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Deadly and Merciful


Rules Questions

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8 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

What exactly occurs when a weapon has both the Merciful and Deadly enchantments?

Here they are:

Deadly:

Deadly (Hobgoblin)

Source Advanced Race Guide

Aura faint necromancy; CL 5th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, inflict light wounds; Price +1 bonus.
DESCRIPTION

This special ability can only be placed on weapons that normally deal nonlethal damage, such as whips and saps. All damage a deadly weapon deals is lethal damage. A whip (or similar weapon that cannot damage creatures with armor or natural armor bonuses) with this special ability deals damage even to creatures with armor or natural armor. On command, the weapon suppresses this ability until told to resume it.


Merciful:

Merciful

Aura faint conjuration; CL 5th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, cure light wounds; Price +1 bonus.
DESCRIPTION

The weapon deals an extra 1d6 points of damage, and all damage it deals is nonlethal damage. On command, the weapon suppresses this ability until told to resume it (allowing it to deal lethal damage, but without any bonus damage from this ability).

Grand Lodge

Common sense tells you they cant be both put on the same weapon.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Eugene Nelson wrote:
Common sense tells you they cant be both put on the same weapon.

How, and Why?


Deadly specifically says it only goes on weapons that usually do non-lethal. Merciful makes no sense on such weapons, it would be a complete waste of an enchantment.

I realise that it will not stop you, blackbloodtroll, but common sense does heavily suggest they don't go on the same things.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It is a RAW combo.
Also, a Merciful weapon normally deals nonlethal damage, so as long as it is in the right order, it can be applied to anything.

What happens to the 1d6 damage though?


You get a weapon that does either no damage when both Enchantments are active, Non-lethal when only Mercuful is active and only Lethal when only Deadly is active.

or the weapon instantly disintegrates into nothing from the conflicting magic.....

That good enough, Blackbloodtroll?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

They are both constant effects. There is no activation required.

By the way, why the additional personal attacks included?
I do not recall insulting anyone lately.


You can turn off merciful so its not entirely constant.

I would not consider merciful to be a weapon that "normally does non-lethal". I consider it as a weapon that normally does lethal being enchanted to only do non-lethal.

When magic is involved, there is no normal.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

Actually they can both be supressed. Why would you want both properties on the same weapon though?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Would not the Deadly enchantment turn the 1d6 into lethal damage?

Also, it allows you to switch from lethal to nonlethal without penalty.


By RAW, can't you use a weapon that deals non-lethal to deal lethal with a -4 penalty on your attack rolls? I'm pretty sure that the reverse is true, too.

Also, what happens when you have the merciful and vicious qualities on the same weapon? Is the damage that gets dealt to you lethal or non-lethal? If it's lethal, does it deal 2d6 lethal damage in addition to the 1d6+weapon damage non-lethal?

As to the OP, I would rule that you would split the damage as being 1d6 non-lethal and regular weapon damage lethal. I think that this combo would be great for an enforcer. Especially on a whip. With whirlwind attack. And Enlarge Person.

Liberty's Edge

blackbloodtroll wrote:
What exactly occurs when a weapon has both the Merciful and Deadly enchantments?

From the Magic Chapter on Combining Magical Effects:

"Combining Magic Effects
Spells or magical effects usually work as described, no matter how many other spells or magical effects happen to be operating in the same area or on the same recipient. Except in special cases, a spell does not affect the way another spell operates. Whenever a spell has a specific effect on other spells, the spell description explains that effect. Several other general rules apply when spells or magical effects operate in the same place:....

"One Effect Makes Another Irrelevant: Sometimes, one spell can render a later spell irrelevant. Both spells are still active, but one has rendered the other useless in some fashion."

******************************

Sounds like GM makes a ruling; I would use this as the basis for "they cancel if both are active." The alternative is that the game in session immediately falls into a black hole.

On the plus side, it makes for an interesting plot element to find out the source of exactly what the dude who made the weapon was on. Or, what the story was behind its creation.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, Merciful adds directly to the weapon's damage, and Deadly turns all the damage dealt by the weapon into lethal damage.

Basically, a +2 for a 1d6 of untyped damage.

Relevant enchantments info in original post.

Liberty's Edge

Yep, I read them. I also read the section on combining magical effects. I would not approach this by decoupling the lethal/non-lethal from the additional damage on that basis. You might take a different approach. If so, what would be your argument for doing so from the relevant rules?


