Pathfinder Physics


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Grand Lodge

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So, over a few recent game sessions, someone in our group brought to light how silly the physics in this game are beyond magic, obviously. At first, he pointed out that earth elementals can swim just fine going by typical swim rules (y’know, despite being a bunch of rocks), and that a colossal creature smashing a diminutive/fine swarm does no damage whatsoever. Then I realized going by the logic of that first part, lead golems don't have any issues swimming either (they have +8 to swim from STR).

I decided to post this online partially for a quick laugh, and partially to see what other examples of “Pathfinder Physics” anyone else can come up with.


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1. Not only is it possible to miss your target (likely a house-sized or larger immobile object no more than five feet away) with a battering ram, by the rules are quick to remind you that you incur a -4 nonproficiency penalty.

-- Buildings will adroitly dodge out of the way when you least expect it!


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Piercing weapons do not take a penalty when used underwater because of the direct stabbing motion. Especially when you stab someone with a heavy pick.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Slim Jim wrote:


-- Buildings will adroitly dodge out of the way when you least expect it!

A colossal-sized object (like a house) has an AC of -3. This isn't AD&D, and even with a -4 non-proficiency penalty and no other bonuses you're still hitting on a roll of 2 or better. That's as close to "impossible to miss" as you're going to get. And if for some unfathomable reason that's not easy enough to hit for you, there's a rule that you can take a full-round action to auto-hit inanimate objects with melee attacks.

Swim rules are weird with their lack of regard for density, but climb rules are where it gets really weird. There is no penalty for being heavier, nor a bonus for being lighter, so you end up with weird cases like just about every small-or-smaller-sized creature that's supposed to be able to climb (like monkeys or spiders) needing a racial bonus to climb to compensate for the fact that there's no general rule.


3. A titan can sunder a worn gauntlet with hardly a problem. Immediately after having my gauntlet sundered, I can still type 70 wpm, accurately.

Edit: Sunder, the verb, not necessarily Sunder, the game term.


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Slim Jim wrote:

1. Not only is it possible to miss your target (likely a house-sized or larger immobile object no more than five feet away) with a battering ram, by the rules are quick to remind you that you incur a -4 nonproficiency penalty.

-- Buildings will adroitly dodge out of the way when you least expect it!

Hence, the deadliness of gazebos....

Grand Lodge

Something else I remembered.

Pathfinder says you need to eat a pound of food each day, with barely any regards to calories or nutritional value. You could eat a pound of fruit salad and be like, "I've eaten about 500 calories today, tops. Y'know what? Let's go walk 24 miles to this dungeon and burn about 5 times that many calories along the way!"


There's also the whole "I can fall from low earth orbit, pick myself up out of the crater...and promptly stub my toe, pitch forward, and start bleeding out" deal with HP.

Also, now that I think about it, tripping a creature doesn't harm it, ever.


By standing still and swinging a sword a few times, it is possible to kill 16 Troop members spread over a 20 foot area.


I believe it is possible to move at the speed of light if you can find a way to stand up from prone as a free action.
By dropping prone as a free action and standing as a free action you can do that infinitely many times during your turn. This allows you to move at the speed of light


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* stares at this line of reasoning menacingly*

Line of reasoning: EEP!

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
technarken wrote:
There's also the whole "I can fall from low earth orbit, pick myself up out of the crater...and promptly stub my toe, pitch forward, and start bleeding out" deal with HP.

Yeah, but it lets us do awesome superhero landings.


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Dasrak wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:


-- Buildings will adroitly dodge out of the way when you least expect it!

A colossal-sized object (like a house) has an AC of -3. This isn't AD&D, and even with a -4 non-proficiency penalty and no other bonuses you're still hitting on a roll of 2 or better. That's as close to "impossible to miss" as you're going to get. And if for some unfathomable reason that's not easy enough to hit for you, there's a rule that you can take a full-round action to auto-hit inanimate objects with melee attacks.

Swim rules are weird with their lack of regard for density, but climb rules are where it gets really weird. There is no penalty for being heavier, nor a bonus for being lighter, so you end up with weird cases like just about every small-or-smaller-sized creature that's supposed to be able to climb (like monkeys or spiders) needing a racial bonus to climb to compensate for the fact that there's no general rule.

It may not catch all cases, but tiny or smaller uses dex instead of strength for climb and swim.


J4RH34D wrote:

I believe it is possible to move at the speed of light if you can find a way to stand up from prone as a free action.

By dropping prone as a free action and standing as a free action you can do that infinitely many times during your turn. This allows you to move at the speed of light

“Free actions don’t take any time at all, though there may be limits to the number of free actions you can perform in a turn.”


