Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Is Sunder a viable strategy for PFS?


Advice

1 to 50 of 69 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Sczarni

Hello,

In most home games I play in Sunder is (or was) akin to a four letter word (why ruin your future treasure?).

Granted, most of this is from 3.5 - no one in any of my Pathfinder groups actually uses the Sunder Combat Maneuvre.

Now, if I recall correctly items that are awarded or found in PFS play become available at the end of the session for everyone regardless if they are of the correct size or have been sundered/broken/destroyed (I don't have the guide to PFS play in front of me so I am going from memory - I could be way off).

Additionally Pathfinder has rules in place for repairing objects that are pretty reasonable (3.5 may have had these as well - but we didn't use them).

So my question is, is Sundering arms/armor/items a viable strategy for PFS organized play or will your table mates despise you?

I'd like to make a melee character that is a Sunder specialist just for the heck of it - but being that playing the game is all about having fun I wouldn't want to ruin anybody elses time.

Thoughts?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

You are correct that sundering an NPC's gear does not remove it from the chronicle sheet. (But if your own stuff gets sundered, you need to repair it.)

Sunder can be effective in the right circumstances. I recently played in a scenario where the baddies worked as a team: one guy with a polearm would trip a PC, then everyone else would hit him while he's down.

At least, that was the plan, until the paladin with the adamantine glaive sundered all their weapons. Basically, they became non-threats, so the party was able to focus-fire on the boss instead of trying to fend off some surprisingly effective "mooks".

So yeah, it can be done, and it can be effective. Just make sure you're still contributing when there's nothing to sunder (but I'm sure that won't be difficult).


Secondarily, if breaking things DOES affect your treasure, maybe go Disarm route instead of Sundering? Bad guy still has no weapon and nothing is broken... AND as an added benefit, AOO if he goes to get his disarmed weapon.

Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you.

Sundering wouldn't be the only thing my character would do, but it would be something he could do in order to aid the party - much like in the scenario you just described.

Basically the character I am going to create is a Monk - the more people I hear whine & complain about how bad Monks are the more I want to play one.

I'm considering either a Weapon Adept or Martial Artist. Regardless of which arcetype I choose they will eventually end up with an Adamantine Sai to use when Sundering stuff is called for.

Martial Artist + Adamantine Sai + Improved Sunder would give me all I need to be a self styled "sunder specialist". The character is going to have Power Attack anyhow so with the investment of 1 feat and 1 weapon it could be a reliable trick he can use when necessary. I'm not suggesting he'd be the best at it, but he'd be good enough at it.

Haven't thought much more about it - but now that it seems like it wouldn't be a terrible idea I'll flesh out the character a bit more and see where it leads.


Doesn't Sai have the disarm property? There's a +2 to disarm right there...
just saying.


If it isn't, then my Invulnerable Raging dwarf barb with an adamantine dorn-degar is going to be very unhappy.

Very.

Unhappy.


The Martial Artist can just ignore stuff's hardness anyways, no need for Adamantine. Also, remember that you can sunder people's armor. And their spell-component pouches. And their magic Amulets, and Belts, and... etc.


Krodjin wrote:


Basically the character I am going to create is a Monk - the more people I hear whine & complain about how bad Monks are the more I want to play one.

I'm considering either a Weapon Adept or Martial Artist. Regardless of which arcetype I choose they will eventually end up with an Adamantine Sai to use when Sundering stuff is called for.

You may also want to consider the Maneuver Master archetype if you're going Monk anyway. You trade away FoB but getting to add a combat maneuver onto your normal full attack routine for free is pretty golden.

I played one for a while and it was surprisingly effective (I focused on Grapple and Dirty Trick but same deal). Its probably most optimal as a fighter dip, but it works plenty well enough as a full monk.

Anyway, just some food for thought.


Krodjin wrote:

Basically the character I am going to create is a Monk - the more people I hear whine & complain about how bad Monks are the more I want to play one.

I felt the same way and saw it as a challenge, but the truth is I don't like playing my monk character. I don't know what it is exactly, but I everytime we play I wish I was just playing a fighter.


If you were going to build a PFS sunder specialist that is NOT a monk, how would you go about it?

I am already getting ready for a trip and disarm monk. I think that would be too much to add to it and too similar for another monk PC.

So I'm thinking barbarian, but would a fighter archtype do better so you can get the feats in place at an earlier level?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

If you were going to build a PFS sunder specialist that is NOT a monk, how would you go about it?

I am already getting ready for a trip and disarm monk. I think that would be too much to add to it and too similar for another monk PC.

