Deadly and Merciful


Rules Questions

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Hey, also worth mentioning:

Deadly wrote:

Deadly (Hobgoblin)

Source Advanced Race Guide

Aura faint necromancy; CL 5th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, inflict light wounds; Price +1 bonus.

DESCRIPTION

This special ability can only be placed on weapons that normally deal nonlethal damage, such as whips and saps. All damage a deadly weapon deals is lethal damage. A whip (or similar weapon that cannot damage creatures with armor or natural armor bonuses) with this special ability deals damage even to creatures with armor or natural armor. On command, the weapon suppresses this ability until told to resume it.

So, it pretty directly states that it deals damage. Saying it doesn't deal damage violates that wording, too, in favor of extrapolation.

EDIT: if you click the link the Merciful that I used in response to Laz, above, then search for "Deadly" with the search function (no quotes needed), you should be able to find it easily. I quoted it, though, because, unlike Merciful, there's no hyperlink on a chart anywhere.


Deadly does restrict itself though to a weapon that normally deals nonlethal damage as you just quoted. Thus, you couldn't put merciful on a longsword then deadly to game an extra 1d6 damage as the longsword normally does lethal damage. Dealing nonlethal with that weapon is a nonstandard use of the weapon that incurs penalties.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

If I needed to be addressed by a different name, I'd have changed my screenie, so we're good.


Tacticslion wrote:
Also, james*, arguing that Merciful doesn't say that the weapon deals damage, but only that it deals "an extra 1d6" damage is fallacious, because the word "extra" means "in addition to", and you can't interpret it as being anything more than that.

I was just addressing that you said that it spelled out that it dealt normal damage, which it does not. The weapon enhancement is not guaranteeing normal damage which was where you were going with that (and with the deadly quote).

Likewise the deadly simply removes the caveat on whips and the like, it does not ensure that you will deal damage with the weapon. For example you could hit something with DR and not penetrate it.

This may be splitting hairs (and I agree there), but if you want to bludgeon with 'RAW' then it's appropriate.

Speaking of splitting hairs.. trying to claim that the word 'effects' opens up to non-spells when the section clearly means effects from spells is a stretch.

However even if you can argue that such applies there is no order of application as when the weapon hits both effects take place. They are both instantaneous effects that occur at the moment of the weapon dealing damage. Working cumulatively would again lead you to the weapon dealing no damage to satisfy both enchantments.

So even if you do want to argue that this section in the 'casting spells' section is what this needs to fall under (which I don't), the result still stands... both enchantments are active and need to be satisfied.

-James


Not sure if this was pointed out before, but the author posted up-thread about this combination.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Cheapy wrote:
Not sure if this was pointed out before, but the author posted up-thread about this combination.

Which post?


Post 1

Post 2


Laz: cool! Thanks. :)
James: capitalizing your first name, because that's how you sign it. I'll continue to do this in the future. Thanks!

Buri wrote:
Deadly does restrict itself though to a weapon that normally deals nonlethal damage as you just quoted. Thus, you couldn't put merciful on a longsword then deadly to game an extra 1d6 damage as the longsword normally does lethal damage. Dealing nonlethal with that weapon is a nonstandard use of the weapon that incurs penalties.

I wasn't claiming that you could put it on a longsword or any other weapon that deals lethal normally. If you look up thread, I mentioned that while I could see that argument, that's not what I'm talking about and recommended against even trying it.

James, I'm going to say my part again. Round and round we gooooooooooooooooooo...!

Tacticslion wrote:
Also, james*, arguing that Merciful doesn't say that the weapon deals damage, but only that it deals "an extra 1d6" damage is fallacious, because the word "extra" means "in addition to", and you can't interpret it as being anything more than that.
james maissen wrote:
I was just addressing that you said that it spelled out that it dealt normal damage, which it does not. The weapon enhancement is not guaranteeing normal damage which was where you were going with that (and with the deadly quote).

Okay, we may be miscommunicating here. What the Merciful enhancement says is that it deals "extra" damage. "Extra" means "in addition to". This cannot be taken to mean anything other than that. If it deals 1d6 damage in addition to something, that means it deals damage - specifically normal damage, because it's not overriding the normal rules in any other event. What this means is: the weapon deals it's normal damage plus 1d6 damage, all of which is non-lethal. This is the entirety of the merciful enhancement.

But even if you say that the Merciful (for some reason) doesn't indicate that it deals its base damage (which it clearly does via the word "extra"), it still specifies that it does damage: specifically 1d6 damage.

Both enhancements state that the weapons deal damage.

Here, I'll quote deadly again, but with only the relevant bits:

Deadly wrote:
<snip> A whip (or similar weapon that cannot damage creatures with armor or natural armor bonuses) with this special ability deals damage... <snip>

A whip or similar weapon... deals damage. It says that right there. As in, right in that sentence above me. To claim that the ability does not state that the weapon deals damage is false.

Heck, here's the relevant part of merciful, too:

Merciful wrote:
The weapon deals an extra 1d6 points of damage... <snip>

Again, it specifies that it deals damage.

