Sun Blade - A sacred cow?


Magic Items


C'mon it might go back to 1st ed Ravenloft but reading it's description makes my head spin.

Must ... resist ... to ...min-max . a ... TWF build ... or apply .. convenient parts ... of the ... properties... to another ... magic .. weapon.


I am sorry, but your just complaining. TWF for non rogues has enough trouble as it is, and this does very little to break it for the rogues.

Try looking at what it actually gives in actual minimum, average, and maximum damage bonuses.


Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
I am sorry, but your just complaining. TWF for non rogues has enough trouble as it is, and this does very little to break it for the rogues.

So it's another of those must-have magic item to make a build viable? I really hate those.

Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:


Try looking at what it actually gives in actual minimum, average, and maximum damage bonuses.

I did, and going from 1d6 to 1d10, especially combined with (Improved) Vital Strike and the additional attacks from the off-hand gives a big boost. Additionally a char don't need to take the Weapon Focus/Specialization line two times. Ok, this blade is a medium-high level option but it is there and I bet every halfway optimizing player will want at least one blade for his char and might even be pestering the GM to allow the '1h or 2h weapon can be used as a Light Weapon' part as an cheaper enhancement.

Instead of relying on magic items I'd wish for some feats that would allow a TWF char to apply his Weapon Focus/Specialization line to another weapon and maybe a feat that allows him to wield a specific 1h weapon in the off-hand without further penalties.

Spoiler:

Of course I am hinting at a somewhat toned down version of Melee Weapon Mastery and Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting.

Imho the Sun Blade is a cool but overloaded weapon. It's too cheap for it's benefits and probably should be a made a unique item/minor artifact.


I have to admit I'm not a big fan of "unique" weapons with mysterious pricing. Why not make "Sun X" or "X of Venom" a property that any weapon can have, and at various "plus" levels (not just +1 or +2)?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Sun Blade as a minor artifact would be cool.


Ross Byers wrote:
Sun Blade as a minor artifact would be cool.

I think calling it an artifact is just a little overboard. It would be nice though if there was some indication of how difficult it is to acquire certain items in the game. Some items just shouldn't be available as over the counter purchases.


Not sure I would say a sun blade is a sacred cow exactly. The holy avenger would be more of a sacred cow than the sun blade I would think (no pun intended). Yes, it does some cool things. True, you don't need to be proficient in bastard sword to use it. It's also got an alignment and all the inherent bonuses and penalties to use it. It also doesn't have the punch to remain a "must have" weapon at higher levels.

If anything, I would suggest they make it an intelligent weapon before relegating it to the enchantment bin or bumping it to artifact status.


Max Money wrote:

It also doesn't have the punch to remain a "must have" weapon at higher levels.

I don't think there is a rule that that you can't add further item appropriate enchantments to an unique magic item? I guess it would change alot if a Sun Blade would be considered a wondrous item instead of an magic weapon. Much like a Robe is not eligible for armor enchantments.


Tholas wrote:
Max Money wrote:

It also doesn't have the punch to remain a "must have" weapon at higher levels.

I don't think there is a rule that that you can't add further item appropriate enchantments to an unique magic item?

The problem is that it's unclear whether a sun blade is priced like a +5 weapon (in which case another "plus" would cost 22,000 gp) or like a +2 weapon with a +42,000 gp flat fee on top (in which case another "plus" would cost 10,000 gp) or something completely different.


hogarth wrote:
Tholas wrote:
Max Money wrote:

It also doesn't have the punch to remain a "must have" weapon at higher levels.

I don't think there is a rule that that you can't add further item appropriate enchantments to an unique magic item?
The problem is that it's unclear whether a sun blade is priced like a +5 weapon (in which case another "plus" would cost 22,000 gp) or like a +2 weapon with a +42,000 gp flat fee on top (in which case another "plus" would cost 10,000 gp) or something completely different.

You can add more enchantments to a weapon, but they cost as much to add to a weapon as if you were making the weapon from scratch with all the abilities. This can get pricey, but at higher levels most have small dragon hoards to take care of that problem.

The sun blade doesn't have a breakdown of enchantments and bonuses. It would be hard to figure out the true magic level and price because it's more than a +2 holy, undead-, negative energy-, evil outsider-bane weapon because of the proficiency, double damage dealing and the sunlight special abilities. Those would make it a +7 (+2 to start, +3 for each bane, and +2 for holy) weapon not including anything else. So just with what I have listed, the sun blade should be at least 98,000 gp as opposed to the 50,335 gp it is listed at currently.

And because of all the abilities it does have, it would be next to impossible to turn it into a weapon enchantment like vorpal or wounding. A series of enchantments sure, but not just one.


I am all for a weapon specific enhancement.

As to a must have build item, I am in agreement with you here, but need what we can get.

