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Can Ghosts Be Harmed By Alchemists’ Bombs?


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3 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

I’m about to throw some incorporeals at my party, which includes an alchemist, and I’m trying to work out whether his bombs would affect the ghosts. Unfortunately I’m hearing two conflicting views on whether or not this would work.

One perspective claims that since the Bomb ability is (Su), the bombs themselves are inherently magical and their fire damage should affect incorporeal targets, which by definition are harmed by supernatural abilities.

But the other perspective claims that the magic is only involved in <making> the bombs, after which they become ordinary splash weapons dealing ordinary fire damage.

Can anyone tell me if one of these perspectives has stronger support from the rules? And has anyone run into this situation in a game before?


Do you allow bombs to damage people in an Antimagic Shell?


The bombs are infused with magic. They also don't function if handed to someone else. They are magic.

It still only does half damage, however, as it is a corporeal source. Unless you use the Force Bomb discovery.


For what it's worth, bombs are explicitly described as infused with "magical reserves". Given that, and since the ability itself is Supernatural, I'd say that an Alchemist's bombs would indeed affect incorporeal creatures.


they would do half dmg unless the alchemist has the force bombs discovery in which case they would do full dmg

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

If you take a look at the Crypt Breaker archetype, it has a different sort of bomb, which explicitly does extra damage to corporeal undead, and then goes on to say it does different damage to all other creatures. It does not make any exemptions for incorporeal undead. This tends to imply that the normal state of bombs is for them to affect incorporeal creatures.


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BOMBS are a supernatural ability, INCORPOREAL creatures can be damaged by supernatural abilities, but take only half damage from corporeal sources. ECTOPLASMIC BOMB would be needed to do full damage (Or Force Bombs as mentioned above ... I think).

Crypt Breaker specifically mentions corporeal undead, not incorporeal undead, so it will do 1d4 damage against incorporeal undead, and will still only deal half damage.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I concur with those above. Bombs are magical attacks and can damage incorporeal creatures.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Yes, I also agree - sorry, wasn't trying to say the bombs would do full damage, alkahest or not.


YogoZuno wrote:
Yes, I also agree - sorry, wasn't trying to say the bombs would do full damage, alkahest or not.

Oh right, I misread your post =P

I missed the word "corporeal" in the first line of your post, makes all the difference.


If you don't have Ectoplasmic Bombs, can you hit an incorporeal? Wouldn't a Force Bomb go straight through their body, inflicting only splash damage? Or am I applying realism where it doesn't belong?


Matthew Downie wrote:
If you don't have Ectoplasmic Bombs, can you hit an incorporeal? Wouldn't a Force Bomb go straight through their body, inflicting only splash damage? Or am I applying realism where it doesn't belong?

force dmg always does full dmg to incorporeals

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Yes, but can you get them to explode against the incorporeal, or do they have to hit an intersection to trigger the force damage?

(My answer is yes since they are magical bombs, but some consider incorporeal targets impossible to strike directly with splash weapons.)


Matthew Downie wrote:
If you don't have Ectoplasmic Bombs, can you hit an incorporeal? Wouldn't a Force Bomb go straight through their body, inflicting only splash damage? Or am I applying realism where it doesn't belong?

Yes, supernatural abilities can hit incorporeal creatures. Force bombs work as well ...

An incorporeal creature has no physical body. It can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, magic weapons or creatures that strike as magic weapons, and spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities. It is immune to all nonmagical attack forms. Even when hit by spells or magic weapons, it takes only half damage from a corporeal source (except for channel energy). Although it is not a magical attack, holy water can affect incorporeal undead. Corporeal spells and effects that do not cause damage only have a 50% chance of affecting an incorporeal creature. Force spells and effects, such as from a magic missile, affect an incorporeal creature normally.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Yes, but can you get them to explode against the incorporeal, or do they have to hit an intersection to trigger the force damage?

Interesting, generally I'd say of course you can target directly. If it's a force effect it's a force effect ... but ...

FORCE BOMB wrote:
When the alchemist creates a bomb, he can choose to have it inflict force damage. Force bombs deal 1d4 points of force damage, plus 1d4 points of force damage for every odd-numbered level, instead of 1d6. Creatures that take a direct hit from a force bomb are knocked prone unless they succeed on a Reflex save.

