Destroying walls and buildings


General Discussion


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm currently in a discussion with a player of mine about at which level a mage could possibly destroy a city wall (either stone or wood or darkwood) and destroy buildings / towns.

Most notably this is about pure damage output not via special spells like clouds that kill living beings,... .

Is it known how much hit points(and DR/durability) walls / buildings have? (stone/wood) ?


You’re looking for the chapter on Materials under Treasure. Lemme see...

Page 354.
A regular stone door/wall should have Hardness 14. Wood should have Hardmess 10.

Clearly you can improve their Quality (expert or higher increase Hardness) and make them Sturdy if needed (walls do strike me as commonly sturdy).


"Sturdy" items don't get extra dents, so they? Aside from sturdy shields and stuff specifically called out.

So that means you can break a regular stone wall with less than 30 damage, though it wouldn't be destroyed yet. Wonder what the difference between destroyed and broken is for a wall.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The 30 damage needed in one go ?


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

ah found it. so I need to do at least 15 points of damage in one go vs. stone wall. a force wall (spell) has +3 dents it can take. could that be the "realistic" value also for a normal wall?


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KageNoRyu wrote:
ah found it. so I need to do at least 15 points of damage in one go vs. stone wall. a force wall (spell) has +3 dents it can take. could that be the "realistic" value also for a normal wall?

So an issue with that is you can't one shot a wall by RAW if it can take 3 dents, because you can only give it 2 dents in one hit.

I think I'd keep a non-magical wall at 2 dents. That way if someone hit it hard enough they could Kool-aid man a hole through, and a another shot could make the whole wall crumble.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Hmmmm makes sense at least until later on. 3 attacks per round could produce enough for up to 6 dents a round. Do you use a to hgit roll (what dc?) to hit a wall?


KageNoRyu wrote:
Hmmmm makes sense at least until later on. 3 attacks per round could produce enough for up to 6 dents a round. Do you use a to hgit roll (what dc?) to hit a wall?

If you wanted to specifically use an attack to hit I'd use the wall of X spells to determine appropriate AC:

  • AC 10, TAC 6 for an easy to grip/impact/slice surface (wall of force, wall of stone, wall of thorns)
  • AC 10, TAC 8 for difficult to contact surfaces (wall of ice).


  • I would treat walls as having a negligible AC but being immune to crits. But there is a weird lack of RAW guidance on this.


    All structures have twice the value of the hardness listed on 354, except for "ORICHALCUM" which has 18 Item Hardness and 35 Structure Hardness.

    Probably a mistake.


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    I find the lack of RAW guidance a massive issue, especially when it comes to attacking and damaging items, and item attendance. Walls are a part of it, too, but to a lesser extent.

    No RAW action for attacking objects means you can't actually damage anyof them by hand, there's no code for it. Well, maybe no. There is code for what happens when you hit, and there is some alluding to what you need to do (as some objects have AC values) but other things are otherwise an enigma.

    And yeah, as a GM you can go with whatever makes sense and I'm sure 90% of GMs went with this mindset without thinking too hard about the system, but that's baking rule 0 into core rules and GMs who prefer to run things by the book as written would have a terrible time.

    Does a fireball damage a wall? Does it also trash your backpack? That is the question.

    Not to mention rules for item attendance. I mean sure, people coming from 1e know what that is, but even then spells like Telekinetic Haul don't even bother specifying you can move an object around, and besides, that's again depending on the GM to understand what developers have been trying to do and homebrew accordingly, which is simply bad design and SHOULD have been more important on the improvement list if not for an abhorrent number of people apparently writing it off as a non-issue.


    How do the NPC masons get to work on those walls in the first place is another related problem.

    Liberty's Edge

    Lucas Yew wrote:
    How do the NPC masons get to work on those walls in the first place is another related problem.

    +5 Adamantine Brilliant Energy Mason Chisel FTW


    Oh, I'm also pretty sure there's a note in the rulebook or bestiary that says you may need to have "proper tools" to damage things like stone walls. IE, you, can't break a door down by shooting it with a bow.