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Well, Merciful adds directly to the weapon's damage, and Deadly turns all the damage dealt by the weapon into lethal damage.

Basically, a +2 for a 1d6 of untyped damage.

Relevant enchantments info in original post.

My thoughts as well.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Seems like a legal way to pay too much for an extra d6 of damage.


A few things to consider on this one: First off, as a GM, I would simply rule that they cancel out, since one uses Inflict Light Wounds as a requirement and the other uses Cure Light Wounds.

But following up on my gut reaction to the issue, I took a closer look at the description of each, and I believe the following line from the Merciful description backs up what my ruling would be:

"On command, the weapon suppresses this ability until told to resume (allowing it to deal lethal damage, but without any bonus damage from this ability.)"

So that would lead me to conclude that the only way such a weapon could deal lethal damage is when the Merciful enchantment is intentionally suppressed.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Eugene Nelson wrote:
Common sense tells you they cant be both put on the same weapon.
How, and Why?

Deadly specifically says weapons that 'normally' do non lethal damage as the only valid targets for the enchantment. 'Normal' use of an appropriate weapon for this enchantent means the target takes non lethal damage when the weapon is used. I would state that taking a -4 to use a weapon to do 'other' damage is an alternate but not 'normal' use of the weapon.

Merciful only turns lethal damage into nonlethal, meaning it only normally works on weapons that deal lethal damage.

While you could indeed have both of the enchantments on the same weapon (since merciful does not have any restrictions on what weapon it can be put on) Deadly and Merciful will interact to turn the lethal damage from Deadly into nonlethal. The weapons for this combo would have to start as nonlethal before any enchanments to begin with if Deadly is on them.

The ultimate effect would be that if your GM allows both effects active at the same time, all you will get is a merciful affect on a weapon that already deals non lethal damage, netting you a total of one additional D6 of non lethal damage and nothing more.

Here is why: For both enchantments to be on the same weapon it has to be a weapon that normally deals non lethal damage due to the limitation on the Deadly enchantment. Deadly would then turn that damage lethal when it is active. Merciful then turns THAT damage nonlethal again and adds a D6 damage.

If you added the effects in the reverse manner it would not work to give you an additional D6 since that d6 only happens when the Merciful effect is active and if Merciful is active your doing nonlethal damage. For Merciful to BE active on this combo weapon and do ANYTHING it has to be dealing lethal damage first so Merciful can convert it to non lethal and add the extra damage die. So adding the powers in reverse order would mean that your non lethal weapon would do non increased lethal damage. Merciful cannot work until lethal damage is being done.

While you can enchant a non lethal weapon with Merciful (since there is no restriction saying you cannot) it does nothing since it has not lethal damage to convert to nonlethal and boost.


@ Gilfalas

So, you're saying that my +1 Merciful Sap only does 1d6+1? My understanding of it was that the weapon deals +1d6 damage. Also, all damage the weapon deals is non-lethal. Thus, I could NEVER deal lethal damage with a sap. (unless I suppress the merciful effect AND take the -4 penalty to attack)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

@galahad

If I understand him correctly, this is the route.

Masterwork Sap 1d6 non-lethal
+1 Sap 1d6+1 non lethal.

+1 merciful deadly sap. 1d6+1 lethal or 2d6+1 non-lethal.

Basically the argument is that the merciful enchantment only applies its additional d6 when it's turning lethal damage to non-lethal.

Me, IMC they'd negate, possibly followed by 1d4+1 non-lethal to the player from a Gibbs slap to the head.


I think that we're missing a step or 2. just a +1 Merciful sap. Not Deadly yet. 2d6+1, right?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I am seeing it terribly powerful, or a far stretch of RAW.

It seems that "No sir, I don't like it" is the major reasoning behind disallowing it, or needlessly nerfing it.

Am I too far off on this assumption?


blackbloodtroll wrote:
terribly powerful
blackbloodtroll wrote:
needlessly nerfing

yes you seem mighty far off.

merciful shouldn't work on saps or other nonlethal weapons as it's the counterpart of deadly. You saw a weak point in RAW, congrats, but it's not the first and not the last in there, and it's exceptionally easy to houserule.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Merciful can be applied to nonlethal weapons.
Nothing suggests otherwise.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Pretty simple solution: They take effects in order of precedence they were activated. If neither have been turned off/reactivated, it's in whatever order they were added no? Order of operations according to magic.

Do merciful first: you end up with extra d6 nonlethal. Then this all converts to lethal.

