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Readying Attack vs. Arrows


Rules Questions

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4 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Could a character ready an action to "strike the next thing that comes at him" and use it to sunder arrows or shurikens out of the air?


No. A character could take the feats Deflect Arrows, Snatch Arrows and Throw Anything, and be able to snatch them out of the air and hurl them back at the attacker as an immediate action.


There are feats and class abilities that allow you to knock arrows out of the air, allowing anyone to do that with a ready action would invalidate everything else.


But would doing so be against the rules or just unmentioned as far as the rules are concerned?


IMHO, Yes you could do so, although not Sundering per se, but just attacking an unattended object. (probably easier)
You could even Ready a Cleave for that purpose, although how many projectiles are simultaneously in the air is rather up in the air rules-wise (except for Double Shot, which seems explicitly at the same time).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Anything unmentioned is against the rules because the rules don't tell you what you can't do they tell you what you can do.


I don't think I've seen it specifically covered in the rules.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

There's really no mechanic for attacking an arrow mid-air (excepting the appropriate feat(s)). For one thing, what's the AC of an arrow in flight?

Andoran

No. Using your weapon as a defense against ranged attack isn't something you could do normally without a feat, so why should you be able to ready an action to do it?

You can full defense, but this isn't baseball. Take the feat or you can't do it at all.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes. You could 100% do this. There is absolutely nothing stopping you from having your character ready an action to sunder arrows or shuriken.

Now, unless you have a feat or ability that allows you to sunder incoming ammunition, your attempts will be entirely and embarrassingly futile.

But you can certainly do it.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Yes. You could 100% do this. There is absolutely nothing stopping you from having your character ready an action to sunder arrows or shuriken.

Now, unless you have a feat or ability that allows you to sunder incoming ammunition, your attempts will be entirely and embarrassingly futile.

But you can certainly do it.

Why? Are arrows immune to damage or the broken or destroyed condition? or is it that I said "sunder" instead of "attack and deal damage to an object"?


Knowledge: Ninjaneering wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Yes. You could 100% do this. There is absolutely nothing stopping you from having your character ready an action to sunder arrows or shuriken.

Now, unless you have a feat or ability that allows you to sunder incoming ammunition, your attempts will be entirely and embarrassingly futile.

But you can certainly do it.

Why? Are arrows immune to damage or the broken or destroyed condition? or is it that I said "sunder" instead of "attack and deal damage to an object"?

You could say "attack and deal damage" and I'd have said the same thing.

The issue is that unless your character has the ability to "attack and deal damage" to incoming arrows or shuriken, then he can't do it.

He can try though.

If I were your GM and you tried this without any feats, abilities or magical enhancements to allow it, I'd probably come up with a reflex or dex DC and give you a shot at it. Maybe you could knock one down.

Go ahead and try!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Arrows are an object. It is implied that arrows indeed fly thru the air in a straigt-ish line from shooter to target, i.e. are momentarily present in all points along such line. Nothing gives arrows immunity to being targeted as an object while in flight. If a Dragon simultaneously drop from great height both a Human with Greatsword and a bundle of Arrows (each from a different claw), nothing stops the Human from attacking/ Readying attacks vs. the arrows who are free-floating in air next to him.

Sunder PER SE doesn't work, because Sunder is targetted vs. A CREATURE who is wielding a weapon/armor, and you need to threaten said CREATURE to initiate a Sunder. Reach Weapons users are benefiited by this, because their non-Reach targets don't threaten them to Sunder their weapon, and the weapon definitely is ATTENDED, so it can't be attacked that way. But arrows in flight are obviously not 'attended', they're just moving fast - which has no mechanical effect per RAW.


Quandary wrote:

Arrows are an object. It is implied that arrows indeed fly thru the air in a straigt-ish line from shooter to target, i.e. are momentarily present in all points along such line. Nothing gives arrows immunity to being targeted as an object while in flight. If a Dragon simultaneously drop from great height both a Human with Greatsword and a bundle of Arrows (each from a different claw), nothing stops the Human from attacking/ Readying attacks vs. the arrows who are free-floating in air next to him.