This all references damage, not effects ...

Bombs use the "Throw Splash Weapon" special attack:

A splash weapon is a ranged weapon that breaks on impact, splashing or scattering its contents over its target and nearby creatures or objects.

It certainly could be argued that since there's no impact you can't directly target them.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
(My answer is yes since they are magical bombs, but some consider incorporeal targets impossible to strike directly with splash weapons.)

That's a good enough answer for me. Enforcing it the other way just seems like it's GM vs Players, and is too convoluted for me to think it's what they intended. I'd definitely allow them to target incorporeal creatures.


I was thinking of this rule for Holy Water:

Quote:
Treat this attack as a ranged touch attack with a range increment of 10 feet. A flask breaks if thrown against the body of a corporeal Creature, but to use it against an Incorporeal Creature, you must open the flask and pour the holy water out onto the target. Thus, you can douse an Incorporeal Creature with holy water only if you are adjacent to it. Doing so is a ranged touch attack that does not provoke Attacks of Opportunity.

But I guess holy water doesn't have the (Su).


TriOmegaZero wrote:

Yes, but can you get them to explode against the incorporeal, or do they have to hit an intersection to trigger the force damage?

(My answer is yes since they are magical bombs, but some consider incorporeal targets impossible to strike directly with splash weapons.)

Is that an official ruling or just some kind of house rule? to me, striking the square where the incorporeal creature is would suffice to strike it in full.


Klorox wrote:
Is that an official ruling or just some kind of house rule? to me, striking the square where the incorporeal creature is would suffice to strike it in full.

There's the rule I just quoted saying they can't be struck by Holy Water. Some GMs extrapolate that to apply to things like Alchemist Fire as well.

Klorox wrote:
to me, striking the square where the incorporeal creature is would suffice to strike it in full.

So they just need to hit the square instead of their touch AC? And this only applies to incorporeals? Sounds like a house rule...


sure is, in the absence of an official one...but yes, the touch AC is more logical for a bomb to hit squarely ...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Klorox wrote:
Is that an official ruling or just some kind of house rule?

Unofficial. It makes sense in that an incorporeal creature shouldn't set off something that requires impact to detonate, but then you have to remember these things are magic and common sense doesn't really apply.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Klorox wrote:
Is that an official ruling or just some kind of house rule?
Unofficial. It makes sense in that an incorporeal creature shouldn't set off something that requires impact to detonate, but then you have to remember these things are magic and common sense doesn't really apply.

Agreed... I mean thinking it through logically the holy water rule quoted above makes no sense, as when you throw the flask of holy water through the incorporeal creature the water itself should impact it... because the glass cannot.... perhaps rendering the water inert upon impact with a the corporeal surface where it shatters(or shattering the glass upon impact with the solidified liquid inside), leaving it as only a direct damage attack with no splash.

That it doesn't implies either;

*The glass vial itself is magical or suppresses the waters magic
*the glass Shattering is required as a component of creating holy water(which we know is BS because simply pouring it works)
*Holy water is reactive with oxygen and requires it in order to burn "fuel" like demonkind/ghosts... though then you'd expect rules for no-oxygen environments it doesn't have...


M1k31 wrote:

{. . .}

Agreed... I mean thinking it through logically the holy water rule quoted above makes no sense, as when you throw the flask of holy water through the incorporeal creature the water itself should impact it... because the glass cannot.... perhaps rendering the water inert upon impact with a the corporeal surface where it shatters(or shattering the glass upon impact with the solidified liquid inside), leaving it as only a direct damage attack with no splash. {. . .}

I wonder if the Holy Water text itself needs to be Errata'd . . . .

Sovereign Court

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Holy water requires 5 pounds of silver to make but weighs only 1 pound, bottle included. Clearly it's some kind of extradimensional wrinkle which is why it can damage incorporeal undead and outsiders :P

Shadow Lodge

I had the exact same issue come up some months ago, and I never got a clear answer. If I remember correctly, I had attempted to get an official ruling, but I don't believe it went anywhere.

DM Beckett wrote:

So, an interesting question has come up, and I just wanted to get everyone's take on it.

