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Player just had his sword sundered and now he's mad at the DM


Gamer Talk

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DSXMachina wrote:
Maybe you are low-magic campaign and you don't find magic weapons often,

I would presume, then, that magic weapons are even less of a necessity and even more of a luxury, making it even easier to accept the loss of one and move on.

DSXMachina wrote:
maybe you cannot carry spare weapons due to encumberance

Given that an 8 strength can carry up to 80 lbs, I refuse to accept "cannot carry spares." You might not like the consequences of carrying spares, but you are still quite capable.

I've always found the idea you suggest to be one that is basically insane: an aversion to a small penalty (from encumbrance) causes a potentially sever penalty (from lack of a weapon)... much like failure to buy a $20 item (by shoplifting) causes $1,000 in fines or worse. A shoplifter might have said they "can not" afford the $20, but one little unexpecting event (getting caught) later and it gets pointed out that $20 was extremely affordable.

DSXMachina wrote:
maybe your weapon is rare and you have no proficiency in other weapon groups.

That situation is impossible as you describe it as every class is proficient in more than one weapon, including a number of extremely common weapons (like a dagger).

If you are talking about a character heavily invested in being better with one specific weapon... there is a reason why "don't put all your eggs in one basket," is still a phrase used often.

When making your character particularly vulnerable to a specific event, I feel you should become more prepared to experience that event rather than assume it will instead become less likely to happen.

You don't expect to be attacked less often just because you have less HP - you behave in ways that limit your exposure to attacks.

DSXMachina wrote:
Just because there are rules in book doesn't mean that will definitely always be used, they can be an option.

Exactly, they can be an option so you should be prepared just in case that option is used.


To be fair, magic items being a rarity does not make them easier to part with. You don't see them as a 'luxury', you see them as a reward you achieved through great luck/competence.


True, you could carry 80lbs, if you were happy with a -6 to all physical checks (&-7 to Str checks).

And yes in the real world nobody shop-lifts or fare dodges.

I'm not arguing that you should never sunder, but that it can annoy players.

BTW how does this affect PFS?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
To be fair, magic items being a rarity does not make them easier to part with. You don't see them as a 'luxury', you see them as a reward you achieved through great luck/competence.

I agree, in this case they become treasured items, but being blessed by good luck should not preclude one from experiencing bad luck (like one of those said treasured items breaking). Otherwise people might start thinking: "Nothing Bad Ever Happens To Me"...


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
To be fair, magic items being a rarity does not make them easier to part with. You don't see them as a 'luxury', you see them as a reward you achieved through great luck/competence.

You're not "parting" wiht a sundered weapon, since you can still get them repaired quite easily, as has been pointed out many times now.


DSXMachina wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
I think sundering enemies should be a thing informed of beforehand (same as with the very high risk of death instead of just a normal risk of dying, risky themes etc.) because otherwise it will usually feel like a surprise stake up the place where the sun doesn't shine.
Do you give your players a breakdown of ALL your enemies tactics?
If it includes torture, rape or any abuse you should. But is it really too much hassle for a GM to say "Oh, I do sunder armour & weapons on occasion."

This. ^^


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
To be fair, magic items being a rarity does not make them easier to part with.

It should.

Magic items being rare implies that the uses of the item are intentionally down-played by the game - you don't tend to hear about "low-magic campaigns" that end up full of monsters with DR 10/Magic and no magic weapons, for example.

You do, however, tend to run into a fair amount of DR/Magic monsters in campaigns where magic weapons are available enough that you can actually go gear up for the challenge at hand... and that means that the absence of a magical weapon is felt less in the low-magic situation than otherwise.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
You don't see them as a 'luxury', you see them as a reward you achieved through great luck/competence.

I don't care how hard you work for it or how lucky you get to find one, a luxury is a luxury, an should be seen as such.

If an item is not a necessity (food, clothing, shelter and the like) then it is a luxury (a car, a PS3, another suit because you didn't own a blue one yet, and so on) - in a low-magic game a magic weapon is, by definition, not a necessity... That leaves only one thing for it to be.


Tatics are there to improve a battle and give it flavor. BBEG's are not dumb and the use of tatics on the bad guy side should make the battle epic.