Sunder PER SE doesn't work, because Sunder is targetted vs. A CREATURE who is wielding a weapon/armor, and you need to threaten said CREATURE to initiate a Sunder. Reach Weapons users are benefiited by this, because their non-Reach targets don't threaten them to Sunder their weapon, and the weapon definitely is ATTENDED, so it can't be attacked that way. But arrows in flight are obviously not 'attended', they're just moving fast - which has no mechanical effect per RAW.

GO ahead and try this in a PFS game and see how they interpret RAW.

As for my own games, I have already said how I'd rule. I routinely ignore the idiotic, anti-logical, bizarre implications of reading RAW literally.


Deflect Arrows/ Snatch Arrows doesn't require READYING an Action to pull off.


Quandary wrote:
Deflect Arrows/ Snatch Arrows doesn't require READYING an Action to pull off.

No, they have their own specific rules which you follow. I suspect that the OP asked about readying actions because his character doesn't have deflect or snatch arrows abilities.


I was mentioning that fact in this context:

Jodokai wrote:
There are feats and class abilities that allow you to knock arrows out of the air, allowing anyone to do that with a ready action would invalidate everything else.

That rationale fails when you acknowledge that Readying vs. Objects in Movement is a very different functionality to that granted by those Feats.


Quandary wrote:

Arrows are an object. It is implied that arrows indeed fly thru the air in a straigt-ish line from shooter to target, i.e. are momentarily present in all points along such line. Nothing gives arrows immunity to being targeted as an object while in flight. If a Dragon simultaneously drop from great height both a Human with Greatsword and a bundle of Arrows (each from a different claw), nothing stops the Human from attacking/ Readying attacks vs. the arrows who are free-floating in air next to him.

Sunder PER SE doesn't work, because Sunder is targetted vs. A CREATURE who is wielding a weapon/armor, and you need to threaten said CREATURE to initiate a Sunder. Reach Weapons users are benefiited by this, because their non-Reach targets don't threaten them to Sunder their weapon, and the weapon definitely is ATTENDED, so it can't be attacked that way. But arrows in flight are obviously not 'attended', they're just moving fast - which has no mechanical effect per RAW.

That's the way I've been seeing it. My group is pretty RAW solid but experimental with the unwritten. Mechanically, it doesn't seem overpowered. The feats that everyone are talking about let you ignore one arrow with no action on your part, which seems much better in my opinion. I was just wondering if it were possible.


GM discretion seems to be the best answer to the original question.

"Sure you can try but you know its hard as hell to do right?"


blahpers wrote:
There's really no mechanic for attacking an arrow mid-air (excepting the appropriate feat(s)). For one thing, what's the AC of an arrow in flight?

I would assume the same AC as any other unattended, fine-sized object.

10-5(Dex of 0)+8=13


1 person marked this as a favorite.

... moving at roughly 150 mph....


Knowledge: Ninjaneering wrote:
That's the way I've been seeing it. My group is pretty RAW solid but experimental with the unwritten. Mechanically, it doesn't seem overpowered. The feats that everyone are talking about let you ignore one arrow with no action on your part, which seems much better in my opinion. I was just wondering if it were possible.

Right. Over-all, it just seems more like a show-off move than some uber-effective tool/tactic.

If they are Double-Shotting you, it is only going to take down one arrow
(though Cleave plausibly could work there, it isn't going to help vs. a Full Attack)
meanwhile, you aren't really doing anything unless you have awesome Move Action options.

In a home game I would ban it if you are in Fog though, i.e. can't see further than 5' away.
(or maybe even require further vision distance, e.g. 30' or Line of Sight to attacker)
It also seems reasonable to apply concealment, as the arrow is moving so fast vs. normal visual perception.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
... moving at roughly 150 mph....

