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Is a monk with adamantine gauntlets, using elemental fist, the ultimate loophole around DR, and hardness?


Rules Questions

Dark Archive

Playing through Iron Gods, and I have a PC in my group, who is utilizing this. Just wondering if it is legit. I'll pry continue to allow it, seeing as most of the enemies either have high DR, or are incorporeal. But, for future reference, the monk can use adamantine gauntlets, right? And doing so, can he still use a lightning elemental fist attack along with it? This is allowing him to overcome DR, and deal 1.5 damage to the constructs in this adventure path. I remember reading that if an adamantine weapon also has magical properties, they don't stack, you go with the better bonus. But these are two different attack scenerios, where the magic is coming from a different source than the weapon itself. So, what we end up with, when he uses his KI, is 2 claw attacks, fury of blows, with elemental lightning fists...so like 4 attacks, with multiple magic damages stacked on top. Are we doing this correctly, or am I dumb for allowing it?
Thanks


Well, let's see...

"This metal glove lets you deal lethal damage rather than nonlethal damage with unarmed strikes. A strike with a gauntlet is otherwise considered an unarmed attack." So, for all other purposes - including proficiency, which matters because Monks aren't specifically called out as proficient in Gauntlets - they're are treated as unarmed strikes.

If they can use a gauntlet at all, then yes, presumably they can use gauntlets made of special materials. (Unless they've got some kinda restriction on metal gear, anyway.) Elemental Strike can indeed work with pretty much any attack a monk can make.

I'm not aware of any special limits on enchanting Adamantine gear.

That said, uh... natural attacks and flurry of blows? Your player knows those can't ordinarily be mixed, right? "A monk with natural weapons cannot use such weapons as part of a flurry of blows, nor can he make natural attacks in addition to his flurry of blows attacks." And that the gauntlet doesn't power up claw attacks? (Unless he's got some specific feats or something to allow it...?)

That said, if you want to know how much is too much, figure out their average damage (EDV) for their level and compare it to this chart. A guide for doing so is up at the top, through a blog link. If their average damage falls somewhere between green and blue, they're probably fine. If they're exceeding blue on a regular basis, it's likely too much.

Sovereign Court

Elemental Fist doesn't turn your damage into the selected element; it just adds a d6 damage of that type. His Elemental Fist damage against electric-vulnerable targets is normal damage + (1d6 x 1.5), not (normal damage + 1d6) x 1.5.
Also, the benefits that monks gain from gauntlets is a hotly contested topic. Personally, I'm of the opinion that monks making attacks through gauntlets roll gauntlet damage, not their unarmed strike damage. So if your player wants to bypass hardness, he can attack with his gauntlets, gaining their enhancement bonuses and material effects, but rolling 1d3 plus static.
There's also no way he should be gaining any benefit from gauntlets on his claw attacks. And finally, if he's using four uses of Elemental Fist every round, he's going to run out very quickly. Even if he's a Monk of the Four Winds, that'll still drain him in a few full attacks.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

*wince*

No - a monk can't use gauntlets to bypass DR or hardness with unarmed strikes. GM Rednal quoted the relevant text but made a common error in interpreting: "This metal glove lets you deal lethal damage rather than nonlethal damage with unarmed strikes. A strike with a gauntlet is otherwise considered an unarmed attack."

A gauntlet attack is an unarmed *attack*, not an unarmed strike, meaning it would provoke attacks of opportunity from armed opponents to use. Gauntlets do nothing for monks, since they already can deal lethal damage without penalty.

As the others above have said, you can't make natural attacks in addition to a flurry of blows (or even use a natural attack *for* a flurry of blows without a feat). And Elemental Fist adds elemental damage (which would indeed bypass DR), but doesn't change the rest of the hit from a bludgeoning melee attack (usually).

Regarding this: "I remember reading that if an adamantine weapon also has magical properties, they don't stack, you go with the better bonus." You're thinking of a rule from 3.0, when adamantine weapons had an inherent enhancement bonus. In 3.5 and Pathfinder adamantine simply bypasses hardness under 20 and DR/adamantine. They do of course have the +1 enhancement bonus to attacks for being a masterwork weapon automatically - which does not stack with magical enhancement bonuses.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

20th level human monks attacks with unarmed strike for what? 2d10?

