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Which weapon abilities are worth it?


Advice

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

So I'm looking through all of the weapon abilities in the Ultimate Equipment guide and frankly hardly any of them are worth it in my opinion. Out of all of them, unless I already have a +5 weapon the only ones I'd consider are these ones"

Furious, if I was a barbarian
Keen, if I wasn't going to take the feat
Spellstoring, maybe if I had a specific trick I had in mind
Bane, only if I knew I'd be facing a lot (50%+) of a certain type of creature, or if I was a ranger that was allowed to combo the ability with Instant Enemy.

Really though, that's it. If I already had a +5 weapon I guess I'd consider holy/unholy, plus the basic elemental effects. But honestly it seems that most of the weapon special abilities aren't worth it at all.

What do you all think?

Scarab Sages

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

Basic pluses improve your hitting and damage power across the board, by small increments.

The other abilities give greater bonuses, in specific circumstances.

Which you prefer depends very much, on whether you know what you will be facing.

In my experience, most campaigns aim to have some theme, which would encourage the PCs to seek out certain weapon abilities, once they have discovered who is the campaign ubervillain, and what creatures they use as typical minions.

So, yes that gnoll-bane sword may normally be too specific to keep around, best sell it on to someone who will get more use out of it....unless your playing 'Slave Pits of Lamashtu', in which case, it's worth keeping around, and may even be considered pivotal to the plot.


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I'd say Holy is worthwhile if you play any kind of traditional "punch evil in the face" campaign where the majority of the enemies will be evil-aligned.

Conductive can also be a really good choice if you've got access to some sort of worthwhile touch attack ability through class, feats, race, etc since it lets you combine your touch ability with a normal melee attack.

Menacing is good if you plan to regularly have a flank-buddy.


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Cruel is just crazy good on a intimidate build. As long as its not say a undead heavy campaign. But if it is you shouldn't be running such a build anyway.

-Edit- Ohh forgot agile. In many builds that would normally be very MAD it can mean a lot.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Adaptive is worth looking at for any composite bow.

Brilliant energy, while expensive, is quite powerful against most humanoid opponents.

Called can be very useful (and can be obtained earlier than a glove of storing).

Cunning is useful to any critical-focused character.

Distance is pretty much a must have on any ranged weapon.

Dueling is a nice ability.

Furious is useful to bards, clerics, and other self-buffing casters with access to rage, in addition to barbarians.

Ghost touch is fairly inexpensive for the benefit; incorporeal creatures are a pain otherwise.

Grayflame is useful to any character that can channel positive or negative energy (clerics and paladins/antipaladins).

Holy, as mentioned, is probably one of the most useful abilities in a traditional campaign where the majority of foes are evil.

Impact can be very useful on certain weapons; for example, a Medium impact greataxe does 3d6 base damage.

Menacing is extremely useful for a rogue or other character that often flanks opponents.

Speed is useful for almost any weapon.

Spell storing is great for pretty much any party with a caster that has attack spells (vampiric touch is a favorite spell to store).

Wounding is almost as useful as holy.

Other abilities are more situational, requiring more planning, specific circumstances, or a character developed in a certain way to benefit fully.


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I would argue distance is really only good on firearms. Extending 20 ft touch attack to 40 feet or 40 to 80 alright. Extending 100/120 ft to 200 plus isn't usually very needed.


Buy 50 spell storing arrows. Add, scorching ray to all of them and enjoy an extra 12d6 damage each attack.


Abraham spalding wrote:
I would argue distance is really only good on firearms. Extending 20 ft touch attack to 40 feet or 40 to 80 alright. Extending 100/120 ft to 200 plus isn't usually very needed.

Depends on whether the campaign is indoors or outdoors.

Conductive on a Ranged Weapon used by an Alchemist.


Courageous is amazingly good. You get half of the weapons enh. Bonus as a bonus to ALL morale bonuses. So for barbarians, that's their rage bonuses for str, con, and will. As well as for inquisitors, and anyone else with morale bonuses.

Dueling- fg. It's not found in the ultimate equipment, like many other abilities, or items but it one of my favorites and one of the best abilities in the game.


Our new Magus has had some nice use for Spell Storing so far. Pop Fire Breath (or something else when he gets some better spells) into it, spellstrike like a mofo and unleash the Fire Breath. Basically a 1/day "YOU! Dieeeee." attack.


johnlocke90 wrote:
Buy 50 spell storing arrows. Add, scorching ray to all of them and enjoy an extra 12d6 damage each attack.

Spell storing is a melee only enchantment I do believe.


Impervious looks sweet.


