Weapon Enhancement Bonus Equivalent and Overcoming DR


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Does a +1 keen weapon of speed overcome alignment-based DR or does one need the actual +5 "to hit" bonus? What if the keen and speed come from a magus' arcane pool?

Sovereign Court

You need the +5 to hit bonus. The fact that more powerfully enchanted items can bypass DR was added to give players a reason to improve the enhancement bonus to their weapons. Without this, it was usually better to add special qualities to your weapons, which was quite common in 3.5 (e.g. +1 human bane flaming shock keen longsword of speed).


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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Nameless wrote:
You need the +5 to hit bonus.

What if some of that +5 to hit bonus comes from the magus' arcane pool? For instance, the weapon is normally +2 to hit, but the magus can add another +3 to hit from his arcane pool. Does the new (and temporary) +5 to hit bonus bypass any alignment-based DR?


graypark wrote:
Nameless wrote:
You need the +5 to hit bonus.
What if some of that +5 to hit bonus comes from the magus' arcane pool? For instance, the weapon is normally +2 to hit, but the magus can add another +3 to hit from his arcane pool. Does the new (and temporary) +5 to hit bonus bypass any alignment-based DR?

Why wouldn't it?

A +2 longsword with +3 enhancement bonus from arcane pool is a +5 longsword for a while.

I think even Bane works. IE: a +1 dragon bane longsword hitting a dragon with DR/cold iron would bypass the DR since it's a +3 longsword vs dragons.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Grick wrote:
A +2 longsword with +3 enhancement bonus from arcane pool is a +5 longsword for a while.

What about a +5 defending longsword from which the wielder is diverting the +5 to AC?

Silver Crusade

PRD wrote:
At 1st level, a magus can expend 1 point from his arcane pool as a swift action to grant any weapon he is holding a +1 enhancement bonus for 1 minute. For every four levels beyond 1st, the weapon gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 17th level. These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon enhancement to a maximum of +5. Multiple uses of this ability do not stack with themselves.

So, in concurrence with Grick, an enhancement bonus to a weapon, no matter if it was applied via a standard enchantment or arcane pool, will always benefit from acting as different materials and alignments for the purposes of damage reduction.

The defending weapon property, as I read it, would change its ability to bypass DR, as you're moving the enhancement bonus to increase AC, and your weapon no longer benefits from said amount of expended bonus..

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
graypark wrote:
Does a +1 keen weapon of speed overcome alignment-based DR or does one need the actual +5 "to hit" bonus? What if the keen and speed come from a magus' arcane pool?

As a related question how does this work for extra hardness and item hps? Does just the +X count or do all the other properties like keen/speed contribute as well?


The_Hanged_Man wrote:
As a related question how does this work for extra hardness and item hps? Does just the +X count or do all the other properties like keen/speed contribute as well?

Magic Weapons - "Hardness and Hit Points: Each +1 of a magic weapon's enhancement bonus adds +2 to its hardness and +10 to its hit points."

It specifies enhancement bonus. Earlier the rules say "A single weapon cannot have a modified bonus (enhancement bonus plus special ability bonus equivalents, including those from character abilities and spells) higher than +10."

That separates the enhancement bonus from the special ability bonus equivalents.

This gets goofy with Bane weapons, Defending, etc. If it actually came up, I would probably just make something up on the spot.

Sovereign Court

graypark wrote:
Grick wrote:
A +2 longsword with +3 enhancement bonus from arcane pool is a +5 longsword for a while.
What about a +5 defending longsword from which the wielder is diverting the +5 to AC?

As a GM, I'd take these corner cases one at a time, but in general, I would lean towards only allowing weapons that are crafted as a +5 (or +3) weapon to bypass DR. Even a bane special quality or any class abilities (including the Magus') would not supersede this in my games.

Obviously, it appears there's room for interpretation on this rule, but my logic for leaning that way is that the spirit of the change was to encourage players to craft weapons with greater innate enhancement bonuses so that we have more fighters walking around with +5 longswords rather than a weapon with 9 different special abilities.

Also, the description of the spell greater magic weapons seems to support my stance, as it indicates that the temporarily increased damage bonus does not allow the weapon to bypass DR.

In the end though, the answer always is: however your GM wants to run it.

Designer

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In general, I'd say you should count the active enhancement bonus the weapon is throwing at its target. Therefore, a +1 weapon with a temporary +2 from bane counts as a +3, and a +4 defending weapon that's currently +1 to attack and +3 to AC only counts as +1.

It's just simpler to look at what enhancement is being applied to the target for the purpose of overcoming the target's DR than to try and parse out slivers of enhancement bonuses that aren't being directed at the target at all, or whether or not an enhancement bonus is "permanent enough" to count toward overcoming DR.