Fair tactic that shouldn't be over used. In my current game, the fighter got his magic blade sundered, but he had nothing to complain about after claiming the magic admantine longsword that did the sundering.


Threeshades wrote:


You're not "parting" wiht a sundered weapon, since you can still get them repaired quite easily, as has been pointed out many times now.

I didn't debate that. I am on the OP's side, and have already argued his case. I am now only paying attention to this thread so I can dispute things that don't sound right, regardless of whose side they fall on.

AaronOfBarbaria wrote:

It should.

Magic items being rare implies that the uses of the item are intentionally down-played by the game - you don't tend to hear about "low-magic campaigns" that end up full of monsters with DR 10/Magic and no magic weapons, for example.

You do, however, tend to run into a fair amount of DR/Magic monsters in campaigns where magic weapons are available enough that you can actually go gear up for the challenge at hand... and that means that the absence of a magical weapon is felt less in the low-magic situation than otherwise.

If an item is not a necessity (food, clothing, shelter and the like) then it is a luxury (a car, a PS3, another suit because you didn't own a blue one yet, and so on) - in a low-magic game a magic weapon is, by definition, not a necessity... That leaves only one thing for it to be.

Something that is harder to get is more valued. It doesn't matter if it is 'technically' a luxury. By that logic, something like gold would be quite cheap--since people don't need it, and spend much of their lives without it, they surely won't want it.

Gold isn't the best example, of course, since a magic item is actually useful, but it's the best example I can think of.


shallowsoul wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
AaronOfBarbaria wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
AaronOfBarbaria wrote:
I am genuinely curious as to how someone would come to a different expectation.
By playing with DMs that don't use those rules.

...but if the DM never comes out and says "I will never sunder your weapons," then why would the player develop the expectation that it will never happen rather than the expectation that it might happen at some point?

That's what I don't get - how does something not happening in the past despite being listed as possible in the rulebook become a belief that said thing will never happen.

It seems, to me, a similar process to that in which someone begins to believe they will never be wounded while doing something dangerous because they have managed to escape harm thus far... except in that case most people would say "that's what you get for thinking you're invincible," rather than feeling sympathetic.

As a player, I haven't had an enemy sunder one of my weapons in... I don't think ever. None of the GMs I've played with has used it. I used it with one character, but he had an artifact sword that was basically described as the sword that could cut through anything. I haven't used it as a GM either.

So I can understand why another player might be surprised by its use.

In all my years if gaming, there are a few monsters that I have not been up against, now does the DM need to clear it with me before introducing this particular monster?

You're arguing against a conversation that is only happening in your brain. Because your comment has nothing to do with what I said.


Let me see if I can think of a better example.

Say I don't have a computer. I really want a computer, and one that will last. I work very hard to get such a device, and finally, after going to a lot of trouble, I spend all the money I've earned and procure one.

Then, an anvil falls on it and it is smashed to bits. That'll teach me to keep anvils dangling from the ceiling by fraying ropes.

That computer was a luxury. But I worked hard to get it. And if I were a PC, I'm sure my player would be pretty disappointed. Sure, I'm not condoning throwing a tantrum over it, even if the loss is permanent.

But you say a person should logically be less attached to something that requires more work to get. That's not how people work.


IT would annoy me to have an item important to my character destroyed. It would annoy my character even more though and he would act appropriately.

Whether that's running away in order to preserve his ancestral armour from the rust monster or run screaming blue murder at the bbeg and attempting to beat his head in with his own helmet depends on the character.


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At the beginning of each game I used to remind my players that this was a no holds barred, life or death game, and that they should try not to bite off more than they can chew and above all else don't do anything stupid.
Now it's kind of a joke. Every time I sit down as DM I get asked to give the speech.

I like to think of it like a course syllabus. I pull no punches. If you want in you have to accept that. You have a problem with that please refer to the speech.


Icyshadow wrote:

People seem to forget the absolute most important rule of the entire game, which is to have fun.

If sundering a PC's weapon ruins the fun for him/her (and the other players), then you are failing as a DM.

What if the DM/other players find that fun?


Am I the only person following this thread who's chosen to fail a save for RP reasons? I wanted to be like Aragorn, carrying the blade that had been reforged, but instead the DM just increased my gearscore.