Incorporeal (Ex):

An incorporeal creature has no physical body. It can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, magic weapons or creatures that strike as magic weapons, and spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities. It is immune to all nonmagical attack forms. Even when hit by spells or magic weapons, it takes only half damage from a corporeal source (except for channel energy). Although it is not a magical attack, holy water can affect incorporeal undead. Corporeal spells and effects that do not cause damage only have a 50% chance of affecting an incorporeal creature. Force spells and effects, such as from a magic missile, affect an incorporeal creature normally.
-
An incorporeal creature has no natural armor bonus but has a deflection bonus equal to its Charisma bonus (always at least +1, even if the creature's Charisma score does not normally provide a bonus).
An incorporeal creature can enter or pass through solid objects, but must remain adjacent to the object's exterior, and so cannot pass entirely through an object whose space is larger than its own. It can sense the presence of creatures or objects within a square adjacent to its current location, but enemies have total concealment (50% miss chance) from an incorporeal creature that is inside an object. In order to see beyond the object it is in and attack normally, the incorporeal creature must emerge. An incorporeal creature inside an object has total cover, but when it attacks a creature outside the object it only has cover, so a creature outside with a readied action could strike at it as it attacks. An incorporeal creature cannot pass through a force effect.
-
An incorporeal creature's attacks pass through (ignore) natural armor, armor, and shields, although deflection bonuses and force effects (such as mage armor) work normally against it. Incorporeal creatures pass through and operate in water as easily as they do in air. Incorporeal creatures cannot fall or take falling damage. Incorporeal creatures cannot make trip or grapple attacks, nor can they be tripped or grappled. In fact, they cannot take any physical action that would move or manipulate an opponent or its equipment, nor are they subject to such actions. Incorporeal creatures have no weight and do not set off traps that are triggered by weight.
-
An incorporeal creature moves silently and cannot be heard with Perception checks if it doesn't wish to be. It has no Strength score, so its Dexterity modifier applies to its melee attacks, ranged attacks, and CMB. Nonvisual senses, such as scent and blindsight, are either ineffective or only partly effective with regard to incorporeal creatures. Incorporeal creatures have an innate sense of direction and can move at full speed even when they cannot see.

Holy Water flasks are an odd exception, because they can not score a direct hit against incorporeal foes, (going right through them without exploding), but can affect them as a splash weapon, (unlike normal water which passes right through them without effect).

Bomb (Su):

In addition to magical extracts, alchemists are adept at swiftly mixing various volatile chemicals and infusing them with their magical reserves to create powerful bombs that they can hurl at their enemies. An alchemist can use a number of bombs each day equal to his class level + his Intelligence modifier. Bombs are unstable, and if not used in the round they are created, they degrade and become inert—their method of creation prevents large volumes of explosive material from being created and stored. In order to create a bomb, the alchemist must use a small vial containing an ounce of liquid catalyst—the alchemist can create this liquid catalyst from small amounts of chemicals from an alchemy lab, and these supplies can be readily refilled in the same manner as a spellcaster's component pouch. Most alchemists create a number of catalyst vials at the start of the day equal to the total number of bombs they can create in that day—once created, a catalyst vial remains usable by the alchemist for years.
-
Drawing the components of, creating, and throwing a bomb requires a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity. Thrown bombs have a range of 20 feet and use the Throw Splash Weapon special attack. Bombs are considered weapons and can be selected using feats such as Point-Blank Shot and Weapon Focus. On a direct hit, an alchemist's bomb inflicts 1d6 points of fire damage + additional damage equal to the alchemist's Intelligence modifier. The damage of an alchemist's bomb increases by 1d6 points at every odd-numbered alchemist level (this bonus damage is not multiplied on a critical hit or by using feats such as Vital Strike). Splash damage from an alchemist bomb is always equal to the bomb's minimum damage (so if the bomb would deal 2d6+4 points of fire damage on a direct hit, its splash damage would be 6 points of fire damage). Those caught in the splash damage can attempt a Reflex save for half damage. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the alchemist's level + the alchemist's Intelligence modifier.
-
Alchemists can learn new types of bombs as discoveries (see the Discovery ability) as they level up. An alchemist's bomb, like an extract, becomes inert if used or carried by anyone else.

So, bombs are SU abilities, but are not Spells and are not Magical, as far as I can tell. Which means it fits into a really odd place as far as how it works against Incorporeal foes. Notably absent here is anything along the lines of "Bombs count as Magical Weapons for Overcoming DR or hitting Incorporeal Targets" like just about every other similar thing I can think of, (Monk's Ki). And, so is it SU, a Weapon, both, what?

