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Normally, my melee attack rolls use my Strength bonus. Weapon Finesse allows me to use Dexterity instead of Strength when using light weapons and specifies that natural weapons are considered light weapons.

Does that extend to touch attacks? Specifically, if I use a touch spell, can I use Weapon Finesse to use my Dexterity bonus instead of Strength?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Yes. You can use weapon finesse when attacking with your finger as an unarmed strke and when using it to deliver a touch attack.

Unarmed Strikes (your finger) counts as light weapons and qualify for weapon finesse.

From the d20pfsrd page about unarmed strike (emphasis mine)

An unarmed strike is always considered a light weapon. Therefore, you can use the Weapon Finesse feat to apply your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier to attack rolls with an unarmed strike. Unarmed strikes do not count as natural weapons (see Combat). The damage from an unarmed strike is considered weapon damage for the purposes of effects that give you a bonus on weapon damage rolls.

However, This does not directly extend to making touch attacks. Touch attacks count as 'armed' unarmed attacks. Since unarmed attacks are considered light weapons, they qualify for weapon finesse.

“Armed” Unarmed Attacks: Sometimes a character's or creature's unarmed attack counts as an armed attack. A monk, a character with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, a spellcaster delivering a touch attack spell, and a creature with natural physical weapons all count as being armed (see natural attacks).

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I couldn't find any direct indication that touch spells should count as light weapons for this purpose. But:

  1. It's completely consistent with how finesse is applied: you can use it on unarmed strikes and natural attacks. To quote an old paizo forum thead on this issue: "it's obvious that Weapon Finesse should count even though there seems to be no clear textual proof."

  2. There is precedent from D&D 3.5. Complete Arcane (p.73) describes how various feats apply to "weaponlike spells":

    Weapon Finesse: You can treat touch spells as light weapons, and use your Dexterity modifier (instead of your Strength modifier) on your touch attack rolls with such spells.

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This answer looks like it only applies to dnd3.5, while the question is tagged pathfinder. – Colin D Jun 6 '14 at 19:46
@ColinD Odd, thought I'd seen a 3.5 tag. Must have been confusing two questions. – starwed Jun 6 '14 at 19:55
@starweed, personally I like this answer, due to the relationship between 3.5 and pathfinder. I think it just needs a note about it using a 3.5 rules quote. – Colin D Jun 6 '14 at 20:03


Touch attacks can be used with weapon finesse.

So can Unarmed Strikes.

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Could you source that, please? – 3Doubloons Jun 6 '14 at 8:09

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