Hm... reminds me a bit of... Tennis?


Its perfectly possible. I've seen live demonstrations of Iaido masters cutting arrows in half in mid-air. It requires extreme skill and concentration. If I were your GM Id give you a chance and set an extremely high AC to hit an unattended object. If you hit and destroyed it in a single blow then the arrow doesn't hit you, otherwise you take damage as normal.


Quandary wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
... moving at roughly 150 mph....
Hm... reminds me a bit of... Baseball?

A typical major league pitcher throws a fastball at roughly 85-90mph.

A major league pitcher who can throw the ball at 100 mph is regarded as a "fireballer" and throws the ball right past most batters.

150mph is 50mph faster than a baseball.

If you really want to test this out, I highly recommend a real-world test. You can report back to us with your success.


Sorry I am not an Iado master, no professional athlete. I can answer rules questions OK though.

That the rules fail to model everything accurately is hardly constrained just to this case,
characters with high speed should probably get AC bonuses vs. movement AoOs, but they don't per RAW.


ciretose wrote:

No. Using your weapon as a defense against ranged attack isn't something you could do normally without a feat, so why should you be able to ready an action to do it?

Because the feat let you do it without readiyng an action.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Nicos wrote:
ciretose wrote:

No. Using your weapon as a defense against ranged attack isn't something you could do normally without a feat, so why should you be able to ready an action to do it?

Because the feat let you do it without readiyng an action.

One final comment and then I'll let those who want to exploit the rules to allow nonsense do whatever they want.

The feat doesn't "let you do it without readying an action." The feat let's you do it.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Shooting down creative solutions or ideas kind of defeats the point of actually playing an RPG with a living person in charge who can react to more than a short list of commands. Shooting down an arrow with another arrow is not impossible but extremely difficult. A ruling of "you can try and probably not succeed" is the best way to handle it.


chaoseffect wrote:
Shooting down creative solutions or ideas kind of defeats the point of actually playing an RPG with a living person in charge who can react to more than a short list of commands. Shooting down an arrow with another arrow is not impossible but extremely difficult. A ruling of "you can try and probably not succeed" is the best way to handle it.

Yeah, I already said that chaos, go look.

I'm now reacting to the ridiculosity of the arrow having an AC of 13.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
Shooting down creative solutions or ideas kind of defeats the point of actually playing an RPG with a living person in charge who can react to more than a short list of commands. Shooting down an arrow with another arrow is not impossible but extremely difficult. A ruling of "you can try and probably not succeed" is the best way to handle it.

Yeah, I already said that chaos, go look.

I'm now reacting to the ridiculosity of the arrow having an AC of 13.

Sorry about that, mostly skimmed the topic. <3


Adamantine Dragon wrote:


One final comment and then I'll let those who want to exploit the rules to allow nonsense do whatever they want.

The feat doesn't "let you do it without readying an action." The feat let's you do it.

Nothing prohibit it by RAW. And where is the nosense? it is not like it will be an easy challenge, as a DM i would allow it but the arrow would have a huge CMD.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

One final comment and then I'll let those who want to exploit the rules to allow nonsense do whatever they want.

The feat doesn't "let you do it without readying an action." The feat let's you do it.

...With your bare hands no less, but you see people deflecting bullets with weapons in other forms of media. The way I see it, a person with the feat is nonchalantly batting aside these pesky attacks, whereas the one without is focusing all his concentration (enough to where he's not attacking anyone else) to attempt to destroy the offending object. I'm not seeing a great mechanical advantage to disallow it.

Qadira

You can't ready an attack vs a reach attacking creature either w/o a feat. Stupid feat but it's how it is.

There are rules for parrying its a class ability. Take a full defense action instead it does what you want.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
Shooting down creative solutions or ideas kind of defeats the point of actually playing an RPG with a living person in charge who can react to more than a short list of commands. Shooting down an arrow with another arrow is not impossible but extremely difficult. A ruling of "you can try and probably not succeed" is the best way to handle it.