With a gauntlet, 1d3.

With a cestus, brass knuckles, etc, 1d3 or 1d4 per the weapon.

Currently there is a new faq coming on gauntle that has minimally been explained to rule that gauntlet isn't a weapon at all. It's a tool. It can't be made magical, spiked gauntlet style shouldn't refer to it, it can't be a target for weapon focus. If all that happens it will be clear it doesn't help monks and can't be made into special materials.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

If you really want a loophole around DR and Hardness, make a CRB monk with the Martial Artist archetype. Exploit Weakness laughs at both.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Nofx Johnson wrote:

Playing through Iron Gods, and I have a PC in my group, who is utilizing this. Just wondering if it is legit. I'll pry continue to allow it, seeing as most of the enemies either have high DR, or are incorporeal. But, for future reference, the monk can use adamantine gauntlets, right? And doing so, can he still use a lightning elemental fist attack along with it? This is allowing him to overcome DR, and deal 1.5 damage to the constructs in this adventure path. I remember reading that if an adamantine weapon also has magical properties, they don't stack, you go with the better bonus. But these are two different attack scenerios, where the magic is coming from a different source than the weapon itself. So, what we end up with, when he uses his KI, is 2 claw attacks, fury of blows, with elemental lightning fists...so like 4 attacks, with multiple magic damages stacked on top. Are we doing this correctly, or am I dumb for allowing it?

Thanks

Everything about Gauntlets is hotly debated, and many on these boards have conflicting views on them. Paizo has yet to publish an Errata or FAQ concerning them, and the description of the Gauntlet itself hasn't changed since the 3rd edition Player's Handbook. Any claim that the Paizo developers intended for it to function differently is horses**t; they didn't write the Gauntlet.

I've argued extensively (and multiple times with James in particular) that gauntlets can be made from special materials, be made magical/technological, and that a Brawler/Monk can use a gauntlet to deal their favorable damage progression. I strongly believe that their only legitimate reason for existing it to provide a way for Brawlers/Monks to acquire Enhancement Bonuses and Special Abilities for their Unarmed Strikes. I'll omit presenting those arguments again (since my staunchest opponents simply cannot be swayed by reason), if you're really curious I suggest a couple of searches, you'll likely find all the information you need to make an informed decision of your own.

For my own sake, if Paizo ever does release the "Gauntlets Are Tools Not Weapons" FAQ that James mentions above: I'll ignore it at my table, probably never play a Brawler/Monk in PFS, and lose what little faith I still have in Pathfinder as a ruleset.


James Risner wrote:

20th level human monks attacks with unarmed strike for what? 2d10?

With a gauntlet, 1d3.

With a cestus, brass knuckles, etc, 1d3 or 1d4 per the weapon.

Currently there is a new faq coming on gauntle that has minimally been explained to rule that gauntlet isn't a weapon at all. It's a tool. It can't be made magical, spiked gauntlet style shouldn't refer to it, it can't be a target for weapon focus. If all that happens it will be clear it doesn't help monks and can't be made into special materials.

Except they made magical guantlets (+1 enhancement ones), made them with special materials, etc.

Now, either change all previous specific weapons as Spiked Guantlets or they can't really change it in a new FAQ.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Starbuck_II wrote:

Except they made magical guantlets (+1 enhancement ones), made them with special materials, etc.

Now, either change all previous specific weapons as Spiked Guantlets or they can't really change it in a new FAQ.

The existence of incorrect rules in the past hasn't proven those rules are correct.

The incoming FAQ is resulting from Herolab questioning how to program conflicting rules. It's very likely that the delay in answering the Gauntlet FAQ is because of so many "+1 gauntlet" items and Spiked Gauntlet Style working with "spiked gauntlet or gauntlet". All of those errors would need to be corrected with the FAQ.


Majuba wrote:

*wince*

No - a monk can't use gauntlets to bypass DR or hardness with unarmed strikes. GM Rednal quoted the relevant text but made a common error in interpreting: "This metal glove lets you deal lethal damage rather than nonlethal damage with unarmed strikes. A strike with a gauntlet is otherwise considered an unarmed attack."

If you pull out your hard copy of the core rulebook and look up unarmed attacks, you'll find that all unarmed strikes are unarmed attacks.