    So you can pretty much apply whatever makes sense in that situation. Like, you could say that fireball damages wood walls but not stone, but acid attacks might damage the stone.


    the precision of the system can be easily defined by looking at kinetic energy or angular momentum. For simplicity KE=(0.5)mvv or (0.5)(lightest non-zero item)(slowest non-zero movement rate per minimum time period)("), or the largest using defined sizes and weights. Compare that to falling damage. You'll see how rough the system is in comparison to old newtonian physics circa 1730... let's not even get into gravity or the predictable movements of planets. Pathfinder is a descriptive system, not accurate, not uniformly consistent. That's okay - it's a game.

    My point is that the details of things that normal combatants do during combat is generally the focus of the game.

    In previous games Break, Fabricate and other spells were highly effective at destruction without addressing structural hit points or hardness, it worked like magic.<g>
    A more detailed system of rules could be designed taking into account several factors, but I'm not sure anyone would pay an extra $1 per book to cover that added effort. So long as things are generally hard to destroy rogue magic use is kinda held in check and people just take out their bag lunch while the dwarf hacks on a reinforced door.

    I'm guessing that density, durability and a redefinition of hardness would be needed along with a new way to calculate damage done to an object.


    and lest I forget the Calculus of Error


    Azothath wrote:
    let's not even get into gravity or the predictable movements of planets. Pathfinder is a descriptive system, not accurate, not uniformly consistent. That's okay - it's a game.

    My favorite example is leap years. On Earth, we have them every 4 years, except century years aren't leap years unless divisible by 400. On Golarion, they're every 8 years exactly. Since 2012/4712 wasn't a Golarion leap year, December 31st, 2018 will actually be Abadius 1st, 4719.


    Van Silke wrote:

    I find the lack of RAW guidance a massive issue, especially when it comes to attacking and damaging items, and item attendance. Walls are a part of it, too, but to a lesser extent.

    There is not much in the rule book. Just a bit on Object Immunities p175.

    A lot of objects such as physical traps are immune to critical hits.
    I would assume that things like walls should have the same sort of immunities. But yeah that is an interpretation.

    But even so when you get to higher level it is easy to damage legendary stone walls with normal damage output. It is even possible to damage legendary adamantine structures and a level 9 wall of force.

    Personally I don't think that is desirable.

    Grand Lodge

    Could you not do that in PF1? Did it break the game?


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    We had several Long threads on objects and how to break them. It seems from them that there used to be a specific Action to attack objects, but it was dropped due to being linked to Sunder.
    As Sunder was felt to be unpopular (People don't want their loot destroyed), it was cut from the playtest, but a lot of Corner cases remain as vestiges.

    Whats mostly needed is either guidance on AC for objects, as they are explicitly not immune to critical hits or a simple autohit but crit immunity.

    There are very few spells that by RAW can target and damage objects outside of GM ruling, but they are there as vestiges of the Sunder mechanic. Hazards are an example where they are clearly meant to be targeted, what with their statblock that mirrors creatures including Saves and AC, but currently Mr Fighter is unable to attack the trapdoor with his Axe.


    All we really need is an action that specifies you target an unattended object. Then make all objects immune to critical hits.


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    It's kinda sad to see that after playing Pathfinder for nearly a decade, they still couldn't make something as simple as attacking a wall without turning it into a freaking science project. I don't even want to imagine what attacking a vehicle is going to be like if this is the route we're taking.


    Car Wars!


    Again, fighters seem a lot better at breaking stuff than casters. Just a few strikes brings down most walls, and strikes are an unlimited resource. This is fun to a point, but when warriors start tunneling through dungeons, it get a bit ridiculous.

    Anecdotally, this happened in the last part of Rise of the Runelords run in 4E. The dungeon was a bit of a labyrinth, and towards the end the fighter decided to make a shortcut by smashing the 10 ft. thick wall. I had to extrapolate quite a bit, but in the end he succeeded. This was a daily power, and felt quite thematic when it happened. But in PF2, objects are brittle things, so I think this would be doable with ordinary attacks. It would take more than one, though.


    I would actually like attack rolls to be still included, with Critical Failure (even if it's only on a 1) damaging the tool. That would include some risk similar to breaking your lockpicks into the Operation.


    DerNils wrote:
    I would actually like attack rolls to be still included, with Critical Failure (even if it's only on a 1) damaging the tool. That would include some risk similar to breaking your lockpicks into the Operation.

    That's actually a cool idea. It always felt weird how you can just choose through unlimited doors without bunting your axe somehow. Not sure how well it would work in practice but I like the theory.

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