Yeah, I already said that chaos, go look.

I'm now reacting to the ridiculosity of the arrow having an AC of 13.

I notice that a cheetah gains no increase to AC for moving 500 ft a round (10x its normal speed) and nothing else gains an increase to AC for speed, such as a quickly who uses the run action.

An arrow is an object. Why could it not be attacked?


The rules don't say either way. In short, it is up to the GM. On the mythbuster show they did have a guy catch an arrow(eventually) and he was some martial arts guy. That makes me think it could be sundered, but I consider it to be waste of an action.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

To the OP;

Yes, you may attack objects as per the rules. You would have to ready an action to strike the ammunition as it was entering your threatened area / space, so that you could reach it with your weapon (unless you were trying to pull off something super ballsy like shooting someone else's arrow out of the air).

The only problem would be determining the object's AC. By default, an object that is in motion has an AC of 10 + size modifier + object's dexterity modifier (if any). However, as a GM, I'd probably rule that the attack was against the opponent's attack roll + special size modifier (so if the opponent rolled a 17 to hit you and the arrow was diminutive, you'd need to hit AC 21).

This is something only partially dealt with in the rules (we have rules for determining projectile trajectory, attacking objects, etc), and such instances are exactly what we have GMs for instead of pre-compiled scripts like with PC or Console RPGs.

Your typical arrow is probably diminutive or fine in size, judging by its general thickness (+4 to +8 AC due to size). So it wouldn't be easy by any means, but it seems reasonable that without enough skill (read: to hit modifiers) you could strike the oncoming projectile while it was in motion. This has been done by at least one real-life modern-day swordsman who can strike arrows or even cut an airsoft bullet in half while in motion.

Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke does this while swimming towards Iron Town, when the samurai are shooting arrows at him, and he breaks the arrows with his sword as they're approaching; forcing the commander to tell the archers to not waste their arrows since he was knocking them away or breaking them.

Deflect Arrows is a superior method for defending yourself against projectiles (auto-deflecting 1/round). I see no reason someone couldn't possess both Deflect Arrows and ready an action to strike an incoming object as well. Seems like a wonderful idea for someone who's tanking incoming projectiles (ideally providing his allies with soft cover and striking projectiles as they approach, potentially preventing them from passing them).

Incidentally, that reminds me a bit of Space Paladins who probably specialize in such things. :P

EDIT: If you wanted to do it regularly, you might even see about homebrewing some feats to allow you to take advantage of iterative attacks to do so, or to deflect multiple incoming attacks per round (such as being about to attempt to break an additional projectile when you get your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th attack).


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Allowing this, would open the possibility of blocking bullets, or ballista bolts, with your sword. This also means a commoner could possibly do this. The monk blocking bullets, is something I can wrap my head around, as the monk is a kind of super-human fighting machine practiced in doing this.
There are no rules around balancing on a small falling leaf, but that doesn't mean you could do it.


blackbloodtroll wrote:


There are no rules around balancing on a small falling leaf, but that doesn't mean you could do it.

No rules in Pathfinder. While balancing on a leaf isn't specifically mentioned, the Epic Level Handbook says you can balance on a liquid surface with a DC 90 Balance check. It also says that also "Includes any other surface that couldn’t support the character’s weight, such as a fragile branch." That would include leaves, I believe.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There are no epic level rules in Pathfinder.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
There are no epic level rules in Pathfinder.

Probably why I said "No rules in Pathfinder". Seeing as how Pathfinder is supposed to be backwards compatible, the rules from the Epic Level Handbook can still apply.

And Pathfinder does have its own epic rules - DR/epic still exists, the core rulebook has a few guidelines for beyond 2oth level play, and it even states:

Quote:
Rules for epic-level play like this exist in numerous products that are compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, although in many cases these alternative rules can provide unanticipated problems.