Holy Water:
Holy Water: Holy water damages undead creatures and evil outsiders almost as if it were acid. A flask of holy water can be thrown as a splash weapon.
-
Treat this attack as a ranged touch attack with a range increment of 10 feet. A flask breaks if thrown against the body of a corporeal creature, but to use it against an incorporeal creature, you must open the flask and pour the holy water out onto the target. Thus, you can douse an incorporeal creature with holy water only if you are adjacent to it. Doing so is a ranged touch attack that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
-
A direct hit by a flask of holy water deals 2d4 points of damage to an undead creature or an evil outsider. Each such creature within 5 feet of the point where the flask hits takes 1 point of damage from the splash.
-
Temples to good deities sell holy water at cost (making no profit). Holy water is made using the bless water spell.

Unlike with the Alchemy Class Feature, (Extracts), Bombs are not Spells, or based off of spells.

The only threads I can really find on this seems unanswered, and I'm not seeing any FAQs that stand out.

So, question 1: does a Bomb even "hit" an incorporeal foe, or simply pass right through it?

Question 2: regardless, does the Fire Damage even affect Incorporeal foes? Is it considered "Magical Fire" (50%) or "Mundane Fire" (not at all)? <In my case, the Fire Damage was from an ability that caught targets on fire, which reads as a mundane fire secondary affect.>

Thoughts?

Based on all of this, I believe that (RAI or not), Alchemist's Bombs can not affect Incorporeal creatures with a direct hit. The Bomb's secondary splash damage might affect them, but since it generally flies through them and smashes on the ground/wall behind them, it might not be within reach. Force Bombs actually become somewhat useless in this case, as they too would essentially pass straight through the Incorporeal and only the splash damage would maybe apply, but at least it would not be halved.

As far as I can tell, all f the threads that talk about this seem to favor Bombs working against Incorporeals as spells or as Supernatural Abilities, but to me it more reads like people are arguing for it to work because they want it to rather than what the rules overall suggest.

However, that being said, the rules about Splash Weapons vs Incorporeal Creatures are not found under Splash Weapons, but rather found under Holy Water specifically, and while it is pretty obvious it is intended to be a universal rule, it can be argued it only applies to Holy Water.

The Exchange

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Klorox wrote:
Is that an official ruling or just some kind of house rule?
Unofficial. It makes sense in that an incorporeal creature shouldn't set off something that requires impact to detonate, but then you have to remember these things are magic and common sense doesn't really apply.

why do you think alchemists bombs detonate on impact? or even require impact to be set off? just wondering where that comes from?

If the target of a bomb is flying, and the alchemist misses... does the bomb fall all the way to the ground before detonating? what if it is more than 100 feet to the ground (greater than the range of the bomb)?or does it detonate as dictated in the rules on missing with a bomb (roll d8 for direction and one square per range increment...)?


actually, they detonate within a round after being mixed... and being Su, they are magical in nature.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

You may be thinking of grenades, as the alchemist entry says "Bombs are unstable, and if not used in the round they are created, they degrade and become inert"

Friendly "Fire" wrote:
why do you think alchemists bombs detonate on impact? or even require impact to be set off? just wondering where that comes from?

The fact that they are treated as thrown splash weapons.

Shadow Lodge

Wait, isn't the only way to create Holy Water through the spell Bless Water?

If I remember correctly, normal Crafting rules and Alchemical crafting do not allow Holy Water, (meaning Holy Water is also magical).

As far as needing impact to function, Bombs are described as being liquids in a vial.

"In order to create a bomb, the alchemist must use a small vial containing an ounce of liquid catalyst"

I also just realized I had used strikeout rather than bold on the part about them being treated as weapons. :(


Wonder if we need to make this an FAQ (in a new thread) . . . .

Shadow Lodge

I tried before, and Ive hit FAQ at the top, (assuming you are talking about Bombs vs Incorporeal).

Its a difficult call to make, and I wouldn't be surpised if the devs had not been familiar with the issue when they made the class. On one hand, it kind of sucks to largely neuter a major class feature against a not too common creature type. But on the other, the Alchemist is a very stronge class, incorporeal foes are not too common, and Im ok with incorporeals essentially being to Alchemists what Golems are to spellcasters.