Beopere wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Buy 50 spell storing arrows. Add, scorching ray to all of them and enjoy an extra 12d6 damage each attack.
Spell storing is a melee only enchantment I do believe.

Yeppers.

S'confusing because unlike pretty much every other melee only enchantment, it only says it near the END of the text instead of the beginning.

Sczarni

A bard (or cleric of Calistria) with a whip of spell storing can cast touch spells at a 15-foot range. My personal favorite is casting CLW into it and whipping your allies to heal them without having to get within melee range of the monster.

Much math was done on these boards a while back to prove that Impact is at its best when it increases the number of dice of weapon's base damage-- for example, going from 1d8 to 2d6. It has to do with the bell curve effect.

Can someone please explain to me what the Jurist ability is supposed to do?


What to put in your weapon with Spell Storing (a whole new potential thread). A couple I've used or seen used in addition to some of the above:
- A Rogue with Blindness/Deafness stored
- Vampiric Touch
- Searing Light

As far as confusion ->
Is there FAQ on the ability?
Is the caster level of the Stored spell 12th, the level of the caster who placed the Stored spell, or the Wielders?
Does the Stored spell need to have a "Target" line entry to be RAW/RAI?


Grizzly the Archer wrote:
Dueling- fg. It's not found in the ultimate equipment, like many other abilities, or items but it one of my favorites and one of the best abilities in the game.

I prefer Ultimate Equipment's Dueling Ability.

Jurist is meant to boost an Inquisitor's Judgements it seems fairly straight forward.

An most people argue against Impact being better than Holy or just a flat +2 enhancement increase.


Do multiple courageous additions stack?

If I had a barbarian with a furious/courageous amulet who had improved unarmed strike and claws while raging, would he get a seperate untyped bonus to his moral for each weapon thus enchanted by the item?


Azaelas Fayth wrote:
Grizzly the Archer wrote:
Dueling- fg. It's not found in the ultimate equipment, like many other abilities, or items but it one of my favorites and one of the best abilities in the game.
I prefer Ultimate Equipment's Dueling Ability.

The problem is there are 2 dueling properties. One is from the core books, and thus transferred to the ultimate equipment, and the other is the dueling property found in the pathfinder society field guide. This is the property I speak of. It is loads better than many other abilities, and is practically required for any combat maneuver character, especially those for trip, disarm, sunder. It also benefits those for dirty trick and reposition.

Rage inquisitors will love this a iLife because their +5 bane/ greater bane, furious xxxxx now has their enhancement bonus doubled into a luck bonus then added again to their enhancement. So, +5...+2 furious ...+2 bane= +9 enhancement.. 9x2= 18... 18+ 9= +27 CMB bonus on your attack roll from your weapon.

For those who don't know what this property does...

Dueling-FG:

Dueling-FG
Source: Pathfinder Society Field Guide
Aura Moderate transmutation; CL 7th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, cat’s grace; Price +1 bonus.

Description
This ability can only be placed on a melee weapon.
A dueling weapon bears magical enhancements that makes it particularly effective at performing certain combat maneuvers. When a dueling weapon is used to perform a combat maneuver that utilizes the weapon only (see below), it grants a luck bonus equal to twice its enhancement bonus on the CMB check made to carry out the maneuver. The dueling weapon also grants this same luck bonus to the wielder’s CMD score against these types of combat maneuvers. These combat maneuvers include disarm and trip maneuvers, but not bull rush, grapple, or overrun maneuvers. If you’re using the additional combat maneuvers in the Advanced Player’s Guide, this also includes any dirty trick maneuvers that utilize the weapon, as well as reposition combat maneuvers, but not drag or steal combat maneuvers. Note that this luck bonus stacks with the weapon’s enhancement bonus, which in and of itself adds to CMB checks normally.


I agree it is an excellent property.

I just prefer UE's Dueling property.


phase locking is nice, but I know plenty of GM's that won't like it.


I'm a huge fan of Designating, lesser throwing knives myself and a blink back belt :)


Grizzly the Archer wrote:


Rage inquisitors will love this a iLife because their +5 bane/ greater bane, furious xxxxx now has their enhancement bonus doubled into a luck bonus then added again to their enhancement. So, +5...+2 furious ...+2 bane= +9 enhancement.. 9x2= 18... 18+ 9= +27 CMB bonus on your attack roll from your weapon.

Come again? I've bolded the items that made absolutely no sense given the context. I assume autocorrect nabbed your post but I'd love to see what you were talking about.


Rage inquisitors will love this a lot.

