Rogue with brilliant energy whips...


Rules Questions


So I have a rouge who wields brilliant energy whips. If he knows there are enemies on the other side of a wall or door using tremor boots and attacks them through said wall or door, does he do sneak attack damage? Not sure if concealment or cover applies if he knows where the target is and the weapon ignores the wall/door.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I believe tremor boots only give blindsense, which would mean that while your rogue knows what square the enemy is on, the enemy still has total concealment from him; and so cannot be sneak attacked.


Nathan Monson wrote:
I believe tremor boots only give blindsense, which would mean that while your rogue knows what square the enemy is on, the enemy still has total concealment from him; and so cannot be sneak attacked.

So, if this is how it would work I would need to get heartseeker on the whips as well.


Heartseeker lets you ignore the miss chance. Technically the creature still has concealment, and you can't see the target. So no sneak attack.


Merm7th wrote:
So I have a rouge who wields brilliant energy whips. If he knows there are enemies on the other side of a wall or door using tremor boots and attacks them through said wall or door, does he do sneak attack damage? Not sure if concealment or cover applies if he knows where the target is and the weapon ignores the wall/door.

No because the rules state:

Quote:
The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment.

You know where they are but cannot see them at all. Even with you whips by passing the door you not only cannot see them they still have concealment to you. Brilliant energy ignore AC bonuses from non living materials. Nothing else.

All you know from your boots is what squares they are in and only in the squares right next to you (the boots have only a 5 foot range to their tremorsense). Even if your directly next to a door and the enemy is on the direct other side of that door, all you know is that something is in that square. That in no way qualifies for sneak attack.

It would be the exact same as attacking an invisible opponent standing in an adjacent square. They you would still take all the penalties for total cover since you still cannot see the opponent. You just don't guess at the squares it is in so do not totally waste attacks guessing.

This all assumes the GM lets you attack through solid objects with your whips at all.


You can't sneak attack something with concealment (Rogue) or total concealment (URogue). It's part of the Sneak Attack description. Unless something actually negates the concealment it doesn't help. Heartseeker ignores the miss chance but doesn't negate the concealment. You need something like Faerie Fire, which actually says they "do not benefit from the concealment". The only detection method that does this is blindsight, I think, everything else just gives you their square (they still have total concealment). There is a feat for Rogues (I think) that let them ignore concealment but I don't think it included total concealment.

Additionally, last I saw there was a heated debate on whether Brilliant Energy allows you to attack through walls or if it only allows you to ignore armor and shield bonuses to AC.


..what would a sneak attack with a whip look like? You get the guy to swallow the whip?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Losobal wrote:
..what would a sneak attack with a whip look like? You get the guy to swallow the whip?

You obviously have never seen what a whip in the right hands can do to exposed flesh. Tearing open flesh to the bone is a single crack is nasty no matter what.


Gilfalas wrote:

All you know from your boots is what squares they are in and only in the squares right next to you (the boots have only a 5 foot range to their tremorsense). Even if your directly next to a door and the enemy is on the direct other side of that door, all you know is that something is in that square. That in no way qualifies for sneak attack.

It would be the exact same as attacking an invisible opponent standing in an adjacent square. They you would still take all the penalties for total cover since you still cannot see the opponent. You just don't guess at the squares it is in so do not totally waste attacks guessing.

This all assumes the GM lets you attack through solid objects with your whips at all.

Tremor Boots give you tremorsense 20 feet.

Okay, no sneak attack, but the addition of Heartseeker would take away the 50% miss chance for most targets.

Why would a GM not let you attack through solid objects. They ignore non-living matter.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.
Errata wrote:
Page 233—In tremor boots, in the second sentence, change “20 feet” to “5 feet”.

Ignoring the miss chance from concealment doesn't change the fact that they still have concealment. The sentence immediately before the part where it says you can't sneak attack someone with concealment is "The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot." If they have concealment, you can't see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot. If they have total concealment you can't see them, period, so there's no way you can see them well enough to pick out a vital spot. That your weapon veers towards them doesn't matter, it doesn't automatically target vital spots.

This is the relevant part of what Brilliant Energy says:

Brilliant Energy wrote:
A brilliant energy weapon ignores nonliving matter. Armor and shield bonuses to AC (including any enhancement bonuses to that armor) do not count against it because the weapon passes through armor.

Some say that first sentence is the fluffy bit of how the second sentence works. Some say they're both specific properties it grants. Neither side came to a conclusion (that I saw). Both are valid interpretations.


There's some gloves that allow one to see through a wall. Gloves of Reconnaissance.

Downside is that you need 2 hands on a wall.

So... get a third arm to use and you're golden.


I said I understood, no sneak attack. Hearseeker would just negate the 50% miss chance. When attacking the square. Didn't know about the errata. Not PFS. I usually go by the books and Archives of Nethys. Thanks for the heads up.


That x-ray goggles maybe?

