Dragon Punch: MAD Monks and Nimble elves

The option to swap the function of one ability score modifier for another is one of the holy grails of some Pathfinder RPG character designs. However, the ability scores are balanced the way they are for a reason. If a character can depend on a single ability score for everything, the character can focus on options to boost that one score to much, much higher levels. A character that seems reasonable using only Charisma more everything at 3rd level can be a broken monster by 9th.

OTOH, some character concepts just don’t work well using the game as written. In some cases, that’s fine (neither Superman nor the Hulk can work in Pathfinder without either breaking Pathfinder, or significantly downgrading expectations on performance). In other cases it’s unfortunate that an option for one character build is often excluded because it could make other builds off-scale. This is one reason ability-modifier-altering abilities tend to be carefully controlled. Dexterity is powerful enough without every character being able to add 1.5x Dex their bonus to damage with an elven curveblade.

So every ability-swap power is treading into dangerous territory. Here’s a feat that’s an example of an effort to open up reasonable character options, without breaking the floodgates.

Dragon Punch

You can focus your inner power for a short time to deliver powerful strikes.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, Wis 13, Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist.

Benefit: Once per round as a free action you can expend one use of Stunning Fist to add your Wisdom bonus (in place of any other ability score bonus) to all your unarmed attack damage until the beginning of your next turn. You may do this at any time, including after you make a successful attack roll or damage roll.

You cannot use Dragon Punch and Stunning Fist on the same round.

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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on September 30, 2016, in Game Design, Pathfinder Development and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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