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Does Deadly Agility work with light thrown weapons?

Deadly Agility (Combat)

Prerequisite(s): Weapon Finesse

Benefit(s): You may add your Dexterity modifier in place of your Strength modifier when wielding a light weapon or a weapon that gains the benefits of the Weapon Finesse feat (such as the rapier) when determining additional damage inflicted upon a successful attack.

When wielding a weapon in your off-hand, Deadly Agility will add the same fraction of Dexterity as you normally would for Strength.

I'm just asking as RAW "add your Dexterity modifier in place of your Strength modifier when wielding a light weapon or a weapon that gains the benefits of the Weapon Finesse feat" since there are weapon the are light that can be thrown (daggers, shuriken, darts, etc.).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Shurikens and darts are not light weapons, they are ranged weapons. They also are not mentioned under the Weapon Finesse feat. Deadly Agility would not allow you to substitute your Desterity modifier for your Strength modifier with these weapons because they do not qualify. \$\endgroup\$
    – ruffdove
    Mar 21 at 4:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ruffdove See here under Thrown Weapons. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 21 at 4:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's only in the context of two-weapon fighting to determine a to-hit penalty. \$\endgroup\$
    – ruffdove
    Mar 21 at 14:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ruffdove That’s true... ish. Unfortunately, while you’re right that the statement exists specifically for discussing two-weapon fighting, the authors forgot that fact constantly, and often assume that they are treated as light everywhere. Many tables assume the same. So it’s not really reasonable to assume they’re not supposed to work with things for light weapons. For instance, I know the people who wrote Deadly Agility personally—I really doubt they intended to exclude darts and shurikens. (I haven’t asked because unfortunately Path of War is... a bit of a sore subject.) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Mar 21 at 23:06
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Nothing about Deadly Agility says anything about applying only to melee attacks, so yes, ranged attacks with a light weapon, e.g. by throwing it, would still benefit. You’re wielding a light weapon, you make a successful (ranged, in this case) attack with it, you get to use Dexterity instead of Strength on the damage roll.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Over this combat-heavy game's 20 year publication history, neither of its major publishers ever defined wield. So, yeah, while I'm good with rounding up ("I have to wield it to throw it, I guess"), without guidance from the game it seems just as possible to round down ("Once a weapon's no long in hand, it's not wielded"). \$\endgroup\$ Mar 21 at 3:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan As far as I am concerned, a GM who made that call would be a GM I’m not really interested in playing with. The authors didn’t carefully define it, which means they weren’t using it carefully, so nit-picking about it is inconsistent with what the authors considered important to emphasize. And there certainly isn’t any compelling balance, narrative, or gameplay reason to bar the interaction. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Mar 21 at 3:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ RE: "The authors didn’t carefully define it, which means they weren’t using it carefully, so nit-picking about it is inconsistent with what the authors considered important to emphasize." That seems an awfully slippery slope. I mean, the game doesn't use the word level particularly carefully either, but that term remains incredibly important. Why support what is, essentially, bad game writing? Seriously, at no point in a game that has combat as its central feature should a player feel it necessary to ask a message board what the game means by wield! \$\endgroup\$ Mar 21 at 3:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan As a critique of the rules-writing by WotC and Paizo here, I completely agree. My comment was a defense of this answer, not their work. They should have been more careful. But they weren’t. And nerfing an already-weak fighting style over nit-picking the “intended meaning” of a word that clearly was not chosen carefully or given the consideration it was due is simply the wrong choice, in context. But I really didn’t, and don’t, want to get into all of that in this answer. The querent’s English comprehension skills are already minimal. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Mar 21 at 12:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ For those interested in the controversy: Relevant threads from the Paizo messageboards include but aren;'t limited to this one from 2013, another from 2014, and one from 2015. By the way it seems that most tend to agree with this answer, but everybody is still pretty much guessing. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 21 at 13:40
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You aren't wielding a weapon anymore when you threw it so cannot apply dexterity to damage. Moreover it calls Weapon Finesse as a prerequisite which is a melee feat (you already use dexterity for ranged attacks) so no it doesn't work with thrown weapons.

Definition of wield in English dictionary (Merriam Webster): to hold (something, such as a tool or weapon) in your hands so that you are ready to use it.

By definition, throwing something is not holding it.

“Wield.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wield. Accessed 30 Apr. 2021.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Setting aside the shaky meaning of "wielding", Weapon Finesse doesn't say anything about being a melee feat in the rules text (granted, it does in the fluff text, but it's the rules text that's important). Limiting Weapon Finesse to melee attacks would probably be a better path to what I think you're trying to get at. \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Apr 1 at 21:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Even if Weapon Finesse were melee only (and I admit, I cannot imagine how you would use it with a ranged attack, since I don’t know of any Strength-based ranged attacks), a feat doesn’t automatically become melee-only just because it has a prerequisite that is. Nothing in Deadly Agility says you have to be using Weapon Finesse, just that you have to have it (and, if your weapon isn’t light, it must be the sort of weapon that would benefit if you did use it—but again, that doesn’t mean you have to use it, just that the weapon be the right kind of thing). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 1 at 22:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ You don't wield a weapon when you throw it so you can't use your dex bonus, that's RAW. The fact that it has Weapon Finesse as a prerequisite just clearly proves that the intent was that it's only for melee weapons, that's RAI. People can try to twist English as much as they want, but I don't think there's much doubt about the rule. \$\endgroup\$
    – jtblin
    Apr 30 at 10:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ English definition for "wield a weapon": to hold (something, such as a tool or weapon) in your hands so that you are ready to use it. There's nothing shaky about this... Source: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wield \$\endgroup\$
    – jtblin
    Apr 30 at 10:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Everything is context-dependent, particularly in rules text. “Wield” is a game term (albeit a poorly-defined one, see comments between HeyICanChan and I on my answer), so its usual English-language definition is not automatically the full story. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 30 at 13:15

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