That's Frustrating!


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Then, that is an incompatible group. They should not be at the table together.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Let me see if I can think of a better example.

Say I don't have a computer. I really want a computer, and one that will last. I work very hard to get such a device, and finally, after going to a lot of trouble, I spend all the money I've earned and procure one.

Then, an anvil falls on it and it is smashed to bits. That'll teach me to keep anvils dangling from the ceiling by fraying ropes.

That computer was a luxury. But I worked hard to get it. And if I were a PC, I'm sure my player would be pretty disappointed. Sure, I'm not condoning throwing a tantrum over it, even if the loss is permanent.

But you say a person should logically be less attached to something that requires more work to get. That's not how people work.

The analogy falls apart because of the tremendous disconnect between real-life work for real-life goods and DnD "work" (which is actually recreation for the players) for DnD goods (which are really just window dressing).


I don't feel it falls apart. Spending time on something is the key here. The more time you spend procuring something, the more valued it is.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
princeimrahil wrote:
The analogy falls apart because of the tremendous disconnect between real-life work for real-life goods and DnD "work" (which is actually recreation for the players) for DnD goods (which are really just window dressing).

So you've never felt any emotion when a character in a book or show dies? After all, they're just window dressing for your recreation.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I don't feel it falls apart. Spending time on something is the key here. The more time you spend procuring something, the more valued it is.

So you work for... a couple of months to get a new computer, and you "work" for... what, 12 to 48 hours to get a new magic sword? Again, I don't think your analogy really works, since DnD time /= real life time.


In Pathfinder time, I just kill someone and take their sword. Ta-Da! Sword replaced!


You've clearly never played a video game. ;D


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
You've clearly never played a video game. ;D

I thought we were talking about Pathfinder, not WOW. ;-D


Who said WOW? There's hundreds of games that use a medieval fantasy-esque setting. WOW isn't the first nor the last to do so.


IF they got PO'd by a sunder attack imagine what would happen when I gave them a cursed sword later, yes just because they threw a hissy fit at the table.


princeimrahil wrote:
I thought we were talking about Pathfinder, not WOW. ;-D

We're talking about effort leading to attachment. :P


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I don't feel it falls apart. Spending time on something is the key here. The more time you spend procuring something, the more valued it is.

You are, of course, correct - have to admit that even though I will still hold the stance that we should not be that way because it is one of the various ways in which people are prone to suck.

I just like to think that along with being idealized in other ways (perfect physique, world-saving potential, "best of the best"-ness, etc.) characters would be ideal in their worldly desire priorities as well.


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If the GM created such an effective experience that your character has grown an attachment to a magic weapon, then good for the GM. If that GM then can create a visceral experience that results in causing you to grief the loss of said item then good for the GM, you're in his world after all, he is Thulsa Doom to your Conan. If the player is so engaged then the GM has been effective. Now you as the player should recognize this other human being has taken you for an effective emotional roller coaster ride, well worth admission, you're in capable hands.


AaronOfBarbaria wrote:

You are, of course, correct - have to admit that even though I will still hold the stance that we should not be that way because it is one of the various ways in which people are prone to suck.

I just like to think that along with being idealized in other ways (perfect physique, world-saving potential, "best of the best"-ness, etc.) characters would be ideal in their worldly desire priorities as well.

Pish-posh! Where's the fun in playing a character if they can't get upset over trivial things? :P


Mage Evolving wrote:

At the beginning of each game I used to remind my players that this was a no holds barred, life or death game, and that they should try not to bite off more than they can chew and above all else don't do anything stupid.

Now it's kind of a joke. Every time I sit down as DM I get asked to give the speech.

I like to think of it like a course syllabus. I pull no punches. If you want in you have to accept that. You have a problem with that please refer to the speech.

I'd consider that a good part of DMing. Talking clearly about expectations and style, being consistent and getting your players excited about the game (which they are if they're asking to hear the speech). I don't care if you're no holds barred or pulling punches, both styles are valid, it's the clear communication of what style you're using that is important.