Liberty's Edge

The Sun sword is not a "Sacred Cow"

It is a "Sacred Katana"!!!


The GM alone decides what loot you find and what is available in shops.

The Exchange

Dennis da Ogre wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
Sun Blade as a minor artifact would be cool.
I think calling it an artifact is just a little overboard. It would be nice though if there was some indication of how difficult it is to acquire certain items in the game. Some items just shouldn't be available as over the counter purchases.

Very true. A 'not-for-sale' tag on some items would be useful.

Neithan wrote:


The GM alone decides what loot you find and what is available in shops.

The problem is that some GMs don't say 'No' to players that whinge and point to the fact that an item has a cost listed next to it.

I'm also not bothered if there are some items in the game that have abilities that make them super-powerful in combination with certain character 'builds'. It's just not possible to balance the game perfectly and remove all of the corner-cases like that - not without making it utterly bland and homogenous. If GMs are too weak to say no and players too munchkinish to avoid exploiting these things then they have no cause to complain that they are not enjoying the game they have chosen to play.

Perhaps a big disclaimer on the rules saying : "Just because something can be done with these rules doesn't mean it should be done." Dire, fiendish, vampiric werewolves, I'm looking at you.


I'd hate to see the sun blade dropped or nerfed or significantly change because it has abilities that predate "builds," and said "builds" have managed to take advantage of its legacy properties.

That having been said, I wouldn't mind a clarification on pricing so that one could have enhancements added to it.

My 1st edition 15th level ranger would cry if these went away though . . . and he never did any two weapon fighting in his whole career!

Liberty's Edge

KnightErrantJR wrote:

I'd hate to see the sun blade dropped or nerfed or significantly change because it has abilities that predate "builds," and said "builds" have managed to take advantage of its legacy properties.

That having been said, I wouldn't mind a clarification on pricing so that one could have enhancements added to it.

My 1st edition 15th level ranger would cry if these went away though . . . and he never did any two weapon fighting in his whole career!

I'm in complete agreement here.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I think that making the Sun Blade a minor artifact would work just fine.

1) It keeps the mini-max folks whose TWF builds depend on it from just buying it, at whatever price.

2) It avoid affixing an arbitrary price on a very complicated item.

3) It reflects the item's history as a unique piece of loot from a specific old adventure.


Is it really that powerful there was a feat that allowed you to do the same thing except it didnt let the WF and WS Feats co mingle


Yeah, honestly... it's allowing you to get two dice sizes higher for your proficiencies. That's basically an average damage higher of 2 points.

A single elemental damage enhancement at +1 gives you an average damage of 3.5. Granted, it is energy damage and thus subject to different (and usually more frequent) protections, but that accounts for higher average.

To put this in perspective:

Shortsword with elemental damage: 1d6 + 1d6, or 2 to 12 damage
Bastard sword: 1d10, or 1 to 10 damage

Honestly.. I don't see what the problem is.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

The TWF rules assume that one of three things are happening:

1) Two light weapons, but you get your Weapon feats on both hands, at -2 per attack (The two-short swords model)

2) A one-handed weapon and a light weapon, but you either have to take more feats or one hand doesn't get feats, at a -2 penalty.

3) Two one handed weapons, with weapon feats on both hands, at -4 per attack.

The sun blade allows the damage output of #3 at only a -2 penalty.

If it's just a sword-and-board fighter's bastard sword, or an ordinary rogue's short-sword substitute, all it gains is an average of 2 damage, which is not a big deal.

It's the TWF implications that are bad.

Liberty's Edge

Neithan wrote:
The GM alone decides what loot you find and what is available in shops.

that is what makes it so disgusting the concept of the magic-shope :P

ihope that finding or crafting a Sun Blade would be something great and memorable, "ohi like this, give me 3 and yes arrange as a gift please"


Ross Byers wrote:

The TWF rules assume that one of three things are happening:

1) Two light weapons, but you get your Weapon feats on both hands, at -2 per attack (The two-short swords model)

2) A one-handed weapon and a light weapon, but you either have to take more feats or one hand doesn't get feats, at a -2 penalty.

3) Two one handed weapons, with weapon feats on both hands, at -4 per attack.

The sun blade allows the damage output of #3 at only a -2 penalty.

If it's just a sword-and-board fighter's bastard sword, or an ordinary rogue's short-sword substitute, all it gains is an average of 2 damage, which is not a big deal.

It's the TWF implications that are bad.

You pay money to get a magical enhancement. It's less overall damage than if you had spent a +1 enhancement on your weapon instead.

Now, if the weapon gave you the extra damage without costing something, I'd see the point of contention... but we need to keep perspectives here. It's not like you are comparing two martial weapons.. you are comparing a shortsword to a magical item that acts like a short sword.

The TWF implications are no different.


Dark Lurker of Psionics wrote:

The Sun sword is not a "Sacred Cow"

It is a "Sacred Katana"!!!

