The problem with "quest doors": Breaking stuff is ridiculously easy.


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I'm looking to run a module; there's a door described as "Nearly impossible" to break through for 1-2. level characters, and the module supposes that they will gather the things they need and experiment with the (trapped) lock until the door opens.

However, "Nearly impossible" is apparently hardness 12, 120 hp. A first level character with str 18, power attack and a greataxe, will do an evenly distributed average of 3,75 damage per round, breaking through in 32 rounds, or just over 3 minutes of work. That's hardly "nearly impossible", and this isn't even a dedicated doorbreaker, just a regular THW warrior-type.


Same problem in first JadeRegent AP, chars are level 2 to 3, when they get to a hardness 10, HP 60 door. The creatures carrying the keys have a lot more hp and their lack of hardness is compensated by them striking back unlike the door.

Even adamantine doors are possible with an str 18 power attacking greataxe wielder, though it would take long, maybe about 500 rounds, which is 1.5 hours and probably more with fatigue and exhaustion.


So, would you rather it actually WERE nearly impossible to break so the PCs get stuck on said door and can't progress, or...?

And note, "nearly impossible" it may be for your average Commoner or NPC Warrior type (Str 13, even with Power Attack and a Greataxe only comes out to like 9 damage, completely soaked by the door), but not for the "Mighty heroes" your PCs are (or are going to be soon).


Str 13 guy can do it in 144 rounds, or about 15 minutes.


How do you figure that?

Str 13 (+1 damage), Power Attack (+3 damage), Greataxe (+6 damage).

That's 10 damage. Does literally nothing to a door with 12 Hardness. He can beat on it for the next 20 years if he wants to but he's not gonna break it.

Yeah he can technically roll higher on the Greataxe but if he needs a high roll to even put a scratch on it (if that), he's realistically going to become discouraged real quicklike.


Rynjin wrote:

How do you figure that?

Str 13 (+1 damage), Power Attack (+3 damage), Greataxe (+6 damage).

That's 10 damage. Does literally nothing to a door with 12 Hardness. He can beat on it for the next 20 years if he wants to but he's not gonna break it.

Wrong.

Greataxe does 1-12 damage not 6. 6 might be the average bit here it's wrong to look at it like that. And actually it's 6.5.
Anything 12 damage or below will be soaked by the door that is, in this case that's a 8 damage-roll on the greataxe
However everything above that will go through, thats 9+ or pretty much exactly 25%.

So 75% of your attack to 0 damage.
The other 25% do -12 damage, or 1,2,3 or 4 points of damage.

So you now have (8x0+1+2+3+4)/12 = 10/12 = 0.8333 average damage that goes through the door.
120 HPs / (10/12) = 144


However 15 minutes bashing onto a door is not really "easy", and compared to a normal door that really is "nearly impossible".

And most importantly, it makes NOISE. A lot of it. Enemies behind that door now have 15 minutes time to get ready, call in the entire dungeon and warn them, lay traps, or do whatever they want.

Dark Archive

1d12+4. If you roll 8 or less, you deal no damage. 9-12 will damage the door, though. So your average damage is (1+2+3+4)/12=5/6. With an average damage of 5/6, you need 144 rounds to destroy the door.


Rynjin wrote:
How do you figure that?

With a more granular concept of "average".

1d12+4-12 gives [0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1,2,3,4], or 10 points of damage over 12 swings.

Personally, if I needed to knock down a wall, I would certainly be willing to spend a few minutes with my most destructive tool before stopping to assess the damage, and I'm not a manual labor person to begin with.


You could just take 20 and beat the break DC. Assuming you have the strength to do it.

But yeah, taking 15 minutes is a pretty long time. Meanwhile, you're making a lot of noise and attracting attention to you. Better off using picks.


I'll just quote the REST of my post which people seem to have ignored for some reason.

Quote:
Yeah he can technically roll higher on the Greataxe but if he needs a high roll to even put a scratch on it (if that), he's realistically going to become discouraged real quicklike.

Anyone who's swung a sledgehammer for any length of time can tell you that if you were to try and smash a cinderblock with said hammer and it didn't at least crack on the first few swings, you might decide to try another tack.


Come on, if any of my players would attack a hardness 12 door (solid stone has 8!) with a non-magical weapon for a sustained time, the weapon in question would quickly be damaged and, after some time, gain the broken condition. In particular weapons with a blade would quickly be very, very dull while a pickaxe, hammer etc. might survive a bit longer. Of course, the mending spell (or similar effects) would fix the weapon, but at least it becomes a bit more time-consuming.