Nepherti wrote:

I also have never played a game which a GM has used sunder against the party. I also have rarely seen a player try to use it. I can totally understand the being upset part. Rage quitting is not the best thing to do, though.

I remember one game where a player ('s PC) specialized in sundering cleave (one of those combat style feats from Complete Warrior, if I recall correctly). So, every. Single. Attack he ever made, was a sunder attempt. Usually successful too. It got to the point where the DM had to throw nothing but monks or guys armed with a silly number of backup weapons at us just to keep it interesting. It got really disruptive.

Then we encountered a boss NPC who was build very similar to the PC in question. The player's outrage when his über sword got sundered was delicious.

I think it was a change from 3e to 3.5 that made the issue problematic though. In 3e you could only sunder a weapon if your own weapon was at least as magical as the target weapon. In 3.5 you could sunder everything. Of course, it was a low-magic campaign so most of the guys we fought didn't have magic weapons. But still.


Slaunyeh wrote:
I think it was a change from 3e to 3.5 that made the issue problematic though. In 3e you could only sunder a weapon if your own weapon was at least as magical as the target weapon. In 3.5 you could sunder everything.

Nope, 3.5 had the same "An attacker cannot damage a magic weapon that has an enhancement bonus unless his own weapon has at least as high an enhancement bonus as the weapon or shield struck." rule.

That's how the rule carried over into Pathfinder until it recently being changed via errata.

...and in all cases that rule is mentioned only in the magic item chapter but not in the combat chapter, even though (in 3.5 at least) the magic item chapter mentions everything else that the combat chapter says regarding the difficulty of sundering a magical item.


So this has been errata'd, then? Could you point me at the change, please? I'd like to know in advance of a little high-level adventure I'm going to be prepping soon.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
AaronOfBarbaria wrote:
3.5 had the same "An attacker cannot damage a magic weapon that has an enhancement bonus unless his own weapon has at least as high an enhancement bonus as the weapon or shield struck." rule.

Where??

Because according to the SRD, each plus only adds to an item's hardness and hit points...

Nowhere under "breaking an item" or "Sunder" is your "rule" listed...


sundering the barbarian's magic sword is actually a permanent wealth penalty. unless you modify the loot to accommodate a better sword for him/her.

any wealth penalty is permanent if the player has to expend resources to replace it.

potions and wands do not magically restock themselves.

most players would rather build a new character at the Same Party Level with level appropriate gear than pay the out of pocket cost for a resurrection.

hell, a lot of players would rather have the new character than take even a minor permanent penalty.

nobody wants to play the blind from losing his eyes to a critical hit with a bow, deaf from a permanent spell, fighter with a -6 to strength from bestow curse, a missing leg from the critical fumble deck, a damaged hook hand from the called shot rules, multiple permanent negative levels from various undead, permanent confusion from a failed save to an insanity spell, perpetually staggered from his wounded leg, a crapton of constitution drain from a potent poison applied by an assassin, not a coin to his name due to all the resources he spent coming back or compensating for penalties, and inferior busted equipment looted from gnolls because they were the only thing he could kill that matched his size with all his penalties, no matter how many free levels you gave him in the end.


Digitalelf wrote:
AaronOfBarbaria wrote:
3.5 had the same "An attacker cannot damage a magic weapon that has an enhancement bonus unless his own weapon has at least as high an enhancement bonus as the weapon or shield struck." rule.

Where??

Because according to the SRD, each plus only adds to the items hardness and hit points...

And nowhere under "Breaking" or "Sunder" is your "rule" listed...

Page 222 of the 3.5 DMG, first sentence.

Of course, I just now (as in never before today) found out that an errata issued in 2004 contains removing that sentence to get rid of the inconsistency.

So yeah... how the heck did that crappy rule creep into 4 printings of PF?

princeimrahil wrote:
So this has been errata'd, then?

Yes, as of the fifth printing of the CRB the clause of equal or greater enchantment being needed has been removed. This change is reflected in both the d20pfsrd site and the PRD.


AaronOfBarbaria wrote:


princeimrahil wrote:
So this has been errata'd, then?
Yes, as of the fifth printing of the CRB the clause of equal or greater enchantment being needed has been removed. This change is reflected in both the d20pfsrd site and the PRD.

