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More on Dancing Weapons


Rules Questions


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

There appears to be some disagreement on the mechanics for weapons enchanted with the dancing property.

Specifically, I'm curious about two things. They appear to be answered by James Jacobs here, but I want to make sure I am interpreting it correctly and not just how I want to.

Question #1: Do the wielder's feats affect the dancing weapon as though the user was wielding it normally?

Several people weighed in on various threads that they do not, but I read James' response to indicate that the weapon gains all of the benefits of being wielded by the user, even while dancing, so Power Attack, Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, etc., could all apply.

The second is asked later in the thread above, but was not responded to officially. I have seen several unofficial negative responses.

Question #2: Do the wielder's pertinent ability scores apply to the weapon's attacks as though the user was wielding it normally?

James' response above could be taken as affirmative for this, as well, but again, I know how I want it to be interpreted and want to make sure I'm not seeing what I want to see.

Thanks for your thoughts!


prd wrote:
As a standard action, a dancing weapon can be loosed to attack on its own. It fights for 4 rounds using the base attack bonus of the one who loosed it and then drops. While dancing, it cannot make attacks of opportunity, and the activating character it is not considered armed with the weapon. The weapon is considered wielded or attended by the activating character for all maneuvers and effects that target items. While dancing, the weapon shares the same space as the activating character and can attack adjacent foes (weapons with reach can attack opponents up to 10 feet away). The dancing weapon accompanies the activating character everywhere, whether she moves by physical or magical means. If the activating character has an unoccupied hand, she can grasp it while it is attacking on its own as a free action; when so retrieved, the weapon can't dance (attack on its own) again for 4 rounds. This special ability can only be placed on melee weapons.

1)RAW looks like it just uses the wielder's BAB, and that's it. seems pretty clear on that point.

2)same as above. all you get is a d20+BAB. nothing else applies.

seems like it is on its own regardless with the exception of people trying to steal or sunder it while it isn't in anyone's possession, worded to keep the original wielder's CMD to keep people from grabbing it while it is in the air and walking off with it. but other than that it is on its own.


Thanks for the reply. Did you check out the link I included above? Please do - and the one prior to it (also from James). They are from a similar thread a couple of years ago.

I agree that RAW does not specify more than user's BAB (it also does not specify iterative attacks, but the prevailing opinion on the boards seems to be that the weapon does indeed get them.) However, RAW also does not exclude the user's feats and special abilities. James' post certainly appears to say those feats and special abilities are included.

I'm also looking at the expense of the dancing property and wondering whether it would ever be worth purchasing based on the restrictive reading of RAW.


Any other thoughts?


well james jacobs has to constantly remind people that his comments are not official rules, they are just what he would rule in his home game. he states often that he is NOT a rules guy. so i take his comments with a grain of salt.

the item clearly states BAB, and that's it. yes it doesn't mention feats and special abilities of the user. it also does not say it makes gold coins fly out of your butt. i'm pretty sure it doesn't do that either.


The first sentence was sufficient. The second was not constructive or necessary. To restate, nothing about the property implies that it might cause gold coins to fly out of my butt, but it is a weapon property specifically making additional attacks available to a character. The exact nature of the bonus used for those attacks is obviously pertinent to use of the property. If I come across any weapon properties that imply that they cause coinage to spontaneously appear from my character's bodily orifices, I'll keep you in mind.

Looking at the math for a weapon property that requires a minimum of the equivalent of of a +5 weapon in cost but remains a +1 weapon with regards to its attacks, I'm really wondering why anyone would invest in the property if the BAB (and the magical enhancement) are all that are included in the attack bonus. What good are the additional attacks if the attack bonus is nerfed to the point that they only hit on a 20?

If the character is high enough level to reasonably afford the weapon, the AC of their foes are high enough that BAB + enhancement are unlikely to be enough. If the character is fighting foes that have a low enough AC to hit with the dancing weapon, they are less likely to be able to afford it.

Granted, more attacks mean more chance that the 5% chance of rolling a 20 will pay off, but I could invest that +4 in a number of other more effective properties. However, when I find that weapon property that makes gold fly out my butt, I'll spend it on buying a sword with the dancing property in your honor.

To be clear, I understand your interpretation of RAW - its all over the boards - and spent over an hour looking into the PRD, the Core Rulebook, and the existing FAQs and errata before I posted my questions. I was hoping for some thoughts on the RAW + James' post, not a rehash of arguments that were in the original thread. Your statement that James specifically disavows any authority for interpretation of the rules was new to me, so I guess I got what I was looking for.

Looks like this thread is otherwise going to die from lack of interest. Thanks for your responses and have a great day.


While I'm not sure how accurate my interpretation is, I can see one use for the Dancing enchantment. Sunder attempts.