If you want added security just add an arcane lock and/ or hardening (although the latter is a lvl 6 spell) and some energy resistance and you get a pretty decent plot lock.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rynjin wrote:

I'll just quote the REST of my post which people seem to have ignored for some reason.

Quote:
Yeah he can technically roll higher on the Greataxe but if he needs a high roll to even put a scratch on it (if that), he's realistically going to become discouraged real quicklike.
Anyone who's swung a sledgehammer for any length of time can tell you that if you were to try and smash a cinderblock with said hammer and it didn't at least crack on the first few swings, you might decide to try another tack.

So, why did you even write the ( easily provably wrong ) other sentence that the character won't open the door in 20 years?

And given how its not really "us" who are hitting the door, but rather our avatars to whom we don't really have a physical connection, it really is rather probable that this door is going to get hacked apart.


Rynjin wrote:

I'll just quote the REST of my post which people seem to have ignored for some reason.

Quote:
Yeah he can technically roll higher on the Greataxe but if he needs a high roll to even put a scratch on it (if that), he's realistically going to become discouraged real quicklike.
Anyone who's swung a sledgehammer for any length of time can tell you that if you were to try and smash a cinderblock with said hammer and it didn't at least crack on the first few swings, you might decide to try another tack.

Unless of course that character happened to be a stubborn barbarian who likes hitting things with a big stick.


magnuskn wrote:
So, why did you even write the ( easily provably wrong ) other sentence that the character won't open the door in 20 years?

It's called hyperbole. I use it sometimes.

magnuskn wrote:
And given how its not really "us" who are hitting the door, but rather our avatars to whom we don't really have a physical connection, it really is rather probable that this door is going to get hacked apart.

So about that whole roleplaying game thing...


MrRed wrote:

Come on, if any of my players would attack a hardness 12 door (solid stone has 8!) with a non-magical weapon for a sustained time, the weapon in question would quickly be damaged and, after some time, gain the broken condition. In particular weapons with a blade would quickly be very, very dull while a pickaxe, hammer etc. might survive a bit longer. Of course, the mending spell (or similar effects) would fix the weapon, but at least it becomes a bit more time-consuming.

Thats the point, is has to be GM ruled, because equipment and weapons are not damaged by use per rule. Thats unrealistic, because whatever force effects the target, the same force effects the weapon, which normally doesnt matter, but in this case its a problem.

Realistically any weapon withour a hardness much higher than the item bashed will be damaged if used for a long time and weapons with equal or lower hardness would be broken before the door is broken.

E.g. trying to bash down normal metal door with a normal weapon by just hitting often will result in broken weapon and slightly damaged door. Normal door with +1 weapon will do, but the +1 weapon might still be broken. +2 weapon would be fine.

Any +4 or less weapon would not last long enough to batter down an adamantine door and a +5 weapon would last long enough but afterwards probably be damaged.

Of course the solution is martial artist:
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/monk/archetypes/paizo---monk-a rchetypes/martial-artist
who can with time ignore the hardness of any object with hardness less than 10+his level+ his wis (martial artists uses every round his exploit weakness and in case of success hits the door and otherwise does nothing).


@ Pupsy: what is this door guarding? Why is it there? What story function does it serve? I remember there was some banal 1st ed module for multiple levels but advising the PCs begin at 1st level. Said module had an unpassable door in the first entry. The idea was that the PCs gather the necessary power and items to eventually unlock it and thus proceed to a deeper section of the dungeon which, had they accessed it at level 1 would've obliterated them.

If that's the case here, perhaps make the door a brick wall instead. I mean, if the party isn't intended to go through it then why taunt them? Then later in the dungeon if they find the key to said door they'll wonder why it doesn't fit a single door in the place. Then, on their way through the door's area again they notice it, as if for the first time. Finding the key brought the door into being; ridiculous GM manipulation I know, but no less ridiculous than a door harder than stone.


Or, as an alternative solution, one uses the fumble table. That way any break in using several hundred hits, would leave the party more damaged or even more dead than regular encounters.

Silver Crusade

Well to support the OP's point. Its not just the barbarian at the door, its probably the barbarian and anyone else with a big enough weapon whacking the thing, so its probably less 15m of barbarian smashing, and more like 6 minutes of paladin smiting, barbarian bashing and inquisitor contributing, to bring that door down.

I do admit this stuff makes me wish I bought a portable ram for society play just to mess with stuff like this.


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Hiya.

...or, as an alternative, let "creative" (re: ones that build a battering ram, or go back to town and get a crowbar/sledge/spikes, etc.) players bypass the door and then let the chips fall where they may...