This makes me sad. My gaming group really liked that Pathfinder brought back that 3e rule. You shouldn't be able to sunder a vorpal greatsword +5 with a spoon. :/

(why a spoon? Because it hurts more!)


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Slaunyeh wrote:
AaronOfBarbaria wrote:


princeimrahil wrote:
So this has been errata'd, then?
Yes, as of the fifth printing of the CRB the clause of equal or greater enchantment being needed has been removed. This change is reflected in both the d20pfsrd site and the PRD.

This makes me sad. My gaming group really liked that Pathfinder brought back that 3e rule. You shouldn't be able to sunder a vorpal greatsword +5 with a spoon. :/

(why a spoon? Because it hurts more!)

If there is a creature out there that can sunder a +5 Greatsword with a spoon... Well, then, damnit, I should count myself lucky he wasn't attacking me!


Shuriken Nekogami wrote:

Sundering the barbarian's magic sword is actually a permanent wealth penalty. Unless you modify the loot to accommodate a better sword for him/her.

Any wealth penalty is permanent if the player has to expend resources to replace it.

Potions and wands do not magically restock themselves.

Most players would rather build a new character at the Same Party Level with level appropriate gear than pay the out of pocket cost for a resurrection.

Hell, a lot of players would rather have the new character than take even a minor permanent penalty.

Nobody wants to play the blind from losing his eyes to a critical hit with a bow, deaf from a permanent spell, fighter with a -6 to strength from bestow curse, a missing leg from the critical fumble deck, a damaged hook hand from the called shot rules, multiple permanent negative levels from various undead, permanent confusion from a failed save to an insanity spell, perpetually staggered from his wounded leg, a crapton of constitution drain from a potent poison applied by an assassin, not a coin to his name due to all the resources he spent coming back or compensating for penalties, and inferior busted equipment looted from gnolls because they were the only thing he could kill that matched his size with all his penalties, no matter how many free levels you gave him in the end.

This. ^^


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Slaunyeh wrote:
You shouldn't be able to sunder a vorpal greatsword +5 with a spoon. :/

Let's break that down, mr. hyberbolic example:

Spoon - tiny improvised weapon. I will be generous and give it 1d4 damage and a x2 critical.

+5 greatsword - 20 hardness, 60 hit points.

So a creature would need a +13 strength modifier in order to even scratch the greatsword with a spoon on a maximum damage critical.

Just stay away from spoon-wielding bad-guys with 36+ strength and your +5 vorpal greatsword is spoon proof!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
sundering the barbarian's magic sword is actually a permanent wealth penalty. unless you modify the loot to accommodate a better sword for him/her.

Exactly. Unfortunately, since the OP provided little in the way of context, we can only guess the situation.

With a GM that clearly states "I adhere to the WBL numbers, in a way that these numbers are the value of the items you will have received at that point in your career. If you cannot use it, and have to sell loot for half value, you still have received full WBL. If you purchase or create consumables, and use them, you still have received full WBL. If you somehow lose your stuff, you still have received full WBL. Oh, and the encounters I provide will assume that you are appropriately geared for your level, tee hee..." and then merrily starts sundering the party's most expensive items with a s&&+-eating grin on his face, yes, I'd be pissed as hell, period.

With a GM I trust to compensate the party for the loss (not necessarily ZOMGNAO), thus making the problems temporary only, I'd probably be sligntly miffed for a moment, but then see the whole shebang as a challenge.

And yes, I have come across both of these ends of the spectrum.

AaronOfBarbaria wrote:
Just stay away from spoon-wielding bad-guys with 36+ strength and your +5 vorpal greatsword is spoon proof!

Ah, but what if he is power-attacking with a (larger) two handed spoon?


Midnight_Angel wrote:

Ah, but what if he is power-attacking with a (larger) two handed spoon?

Then we start to tread into "is meant to be good at that" territory, where it looks even more odd to me to be upset that it works.


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I disagree on the "wealth penalty" thing. Your character's in-game wealth is a finite resource. Things are going to happen in-game that are going to make your character spend that resource on staying alive; potions, curse removals, food, etc. Repairing broken equipment is pretty standard fare for any profession, and when your profession involves hitting things as hard as you can with your "tools," sometimes you have to spend a little gold to keep things working.

