FAQ: Spells that target Weapons and Rays (Targeting and Existence)


Rules Questions

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Nefreet wrote:

I think before this thread gets beyond the first page I will bow out. Would rather be spending my posting time in a Play-By-Post rather than trying to help clarify clarifications.

As I said before, you could entirely be right. When you GM, feel free to rule that way. Your players will be thrilled that they can Lead Blades their Scorching Ray, and they'll likewise be happy that the BBEG is spending their in-combat rounds buffing.

If you're playing instead of GMing, good luck finding a GM, whether it be a homegame or PFS, that agrees with your position.

I have not been talking "scorching ray" this entire thread. How can you clarify anything when you completely misunderstand the question?

Here's a hint: read the first post.


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PRD: "A monk's unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons."

I fail to see how that's abstract. Monks say US is a weapon for the purpose of spells that affect weapons (such as magic weapon). Magic weapon additionally says it can target a monk's US.

There is something physically there for you to touch when buffing an unarmed strike (namely, the monk). There is nothing for you to touch when trying to buff a ray, because the ray only exists between the time the spell is cast or ability is used and when it strikes or misses its target (which is instantaneous).


skizzerz wrote:

PRD: "A monk's unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons."

I fail to see how that's abstract. Monks say US is a weapon for the purpose of spells that affect weapons (such as magic weapon). Magic weapon additionally says it can target a monk's US.

There is something physically there for you to touch when buffing an unarmed strike (namely, the monk). There is nothing for you to touch when trying to buff a ray, because the ray only exists between the time the spell is cast or ability is used and when it strikes or misses its target (which is instantaneous).

It is abstract because "unarmed strike" has no specific delivery vehicle like every other weapon in existence. It is simply defined as "the body" -- which as you know is typically the hands or feet (or head in rare cases), but it is specifically not defined.

In the case of ranged weapons, you have the launcher that creates teh effect that propels the ammunition (the delivery vehicle for the damage) toward the target.

In the case of rays, the ray effect itself is the delivery vehicle for the damage it causes, but the "launcher" as it were, is left undefined.

Quote:


There is something physically there for you to touch when buffing an unarmed strike (namely, the monk).

Absolutely, but the spell's target is "weapon touched".. so in the abstract this rule means the monk is the weapon.

This same concept could be applied to creatures with non-spell ray attacks (Lantern Archon/Ghaele Azata), etc.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Quintain wrote:
It is abstract because "unarmed strike" has no specific delivery vehicle like every other weapon in existence. It is simply defined as "the body" -- which as you know is typically the hands or feet (or head in rare cases), but it is specifically not defined.
It has a specific delivery and is defined, you even stated it. The body.
Quintain wrote:
Absolutely, but the spell's target is "weapon touched".. so in the abstract this rule means the monk is the weapon.
They are.
Quintain wrote:
This same concept could be applied to creatures with non-spell ray attacks (Lantern Archon/Ghaele Azata), etc.

No. Because the rays do no exist until the attack, the Monk's body always exists.

Sovereign Court

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Which part of the lantern archon is the ray? I can't find it on the artwork.

Scarab Sages

First, yeah, fail on magic weapon for monks. That first line says no unarmed strikes and I never read the second line, which says monks count despite this...fail.

Quintain wrote:
skizzerz wrote:
I fail to see how that's abstract. Monks say US is a weapon for the purpose of spells that affect weapons (such as magic weapon). Magic weapon additionally says it can target a monk's US.

It is abstract because "unarmed strike" has no specific delivery vehicle like every other weapon in existence. It is simply defined as "the body" -- which as you know is typically the hands or feet (or head in rare cases), but it is specifically not defined.

I agree, I think the unarmed strike an abstract concept since the game allows punches and kicks to all be covered by one description.

This one is kinda like asking if the unarmed strike character can dual wield unarmed strike. If they can, then unarmed strike is two weapons, not one, which is kinda confusing for things like Magic Weapon which only targets a single weapon.