So I'm thinking barbarian, but would a fighter archtype do better so you can get the feats in place at an earlier level?

Basically take any build that makes good use of Power Attack, and give them an adamantine weapon and Improved Sunder. Simple as that.


Jiggy wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

If you were going to build a PFS sunder specialist that is NOT a monk, how would you go about it?

I am already getting ready for a trip and disarm monk. I think that would be too much to add to it and too similar for another monk PC.

So I'm thinking barbarian, but would a fighter archtype do better so you can get the feats in place at an earlier level?

Basically take any build that makes good use of Power Attack, and give them an adamantine weapon and Improved Sunder. Simple as that.

If archetypes are legal in PFS play, I would look into breaker barbarian. My wife played one in our house game and had a lot of fun.

Andoran

A note on that, I have had a PFS GM disallow the sundering of holy symbols of divine casters enemies. That is a crippling tactic that shuts down certain NPCs, and they said no. A fighter-type with a adamantine Piston Maul can cause incredible damage to items (+4 damage on sunder, ignore first 20 hardness)

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

I'd be pretty upset if the GM arbitrarily disallowed sundering holy symbols. I've gotten out of some tight scrapes at low levels by disarming unholy symbols from negative energy channeling clerics.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Shar Tahl wrote:
A note on that, I have had a PFS GM disallow the sundering of holy symbols of divine casters enemies. That is a crippling tactic that shuts down certain NPCs, and they said no.

Side note on PFS play:

If you ever feel that the GM has made an error such as this, approach them politely after the game to state your case. Any good GM is interested in constant self-improvement, and would welcome (polite) correction after the game (if there's time). If the GM does respond poorly, or if they are knowingly changing a rule or some other such thing, then alert your local Venture Captain and (again, politely) voice your concerns.


If you sunder the right thing you can smoke a mod. SUndering a Magus's sword would make him near worthless. If used wisely it is great. Like anythign else.

Sczarni

BltzKrg242 wrote:

Doesn't Sai have the disarm property? There's a +2 to disarm right there...

just saying.

Yes, the Sai does grant +2 to disarm combat maneuvers on account of the disarm special quality. It also grants a +2 bonus to sunder as well.

Sai wrote wrote:

Description: With a sai, you get a +2 bonus on Combat Maneuver Checks to sunder an enemy's weapon.

Weapon Feature(s): disarm, bonus to sunder attempts

Improved Disarm is a Monk bonus feat at 6th level so I don't consider it much of an investment and it was something I am already seriously considering (that or Improved Trip).

Thanks for all the feedback thus far.


Trip has more uses. You can trip more things then you can sunder. It is rare but usually if you have a hard time tripping a monster you will not want to sunder anythign of theirs

Sczarni

Finlanderboy wrote:
Trip has more uses. You can trip more things then you can sunder. It is rare but usually if you have a hard time tripping a monster you will not want to sunder anythign of theirs

I suspect you're right, but having recently played a trip build I'm interested in trying something a bit different. Still mulling it over...


I've noticed a lot feats and class features that defend against sunder, but I've never seen sunder used in a game. How common is it, really?


Someone needs to optimize to sunder to make it worthwhile. If you makde someone made to sunder you can shut down certain enemies.

Krodjin if you already made the trip master. Master something new. Make the sunder god and break everyones weapons, armor, wands, and holy symbols.

Make DMs cry when you appraoch their big baddie.

Qadira

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I made my artifice cleric a sunder specialist with a adamantine warhammer and he works rather well


Is there any way to be able to sunder at range?

If not, I may look into see what can be done with a scorpion whip. A 15' reach is still pretty good. Can you make the blade part of the scorpion whip adamantine to bypass hardness?

Wasn't there a weapon enhancement that helped with sunder? Maybe that was 3.5 memories.

Alot of the things I'd like to sunder (spell component pouch, holy symbol, wand, scroll, potion, etc...) don't really have a lot of hit points or hardness. So I don't think the lower damage would hurt as much as needing to run past the front line to get to the caster.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Fighter with Archer archetype

prd wrote:


Trick Shot (Ex)

At 3rd level, an archer can choose one of the following combat maneuvers or actions: disarm, feint, or sunder. He can perform this action with a bow against any target within 30 feet, with a –4 penalty to his CMB. Every four levels beyond 3rd, he may choose an additional trick shot to learn. These maneuvers use up arrows as normal.

At 11th level, he may also choose from the following combat maneuvers: bull rush, grapple, trip. A target grappled by an arrow can break free by destroying the archer’s arrow (hardness 5, hit points 1, break DC 13) or with an Escape Artist or CMB check (against the archer’s CMD –4).

