Define Splash Weapon RAW vs RAI?


Rules Questions


So I play an alchemist in my ROTR campaign and I started to explore the seemingly endless and versatile list of alchemical items that I can craft. This has led me to make acid, alchemist's fire, and other splash weapons.

Many of these items are distinctively defined as alchemical splash weapons and leave little room for interpretation, however other items are a little less technically defined, and the only rulebook text is the Combat rule of "Throwing a splash weapon" which addresses the mechanics of doing so.

The main question that I'm asking today is: What actually defines something as a "splash weapon".
Almost all the threads on splash weapons are on function, damage, missed throws, action economy, etc, but what qualifies as a splash weapon?

Could it be interpreted as any liquid thrown in a breakable container? Say fresh water, for example. That's an extreme example but what about items that could function the same way, but don't technically include text that says splash weapon.

A contact poison in a flask? Several doses in a flask? Holy water? What about the alchemist's water of maddening spell?

Some things to think about on whether or not something is a splash weapon breaks down into several mechanical aspects.
Is it a ranged touch attack?
Can it attack the ground and grid intersections?
Does it splash a 5 foot radius?
Does is benefit from all splash weapon feats and traits?
Does an alchemist add his Intelligence damage?

I'm looking for reasonable opinions from both player and GM perspectives. Obviously, I wouldn't argue that an alchemist would add intelligence bonus damage to a thrown glass of tap water, but maybe his water of maddening. The water of maddening also doesn't specifically say splash weapon, but its a thrown flask that only needs to touch enemies etc. Anyways, your thoughts are always welcome.


I find that nearly anything that deals more damage to a main target while also splashing to adjacent squares can be considered a splash weapon.

Note that there may potentially be some cases there a splash weapon is not alchemical (like alchemist bomb), or cases where it loses the splash quality (like Grenadier's Alchemical Weapon, which also generally loses the "thrown" quality as well) and hence should no longer be considered a splash weapon in the latter case.


Joesi wrote:

I find that nearly anything that deals more damage to a main target while also splashing to adjacent squares can be considered a splash weapon.

Note that there may potentially be some cases there a splash weapon is not alchemical (like alchemist bomb), or cases where it loses the splash quality (like Grenadier's Alchemical Weapon, which also generally loses the "thrown" quality as well) and hence should no longer be considered a splash weapon in the latter case.

So you'd say that the item's text should specifically include the term "damage" to qualify as a splash weapon?

i.e. holy water cites: 2d4 damage (+4 from alchemist) to target and 1 damage (+4 from alchemist) to all enemies in splash radius.

however, water of maddening "while phrasing, it is stored in a glass flask, and a character touched by the water gets affected" but doesn't necessarily refer to "splash radius" or "damage". So therefore it is not a splash weapon??


Water of maddening has two ways to be used:

1) just like unholy water (hence a splash weapon)

2) anointing or drinking. Which gives the special effect. It doesn't say 'touched' it says anointing. While that isn't a defined game term, the word means pouring or rubbing on, typically in a ceremonial manner. I would make it equivalent to applying an oil, certainly it wouldn't be a 'splash' effect.


Dave Justus wrote:

Water of maddening has two ways to be used:

1) just like unholy water (hence a splash weapon)

2) anointing or drinking. Which gives the special effect. It doesn't say 'touched' it says anointing. While that isn't a defined game term, the word means pouring or rubbing on, typically in a ceremonial manner. I would make it equivalent to applying an oil, certainly it wouldn't be a 'splash' effect.

Thanks Dave

What would your thoughts be on like a glass flask of contact poison or any other liquid that ins't specifically registered as an alchemical splash weapon? Obviously no Intelligence bonus to damage, probably no splash radius either, but is that a ranged touch attack? Would that count as "Contact"? Would it benefit from feats like Throw Anything or Splash Weapon Mastery or traits like Firebug?

For example: In our rise of the runelords campaign, my tiefling who has fire resistance 5, grabbed some molten glass from the Glassworks and threw it at a goblin 10 feet away. What is he technically using?

Sorry If i'm over complicating things, I just wanna reach a decent reasonable ruling so we don't have to keep breaking down mechanics like this in game, every-time my character throw's something.


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As far as I am aware, a splash weapon is anything the rules declare is a splash weapon. Kind of like how things are a light weapon when declared as such. The act of throwing something doesn't make it a splash weapon, even if it splashes places. As for what your GM or what you want to classify is a splash weapon (if you are the GM), that can vary.

I could throw an empty glass bottle at someone that'd do damage and shatter into glass that might damage others nearby, but it's not a splash weapon if the item doesn't call it one.


christian kramer wrote:


For example: In our rise of the runelords campaign, my tiefling who has fire resistance 5, grabbed some molten glass from the Glassworks and threw it at a goblin 10 feet away. What is he technically using?

Technically, he is making an attack with an improvised thrown weapon. Id give it 1d3 bludgeoning damage +str, and 1 point of fire. On a crit, they make a reflex save or catch fire.


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Splash weapons DON'T even have to splash Look at Concentrated Splash feat: you forgo the splash damage to increase the main damage by 50%.

I'll agree with TrinitysEnd that pretty much a splash weapon is that's called out as one.

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