That's my preferred method anyway.

^_^

Paul L. Ming

Sovereign Court

A locked door may be intended as a plot problem ("gather the key"), but will often be seen as an engineering problem ("saw, lever or sledgehammer?").

I've driven GMs to distraction by applying the same mentality to large amounts of unintelligent monsters. "So there's a few thousand skeletons in there, but they're mindless and scattered all over the place. We're not in a hurry... why don't we just carefully kill a few dozen per day until they're not bothering us anymore?"

Scarab Sages

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Just tell me the hardness/hp of the hinges. A door that sturdy might have resale value 8P


Artanthos wrote:
Just tell me the hardness/hp of the hinges. A door that sturdy might have resale value 8P

I once played a game, in which we found a treasure chamber and the GM outfitted it with a mithral door about 2x1.5x0.2m in size. We mostly ignored the content and concentrated on carrying the door back. Was quite heavy even for mithral.

Silver Crusade

Heh, that was a "problem" one of the adventures made by Gygax himself had. He had really ridiculously powerful doors made of nigh indestructible materials.

So his party broke the hinges, carrried off the door, and got rich that way.

In a later edition they used the bs excuse of it only being that material inside the complex due to magic, or some such.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The door's hardness is the hardness of the weakest point. If the hinges are exposed, then it's the hardness of the hinges.

The author's intent was to make the door difficult to smash. The author can't know your PC's capabilities. If you want your strong character to be able to batter down a door over a quarter hour, let him. If you want to impress on the PC's how ancient and magical and well-crafted the door is, let them batter at it until they're sweating and exhausted and they try something else (like, you know, what the author intended.)

When I write an adventure, I don't put in a hardness unless I'm fine with the PC's breaking something. If I want a barrier to be impenetrable, I just say that it is. Voila!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

If you're swinging an axe at a stone door, this sounds like a circumstance where the axe takes damage as well. And keep in mind that a mundane greataxe is hardness 5 with 10 hp. You'll go through a lot of axes like that...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rynjin wrote:
It's called hyperbole. I use it sometimes.

Well, when you are explicitly trying to promote false information, you might want to cut back on it.

Rynjin wrote:
So about that whole roleplaying game thing...

Just a simple observation where players make their player characters do things they themselves would find deeply uncomfortable. Like sleeping in the wilderness with no roof above their head, trudging through sewers, that kind of stuff. I guess "roleplaying" means for you that your PC's never head out of their home, because that would be uncomfortable.


RainyDayNinja wrote:
If you're swinging an axe at a stone door, this sounds like a circumstance where the axe takes damage as well. And keep in mind that a mundane greataxe is hardness 5 with 10 hp. You'll go through a lot of axes like that...

This. You shouldn't let a player hack away at an item that is harder than their hacking implement without the implement taking damage as well.


I have no problems with players waking up all of the monsters. Now if a GM wants to be nice, and not have all the monsters be ready when that door is broken down, that is on the GM.


Tarondor wrote:

The door's hardness is the hardness of the weakest point. If the hinges are exposed, then it's the hardness of the hinges.

The author's intent was to make the door difficult to smash. The author can't know your PC's capabilities. If you want your strong character to be able to batter down a door over a quarter hour, let him. If you want to impress on the PC's how ancient and magical and well-crafted the door is, let them batter at it until they're sweating and exhausted and they try something else (like, you know, what the author intended.)

Not true, in 3.5 for example, Red Hand of Doom has a bridge with 8 hardness and 200+ hp that the PCS need to destroy to stop the enemy.

But there is a a weakest point. This weak point only has 8 hardness 40 hp.

So precedent wise the weak point is not everywhere, but a certain part that is weaker.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

RainyDayNinja wrote:
And keep in mind that a mundane greataxe is hardness 5 with 10 hp.

That'd be the greataxe's wooden handle, which seems like an odd place to apply the damage for hacking at the door.


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Everyone also seems to be ignoring something that a GM has in his toolbox for dealing with this situation:

PRD wrote:
Ineffective Weapons: Certain weapons just can't effectively deal damage to certain objects. For example, a bludgeoning weapon cannot be used to damage a rope. Likewise, most melee weapons have little effect on stone walls and doors, unless they are designed for breaking up stone, such as a pick or hammer.

Right there in black and white from the PRD. So, yes, it is possible, but you have to be prepared and have the right tools for the job. So forget the greataxe, sword, etc. being useful here (unless it is a wooden obstacle, then I could see it).

