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Special Material Weapon Hardness


Rules Questions

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Sczarni

16 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Staff response: no reply required. 4 people marked this as a favorite.

I didn't realize until recently purchasing an Adamantine Dwarven Waraxe that determining the hardness of special material weapons was such a divisive topic. I have spent the last few days trying to find a definitive answer regarding the hardness of my new toy. I've discovered two schools of thought:

1) That Table 7-12 on page 175 of the CRB is the deciding factor when it comes to determining the hardness of any weapon, regardless of the material it is made of...

...or...

2) The hardness values listed for Table 7-12 should be modified for any special material the weapon may be made of, as listed here:

Special Materials on pages 154-155 of the CRB wrote:

"Adamantine has 40 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 20"

"Darkwood has 10 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 5"
"Cold Iron has 30 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 10"
"Mithral has 30 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 15"
"Alchemical silver has 10 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 8"

Points favoring argument #1:

a) RAW. Table 7-12 specifically calls out armor as having different levels of hardness based on the material of which it is made, while there is no such mention for weapons.

b) A material such as Adamantine may have a hardness of 20, but the haft of an Adamantine Waraxe is still made of wood. Table 7-12 gives the hardness of the overall item, and does not change just because part of it is special. That's what the HP listing is for. The HP of a metal-hafted weapon is higher than that of a regular hafted weapon to reflect this.

c) The hardness/HP values listed on pages 154-155 are meant to describe material that is 1" thick, such as a door. Few weapons are ever actually this thick, therefore Table 7-12 is the determining factor for all weapon hardness. Wrapping your Thanksgiving leftovers in Adamantine foil doesn't give them hardness 20 versus hungry uncle Roy.

People favoring argument #2:

a) RAI. Table 7-12 is a general guideline meant to be modified by the special material properties listed on pages 154-155 of the CRB.

b) The wording on pages 154-155 reads "HP per inch of thickness" followed by "hardness x", and not "hardness and HP per inch of thickness". This would seem to suggest that a special material always has a certain hardness, regardless of how thick it is.

c) Hardness values go both ways. Not everyone is walking around with an Adamantine Battleaxe. The Werewolf you've been poking with your Silver Rapier might want to prevent his kidneys from taking a beating. A Silver item (hardness 8) should be easier to break than the same item made from Adamantine (hardness 20).

As with any FAQ, here are a few other threads to show that this argument has been going on for a while:
LINK #1 (showing the two schools of thought)
LINK #2 (a discussion on sundering just the haft or handle)
LINK #3 (making a metal-hafted weapon)

I'd eventually like to get around to a discussion on weapons made of different special materials, such as whether or not a hafted weapon could be made entirely out of metal, but for now let's just figure this issue out.

I also do not believe there needs to be any clarification on magical enhancements adding to a weapon's hardness/HP. That is well understood to be +2 Hardness/+10 HP for every +1 Enhancement bonus. All I am looking for is clarification regarding the hardness of special material weapons.

Please click the FAQ button, and feel free to discuss your thoughts.

Liberty's Edge

Dot.


Just giving this a cursory glance for now, but my stance before starting my research is that the material a weapon is made out of changes its Hardness.

I generally consider hit points to be the durability of the item as a whole. Although an attacker would ideally be targeting the string of a bow or the wooden haft of an adamantine weapon, that's like saying that a fighter in full plate is easy to kill when you hit him in the neck: It assumes the hit has already been properly targeted and leveraged into a meaningful strike.

For example, sundering an ironwood bow and failing to do damage then complaining that the ironwood shouldn't affect the string's hardness is similar to saying that you attack knight in full-plate in his neck, then roll 3 damage and complain that the result is unrealistic.

Further, I don't think thickness of every item should meaningfully change their Hardness values -- exceptions may exist, but they would be exceptions. By that logic, the Hardness of a mountain would be astronomical and cutting scratches in the stone surface would be impossible.

I'll keep you updated as I read on, integrate or dismiss arguments, and come to a researched conclusion.


I am kind of amazed that this is a question. I don't see how it could be anything but "B." Adamantine has hardness 20--it makes no sense for an adamantine sword to have a hardness that isn't 20.

Sczarni

That's what I thought, mpl. I didn't even question this initially. My original inquiry was to see if my entire Waraxe, including the haft, could be made of Adamantine, as that would mean more HP than a wooden-hafted version, when I discovered ppl arguing that it wouldn't even effect the hardness.

Feel free to click the FAQ! =)


Why wouldn't you make the entire thing out of adamantium. If you're gonna spring to make the axe head durable and better, why wouldn't you spring for the haft as well. I was always of the thought that this was included, no further argument needed.

