Is a Whetstone legal to use on arrows?


Rules Questions

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

I realize that it would take a long time for a character to sharpen up a quiver of arrows, but they usually have plenty of downtimes, so why not?

The funny thing is that I think I've only seen one player in all the tables I've ever played noted that he used a whetstone for the +1 damage on his first attack.


I'd allow it, but I've heard others say no...so unfortunatly as much as I hate saying this expect table variation.

Silver Crusade

I could see that an arrowhead could be considered basically a small two-bladed weapon. But, is there any "official" word on this?


Not that I am aware of sadly.

Liberty's Edge

The rules for the whetstone are found in the "Adventurer's Armory."

"A whetstone allows you to sharpen a blade by sliding it against the stone at a precise angle. Honing a blade with a whetstone requires about 15 minutes of work and grants the weapon a +1 bonus on your damage roll the first time you hit with it. This only works on nonmagical blades."

An arrow is not a blade, so as per RAW, no, it doesn't work, and therefore shouldn't work in society play.

I don't think it's really a game-breaker to allow it to be used this way (and it's not an issue of slashing versus piercing - some blades are piercing anyway). But from a RAW perspective, no (I would most certainly allow it in a home game, though.)

Shadow Lodge

I've thought about this quite a bit.

1) I've got several hunters in my gaming group and they've all said that especially with modern arrows they sharpen them after every use.
2) Most pictures I've seen of medieval arrowheads show a tiny blade attached to the shaft.
3) You can use an arrow as an improvised weapon and it does damage as a dagger of its size. Now, does that mean just the d4 or does that mean it can be piercing or slashing damage as well? I lean towards the later which leads me to believe it has enough of an edge to sharpen.


That's how I have always considered it as well. The arrow head itself is a blade, in fact i remember hearing about a guy who badly cut his own wrist whilst grabbing an arrow.


Reality issues aside, permitting an arrowhead to be sharpened by a whetstone means that every arrow in an archer's quiver gets +1 to damage for a mere 2 cp. That is ridiculously cheap for a +1 to damage every time the archer fires an arrow.

Silver Crusade

It wouldn't help once the archer gets a magic bow though.


Mark Stratton wrote:

The rules for the whetstone are found in the "Adventurer's Armory."

"A whetstone allows you to sharpen a blade by sliding it against the stone at a precise angle. Honing a blade with a whetstone requires about 15 minutes of work and grants the weapon a +1 bonus on your damage roll the first time you hit with it. This only works on nonmagical blades."

An arrow is not a blade, so as per RAW, no, it doesn't work, and therefore shouldn't work in society play.

I don't think it's really a game-breaker to allow it to be used this way (and it's not an issue of slashing versus piercing - some blades are piercing anyway). But from a RAW perspective, no (I would most certainly allow it in a home game, though.)

An arrow isn't a blade, but I can see how people would see an arrowhead as a blade.

Merriam-Webster wrote:

blade

noun \ˈblād\

: the flat sharp part of a weapon or tool that is used for cutting

Source

I could see an argument for any weapon with a flat sharp bit being a candidate for whetstone treatment.


Yeah, as a balancing mechanic I'd be hesitant to permit it. That gives +1 to all arrows (and possibly bolts) that aren't fired from a magical bow, which essentially gives the equivalent, mechanically speaking, of a magical bow for 1999.98 gp less. I know just about all my Martial characters would be happy to make that trade, but anyone who's invested in progressing as an archer is only going to use it until they can upgrade the weapon.

Liberty's Edge

Mark Stratton wrote:

The rules for the whetstone are found in the "Adventurer's Armory."

"A whetstone allows you to sharpen a blade by sliding it against the stone at a precise angle. Honing a blade with a whetstone requires about 15 minutes of work and grants the weapon a +1 bonus on your damage roll the first time you hit with it. This only works on nonmagical blades."

An arrow is not a blade, so as per RAW, no, it doesn't work, and therefore shouldn't work in society play.

I don't think it's really a game-breaker to allow it to be used this way (and it's not an issue of slashing versus piercing - some blades are piercing anyway). But from a RAW perspective, no (I would most certainly allow it in a home game, though.)

