Sundering Alchemist Bombs and the Timing of Opportunity Attacks


Rules Questions

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So, in beginning to play a sunder-oriented character, I was struck by a few things about Sundering that aren't 100% clear in the rules:

Can you sunder an alchemist's bomb. It would see that you would, as the rules state that the alchemist is using a 1oz vial with alchemical liquid in it, in the same fashion as a spell component. I assume that if an alchemist were to throw a bomb while in my threatened area, I could sunder as an AOO and potentially destroy it. However I've heard the argument now that it is a supernatural ability, i.e. the whole process is a supernatural ability and thus doesnt have hardness or HP and can't be sundered.

That brings me to the second question, is this a way to essentially stop spellcasting in my threatened area with successful sunders? For example, an opponent takes out a twig as a part of a spell, they attack, provoking, and I sunder the spell component (not pouch since they've already taken it out), and the spell can't be continued without it. The same is true of potions and oils. I guess my question specifically is what triggers the attack, beginning to cast the spell, or ending it? All of these questions are somewhat moot, if your opponent quaffs the potion and finishing the potion is what provokes, not starting it, if I were to sunder an empty potion vial, it makes no difference, and I wouldnt even be able to sunder a bomb if they'd already thrown it at me.


Taking the readied action:
Trigger: If anyone retrieves an item....
Result: I attack(sunder) the item.

Would be an action that would allow you to use your readied action to attempt to stop alchemists bomb-making and spell-casting with a material component.

However, your readied action would also be used in the case that they retrieve a torch.

Modifying the trigger to say an "arcane or alchemical item" might be a bit restrictive, but if your GM allowed could save you from using the readied action against a drawn torch.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

However, retrieving an item provokes an attack of opportunity so I don't need to ready an action no?

Dark Archive

MICHAEL DANNEMILLER wrote:

However, retrieving an item provokes an attack of opportunity so I don't need to ready an action no?

I was always under the assumption that retrieving components for spells, elixirs, and bombs where special case things that did not generate AoO. Unless you are counting it as a "Retrieving a stored object" action, which then takes the Move Action to do (instead of part of the spell casting action which is most likely a standard action).

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Fair enough, that was never the intention of the question. It was more along the lines of, my opponent retrieves the spell component from the pouch, then starts casting a spell. As an attack of opportunity, can I sunder the component, stopping them from casting the spell?


No. The AOO is generated from a spellcaster in melee that does not cast on the defensive. I think the best outcome you can generate from that circumstance is a concentration check.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

then that still begs the question of an alchemist throwing a bomb, or similarly an archer shooting a bow. If I sunder it on the AOO they generate from attacking/throwing in a threatened square, does the AOO happen before or after they throw it? If it happens before you could sunder their bow/crossbow/bomb and prevent them from making the attack.

Then the question still remains about whether or not an alchemist bomb is even sunderable.


MICHAEL DANNEMILLER wrote:

then that still begs the question of an alchemist throwing a bomb, or similarly an archer shooting a bow. If I sunder it on the AOO they generate from attacking/throwing in a threatened square, does the AOO happen before or after they throw it? If it happens before you could sunder their bow/crossbow/bomb and prevent them from making the attack.

Then the question still remains about whether or not an alchemist bomb is even sunderable.

See this link.

No, Sundar may not be used with an AOO action without something special that allows you do to so. The reason is that AOO is a single melee attack. And Sunder uses an Attack action which is part of a Standard Action.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

From that thread: "Also on page 201 under sunder: "You can attempt to sunder an item held or worn by your opponent as part of an attack action in place of a melee attack."

AOO's are a melee attack. The same clarification was used in the official FAQ of the core rulebook to show that you can make multiple sunder attempts as a part of a full-round action.

Dark Archive

Riggler wrote:
MICHAEL DANNEMILLER wrote:

then that still begs the question of an alchemist throwing a bomb, or similarly an archer shooting a bow. If I sunder it on the AOO they generate from attacking/throwing in a threatened square, does the AOO happen before or after they throw it? If it happens before you could sunder their bow/crossbow/bomb and prevent them from making the attack.

Then the question still remains about whether or not an alchemist bomb is even sunderable.

See this link.

No, Sundar may not be used with an AOO action without something special that allows you do to so. The reason is that AOO is a single melee attack. And Sunder uses an Attack action which is part of a Standard Action.

Per this FAQ

Quote:

Sunder: Can I make multiple sunder attempts in one round as part of a full-attack action? The sunder text says that I can make sunder attempts in place of melee attacks in an attack action, which is not technically a full-attack action.

Yes you can. The text is a little unclear here. Instead of saying "as part of an attack action in place of a melee attack", the text should read "in place of a melee attack", which would allow you to make multiple attempts in one round, or even make a sunder attempt as an attack of opportunity.

—Jason Bulmahn, 11/30/12

You can sunder as an AoO.


Well that changes things. Guess you could sunder then. Since the only argument that you couldn't was the attack action language in Sunder.