The second part is fine. The weapon ability takes your enhancement bonus, doubles it as a luck bonus, and then adds that luck bonus back to the original enhancement bonus. Essentially a +3 dueling, becomes +9 for combat maneuvers that it discusses. I posted the ability above.

The reason rage inquisitors will love it is because furious weapon ability increases the enhancement, and so does bane. This would make your +5 holy avenger a +9 enhancement for the two abilities. Throw in dueling, and it's now a +27 for combat maneuvers. This is not including you're Str, BAB, rage, traits, or other special abilities, items.


Holy Avengers don't work fully in the hands of an Inquisitor.

Scarab Sages

Xexyz wrote:

So I'm looking through all of the weapon abilities in the Ultimate Equipment guide and frankly hardly any of them are worth it in my opinion. Out of all of them, unless I already have a +5 weapon the only ones I'd consider are these ones"

Furious, if I was a barbarian

Good in any group with an arcane caster willing to buff the party.

Haste + Rage = Win.


So... is it the opinion of everyone that the standard, boring old energy boosts of 1d6 extra damage per attack aren't worth it?

Because I sure like those. Particularly "shocking" since it tends to have fewer monsters who are immune to electricity than from fire or ice.

I mean 3.5 extra damage per hit seems pretty nice to me.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

So... is it the opinion of everyone that the standard, boring old energy boosts of 1d6 extra damage per attack aren't worth it?

Because I sure like those. Particularly "shocking" since it tends to have fewer monsters who are immune to electricity than from fire or ice.

I mean 3.5 extra damage per hit seems pretty nice to me.

That would be my opinion on them. I would much rather hit with regularity than do a bit of extra damage (barring a campaign where a specific energy type is particularly useful). More accuracy can also have tangential benefits with certain types of combat maneuvers and certain challenges the DM might throw at you.


... Why does everything have to be so literal. Ok. ANY weapon that is + 5, with the bane and furious abilities. While raging, will give you the +27 bonus. Doesn't have to be a holy avenger in inquisitor hands, just needs to be a high bonus for enh, I picked holy avenger as an example not as THE example.


+1d6 might be worth it at the end, but until you run out of +1s it's not a great deal. The +1d6 abilities basically trade +1 attack for +2.5 damage, which while better than one handed power attack is worse than two handed, doesn't crit, and is subject to energy resistance. +1d6 force or sonic would barely be worth a +1. +1d6 elemental isn't until your weapon is already +5.

They might be different on an Amulet of Mighty Fang used by a natural attack build because accuracy worth less on natural attacks because of the lack of iteratives, or on a multiweapon attack eidolon because the off-hand attacks don't get iteratives, but for a manufactured weapon or an amulet of mighty fists that will be used with unarmed strikes +1d6 just isn't that good by the numbers.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A straight bonus is nice but if you already have a pretty decent to-hit extra damage, especially if you have means of stacking a lot of extra attacks is quite nice (amulet of mighty fists + lots of natural attacks or monk's flurry of blows for example)

Somewhere there are builds designed to leverage vicious (perhaps vicious merciful) saps to do insane amounts of non-lethal damage on sneak attacks.

(I'm starting to think about a crazy Dwarf rogue build - use a Dwarven Dorn Dergar, enchant it with merciful, take Sap Adept and Sap Mastery and eventually Darting Viper (swift action to change between close and reach when using the Dorn Dergar) - with one sneak attack at level 5 you would deal:

1d10 + 1d6 merciful + (6d6+6 sneak via sap mastery) + your STR & other bonuses (at least +1 from the base weapon enchantment)

Not too shabby - thats a likely max of around 60hp (not on a critical hit) on a crit that would be a max of around 85hp (more if you have a lot of STR bonus - it is a two-handed weapon. If you can squeeze in Power Attack it would go up even further.

Would need martial weapon proficiency from somewhere to probably take a level (at least) of a full BAB class - fighter for the feats but lots of other options that could be good as well - ranger, paladin or barbarian all have good arguments.


Rycaut, adding a d6 of "shocking" damage on every rapid shot, manyshot, BAB iterative arrow in a full attack for my archer is pretty nice...


I was saying it more as I find it sad that they could probably get better use out of the Holy Avenger.

I really wanna see a Holy Avenger modified for the Inquisitor.


