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

PaizoCon 2014!

By RAW, what happens when you break a magic item?


Rules Questions


Just like the subject line reads. In our home game, my fighter sundered a magical weapon, only to have the GM roll 50 d6 damage for the release of its magical energy. Barely survived. It's a cool home game and story effect, but is there RAW to support any burst of energy when breaking magic items? For instance, could a wizard in dire straights say "screw it" snap three wands and take out the whole tower along with himself? Thanks for any input.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A Staff of the Magi has rules for retributive strike. You break the staff and do damage based on how many charges remain in the staff. The rules are in the item description, but as far as I know they apply ONLY to that particular staff.


Also the Staff of Power has retributive strike. Everything else just gains the broken comdition.


If destroying magical items does enormous amounts of damage, consider taking up archery:

SRD wrote:
Magic Ammunition and Breakage: When a magic arrow, crossbow bolt, or sling bullet misses its target, there is a 50% chance it breaks or is otherwise rendered useless. A magic arrow, bolt, or bullet that successfully hits a target is automatically destroyed after it delivers its damage.

Your GM should seriously reconsider this houserule.


Thanks. Hopefully I can use this to at least get him to nerf the damage down to a less lethal level.


Nothing happens by RAW. Sounds to me like your GM was irritated by you using Sunder. Your issue is more likely meta than rule-based. I suggest a conversation with your GM as to what he considers to be acceptable rules of engagement as regards sunder. Sunder isn't quite as hot a button issue as level-draining was, but it IS something that a lot of GMs and players have very strong opinions about.


Dawsjax wrote:
is there RAW to support any burst of energy when breaking magic items?

Damaging Magic Items: "Magic items, unless otherwise noted, take damage as nonmagical items of the same sort. A damaged magic item continues to function, but if it is destroyed, all its magical power is lost. Magic items that take damage in excess of half their total hit points, but not more than their total hit points, gain the broken condition, and might not function properly."


Isn't this a leftover from D&D? I haven't played D&D myself, but I think I've read that here on the boards in one of these "often overlooked changes from d&D"-threads.


Kalridian wrote:
Isn't this a leftover from D&D? I haven't played D&D myself, but I think I've read that here on the boards in one of these "often overlooked changes from d&D"-threads.

No. Its the same between D&D and Pathfinder with the exception that Pathfinder also has the Broken condition.

Breaking a magic item doesn't deal damage, it only results in a broken magic item. The only exceptions are a couple of staves, which do deal damage when broken (but only when purposefully broken by the wielder).


IIRC: In 3.5 when you broke a Non-Weapon, Non-Armour, Non-Consumable magic item there was a 50% chance of it going boom and do a small amount of Magical damage.

Though I think it required you to purposefully break the item.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:

IIRC: In 3.5 when you broke a Non-Weapon, Non-Armour, Non-Consumable magic item there was a 50% chance of it going boom and do a small amount of Magical damage.

Though I think it required you to purposefully break the item.

Only as a houserule, or possibly something in a third party product. By RAW, in both 3.5 and Pathfinder, breaking a magic item of any type does nothing but result in a broken magic item. With the exception of a couple of staves, which must be broken by the wielder on purpose to do damage. (Though there may be a few more, they would still be exceptions. By default, nothing happens.)


Actually I found it. It is in a Splat Book called Complete Arcana or Complete Magic... I can't remember and can't find it again...

But Yeah it gives the option to break a magic item for a small explosion of magical force.