So yes, while Pathfinder doesn't really have epic material of its own, the epic material from prior rules versions is still perfectly usable.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I suppose. I find giving a logical reason for non-epic characters to perform these tasks inconceivable.
To me, allowing house-rules to perform these actions is as unbalancing as reintroducing the 3.5 polymorph spell.


Here's a thought, everyone keeps refering to the incoming arrows as unatended objects. While I could see this if they were in a quiver, they're not. The incoming arrows are part of an attack, seems to me that would make them atended until they hit or miss which would come after you tried to devert/destroy them.


RAW: perhaps you can waste your standard action to ready an attack against a single projectile. This is however a far shot.

Rule of cool: you should absolutly be able to waste that action, it isn't game breaking and I've seen it in movies at least a dozen times. You would need a feat though to split the arrow in two and make it hit ennemies that stand left and right behind you.
It also works with bullets, but I've only seen precedence with katanas (as everybody knows they are the best swords anyway and can cut trough steel).


Quote:

Readying an Action

You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it. If the triggered action is part of another character's activities, you interrupt the other character. Assuming he is still capable of doing so, he continues his actions once you complete your readied action. Your initiative result changes. For the rest of the encounter, your initiative result is the count on which you took the readied action, and you act immediately ahead of the character whose action triggered your readied action.

Emphasis mine.

It seems like this cannot in fact be done RAW. There is no 'ammunition traveling' as per RAW, there is just the 'standard attack' or the 'full attack'. Your readied action is triggered just before a standard attack or a full attack, but not during - which is what attacking the ammunition in flight would imply.


Readied actions can inturrupt, if they're using a full attack than as soon as the FIRST arrow came within range the readied action would go off BEFORE it made contact thus allowing you to attack it. However the following arrows you couldn't attack as your readied action was used for the first arrow.


JrK wrote:
Quote:

Readying an Action

You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it. If the triggered action is part of another character's activities, you interrupt the other character. Assuming he is still capable of doing so, he continues his actions once you complete your readied action. Your initiative result changes. For the rest of the encounter, your initiative result is the count on which you took the readied action, and you act immediately ahead of the character whose action triggered your readied action.

Emphasis mine.

It seems like this cannot in fact be done RAW. There is no 'ammunition traveling' as per RAW, there is just the 'standard attack' or the 'full attack'. Your readied action is triggered just before a standard attack or a full attack, but not during - which is what attacking the ammunition in flight would imply.

Did you miss the sentence directly after the one you bolded?

I don't see how this making it possible for a commoner to do makes it a bad idea. Commoners can do lots of things PCs can do, should they stop doing them? If you can allow a monk, you can allow a fighter to do it. Or would you not allow the martial artist archetype the ability and only legit monks?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

RAW, it cannot be done.


Davick wrote:
Did you miss the sentence directly after the one you bolded?

No. But since you think it holds the solution let me go ahead and provide the counterargument. The second part I bolded answers your implied response and it is one I anticipated so I bolded the second part. You interrupt an action just before it happens, meaning the other character does not yet perform the action. You perform your action, then the character continues his action.

In other words, you can ready an action so you can act before a standard or full attack, but not during a standard or full-attack.


JrK wrote:
Davick wrote:
Did you miss the sentence directly after the one you bolded?

No. But since you think it holds the solution let me go ahead and provide the counterargument. The second part I bolded answers your implied response and it is one I anticipated so I bolded the second part. You interrupt an action just before it happens, meaning the other character does not yet perform the action. You perform your action, then the character continues his action.

In other words, you can ready an action so you can act before a standard or full attack, but not during a standard or full-attack.

What? It doesn't mean that in any words, at all. If I ready an action to attack a character who tries to disarm me and then the fighter standing next to me full attacks me with 2 attacks, the first he hits me, the second he attempts to disarm me, my readied action interrupts his attack and happens before he disarms me. I attack him with the readied action. He then makes the disarm attempt.

In other words, what you said is completely wrong.

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