PRD wrote:
As a standard action, a dancing weapon can be loosed to attack on its own. It fights for 4 rounds using the base attack bonus of the one who loosed it and then drops. While dancing, it cannot make attacks of opportunity, and the activating character it is not considered armed with the weapon. The weapon is considered wielded or attended by the activating character for all maneuvers and effects that target items. While dancing, the weapon shares the same space as the activating character and can attack adjacent foes (weapons with reach can attack opponents up to 10 feet away). The dancing weapon accompanies the activating character everywhere, whether she moves by physical or magical means. If the activating character has an unoccupied hand, she can grasp it while it is attacking on its own as a free action; when so retrieved, the weapon can't dance (attack on its own) again for 4 rounds. This special ability can only be placed on melee weapons.

While it's obvious that the highlighted portion provides some defense against any harm that may come to the dancing weapon, I think that it can also add any bonuses that the user has to make sunder attempts.

There are a couple of details that lead me to believe this interpretation:
1. Sundering is a combat maneuver that targets an item
2. A dancing weapon is considered wielded by the user for all maneuvers and effects that target items.
3. Any wielded weapon can be used to make a sunder attempt, and they normally gain any bonuses to the maneuver while doing so.

I think any feat that applies a bonus to cmb when sundering can be added. Whether this was the intention or just a misreading on my part, I cannot be certain; however, if it can be considered possible to use it this way, then I believe it has more potential destroying items than it does trying to attack other characters.

Dark Archive

aethura wrote:

While I'm not sure how accurate my interpretation is, I can see one use for the Dancing enchantment. Sunder attempts.

PRD wrote:
As a standard action, a dancing weapon can be loosed to attack on its own. It fights for 4 rounds using the base attack bonus of the one who loosed it and then drops. While dancing, it cannot make attacks of opportunity, and the activating character it is not considered armed with the weapon. The weapon is considered wielded or attended by the activating character for all maneuvers and effects that target items. While dancing, the weapon shares the same space as the activating character and can attack adjacent foes (weapons with reach can attack opponents up to 10 feet away). The dancing weapon accompanies the activating character everywhere, whether she moves by physical or magical means. If the activating character has an unoccupied hand, she can grasp it while it is attacking on its own as a free action; when so retrieved, the weapon can't dance (attack on its own) again for 4 rounds. This special ability can only be placed on melee weapons.

While it's obvious that the highlighted portion provides some defense against any harm that may come to the dancing weapon, I think that it can also add any bonuses that the user has to make sunder attempts.

There are a couple of details that lead me to believe this interpretation:
1. Sundering is a combat maneuver that targets an item
2. A dancing weapon is considered wielded by the user for all maneuvers and effects that target items.
3. Any wielded weapon can be used to make a sunder attempt, and they normally gain any bonuses to the maneuver while doing so.

I think any feat that applies a bonus to cmb when sundering can be added. Whether this was the intention or just a misreading on my part, I cannot be certain; however, if it can be considered possible to use it this way, then I believe it has more potential destroying items than it does trying to attack other characters.

I see your point, but I dont think the DANCING property is intended to make the item more formidable in regards to SUNDERING attempts. Adamantine is the way to go for SUNDERS and I doubt the designers intend for DANCING to replace or supercede it. I think the only reason they make mention that it is considered wielded by the owner for effects that target it is to speed up gameplay in the case someone tries to attack an actively DANCING weapon.

Whenever rules are vague like this, I think you have to go with "Rules as intended" as your compass.


I guess this post is long dead, but as a House-rules lover I'd like to add something to this discussion.

In his goblin rudeness, Asthyril is right as for the RAW interpretation. The text is clear and cannot be misunderstood: just the BAB and the weapon enchantment are applied. Even aethura's interpretation plays with words, as the description clearly refers to effects, spells and abilities targeting the dancing weapon, not the other way around.

This is pretty clear, but I think that Ainvar has a BIG point in his noticing that the cost (and the +4 enchantment bonus) is totally not worth it. At this condition, a +2 enchantment is already more than every sane (or insane enough) character would wish to pay... and we're talking about a +4.

AinvarG wrote:
I'm also looking at the expense of the dancing property and wondering whether it would ever be worth purchasing based on the restrictive reading of RAW.

On the other hand, if the character could use and apply each and every bonus she has, that would be totally a must-have as soon as you can afford it: «doubling the attacks, maybe adding a COLOSSAL DANCING GREATSWORD? You mad bro?»

So the solution has to be in the middle ground. In my campaigns the house-rule for a dancing weapon is:
- The character can concentrate his will on the weapon (thus spending his own actions) in order to make it work actually as if wielded, with feats and so on. Yes: this allows him to use a Colossal weapon or such as if actually wielding it, but it's a +4 enchantment afterall...
- When the weapon acts on its own, however, it only counts in the BAB, the strength modifier at the moment when the character let it fly and eventually the warrior Weapon Training. No feats counts, no special maneuvers or such can be performed when the weapon is on its own.

This way it should be worth the enchantment without being too much overpowered.

As a sidenote: I also developed a Magic Domain based cleric archetype specialized in using Telekinesis and Dancing Weapons: starting with its domain power for telekinetically throwing his weapon, he then renounces the channel ability in exchange for empowering his telekinetic powers and using all weapons as dancing from a certain level on, even adding his Wis modifier instead of the Strength one when doing so. It was pretty fun =)

hope this helps!

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