Sneak Attack with a Merciful weapon


Rules Questions


Can a character who can do non-lethal damage, at no penalty, with a weapon that is normally lethal, such as via the Merciful enchantment or the Bludgeoner feat, sneak attack with it?

Sneak Attack wrote:
With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (like a sap, whip, or an unarmed strike), a rogue can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty.

Grand Lodge

Works totally fine.


It should, but I am not sure the rules actually say what the designers wanted them to say.


Quote:
With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (like a sap, whip, or an unarmed strike), a rogue can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage.

Bludgeoner (Combat)

You can knock foes out cold with just about any blunt instrument.

Benefit: You take no penalty on attack rolls for using a lethal bludgeoning weapon to deal nonlethal damage.

Normal: You take a –4 penalty on attack rolls when using a lethal weapon to deal nonlethal damage. You cannot use a lethal weapon to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack.

Special: A rogue with this feat can use a lethal bludgeoning weapon to deal nonlethal damage with a sneak attack.

Quote:
She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty.

This is changed by the Bludgeoner feat. Slashing/Piercing weapons would still only do lethal damage.

Should note a Merciful weapon can't do lethal damage...


That tends to imply that Merciful does not allow Sneak Attack. Merely removing the -4 to do non-lethal is not enough to automatically allow Sneak Attack.


Merciful is making the weapon deal non-lethal like a sap.

Scarab Sages

Bludgeoner works. The merciful weapon enchant or the blade of mercy trait does not, because the weapon still does lethal damage absent the trait or magic.


thorin001 wrote:
That tends to imply that Merciful does not allow Sneak Attack. Merely removing the -4 to do non-lethal is not enough to automatically allow Sneak Attack.

If you want to rule that way it's up to you.

I think it means rogues who do sneak attack with merciful weapons can only do non-lethal damage. They can already do non-lethal damage with saps, unarmed etc.

Scarab Sages

Chess Pwn wrote:
Merciful is making the weapon deal non-lethal like a sap.

Yes, but the weapon itself still does lethal. If you voluntarily lower the enchantment, or are in an anti-magic field, the weapon reverts to lethal. It doesn't have an exception to allow rogues to do non-lethal sneak attack like bludgeoner.


Imbicatus wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Merciful is making the weapon deal non-lethal like a sap.
Yes, but the weapon itself still does lethal. If you voluntarily lower the enchantment, or are in an anti-magic field, the weapon reverts to lethal. It doesn't have an exception to allow rogues to do non-lethal sneak attack like bludgeoner.

I think you are over thinking it. The weapon in question does whatever type of damage it is currently capable of doing whether lethal or non-lethal. Rogues can already do either type of damage depending on the weapon, so they are not restricted.

Scarab Sages

Akkurscid wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Merciful is making the weapon deal non-lethal like a sap.
Yes, but the weapon itself still does lethal. If you voluntarily lower the enchantment, or are in an anti-magic field, the weapon reverts to lethal. It doesn't have an exception to allow rogues to do non-lethal sneak attack like bludgeoner.
I think you are over thinking it. The weapon in question does whatever type of damage it is currently capable of doing whether lethal or non-lethal. Rogues can already do either type of damage depending on the weapon, so they are not restricted.

They are not capable of doing non-lethal sneak attack damage with a lethal weapon. If they want to use non-lethal sneak attack, they need to use a whip, a sap, an unarmed strike, or the bludgeoner feat.

Grand Lodge

Bludgeoner has a specific callout because it doesn't make the weapon nonlethal, it just removes the penalty for using it nonlethally. Merciful actually makes the weapon nonlethal so it doesn't need the callout to be used for sneak attacking nonlethally.


the magic makes it a non-lethal weapon while the magic is active. Yes if the magic goes away it's back to being lethal only.


Imbicatus wrote:
Akkurscid wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Merciful is making the weapon deal non-lethal like a sap.
Yes, but the weapon itself still does lethal. If you voluntarily lower the enchantment, or are in an anti-magic field, the weapon reverts to lethal. It doesn't have an exception to allow rogues to do non-lethal sneak attack like bludgeoner.
I think you are over thinking it. The weapon in question does whatever type of damage it is currently capable of doing whether lethal or non-lethal. Rogues can already do either type of damage depending on the weapon, so they are not restricted.
They are not capable of doing non-lethal sneak attack damage with a lethal weapon. If they want to use non-lethal sneak attack, they need to use a whip, a sap, an unarmed strike, or the bludgeoner feat.

If you want to rule that way it is up to you. But it doesn't seem like that's the case. The Bludgeoner feat says "Special: A rogue with this feat can use a lethal bludgeoning weapon to deal nonlethal damage with a sneak attack." Because if it didn't the rogue could not use sneak attack with this feat to do non-lethal damage. Merciful weapons do non-lethal damage because of magic, they don't need a feat.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

A merciful weapon is a weapon that deals nonlethal damage while the enchantment is active. Jeff and Chess have it right. Sneak Attack works.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
A merciful weapon is a weapon that deals nonlethal damage while the enchantment is active. Jeff and Chess have it right. Sneak Attack works.

All Merciful says it does is remove the -4. According to Bludgoner that is not enough to allow Sneak Attack.


Quite frankly I am looking for a ruling that says removal of the -4 penalty is removal of the restriction on Sneak Attack. I am fairly sure that is the intent, but the rules often do not match intent.