This ability replaces Armor Training 1, 2, 3, and 4.


I have played a fighter archer who did use sunder now and then. Due to GM ruling sunder as an attack, and thus can be used as part of an AoO, it got lots of use from me alongside trip and disarm to use on any melee enemies who got near me.

I am currently playing in two games with nearly identical sunder barbarians. It's not PFS games , but if allowed the spell sunder rage power is extremely useful and probably the main reason nowadays to go sunder style. It can remove curses, enchantments, and any spell the enmy might put up to protect them before I get to smash their head in. At level 8 my sunder CMB is a +34, so I'm not sure what yours would be for PFS. The downside of sunder as mentioned is the amount of viable targets, and if you want to do so on an enemy weapon or armor. That is potential loot that can be sold or kept if it is really good. ( Just last night in my Thursday group I was about to sunder a giants ice hammer, but instead decided not to because i wanted to keep it, and now I own it, (: .


Sweet!
Thx ST


Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

Is there any way to be able to sunder at range?

If not, I may look into see what can be done with a scorpion whip. A 15' reach is still pretty good. Can you make the blade part of the scorpion whip adamantine to bypass hardness?

Wasn't there a weapon enhancement that helped with sunder? Maybe that was 3.5 memories.

Alot of the things I'd like to sunder (spell component pouch, holy symbol, wand, scroll, potion, etc...) don't really have a lot of hit points or hardness. So I don't think the lower damage would hurt as much as needing to run past the front line to get to the caster.

There is a spell called shatter.

Silver Crusade

Jiggy wrote:
Shar Tahl wrote:
A note on that, I have had a PFS GM disallow the sundering of holy symbols of divine casters enemies. That is a crippling tactic that shuts down certain NPCs, and they said no.

Side note on PFS play:

If you ever feel that the GM has made an error such as this, approach them politely after the game to state your case. Any good GM is interested in constant self-improvement, and would welcome (polite) correction after the game (if there's time). If the GM does respond poorly, or if they are knowingly changing a rule or some other such thing, then alert your local Venture Captain and (again, politely) voice your concerns.

Uhh, yeah. In Society play, GMs have to play by the rules as written. They can't just arbitrarily say that a particular feature of the game doesn't work because they don't like it.

Speaking of (un)holy symbols, I've noticed that many PFS authors forget to include them in cleric's equipment on NPCs.

Andoran

Sunder has been an effective tool against my Zen Archer!
If I were facing an NPC ranged combat specialist, I would happily use sunder against him.


Sundering, Tripping, etc. troubles me more due to all the foes those feats will be wasted on than ruining treasure. Its good flavor perhaps, but rarely the ideal tactic.

Grand Lodge

May I reccommend the Lucerne Hammer, if you think about sundering an armor. It allows a low level character without improved sunder, to sunder with a reach, wihtout provoking attacks of opportunity. It does a nice 1d12 and as a two hand weapon, it does a lot of damage if you have a nice STR stat. Combined with Power attack, it can rip to pieces a medium armor.
If you add the improved sunder feat, it gets really strong.
Worked well for me.

Cheliax

Any reach weapon is great for sundering actually. I plan to make use of my dwarven longhammer to do so, without any need for Improved Sunder.

Still waiting to see what the result is of the full attack sunder bit though.


Damocles Guile wrote:
Sundering, Tripping, etc. troubles me more due to all the foes those feats will be wasted on than ruining treasure. Its good flavor perhaps, but rarely the ideal tactic.

Thatis one of the reasons to like sunder. It is only 1 feat (improved sunder) and alot of opponents have gear.

Plus some of us were specifically talking about PFS. From the little I've seen, PFS seems to be fairly heavily weighted toward humanoid opponents which those types of actions are most likely to be useful against.

Shadow Lodge

Sunder is a pretty perfect low-to-mid level tactic in PFS even without putting feats and magic items into it. Mooks, even dangerous mooks, are not worth much if they have to grab their sidearm daggers or go fisticuffs. Bosses are a somewhat trickier, but there's nothing quite so entertaining than opening one like a tin can: sundered shield, sundered heavy armor, sundered bastard sword. Reminds me of a certain arid season 0 adventure.

And yes, sundering holy symbols and the like(focus objects too, and bonded items) can make most cleric encounters end in shame. For the cleric, I mean. Then again, at least season 4 had a certain cleric with holy symbols all over their robes. So, it's a valid, but a well-known tactic that some writers have started to take into account. Maybe keep that in mind.

I have n experience of sundering in high level games, but I reckon it's going to need a pretty significant investment(in feats and magic items) to work in every combat. And still be inferior to full attacking.