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The readied action peasant instant delivery service.


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Back in the 80's, space gamer magazine had a column Murphy's Rules. It highlighted these kinds of game effects. Every game has these effects. A game with 1,000 volumes of rules would have something.

Accept it and move on.


Dasrak wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:


-- Buildings will adroitly dodge out of the way when you least expect it!

A colossal-sized object (like a house) has an AC of -3. This isn't AD&D, and even with a -4 non-proficiency penalty and no other bonuses you're still hitting on a roll of 2 or better. That's as close to "impossible to miss" as you're going to get. And if for some unfathomable reason that's not easy enough to hit for you, there's a rule that you can take a full-round action to auto-hit inanimate objects with melee attacks.

Swim rules are weird with their lack of regard for density, but climb rules are where it gets really weird. There is no penalty for being heavier, nor a bonus for being lighter, so you end up with weird cases like just about every small-or-smaller-sized creature that's supposed to be able to climb (like monkeys or spiders) needing a racial bonus to climb to compensate for the fact that there's no general rule.

Ah but let's not forget, the greatest archer in the world still has a 5% chance of not hitting the broad side of a barn. But the level 2 Rogue in a 5-foot by 5-foot box can take a Maximized, Empowered, Intensified Fireball from a level 20 Wizard (presumably delivered from above by a flying wizard in this case) to the face and have a 5% chance of dodging out of the way unharmed despite there being literally nowhere to go.


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Philo Pharynx wrote:

Back in the 80's, space gamer magazine had a column Murphy's Rules. It highlighted these kinds of game effects. Every game has these effects. A game with 1,000 volumes of rules would have something.

Accept it and move on.

Not really sure why you even bothered to post here, we are merely discussing the quasi-physics of pathfinder, we have all accepted it and we are not complaining, just enjoying each other's anecdotes. If you're not interested don't read the posts, there is no need to come in on your high horse and make declarations.

Grand Lodge

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Three more examples.


  • As per the aging rules, people see and hear better the older they are.
  • You can reload a ballista with zero issues even if you have 1 or 2 strength. Thus, unseen servants make perfect reload slaves.
  • Going by Shinigami02's logic, a toothpick has a 5% chance of piercing +5 adamantine full plate, and a Stephen Hawking wizard has a 5% chance of succeeding on a combat maneuver against a herculean martial character.


Millenniamaster wrote:
Going by Shinigami02's logic, a toothpick has a 5% chance of piercing +5 adamantine full plate

I will say to this, that while technically true, unless you've got strength backing it you won't actually "pierce". This is only true of Adamantine though, because Adamantine Heavy Armor gives DR 3/- and I highly doubt a toothpick alone is going to do more than 1 damage by itself.


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Shinigami02 wrote:
Millenniamaster wrote:
Going by Shinigami02's logic, a toothpick has a 5% chance of piercing +5 adamantine full plate
I will say to this, that while technically true, unless you've got strength backing it you won't actually "pierce". This is only true of Adamantine though, because Adamantine Heavy Armor gives DR 3/- and I highly doubt a toothpick alone is going to do more than 1 damage by itself.

Well, did you use power attack?


Shinigami02 wrote:
Millenniamaster wrote:
Going by Shinigami02's logic, a toothpick has a 5% chance of piercing +5 adamantine full plate
I will say to this, that while technically true, unless you've got strength backing it you won't actually "pierce". This is only true of Adamantine though, because Adamantine Heavy Armor gives DR 3/- and I highly doubt a toothpick alone is going to do more than 1 damage by itself.

- Toothpicks aren’t weapons (even improvised). Applying weapon rules to non-weapons is going to get you sillier-than-normal results. (Aetherkineticists can use them as ammunition, but that’s wrapping them in aether and magic railgunning them.)

- Hitting isn’t necessarily piercing armor, it can be finding a gap.


QuidEst wrote:
- Toothpicks aren’t weapons (even improvised). Applying weapon rules to non-weapons is going to get you sillier-than-normal results. (Aetherkineticists can use them as ammunition, but that’s wrapping them in aether and magic railgunning them.)

Says who? Even IRL I could use toothpicks as an improvised weapon, just not necessarily against someone with armor. Just stick them between my fingers and with a well placed punch it'll pierce flesh (never underestimate the power of focusing your strength into a small point.) It would probably be Nonlethal damage and probably have the Fragile quality, but nonlethal is still damage.