Unarmed strike is defined under the Unarmed Combat rules.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

+1 Snowlilly

Armed spell touch attacks, natural weapons, and other attacks are also defined in the combat chapter as unarmed attacks.

So just because something is an unarmed attack doesn't make it an unarmed strike.


Unless of course the 'something' is explicitly described as something you make an Unarmed Strike with like Gauntlets are.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Cantriped wrote:
Unless of course the 'something' is explicitly described as something you make an Unarmed Strike with like Gauntlets are.

That really isn't remotely true nor does it match every developer comment ever made regard gauntlets.

At some point you will need to abandon your position in the wake of an avalanche of opposition. But I guess you plan to just refuse until the gig is up and the FAQ lands?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I think the biggest loophole you're facing is the fact he's making claw attacks with gauntlets on.


Cavall wrote:
I think the biggest loophole you're facing is the fact he's making claw attacks with gauntlets on.

Yeah that part simply doesn't work.

The closest you can get to making something like that work is to play a Catfolk with the Claws Alternate Racial Trait and wear Claw Blades... but then you aren't actually making a Natural Attack anymore, you're wielding a Light Slashing Weapon (that just happens to deal damage equal to your Claw damage). But those won't work for a Monk either, since they don't say anything about Unarmed Strikes or Unarmed Attacks. You'd have to be a 4th level Brawler or a Warpriest with Weapon Focus (Claw Blades) to get your damage progression with them.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

I'm the one saying "Ask you GM" and pointing out a FAQ likely matching the official Herolab interpretation set by Paizo internal communications to Herlab.


While "Ask Your GM" is never the wrong answer, it's a counter productive answer to a question posted in the Rules Questions forum.

You are also the one giving opinions which blatantly contradict the literal RAW. Opinions you've never been able to provide any credible evidence to support.
Developer statements in E-mail format are no more an official source than developer statements in Forum Post format (which is to say, not at all!). Whomever sent that e-mail was in no position to comment on the intent of the Gauntlet's description given that they didn't write it in the first place, nor is an e-mail an officially accepted source for rules changes (in PFS or otherwise). So the HeroLab interpretation is based on sources with no credibility, and therefore lacks credibility itself. If Paizo decides to take an official stance on this issue after all this time, they must do so through FAQ or Errata (which they've proven more than willing to do in the recent past).

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I mean, you can lawyer up and claim that circumstantial evidence is useless without hard evidence, or you can see the writing on the wall and adapt early, saving yourself the disappointment.


I'm not a PFS GM, so I don't have to adopt Paizo's ruling if I don't agree with it (official or otherwise), and I almost never get to actually play Pathfinder as a Player. As such there is little chance of me being disappointed by the future ruling. At most it will make me even less likely to play a Monk (which is already a pretty slim possibility thanks to the Table Variance surrounding gauntlets), and if I play a Brawler I'm much more likely to abuse damage-scaling thrown Wooden Stakes than I am to try wearing gauntlets in PFS.
If the aforementioned FAQ gets dropped than there simply isn't any legitimate reason to ever wear gauntlets, period.


I'm glad people are debating the big issues. Good to see folks standing up for what really matters.

Can metal gloves be made of metal?

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Cantriped wrote:

While "Ask Your GM" is never the wrong answer, it's a counter productive answer to a question posted in the Rules Questions forum.

You are also the one giving opinions which blatantly contradict the literal RAW. Opinions you've never been able to provide any credible evidence to support.

That's a primary example of why "Ask your GM" works.

As much as you want to say I'm blatantly contradicting the rules, I say that right back at you.

Clearly both of us are flabbergasted and utterly dumbfound how the other could possibly read that text the other way.


Don't monks get a thingy that let's their OWN fists act as adamantine? Using Gauntlets actually hinders a monk, because even if it's considered an unarmed strike as lethal instead of non-lethal, it still has a die roll. It's 1d3 for a medium creature, adjust for size. So... if you're a monk that normally gets 2d6 damage, you're chopping your effectiveness down. If you're trying to break something with more than 12 hardness (but 20 or less), then, yeah, OK, I can see the benefit, but otherwise...