I own several axes myself. The wood chopping axes have wood hafts. The combat axes are fully metal, or at least what I would equate to full tang on a sword. Not sure if different terminology would apply to an axe.

I feel like to argue otherwise would just be spiteful GMs that want it to be easier to sunder their PCs gear.


Edit: Sorry missed the last two posts when I was typing this one.

Table 7-12 is for (emphasis mine), "Common Armor, Weapon, and Shield Hardness and Hit Points"
This chart is not comprehensive, but only examples of the common items encountered in the game. (restating point 2.a. from above)
I'm not seeing specific overall language saying how and when to apply hardness, but the fact that each special material lists the hardness, is a very good indication that, yes, you should apply it. Where I see potential confusion (or Munchkin like behavior) are items,like a spear or an axe constructed of more than one material.
Table 7-12 is an example of of the logic we should be using to decide when to apply the hardness of an added special material and when not to.
Metal hafted weapons have a hardness of 10, the same as steel. Non metal hafted weapons have a hardness of 5 the same as wood. So basically what the haft or the most prevalent material is determines the hardness.
I note that it doesn't change the cost weather the entire axe or only part is Adamantine.
This leads me to another question for which we possibly should start a new thread or link to, if it's already been brought up.
Should weapons like a spear or an axe, made with a metal haft, be treated as a custom weapon for purposes of cost and weight? Logically it doesn't make sense that they would be the same.
But searching through the weapon descriptions, the only weapons that I could see going either way that have anything about it, are mace, light mace and nunchaku. It mentions they could be either and there is no differentiation, which points to no.
What led me to wonder about this is the absence of Two-handed metal-hafted weapons on Table 7-12. The increased weight might make them more unwieldy, was a thought.
Has this ever been brought up before?

Sczarni

Indeed. Links #2 and #3 above show that ppl have brought up those questions before, and in #3 I posted asking whether or not my axe could be made entirely out of Adamantine.

Look again at Table 7-12. There is a subscript 1 for weapons, and subscript 1 refers to magical enhancement bonuses adding +2 hardness and +10 HP per +1 Enhancement bonus. Now look at armor, and you'll see a subscript 4, which refers you to Table 7-13: Substance Hardness and HP. Here is where the various special material hardness listings can be found.

Why was subscript 4 left out in Table 7-12 regarding weapons? I feel that if it hadn't, then this wouldn't be an issue at all, other than the argument for putting a metal haft on your weapon.


*Facepalm*
@ Nefreet In regards to the question on making metal shafted weapons, sorry, I skimmed those links last night when I was half asleep and focusing more on the question of how hard should a weapon with special materials should be. I should have done a quick search like I usually do, which would have led me right back here, LOL.


As far as the # subscripts, I did see those. My guess is that the #4 was put on Armor mainly to consolidate all the different common armor materials (cloth, leather, hide, wood, steel) vs. listing out a bunch of different armor types. While putting 4 on all the weapons could have led to it's own confusion, putting another # on all the hardness 10 weapons and referring specially to the special materials on Table 7-13 when not iron or steel, would help clarify.

Sczarni

Item hardness and HP doesn't only come into play when sundering, either. There was a PFS scenario I was in recently where we went up against a Remorhaz. It's Heat ability nearly destroyed our fighter's Adamantine Lucerne Hammer (which certainly made my Tengu think twice before running up to do his claw/claw/bite).

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dotting and FAQing in hopes of a response.

Also, while we're at it, what do people suppose is the hardness and base hp of a dwarven boulder helmet? It's a light weapon, but it's neither bladed nor hafted, so it doesn't fit into any of the available categories in the CRB.


This has been something that I've always gotten conflicting answers on the forums.

"Of course it uses Adamantine's Hardness! It'd be silly if my Adamantine Greatsword could get broken by an cheap dagger."

"The table lists armor's hardness scaling by type, so why don't Weapons? Clearly weapons aren't supposed to and it makes sense since not every part of the weapon is made of such a rare material."

I'd be interested in seeing this issue finally put to bed. FAQ'd and Dotted.

Sczarni

Mergy wrote:
Also, while we're at it, what do people suppose is the hardness and base hp of a dwarven boulder helmet? It's a light weapon, but it's neither bladed nor hafted, so it doesn't fit into any of the available categories in the CRB.

I think it is most comparable to that of a light shield, but an official response regarding that would be nice, too.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Darth Grall wrote:

This has been something that I've always gotten conflicting answers on the forums.

"Of course it uses Adamantine's Hardness! It'd be silly if my Adamantine Greatsword could get broken by an cheap dagger."

"The table lists armor's hardness scaling by type, so why don't Weapons? Clearly weapons aren't supposed to and it makes sense since not every part of the weapon is made of such a rare material."

