[RAW] Damaging objects is either impossible or broken


General Discussion


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So I've had a quick looksie through the rules and I've noticed that you can't actually damage items - either that, or it opens up a massive Pandora's box.

1. Strike doesn't work on objects.
Yeah, great way to start, right? Strike basic action specifically calls out targeting creatures which means you can't use it on anything else, and most definitely not on objects.

Strike wrote:

You attack with a weapon you’re wielding or with

an unarmed attack, targeting one creature within your reach
(for a melee attack) or within range (for a ranged attack).

2. No Sunder, no object AC

I may have missed something, but the game doesn't have an object AC or a sunder action. Since Strike cannot designate objects, what can? Is there even a way? I suppose there is, because traps like the spinning blade pillar have a hardness value and listed number of dents, so it's a telltale sign the developers wanted your BSF to be able to play trapper for once. Only, he can't, because Strike only targets creatures (even though hazard entries mirror those of monsters, they are explicitly different by the rules, as bestiary sets a clear divide between them).

3. What if hitting objects is automatic?
Since there are no rules, are we supposed to assume hitting objects is an automatic affair? That would make battle sundering (as a tactic, since - as described above - there is no action tied to damaging objects) extremely powerful, considering most usual objects, armor, weapons and shields can take around 2-5 Dents before being permanently destroyed.

4. What about non-hitting sources of damage?
Let's give spellcasting some credit here and mention Fireball and how it's phrased.

Fireball wrote:

A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage;

creatures in the area must attempt a Reflex save.

What this implies is that while creatures can make a saving throw to save themselves, all of the objects within Fireball's radius, including the players' gear, takes full damage - not because "well it doesn't say they don't" but because everything else implies that item damage is a thing that exists within the rules, so it goes without saying that items take damage, while the spell needs to explicitly make an exception for creatures. Heck, even if we assume that items in your possession get the benefit of your save and you save for half damage, the Fireball's minimum is usually more than enough to break everything in your possession save for armor and some other items, since I doubt a majority of your gear, trinkets and baubles would exceed Hardness 6. And if the fireball rolls half-decent, moreso if the wizard throws another one your way, say goodbye to all your magic items, all your coinage (unless metal is immune to fire), your entire clothing and probably a blacksmith backstory hammer you bought before it had an in-game item entry (seriously, what was up with that?).

So... I guess instead of DPR, Fireball is now excellent at severely crippling geared up NPCs. Cool.


As far as I'm aware, the Barbarian 12th level Spell Sunder feat is the only way for a martial to target an object with a strike. Definitely kinda weird, considering there are plenty of spells that explicitly allow targeting of objects.


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I really don't understand why Strike can only target creatures and not objects. I was looking at Climbing Bolt and as far as I can tell you can't use them at all, unless there is a creature wearing plate armor on a wall you want to climb.


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If I remember correctly they said at some point that they intentionally left Sunder out of the playtest because their data says it wasn't a very popular tactic. Probably (spitballing here) in large part because it's one of the few tactics that can harm the entire party to use, since it can potentially destroy loot.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

There should definitely be rules for damaging unattended objects.

I am, however, 100% in favor of Sunder not being a thing and never being a thing.


I don't view sunder as a problem. In campaigns where a player used sunder a lot, I just spontaneously added more coins and gems to the post battle loot when item loot was destroyed.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
I don't view sunder as a problem. In campaigns where a player used sunder a lot, I just spontaneously added more coins and gems to the post battle loot when item loot was destroyed.

Some GMs, possibly many, definitely nearly if not literally every one in my group, and obviously PFS just in general, don't do spontaneous adjustments like that. Makes it a real trap option for anyone in such a game.


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Pretty clear the Sunder (carried/worn objects) and Unattended objects are totally distinct issues.

As mentioned AoE damage currently has no reason to not affect carried/worn objects, ironically if protecting them is such huge concern.
Certainly AoEs can damage unattended objects, while weapon attacks cannot even when utterly appropriate (ax chopping door).


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We had some threads on this already, one even started by me:

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2vbrk?What-is-the-AC-of-a-door#1

That being said, I agree that sunder and breaking unattended objects are two very different Things. I would love sunder to come back at least as an optional rule, as I do like the iconic picture of breaking someones sword with a superior weapon.

The new repair rules should also be able to handle this Problem - characters are supposed to be able to reapir their dented shields, letting them repair sundered swords should take longer, but not be too much of a hassle.

I guess it will come back, as we see too many rules that absolutely need it to work (hazards, breaking down walls/doors, etc.) and we have several spells that are made for it.

Even the Acid tag is specifically called out to be better at breaking objects than other energy types, so the interest is there.