Since it neither modify anything else other than the type of damage, the other rules are in place. Which means...

james maissen wrote:

Likewise the deadly simply removes the caveat on whips and the like, it does not ensure that you will deal damage with the weapon. For example you could hit something with DR and not penetrate it.

This may be splitting hairs (and I agree there), but if you want to bludgeon with 'RAW' then it's appropriate.

No sir, that's not at all what's going on here, and is a completely different event altogether. When dealing with damage reduction, the weapon still deals damage, but that damage is not taken. For example, if I hit a creature with DR 10/magic with a masterwork longsword, that longsword deals 1d8 damage. The DR doesn't stop the longsword from dealing damage. The value of the longsword is completely unaffected. However, the damage received by the creature is reduced by 10, so it doesn't affect the creature. But that doesn't effect the weapon, that only affects the creature.

What I am not and never claimed was that the weapon dealt automatic damage, because neither the deadly nor merciful traits alter the normal rules. I do argue, however, that the weapon in question still deals damage, as normal for the weapon, only modified by the two enhancements, which are defined as magical effects. Which leads into...

james maissen wrote:
Speaking of splitting hairs.. trying to claim that the word 'effects' opens up to non-spells when the section clearly means effects from spells is a stretch.

No sir, again it is not a stretch. It clearly does not mean spells. It specifies "spells or magical effects", and in doing so shows that they aren't the same thing. If you argue that Merciful or Deadly are not magical effects, this is also invalid because they are both shut down by dispel magic (for a limited time), antimagic field (while they are within it) and mage's disjunction (permanently). They are magical effects, respond to spells as if they were magical effects, and interact with other magical effects as if they were magical effects.

james maissen wrote:
However even if you can argue that such applies there is no order of application as when the weapon hits both effects take place. They are both instantaneous effects that occur at the moment of the weapon dealing damage. Working cumulatively would again lead you to the weapon dealing no damage to satisfy both enchantments.

This is not true. The activation isn't instantaneous, it's at will. It does not "go off" when the weapon deals damage. Either the effect is active (as the player wishes) or is not active (as the player wishes). This is not an "active only when it hits something".

Specifically:

Merciful wrote:
On command, the weapon suppresses this ability until told to resume it (allowing it to deal lethal damage, but without any bonus damage from this ability).

"On command", and then it stays that way until commanded again.

Deadly wrote:
On command, the weapon suppresses this ability until told to resume it.

Again, "On command", and then it stays that way until commanded again.

Neither of those are instantaneously resolved effects.

james maissen wrote:

So even if you do want to argue that this section in the 'casting spells' section is what this needs to fall under (which I don't), the result still stands... both enchantments are active and need to be satisfied.

-James

Again, you're wrong. The spells behind the effects are instantaneous, but the effects themselves are not. The effects can be "suppressed" or "resumed" on command, and then stay that way throughout. The effects are both magical effects. The RAW tells you how to handle conflicting magical effects. Both magical effects specify that the weapon still deals damage.

There is no RAW way to say that the weapon ceases to deal damage.

Also, Cheapy, I know you know that this has been pointed out, as you've mentioned it (three times if you count your linkage). Twice now. So have I. :)

EDIT: to make James' name correct! Bother it all, just as I said I'd do that, I do the other! (Sorry.)


Just noting that I am in the camp that either effect could be active at any time, but it would preclude the other effect. They cannot be active at the same time, or rather, the latest ability activated suppresses the other. I would also rule the weapon is only benefiting from the most recent activated ability so you couldn't grab the merciful extra damage as lethal from deadly. Like the rules say, the magical effects don't affect one another. It is a case of suppression.


Tacticslion wrote:


Okay, we may be miscommunicating here. What the Merciful enhancement says is that it deals "extra" damage. "Extra" means "in addition to". This cannot be taken to mean anything other than that. If it deals 1d6 damage in addition to something, that means it deals damage - specifically normal damage, because it's not overriding the normal rules in any other event. What this means is: the weapon deals it's normal damage plus 1d6 damage, all of which is non-lethal. This is the entirety of the merciful enhancement.

But even if you say that the Merciful (for some reason) doesn't indicate that it deals its base damage (which it clearly does via the word "extra"), it still specifies that it does damage: specifically 1d6 damage.

If a mythical enhancement were to prevent a weapon from dealing it's 'normal' damage, merciful would not be violated or in conflict. You had said that the enhancement guarantees the damage.. it does not.

Tacticslion wrote:


No sir, again it is not a stretch. It clearly does not mean spells. It specifies "spells or magical effects", and in doing so shows that they aren't the same thing.

If you read the section, and notice where the section falls under you can understand that 'magical effects' is 'magical effects from spells'.

Tacticslion wrote:


If you argue that Merciful or Deadly are not magical effects, this is also invalid because they are both shut down by dispel magic (for a limited time), antimagic field (while they are within it) and mage's disjunction (permanently).

Dispel magic affects items, and that is how dispel magic shuts them down. Not because they are spells. If they were spells then dispel magic could shut down some of them while not others. Meanwhile when you dispel the sword you either dispel the sword or you do not. You don't dispel merciful but fail to dispel deadly. Right?