Worth noting. That time I marched into the blue dungeon of Skoerr swinging a +2 bovine of wounding menacingly over my head by its haunches... all those orcs just laughed and laughed and the panicked cow just mooed and mooed. Really pays to know your weapons.


brock wrote:


The problem is that some GMs don't say 'No' to players that whinge and point to the fact that an item has a cost listed next to it.

When this is the problem, no amount of rewrite by game designers will help. And I think they shouldn't even try. My experience is, that this only takes things away from people who would have fun with it, but does nothing to fix the games of irresposible players and GMs.


Seems to me that the only thing that the sunblade does that bothers people is that it effectively gives you a plus two to hit with twf, and a variable bonus to damage, between +0 and +4? on average that means that it's a +4 weapon instead of a +2. Is that really that scary?

Dark Archive

The 'two sizes classes larger' thing is the same thing that Shillelagh, a 1st level Druid spell, does. It's okay, but nothing spectacular.

If it were applied to a Longsword, it would raise the weapon to 3d6, and be much more exciting, and if the cost were 'broken down' to include this shillelagh effect, the effects would vary hugely based on what weapon got the enchantment. A halflings dagger would go from 1d3 to 1d6, and it would be less than sexy. A humans greatsword would go from 2d6 to 3d8, which would be much nicer.

As someone who has played a twin-short-sword-using Fighter, I'd be thrilled with a cheaped out version that only enhanced the damage by one size category. A 'half-shillelagh.' :)

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Dark Lurker of Psionics wrote:

The Sun sword is not a "Sacred Cow"

It is a "Sacred Katana"!!!

Don't you mean "Sacred Cow-tana"?


It's really funny. This thread was just an afterthought after I posted my complaint about the Monk's Robe and I was convinced the later would draw alot more attention. But under 3.5 the Sun Blade was just and obscure weapon no one bothered with because there where enough TWF feats from splat-books to make it unattractive and TWF in general was considered an ill choice for non-sneak damage dealing chars anyway.

The question is: Do you need a Sacred Katana to butcher a Sacred Cow?


Tholas wrote:


The question is: Do you need a Sacred Katana to butcher a Sacred Cow?

Nope, you just need a ninja.


Sun Blades + current version of Smite Evil + TWF feats = liquified Pit Fiend.

However, the solution is NOT to get rid of the Sun Blade - the solution is to fix Smite Evil. Smiting for three rounds = unbalanced.

The Exchange

Set wrote:

The 'two sizes classes larger' thing is the same thing that Shillelagh, a 1st level Druid spell, does. It's okay, but nothing spectacular.

If it were applied to a Longsword, it would raise the weapon to 3d6, and be much more exciting, and if the cost were 'broken down' to include this shillelagh effect, the effects would vary hugely based on what weapon got the enchantment. A halflings dagger would go from 1d3 to 1d6, and it would be less than sexy. A humans greatsword would go from 2d6 to 3d8, which would be much nicer.

As someone who has played a twin-short-sword-using Fighter, I'd be thrilled with a cheaped out version that only enhanced the damage by one size category. A 'half-shillelagh.' :)

Set I don't see the sun blade as a problem either but one thing to clarify: it doesn't strike like a weapon 2 categories larger rather it is wielded like a short sword and hits as hard as a bastard sword Link Which means that to answer Hogarths idea of Sun X weapon simply delete the cost of the bastard sword from the things price and put in the price of the larger of the two weapons you would be using as your referents.

OGL examples:

(Larger weapon and smaller weapon)

Larger weapon provides damage figures and cost for the base weapon before masterwork and magic are factored in; smaller weapon provides ease of wielding)

Longsword and dagger
Bastard sword and short sword
Greatsword and longsword
Kukri and Falchion

Dwarven waraxe and handaxe
Greataxe and Battleaxe

Light crossbow and hand crossbow

Shadow Lodge

Hey, if you can now crit undead, the Sunsword is pure awesome!


Kaville wrote:
Seems to me that the only thing that the sunblade does that bothers people is that it effectively gives you a plus two to hit with twf, and a variable bonus to damage, between +0 and +4? on average that means that it's a +4 weapon instead of a +2. Is that really that scary?

No. In most cases, using a Sun Blade will be worse than using a +2 holy undead bane short sword (or bastard sword) which costs the same.


hogarth wrote:
Kaville wrote:
Seems to me that the only thing that the sunblade does that bothers people is that it effectively gives you a plus two to hit with twf, and a variable bonus to damage, between +0 and +4? on average that means that it's a +4 weapon instead of a +2. Is that really that scary?
No. In most cases, using a Sun Blade will be worse than using a +2 holy undead bane short sword (or bastard sword) which costs the same.