I'd be interested in seeing this issue finally put to bed. FAQ'd and Dotted.

There are definitely good arguments for both sides. It would be nice if it was explicit, but right now all we have is the table that shows the hardness of these weapons.

In fact, it's left up to the player or GM to define which weapon fits into which category as well! >_>


For me the answer is simple. The ratio of steel hp to adamantine hp is 3:4. Thus, if a steel sword has 10hp the adamantine version is 13hp. Hardness is even simpler, steel has hardness 10 while adamantine has hardness 20.

The main question I always have is whether or not hafted weapons have a wooden or metal haft. Can you replace the wooden haft with a metal haft?

- Gauss

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The question is whether the table's hardness value column is only for default steel and wood weapons, or for all weapons regardless of material.

The rules aren't explicit in that regard, and one could argue that because they aren't, then the default hardness applies no matter what the weapon is made of.


Remember Table 7-12 is for COMMON Armor, Weapon, and Shield Hardness and Hit Points. Common materials for weapons are wood and steel which matches with the hardness of 5 and 10 respectively. We shouldn't expect that a chart for common weapons to be referring to the hardness of special materials as well.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That's one reading of the text. Another is that this is a list of the types of different armour and weapons, therefore a list of common types.

It doesn't anywhere say that it's only for common materials.


And for hafted weapons the haft is usually going to be not only the biggest in terms of area to hit, but also the weakest part (unless someone is silly enough to put a weaker head on their weapon). So it doesn't matter is the head is +5 Adamantine, if the shaft is wood then to cut through the middle of your weapon - hardness five. Exposed to the heat of a Remoraz - all it has to do is burn the wood, I don't see how the head being Adamantine would help at all for hit points. But how to apply special materials isn't clearly laid out so I agree that an FAQ is needed.

Edit: the whole weapon would be +5 so in that case haft 15, non magical - haft five.


CRB p154 wrote:
Weapons and armor normally made of steel that are made of adamantine have one-third more hit points than normal. Adamantine has 40 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 20.

Seems pretty cut and dry to me. Make a normally metal weapon out of adamantine and it gains 1/3 more hp and hardness 20.

- Gauss

Silver Crusade

According to the section on special materials, a weapon is counted as bring made of only one material, even if logic would dictate otherwise.

The only exception is that each end of a double weapon can be made of a different material.

Don't try to track different hardnesses and hit points for different parts of the same weapon, just use the same material for all purposes: price, hardness, hit points, overcoming DR, etc.

Sczarni

Except, what do you do when the table differentiates between hafted and metal-hafted? Back to my OP, what would be the HP/Hardness of my waraxe?

Feel free to click the FAQ!


Nefreet, the question has nothing to do with adamantine and everything to do with 'what defines hafted vs metal-hafted'. Adamantine and special materials are just a distraction.

- Gauss


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
According to the section on special materials, a weapon is counted as bring made of only one material, even if logic would dictate otherwise.

Not really what it's saying

PRD wrote:
If you make a suit of armor or weapon out of more than one special material, you get the benefit of only the most prevalent material.

You gain benefit of only one special material. Not saying you always treat as one material, especially when one is mundane (a spear with mithral head and wood shaft would still bypass some DR even if it's hardness is only 5). I agree generally, on not tracking separate hardness and HP, hope my post above didn't convey otherwise.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You can always add a Undine Weaponshaft prior to making it a Special Material, so you can have a metal shaft made of the Special Material.

Sczarni

Not always.

Sczarni

Actually, looking at the ability in greater detail, it refers to shafted weapons, not hafted weapons, LOL.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So, hafted weapons get shafted?

Sczarni

Hold on a minute...

"Staff response: no reply required"?

Why the hell not?

The Exchange

no response required: because they consider the rules clear: items made out of special materials have the hardness of the material they're made out of.

Sczarni

Or because the chart lists all the hardness ratings for weapons, regardless of material. We'll never know, until they issue an FAQ.

Be sure to read all of the posts, btw. You'll understand the arguments for both sides better.

The Exchange

oh, i understand the arguments for both sides. I believe the side that reads one chart for the hardness for all weapons is overlooking the specifics for special materials. I don't think they need to republish the chart with adamantine weapons listed, just to satisfy a small contingent of confused players.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

What ever happened to "text trumps table"?

Or for that matter, "specific trumps general"?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Which one is more specific than the other? There's text in the table. Does it not count?

Where does it say in the FAQ or Core Rulebook that text trumps table?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Mergy wrote:
Which one is more specific than the other?

"Common Armor and Weapon Hardness and Hit Points"

"Special Materials"
Should be simple enough to extrapolate from there.

Quote:
There's text in the table. Does it not count?