Only actual enhancement bonuses count for this purpose. A +1 flaming frost keen shock longsword only has a +1 enhancement bonus and doesn't count as a +5 weapon for overcoming DR because it doesn't actually have a +5 enhancement bonus. Otherwise, properties are worth EVEN MORE relative to actual enhancement bonuses, giving people no reason to just give a weapon an enhancement bonus.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

In general, I'd say you should count the active enhancement bonus the weapon is throwing at its target. Therefore, a +1 weapon with a temporary +2 from bane counts as a +3, and a +4 defending weapon that's currently +1 to attack and +3 to AC only counts as +1.

It's just simpler to look at what enhancement is being applied to the target for the purpose of overcoming the target's DR than to try and parse out slivers of enhancement bonuses that aren't being directed at the target at all, or whether or not an enhancement bonus is "permanent enough" to count toward overcoming DR.

Only actual enhancement bonuses count for this purpose. A +1 flaming frost keen shock longsword only has a +1 enhancement bonus and doesn't count as a +5 weapon for overcoming DR because it doesn't actually have a +5 enhancement bonus. Otherwise, properties are worth EVEN MORE relative to actual enhancement bonuses, giving people no reason to just give a weapon an enhancement bonus.

This is how I always rule it in every case you described, except in one situation not described above--I don't allow a +1 flaming frost keen sword with Greater Magic Weapon up to a high enhancement to automatically bypass DR (otherwise, it undermines the idea of giving people a good reason to buy a flat enhancement bonus, since they can just use GMW).

EDIT: I'm dumb and the answer is that the spell description makes my ruling correct. Thanks to all three who noticed this immediately!


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
I don't allow a +1 flaming frost keen sword with Greater Magic Weapon up to a high enhancement to automatically bypass DR

That's good.

Magic Weapon, Greater: "This bonus does not allow a weapon to bypass damage reduction aside from magic."

Designer

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
This is how I always rule it in every case you described, except in one situation not described above--I don't allow a +1 flaming frost keen sword with Greater Magic Weapon up to a high enhancement to automatically bypass DR

Good, because the greater magic weapon spell specifically calls out that its bonus doesn't allow you to bypass DR other than DR/magic. :)

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
I'm still going to houserule that way anyway in my home games, but should I be allowing it to bypass DR in PFS? (not that I've ever seen a +3 or higher GMW in PFS, mind you)

You shouldn't allow GMW to bypass non-magic DR in PFS because the spell specifically says not to. You're doing it right. :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Rogue Eidolon wrote:


This is how I always rule it in every case you described, except in one situation not described above--I don't allow a +1 flaming frost keen sword with Greater Magic Weapon up to a high enhancement to automatically bypass DR (otherwise, it undermines the idea of giving people a good reason to buy a flat enhancement bonus, since they can just use GMW). I'm still going to houserule that way anyway in my home games, but should I be allowing it to bypass DR in PFS? (not that I've ever seen a +3 or higher GMW in PFS, mind you)

That case, at least, is already covered by the text of greater magic weapon. The bonuses added by that spell don't count when overcoming damage reduction.

EDIT: Well, cripes, people sure ninjaed the hell out of me.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
This is how I always rule it in every case you described, except in one situation not described above--I don't allow a +1 flaming frost keen sword with Greater Magic Weapon up to a high enhancement to automatically bypass DR

Good, because the greater magic weapon spell specifically calls out that its bonus doesn't allow you to bypass DR other than DR/magic. :)

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
I'm still going to houserule that way anyway in my home games, but should I be allowing it to bypass DR in PFS? (not that I've ever seen a +3 or higher GMW in PFS, mind you)
You shouldn't allow GMW to bypass non-magic DR in PFS because the spell specifically says not to. You're doing it right. :)

Excellent! I knew there must have been a reason for my ruling, but I became worried by that post. I should have just checked the spell myself.

You rock Sean (and Bill Dunn and Grick)!


Speaking of Greater Magic Weapon, what was the reasoning behind making it an exception? It seems to just complicate things and I'm not sure it really adds anything with respect to bypassing different types of damage reduction.

Designer

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Caedwyr wrote:
Speaking of Greater Magic Weapon, what was the reasoning behind making it an exception? It seems to just complicate things and I'm not sure it really adds anything with respect to bypassing different types of damage reduction.

Because it's really easy to get a wand or scroll of GMW and use it if you're fighting monsters with specific DR; it basically negates the need to (1) carry alternative weapons for that purpose, or (2) actually craft enhancement bonuses into your main weapon for that purpose.