I would argue that a sword is not a blade. It has a blade, just as certain arrowheads have blades. To my knowledge there is no game definition of a blade, leaving me to revert to my understanding of the actual meaning of the word. While a knife has a blade, it is not itself a blade.

By your limitation, no weapon gains the benefit of a whetstone. I am not trying to be pedantic, rather I am trying to point out that I feel that your limitation is too limiting and uses a definition of "blade" that I don't believe is supported.

I am prepared to be wrong.

Cory Gilman

Grand Lodge

Drogos wrote:
Yeah, as a balancing mechanic I'd be hesitant to permit it. That gives +1 to all arrows (and possibly bolts) that aren't fired from a magical bow, which essentially gives the equivalent, mechanically speaking, of a magical bow for 1999.98 gp less. I know just about all my Martial characters would be happy to make that trade, but anyone who's invested in progressing as an archer is only going to use it until they can upgrade the weapon.

Just have them take the 15 minutes in game time, write down how many hours pass and only give them that many. If they care that much, allow it. It's not like pre-magic weapon archers are the problem anyway.


I kind of think that arrows are already sharpened for their first use... since they are more disposable than a sword it makes sense that they should be. A sword on the other hand might be used 20 times before (the same as a full quiver) before there is time to sharpen it.

I think if anything recovered arrows should have a -1 damage until sharpened. Though of course that would be a house rule.

I think that "blade" might more accurately be replaced with "slashing weapon" since sharpening a point doesn't make it any more useful when fired at 300 feet per second (an arrowhead is actually less capable of penetration than a blunt arrow, however, with the arrow head it makes a larger wound) and you can't really sharpen a hammer.


Pink Dragon wrote:
Reality issues aside, permitting an arrowhead to be sharpened by a whetstone means that every arrow in an archer's quiver gets +1 to damage for a mere 2 cp. That is ridiculously cheap for a +1 to damage every time the archer fires an arrow.

Well, 2 cp, but also 15 min per arrow head. With 20 arrows in a quiver, that's 5 hours. Most games aren't going to allow that much down time.

Side note:
If you can't sharpen an arrow head with the whetstone, what about javelins? The only effective difference between a javelin and an arrow is the size and the launching mechanism.

You also have to consider the other weapons that are only thrown/ranged weapons. For example, the throwing arrow from the Ranged Tactics Toolbox, which is essentially a large arrow used as a javelin.

Silver Crusade

Why wouldn't a character have the ability to take advantage of "down time" to do that "5 hours" of sharpening? Why enforce it for happening right before/during a scenario/gameplay?

Also, someone else I spoke with pointed out something interesting. If only slashing weapons are to be included as a "blade" possibility, then wouldn't that exclude short swords?


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Actually, "blade" is defined in PF. The Fighter Weapon Groups Blades, Heavy and Blades, Light. I'd say that members of these groups are the only RAW/PFS candidates for whetstone.

Liberty's Edge

graywulfe wrote:
Mark Stratton wrote:

The rules for the whetstone are found in the "Adventurer's Armory."

"A whetstone allows you to sharpen a blade by sliding it against the stone at a precise angle. Honing a blade with a whetstone requires about 15 minutes of work and grants the weapon a +1 bonus on your damage roll the first time you hit with it. This only works on nonmagical blades."

An arrow is not a blade, so as per RAW, no, it doesn't work, and therefore shouldn't work in society play.

I don't think it's really a game-breaker to allow it to be used this way (and it's not an issue of slashing versus piercing - some blades are piercing anyway). But from a RAW perspective, no (I would most certainly allow it in a home game, though.)

I would argue that a sword is not a blade. It has a blade, just as certain arrowheads have blades. To my knowledge there is no game definition of a blade, leaving me to revert to my understanding of the actual meaning of the word. While a knife has a blade, it is not itself a blade.

By your limitation, no weapon gains the benefit of a whetstone. I am not trying to be pedantic, rather I am trying to point out that I feel that your limitation is too limiting and uses a definition of "blade" that I don't believe is supported.

I am prepared to be wrong.