I'm assuming no direct hit, half splash damage, (without Force Bombs), that essentially puts Bombs on par with Channel Energy against Incorporeal Undead, though Bombs might be better, (honestly not sure).

I do not have any Alchemists myself, so I'm mainly just looking at this from the DM side.

The Exchange

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If an alchemist throws a bomb at a creature that has the spell mirror image active, and the random roll indicates that he hits an Image (or he misses the target by less than 5 and hits an Image)... is the bomb "triggered"?

Is contact with an illusion enough to count as the "impact" some people feel is required for a bomb to detonate?

Does an Illusion have more "substance" than an Incorporeal creature?

I normally rule that a bomb (not a acid flask or other item that has to be drawn) travels to the target location (or the location of the miss if it missed) and detonates there. This saves me from having to rule that the bomb continued until it impacted something that would set it off. A "miss" goes to the spot indicated by the existing rules on misses. Roll a d8. It went one square in the indicated direction per range increment, and detonated at that

point in space:
, be it an intersection or a square - realizing that only creatures and intersections can be targets, not squares. The only way to hit a square rather than a creature or interception is to target a creature and miss
. I find this to be much simpler than trying to figure the flight path of a bomb - and deciding if it hit a leaf or twig of this bush and detonates (would that set it off?), or flew 30 feet past the target to impact the first "hard surface" in line of flight. Did it travel DOWN into the pit behind the target? Did it hit the pit wall, or go 50 feet (maybe more than it's max range?) to the ground and thus hit the PC in the pit - but not splash the monster beside the pit?

Much easier to just roll the miss, point at the spot indicated by the roll, and declare it "an air burst" and move on.


M1k31 wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Klorox wrote:
Is that an official ruling or just some kind of house rule?
Unofficial. It makes sense in that an incorporeal creature shouldn't set off something that requires impact to detonate, but then you have to remember these things are magic and common sense doesn't really apply.

Agreed... I mean thinking it through logically the holy water rule quoted above makes no sense, as when you throw the flask of holy water through the incorporeal creature the water itself should impact it... because the glass cannot.... perhaps rendering the water inert upon impact with a the corporeal surface where it shatters(or shattering the glass upon impact with the solidified liquid inside), leaving it as only a direct damage attack with no splash.

That it doesn't implies either;

*The glass vial itself is magical or suppresses the waters magic
*the glass Shattering is required as a component of creating holy water(which we know is BS because simply pouring it works)
*Holy water is reactive with oxygen and requires it in order to burn "fuel" like demonkind/ghosts... though then you'd expect rules for no-oxygen environments it doesn't have...

Or simply that covering the creature with water is necessary, and while having a vial full of it pass through them is certainly going to be uncomfortable, it isn't effective as an attack


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes, Alchemist bombs do half damage. Full damage for Force or Ectoplasmic discoveries.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
incorporeal quality, PRD wrote:
Incorporeal creatures take half damage (50%) from magic weapons, spells, spell-like effects, and supernatural effects. Incorporeal creatures take full damage from other incorporeal creatures and effects, as well as all force effects.

Bombs are a supernatural effect. Therefore an incorporeal creature takes 50% damage from bombs unless the bomb originates from an incorporeal creature or is a force effect, in which case they take full damage.

That's all there is to it.

We don't need to add more words. We don't need to add simulationist realism and create worries about whether a flask breaks, or impacts. We've got all the words we need right there in the incorporeal quality definition and the bomb class feature's supernatural quality.

Shadow Lodge

Ignoring the parts you don't like or that say otherwise does not prove you right. Bombs also say they are treated as non-magical weapons for instance.

As people are fond of saying, specific trumps general.

Also, just to be clear, no one is "adding more words", in the sense of things that are not there in the rules. Bombs are splash weapons. Splash Weapons require an impact in order to direct hit. If they do not direct hit, they do not explode.

Incorporeal, can not be directly hit by at the very least, by the Holy Water vial. It can be argued that because from the other Splash Weapons in the CRB would not affect them anyway, it was put under Holy Water because Holy Water potentially could. You specifically have to unstop and sprinkle the holy water, because the vial passes right through them otherwise. Again, its right there in the CRB, not something people are just "adding".