Dark Archive

Dαedαlus wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
Millenniamaster wrote:
Going by Shinigami02's logic, a toothpick has a 5% chance of piercing +5 adamantine full plate
I will say to this, that while technically true, unless you've got strength backing it you won't actually "pierce". This is only true of Adamantine though, because Adamantine Heavy Armor gives DR 3/- and I highly doubt a toothpick alone is going to do more than 1 damage by itself.
Well, did you use power attack?

I approve of this statement.

Speaking of, a brownie with that toothpick get as much bonus damage from a power attack, as a giant with a long sword

Grand Lodge

Shinigami02 wrote:
Millenniamaster wrote:
Going by Shinigami02's logic, a toothpick has a 5% chance of piercing +5 adamantine full plate
I will say to this, that while technically true, unless you've got strength backing it you won't actually "pierce". This is only true of Adamantine though, because Adamantine Heavy Armor gives DR 3/- and I highly doubt a toothpick alone is going to do more than 1 damage by itself.

You could have a rogue use the toothpick and get in a sneak attack (they could try to jab it into the jugular vein or something like that).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I hate having to point this out (because this is a fun thread!) but...

Quote:
If your result equals or beats the target's Armor Class, you hit and deal damage.

A miss is never defined in the rules (it gets mentioned that a natural 1 always misses), but it is completely reasonable to interpret a “miss” as an attack that hit but did no damage, as well as not hitting the target at all, so it’s okay to “miss” with that battering ram - you got the angle wrong and it slid off without harming the barn.


The one flaw with that definition, is it is totally possible to hit and not do damage. Mostly through application of such mechanics as Damage Reduction, Hardness, and Energy Resistances.


Oh, hey guys. Is it Wealday already?


An anvil (a small, dense object) dropped on someone's head from 20' up is not particularly dangerous (1-6 damage). It is impossible to kill a Pig Farmer (9 hp) or a Princess (7 hp), and very unlikely to kill a Pauper (4 hp) with one.


In Pathfinder it is impossible to hit the wrong target with an arrow. Either you hit the intended target or miss everything.

Melee weapons and armour are not subject to normal wear and tear.

Cold weather clothing offers no protection against cold based spells.

Not saying I want these rules changed. Just commenting that they conflict with known physics.


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Kitty Catoblepas wrote:

An anvil (a small, dense object) dropped on someone's head from 20' up is not particularly dangerous (1-6 damage). It is impossible to kill a Pig Farmer (9 hp) or a Princess (7 hp), and very unlikely to kill a Pauper (4 hp) with one.

Looking at it the other way, you could drop the Pig Farmer (9 hp) or a Princess (7 hp) 10' on an anvil with the same effect.

You can also beat someone unconscious with your fists [non-lethal damage] and they can take a short nap to recover fully without any side effects.

Cube law...


Dαedαlus wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
Millenniamaster wrote:
Going by Shinigami02's logic, a toothpick has a 5% chance of piercing +5 adamantine full plate
I will say to this, that while technically true, unless you've got strength backing it you won't actually "pierce". This is only true of Adamantine though, because Adamantine Heavy Armor gives DR 3/- and I highly doubt a toothpick alone is going to do more than 1 damage by itself.
Well, did you use power attack?

Not relevant to this example. A strength score of 13 is a prerequisite for Power Attack.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
Millenniamaster wrote:
Going by Shinigami02's logic, a toothpick has a 5% chance of piercing +5 adamantine full plate
I will say to this, that while technically true, unless you've got strength backing it you won't actually "pierce". This is only true of Adamantine though, because Adamantine Heavy Armor gives DR 3/- and I highly doubt a toothpick alone is going to do more than 1 damage by itself.
Well, did you use power attack?
Not relevant to this example. A strength score of 13 is a prerequisite for Power Attack.

Piranha strike?


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Broken bones, Leprosy, Malaria, and more heal perfectly with bedrest.

Due to the rules for how environmental damage is treated, White Dragons can die of hypothermia and Red Dragons die from heatstroke.

Because their subtype doesn't give them immunity to it, it is totally possible yo give an elemental (a creature with no cardiovascular or nervous system) Filth Fever.

A single dose of poison is one-size-fits-all, which is to say that a ninja can apply one dose of poison to either a tiny shuriken (a toothpick), or a colossal Greatsword (a slab of metal the size of a surfboard for the Statue of Liberty), and it's all gone. In the same action even!


The poison is just on the tip^^


A halfblind peasent with no training will never hit himself while attempting to use a dire flail. But the greatest knight in the land has a 5% chance to dose himself when jousting with a poisoned lance.