I might try a sundering dwarf martial artist one day. Gotta be a rock to go through rock.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
SoulGambit0 wrote:
The Martial Artist can just ignore stuff's hardness anyways, no need for Adamantine. Also, remember that you can sunder people's armor. And their spell-component pouches. And their magic Amulets, and Belts, and... etc.

Within reason. You really can't sunder rings unless you allow for hits to take off people's hands. Sunder is primarily meant as an attack against things people are holding or wielding, basically weapons and shields not worn clothing.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

LazarX wrote:
Sunder is primarily meant as an attack against things people are holding or wielding, basically weapons and shields not worn clothing.
The actual rules wrote:
You can attempt to sunder an item held or worn by your opponent

Not saying I think a ring is as easy to sunder as a sword, nor am I saying the opposite. Just pointing out that your premise (of sunder's intent being held/wielded items only) is incorrect, which in turn invalidates any arguments based thereon.

Silver Crusade

On the topic of sundering rings (or holy symbols, for that matter), I would think they'd get a size bonus. But small sizes actually hurt CMD, not help it, which might make sense when it comes to grappling a halfling, but you'd think a pixie would be harder to grab due to being so small.

Shadow Lodge

If you sunder a set of magical armor, does it halve the armor bonus with or without the +s ?

Half plate +2 = +10 armor bonus.

If its broken, does it have an armor bonus of +5 (1/2 of 10)

or

(8/2=4) +2= 6


@ BNW: Let's look at it in terms of Natural Armor.

Natural Armor comes in 2 forms; it has a base Natural Armor Bonus, and a Natural Armor Enhancement Bonus. An Amulet of Natural Armor grants a Natural Armor Enhancement Bonus (and applies to characters who even have a Natural Armor Bonus of 0). As you can tell through this example, the Natural Armor Enhancement Bonus applies independantly from an ability which provides a Base Natural Armor Bonus.

The same would apply to regular Armor. The Base Armor Bonus is a total of 8. The Armor Enhancement Bonus is a total of 2. If the RAW for Sundering says the total armor bonus is cut in half, it would be the first. If the RAW for Sundering says the armor bonus (that is, the Base Armor Bonus in this case) is cut in half, then it would be the second.

The real question we should be asking, is that can you sunder a Natural Weapon and deal damage to the creature for doing so?

Shadow Lodge

The real question we should be asking, is that can you sunder a Natural Weapon and deal damage to the creature for doing so?[/quote wrote:

only if you can disarm the monk and deal damage to him that way.


Iirc a half-orc paladin would be pretty neat for sundering with the Adept Champion feat. Unless sundering a target's armor or weapon causes the smite to fizzle.


If it's good or not depends on several questions...

1. Does it affect your treasure?
Already been answered,, it does not.

2. Does PFS rule you can replace attacks with sunders? (rules are unclear by callng it an "attack action")

3. Do you fight a LOT of humanoid or other gear-using not-crazy-high CMD enemies in PFS?

4. Are you able to put together a character that can sunder nearly any item in a single round? Not, "reach the broken condition," a cruddy little penalty, but actually full-out destroy stuff? (if not, you're wasting too much time on a tactic that's already very situational as it is)

If the answers to these questions are No / Yes / Yes / Yes, respectively, making a Sunder-based PC in PFS may in fact be a viable strategy in PFS!


Charlie Bell wrote:
I'd be pretty upset if the GM arbitrarily disallowed sundering holy symbols. I've gotten out of some tight scrapes at low levels by disarming unholy symbols from negative energy channeling clerics.

Umm, rules as written, no reason they should be allowed to make that distinction, and you should bring it up with the coordinator.


StreamOfTheSky I love your posts. It is not just your input but the style of your input.


I have built this character in PFS. H-Orc 20 str 2 handed fighter archetype with PA/Imp sunder.

If you get all of your PP for PFS modules, you qualify to buy an adamantine 2h weapon after your 7th game, but you don't have the gold unless you played up or are still in a loincloth with your starter gear.

3000 gp item is 13 fame, which is 6 1/2 games. This is where you actually get the real benefits of sunder, giving you a weapon that ignores hardness. Optimized for the maneuver you have approximately a 75% chance to sunder, and do around 2d6+13 damage which auto breaks any non-magical non-special material 1 or 2 handed weapon pretty much. YMMV for shields, and armor is armor bonusx5 hp so probably takes 2 swings at least for even light armors.

at 5th he jumps to 2d6+17, and gets 2d6+23 at 10th, while maintaining the ~75% to succeed on the maneuver. Also, all these numbers are for base damage with non-magical non-masterwork weapon and no items accounted for. After great sunder, the overflow damage is applied to the enemy holding the item, so thats a bonus. First attack sunder, overflow into target, 2nd attack target; rinse, repeat.