I don't know what you're talking about there is the relevant text I can find.

Quote:
An alchemist can create three special types of magical items—extracts, bombs, and mutagens are transformative elixirs that the alchemist drinks to enhance his physical abilities—both of these are detailed in their own sections below

And

Quote:
Bombs are considered weapons and can be selected using feats such as Point-Blank Shot and Weapon Focus.

The word non-magical in nowhere in the alchemist section. And as far as I know weapon focus can apply to magical weapons.

Can you provide the non-magical quote?

Shadow Lodge

Thats the issue. The key igrediant that is missing is a line like "Bombs are treated as magic for the puroses of overcoming DR" or "affecting Incorporeal Targets". Other abilities specifocally call that out when it is the intention.

Instead, it says they are treated as weapons, (as oppossed to spells, for instance) and splash weapons, (which normally can not be magical).


DM Beckett wrote:

Thats the issue. The key igrediant that is missing is a line like "Bombs are treated as magic for the puroses of overcoming DR" or "affecting Incorporeal Targets". Other abilities specifocally call that out when it is the intention.

Instead, it says they are treated as weapons, (as oppossed to spells, for instance) and splash weapons, (which normally can not be magical).

Bombs deal energy damage, which isn't subject to damage reduction in the first place.

And there are several places where it does say it is magical. It is a supernatural ability (And supernatural abilities are all magical). In the description of the alchemists Alchemy ability, it says they can create 3 types of magical items - bombs being one of the three. And at the very least, the bomb ability implies they are magical by saying they are infused with magic. So 2 very clear locations and one location that at least implies it.

Aline saying "affects incorporeal beings" would make it totally clear, but is ultimately unnecessary. Incorporeal stats it takes half damage from corporeal magical sources, and several spots indicate that the bombs are indeed magical. No further words necessary.


So I understand, you are saying that my quote showing bombs are magical and the fact that they are supernatural don't count because you assert there should be more specific language?

Quote:
Supernatural abilities are magical but not spell-like. Supernatural abilities are not subject to spell resistance and do not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated (such as an antimagic field). A supernatural ability’s effect cannot be dispelled and is not subject to counterspells. See Table: Special Ability Types for a summary of the types of special abilities"

You don't think the fact that they are magic and supernatural, as I have shown, meet the criteria in the incorporeal section of the monster rules?

Quote:
Incorporeal (Ex) An incorporeal creature has no physical body. It can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, magic weapons or creatures that strike as magic weapons, and spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities. It is immune to all nonmagical attack forms. Even when hit by spells or magic weapons, it takes only half damage from a corporeal source (except for channel energy). Although it is not a magical attack, holy water can affect incorporeal undead. Corporeal spells and effects that do not cause damage only have a 50% chance of affecting an incorporeal creature. Force spells and effects, such as from a magic missile, affect an incorporeal creature normally.

Shadow Lodge

Yes and no. I am not disagreeing that they are Supernatural, (SU), nor that some of the flavor indicates they are magical. What I am saying is that Bombs, specifically Bombs, even as a SU ability are specifically not magic weapons, (they just use a tiny amount of magic to create them), and because they are Splash Weapons, all the normal rules for Splash Weapons apply, except where called out. Them being treated as Magic Weapons is NOT called out, unlike many other abilities, such as a Monk's Ki Strike. Bombs are neither Magic Weapons nor creatures that strikes as magic weapons.

A Splash Weapon is "A splash weapon is a ranged weapon that breaks on impact, splashing or scattering its contents over its target and nearby creatures or objects". It is very clear that it is not a grenade, but a vial that breaks on impact, and for a direct hit, must impact the target.

Now, if I am wrong, that's fine. My only real goal here is to get clarification. I do not have any Alchemists, and in the game I DM'd where this came up, (a scenario where nearly every single encounter was an Incorporeal undead and I had to run as written), I ruled in a way that did not totally bork the Alchemist).

But, outside of that very uncommon situation, in my personal opinion, based on both the rules as written/interpreted and also mindful of a sense of overall balance for the game, I do not think this is going to diminish the very high degree of amazing power the Alchemist has. Even in that PFS scenario with 90% or more incorporeal undead, the Alchemist had plenty of tricks up their sleeve, and the main issue was that they might not get to experience their new Feat that allowed them to catch enemies hit by a direct hit with catching on fire. But, I also don't think that "It's a SU, that is all that needs be said, and ignore everything else" is at all helpful. :) To me, it reads as "This is how I want it to work, regardless of what the books actually say". That might not be the case, but it rhymes.


