"Weapons cannot possess the same special ability more than once."


Rules Questions


I'm curious... is there any particular reason why properties like frost or shock cannot stack with themselves (IE: A +1 double shock longsword)?

I ask because I feel like it's a common thing to see weapons have the four energy damages added to them and it seems... cheesy. In the lame kind of way, though, not so much munchkin-y.

What is the balancing issue here? Is it because certain monsters are weak to certain energy types? Seems kind of a niche thing.


Foghammer wrote:
I'm curious... is there any particular reason why properties like frost or shock cannot stack with themselves (IE: A +1 double shock longsword)?

I can't speak for the intent of the designers, but it might get a little confusing. Also, balance could go way out of whack if someone had five Banes on a weapon.

Foghammer wrote:
I ask because I feel like it's a common thing to see weapons have the four energy damages added to them and it seems... cheesy. In the lame kind of way, though, not so much munchkin-y.

Since PF changed the enhancement bonuses, I haven't seen anyone apply a bunch of elements. I think it's generally better to have a +5 sword than a +1 flaming frost shock acid sword.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I doubt it was really the +1d6 elemental damage that inspire the rule as you can effectively double it serval times with different elements.

Rather, some of the other enchantments might not lend themselves to stacking. Like a +1 Bane Humanoid (human) x4 sword. Or a +1 Furious x5 sword. And the general rule in D&D is that you can't just stack the same enchantment over and over again for increased effect, so its there for elemental damage too. Though in that particular case its probably not a balance issue.


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The rule is probably there to stop people from making "double speed" or "double keen" weapons rather than to keep people from getting more elemental damage dice.

In other news, a weapon with all four elements on it is a pretty cool visual.


I don't think it's really a balance thing as much as a possible source of confusion over what things would stack and what wouldn't if you had the same enhancement twice. E.g. would a +1 human bane (x2) sword be +3 or +5 against humans?


First, because there would be even less reason to take "Flaming Burst" and the like when you could just make a Flaming Flaming sword instead. Not that I am recommending ever purposefully putting Flaming Burst on a sword, mind you. Just that stacking Flaming would sort of eat into their shtick as the "upgraded" elemental damage enchantments.

The other issue is that the general rule against multiple copies of an ability likely exists to prevent other problems. The Flaming Flaming Sword is not a particularly powerful item, but the Furious Furious Greataxe could be an issue, as could the Human Bane Human Bane Dagger. By just blanket prohibiting stacking, you keep from having to add a "cannot be stacked" clause to every other ability.

As for the quad-energy weapons... I would also find it weird if everyone was carrying one around. I wouldn't be opposed to placing one in an adventure. In fact, it seems like it would be cool and unique. But for every weapon in the Kingdom to do it... sort of odd. On the plus side, they are not great weapons. Straight Enhancement Bonus is usually better in terms of DPR than energy enhancements, and having four different ones means you are going to lose even more if the enemy has multiple resistances. Every Tiefling that needs stabbing will make them wallow in their poor weapon choices.


Sigh.This happens in all of my threads: I get why abilities such as Furious don't stack. That's not my question. Specifically I wanted to know about the energy damage abilities. Those of you that answered to the point, thank you.

I wondered why there might not be an addendum on the energy damage abilities that says they're stackable. Exceptions abound and specific rules override general rules and whatnot.

Dipping into house-rule territory: can you think of anything particularly unbalancing about allowing double flaming weapons? NOT allowing Furious Furious weapons.


In terms of game rules: they probably don't have that clause just because there wasn't a strong enough reason to specifically include it, and it wasn't an important enough thing that someone thought to edit it into a later update. Also, as mentioned, it makes the "Burst" version even lamer by comparison.

In terms of house rules: go for it. Barring an "Against the X" Campaign, where X is vulnerable to something, you won't be increasing power. You will just be switching out the hope that at least one damage type will get through (but losing everything to multiple low resistances) to hoping to break through a single resistance (with the danger of being shut down by immunity or a high resistance). Not only would I say that is not unbalancing, it is actually an interesting decision point to have available.

The only thing I would do is hide the enhancements under new names for each 1d6, avoiding the stacking issue altogether and still allowing adding on a single damage type. I want to say their was something like this (at least up to 2d6) in 3.X, but I could be misremembering.