Grand Lodge

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thorin001 wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
A merciful weapon is a weapon that deals nonlethal damage while the enchantment is active. Jeff and Chess have it right. Sneak Attack works.
All Merciful says it does is remove the -4. According to Bludgoner that is not enough to allow Sneak Attack.

What? That's not what merciful says at all:

Merciful wrote:
A merciful weapon deals an extra 1d6 points of damage, but all damage it deals is nonlethal damage. 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).

Merciful just flat out makes the weapon nonlethal (unless you suppress the ability), it doesn't merely remove the penalty for using a lethal weapon nonlethally.


thorin001 wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
A merciful weapon is a weapon that deals nonlethal damage while the enchantment is active. Jeff and Chess have it right. Sneak Attack works.
All Merciful says it does is remove the -4. According to Bludgoner that is not enough to allow Sneak Attack.

Where have you read that?

Merciful Weapon Enchantment wrote:
A merciful weapon deals an extra 1d6 points of damage, but all damage it deals is nonlethal damage. 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).

You may be confusing the Merciful weapon enchantment with the Blade of Mercy Trait.


thorin001 wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
A merciful weapon is a weapon that deals nonlethal damage while the enchantment is active. Jeff and Chess have it right. Sneak Attack works.
All Merciful says it does is remove the -4. According to Bludgoner that is not enough to allow Sneak Attack.

Merciful weapons don't do lethal damage unless commanded to. It is all non-lethal when damage when active. I can see your points, and you can rule that way if you like... but the RAW really supports the rogue doing non-lethal damage with a weapon that is "non-lethal" at the time it is used.

Merciful wrote:

Merciful

Price +1 bonus
Aura faint conjuration; CL 5th; Weight —

DESCRIPTION

A merciful weapon deals an extra 1d6 points of damage, but all damage it deals is nonlethal damage. 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).

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS

Craft Magic Arms and Armor, cure light wounds; Cost +1 bonus


Yeah! put me down in the group that gets to sneak attack with our merciful weapons. It is stretching it pretty thin to say a merciful weapon isn't "a weapon that deals non-lethal damage".

Remember "such as" is not limited to those things mentioned.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Merciful weapons can not do sneak attack damage when using it to do Lethal damage.

Read that again.

It is when you take the penalty (-4) that disallows the sneak attack. A merciful weapon makes it's normal damage into Non-Lethal, making Lethal Damage "harder" to effect.

Looking at the post above, a standard action will turn Merciful off, making the weapon "normal." This is good for times when creatures/enemies are immune to non-lethal damage. (like Undead, I believe)


Imbicatus wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Merciful is making the weapon deal non-lethal like a sap.
Yes, but the weapon itself still does lethal. If you voluntarily lower the enchantment, or are in an anti-magic field, the weapon reverts to lethal. It doesn't have an exception to allow rogues to do non-lethal sneak attack like bludgeoner.

A merciful weapon deals an extra 1d6 points of damage, but all damage it deals is nonlethal damage. 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. This states that all

damage the weapon does is converted to nonlethal, I think that this
includes sneak attack.

Grand Lodge

I'm having trouble understanding the other interpretation.

A merciful weapon is still a lethal weapon that converts all damage +1d6 to non lethal. Sneak attack should work fine. There is no penalty for using it as the welder still attacks with it the same way as any other weapon. The typical non lethal penalty is from using the weapon in an improvised manner (flat of the blade or less important body attacks). For this reason sneak attack (hitting someone where it hurts more) typically doesn't work with non lethal strikes unless the weapon was explicit for that purpose (like a sap).

The Merciful enchantment converts it to non lethal so the weapon is welded the same way as lethally. Factor in the fact any sneak attack damage is converted to the same type as the original damage (in this case, non lethal) and sneak attacking with a merciful weapon makes perfect sense.

Scarab Sages

You can still sneak attack with a weapon doing non-lethal damage, it's just the sneak attack damage is still lethal. If you have 3d6 sneak attack and use blade of mercy to turn a scimitar into non-lethal damage without a penalty, you will do 1d6+mod+2 non-lethal + 3d6 lethal damage on a sneak attack.

For the merciful weapon, I can see an argument for allowing the sneak attack to be converted to non-lethal, because it's magic. But it's not clear, and I could see table variation either way.

But without the enchantment or a specific exception like bludgeoner, if you do non-lethal with a weapon that normally does lethal you will still do lethal on the sneak attack.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
All About Sneak Attacks wrote:
The attacker must use a weapon optimally to make a sneak attack. If the attacker takes the -4 penalty to deal nonlethal damage, no sneak attack is possible. (A weapon that normally deals nonlethal damage, such as a sap, can be used in a sneak attack; however, you deal nonlethal damage if you do so.)

Source. The text has not changed, but perhaps the PDT's intent did. However, I doubt it.


You can definitely sneak attack, think of it this way, using a lethal weapon to deal not lethal damage means you have to wield it in a way it wasn't intended to be used so you can't hit the "weak point", the enchantment just makes it deal non-lethal damage, this has nothing to do with how you wield the weapon, you aren't taking the -4 penalty and it's that penalty that makes you unable to do sneak attack damage. You definitely get the extra dice.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The Sneak attack damage is the same as the damage the weapon deals out. That is, a merciful weapon dealing Non - Lethal damage, the sneak damage is also Non-Lethal.

Ninja'd by TriOmegaZero... he has the quote.

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