsidered a bit. I won't make it so harsh, but there'll still be a penalty. I'll make it simpler to remember too.

-0 = 30',25'
-2 = 20',15'
-4 = 10',5'

-6 penalties are reserved in the general mechanics for things that are super difficult you manage (like fighting with 2 big swords) so the penalties don't need to go that high.

Reading the synopsis again, I also noticed some other things I don't dig on too much about the new Ranged Finesse feat.

a) it takes a Full Rnd Action to aim and half the next to shoot.
b) the shot can be held for 5rounds + STRb
c) That the effect is cancled if the target moves more than 40 feet in the aim rnd
d) you can Ready and attack after 1 full round aiming, which would seem to already be the case in the first place (full round aiming, top of next round shoot) when what would actually have to occur is to use Ready as normal, burn the other half of that round and then affect the Readied attack in the next (third) round. (full round aiming, Ready(std action), next round shoot at new INIT as Std action)

"A" was the initial gripe, but "b" thru "d" are new. This rules seems deliberately harsh and overly restricted.

I could see other feats as being the intent here, such that Finesse Shot ends up being a base which springboards into other Feats, so maybe that's where they're going here.

Here's where we are. PBS is the core feat with subsequent feats in the tree at varrying intervals, Note that Ranged Finesse not only has all the restrictions in the text, but also requires two previous feats (Point Blank & Precise) This list does not include other benefiial feats that are not weapon specific (like Weapon Focus or Specialization):

Point Blank Shot: bonus ATT & DAM at 30' or less
* Far Shot: increases range increments
* Precise shot: shoot into melee without penalty
* * Ranged Finesse: shots can be Finessed
* * Improved Precise Shot: ignores cover and concealment if less than 100%; shoot chose oponent if grappling
* Rapid Shot: extra shot but both shots at penalty
  • My ideas:
  • Tracking Shot: You can shoot at targets on the move suffering no penalties due to target speed/rate of movement; Fly By ATT provokes AOO
  • Pin Point Shot: can sunder light objects or affect Disarms at range; if circumstances allow, can pin targets to hard surfaces.
  • Missile Missive: can perform shots that hit with such precision as to hit exactly where intended. Also grants the effects of Syunning Attack feat with ranged weapon only
Note also that these three feat ideas have no prerequisites (haven't given it that much thought) and that such requirements woul dhave to fit the idea that I feel Ranged Finesse is misplaced and too difficult in the ranged feat selections.