The Concordance

Another useful item for rogues is the Headband of Ninjitsu. It allows you to sneak attack even if they have concealment, among other bonuses.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
_Ozy_ wrote:
Heartseeker lets you ignore the miss chance. Technically the creature still has concealment, and you can't see the target. So no sneak attack.

Unchained rogue updated the sneak attack wording to make it work with concealment:

"The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with total concealment."

Further, the Dark Lurker rogue archetype (Heroes of the Streets) offers this:

"Blades from the Shadows (Ex): At 2nd level, a dark lurker gains shadow strike as a bonus rogue talent. (A character using the unchained rogue class from Pathfinder RPG Pathfinder Unchained instead gains the ability to make attacks of opportunity against foes with cover, though not foes with improved cover or total cover). At 6th level, the dark lurker can deal precision damage to targets with total concealment (though any miss chance applies normally, and may prevent an attack from hitting in the first place)."

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Addendum: another longer way to get sneak attack vs. total concealment is Greater Bling-Fight at 15th level (assuming you're an unchained rogue or someone with Shadow Strike)

Sovereign Court

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Losobal wrote:
..what would a sneak attack with a whip look like? You get the guy to swallow the whip?

You just whip it. Whip it good.


I think the main issues are dealing with Total Concealment and Total Cover. Not sure if cover applies since you can in theory attack through the walls, but technically it doesn't say anything about negating cover...

Heart Seeker can get rid of the miss chance from total concealment, but the target still has total concealment.

Total Cover says this:

Quote:

Total Cover

If you don't have line of effect to your target (that is, you cannot draw any line from your square to your target's square without crossing a solid barrier), he is considered to have total cover from you. You can't make an attack against a target that has total cover.

So without an ability that lets you ignore Total Cover, I'm not sure you can even attack the individual on the other side of the wall.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

A tower shield can give someone total cover...

A brilliant energy weapon is supposed to ignore shields...

:D


Claxon wrote:
So without an ability that lets you ignore Total Cover, I'm not sure you can even attack the individual on the other side of the wall.

The argument generally is that 'a brilliant energy weapon ignores nonliving matter' means that the weapon can just ignore the wall altogether and therefore the target does not have total cover against that attack.

And then someone else will say that the first part of the property isn't explicit rules text and is instead a lead-in to its ability to ignore armor and shield bonuses. They'll usually add something along the lines of suggesting that if brilliant energy was intended to be able to do something as powerful as ignoring cover that it'd be stated in its description more directly.

The arguments get very heated.

Also sometimes someone will chime in and ask if brilliant energy weapons still ignore armor and shield bonuses if the armor or shield in question is made out of greenwood.


Squiggit wrote:
Claxon wrote:
So without an ability that lets you ignore Total Cover, I'm not sure you can even attack the individual on the other side of the wall.

The argument generally is that 'a brilliant energy weapon ignores nonliving matter' means that the weapon can just ignore the wall altogether and therefore the target does not have total cover against that attack.

And then someone else will say that the first part of the property isn't explicit rules text and is instead a lead-in to its ability to ignore armor and shield bonuses. They'll usually add something along the lines of suggesting that if brilliant energy was intended to be able to do something as powerful as ignoring cover that it'd be stated in its description more directly.

The arguments get very heated.

Also sometimes someone will chime in and ask if brilliant energy weapons still ignore armor and shield bonuses if the armor or shield in question is made out of greenwood.

I would read it as "a brilliant energy weapon ignores nonliving matter" is what it does and it ignoring armor,shields, constructs, undead, and objects are just a few examples of how it works. It would be a very long description if it had to say it ignores cover, unless it is cover from a living creature or plant, or some sort of force effect. It ignores armor and shield unless they are made of greenwood. I think you just use common sense.

Enemy is behind a hedge or another character with a greenwood shield, they get the shield bonus and cover. If they are behind a fence with a standard shield, they get neither.


While I would personally agree that brilliant energy weapons can ignore the physical properties of non living matter, the core question here is with sneak attack.

Even with the whips ignoring the physical nature of the door/wall this in no way provides the rogue using them the ability 'to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot'.

That last key line is in both the normal and unchained version of sneak attack as a requirement of it's use. If you cannot see the target well enough to target vital spots you don't get sneak attack. Even in a situation where the weapons combined with other abilities/powers/magic items/what have you could negate all the mathematical penalties associated with cover if they do not allow the attacker clear vision of the target as well then no good.

Now the whips combined with say Clairvoyance could possibly be something but I would assume at least some minus to hit for having your vision affectively many feet away from you yourself are. It would be like trying to fight while looking through a very low power telescope.


Looks like ring of x-ray vision would be the way to go.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Does brilliant energy on a whip negate the fact that a whip doesn't work on armored targets? I think strict RAW an armor-wearing target still has an armor bonus, even if they don't get to include it in their AC math.