I'm just gonna put some quotes together so people can see them all in one place: (Links included in titles)

ALCHEMY wrote:
An alchemist can create three special types of magical items—extracts, bombs, and mutagens are transformative elixirs that the alchemist drinks to enhance his physical abilities—both of these are detailed in their own sections below.
BOMB (SU) wrote:
Thrown bombs have a range of 20 feet and use the Throw Splash Weapon special attack.
A splash weapon is a ranged weapon that breaks on impact, splashing or scattering its contents over its target and nearby creatures or objects.

An incorporeal creature has no physical body. It can be harmed only by [irrelevant stuff] or supernatural abilities.

...
Even when hit by spells or magic weapons, it takes only half damage from a corporeal source (except for channel energy). Although it is not a magical attack, holy water can affect incorporeal undead.
...
Force spells and effects, such as from a magic missile, affect an incorporeal creature normally.
HOLY WATER wrote:
A flask breaks if thrown against the body of a corporeal creature, but to use it against an incorporeal creature, you must open the flask and pour the holy water out onto the target. Thus, you can douse an incorporeal creature with holy water only if you are adjacent to it. Doing so is a ranged touch attack that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
The alchemist can infuse her bombs with a special unction that damages incorporeal creatures and reveals the presence of undead creatures hiding in the area. Incorporeal creatures struck by an ectoplasmic bomb take full damage from the bomb...
FORCE BOMB wrote:
When the alchemist creates a bomb, he can choose to have it inflict force damage...

If there are any that I've missed let me know. If you let me know before the hour is up I'll update this post.


DM Beckett wrote:

Yes and no. I am not disagreeing that they are Supernatural, (SU), nor that some of the flavor indicates they are magical. What I am saying is that Bombs, specifically Bombs, even as a SU ability are specifically not magic weapons, (they just use a tiny amount of magic to create them), and because they are Splash Weapons, all the normal rules for Splash Weapons apply, except where called out. Them being treated as Magic Weapons is NOT called out, unlike many other abilities, such as a Monk's Ki Strike. Bombs are neither Magic Weapons nor creatures that strikes as magic weapons.

A Splash Weapon is "A splash weapon is a ranged weapon that breaks on impact, splashing or scattering its contents over its target and nearby creatures or objects". It is very clear that it is not a grenade, but a vial that breaks on impact, and for a direct hit, must impact the target.

Now, if I am wrong, that's fine. My only real goal here is to get clarification. I do not have any Alchemists, and in the game I DM'd where this came up, (a scenario where nearly every single encounter was an Incorporeal undead and I had to run as written), I ruled in a way that did not totally bork the Alchemist).

You seem to be asserting, with no backing, that splash weapons can not be magical. That is not supported. Stingchuck is a perfect example of an enchantable splash weapon. You are over interpreting the fact that consumable splash weapons can't be enchanted. The whole bomb (single object) is magical, thus can hit incorporeal creatures for half damage.

If you read the incorporeal quote you have to come to the conclusion that if a bomb is any 1 of the following "magic weapon or creatures that strike as magic weapon, spell, spell-like ability, or supernatural ability" it is can effect these creatures. A bomb is magic, Su are magic 100% of the time. A bomb is a supernatural ability 100% of the time, and a bomb is a weapon 100% of the time. That means it work if it is either a magic weapon, which it is or it is a supernatural ability which it is. Either not both need to be true for a bomb to work.

Quote:
But, outside of that very uncommon situation, in my personal opinion, based on both the rules as written/interpreted and also mindful of a sense of overall balance for the game, I do not think this is going to diminish the very high degree of amazing power the Alchemist has.

Two things to address. First I think I have now addresses the one issue with splash weapons is that they need to break. The bomb is magic so it can "make contact" there is no damage requirement to break a splash weapon so this contact breaks the bomb. So I can't see how any interpretation that has to disregard the defining characteristic of Su and the means of bypassing incorporealness that is in the universal monster rules. Put it this way your reading requires Su, incorporeal, alchemy and bomb rules to be invalidated for the "breaks on impact, splashing or scattering its contents over its target" rule. Mine actually require invalidating zero rules.