If it was just a pair of magical effects as you claim then it would not work this way, right?

Tacticslion wrote:


This is not true. The activation isn't instantaneous, it's at will. It does not "go off" when the weapon deals damage. Either the effect is active (as the player wishes) or is not active (as the player wishes). This is not an "active only when it hits something".

The magical effect is not 'the weapon has merciful active' but rather the weapon is dealing non-lethal damage +1d6. This occurs upon a hit and is instantaneous.

If you are claiming that 'activating merciful' on a weapon is a spell.. well you are wrong.

-James


James, I'm sorry, but you're wrong. I can't make it any more clear: you are really, truly reading it incorrectly for no purpose whatsoever that I can determine, except, perhaps, stubbornness. You are refusing to take the words at face value, and you are twisting them to come to a false conclusion by making an interpretation that is supported by nothing in the game rules anywhere.

You have yet to cite any RAW that conflicts me, and have only made arguments that "that's not what it says" when it does, directly, literally, word-for-word. In addition, we have the developers opinion, and at this point we're just taking up the thread with a pointless argument. When I bring RAW and I bring real, definable terms, you've dismissed them as "that doesn't apply", when it does and it's meant to.

I've made my arguments. You've made yours. It's clear that we won't agree. Let's call this done after you tell me that I'm wrong, too, one more time.


Well, despite that the designer said it shouldn't work together, we've been arguing the RAW of what it does say.

The RAW doesn't say "converts" as James has pointed out. It says "is".

When you activate an enchantment, you don't convert one damage type to another, you add. If you activate the flaming property of a flaming frost weapon, it deals 1d6 fire damage on a strike, and if you then activate the frost ability, it deals 1d6 frost damage in addition, not instead of, the fire damage.

When you activate an enchantment, there isn't anything in the RAW that says this action overrides the previous enchantment. So, when you activate a Merciful enchantment, and then you activate a Deadly enchantment, BOTH are active. What is hard to understand about that?

Now, because both are active, the weapon deals 100% lethal and 100% non-lethal damage. The damage "is" each of these types. The enchantment says nothing about converting, it just says "is", and that IS important.

To quote a former president, "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is." Well, the meaning to me certainly isn't "convert".

Then there's the issue that weapon enchantment effects do not "go off" upon activation. They go off on a successful strike. So, order of operations argument is defeated there too. Even if it "converts" the damage, it can't, because the damage would have to be converted to both instantaneously upon strike, not one after the other upon activation.

And, finally, you can't even have the enchantment on a weapon anyway, because, as numerous people have pointed out, there is no weapon that would be a valid target for both enchantments. The same reason the enchantment itself can't work in practice provides the reasoning for this: the weapon cannot both do lethal and non-lethal damage at the same time.

Tacticslion and others on that side of the argument... you are asking for people on my side to provide RAW. There is no direct RAW to be had on either side of the argument except for the part about the weapon not being eligible as a target for both enchantments in the first place (which should be enough). For the rest of the argument, going over the ruling if the weapon DID have both enchantments, even though it can't, you are asking us to provide RAW, but you yourself cannot do so.

There is anecdotal evidence in the RAW to support my side in that other enchantments do not override or convert one another. Anecdotal is as good as it will get. There isn't anything in the RAW supporting your claim that one effect supersedes the other. That's not how enchantments work, and that's not what "is" means.

In no way, shape, or form, from any angle you look at this, does this combination work. It is an expensive way to gimp yourself, defies logic, defies RAI, and has no support in RAW for it to work. Why is this still going on?


setzer9999 wrote:
And, finally, you can't even have the enchantment on a weapon anyway, because, as numerous people have pointed out, there is no weapon that would be a valid target for both enchantments.

This part is incorrect.

One can elect to enchant a sap or whip with merciful and that is perfectly acceptable.

Thus one could, as Russ didn't think to exclude the possibility, have a +1 merciful deadly whip or sap.

-James

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

I'm not sure where the idea came from that a weapon can't be both merciful and deadly. Deadly has a restriction (weapons that normally do nonlethal damage, such as whips and saps), but merciful does not, any weapon can be made merciful.


james maissen wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:
And, finally, you can't even have the enchantment on a weapon anyway, because, as numerous people have pointed out, there is no weapon that would be a valid target for both enchantments.

This part is incorrect.

One can elect to enchant a sap or whip with merciful and that is perfectly acceptable.

Thus one could, as Russ didn't think to exclude the possibility, have a +1 merciful deadly whip or sap.

-James

Ah, well, the rest of what I said still stands... the enchantments stack, but then cause an impossible scenario when they do.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Of the two Paizo responses, neither have come to the "no damage" conclusion.


"All damage a deadly weapon deals is lethal damage."
"all damage it deals is nonlethal damage."
Regardless of what order the enchantments are suppressed or resumed, these effects would still be active when the relevant enchantment is active. A weapon cannot simultaneously have all damage be lethal and nonlethal. So RAW they cannot both be active at the same time. Otherwise I see no reason that a weapon couldn't have both enchantments and switch between them as needed (it would have to be a sap, whip, etc to qualify for Deadly though).

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