Certain melee weapons are as well suited to finesse as to brute force. These include all light weapons and several one-handed or two-handed piercing weapons. These weapons are known as finesse weapons. For convenience, finesse weapons are identified as such in the Weapons table.

Any character who is armed with a finesse weapon may use his Dexterity modifier instead of his Strength modifier on attack rolls with that weapon. A character who does so is known as a finesse fighter. Note that it is possible for a character to alter his combat technique during a combat, switching from using his Dexterity modifier to using his Strength modifier. Most characters will prefer to use one or the other technique more or less continuously but a Player may, if desired, declare which technique he will use at the beginning of each combat round.

Ranged weapons may never be used with finesse combat, as they already rely on Dexterity rather than Strength.

Finesse and Armor

Finesse fighters do not seek to batter their way through armor but rather to find the crevices and chinks that even the finest armor must have. For example, a finesse fighter might strike between two plates of armor, thrusting his weapon up through a joint, or he might simply attack the face of an opponent wearing an open-faced helmet such as a steel cap.

If a finesse fighter’s attack roll beats the target’s Defense by a number equal to at least the DR of the armor, that armor is completely ignored.

Furthermore, finesse fighters never damage armor when making their attacks, even when they do not bypass it entirely.

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