Cory Gilman

I believe the game defines blades, doesn't it? That's what my "definition" refers to.


I guess no sharpened glaives or spears either.

Dark Archive

Well, as an employee of a knife shop, I can tell you that you could, in theory, use a whet stone on an arrow. Problem is, howeever, it would hurt your hand, and would take a long time. I'd say it would take 30 minutes to sharpen a single arrow.


Dorothy Lindman wrote:
Pink Dragon wrote:
Reality issues aside, permitting an arrowhead to be sharpened by a whetstone means that every arrow in an archer's quiver gets +1 to damage for a mere 2 cp. That is ridiculously cheap for a +1 to damage every time the archer fires an arrow.

Well, 2 cp, but also 15 min per arrow head. With 20 arrows in a quiver, that's 5 hours. Most games aren't going to allow that much down time.

Down time between PFS sessions is generally considered "unlimited".


Pink Dragon wrote:
Dorothy Lindman wrote:
Pink Dragon wrote:
Reality issues aside, permitting an arrowhead to be sharpened by a whetstone means that every arrow in an archer's quiver gets +1 to damage for a mere 2 cp. That is ridiculously cheap for a +1 to damage every time the archer fires an arrow.

Well, 2 cp, but also 15 min per arrow head. With 20 arrows in a quiver, that's 5 hours. Most games aren't going to allow that much down time.

Down time between PFS sessions is generally considered "unlimited".

But very few things carry over from scenario to scenario. It would not be unusual or unreasonable for a GM to rule that if you didn't do sharpen your weapons (any weapons), it doesn't count.

Silver Crusade

Dorothy Lindman wrote:
Pink Dragon wrote:
Dorothy Lindman wrote:
Pink Dragon wrote:
Reality issues aside, permitting an arrowhead to be sharpened by a whetstone means that every arrow in an archer's quiver gets +1 to damage for a mere 2 cp. That is ridiculously cheap for a +1 to damage every time the archer fires an arrow.

Well, 2 cp, but also 15 min per arrow head. With 20 arrows in a quiver, that's 5 hours. Most games aren't going to allow that much down time.

Down time between PFS sessions is generally considered "unlimited".
But very few things carry over from scenario to scenario. It would not be unusual or unreasonable for a GM to rule that if you didn't do sharpen your weapons (any weapons), it doesn't count.

Then why can a GM assume a character was able to heal hit points and ability damage completely? That can take multiple days. In that same time, they can be sharpening stuff.


And characters do day jobs between scenarios for which they are paid.

And it's no different than shopping for and buying items between scenarios.


RAW: The term blade isn't really defined in the context of this item. Thus, it could be argued that the blade of an arrow is just as valid as that of a glaive.

RAI: Pretty sure they only intended this to work on melee weapons - weapons where the +1 damage to a single attack is a nice, but ultimately small, perk. As has been pointed out, the cost is too low to justify giving a +1 bonus to all arrow damage. Note that it's an untyped bonus, so would stack.

Thus, if a player tried to pull this I'd give them a serious stink eye, but if they really insisted (and it's a PFS game) I'd let them.


Ma Gi wrote:

I kind of think that arrows are already sharpened for their first use... since they are more disposable than a sword it makes sense that they should be. A sword on the other hand might be used 20 times before (the same as a full quiver) before there is time to sharpen it.

I think if anything recovered arrows should have a -1 damage until sharpened. Though of course that would be a house rule.

I think that "blade" might more accurately be replaced with "slashing weapon" since sharpening a point doesn't make it any more useful when fired at 300 feet per second (an arrowhead is actually less capable of penetration than a blunt arrow, however, with the arrow head it makes a larger wound) and you can't really sharpen a hammer.

If a "blade" is slashing only, that means you can't use a whetstone on a shortsword (it's Piercing only). Does that make a lick of sense?

Silver Crusade

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I've got a character who uses a whetstone to sharpen all of her shuriken.

If non-magical shuriken/bolts/arrows getting a +1 damage bonus is unbalancing your campaign, you're doing something wrong. Remember two things: enforce the 15 minutes per 'blade', and remember that baddies have whetstones too.


My characters only use bodkins.....lol

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