As for Rays being ammunition, that is certainly not suggested by the rules. I would entertain the option of treating each ray as a weapon and allowing effects that applied to all rays, to affect all rays, but suggesting that magic weapon would apply to multiple weapons/rays is taking it a step too far.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Magic Weapon also targets 50 things of projectiles that are together. So the Monk's body being one "weapon" that's a bunch of weapons together isn't that much out there.


Specifically for lantern archons, I think that you could buff their rays with Magic Fang or an Amulet of Mighty Fists... The fact that the light rays ability is marked as "EX" strongly implies that they are meant to function as natural weapon.

No +1 scorching rays though.

Scarab Sages

Rysky wrote:
Magic Weapon also targets 50 things of projectiles that are together. So the Monk's body being one "weapon" that's a bunch of weapons together isn't that much out there.

Magic Weapon? Targeting 50 projectiles seems to be only for Greater Magic Weapon, as I read it.

Regardless, for projectiles, they do need to all be in one spot when you cast the spell. You can't target the arrows you don't have when the spell is cast. So I don't know why this would apply to the next 50 rays you cast, rather than only applying the rays present when you cast, whether they count as projectiles or not. But sure, if you have 50 rays with held charges in the same spot when you cast the spell, I suppose Greater Magic Weapon might apply....

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yes, Greater, sorry.

And no i was not bringing that up as a justification for targeting rays, if you've read my posts you know that I'm on the opposite side of the argument.

My point was in response to you finding it confusing that Monk's bodies can be buffed as a weapon while they can attack multiple times as if they were multiple different weapons.

Grand Lodge

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Its really interesting how the OP has had virtually everyone tell him that this needs no clarification as the FAQ/Design Team Clarification cover this, yet they still insist that everyone is wrong and they are the sole correct person.

This is a very silly thread, bordering on ridiculous at this point and I don't think anything productive is going to come from arguing with someone who just says "no, I'm right and you're wrong" to every response.

Scarab Sages

Rysky wrote:
My point was in response to you finding it confusing that Monk's bodies can be buffed as a weapon while they can attack multiple times as if they were multiple different weapons.

No, I don't find it confusing, I find it abstract. Casting magic weapon on unarmed strike is pretty straight forward. What this actually looks like is abstract, since unarmed strike rather undefined.

The GM would be within the rules to apply magic weapon only to a specific body part, just as much as the GM could apply it to the entire monk. No idea how I would rule it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Um, I said you found it confusing because you literally said it was "kinda confusing".

Scarab Sages

Jurassic Pratt wrote:

Its really interesting how the OP has had virtually everyone tell him that this needs no clarification as the FAQ/Design Team Clarification cover this, yet they still insist that everyone is wrong and they are the sole correct person.

This is a very silly thread, bordering on ridiculous at this point and I don't think anything productive is going to come from arguing with someone who just says "no, I'm right and you're wrong" to every response.

But if that's the case, then it really doesn't need an FAQ, since the answer obviously that whomever is talking is right and everyone else is wrong...

I think the issue is that it's difficult to picture how this would function within the imaginative rules presented.

I don't see a particular balance issue here, and if anything, use of spells to modify further spells seems counter productive. You'd almost always be better off casting the same spell twice, or casting true strike and then your Ray. But the developers seem clear that they intend rays to count as weapons, so I would allow a +1 Ray if the player really wanted it.

The really big kicker here, is that holding a charge from a touch spell will dissipate if you cast another spell, so the caster can't cast magic weapon on their own Ray, they'd need a second caster...Just seems like a huge waste for two casters to be wasting actions buffing a single ray. But if the players really, really wants a +1 Ray...

Scarab Sages

Rysky wrote:
Um, I said you found it confusing because you literally said it was "kinda confusing".

No, I said two weapon fighting is confusing with regards to unarmed strike. Duel wielding unarmed strike, that is.


