While looking at the feat Weapon Finesse the FAQ/Errata caught my eye.

If I have Weapon Finesse, can I apply my Dex bonus to my combat maneuver checks instead of my Strength bonus??

It depends on what combat maneuver you're attempting. Disarm, sunder, and trip are normally the only kinds of combat maneuvers in which you’re actually using a weapon to perform the maneuver, and therefore the weapon’s bonuses apply to the roll. Therefore, if you're attempting a disarm, sunder, or trip maneuver, you can apply your Dex bonus instead of your Str mod on the combat maneuver check (assuming you're using a finessable weapon, of course).

And a fighter with the Archer Archetype can use combat maneuvers with bows thanks to the trick shot ability;

At 3rd level, an archer can choose one of the following combat maneuvers or actions: disarm, feint, or sunder. He can perform this action with a bow against any target within 30 feet, with a –4 penalty to his CMB. Every four levels beyond 3rd, he may choose an additional trick shot to learn. These maneuvers use up arrows as normal.

At 11th level, he may also choose from the following combat maneuvers: bull rush, grapple, trip. A target grappled by an arrow can break free by destroying the archer’s arrow (hardness 5, hit points 1, break DC 13) or with an Escape Artist or CMB check (against the archer’s CMD –4).

So, since it's established that if you use a finessable weapon to perform a combat maneuver with weapon finesse feat you can use your dexterity modifier in place of strength, am I correct in assuming that since you already add your dexterity to ranged attack rolls you use dexterity modifier instead of strength with Trick Shot without needing weapon finesse?


3 Answers 3


I strongly disagree with Phill.Zit's reading here. Your own quote says it all:

the weapon’s bonuses apply to the roll.

It goes on to clarify ('therefore…') this would require a finesse weapon. But bows use Dex as their bonus despite not being finesse weapons, so should use Dex for these checks.

In fact, I'll go further and say you have to use Dex. Finesse weapons give you the choice, whereas bows do not.

And note the wording on the types of combat maneuvers it applies to. Normally with a bull-rush or grapple

you're [not] actually using a weapon

so you'd be forced to use Str. But again, here you are using a bow so must use Dex.


By RAW, no. I cannot find anywhere that states a weapon that uses DEX instead of STR should do the same for CMB (speculation: these are generally ranged weapons, which mostly cannot be used for combat maneuvers). The Archer Archetype's Trick Shot does not specifically state to use DEX over STR, Bows are not a 'finessable' weapon, and there is a specific feat that allows it (Agile Maneuvers).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Indeed. Frankly, I'd limit the amount of Str you can add to the CMB by the Str rating of a composite bow (and remove it entirely if you weren't using one). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 15:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CanCanbek Using the DEX mod does not make it a 'finesse' weapon. The Errata specifically names 'finessable weapons'. I am confused by your confusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – Phill.Zitt
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 17:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe the Weapon finesse errata is only mentioned in the question to establish a precedence of using dex mod to add to combat maneuver roles. The real question is to determine if Trick Shot allows you to add dex mod instead of str mod when normally attacking with a bow already uses dex. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ellesedil Exactly! \$\endgroup\$
    – Can Canbek
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 19:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you @Ellesedil. I would never have thought through the question like that. I have updated my answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Phill.Zitt
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 19:57

You should be able to choose whether to apply your Str or Dex modifier -- see also Kobold Press' New Paths: Feats: Ranged Disarm (p. 97).


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