2nd ed AD&D DMG black reprint wrote:

Destroying Magical Items

Occasionally characters may find it desirable, useful, or vitally necessary to bring about the destruction of a magical item. Magical items are more resistant than ordinary ones, but they are hardly indestructible, as Table 29 shows. Characters who have possession of a device and are determined to destroy it can do so at will. They need only snap the blade of a magical sword or burn a lock or whatever. It is possible to target specific magical items held by others, but it is very difficult. (In fact, it is no easier or harder than attacking a non-magical item.) Attempting to destroy an enemy's magical item may require attack rolls, saving throws, and item saving throws.
The breaking of a magical item should result in something more dramatic than the breaking of a vase or a windowpane. As DM you are perfectly justified in describing a dramatic explosion of force, a small whirlwind, a foul stench, or whatever seems most appropriate to the moment.
For some items, particularly some staves, there are specific rules that define the effects of the item's destruction. Such cases are rare and the effects are devastating, so they are recommended only for those in the area. You might, for example, dictate that characters within 1 foot, 5 feet, or even 10 feet suffer 1d8 points of damage. This is just an example—the actual damage can vary, at your discretion. Remember,
however, that such damage should only be used for effect; it should never kill or seriously injure a character. After all, killing the character in the explosion of his own magical sword is piling injury upon insult; the loss of a prized magical treasure is bad enough!


asthyril wrote:
2nd ed AD&D DMG black reprint wrote:

Destroying Magical Items

Occasionally characters may find it desirable, useful, or vitally necessary to bring about the destruction of a magical item. Magical items are more resistant than ordinary ones, but they are hardly indestructible, as Table 29 shows. Characters who have possession of a device and are determined to destroy it can do so at will. They need only snap the blade of a magical sword or burn a lock or whatever. It is possible to target specific magical items held by others, but it is very difficult. (In fact, it is no easier or harder than attacking a non-magical item.) Attempting to destroy an enemy's magical item may require attack rolls, saving throws, and item saving throws.
The breaking of a magical item should result in something more dramatic than the breaking of a vase or a windowpane. As DM you are perfectly justified in describing a dramatic explosion of force, a small whirlwind, a foul stench, or whatever seems most appropriate to the moment.
For some items, particularly some staves, there are specific rules that define the effects of the item's destruction. Such cases are rare and the effects are devastating, so they are recommended only for those in the area. You might, for example, dictate that characters within 1 foot, 5 feet, or even 10 feet suffer 1d8 points of damage. This is just an example—the actual damage can vary, at your discretion. Remember,
however, that such damage should only be used for effect; it should never kill or seriously injure a character. After all, killing the character in the explosion of his own magical sword is piling injury upon insult; the loss of a prized magical treasure is bad enough!

I am pro-this, but I think my players (at least my previous group, perhaps not this one) know I steer towards an AD&D style of DMing. That you are going to do things like this is something you should be clear with your players on.


we used to play in 2nd ed that any item that had charges and was broken, either accidentally or on purpose, let all its charges go centered on the item in question. a fully charged wand of fireballs breaking was a nuke.

sometimes evil dms would base traps off of this (triggering the trap made an axe cut a wand of fireballs in half)


hmm... I kinda like the thoughts that made my think...


Wow, 50d6 damage? WTF was the item?

I could maybe see something happening if the item was destroyed, but from what I inferred it was just broken? (broken can still be used at -2/-2 (if it's weapon) penalty, FYI)

Even for breaking, unless it was an artifact or +10 item (which could very much have been the case if you happened to survive the blast; You'd be what— level 16+?), 50d6 seems excessive.

Maybe like 4d6 per enhancing modifier point at worst.

Wands could maybe be 1 spell effect for each 5 charges remaining or something if it's AoE, and maybe as much as 1 spell effect for each charge remaining if it's a targeted spell, but the blasts are randomly shot out over a large area (ex. 25 ft. radius or something, making it unlikely any square would get hit more than twice)


Joesi wrote:

Wow, 50d6 damage? WTF was the item?

I could maybe see something happening if the item was destroyed, but from what I inferred it was just broken? (broken can still be used at -2/-2 (if it's weapon) penalty, FYI)

Even for breaking, unless it was an artifact or +10 item (which could very much have been the case if you happened to survive the blast; You'd be what— level 16+?), 50d6 seems excessive.

Maybe like 4d6 per enhancing modifier point at worst.