Foghammer wrote:
Sigh.This happens in all of my threads

Perhaps you could be a bit more clear in your questions, or post them in a more appropriate forum.

To answer the actual question you asked: properties like frost or shock cannot stack with themselves because the Magic Weapons section states "Weapons cannot possess the same special ability more than once."

If your actual intent was to discover the potential problems or benefits of house ruling otherwise, you might find a better response in the Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew forums.

If you wanted input from a developer as to what they were thinking when they created (or chose not to modify) the rule, you could ask in the Ask James Jacobs ALL your Questions Here thread.

-edit- this wasn't intended as a slam, I was trying to help clear up why Fog was getting the responses that were frustrating him. I apologize if my post gets taken as an attack, it's not meant that way.

Sovereign Court

I agree with Mort.
How about
Flaming 1d6
Scorching 2d6
Blazing 3d6
Inferno 4d6
?


Foghammer wrote:
Dipping into house-rule territory: can you think of anything particularly unbalancing about allowing double flaming weapons? NOT allowing Furious Furious weapons.

No. As I noted, I think it would be at worst slightly confusing. E.g. if I have fire resistance 6, am I immune to the fire damage from a 2x flaming sword or not?


Grick wrote:
Foghammer wrote:
Sigh.This happens in all of my threads

Perhaps you could be a bit more clear in your questions, or post them in a more appropriate forum.

To answer the actual question you asked: properties like frost or shock cannot stack with themselves because the Magic Weapons section states "Weapons cannot possess the same special ability more than once."

If your actual intent was to discover the potential problems or benefits of house ruling otherwise, you might find a better response in the Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew forums.

If you wanted input from a developer as to what they were thinking when they created (or chose not to modify) the rule, you could ask in the Ask James Jacobs ALL your Questions Here thread.

Dead, Spot on Grick. Attitude will get you nowhere. Appreciate the answers you provide. Feel free to slam me also if I get out of line lol.

R


Foghammer wrote:

Sigh.This happens in all of my threads: I get why abilities such as Furious don't stack. That's not my question. Specifically I wanted to know about the energy damage abilities. Those of you that answered to the point, thank you.

I wondered why there might not be an addendum on the energy damage abilities that says they're stackable. Exceptions abound and specific rules override general rules and whatnot.

Dipping into house-rule territory: can you think of anything particularly unbalancing about allowing double flaming weapons? NOT allowing Furious Furious weapons.

The reason why you can't is because the Devs didn't want to drop a paragraph of legalese into every other paragraph. So, it really wasn't worth their time to allow this just for elemental weapons, and to make SURE that the munchkins couldn't use it for Furious or something else.

Also, it's not really a great property anyway, it slows down the game when a player has to continually give the DM two types of damage. It gets even worse if the foe has ER 5, so MAYBE a point will get thru once in a while.

That being said, if you are the DM, why not a 3d6 flaming weapon? If you are the DM the rules are just guidelines.


RAW, I don't believe you would get extra damage from multiple elemental properties even if it weren't specifically called out to work. The extra damage all comes from the same "source" (X elemental +1 property) and as such would probably get into the magical stacking rules. Even if you had +1 fiery five times it would be the same 1d6 over and over, with which the stacking rules could just end up doing 1d6 in total.


because they don't want 4d6 of acid damage going through everythings immunities


Grick wrote:
Foghammer wrote:
Sigh.This happens in all of my threads
Perhaps you could be a bit more clear in your questions, or post them in a more appropriate forum.

I have had problems with this. There have been times where a mod has moved one my threads when I didn't think it necessary. [shrug] I don't know.

I posted this in the Rules section because I had questions about RAI (a "rules" question IMO). I wasn't initially interested in discussing it as a houserule, it just got steered that way by extrapolation.

I was frustrated because I specifically called out abilities like flaming (or frost, or shock) hoping that would make it clear, and then things like speed and bane came up and I was not interested in those at all.

@hogarth: If you have fire resistance 6 and are hit by a Flamingx2 longsword, then it seems only logical to me that you would take fire damage that was rolled in excess of of your resistance. Since a d6 averages 3.5, a creature with fire resist 6 would take 1 fire damage on average. I fail to see how this is confusing. It's effectively the same as advancing a dragon's breath weapon, it's just making a sword do MORE fire damage.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I guess that one of the reasons is trying to avoid exception-based design. Rules that say "stuff works this way in every case except case A and B where it works that way and case C where it works the other way" are much loathed due to being easy to omit and forcing even more memorization in the learning process.