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4E initially had this issue too. Its tragic to see how even simple 4E-isms like this is popping up in PF2. :(


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Didn't know that you couldn't strike an object. I let my players break down a door and just assumed it had a hardness of 5 and made a lot of noise (alerting monsters in the next room).

This is silliness of about the same magnitude as when your animal companion just sits there while it's master gets beaten to death.

By the rules couldn't you check for mimics by attempting a strike against all suspect objects, and if you can actually roll an attack, then it's really a disguised monster?


Starfox wrote:
4E initially had this issue too. Its tragic to see how even simple 4E-isms like this is popping up in PF2. :(

Just because it was a problem in 4e doesn't mean it's a problem in PF2e. This could be working as deskgned.


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Guys c'mon just because Strike doesn't state you can attack an object if as a Gm you impede them from doing it your butchering the narrative and it's your own fault, expecially if you hide behind the rules.

"I want to smash down the door with my hammer"
"Sorry,in the manual there's not written what AC a door has and you can only strike creatures so you that door it's off limit for you"

Come on.

Thus said, it's fair to point out that "in relation to damaging objects" the book is poorly written.

Thus thus said, on the bestiary at page 7 it explains a bit how to deal with structures and it would seem that you just deal damage and confront with hardness. So precisely as it was in 1e it's just a matter of time if you have unlimited time so you can always liquid it with a "after a while you succed into smashing that thing". As for dealing damage to objects in fight i'd say you can't if not precisely stated as with traps or feats(the rogue one that damages enemies equip).

I will go as far as to say that this system is even improved. When they will implement damaging objects in fights it will be a much more viable tactic because there's a distinct line between the item is unavailable for use but salvagable and the item is uttermost destroyed.
And tearing down walls will be downtime material so a character with an adamantine weapon can't play Minecraft anymore.


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For the playtest you are obligated to run RAW if you want the feedback to Paizo to be meaningful.

And sure, you can houserules any game's short comings. Doesn't mean it's a good ruleset though


I 100% agree. But i felt like the sense of your post was more "they have a dumb idea on how to rule object to damage and they don't care" than "this part of the rules is poorly written and needs more polishing even if there are good basis".


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I've already harped on this a bunch... but Paizo has yet to fix it, so...

John Lynch 106 wrote:

For the playtest you are obligated to run RAW if you want the feedback to Paizo to be meaningful.

And sure, you can houserules any game's short comings. Doesn't mean it's a good ruleset though

I would love to be the guy that ran the playtest 100% by the RAW. But Collete already demonstrated that doing so results in a 100% TPK rate, and they weren't even following the most egregiously broken rule.

Per the RAW, all hazards are explicitly noncreatures (per the defination of the Hazard Trait), and you can only Strike creatures... which means it is flat-out illegal to Strike Hazards, despite the rules clearly assuming that you are supposed to be able to attack them somehow.

Even with the 1.3 update it is still almost impossible to complete a typical adventure without the GM cheating or house-ruling something.

The fact that there are still a few spells which can target objects (Almost certainly oversights) is just plain insulting. I seriously wonder if anybody at Paizo actually bothered to read through the worthless drivel they had the gall to call the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook.


John Lynch 106 wrote:

For the playtest you are obligated to run RAW if you want the feedback to Paizo to be meaningful.

And sure, you can houserules any game's short comings. Doesn't mean it's a good ruleset though

RAW don't say that you can open a door by pulling its handle, so if you find a door with a handle you are screwed. Right?

Rules can't cover everything, and even in a playtest a GM should definitely apply common sense.
That said, I think we DO need some rules on this matter.


Excaliburrover wrote:
And tearing down walls will be downtime material so a character with an adamantine weapon can't play Minecraft anymore.

My first "for the party" purchases in PF1 was always a bag of holding and an adamantine hand axe. You have no idea how many times we just chopped through the hinges of locked doors and chests. We even tunneled around a door with a really nasty magic trap once.


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Megistone wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

For the playtest you are obligated to run RAW if you want the feedback to Paizo to be meaningful.

And sure, you can houserules any game's short comings. Doesn't mean it's a good ruleset though

RAW don't say that you can open a door by pulling its handle, so if you find a door with a handle you are screwed. Right?

Rules can't cover everything, and even in a playtest a GM should definitely apply common sense.
That said, I think we DO need some rules on this matter.

Do you honestly see not being able to use class powers as the same thing as the rules not allowing door handles to be used? If you do you have completely missed the point.

Can a dominate spell allow you to control a door? No. Because it only targets creatures. Same logic applies to the strike action and other class powers.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Megistone wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

For the playtest you are obligated to run RAW if you want the feedback to Paizo to be meaningful.