Wands could maybe be 1 spell effect for each 5 charges remaining or something if it's AoE, and maybe as much as 1 spell effect for each charge remaining if it's a targeted spell, but the blasts are randomly shot out over a large area (ex. 25 ft. radius or something, making it unlikely any square would get hit more than twice)

I could maybe see it unleashing say a xd6, where x is the Total Enhancement bonus of the weapon or armour, if it was destroyed.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Unless the sword was possessed by a Balor, an artifact of some type, or the Radioactive Sword from the Lead Boulder, 50d6 damage is RIDICULOUS.


Is there even a spell capable of 50d6 damage? Or even an equivalent amount of damage?


Balor's Death throws does the equivalent of 28d6 [100] damage.

Empowered disintegrate cast at 20th level deals 40d6 x 1.5, which is a bit more than 50d6 overall. Of course the victim has to be Ranged Touched and fail a fort save on that one.


OK then... this is a little weaker than Disintegrate pushed to the Max...

What did you attack Sinclair and bring about Overdrive or something?

+1 to anyone who gets the reference.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:

OK then... this is a little weaker than Disintegrate pushed to the Max...

What did you attack Sinclair and bring about Overdrive or something?

+1 to anyone who gets the reference.

Don't really know it but..

Google hints at:
Ravemaster (The Groove Adventure RAVE)


Thanks for making me feel even nerdier than I already did...

Returns to reading Fairy Tail


Fortunately for my fighter, he was at full HP, 12th level, stoneskin, took 156 damage to out him at -9 (his con score is 16). I've spoken with DM since, and he admits it was excessive.


Sundering weaponry is already a self-punishing act that pretty much everybody avoids without going a step further and ambushing players with SURPRISE DAMAGE! of greater levels than they'd get for being immersed in lava.

What's worse, DR doesn't work against energy (fire) or magical damage, so it was DM arbitration that a Stoneskin was even any good against a sword releasing its magical energy. Under a typical ruling it would have been a fatal event.


Yes, my benevolent DM usually follows and act of cruelty with one of kindness.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hahah! A Stockholm Syndrome kind of guy. Good conditioning.


My Fighter normally pushes the item to broken then slays the foe after they are taking the penalties. Then collects the sword and then figures out how best to repair the weapon.


My fighter usually does the same, but in this instance, he wanted to price a point.


Isn't the saying "Press a Point"?

But I have it when you accidentally get to much damage and destroy the item. Thank God most of my GMs let me deliberately reduce the Damage dealt.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:
But I have it when you accidentally get to much damage and destroy the item.

Sunder: "If the damage you deal would reduce the object to less than 0 hit points, you can choose to destroy it. If you do not choose to destroy it, the object is left with only 1 hit point and the broken condition."


Derpy phone, *press, not price. Though I'd we were to price the point of sundered items, we'd likely find a bargain. ;-p


Grick wrote:
Azaelas Fayth wrote:
But I have it when you accidentally get to much damage and destroy the item.

Sunder: "If the damage you deal would reduce the object to less than 0 hit points, you can choose to destroy it. If you do not choose to destroy it, the object is left with only 1 hit point and the broken condition."

We never noticed that...

@Dawsjax: I don't... I am utterly at a loss for coherent words...


So am I, Azaelas, so am I.
Though we could also put the price of sundering as equal to a +1 weapon enhancement; as in the days of the Mighty Sundering weapon ability. Which, I suppose, means the price of sundering goes up exponentially depending on how powerful your weapon already is. So now we must conclude: Sundering becomes more valuable the longer you wait to take it. I'll stop now.

Andoran

You lived through 50d6? Wow.


It breaks?


Winterwalker: only barely, and only because the DM let stoneskin stop 10 of it. He also rolled all the dice instead of taking the average (which would be 175) he ended up rolling 156 and knocking me to -9. Buff fighter is buff.


Barely Buff Enough it seems...

And Why did I think of Dr. Suess(spelling)...

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Rules Questions / By RAW, what happens when you break a magic item? 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.