Nefreet wrote:
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Magic Weapon does not work on Unarmed Strike, Monk or otherwise.
Magic Weapon can be cast on a Monk's Unarmed Strike.

Just a side note: one of the things I like about the Versatile Weapon spell which, in part, duplicates the effects of Greater Magic Weapon, is that unlike GMW it can be applied to Natural Weapons and non-monk Unarmed Strikes.


Murdock Mudeater wrote:

But if that's the case, then it really doesn't need an FAQ, since the answer obviously that whomever is talking is right and everyone else is wrong...

I think the issue is that it's difficult to picture how this would function within the imaginative rules presented.

I don't see a particular balance issue here, and if anything, use of spells to modify further spells seems counter productive. You'd almost always be better off casting the same spell twice, or casting true strike and then your Ray. But the developers seem clear that they intend rays to count as weapons, so I would allow a +1 Ray if the player really wanted it.

The really big kicker here, is that holding a charge from a touch spell will dissipate if you cast another spell, so the caster can't cast magic weapon on their own Ray, they'd need a second caster...Just seems like a huge waste for two casters to be wasting actions buffing a single ray. But if the players really, really wants a +1 Ray...

The funny thing is, most of the "silly" things presented are completely outside the scope of the question I am asking. I have yet to even mention spell based rays. The opening question makes no mention of them at all whatsoever.

There is no real balance issue either. So the level of resistance being presented to the very idea is quite surprising (well, not really).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Quintain wrote:


The funny thing is, most of the "silly" things presented are completely outside the scope of the question I am asking. I have yet to even mention spell based rays. The opening question makes no mention of them at all whatsoever.

There is no real balance issue either. So the level of resistance being presented to the very idea is quite surprising (well, not really).

Clearly, that is your intent, though, is it not?

The Lantern Archon's ray is the same as a cast ray from an Arcane caster, the only difference is in execution, being an innate attack ability instead of a spell.

Magic Weapon simply does not work on a ray that isn't there at the time of casting (Magic Weapon). The weapon needs to be there for it to be effected, like a sword or dagger. Being the wielder of the ability in the past and able to use that ability in the future does not matter, it isn't there now.


Quote:


Clearly, that is your intent, though, is it not?

No, frankly it is not. I couldn't care less about spell-based rays.

The scenario I'm looking at is using summoned lantern archons as a weapon against incorporeal creatures -- having the Heart of Metal buff their rays -- to negate the defense of shadows hiding in the walls.

That's "my intent".

Quote:


he Lantern Archon's ray is the same as a cast ray from an Arcane caster, the only difference is in execution, being an innate attack ability instead of a spell.

No, a lantern archon's ray isn't even close to a spell based ray. It works in anti-magic fiels, it bypasses all forms of DR, etc. Not even close.

Silver Crusade

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... spells bypass DR too.


Nope. not gonna happen. you can try all you want to make the language work for you - I'm not going down that rabbit hole. Simple fact is it doesn't make rays suddenly appear as a legitimate target for effects that target a weapon. You can't get around that.


Rysky wrote:
... spells bypass DR too.

Unless they deal piercing, bludgeoning, or slashing damage. In which case, they are affected by DR.


I feel like I'm going to regret jumping into this but here it goes.

First point, the ray of the lantern archon isn't a weapon. It is listed under special abilities so it isn't a valid target for the spell.

Second (if we ignore the first point), the ray is made of light. Letting it bypass the hardness of the wall (just melting through it?) will just be making holes in the wall as you aren't targeting the shadow. Trying to target the shadow in the wall through the tiny hole would at least give it a big cover bonus if not total cover. The lantern archon is small sized so the ray it fires wouldn't be very big.

Now that the idea has been tumbling around in my head for a bit, how would you propose to target the shadow in the wall in the first place?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Jeraa wrote:
Rysky wrote:
... spells bypass DR too.
Unless they deal piercing, bludgeoning, or slashing damage. In which case, they are affected by DR.