No. Without Vital Strike it is roughly on par when fighting evil creatures. Against lower ACs the Short Swords has a small margin of superiority but falls back a bit against higher ACs.

When fighting undead the Sun Blade is a real killer because it deals double damage with each hit! Add Vital Strike and the Short Sword is utterly outclassed either way.

PFRPG wrote:
In normal combat, the glowing golden blade of the weapon is equal to a +2 bastard sword. Against evil creatures, its enhancement bonus is +4. Against Negative Energy Plane creatures or undead creatures, the sword deals double damage (and x3 on a critical hit instead of the usual x2).

What really bothers me is the 'wielded as if it were a short sword' part and its consequences. I am pretty sure that the min-maxers will have a field day with this weapon(or some of its features), the Vital Strike Feat(s) and maybe some assorted splatbook stuff once the final Pathfinder RPG release is out.

Again, the Sun Blade is an overloaded weapon, way too cheap for it's benefits and sets a dangerous precedent for enchantments(size modifier and double damage against a creature type). Why not make it a minor artifact and be done with it? I am pretty sure the Paizo Police wouldn't raid your home if you houserule it back to a regular magic item.


Tholas wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Kaville wrote:
Seems to me that the only thing that the sunblade does that bothers people is that it effectively gives you a plus two to hit with twf, and a variable bonus to damage, between +0 and +4? on average that means that it's a +4 weapon instead of a +2. Is that really that scary?
No. In most cases, using a Sun Blade will be worse than using a +2 holy undead bane short sword (or bastard sword) which costs the same.
No. Without Vital Strike it is roughly on par when fighting evil creatures. Against lower ACs the Short Swords has a small margin of superiority but falls back a bit against higher ACs.

I don't understand this at all. A +2 holy shortsword is a +4 weapon vs. evil creatures and does +2d6 damage on top of that. A sun blade is just a +4 weapon vs. evil creatures that does 2 extra damage (since it's a bastard sword, not a short sword). Are you saying that 2d6 is less than 2 if ACs are high enough?

Tholas wrote:
When fighting undead the Sun Blade is a real killer because it deals double damage with each hit! Add Vital Strike and the Short Sword is utterly outclassed either way.

Double damage is certainly better if you're power attacking. But otherwise +3d6 damage (for a holy, undead bane shortsword) is roughly as good (depending on how many sources of bonus damage you usually have available).

So the sun blade is better if you're power attacking undead.

Liberty's Edge

Tholas wrote:
What really bothers me is the 'wielded as if it were a short sword' part and its consequences. I am pretty sure that the min-maxers will have a field day with this weapon(or some of its features), the Vital Strike Feat(s) and maybe some assorted splatbook stuff once the final Pathfinder RPG release is out.

I agree. I can overlook everything else, including cost. Adding this makes it a must have weapon for anyone facing undead, especially a rogue (thanks to changes with Sneak Attack!) or TWF melee fighter. And to top it off, there is no listed spell or requirement in the crafting that logically grants this ability.


All unique items should be officially broken down into their component enchantments, once and for all.

TS


hogarth wrote:
Tholas wrote:


No. Without Vital Strike it is roughly on par when fighting evil creatures. Against lower ACs the Short Swords has a small margin of superiority but falls back a bit against higher ACs.
I don't understand this at all. A +2 holy shortsword is a +4 weapon vs. evil creatures and does +2d6 damage on top of that. A sun blade is just a +4 weapon vs. evil creatures that does 2 extra damage (since it's a bastard sword, not a short sword).

Unlike the bane enchantment holy does not bestow a +2 bonus to-hit, just a 2d6 bonus to damage.

hogarth wrote:


Tholas wrote:
When fighting undead the Sun Blade is a real killer because it deals double damage with each hit! Add Vital Strike and the Short Sword is utterly outclassed either way.
Double damage is certainly better if you're power attacking. But otherwise +3d6 damage (for a holy, undead bane shortsword) is roughly as good (depending on how many sources of bonus damage you usually have available).

That would be +4d6 for the short sword, but it is still inferior to double damage because it is double damage as in critical and not as in double the weapons damage dice. But even without it the short sword would loose when you count in Vital Strike(Imho mandatory for any TWF build) and its improved version. Sorry, I am pressed for time the last couple of days and cant provide a build with hard numbers.


Tholas wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Tholas wrote:


No. Without Vital Strike it is roughly on par when fighting evil creatures. Against lower ACs the Short Swords has a small margin of superiority but falls back a bit against higher ACs.
I don't understand this at all. A +2 holy shortsword is a +4 weapon vs. evil creatures and does +2d6 damage on top of that. A sun blade is just a +4 weapon vs. evil creatures that does 2 extra damage (since it's a bastard sword, not a short sword).

Unlike the bane enchantment holy does not bestow a +2 bonus to-hit, just a 2d6 bonus to damage.

Oh! My mistake.

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