In my experience, only savvy adventurers (a.k.a. PCs) are thinking that far ahead to always carry or have picks, hammers, battering rams, and crowbars in their inventory or toolbox (which is extra weight to carry if not always needed)...though...it does happen (adamantine pick and adamantine crowbar, I am looking at you)....and in that case, let them have at it. It won't take long for someone to investigate all that noise (likely long BEFORE they succeed getting through the obstacle), or, be ready in force for the intruders once they do actually get through the obstacle.

As previously said, an obstacle should only be that - not a plot device or means to railroad them - and if the PCs attempt brute force instead of a more ideal method to overcome it, they should be prepared to deal with the repercussions (if any) for being clever or impatient. Sometimes that works out, sometimes not. But you move on and go from there.

The Exchange

Jiggy wrote:
That'd be the greataxe's wooden handle, which seems like an odd place to apply the damage for hacking at the door.

An axe's wear-and-tear is greatest at the fulcrum point - the top of the wooden haft just below the blade, which is constantly subjected to a perpendicular shearing force.

But this is all peripheral to the main issue, which I believe is "PCs bypassing 'sealed' areas by doing HP damage to objects." It was a difficulty I saw coming as soon as I realized that 3.0 had attached hardness and hp values to objects. Since I wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons rather than Bob the Builder Digs A Big Hole, I've made it clear to my players that while they can get the XP for 'overcoming a challenge' by picking the lock, answering the riddle, finding the Blue Key - whatever - they wouldn't get such rewards for bypassing the door with a pick and shovel. That's a house rule, of course - technically you can 'overcome the challenge' of a locked door by pouring water on it and waiting for it to rust to pieces - but we agreed that it kept the focus on problem-solving through adventure, which is kinda the point.

Silver Crusade

It gets trickier when you bring black powder and the like into the situation. All of a sudden the gunslinger can be a back up rogue just by literally blowing locks and hinges.

Frankly though, I think this just means that we have to rely more on genuine methods of causing flow as opposed to arbitrary and gamist ones like 'The door's jammed.'

I do admit that I'm guilty of this sort of things, given that in my days in 2e, I defeated a trap filled dungeon by excavating it from above, and we dealt with an evil mansion (think Umbrella mansion, but before RE came out) with iron doors by just bashing through the plaster walls. Also at one point we came to a lake like area, where the DM intended us to have to swim to cross it and engage the beasts beneath and we just froze its surface solid with a cone of cold and walked across.

Adventurers find ways up, over and through, its what they do. Its why they're playing this instead of games that rail them into areas and constrict them (without subtlety) into certain paths.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Jiggy wrote:
RainyDayNinja wrote:
And keep in mind that a mundane greataxe is hardness 5 with 10 hp.
That'd be the greataxe's wooden handle, which seems like an odd place to apply the damage for hacking at the door.

Ah, I was looking at "Two-handed hafted weapon" rather than "Two-handed blade." Or maybe our fighter just dumped his INT that low.


Spook205 wrote:
It gets trickier when you bring black powder and the like into the situation. All of a sudden the gunslinger can be a back up rogue just by literally blowing locks and hinges.

Except that isn't entirely true...but I do understand where you are going with that. However, last I checked, firearms are still ranged weapons. :)

PRD wrote:
Ranged Weapon Damage: Objects take half damage from ranged weapons (unless the weapon is a siege engine or something similar). Divide the damage dealt by 2 before applying the object's hardness.

...Now, if you are toting around a cannon for all that black powder...maybe a different story... :)


Tarondor wrote:

The door's hardness is the hardness of the weakest point. If the hinges are exposed, then it's the hardness of the hinges.

The author's intent was to make the door difficult to smash. The author can't know your PC's capabilities. If you want your strong character to be able to batter down a door over a quarter hour, let him. If you want to impress on the PC's how ancient and magical and well-crafted the door is, let them batter at it until they're sweating and exhausted and they try something else (like, you know, what the author intended.)

When I write an adventure, I don't put in a hardness unless I'm fine with the PC's breaking something. If I want a barrier to be impenetrable, I just say that it is. Voila!

There's actually a whole section in the environment chapter that talks about door hinges, their hardness, and how to break/disable device them.

Here

Doors really stop becoming effective barriers once PCs can dimension door, clairvoyance, wildshape, stone shape, etc. Around level 4-6.

Shadow Lodge

Thrall of Orcus wrote:
Spook205 wrote:
It gets trickier when you bring black powder and the like into the situation. All of a sudden the gunslinger can be a back up rogue just by literally blowing locks and hinges.