Good examples: "every creature with fast BAB has d10 hit die, except for Barbarians and Dragons who have d12" or "shocking grasp works this way except for cases when somebody is wearing/using metal and you have to remember to add +3 to hit which you almost always forget to do because it's bloody exception based design".


I think multiple elemental abilities are fine. In fact, I would far prefer them over the weirdness that results from high level weapons having to be stacked with multiple different elements. I like the idea of having a flaming sword, and later a sword that burns with the intensity of the sun rather than a flaming sword, then a flaming acid sword, then a flaming acid shocking sword. What is that, a sword that drips acid that conducts electricity and ignites in the air?

I don't care about burst abilities. Who does? We can lose them and I doubt they would be missed much.


Umbral Reaver wrote:

I think multiple elemental abilities are fine. In fact, I would far prefer them over the weirdness that results from high level weapons having to be stacked with multiple different elements. I like the idea of having a flaming sword, and later a sword that burns with the intensity of the sun rather than a flaming sword, then a flaming acid sword, then a flaming acid shocking sword. What is that, a sword that drips acid that conducts electricity and ignites in the air?

I don't care about burst abilities. Who does? We can lose them and I doubt they would be missed much.

My feelings EXACTLY Umbral Reaver.

Gorbacz, I personally don't have a problem with exception based design. English is my native language so I'm used to it... might even say I embrace it. ;)

Liberty's Edge

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Am I the only one who reads 'furious furious' and 'bane bane' and thinks 'spam spam spam '?

Contributor

Foghammer wrote:

I'm curious... is there any particular reason why properties like frost or shock cannot stack with themselves (IE: A +1 double shock longsword)?

I ask because I feel like it's a common thing to see weapons have the four energy damages added to them and it seems... cheesy. In the lame kind of way, though, not so much munchkin-y.

What is the balancing issue here? Is it because certain monsters are weak to certain energy types? Seems kind of a niche thing.

As other people have said, the designers didn't want you to be able to do a +1 keen keen longsword. That's what it would be called. By the rules when you're stating up the weapon, it wouldn't be called double keen. It would be keen keen. That is super lame-sounding.

If you've ever had to write a book in general, lineage is everything, and having the line "Weapon and armor special abilities cannot stack with themselves" saves more space then making a clause up like "Weapon and armor special abilities cannot stack with themselves; the exception to this rule is any weapon special ability that deals additional elemental damage, such as shock, flaming, etc." That's like triple space just to allow a relatively lame-sounding rule in effect.

Finally, the last reason double shock weapons aren't needed is that the ability to double up on elemental damaging abilities steps on the toes of the X burst abilities, which only provide extra damage on a critical hit. As a result, shocking shocking would be much better than shocking burst while having the same enhancement bonus increase. Shocking flaming frosty acidy isn't as big a deal in comparison because the damage per element maxes out at 1d6; many creatures will be able to easily shrug off most or all of that elemental damage by the time you can afford the +5 weapon, and the more types of energy that your weapon has, the more likely you're going to hit a creature that is resilient to at least one of them.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Sometimes you do go against that lair of frost giants and other ice critters, on those days, a +1 flaming flaming flaming greatsword is much better than the equivalent mixed damage weapon. Anytime you are dealing with piling on the same type of damage repeatedly it's similarly unbalancing. Each energy type has specific places where it shines and by forcing players to spread it out the system reduces the ability to maximize those advantages.


Are you then going to ban spellcasters from having spells that do energy damage because they might get a 50% boost sometimes?


Also: A flamingx3 greatsword does an extra 5.3 damage against creatures vulnerable to fire, on average.

And loses a lot more against creatures with fire resistance.

The overspecialisation makes a different tradeoff from the bizarro every-type weapon.


Sometimes you do go against that lair of fire giants and other fiery critters, on those days, a +1 flaming flaming flaming greatsword is much worse than the equivalent mixed damage weapon. Anytime you are dealing with piling on the same type of damage repeatedly it's similarly unbalancing. Each energy type has specific places where it doesn't shine and by forcing players to spread it out the system increases the ability to minimize those disadvantages.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I never talked about banning anything. Not sure where that comes from and it's not even a logical extension of what I suggested.

