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The Ectoplasmatist archetype for the Spiritualist gets an ability called Ectoplasmic Lash, which reads as follows:

Ectoplasmic Lash (Su)

At 1st level, as a full-round action an ectoplasmatist can manifest one or two lashes of ectoplasm tethered to her by wispy, ectoplasmic tendrils. If she manifests two lashes, she can wield them both as light melee weapons, each dealing 1d6 points of slashing damage (1d4 if the ectoplasmatist is Small) with a critical threat range and multiplier of 19–20/×2. If the ectoplasmatist manifests only one lash, she can manifest it either as a single one-handed melee weapon that deals 1d8 points of slashing damage (1d6 if the ectoplasmatist is Small) with a critical threat range and multiplier of 19–20/×2, or as a two-handed melee weapon that deals 2d6 points of bludgeoning damage (1d10 if the ectoplasmatist is Small) with a critical multiplier of ×2. Only the ectoplasmatist can wield or use these lashes. Dismissing any or all manifested lashes is a free action.

At 2nd level, the ectoplasmatist’s lashes gain a +1 enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls, and are treated as magic weapons.

[... various other add-ons at progressive levels ...]

This ability replaces etheric tether, phantom, shared consciousness, fused consciousness, spiritual bond, and empowered consciousness.

They gain the ability to manifest these weapons, but it never actually states anywhere that they gain proficiency with them. Is there some blanket ruling somewhere to say that you're always proficient with class-given abilities?

Similarly, the Warlock archetype for the Vigilante has the Mystic Bolts class feature, which also never explicitly grants proficiency, but it does talk about taking Weapon Focus, which would imply that they are proficient.

It really seems like the assumption is that they are proficient, but I'm trying to find a ruling on it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you really or also looking specifically for a Pathfinder Society ruling on these issues? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 12 '18 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ A ruling that will hold up in Society is preferred. \$\endgroup\$ – BRW Jun 12 '18 at 14:56
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For all purposes, Yes. However...

They aren't weapons, so the idea of "proficiency" isn't defined.

For the purposes of the question - yes, they're as close to proficient as you can get. They don't take non-proficiency penalties and they can take weapon focus and such with these attacks.

However, the premise of the question is flawed - Mystic Bolts, Ectoplasmic Lash, and other abilities aren't weapons. They don't appear in any weapon tables or descriptions, they are purely class abilities. They may be treated like weapons for the purposes of spells, feats, or other abilities (per their description), but at their core they aren't weapons.

For another example, look towards rays (or other touch attacks, or other class abilities). You can explicitly take Weapon Focus with Rays, but they themselves aren't weapons. They're effects, normally created by spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities (exceptions may exist).

Moreover, since they aren't weapons, you wouldn't be able to use the Martial/Exotic Weapon Proficiency feats to gain proficiency with them, so no-one would ever be able to gain proficiency in any of these abilities (including, but not limited to: Rays, Kineticist Blasts, Ectoplasmic Lash, Mystic Bolts, Melee/Ranged Touch attacks) unless they were explicitly given them by e.g. a class.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ While I mostly agree with everything you said here, it would be really helpful to find something to that effect in writing somewhere. Especially given that Weapon Focus DOES list proficiency with the weapon as a requirement. Big point of disagreement, though, Mystic Bolts and Ectoplasmic Lash both explicitly state that they function/count as weapons, so they definitely do. \$\endgroup\$ – BRW Jun 12 '18 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wayne I don't think you'll find anything that say attack forms that aren't listed as exotic, martial, or simple weapons don't require weapon proficiency. I think it may be one of the game's core assumptions. Delioth's nailed with a wizard's lack of proficiency with rays: everybody doesn't suffer a -4 penalty on attack rolls with rays because they aren't proficient; instead, nobody does because there's just no proficiency. (And, Delioth, the only reason I've not upvoted this answer is that I'd like it to have a friendlier header. :-)) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 12 '18 at 15:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Yeah, you're right; that was a little harsh. Couldn't think of anything succinct that fit the correct answer (since for all purposes you are proficient, but it's kind of a flawed premise to think they need proficiency). I think the new header is a bit less aggressive but still fits the answer \$\endgroup\$ – Delioth Jun 12 '18 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wayne Specific trumps General. Warlocks can explicitly take Weapon Focus for Mystic Bolts (same for Rays and Kineticists with their blasts). Ectoplasmic Lash functions as a weapon, but it isn't a real weapon so proficiency is undefined (just as something like Caltrops aren't a weapon, so proficiency isn't defined; anyone can use them without taking non-proficiency penalties). But it functions like a weapon so presumably Weapon Focus is a viable option. They may function as weapons (for the purposes of feats, actions, making attacks, etc) but they aren't actually weapons-PF lists all weapons. \$\endgroup\$ – Delioth Jun 12 '18 at 15:52

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