GMW shouldn't be the "easy button" fix to every weird kind of DR you encounter in the game.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
Speaking of Greater Magic Weapon, what was the reasoning behind making it an exception? It seems to just complicate things and I'm not sure it really adds anything with respect to bypassing different types of damage reduction.

Because it's really easy to get a wand or scroll of GMW and use it if you're fighting monsters with specific DR; it basically negates the need to (1) carry alternative weapons for that purpose, or (2) actually craft enhancement bonuses into your main weapon for that purpose.

GMW shouldn't be the "easy button" fix to every weird kind of DR you encounter in the game.

And all the changes to GMW have been a big improvement in my opinion. Now pure enhancement and special abilities are all valued, rather than seeing the characters say "Oh, what a waste! A +4 falchion. Fred the Falchion Fighter, you currently have a +1 keen falchion, right?"

"Uh yeah, I do. And we're using Greater Magic Weapon to make that a +5 every day with beads of karma."

"OK great. Then we'll sell this piece of junk for 16,000 and use that to have Wally the Wizard Craft Arms and Armor yours up to +1 Keen Holy."

Silver Crusade

@SKR: what about hardness and hit points for temporary enhancement bonuses?

I can see GMW giving +2 hardness/+10 HP per added plus, but if the weapon is damaged does that damage come off the added HP and therefore the weapon is unharmed when GMW ends?

If I have a longsword +1 dragonbane, it's +3 vs dragons. What about it's harness/HP? I can't imagine it simultaneously having two different HP totals, even if hardness is 4 better against dragon attacks, and even that could be a nightmare to adjudicate!


Point taken. Although, there are other spells that can be used to bypass DR such as Align Weapon, Bless Weapon, Versatile Weapon which seem to cover pretty much all the major types of DR.

Thanks for taking the time to answer some of the questions on the forums.


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Caedwyr wrote:

Point taken. Although, there are other spells that can be used to bypass DR such as Align Weapon, Bless Weapon, Versatile Weapon which seem to cover pretty much all the major types of DR.

Thanks for taking the time to answer some of the questions on the forums.

True, but now you're prepping more different spells to cover your bases, and those all last less than a full hour per level, so you may have to slap them onto the weapons in the heat of battle, thus choosing which weapons are most important to buff first (rather than just having GMW on every weapon of a melee/archer for the whole day).


For those who are interested, a wand of Versatile Weapon is cheaper than greater magic weapon and can be used on an encounter by encounter basis to bypass pretty much any type of non-alignment based DR. Align Weapon (also cheaper as a wand than GMW) will cover the alignment based DRs, or if you want to be very thrifty, Bless Weapon as a wand will bypass the DR of evil creatures.

I guess my question is, while I understand the why the design choice was made for GMW, I'm not sure if it is all that meaningful given the many other ways you can bypass DR using other common spells. This in turn makes me wonder if the exception for GMW is really worth the extra confusion.

Not picking on you Sean, just musing out-loud. I realize that it often ends up that one designer might make a choice in one area, without realizing why another designer has made a choice in a similar but not identical area.

Designer

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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

@SKR: what about hardness and hit points for temporary enhancement bonuses?

I can see GMW giving +2 hardness/+10 HP per added plus, but if the weapon is damaged does that damage come off the added HP and therefore the weapon is unharmed when GMW ends?
If I have a longsword +1 dragonbane, it's +3 vs dragons. What about it's harness/HP? I can't imagine it simultaneously having two different HP totals, even if hardness is 4 better against dragon attacks, and even that could be a nightmare to adjudicate!

Good questions!

For GMW, I'd treat it like the "extra" hp from bear's endurance or barbarian rage... they go away at the end of the spell, and they're not temporary hp, which means your weapon may be fine as long as the spell is in effect, but immediately breaks as soon as it ends--only the power of the magic was holding it together.

The bane issue is a little more complicated. In the interest of simplicity, I'd ignore its effects on the item's hp (for the reason you stated), but I kinda like the idea of the weapon being extra-durable against dragon attacks from increased hardness, so if the dragon tried to sunder the weapon, the weapon has a better chance of not being sundered (in that it absorbs more damage before it loses hp).

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
True, but now you're prepping more different spells to cover your bases, and those all last less than a full hour per level, so you may have to slap them onto the weapons in the heat of battle, thus choosing which weapons are most important to buff first (rather than just having GMW on every weapon of a melee/archer for the whole day).

What he said. :)


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:

Point taken. Although, there are other spells that can be used to bypass DR such as Align Weapon, Bless Weapon, Versatile Weapon which seem to cover pretty much all the major types of DR.