Every table has text in it. I'm pretty sure the saying "text trumps table" is not saying that "words trump page layout".

Quote:
Where does it say in the FAQ or Core Rulebook that text trumps table?

No idea. But every time I've ever asked that in the last two and a half years, I've been laughed out of whatever discussion was in progress. Which is why I said "what happened to...?" instead of simply invoking it: I wasn't so much asking why people weren't following this rule as I was curious why this sentiment had suddenly vanished from the messageboards for this (and seemingly only this) topic. I'm a bit baffled on that one. :/

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The common thing is a silly word to hang onto, as I've stated in the more recent thread. The 'Common' table handles weapons with a +5 enhancement bonus, and it handles armour made out of adamantine; both of these are more expensive (and therefore probably more rare) than an adamantine weapon.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Mergy wrote:
The common thing is a silly word to hang onto, as I've stated in the more recent thread. The 'Common' table handles weapons with a +5 enhancement bonus, and it handles armour made out of adamantine; both of these are more expensive (and therefore probably more rare) than an adamantine weapon.

The table doesn't talk about +5 weapons at all; it deals with magic weapons in general. And those are indeed far more common than weapons of any given special material.

Sczarni

So, Jiggy, what do you feel the hardness rating of an Adamantine Greataxe should be?

(although we should probably move this discussion to the other thread, since that one is still pending an FAQ)

Sczarni

I started this thread back in March, when I bought my first Adamantine weapon in PFS. Since posting this I have come to realize there are (at least) three sides to this debate, and not just two.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Nefreet wrote:
So, Jiggy, what do you feel the hardness rating of an Adamantine Greataxe should be?

The hardness of the adamantine parts would be the hardness of adamantine. Whether that includes the haft or not, I have no idea.


Could someone lay it out for me in simple terms? Let's say I have a special material "pendragonite." :p It has 30hp/inch and hardness 20. I make a pendragonite scimitar. What would it's hp and hardness be?

I have to admit, this is a facet of the rules I've never touched, but I did recently make a special material weapon, so this may come up in play...

Sczarni

Some GMs will rule that the hardness of your Pendragonite is 20, as is listed under the special material description you provided.

Some GMs will rule that the hardness of your one-handed blade is 10, as is listed on the "Common Armor and Weapon Hardness and Hit Points" table in the CRB.

The reason why it might be the second possibility is because of a missing subscript "4" on said table. It references special material hardness ratings, but only for armors, not weapons.

Toss in the confusion of why a steel (hardness 10) greataxe has a hardness of 5, and you can see why we've been asking for an FAQ ruling.


Nefreet wrote:
Toss in the confusion of why a steel (hardness 10) greataxe has a hardness of 5, and you can see why we've been asking for an FAQ ruling.

Hrm...seems all the hafted weapons are at half hardness, while the "metal-hafted" weapons have full hardness...

I think I'd rule that blades and metal-hafted weapons of special materials have the hardness of said material, half if they aren't metal-hafted.

Though I'm having a hard time reverse-engineering hit points from hp/inch. Then there are the special materials that say "pendragonite has 1/4 more hit points than normal"....

Yeah, it's too bad the staff response is "no response needed." >.<

Star Voter 2013

I'd take into consideration the fact that many hafted weapons have langets extending down the haft, secured with screws or nails to prevent splitting and breakage of the wood. I'd say that effectively the weapon has the hardness of the special material, but normal HP - it's just harder to damage, it doesn't absorb more.


It really feels to me like "no response needed" is pretty much guaranteed to be a false claim no matter what. It may be that no response should be needed, but...

Unless the PF folks are telling us that they are confident that a poll of PF GMs would produce >95% agreement on this one, I don't think it's true that no response is needed. And I'd be stunned if more than about 75% ruled either way, and most of them would just be ruling whatever they thought they remembered from 3E.

Sczarni

Actually, an FAQ was issued just today regarding this.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

While it doesn't answer all the questions (such as what weapons are hafted with wood and which can be hafted entirely with metal), I'm happy that the dev team has been so attentive.


Mergy wrote:
While it doesn't answer all the questions (such as what weapons are hafted with wood and which can be hafted entirely with metal), I'm happy that the dev team has been so attentive.

I'm not fond of the FAQ ruling. Couldn't I have an adamantine axe with a mithril haft? What about darkwood? Also, doesn't the enchantment bonus of a weapon increase the hardness, or is that just a 3.5 rule?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm sure a lot of people aren't fond of the ruling, but at least we have one. Personally, I would rather adamantine as a whole were nerfed, as it is far too powerful on most weapons.

I'm not aware of any way to have a mithral haft where it would normally be wood. I believe if it is usually made of wood, then you cannot use metal as a replacement.

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