If we're sticking strictly to physics and not adding the chemistry, biology, geology, geophysics, meteorology, hydrology, biology, geography and economics that the PF rules/settings also mock, then by far the largest problem - which can't be solved by a tabletop game where initiative splits players into active and passive participants - is the time travel involved in rounds. I can move away from someone and attack another participant in a fight, one of my friends can then interpose themselves between the first person and me, and then they can try to move past my companion to attack me. All of us took six seconds to do those things, they happened in sequence, and it took six seconds in total. Doctor Who would be displeased.


Kitty Catoblepas wrote:
An anvil (a small, dense object) dropped on someone's head from 20' up is not particularly dangerous (1-6 damage). It is impossible to kill a Pig Farmer (9 hp) or a Princess (7 hp), and very unlikely to kill a Pauper (4 hp) with one.

Pretty sure it does 2d6 :p

Edit: nope, it's 1d6. So either on a crit or use a medium one instead.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Really, the complaint should be there is no way to insta-kill someone by dropping an anvil, since they still need to get to neg Con. Fantasy characters are much tougher than real people.


graystone wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
Millenniamaster wrote:
Going by Shinigami02's logic, a toothpick has a 5% chance of piercing +5 adamantine full plate
I will say to this, that while technically true, unless you've got strength backing it you won't actually "pierce". This is only true of Adamantine though, because Adamantine Heavy Armor gives DR 3/- and I highly doubt a toothpick alone is going to do more than 1 damage by itself.
Well, did you use power attack?
Not relevant to this example. A strength score of 13 is a prerequisite for Power Attack.
Piranha strike?

I don't know why I thought we were throwing the tooth pick. I say Deadly Aim because this scenario is even funnier if you are throwing the toothpick that hard.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Really, the complaint should be there is no way to insta-kill someone by dropping an anvil, since they still need to get to neg Con. Fantasy characters are much tougher than real people.

Being put into the negatives and dying out is really just as good, since it's very difficult to get back up on your own.


In the real world, it’s possible to fall off a chair and break your neck. In Golarion, a very lucky guard (22 HP) could survive a fall from orbit and walk away without so much as a limp.


In pathfinder, it is much easier for a huge creature to start a grapple with a tiny creature than it is for him to simply touch the tiny creature. (This part of the combat maneuver rules has constantly driven me crazy, even though it rarely comes up)


SorrySleeping wrote:
graystone wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
Millenniamaster wrote:
Going by Shinigami02's logic, a toothpick has a 5% chance of piercing +5 adamantine full plate
I will say to this, that while technically true, unless you've got strength backing it you won't actually "pierce". This is only true of Adamantine though, because Adamantine Heavy Armor gives DR 3/- and I highly doubt a toothpick alone is going to do more than 1 damage by itself.
Well, did you use power attack?
Not relevant to this example. A strength score of 13 is a prerequisite for Power Attack.
Piranha strike?
I don't know why I thought we were throwing the tooth pick. I say Deadly Aim because this scenario is even funnier if you are throwing the toothpick that hard.

Hang on, I've seen that Xena episode. You just have to have someone secretly grab the victim from behind with a grappling hook and yank 'em back at the right time. : D

/YouTube, you have failed me this time


Java Man wrote:
A halfblind peasent with no training will never hit himself while attempting to use a dire flail. But the greatest knight in the land has a 5% chance to dose himself when jousting with a poisoned lance.

Serves him right - if he truly was a great knight, he wouldn't have tried to use cowardly poison!


You can't break a glass cup (vial, bottle, etc.) by dropping it on a stone floor unless you drop it from 10' above the ground.


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Kitty Catoblepas wrote:
You can't break a glass cup (vial, bottle, etc.) by dropping it on a stone floor unless you drop it from 10' above the ground.

Solution: Convince your GM that it should have the fragile quality when used as an improvised weapon, attack the planet with it, and roll a 1.

Grand Lodge

Kitty Catoblepas wrote:
You can't break a glass cup (vial, bottle, etc.) by dropping it on a stone floor unless you drop it from 10' above the ground.

A bit late stating this, but that also means you can drop 9 feet on your head and not suffer any damage, and that there's no difference in fall damage in general outside of 10-foot increments. I think I've seen only one instance in Pathfinder of a drop not being a multiple of 10 feet (15 feet in that case).


blahpers wrote:
attack the planet with it

May be my favourite sentence of the year.


Dαedαlus wrote:
In the real world, it’s possible to fall off a chair and break your neck. In Golarion, a very lucky guard (22 HP) could survive a fall from orbit and walk away without so much as a limp.

Not a guard but a (very lucky indeed) flight attendant:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38427411

Talk about rolling a 1 on every falling damage die. She did get severely injured though, but that's Pathfinder's injury rules for you - you're perfectly fine (1 HP) or you are bleeding out and dying (-HP)

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