So yes, by the numbers, it is very much a viable tactic for PFS, and this character is also progressing the full PA/cleave/cleaving finish chain simultaneously, so not a one trick pony, that damage works fine applied directly to the enemies as well.


@ TGMaxMaxer

RAW, you can only Sunder 1/Attack Action. Since Sunder can be done as part of an attack action, you could combine the Vital Strike chain and Sunder for that solo BBEG with super loot, making his items turn to mush in a matter of seconds.

Getting an Impact property on your weapon even further amplifies your weapons with Sunder and Vital Strike combo, meaning even the strongest equipment will bow before you in a single round.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Shar Tahl wrote:
A note on that, I have had a PFS GM disallow the sundering of holy symbols of divine casters enemies. That is a crippling tactic that shuts down certain NPCs, and they said no. A fighter-type with a adamantine Piston Maul can cause incredible damage to items (+4 damage on sunder, ignore first 20 hardness)

A holy symbol is not required for a lot of the cleric spells, for example Cure Light Wounds, Unholy Blight, and Blindness don't have a material component. Hold Person would require a holy/unholy symbol as it has DF for divine focus as a material component. A holy symbol is required to channel energy.

However, I don't know why the cleric can't pull another symbol out of their pocket and use that one instead of the broken one. I'd see it similar to a fighter drawing another weapon after their first weapon was sundered.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

@ BNW: Let's look at it in terms of Natural Armor.

Natural Armor comes in 2 forms; it has a base Natural Armor Bonus, and a Natural Armor Enhancement Bonus. An Amulet of Natural Armor grants a Natural Armor Enhancement Bonus (and applies to characters who even have a Natural Armor Bonus of 0). As you can tell through this example, the Natural Armor Enhancement Bonus applies independantly from an ability which provides a Base Natural Armor Bonus.

The same would apply to regular Armor. The Base Armor Bonus is a total of 8. The Armor Enhancement Bonus is a total of 2. If the RAW for Sundering says the total armor bonus is cut in half, it would be the first. If the RAW for Sundering says the armor bonus (that is, the Base Armor Bonus in this case) is cut in half, then it would be the second.

The real question we should be asking, is that can you sunder a Natural Weapon and deal damage to the creature for doing so?

I fail to see the logic. Natural armor and natural armor enhancements come from two different sources, a magical armor enhancement is part of the armor bonus.

I think that breaking the item that give the armor enhancement (i.e., the magical armor) will halve the magical bonus, so a broken magical armor will give half of his armor bonus and half of his magical bonus.

- * -

To the OP: read the thread about sundering and standard actions. RAW you can make a sunder attempt only as a standard action, not as part of a full attack. There is a exception for the monk as there is this piece of text in the class description: " A monk may substitute disarm, sunder, and trip combat maneuvers for unarmed attacks as part of a flurry of blows.", but that is a specific exception.


@ Diego Rossi: How is it any different? Because one is natural and the other is artificial? Just because one is a lemon and the other is an orange doesn't mean that their construction isn't similar or even comparable.

An Amulet of Natural Armor grants a Natural Armor Enhancement Bonus, which specifically stacks with regular Natural Armor Bonuses.

The same concept applies. A +1 Armor provides an additional +1 Enhancement Bonus to AC, which also stacks with any other amount granted by whatever armor is utilized. If I have a Full Plate, it grants 9 AC. If I have a Full Plate +1, it still grants 9 AC, but it provides an additional +1 Enhancement Bonus to my AC.

The thing is, if RAW says Sunder affects the total armor granted, then yes the Enhancement Bonus provided by the armor would also apply. If RAW says Sunder only affects the normal amount of armor granted, then a +1 Half Plate would grant 5 AC total, not 4 AC, due to its Enhancement Bonus not being a part of the normal armor amount.

Sczarni

broken wrote:
If the item is a suit of armor or a shield, the bonus it grants to AC is halved, rounding down. Broken armor doubles its armor check penalty on skills.

the armor, regardless of if it's a +6 chain shirt (pretend it exists) or a +1 full plate, when broken would provide only 5 ac when broken.

prd wrote:
Enhancement Bonuses: Enhancement bonuses apply to your armor to increase the armor bonus it provides.

it's clear that the enhancement bonus is added to the armor bonus provided by the item, not in addition to, but as what it's providing in total.

1 to 50 of 69 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Advice / Is Sunder a viable strategy for PFS? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.