Do deadly first: damage becomes lethal. Then turns into nonlethal +d6.

Treat them like running through transformers. Nothing says the magic recursively applies to itself.

You could apply merciful to any weapon. Base weapon would still have to be nonlethal for deadly though.

A GM could also legitimately make the call that they counter each other.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So, the Sap, Cat-o'-nine-tails, or Whip, are capable of having both enchantments, whilst a club cannot?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Deadly states that: This special ability can only be placed on weapons that normally deal nonlethal damage, such as whips and saps.

Even when a weapon is merciful, it is dealing non-lethal damage magically, not normally.


The non-lethal damage is an effect of Merciful. ALL damage the weapon deals becomes non-lethal. It overrides the effects of Deadly. Beyond this, a weapon with the Deadly trait only apply to weapons that are NORMALLY nonlethal. Swords are not NORMALLY non-lethal. You could probably put Deadly on a whip, and then put merciful over that, but then you'd just have a regular whip that deals an extra 1D6 nonlethal damage.


With whatever weapon you put them on, say a whip, on command you would be able to switch from normal damage, but lethal, to normal +1d6, but all nonlethal.

So as a free action you can change between 1d3 + STR lethal damage, and 1d3 + 1d6 + STR non-lethal damage.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

What prevents both from being active at once?

Does not a Merciful weapon normally deal nonlethal damage?

Why would the Deadly enchantment stop the extra 1d6 provided by Merciful?


I'd side with blackbloodtroll if this came up in my game. A merciful weapon 'normally' deals nonlethal damage. If further enchanted to become deadly then that nonlethal damage can be made lethal at will. If the weapon was a whip or sap or something else that normally deals nonlethal damage then the base damage is lethal at your option. For 8301gp it seems underpowered if anything.

It's kind of nifty to get an extra d6 of damage and the ability to do lethal or nonlethal damage at will but not broken by any measure.

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

As I read it (example):

merciful longsword deals nonleathal damage while the weapon normally deals lethal damage - thus a merciful longsword could not be given the deadly enchantment.

If you put merciful on a weapon that normally deals nonlethal damage, that weapon would gain the 1d6 additional damage and an additional deadly enchantment might, if you allow those enchantments to be combined, turn this additional damage into lethal damage, making it a pretty expensice way to get 1d6 points of additional damage.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

RAW, they can be combined.

This would be good for a nonlethal focused PC, who likes versatility.


Quote:
This would be good for a nonlethal focused PC, who likes versatility.

You realize you are taking a roundabout way to accomplish what can be done directly and simply?

Deadly already gives you the option to switch back and forth between lethal and nonlethal, as does merciful. You do not need to combine them to achieve this.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

This provides the option to more weapons, and without penalties for switching between the two.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
This provides the option to more weapons, and without penalties for switching between the two.

You can already make any weapon you can think of either lethal or nonlethal at your choice with the need for only one enchantment. If it is a nonlethal weapon, use deadly only, now it is lethal or nonlethal at your choice. If it is any other weapon, use merciful only, now it is nonlethal or lethal at your choice.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I understand. It's an expensive route for what is provides.

The untyped extra 1d6 as either lethal, or nonlethal is nice though.

Can an Amulet of Mighty Fists be Merciful and Deadly?


blackbloodtroll wrote:

What prevents both from being active at once?

Does not a Merciful weapon normally deal nonlethal damage?

Why would the Deadly enchantment stop the extra 1d6 provided by Merciful?

does a merciful weapon normally deal non-lethal damage in an anti-magic field ?

although +0 +1 level adjust for +1d6 damage ...meh

Silver Crusade

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Can an Amulet of Mighty Fists be Merciful and Deadly?

As I read it, yes, but the "deadly" function would only take effect under certain circumstances. It all kinda boils down to how you interpret the word "normally." Let's ignore the merciful bit for now (as it can apply to any weapon type, the only complication is how it interacts with deadly) If a regular person (someone without the monk unarmed strike, improved unarmed strike, or natural weapons) put on an amulet of mighty fists that was deadly, they would be able to deal lethal damage with their unarmed strikes (or, non-lethal, if they chose to deactivate it). It would be useless to a character with any of the afore mentioned qualities, as they can already chose what type of damage to deal. Though, if you really wanted to, it just means that they can chose to deal non-lethal damage with their unarmed strike, but take a standard action to activate their amulet to make it lethal again. So, it's silly, but you can do it.

