I had the fun idea of making a cavalier that was a small race (gnome, halfling, etc) so they could ride a medium-sized mount and run around indoors.

The only problem is that I want to use a lance (for its double damage while charging), but the melee damage/attack rolls resulting from using a lance in combat are Strength based, and small creatures such as those listed above receive a penalty to strength. Is there a way to make the rolls with a lance be based on, say, Dexterity? Maybe something like Weapon Finesse, but can be applied to the lance?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does it have to be a lance? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 19, 2015 at 18:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess technically not, but the lance gets to do double damage when charging while mounted, so it seemed to be best. \$\endgroup\$
    – Barillas
    Mar 19, 2015 at 18:19
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that weapon finesse is for attack rolls, not damage. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 19, 2015 at 18:20

3 Answers 3


There's a weapon and an accessory that may help

  • The magic weapon mammoth lance (Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the North 29) (32,310 gp; 10 lbs.) grants the wielder the ability to use the wielder's mount's Strength bonus for the weapon's bonus to damage instead of the wielder's own while wielding the weapon and mounted on an animal (yes, only an animal).
  • The slotless item effortless lace (2,500 gp; 0 lbs.) becomes an inseparable part of any 1-handed piercing or slashing weapon around whose grip it's wrapped for 24 hours, and, thereafter, allows that 1-handed weapon to be used as a light weapon. A 2-handed weapon normally, the lance can be wielded in one hand while mounted.

Then it's up to the GM whether effortless lace on a lance actually makes the lance while wielded one-handed while mounted enough of a light weapon so it qualifies for use with such feats as Weapon Finesse.

Alternately, after the character applies the effortless lace to a lance, the GM may require the character to spend 24 hours wielding his lance while mounted so the lace can adhere properly.


Depending on how your DM feels about using 3.5 material, you might have the option using a Feycraft Lance (extra 1,500g gp price tag, but non-magical so it can be bought before the weapons enhanced). The lance will be treated as a size category smaller for it's damage dice, but will count as Light for the purpose of weapon finesse.

Adding that feature to a Mammoth Lance (Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the North 29) leaves you with a lance that costs 33,810 gp, but with the Weapon Finesse feat, you use your Dex to hit and your Mount's Str for damage, which is a cool and reasonably accurate modeling of actual jousting mechanics.


The way I understand the question is how to make a dex based mounted charger, and the following is my solution attempt.

Hey I Can Chan mentioned a great solution (using a magic item to make a lance a light weapon), but it depends on the GM being okay with it because the lance is only a one handed weapon while mounted.

If he is okay with it here's how to get the most out of it:

  • Weapon Finesse (duh! it's why you got that lance-upgrade) for Dex to Attacks
  • Spirited Charge for x3 damage on a mounted charge with a lance
  • Agile magical property (on the "light" lance) for Dex to Damage
  • Piranha Strike for slight Attack penalty for increased Damage

However, even if he says no, you're not screwed yet, if all you want is a dex based charger.

You can still get double damage while mounted charging with Spirited Charge using other weapons.

If you have Str 13 you can take regular Power Attack with a agile Elven Curve Blade (and Weapon Finesse) for decent damage. - You'd want Power Attack over Piranha strike, because it let's you increase the Damage bonus you get when using two handed weapons (which the Elven Curve Blade is. It being light means you can "finesse" it as well). Note that it's an exotic weapon proficiency (thus requiring special training/feat) unless you're an elf, for whom they're martial.

Alternatively if you don't have Str 13 and you can't afford agile a Dervish Dancer (Dex to Damage if Scimitar and off-hand empty/not used) with Weapon Finesse and Piranha Strike gives you double damage with Dex to Attack and Damage while doing a mounted charge while wielding a Scimitar as long as there's nothing in your other hand. However it doesn't match the fluff of Dervish Dancer very well (given that you're not going to be dancing on the horse you're on...)

If neither of the above get any agile light weapon with Spirited Charge, Weapon Finesse and Piranha Strike.

Perhaps a rogue with the Scout archetype (sneak attack when charging at level 4) could add some damage potential.

Lastly as a Paladin using Smite you'd get extra Damage (in certain circumstances, a lot in some campaigns) -- which combined with a lance charge can lead to some surprising damage.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The scimitar thing seems absolutely unrelated to the question asked, as does the later curve blade thing, the statement about keen is just flat-out wrong (keen doubles the critical threat range, nothing to do with ability scores at all). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Mar 19, 2015 at 19:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ups! Meant agile! --- Edit: and apparently I suck at reading! I really thought it said "I'd like to use a lance, but it doesn't work so how do I get a mounted dex charger"... strange how strongly I misread that. Edit2: It was because of the question-asker's comment which said "I guess technically not, but the lance gets to do double damage when charging while mounted, so it seemed to be best." to the question whether it would have to be a lance. \$\endgroup\$
    – Julix
    Mar 19, 2015 at 20:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting answer though. Abandons the lance, but optimizes for dex-based charging. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 19, 2015 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Updated the answer to focus more on lances. \$\endgroup\$
    – Julix
    Mar 19, 2015 at 20:32

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