Atarlost wrote:

+1d6 might be worth it at the end, but until you run out of +1s it's not a great deal. The +1d6 abilities basically trade +1 attack for +2.5 damage, which while better than one handed power attack is worse than two handed, doesn't crit, and is subject to energy resistance. +1d6 force or sonic would barely be worth a +1. +1d6 elemental isn't until your weapon is already +5./QUOTE]

Your general conclusions are correct - +1 is better than 1d6, generally, but your ability to average a d6 is a little suspect, and the conclusions you draw as a result suffer from it. =)

-Cross (3.5 average damage, better than 2H power attack)

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Limning is an odd one. Put it on a blunderbuss, fire it when you're not sure exactly which square the invisible guy is in. The blunderbuss'll hit in a 15' cone, and Limning will put faerie fire on everyone in the cone for a round - long enough for people to put the hurt on him.

I like Designating for a large party with a lot of other hitters.

What do people think of Glorious on something with a good crit range?

And how do you make Stalking really work?


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Rycaut, adding a d6 of "shocking" damage on every rapid shot, manyshot, BAB iterative arrow in a full attack for my archer is pretty nice...

Yeah, I like the good old-fashioned energy enhancements as well, assuming you have a good to-hit already. Shocking will be my second + on my bow for my ZAM. Shock and gravity on bow, flame arrow on arrows. 4d6 five times per round? Yes, please. ;)


Crosswind wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
+1d6 might be worth it at the end, but until you run out of +1s it's not a great deal. The +1d6 abilities basically trade +1 attack for +2.5 damage, which while better than one handed power attack is worse than two handed, doesn't crit, and is subject to energy resistance. +1d6 force or sonic would barely be worth a +1. +1d6 elemental isn't until your weapon is already +5.

Your general conclusions are correct - +1 is better than 1d6, generally, but your ability to average a d6 is a little suspect, and the conclusions you draw as a result suffer from it. =)

-Cross (3.5 average damage, better than 2H power attack)

I'm fairly sure he is counting the extra +1 damage you get for a +1 enhancement bonus. An extra 1d6 damage will do 2.5 more average damage than that.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Rycaut, adding a d6 of "shocking" damage on every rapid shot, manyshot, BAB iterative arrow in a full attack for my archer is pretty nice...

Sure it is. Problem is +1 to attack and damage is nicer. Specially with all those negatives from rapid shot and deadly aim, there are almost no sweet spots of attack vs AC where +1d6 outweights +1 to hit and damage. And if we factor in DR, I know for sure that I preffer to have a +4 weapon vs a /adamantine monster, that a +3 shocking weapon. Or a +1 shocking acid flaming cold for that matter.


Pretty sure anything that counts as +4 Enhancement counts towards the DR overcoming factor.


Rynjin wrote:
Pretty sure anything that counts as +4 Enhancement counts towards the DR overcoming factor.

Anything with +4 enhancement does not count. Greater Magic Weapon does not work, for example.

Besides that, a +3 flaming bow does not have a +4 enhancement bonus. It *costs* as a +4 weapon, but it has a +3 enhancement bonus. That's why it adds +3 as a bonus typed enhanced.

"Some magic weapons have special abilities. Special abilities count as additional bonuses for determining the market value of the item, but do not modify attack or damage bonuses (except where specifically noted). A single weapon cannot have a modified bonus (enhancement bonus plus special ability bonus equivalent, including those from character abilities and spells) higher than +10"

A flaming property isn't a +1 enhancement bonus. It's a special ability bonus that *costs* as much as a +1 enhancement bonus for the market value of the item.

EDIT: of course this can vary with specific properties. For example, Bane is a +1 equivalent in cost, but count as a +2 enhancement bonus vs certain foes


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Rycaut, adding a d6 of "shocking" damage on every rapid shot, manyshot, BAB iterative arrow in a full attack for my archer is pretty nice...
Sure it is. Problem is +1 to attack and damage is nicer. Specially with all those negatives from rapid shot and deadly aim, there are almost no sweet spots of attack vs AC where +1d6 outweights +1 to hit and damage. And if we factor in DR, I know for sure that I preffer to have a +4 weapon vs a /adamantine monster, that a +3 shocking weapon. Or a +1 shocking acid flaming cold for that matter.

Except, you know, I've done the actual math on this, and the d6 of extra damage is better than a +1 to hit and damage for virtually every situation, and certainly for the situations my druid finds herself in.


I'm interested in those maths. Could you post it?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Yeah, now that I have a Guided AoMF for my Inquisitor/Monk, I am unsure if I should wait to get a Holy, or just get a +1 enchantment added now.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
I'm interested in those maths. Could you post it?

No, but I can give you the summary.

For any attack where my druid needs a roll of 16 or less to hit on her main attack, she will do more damage in a full attack (3 attacks for 4 arrows) with the +1/shocking bow. For attacks where she needs a 17 or better, she would do slightly better with a +2/+2 bow.