Characters wouldn't use their +1 flaming flaming flaming adamantine long sword against creatures with fire resistance. They have a cold iron +1 acid morningstar as a backup weapon so they can get past various DR/ and energy resistance.

Besides, we're in the land of ice things remember?


Dennis Baker wrote:

Characters wouldn't use their +1 flaming flaming flaming adamantine long sword against creatures with fire resistance. They have a cold iron +1 acid morningstar as a backup weapon so they can get past various DR/ and energy resistance.

Let me see if I follow you. The flaming (x3) sword is powerful in the land of the frost giants because it does 5.25 more damage than usual, but it's not weak in the land of the fire giants because your character has a backup weapon that does 7 less damage than usual?

Bwuh?

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I hate when people paraphrase something and say "Fixed that for you", but I'm going to modify your post slightly to reflect what I am suggesting.

The flaming (x3) sword is powerful in the land of the frost giants because it does 5.25 more damage than usual, but the character is not weak in the land of the fire giants because he isn't precluded from using other class options or weapons to compensate.

The system is designed where specialization is often more expensive than generalization. Not always, but in a fair number of places.


I'm probably just being dense, but I still don't understand your position at all. Sometimes you'll have an advantage with your flaming sword. Sometimes you'll have a disadvantage because you're using your backup weapon. Both of those statements are true whether you have 1x flaming on your sword or 3x flaming.


I'm so glad that pluses mean something again. No more golf bags full of weapons. Just a few really good ones, with +3 or higher, so they work most of the time...

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

The fact that it has a disadvantage doesn't change the fact that it's hyper optimized for a given task. Imagine for a moment if you could add bane to a weapon two or three times. Would that be balanced?

Obviously it wasn't my design choice, and I'm not even sure I'd make the same call, but I can definitely see why flaming 'advances' to flaming burst instead of flaming x2.


Dennis Baker wrote:
The fact that it has a disadvantage doesn't change the fact that it's hyper optimized for a given task. Imagine for a moment if you could add bane to a weapon two or three times. Would that be balanced?

I guess it depends on how it's supposed to stack. If you're saying that a +1 human bane (x3) weapon would be a +7 weapon against humans with +6d6 damage, I'd probably object to that on the basis of being too swingy. But a variance of 5.25 points of damage between the "good" and "average" case of a flaming (x3) sword is peanuts. By that measure, a 3d6 bead from a Necklace of Fireballs would be considered unbalanced (which it clearly isn't, IMO).

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

hogarth wrote:
But a variance of 5.25 points of damage between the "good" and "average" case of a flaming (x3) sword is peanuts. By that measure, a 3d6 bead from a Necklace of Fireballs would be considered unbalanced (which it clearly isn't, IMO).

You could arguably say that about a lot of changes in the game. Most incremental increases are peanuts, but they collectively add up to fairly substantial amounts. It's a game of adding peanuts together.


Dennis Baker wrote:
hogarth wrote:
But a variance of 5.25 points of damage between the "good" and "average" case of a flaming (x3) sword is peanuts. By that measure, a 3d6 bead from a Necklace of Fireballs would be considered unbalanced (which it clearly isn't, IMO).
You could arguably say that about a lot of changes in the game. Most incremental increases are peanuts, but they collectively add up to fairly substantial amounts. It's a game of adding peanuts together.

Dennis, do you think a regular +1 human bane sword is unbalanced? That's +8 damage against humans, on average -- way more than the variance of the flaming (x3) sword.

No offense, but it really seems like you're stretching to say that 3d6 fire damage is unbalanced.


Gorbacz wrote:

I guess that one of the reasons is trying to avoid exception-based design. Rules that say "stuff works this way in every case except case A and B where it works that way and case C where it works the other way" are much loathed due to being easy to omit and forcing even more memorization in the learning process.

Good examples: "every creature with fast BAB has d10 hit die, except for Barbarians and Dragons who have d12" or "shocking grasp works this way except for cases when somebody is wearing/using metal and you have to remember to add +3 to hit which you almost always forget to do because it's bloody exception based design".

A nice way to fix this BBN HP thing is to have BBNs get 1HP per level bonus.

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