And sure, you can houserules any game's short comings. Doesn't mean it's a good ruleset though

RAW don't say that you can open a door by pulling its handle, so if you find a door with a handle you are screwed. Right?

Rules can't cover everything, and even in a playtest a GM should definitely apply common sense.
That said, I think we DO need some rules on this matter.

Do you honestly see not being able to use class powers as the same thing as the rules not allowing door handles to be used? If you do you have completely missed the point.

Can a dominate spell allow you to control a door? No. Because it only targets creatures. Same logic applies to the strike action and other class powers.

I was just making a silly example because I think that rules can't cover everything; in this case I think that some ruling would be needed, but I have read that the developers decided to leave Sunder out of the playtest, so they probably cut out attacking objects in general.

That said, if you want to bash a door down, a GM saying "No, sorry, the rules don't say that you can" is a bad GM in my opinion. Just give your object a reasonable hardness and a few dents, and go for it.


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i believe that's what's called a strawman


It's an odd decision to leave something out of the game because it was unpopular in its previous incarnation. It's one of those things I would have liked to do in PF1 but felt would be a waste of effort since it didn't do enough to limit a creature, and didn't do anything against many creatures. Top that off with it requiring at least two feats for it to start working, and you've got a money pit of a feat chain. I'd prefer they look over sunder and figure out a way to make it interesting and useful rather than leave attacking objects out of the game entirely.

As a GM, what do you say when a player tells you he's going to try and break their enemies weapon or just smash through their armor? Table top isn't like an rpg where you can just ignore expressly taken actions. Their character tried it, now what happens?

Honestly, I think destructive attacks like that would be one of many ways to make combat feats that include a narrative feat as well. A feat line that tied sundering to safely destroying traps, attacking through light cover, and effortlessly wading through difficult terrain, would be pretty good.


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I'd like to be able to break both attended and unattended objects. Smashing doors and sundering enemy equipment is too much fun.


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Personally, if a player really wanted to sunder an enemy weapon, I'd just have them make an attack roll and compare it to the enemy's reflex DC to see if it hits, then apply dent rules as normal.

I imagine if there's an outcry for attended sundering to be brought back, it probably will be. They mentioned removing it was an experiment, much like removing arcane armor failure.

That being said, they need to give us some rules for striking unattended objects no matter what, and I'd prefer if that didn't have to wait until the final product.


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it occurs to me that this is probably the work of some sort of cabal of liches--after all, you can't destroy their phylactery if you can't target it...

also plenty of media requires certain objects be dealt with to save the world/progress the plot, like the ring of power or that particularly bejeweled gauntlet. it would be very strange indeed to require straight up homebrew to allow for such tropes.


Cantriped wrote:

I've already harped on this a bunch... but Paizo has yet to fix it, so...

John Lynch 106 wrote:

For the playtest you are obligated to run RAW if you want the feedback to Paizo to be meaningful.

And sure, you can houserules any game's short comings. Doesn't mean it's a good ruleset though

I would love to be the guy that ran the playtest 100% by the RAW. But Collete already demonstrated that doing so results in a 100% TPK rate, and they weren't even following the most egregiously broken rule.

Per the RAW, all hazards are explicitly noncreatures (per the defination of the Hazard Trait), and you can only Strike creatures... which means it is flat-out illegal to Strike Hazards, despite the rules clearly assuming that you are supposed to be able to attack them somehow.

Even with the 1.3 update it is still almost impossible to complete a typical adventure without the GM cheating or house-ruling something.

The fact that there are still a few spells which can target objects (Almost certainly oversights) is just plain insulting. I seriously wonder if anybody at Paizo actually bothered to read through the worthless drivel they had the gall to call the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook.

That person went above and beyond just running Raw They Ran MURDER RAW. RAW Extreme or some such.


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sunder should totally be in the game, it makes repair magic and crafters be useful, if they can repair equipment. how many fantasy settings have a blacksmith go along on a mission, make a black smith a useful party member (well not so much in an all druid party hahaha)

but repairing and damaging objects adds to realism, and I'm all for it


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AndIMustMask wrote:

it occurs to me that this is probably the work of some sort of cabal of liches--after all, you can't destroy their phylactery if you can't target it...

also plenty of media requires certain objects be dealt with to save the world/progress the plot, like the ring of power or that particularly bejeweled gauntlet. it would be very strange indeed to require straight up homebrew to allow for such tropes.

To be fair, the most notorious ring of power in need of destroying was just as immune to attacks as current objects seem to be. And besides that, Macguffins tend to be artifacts and thus tend to have unique destruction requirements far beyond simple sundering anyways. A la "cast into the lake of fire where it was first wrought" and the like.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
That person went above and beyond just running Raw They Ran MURDER RAW. RAW Extreme or some such.