Yep.


Quintain wrote:
Quote:


Clearly, that is your intent, though, is it not?

No, frankly it is not. I couldn't care less about spell-based rays.

The scenario I'm looking at is using summoned lantern archons as a weapon against incorporeal creatures -- having the Heart of Metal buff their rays -- to negate the defense of shadows hiding in the walls.

That's "my intent".

Assuming you are trying to apply the effects of being an adamantine weapon to the ray (I don't see anything else about heart of the metal that would help in any way), that wouldn't even work like you want it to anyway. It would ignore the hardness of the wall, but not the walls hit points.

At best, you could blast the wall away. But the shadows would just either travel deeper into the wall, or go to the floor/ceiling. Especially considering the lantern archons attack would still be nonmagical, and the shadows immune to the damage in the first place (incorporeal creatures ignore all nonmagical attacks). This is one of the cases where the lantern archons rays being non-magic is actually a drawback and not a benefit.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

A very specific interaction that still doesn't work for the very same reasons that have been listed/posted here. There is no weapon to target.

Scarab Sages

Quintain wrote:

The funny thing is, most of the "silly" things presented are completely outside the scope of the question I am asking. I have yet to even mention spell based rays. The opening question makes no mention of them at all whatsoever.

There is no real balance issue either. So the level of resistance being presented to the very idea is quite surprising (well, not really).

Is that really the question you were asking? Not mentioning things so there's a lack of clarity in your question is really unhelpful...

So how many of these "non-spell based Rays" exist in the pathfinder ruleset? If your only asking about the Lantern Archon, then the question is really worded to create misunderstanding, since you are really asking: how does the Lantern Archon's ray function in rules, since it's a non-spell ray?

I am under the impression that non-spell rays don't really exist, except in rare circumstances. I'm including spell like abilties in that "non-spell" statement. Even the technology guide's laser weapons aren't techically ray weapons.

Scarab Sages

Quintain wrote:

When casting a spell that affects weapons (has a target: weapon touched, etc), does having the ray ability constitute a valid target for the spell?

Example: Magic Weapon spell and Lantern Archon's ray.

Re-reading your original question, the Lantern Archon, which you didn't link and in doing so, created misunderstand about the topic.

You have Light Ray (Ex), which under closer inspection is a natural attack, not unlike the Giant Slug's Acid Spit (Ex). This attack specifically bypasses DR, but as a non-magical attack, cannot harm incorporeal creatures, so there is some point in making it magical.

This ability should be able to be affected by Magic Fang, but not Magic Weapon, as it is a natural attack, as far as I can tell. It does describe itself as a ray, so if you had weapon focus on rays, that should apply, as would other weapon feats. Ray Shield should also work on unusual ray attack.

Silver Crusade

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Light Ray and Acid Spit are not Natural Attacks.

Scarab Sages

Rysky wrote:
Light Ray and Acid Spit are not Natural Attacks.

Interesting. So... what are they?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Special abitlies those creatures possess.


Quote:


Assuming you are trying to apply the effects of being an adamantine weapon to the ray (I don't see anything else about heart of the metal that would help in any way), that wouldn't even work like you want it to anyway. It would ignore the hardness of the wall, but not the walls hit points.

At best, you could blast the wall away. But the shadows would just either travel deeper into the wall, or go to the floor/ceiling. Especially considering the lantern archons attack would still be nonmagical, and the shadows immune to the damage in the first place (incorporeal creatures ignore all nonmagical attacks). This is one of the cases where the lantern archons rays being non-magic is actually a drawback and not a benefit.

I'm aware of the mechanics of attacking through the wall. However, I believe there is a FAQ that states that the Lantern Archon's ray does affect shadows due to it "bypassing all forms of DR". Moreover, if Magical Weapon is able to apply to the ray, it's not non-magical any longer. And if Magic Weapon is able to apply, other effects, like ghost touch would be applicable as well.