Thanks for taking the time to answer some of the questions on the forums.

True, but now you're prepping more different spells to cover your bases, and those all last less than a full hour per level, so you may have to slap them onto the weapons in the heat of battle, thus choosing which weapons are most important to buff first (rather than just having GMW on every weapon of a melee/archer for the whole day).

I was thinking more of using wands rather than spell slots for these different spells. You do have the convenience of GMW having hours/level duration rather than min/level, so it probably balances out in opportunity cost.

Designer

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Caedwyr wrote:
For those who are interested, a wand of Versatile Weapon is cheaper than greater magic weapon and can be used on an encounter by encounter basis to bypass pretty much any type of non-alignment based DR. Align Weapon (also cheaper as a wand than GMW) will cover the alignment based DRs, or if you want to be very thrifty, Bless Weapon as a wand will bypass the DR of evil creatures.

Well, let's look:

Versatile weapon: 1 minute/level, only affects material-based DR.
Bless weapon: 1 minute/level, cast only by paladins (requiring a paladin or a UMR roll to activate), only affects magic and good DR.
Align weapon: 1 minute/level, only affects one type of alignment-based DR per casting.

Compare to:

Greater magic weapon: 1 hour/level, can potentially affect any type of DR with a high enough caster (even adamantine), and all types at the same time (instead of just picking one type per casting like the above spells).

If GMW bypassed other types of DR, it would blow all of the weaker spells out of the water, and you could cast it once per day and it would take care of all of these issues for your entire adventuring day. Just as heroes' feast shouldn't be the fix-all spell for making sure you never have to worry about poison (the 3.5 version made you immune to poison for 12 hours), GMW shouldn't be the fix-all spell for making sure you never have to worry about DR. In general, the game shouldn't have spells that you can pre-cast to negate the danger of CR-appropriate challenges throughout the entire day.

Or, to look at it the opposite way: if it becomes SOP to cast GMW on the fighter and rogue's weapons every day instead of bothering to craft those weapons with better enhancement bonuses or properies, it's a strong sign that GMW is too good.

Silver Crusade

Cheers, SKR! (can I call you 'S'?)

I like your solutions! Does the increase in hardness due to Bane work on all attacks launched by (in this case) dragons, including spells, spell-like and supernatural abilities? Only weapon-like attacks? Only natural attacks? What?

I'll assume these rules for Bane apply to any effect that increases the enhancement bonus only with respect to certain creatures/situations etc.

Designer

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You can call me "S" if the extra two or three letters slow you down. :)

In the interest of simplicity (I say that a lot), best to apply that hardness increase vs. all incoming attacks from the dragon.

And yes to your assumption.

Silver Crusade

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

You can call me "S" if the extra two or three letters slow you down. :)

In the interest of simplicity (I say that a lot), best to apply that hardness increase vs. all incoming attacks from the dragon.

And yes to your assumption.

Excellent! : )

My skills are improving; I've recently managed to get my typing down to one finger!

Sovereign Court

Well, now I can tell my group that I'm meaner than Sean K Reynolds when it comes to magic weapons bypassing DR, a fact that I'm sure they'll appreciate when I send wave after wave of alignment DR'd enemies at them.

The Exchange

I had another question related to this thread. How do certain class abilities like a Magus' arcane pool or a Paladins divine bond work in relation to the extra enhancement bonus bypassing DR? Does it function like GMW and only bypass magic or is it better and essentially allow a free pass against nearly any DR for just about every combat each day?

I ask because I recently had to deal with a black blade magus who essentially doesn't need to spend any money on his primary weapon and can pretty much bypass most of the types of DR he came across. I felt this was a little cheap and insulting to every other character that actually has to invest significant wealth in their damage dealer of choice.

Am I just being too critical?

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

They work just fine:p

GMW is the exception, and is called out as an exception because if it were a "true" enhancement bonus (and mind you, I hate that we have "enhancement bonuses that count" and "enhancement bonuses that don't count"), it would be cheaper to just cast GMW on your weapon every day and not invest mucho gp in your weapon to actually give it that enhancement bonus.

The Exchange

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

They work just fine:p

GMW is the exception, and is called out as an exception because if it were a "true" enhancement bonus (and mind you, I hate that we have "enhancement bonuses that count" and "enhancement bonuses that don't count"), it would be cheaper to just cast GMW on your weapon every day and not invest mucho gp in your weapon to actually give it that enhancement bonus.

Yeah, that's why I was wondering cause it doesn't really cost them anything to do. But if that's the way it works then that's how it works.

Thanks for the quick clarification SKR.


Dotting for later.

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