I think most of Collete's rulings were entirely reasonable for her GMing style, and legal per RAW (or even suggested). She has admited her style is more wargame-like, and there is nothing objectively wrong with that. The rules need to be able to handle all sorts of GMs. If they fall apart this quickly when used as written there is a serious problem with the rules as written.


Cantriped wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
That person went above and beyond just running Raw They Ran MURDER RAW. RAW Extreme or some such.
I think most of Collete's rulings were entirely reasonable for her GMing style, and legal per RAW (or even suggested). She has admited her style is more wargame-like, and there is nothing objectively wrong with that. The rules need to be able to handle all sorts of GMs. If they fall apart this quickly when used as written there is a serious problem with the rules as written.

Yeah definitely on the harsh end, but I can't say I'd hate playing under that kind of GM. Certainly better than the opposite end.


Cantriped wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
That person went above and beyond just running Raw They Ran MURDER RAW. RAW Extreme or some such.
I think most of Collete's rulings were entirely reasonable for her GMing style, and legal per RAW (or even suggested). She has admited her style is more wargame-like, and there is nothing objectively wrong with that. The rules need to be able to handle all sorts of GMs. If they fall apart this quickly when used as written there is a serious problem with the rules as written.

Collette running RAW and running a murder war game are completely separate issues. Finding holes in the RAW is useful, although I'd argue leveraging them mid-game when it clearly violates the intent probably isn't.

But the game doesn't "fall apart" under that style. It operates in a very unsurprising manner. When a GM is hell bent on killing the players, the players die. This is largely true in any game, but PF1 had enough ways a player could break it to make them punch way above their weight class. PF2 isn't trying to have that level of broken as a thing, and is based around running the a role playing game, not a war game. Which means not violating RAW in regards to stuff like monster tactics and actions being based on what the monster knows, not what the GM knows.

Silver Crusade

Since published adventures usually don't have the word count to give NPCs proper backup weapons (like a dagger or a masterwork sword etc.) my opinion on sunder has changed to the point where I would prefer not to see it again.

Edit: I recently got to cast resilient sphere on a player, it lists and AC so I am working under the assumption that Strikes are supposed to be able to target it.


doesn't that create a physical (well, force-ical) barrier/bubble on the target? i should certainly hope it can be targeted and/or damaged!


AndIMustMask wrote:
doesn't that create a physical (well, force-ical) barrier/bubble on the target? i should certainly hope it can be targeted and/or damaged!

By the logic of this thread, it would count as an object or a spell, neither of which you are explicitly allowed to Strike, and thus you could not do that.


I am totally opene to let People strike objects, and even like it. Why AC is interesting is very simply the new crit rules - it makes a very big difference under the hardness rules in the bestiary. At Level 1, it can be the difference between impossible and feasible.
As per Definition, objects are not immune to crits, it is very relevant how they can be critted, and that Needs an AC number.


Cyouni wrote:
AndIMustMask wrote:
doesn't that create a physical (well, force-ical) barrier/bubble on the target? i should certainly hope it can be targeted and/or damaged!
By the logic of this thread, it would count as an object or a spell, neither of which you are explicitly allowed to Strike, and thus you could not do that.

no i mean the spell specifically calls on being able to attack it, as well as it taking dents on an initial success (as well as listing that it can be specifically targeted by a disintegrate spell, at which point it is instantly destroyed). at the very least a spell sunder barbarian would be explicitly able to target it as well.

on the bright side: it's only a minute duration, so you don't have to worry about suffocating even if it somehow does get ruled that you cant actually target/damage it for some reason.

Grand Lodge

You say that, but I would think against a door, you don't roll to hit, you just roll damage.

But that's just my PF1 showing. And missing doors is sad.


Missing doors would be sad, but it's the age old discussion of what AC represents - it's not about hitting or missing, but damaging. That Full Plate will not make you harder to hit.

But I would actually be fine with them stating no roll to hit, just straight damage - I would be sad for a missed opportunity, but ok.

My favourite would be a table stating AC based on Level, Material and Quality (like hardness and dents) and a nice "Smash" Action, with

Success - Damage
Crit - Double Damage
Failure - No Damage or half damage
Crit Fail - Damage to Weapon

Gives at least a possible consequence to bashing down a door with your magical rapier and interacts well with the established System.

If Sunder Comes back, weapon and armour hardness needs to be adjusted (or at least not Count as thin material in regards to hardness)


I actually did allow PCs to target doors with Strike on my first game because I wasn't aware of the restriction. What we found is that it becomes way too easy to bash open even secure doors and chests.

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