Second the plea to intent of balance is not an argument that holds a lot of water, when the sorcerer just cast battering blast or the shaman dropped the full bab spiritual weapon/ally. One can and should consider balance in running the game for interpreting I stick to a very low bar did the designers intend this to function on the low end (mounted combat) and did they intend this to better than anything else (free action shield throwing before the FAQ).

Quote:
Even in that PFS scenario with 90% or more incorporeal undead, the Alchemist had plenty of tricks up their sleeve, and the main issue was that they might not get to experience their new Feat that allowed them to catch enemies hit by a direct hit with catching on fire.

In that same PFS scenario, 2000GP gets a magic weapon, oil of bless weapon, ghost salt blanch lets archers do full damage not half, or an oil of Spirit-Bound Blade. So balance or the alchemist can do other things has very little weight.

Quote:


But, I also don't think that "It's a SU, that is all that needs be said, and ignore everything else" is at all helpful. :) To me, it reads as "This is how I want it to work, regardless of what the books actually say". That might not be the case, but it rhymes.

You said they were "non-magical" without any rules evidence above which is not "at all helpful" that is all I was addressing. And, when confronted with the evidence failed to refute the claim. Saying the are not magical weapons which as explained above they can qualify as magic and weapons, and/or Su so they double meet the criteria to hit incorporeal creatures. Then you wrote a post that contains opinions about balance, and alchemist having enough to do which are not constructive. Punctuated by critiquing my post and impugning my motives. I'm taking the time to put forward thought out arguments so let's talk rules.*

*Sorry if I sound glib I just want stick to discussing the rules.

Lantern Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Is a alchemist bomb an SU ability? Yes.
Do all SU abilities affect Incorporeal creatures? Yes.

Bombs affect Incorporeal creatures.

There is no need to make this more complicated than what is stated in the rules.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Players need all the help they can get, Incorporeal creatures are a+*!*+%s enough as it is, especially at lower levels.


captain yesterday wrote:
Players need all the help they can get, Incorporeal creatures are a~$$$$!s enough as it is, especially at lower levels.

incorporeal swarms are worse


Lady-J wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Players need all the help they can get, Incorporeal creatures are a~$$$$!s enough as it is, especially at lower levels.
incorporeal swarms are worse

Not with Ectoplasmic Bombs!


MrCharisma wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Players need all the help they can get, Incorporeal creatures are a~$$$$!s enough as it is, especially at lower levels.
incorporeal swarms are worse
Not with Ectoplasmic Bombs!

thats entirely banking on the party a) having an alchemist and b) said alchemist having ectoplasm bombs, i for one have only seen 2 alchemists in my entire pathfinder career and neither ran that discovery


+1 to that, I run my characters strictly from the books I have available, undead slayers handbook is not in the lot (granted, I have mostly big hardbound books, the only handbooks I have are Dwarves of Golarion, and legacy of dragons).

Silver Crusade

Let's for a moment consider the problem thrown up by the "throw splash weapon" text. It says "splash weapons break upon impact." This causes a conceptual problem, specificaly that it's not possible to "impact" an incorporeal, therefore we conclude that bombs don't work.

Here are the errors in that logic chain.

Ectoplasmic bomb and force bomb both describe how they do full damage to incorporeals on a direct hit. If the "throw splash weapon" rule is interpreted to preclude that possibility then two alchemist discoveries cannot do what they say they do. It doesn't make sense to select such an interpretation when another reasonable interpretation is available.

Further, and crucially, it is possible to impact an incorporeal. Magic weapons impact for half damage. Most incorporeals have a deflection bonus to armour class, ergo a blow can be deflected away, or can score a direct hit if it beats the armour class. The deflection bonus can be conceptualised as exerting a force against an incoming attack; a bomb that strikes that deflection "screen" is impacting. If the attack roll isn't high enough then the deflection screen bounces the bomb away, and splash damage may ensue. If the attack roll is high enough then a direct hit is scored.


Related to supervillain's post,

You throw a bomb whose components are capable of contacting an incorporeal creature. the container can't, and so begins to pass through. The contents can, and so are compressed by the combination of body and bottle. Eventually, the container cannot handle the pressure and breaks. End result, the bomb explodes when it impacts the creature.

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