@Zarius:
Gauntlets have a listed die roll in the weapon table for convenience sake. The value of 1d3 (for medium sized gauntlets) is clearly (to me)derived from the unarmed strike damage of the wielder (which is usually 1d3 for a medium creature) given that the description makes it quite clear that gauntlets are 'weapons' which allow your unarmed strikes to deal lethal damage. You have to actually be making an unarmed strike for that sentence in their description to make any sense.

Monks apply their damage progression to any Unarmed Strike, even those made unnecessarily lethal, granted a +1 enhancement bonus, or made adamantine, cold iron, or flaming/shocking/etc by wearing gauntlets of those materials or with those special properties.

The original and unchained monks do not treat their Unarmed Strikes as Adamantine until 16th level, likewise for the Brawler at 17th. So wearing an Adamantine Gauntlet lets them (at my table if nowhere else) bypass damage reduction and hardness significantly earlier.

Brawlers have it a little easier (in terms of table variation), because as long as the GM accepts that Gauntlets are still weapons*, than as members of the close weapon group Brawlers are explicitly entitled to use their Damage Progression at class level -4 with them. Even if the GM refuses to admit that an attack with a Gauntlet is an Unarmed Strike.
*which is also unfortunately in question thanks to that godawful stupid e-mail to HeroLab which has yet to be substantiated in any way by RAW, FAQ, or Errata.


James Risner wrote:

Clearly both of us are flabbergasted and utterly dumbfound how the other could possibly read that text the other way.

A year ago (or was it two... we've had this debate so many times now) it was flabbergasting, these days it's just frustrating and diappointing.

Which is why I'm no longer bothering to cite my arguments as I have in the past; it just doesn't matter anymore. You simply refuse to engage in a dialectic discussion on the subject. Anybody else who really cares can run a search, or just read the PRD & FAQs and find enough evidence to make their own decisions. And all my IRL D&D and Pathfinder players have held the same position as I without even having to present any arguments (even ones currently playing in campaigns I'm not GMing... so it's not like I 'tainted' them).

At this point, if the PDT drops the FAQ-Hammer on gauntlets like they recently did for Magical Bows & Ammunition... it'll simply be one more house-rule to type out before my next Pathfinder campaign.


Scythia wrote:
Can metal gloves be made of metal?

Not so much that but does making a glove metal actually DO anything. Somehow it a non-weapon item that modifies one way a weapons deals damage [lethal vs nonlethal] but somehow ignores another way it deals damage [DR]. Oh, and not to mention the issue of the gauntlet being mistakenly put on the weapon chart since before pathfinder was a thing...


Looks down at surprisingly soft hands.

Good times!


Only medium monks have augmented unarmed strike damage. Small and Large monks have augmented unarmed attack damage. It's right there in the class write up. Other sized monks? Who knows!

Quote:
A monk also deals more damage with his unarmed strikes than a normal person would, as shown above on Table: Monk. The unarmed damage values listed on Table: Monk are for Medium monks. A Small monk deals less damage than the amount given there with his unarmed attacks, while a Large monk deals more damage; see Table: Small or Large Monk Unarmed Damage.

Weee!

Hopefully when this supposed FAQ arrives, someone will have sense enough to see/clarify that an "Unarmed Strike" is a subset of "Unarmed Attack" that any character can make, targets AC, and deals damage based on their size unless otherwise specified.

They are very frequently used interchangeably. Are there even any examples of "Unarmed" unarmed attacks left? Spells are considered armed, grapple and disarm etc. provoke for other reasons (So unarmed or not is largely irrelevant), and special attacks that require touching are typically armed attacks. Smearing poop on your hand and trying to touch someones face?

Unarmed Strike = Generic Unarmed Attack for Damage


On topic: Adamantine Gauntlet is questionable, rules wise. Balance wise? It's a 3000gp value that he payed 3000gp for, same as any other weapon user in the group could do, and should do, if they keep fighting golems.

The claws are blatant cheating, however.

Dark Archive

Lol, jeez look what I started...great responses. Ultimately, I will let him play his character as is, I could have screwed up on how many actual attacks are being made, at the end of the day I was just curious if the gauntlets bypassed hardness if made of adamantine, while at the same time damage is dealt from elemental fist, do also bypass DR. He is using a feat, and does keep track of how many times he can use fury of blows, and multiple attacks stem from full round attacks. Thanks for all the great input.

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