Rysky wrote:
Special abitlies those creatures possess.

Playing Asmodean Advocate for a moment . . . Looking at a Bestiary entry, how does one differentiate between a natural attack and a something-else-that-kinda-looks-like-a-natural-attack?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Natural attacks...

Claws, slams, gore, tail slap, sting, and the list goes on.

Abilities are not Natural Attacks.


thaX wrote:

Natural attacks...

Claws, slams, gore, tail slap, sting, and the list goes on.

Abilities are not Natural Attacks.

Again, what differentiates them? Is there a rule, an exhaustive list, or even a guideline for telling the difference?


blahpers wrote:
thaX wrote:

Natural attacks...

Claws, slams, gore, tail slap, sting, and the list goes on.

Abilities are not Natural Attacks.

Again, what differentiates them? Is there a rule, an exhaustive list, or even a guideline for telling the difference?

Well, special abilities are set aside in their own section of the stat block (at the end, before the text starts).

And then there is the Bestiary description of a natural attack.

Quote:
Natural Attacks Most creatures possess one or more natural attacks (attacks made without a weapon). These attacks fall into one of two categories, primary and secondary attacks. Primary attacks are made using the creature's full base attack bonus and add the creature's full Strength bonus on damage rolls. Secondary attacks are made using the creature's base attack bonus –5 and add only 1/2 the creature's Strength bonus on damage rolls.

Divided into primary and secondary, adds Strength modifier to damage.

So while the lantern archons light ray is an attack, and is a natural part of the creature, it isn't a natural attack as far as the rules are concerned.


Even if it was a natural attack by definition of natural attack it's not a weapon and so couldn't be enchanted as one.


blahpers wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Special abitlies those creatures possess.
Playing Asmodean Advocate for a moment . . . Looking at a Bestiary entry, how does one differentiate between a natural attack and a something-else-that-kinda-looks-like-a-natural-attack?
Quote:

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Gestalt (Su) Nine lantern archons can fuse together as a full-round action, becoming a single Large entity that is more powerful than the individual archons that make up its parts. Looking like a whirlwind of dancing firefly lights, the gestalt has all the powers and abilities of a Large air elemental plus the following: archon, good, and lawful subtypes; archon traits (aura of menace DC 16); 2 light rays (2d6); DR 5/evil and magic. The archons can remain in this form for 2d4 rounds. When the gestalt separates back into individual lantern archons, its remaining hit points are divided evenly among them; if it had less than 9 hit points, some of the component archons die when the gestalt ends.
Light Ray (Ex) A lantern archon can fire beams of light to damage foes. These light rays have a maximum range of 30 feet. This attack overcomes damage reduction of any type.


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It also seems that Natural Attacks are all melee attacks.

CRB wrote:
Natural Attacks: Attacks made with natural weapons, such as claws and bites, are melee attacks that can be made against any creature within your reach (usually 5 feet). These attacks are made using your full attack bonus and deal an amount of damage that depends on their type (plus your Strength modifier, as normal). You do not receive additional natural attacks for a high base attack bonus. Instead, you receive additional attack rolls for multiple limb and body parts capable of making the attack (as noted by the race or ability that grants the attacks). If you possess only one natural attack (such as a bite—two claw attacks do not qualify), you add 1–1/2 times your Strength bonus on damage rolls made with that attack.


Gisher wrote:

It also seems that Natural Attacks are all melee attacks.

CRB wrote:
Natural Attacks: Attacks made with natural weapons, such as claws and bites, are melee attacks that can be made against any creature within your reach (usually 5 feet). These attacks are made using your full attack bonus and deal an amount of damage that depends on their type (plus your Strength modifier, as normal). You do not receive additional natural attacks for a high base attack bonus. Instead, you receive additional attack rolls for multiple limb and body parts capable of making the attack (as noted by the race or ability that grants the attacks). If you possess only one natural attack (such as a bite—two claw attacks do not qualify), you add 1–1/2 times your Strength bonus on damage rolls made with that attack.