Except that isn't entirely true...but I do understand where you are going with that. However, last I checked, firearms are still ranged weapons. :)

PRD wrote:
Ranged Weapon Damage: Objects take half damage from ranged weapons (unless the weapon is a siege engine or something similar). Divide the damage dealt by 2 before applying the object's hardness.
...Now, if you are toting around a cannon for all that black powder...maybe a different story... :)

There's rules for kegs of powder by itself as an explosive.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Solution: The door is really just a mechanism for causing some other opening or scene change to occur. Example: Putting the key in the "door" causes a spiral staircase going down to open from a previously flat floor elsewhere in the room. Breaking the door does nothing to allow passage anywhere.

Alternative solution: The real door is a secret one behind a bookcase.


thistledown wrote:
There's rules for kegs of powder by itself as an explosive.

Absolutely true...though personally, I wouldn't want to be relying on that due to the inherent risks (accidental detonation, potential collapse risks, and definite noise attraction), when other better, easier, reusable, and far cheaper means may exist. But that is an entirely new discussion. ;)


Serisan wrote:

Solution: The door is really just a mechanism for causing some other opening or scene change to occur. Example: Putting the key in the "door" causes a spiral staircase going down to open from a previously flat floor elsewhere in the room. Breaking the door does nothing to allow passage anywhere.

Alternative solution: The real door is a secret one behind a bookcase.

So if they cast knock.... what happens?

The Exchange

You know the answer to that, Tarantula: nothing, because they didn't cast it on a valid target, which must be a "door, box, or chest" according to the rules-as-written.


Well, if it is a door, it would have to open... to what, a wall behind it?

Now there's an idea. Instead of walls in your dungeon, the hallways are lined with doors. All of them. Every 5'. Most of which, when opened, lead to a wall on the other side. A few are actual doors.


Ok, from a GMing standpoint - Walls, Doors, and physical impediments are NEVER a challenge by themselves. They are at best a time sink. Theoretically, I suppose, you could have magically unbreakable walls or doors. But that gets into the realm of cheese and improbability.

In general, if you want physical obstacles to present a challenge, they need to have costs and consequences. For example - put traps on a quest door. Or have wandering monsters that might be woken up. Or nearby military garrisons. Present the possibility to fall down a steep cliff. Or some reason that waiting is bad (some sort of timer, for instance). It is ALWAYS a good idea if you want to use physical obstacles to plan out and know what those consequences for just trying to punch through might be.

Silver Crusade

Well I was thinking more of packing the keyhole with powder and setting it off, but hey... Shooting the door works too, I guess.

In real life they do make breaching shotguns though, designed for blasting out the hinges.

I imagine if the door were at the end of a long hallway you could summon in some celestial aurochs or a celestial goat or something to be a nigh literal battering ram.


Skipped wall of text. Maybe the AP was referring to the break dc.32 rounds of pounding a door with an axe seems like plenty of time to mass a force of pre buffed opposition that maybe doesn't wait for it to break and instead sally forth to tpk. Hence the door proved unbreakable.


I reiterate. Just take 20 on the break DC. Assuming you have an 18 strength, you can get through the first two tiers of doors in less time that it would take to simply cut them.

The Exchange

There are a couple of alternatives worth looking into:

1. The access to the next route could be behind a large piece of furniture - such as underneath the raised reflecting pool in the first chamber, or a simple opening in a wall behind a large wardrobe. Depending on their nature, detect secret doors might not even pick them up.

2. For dungeons designed by creatures with access to fairly powerful magic, it can be simpler to have magic in place that will transform a wall to create a doorway (stone shape, passwall, etherealness) rather than an actual doorway. To prevent simple pick-and-shovel work from being used to bypass the wall, there should be no runes, indications or writing to signify that there's more dungeon on the other side of the wall: only a clue elsewhere in the dungeon indicates the existence of the portal, as well as its password. (When using this method, please remember to allow somehow for the feeding and air supply of monsters on the far side.)


Taking 10/20 is for using skills. Burst door is a strength check. Ergo, you can't take 20 on it.

Instead, try bursting it 20 times, and hope your die follows the random probabilities.


Tarantula wrote:

Taking 10/20 is for using skills. Burst door is a strength check. Ergo, you can't take 20 on it.

Instead, try bursting it 20 times, and hope your die follows the random probabilities.

That is where you are wrong, friend.

Quote:
The normal take 10 and take 20 rules apply for ability checks. Neither rule applies to concentration checks or caster level checks.

So it means that you can take 10/20 on Strength checks.

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