Do Axiomatic and Anarchic weapons work on non-outsiders?


Rules Questions


So, one of my players brought to attention a rather odd situation. The wording for Axiomatic and Anarchic weapons does not suggest that it works on people/native dwellers of the main plane of Chaotic and Lawful alignments but only towards outsiders of said type. Is this the case?


CaspianM wrote:
The wording for Axiomatic and Anarchic weapons does not suggest that it works on people/native dwellers of the main plane of Chaotic and Lawful alignments but only towards outsiders of said type.

How so?

Anarchic: "An anarchic weapon is infused with the power of chaos. It makes the weapon chaotically aligned and thus bypasses the corresponding damage reduction. It deals an extra 2d6 points of damage against all creatures of lawful alignment. It bestows one permanent negative level on any lawful creature attempting to wield it. The negative level remains as long as the weapon is in hand and disappears when the weapon is no longer wielded. This negative level cannot be overcome in any way (including restoration spells) while the weapon is wielded."

Axiomatic: "An axiomatic weapon is infused with lawful power. It makes the weapon law-aligned and thus bypasses the corresponding damage reduction. It deals an extra 2d6 points of damage against chaotic creatures. It bestows one permanent negative level on any chaotic creature attempting to wield it. The negative level remains as long as the weapon is in hand and disappears when the weapon is no longer wielded. This negative level cannot be overcome in any way (including restoration spells) while the weapon is wielded."

I see nothing that suggests it only works on outsiders, or even creatures with an alignment type. An Anarchic weapon would deal an extra 2d6 damage to a regular lawful human.


That's why Holy weapons are so desired; they're used against the majority of opponents a PC wold face.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

"All creatures" means, "all creatures" not "just outsiders". In fact, there's nothing in the description that references outsiders at all.

What part of the wording makes you think it would only work on outsiders of a given alignment?


Would Anarchic / Axiomatic / Holy / Unholy weapons recognize creatures without a detectable aura (per the various detect spells) as being aligned?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The only ability of these weapons that would usually be limited to aligned outsiders would be the part about overcoming damage reduction, since usually only aligned outsiders have damage reduction that is overcome by a particular alignment type. But the general extra damage feature only mentions alignment, not subtype or damage reduction type.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
JLS1967 wrote:
Would Anarchic / Axiomatic / Holy / Unholy weapons recognize creatures without a detectable aura (per the various detect spells) as being aligned?

Creature recognition is irrelevant, the extra damage reacts to the presence of alignment. Doesn't matter if you're protected by Non-Detection or mind blank, if you get hit with a weapon that's your alignment bane, you're taking the damage.

Liberty's Edge

LazarX wrote:
JLS1967 wrote:
Would Anarchic / Axiomatic / Holy / Unholy weapons recognize creatures without a detectable aura (per the various detect spells) as being aligned?
Creature recognition is irrelevant, the extra damage reacts to the presence of alignment. Doesn't matter if you're protected by Non-Detection or mind blank, if you get hit with a weapon that's your alignment bane, you're taking the damage.

Agreed, and these weapons can create an awkward situation for the GM, because hitting the creature may reveal the alignment to the player. I've been known to ask, "Should I roll my Holy damage?"

However, a crafty GM will always tell you to break out your holy/axiomatic/anarchic damage from the rest of your damage and then won't tell you if it's been applied or not - it's a pain to the player, but it'll keep the alignment secret.

In fact, damage-type management can become quite a pain all-around at higher levels. When your Holy Frost Flaming Bane weapon hits an outsider that has DR and Energy Resistance, and the GM wants to keep those resistances secret, you have to break out all of your damage types and provide your total damage in "chunks." It's the nature of high level play, I suppose.


Or you just say "you can tell your fire doesn't hurt it, but the burst of white light indicates that it is affected by the Holy part, in addition to the cold."


LazarX wrote:
JLS1967 wrote:
Would Anarchic / Axiomatic / Holy / Unholy weapons recognize creatures without a detectable aura (per the various detect spells) as being aligned?
Creature recognition is irrelevant, the extra damage reacts to the presence of alignment. Doesn't matter if you're protected by Non-Detection or mind blank, if you get hit with a weapon that's your alignment bane, you're taking the damage.

There are a number of published adventures -- some of them 3PP -- that rely on exactly this effect to identify bad guys. As part of an initiation ceremony, for example, a high-level paladin will strike someone with Holy brass knuckles (using his smite evil ability, et cetera, et cetera). The effect to a good or neutral character is a minor scratch. An evil character takes a hojillion hit points, falls unconscious, is polymorphed into a radish, et cetera. At which point the evil guy's chances of infiltrating the League of Awesomeness is greatly diminished.

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