The Bestiary entry doesn't say that, and also does say:

Quote:
Format: bite +5 (1d6+1), 2 claws +5 (1d4+2), 4 tentacles +0 (1d4+1); Location: Melee and Ranged.

Any while all the different types listed on the table are melee, the "Other" entry could theoretically include a ranged type.


Jeraa wrote:
Gisher wrote:

It also seems that Natural Attacks are all melee attacks.

CRB wrote:
Natural Attacks: Attacks made with natural weapons, such as claws and bites, are melee attacks that can be made against any creature within your reach (usually 5 feet). These attacks are made using your full attack bonus and deal an amount of damage that depends on their type (plus your Strength modifier, as normal). You do not receive additional natural attacks for a high base attack bonus. Instead, you receive additional attack rolls for multiple limb and body parts capable of making the attack (as noted by the race or ability that grants the attacks). If you possess only one natural attack (such as a bite—two claw attacks do not qualify), you add 1–1/2 times your Strength bonus on damage rolls made with that attack.

The Bestiary entry doesn't say that, and also does say:

Quote:
Format: bite +5 (1d6+1), 2 claws +5 (1d4+2), 4 tentacles +0 (1d4+1); Location: Melee and Ranged.
Any while all the different types listed on the table are melee, the "Other" entry could theoretically include a ranged type.

Interesting. I hunted around for a ranged natural attack, but couldn't find an example of one that currently exists. But thanks for the clarification.


Gisher wrote:
Interesting. I hunted around for a ranged natural attack, but couldn't find an example of one that currently exists. But thanks for the clarification.

I couldn't think of one either, but the Bestiary entry at least leaves the possibility of one existing at some time.


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Look at the Warlock's Mystic Bolts once. It's about as close to an archons rays as we have.

"Creating a mystic bolt requires the hand to be free, but the bolt appears only briefly, so a warlock using mystic bolts has a free hand any time she isn’t attacking with a mystic bolt. The warlock threatens with a mystic bolt, but only if she has a hand free. Because mystic bolts are impermanent, a spell that targets a single weapon (like magic weapon) can’t affect it, nor can a mystic bolt be made with magic weapon special abilities. Abilities that affect all weapon attacks the warlock makes, such as the arcane striker warlock talent, function with mystic bolts."

So "impermanent" 'weapons' can't be targeted by by spells that require a "single weapon". This mirrors what I understood the FAQ to already say so I don't see a point in FAQ the OP's post.


I'd call a manticore's spikes a natural ranged attack. I still wouldn't call the lantern archons ray attack one.

How to quantitively differentiate them though I couldn't tell you.


Unless it's from the sun, I can't exactly support rays being "natural" by any means.

Side effects better include sunburn, too...


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Unless it's from the sun, I can't exactly support rays being "natural" by any means.

Side effects better include sunburn, too...

If a creature obtains, by the process of evolution, any ability, I'm inclined to call that ability natural. Even if it's shooting lasers.

Also, no love for radioactive decay, antimatter annihilation, or pulsars?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Magic weapon explicitly targets an object. Rays are not objects.


I'm a common man, not some outlandish scientist. I wouldn't even know what any of those things even are.


Good enough for this pig. Thanks to Jeraa, Harry, and the rest of you fine folks.


Cyrad wrote:
Magic weapon explicitly targets an object. Rays are not objects.

No it doesn't. It targets "weapon touched". No mention of objects. The (object) label in the saving throw sand spell resistance entries do not limit a spell to targeting objects. It has no effect on natural weapons, but can be cast on monks (Who are not objects).

If it only targeted objects, you couldn't cast it on intelligent weapons. They are treated as constructs.

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