I think from a "realism" standpoint, the armor doesn't protect you, so the whip should work. Pretty sure that's technically a house rule though.

Natural armor of +3 or better should still block the whole thing though, limiting the effectiveness of this attack anyway.


Wait, how do you sneak up on anything with brilliant energy whips? It's not a weapon you can sheath, and AFAIK the brilliant energy part is always active. Also, you lose a lot of the whip's utility (disarming, knocking around stuff) because it doesn't affect non-living stuff.


I think the end results here is...

The Brilliant Energy weapon quality could use some more detailed explanation


FYI...
My Character is level 16 in Rappan Athuk.

Paladin 2/ Unchained Rogue 14 (Counterfeit Mage)
Wields two brilliant energy whips (one with effortless Lace)

This is a very feat heavy build...
Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Whip
Whip Mastery
Improved Whip Mastery
Two-Weapon Fighting
Combat Expertise
Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
Two-Weapon Feint
Improved Two-Weapon Feint
Greater Two Weapon
Accomplished Sneak Attacker

+19/+19/+14/+14/+9/+9

Sacrifice first attack to feint +34 (usually successful on a 1)
Second attack is +19 against flat-foot AC minus armor and shield
Following the first successful attack, remaining are against flat-foot AC minus armor, shield, and -6(debilitating)
Each attack does 1d3+1d6(deliquescent)+8d6(precision)+7 or 3 depending on hand.
Each sneak attack is double debilitation and either does a targeted dispel or 2 strength damage.

Also have Ghost Touch, Elemental Bane, Undead bane, and Construct bane whips so I'm not useless against precision immune and brilliant energy immune. Have a teammate who likes to through up quickened walls of stone to delay the unexpected or divide groups. Looking to continue attacking through the wall while the party buffs.

HP 150
AC 36

Fort +24
Ref +29
Will +22

Acro +24
Bluff +34
Diplo +32
Disable +24 (+31 Magical Traps)
Precept +22 (+27 Magical Traps)
Sleight of Hand +24
Stealth +20
UMD +35

Attacks and AC +7 when I smite (1/day). Another level in Paladin and silver smite bracelets will bring this to 3/day.


The problem is that they still have total cover from you.

You would have to have some way to see through the wall, in order to attack them.

Other than that, with all that it takes to get there, you should be able to do it.

And, unless they could see through the wall back to you, they should be denied dex to all attacks from those whips until they learned to stay far enough from the wall you can't reach them.

Based on the various dev comments that not being able to see the attacker means that you can't "effectively react to them".

Grand Lodge

Bah Rappan Athuk! Don't go there! You'll die!


Merm7th wrote:
Looks like ring of x-ray vision would be the way to go.

Yup. That would be the way to go to do what that OP wants.

Brilliant Energy, in theory, allows him to attack through solid, non living matter. I say 'in theory' because it is an extrapolation of what many see as 'fluff' in the weapon ability description and therefore will probably be subject to variance from table to table .

Ring of Xray vision allows him to clearly see the targets well enough to use sneak attack.

The combo effectively removes all aspects of the wall and doors existence from the combat.

Of course the same could be done with Brilliant Energy ranged weapons and a ring of Xray vision to possibly even greater effect.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There are three ways one can read the Brilliant Energy description:

1) Dual effect. The first half lets you ignore nonliving material, the second allows you to ignore armor and shields, regardless of its living status. So you could whip through walls, and also whip through greenwood armor and shields.

2) Pure fluff. The first half only offers non-binding fluff to the second half. You can't whip through walls, but can whip through armor, even greenwood armor.

3) Contributing Fluff. The two halves ate meant to be read as complementary of each other. You can whip through walls, as well as normal armor and shields, but cannot whip through greenwood.

As the wording of the ability includes "because it passes through armor", I'm inclined to favor the third reading, at least for my own games.

Scarab Sages

Saethori wrote:

There are three ways one can read the Brilliant Energy description:

1) Dual effect. The first half lets you ignore nonliving material, the second allows you to ignore armor and shields, regardless of its living status. So you could whip through walls, and also whip through greenwood armor and shields.

2) Pure fluff. The first half only offers non-binding fluff to the second half. You can't whip through walls, but can whip through armor, even greenwood armor.

3) Contributing Fluff. The two halves ate meant to be read as complementary of each other. You can whip through walls, as well as normal armor and shields, but cannot whip through greenwood.

As the wording of the ability includes "because it passes through armor", I'm inclined to favor the third reading, at least for my own games.

Option 3 is the most correct given the whole of the writing. You have to ignore text to get option 1 or 2. Which just seems like people trying to reign in the power of the ability as written. Which, I can understand. But I don't get being dishonest about it and pretending the text doesn't matter.

But really... attacking through walls with no extra ability to see through walls seems well within the price of a +4 ability, including the bit about going through armor. I mean, it can't even harm undead or golems. As well, it would not go through natural armor either.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Rogue with brilliant energy whips... All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.