Riggler wrote:
MICHAEL DANNEMILLER wrote:

then that still begs the question of an alchemist throwing a bomb, or similarly an archer shooting a bow. If I sunder it on the AOO they generate from attacking/throwing in a threatened square, does the AOO happen before or after they throw it? If it happens before you could sunder their bow/crossbow/bomb and prevent them from making the attack.

Then the question still remains about whether or not an alchemist bomb is even sunderable.

See this link.

No, Sundar may not be used with an AOO action without something special that allows you do to so. The reason is that AOO is a single melee attack. And Sunder uses an Attack action which is part of a Standard Action.

Debatable.

Quote:

Sunder

You can attempt to sunder an item held or worn by your opponent as part of an attack action in place of a melee attack. If you do not have the Improved Sunder feat, or a similar ability, attempting to sunder an item provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

If your attack is successful, you deal damage to the item normally. Damage that exceeds the object's Hardness is subtracted from its hit points. If an object has equal to or less than half its total hit points remaining, it gains the broken condition (see Conditions). If the damage you deal would reduce the object to less than 0 hit points, you can choose to destroy it. If you do not choose to destroy it, the object is left with only 1 hit point and the broken condition.

You can sunder as an AoO because it can be performed in place of a melee attack. The text "attack action" has been debated and their has never been an official answer as to whether or not it can or cannot be done. I stand on the side of yes, because how can you hit someone 3 times in your turn but only be able to hit their weapon once on your turn? If you can hit them as an attack of opportunity why can't you hit their weapon or armor? Logic would say that you can. But that is not the point of the thread.

I don't think you will find a ruling on are alchemist bombs sunderable. They're never given hardness or hit points as far as I know, so I would say no, you can't sunder them.

Edit: I figured I was right about the sunder, I didn't realize there had been an FAQ on it though. Yay for me!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

My original question(s) stands.

Are Alchemist bombs sunderable?

If I am using an AOO to sunder as the result of either someone mixing/throwing a bomb or using a ranged attack, and I successfully sunder their bomb or bow (assuming bombs are sunderable), does the attack go off?


Quote:
An attack of opportunity “interrupts” the normal flow of actions in the round. If an attack of opportunity is provoked, immediately resolve the attack of opportunity, then continue with the next character's turn (or complete the current turn, if the attack of opportunity was provoked in the midst of a character's turn).

So, it would appear that you interupt the characters actions. So if you sunder someones bow and cause enough damage to cause the broken condition then they take the appropriate penalties for using a broken weapon. If you cause enough damage to destroy the bow they cannot make the bow attack now. Assuming they were going to full attack with the bow, they could move and as part of the move action draw a weapon (assuming +1 BAB or higher) and then make an attack as a standard action. Of course most archers will pick up the feat so they don't provoke an AoO when firing.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Claxon wrote:
Quote:
An attack of opportunity “interrupts” the normal flow of actions in the round. If an attack of opportunity is provoked, immediately resolve the attack of opportunity, then continue with the next character's turn (or complete the current turn, if the attack of opportunity was provoked in the midst of a character's turn).

So, it would appear that you interupt the characters actions. So if you sunder someones bow and cause enough damage to cause the broken condition then they take the appropriate penalties for using a broken weapon. If you cause enough damage to destroy the bow they cannot make the bow attack now. Assuming they were going to full attack with the bow, they could move and as part of the move action draw a weapon (assuming +1 BAB or higher) and then make an attack as a standard action. Of course most archers will pick up the feat so they don't provoke an AoO when firing.

Any archer worth his salt that is :).

The last question is whether or not the bomb is sunderable at all. It would seem to me that it is, but I had someone call me out saying that since it is a supernatural ability that it couldnt be sundered. However the rule states that you use a glass vial, which is hardness 1, HP 1/inch.


I love melee, and I like to reduce spellcasters power in many ways. I think however, that saying you can sunder spell components or alchemist bomb vials may be just a bit too good. I think if one can be sundered then both could be. As it stands I don't believe either can be sundered.


Assuming that you successfully destroyed one or more of the components of the attack (in this case, the bomb mixture or catalyst, or the bow) with the AoO, I would say you would interrupt the attack.

As a more extreme example, if a foe provokes an AoO from you by attempting to cast a spell or fire a ranged weapon while you threaten, and you kill the foe with the AoO, would you expect the foe to be allowed to complete that final attack? I wouldn't.

You've altered the circumstances so that the attack is no longer viable; breaking the bow or sundering the bomb's components would not be any different in my opinion.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The spell component one seems a little more questionable to me, especially with spell components like sand, or a bit of lint etc, how do you sunder sand when its already sundered stones?

However, the alchemist vial of 1oz is the same description as a potion vial, and you can certainly sunder potions and oils.


MICHAEL DANNEMILLER wrote:

The spell component one seems a little more questionable to me, especially with spell components like sand, or a bit of lint etc, how do you sunder sand when its already sundered stones?

However, the alchemist vial of 1oz is the same description as a potion vial, and you can certainly sunder potions and oils.

In the case of spell components, you would likely not sunder the component itself, but the spell component pouch.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Sundering Alchemist Bombs and the Timing of Opportunity Attacks All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.