If I buff her with "cat's grace" then the point where the +2/+2 bow does more damage is when she needs a roll of 19 or better.

In general, if she's in a fight where she is needing a 17 to hit, she's far better off casting spells, not using her bow.

The vast majority of her bow use occurs when she hits with her first attack needing a 10 or less to maybe a 14. In those cases her +1/shocking bow averages slightly more than 2 points of damage per round than she would with a +2/+2 bow.

You COULD make an argument that a pure archer might give up some damage benefit for easier shots to gain a slight advantage on the hardest shots. But I'd probably argue against that since those fights should be the fights the archer is uber-buffed anyway. But you COULD make that argument.

But on average, for fight after fight, for the vast majority of archers in the vast majority of common combat situations, a +1/shocking bow is going to outdamage a +2/+2 bow.

That's just math.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

How do people generally play the "command to activate" part of weapons with special powers? I've noticed that people tend to forget to spend a round to activate their weapon's special powers. In many cases there is time before battle closes but in many other cases there may not be.


It's a standard action, not a whole round.

Though I think most people (including GMs) look at that rule, shake their heads and say "Why does this exist?" and pretend it's not in the rules.


Rycaut wrote:
How do people generally play the "command to activate" part of weapons with special powers? I've noticed that people tend to forget to spend a round to activate their weapon's special powers. In many cases there is time before battle closes but in many other cases there may not be.

Dunno how "most people" do it. I always thought it was the first thing you do in the morning, right after breakfast and before the spellcasters learn their spells, because it does not have a duration ("the effect remains until other command is given") and the flame does not harm the wielder, so you can keep your flaming bow flaming for the whole day if you want. Free torch also. The only time you'd need to use it in combat is when you give the flaming property during combat (magus arcana pool or paladins bonded item, for example).

@Adamantine Dragon: I truth you and your Math-fu more than enough to believe that your Character indeed take more adventage from shocking that from +1 enhancement. You are quite good in these things, and you know your character way better than I do. But I still doubt it's the case for most other characters. Your druid might benefit from it (Does he has deadly aim?), but I can't see how it does benefit a pure archer (or a melee guy, for that matter) more than a +1. Specially when DR and elemental resistance start to be present in the game.


Rynjin wrote:

It's a standard action, not a whole round.

Though I think most people (including GMs) look at that rule, shake their heads and say "Why does this exist?" and pretend it's not in the rules.

Well, having the option to turn off your elemental damage is useful for those occasional oddball cases where doing a certain type of elemental damage is actively harmful (such as Iron Golems being healed and un-slowed by fire damage).


Chengar Qordath wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

It's a standard action, not a whole round.

Though I think most people (including GMs) look at that rule, shake their heads and say "Why does this exist?" and pretend it's not in the rules.

Well, having the option to turn off your elemental damage is useful for those occasional oddball cases where doing a certain type of elemental damage is actively harmful (such as Iron Golems being healed and un-slowed by fire damage).

I think he was suggesting that most just make it a Free Action.


Rynjin wrote:

It's a standard action, not a whole round.

Though I think most people (including GMs) look at that rule, shake their heads and say "Why does this exist?" and pretend it's not in the rules.

We actually play it straight. Our dwarf with the flaming axe used to do a "flame on!" sequence. My druid initiates the shocking ability anytime we move into an area that seems worrisome.

There have been one or two encounters where she had to spend a round activating the ability.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My point was that if you take a standard action to activate (and likely a move action to get somewhere, perhaps a swift action if you have something useful to do) that is taking a round to activate vs taking an attack - sorry I was more precise.

I think it is one of those things that is easy to forget about because it actually makes magic weapons somewhat less desirable (since you may spend an action buffing yourself that might have been better spent ending the fight a bit sooner)

I agree that most people DMs and Players alike tend to play as if such abilities were activated ahead of time - the magus & Paladin powers are also somewhat less useful in many cases if you do indeed (as I suspect you do) have to activate it as well.

Also makes me wonder how to rule about things like the gloves that give your weapons Corrosive.

Definitely something I would probably house rule on - making it either a swift action not a standard action to activate such powers (so still something to choose about but less severe of a penalty to activate) or making it a free action to activate and perhaps a swift action to deactivate (i.e. takes a moment to tell your sword to stop flaming and healing that Iron Golem)

The trick with any house rule however would be to carve out where this makes sense vs where it makes things too powerful - I think with weapons it makes sense to promote a fast, flowing game. But it doesn't make sense with many other magic items where the standard to activate them is part of what makes them more balanced.

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