Now, to the crux of the issue. Do merciful and deadly interact (can you get that extra d6 lethal damage)? First, as I interpret it, you simply can't make a merciful deadly sword. As I read it "normally" refers to just the base weapon, unmodified, under normal circumstances. The whip, obviously, is a candidate for deadly. As I read the rules there are two reasonable results. The first is as Howie said and they simply cancel out for as long as both are active. The second is that they can both be active at the same time, BUT only the one activated last actually applies. So, in other words, you cannot get your extra d6 lethal by combining the effects. You can either have a deadly whip, or an extra d6 non-lethal, not both. The effects are simply irresolvable if applied simultaneously. One ability states "all damage a deadly weapon deals is lethal damage" while the other states "all damage it deals is nonlethal damage" which are mutually exclusive effects. It doesn't matter if you put the effect on a whip or if you apply it to an amulet of mighty fists. They simply cannot work in tandem.

That's RAW as I see it. However, on a more personal note, in a game I was running I'd probably house-rule that you simply can't make one (or that one "over-writes" the other if you try) in much the same was as you can't make an anarchic axiomatic holy unholy longsword.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Actually, an Axiomatic, Anarchic, Holy, Unholy weapon is completely legit.
So is Frost and Flaming.

Also, if order of activation is key, then if Merciful is activated first, then Deadly, why would the 1d6 go away? There is no indication that by becoming lethal, the extra damage goes away.


OUT OF CHEESE ERROR: REBOOT UNIVERSE AND TRY AGAIN.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Ah, the "cheese" response. With all caps, to you know, imply yelling.

I still have no idea what that means, as it changes all the time.

Let's leave that for the 4chan boards, okay?


I'd say +2 is about what a non-energy +1d6 should cost so what's the problem?

For the same price you could get flaming and frost, which few enemies have both of. That would do 2d6 to many foes, 1d6 to most, and the bonus damage would be unaffected by DR.

Also, what's the problem with an anarchic axiomatic weapon? When did the notion of philosophical balance stop being a thing?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Anarchic Axiomatic weapons are totally legit.
Not as many people can use them though.

Star Voter 2013

If you didn't want to rip the fabric of the universe, you could state a whip could do 1d3 lethal and +1d6 non lethal. This ones quite the head scratcher though.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Also, by adding the Deadly enchantment to a Merciful whip, you are able to deal damage to creatures with an armor bonus of +1 or higher or a natural armor bonus of +3 or higher.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Actually, an Axiomatic, Anarchic, Holy, Unholy weapon is completely legit.

So is Frost and Flaming.

There's a lot of potential limburger cheese in the game that's perfectly "legitimate". Doesn't mean that you'll ever see it in a campaign I run.

How you run your own campaigns is your own look out, you don't need board vindication to do so.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

By "cheese", do you mean you don't like it, or something else?

I hate the use of the "cheese" term, as no one can decide what they mean by it.

Think harder, a Daemon is foe of Devil and Demon, why would it not wield an Anarchic Axiomatic weapon?
Legit combo, with legit reasoning for someone to make it.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

Blackbloodtroll,

I think that 'swissarmyknife' weapons are going to be the exception where more generalized weapons are approved. (That Holy/unholy sword could be a holy/outsider bane sword for example)

I'd 'Gibbs slap' a player just for making this headache. That said, IMC, it has to be a default (non-magical) non-lethal weapon to have deadly put on it. I'd also rule that the +1d6 from merciful is always non-lethal. But that's IMC.

As to multiple energy types. I can see a "stormblade" thundering and shocking a "starblade" shocking and flaming so an "equinox blade" flaming and frost makes sense too. Though an elemental blade flaming, frost, shocking, corrosive would quickly get expensive (amusing epic weapon idea. +1 keen scythe with flaming, frost, shocking, corrosive burst effects Yeah it only crits on a 19-20, but when it does, you feel it.) :-)


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I have never seen weapon enchantments that "negate" each other.
I do not believe these do.

I can see the argument for not allowing the Deadly enchantment on otherwise lethal weapons, but do see them being unable to be in effect at the same time.

If you read the Merciful enchantment, it states it deal an extra 1d6 of damage, then it states all the damage dealt by the weapon is nonlethal. This is important, because it does not state it deals an extra 1d6 of nonlethal damage, but that all damage is nonlethal. This means that when the Deadly enchantment is added, it overrides the nonlethal aspect of the Merciful enchantment, but does not interfere with the extra 1d6 damage.

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