Honestly? The whole "wealth penalty" idea reeks of entitlement. As if from day 1, your character's wealth can and will ONLY be spent on better stuff and never to shore up weaknesses and keep equipment viable. I call shenanigans.

Is spending gold in town to get a Restoration spell cast on you a "Wealth penalty" as well? Are CLW potions a "wealth penalty?" How about food?

As a DM, I don't even like the idea of sundering a PC's gear, but it's a legal, viable combat option and it can come up whenever the DM damn well feels like it. A polite DM warns players ahead of time that tactics like this exist in the setting, but there's no contract anywhere or any rule that says "The DM must not do anything that might affect anything on a PC."


AaronOfBarbaria wrote:
Slaunyeh wrote:
You shouldn't be able to sunder a vorpal greatsword +5 with a spoon. :/

Let's break that down, mr. hyberbolic example:

Spoon - tiny improvised weapon. I will be generous and give it 1d4 damage and a x2 critical.

+5 greatsword - 20 hardness, 60 hit points.

So a creature would need a +13 strength modifier in order to even scratch the greatsword with a spoon on a maximum damage critical.

Just stay away from spoon-wielding bad-guys with 36+ strength and your +5 vorpal greatsword is spoon proof!

Monk of the Empty Hand? :p

But seriously, mr. blow-things-out-of-proportion, it was a Robin Hood reference, relax. The point is: Only doing 80 damage in one hit in my last 3.5 game meant you were having an off day (not for me, of course, since I was dumb enough to play a sorcerer, but the two fighters did way more than that as a matter of course.)


AaronOfBarbaria wrote:
Midnight_Angel wrote:

Ah, but what if he is power-attacking with a (larger) two handed spoon?

Then we start to tread into "is meant to be good at that" territory, where it looks even more odd to me to be upset that it works.

If anything bigger than a tiny improvised weapon is, by definition, "meant to be good at sundering +5 weapons" then, yeah, that is actually a pretty good summary of why I didn't like the 3.5 change, loved the Pathfinder revert, and is kinda sad to hear about the (recent?) Pathfinder errata.

But hey, I don't really care if you think that's odd. Apparently some Pathfinder devs agree with you. I just liked the 'old way' of doing it better. Sorry.


Slaunyeh wrote:
If anything bigger than a tiny improvised weapon is, by definition, "meant to be good at sundering +5 weapons" then, yeah

No, no no. Not "anything bigger than a tiny improvised weapon."

Anything big enough to be valid for two-handed wielding being used in a power attack - that is getting into the territory of "meant to be good at sundering", because power attack is purchased with a limited resource and it's effect is to make you better at breaking people and hurting objects, and wielding something with both hands carries the downside of not being able to use a shield.

Two choice, one that is mostly permanent, have been made that make the character better at sundering - and that means its okay if he ends up kind of good at it.


AaronOfBarbaria wrote:
Two choice, one that is mostly permanent, have been made that make the character better at sundering - and that means its okay if he ends up kind of good at it.

I don't think I'm arguing against someone specializing in sundering ending up being 'kinda good' at sundering things. What I dislike is the idea of the 'kinda good' sunder guy who takes a normal sword fresh off the smithy and uses it to sunder a near-artifact +10 weapon.

If he had his own +5 vorpal bunn... sword, I'd have absolutely no problem with the kinda-good guy successfully sundering the weapon.


Midnight_Angel wrote:
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
sundering the barbarian's magic sword is actually a permanent wealth penalty. unless you modify the loot to accommodate a better sword for him/her.
Exactly. Unfortunately, since the OP provided little in the way of context, we can only guess the situation.

He has clarified that he offered the chance to replace or repair the sword. The player was being illogical.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Midnight_Angel wrote:
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
sundering the barbarian's magic sword is actually a permanent wealth penalty. unless you modify the loot to accommodate a better sword for him/her.
Exactly. Unfortunately, since the OP provided little in the way of context, we can only guess the situation.
He has clarified that he offered the chance to replace or repair the sword. The player was being illogical.

I still disagree with it being a penalty regardless of whether "compensation" was offered or not. It's part of the game.

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