I need your help: Improvised Weapons


Rules Questions


Hi,

I need some clarity around Improvised Weapons - let me filter the people who will tell me "everyone does", etc., please - I am looking for the real scoop if you have it.

As it is being shown/explained to me with a couple of styles and tricks and pony shows, improvised weapons do more damage than "real" weapons.

Seriously, I have a 4th level character in one of my games who crits for 3 x all of the HP of all of the other characters in the group combined. Now EVERYONE wants to play Improvised Weapons.

What I need to understand better is not the why or the how but the WHAT. What exactly IS an improvised weapon. In my opinion, I am walking through a room or wherever, and whatever I pick up and swing and throw is an improvised weapon. You know, Jackie Chan, right?

As I read the rules, and everything I can find anywhere, and what my players are telling me...you can actually take a hammer - a sledge hammer that's not a weapon - no it's a tool - and carry that around with you ALL OF THE TIME and call it an improvised weapon. People are trying to make them from special materials and do all of the fancy things they can short of enchanting and masterwork...

So what is the REAL answer? Is it really like they say? In my mind that is an exotic weapon proficiency, and the spirit of the "Improvised weapon" and the "surprise" is, holy *&*^ he is swinging that ironing board at me, I didn't expect that vs. a large dude walks up with his silver pruning shears in their back scabbard and pulls them out and starts pruning you...help!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This should probably be in the Rules forums, but anywhoozles

Improvised Weapons wrote:

Improvised Weapons

Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat. Because such objects are not designed for this use, any creature that uses an improvised weapon in combat is considered to be nonproficient with it and takes a –4 penalty on attack rolls made with that object. To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match. An improvised weapon scores a threat on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a critical hit. An improvised thrown weapon has a range increment of 10 feet.

Short Answer: Anything that is not crafted to be a weapon used in combat is an improvised weapon. So, sledgehammer = Not meant for combat. But it would do similar damage as a Light Hammer (2lbs) or a Warhammer (5lbs) depending on how much the sledgehammer in question actually weighs.

Generally speaking though, improvised weapons should not out-damage a real weapon because of the -4 penalty to hit and reduced chance/damage to critically strike. The only way I could see that happening is if they were specifically building their character for using Improvised weapons, like Shikigami Style/Mimicry/Manipulation, Throw Anything, Catch Off-guard, Chairbreaker, etc.


The best part of actual weapons are the enchantments tbh, so actual weapons have a significant advantage over improvised weapons.

And honestly, if a player was walking around with a masterwork sledgehammer enchanted with Keen and Returning... I would just tell the player that thing definitely meant to be used in combat so it’s now a warhammer and no longer an improvised weapon.

Shadow Lodge

Are they using the Shinigami Style feats? The feats that let you break fragile weapons to confirm a crit? We really need all the details to figure this out for sure.


There is not keen or returning on the sledgehammer and the masterwork only applies to the tool applications, not hitting as I understand it?

This particular player isn't using Shinigami. They are using Shikigami Style along with whatever else they can get to min-max improvised weapons.

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/shikigami-style-combat-style/


Basically you're not wrong about what an improvised weapon is. Anything that's not meant to be a weapon is an improvised weapon. Everything Jackie Chan does probably counts. So does a guy who only fights with a rubber chicken (or similar ridiculous weapon). "Everything and the kitchen sink" and "something ridiculous" are both "improvised weapon" concepts.

Where you're going wrong is that this isn't a game that rewards random character choices. If I take Catch Off Guard you better believe my character is always going to have an improvised weapon on hand to beat someone with. Preferably always in-hand. If I then take another trait or feat or whatever to even further specialize in improvised weapons then I'm only going to use them unless I really have to use something else (bow, usually). This character, at level 4, with a grand total of two feats granted by leveling, has spent two feats on Catch Off Guard/Throw Anything and Shikigami style. They could have picked them up with certain race/class choices instead but for a generic character of any class, this has potentially cost them all of their feats. In return for what, 2d6 damage? That's a greatsword, available from level 1. It can be made better (I'm not sure more than the build I'm about to post) but it does so at the expense of gold, feats, class abilities, etc. If a player is spending resources on being better at something they should be good at it. If they do all that and still end up worse they're gonna be disappointed.

Now what I like to call the baseline build. It's basically a one big hit build. Big beefy Cavalier with Spirited Charge (doable by 4th). 18 Str, Challenges, two-hands their lance for 3d8+30 on a mounted charge. I think there's a build that can squeeze in Power Attack with maybe Furious Focus as well (Fighter, probably) for an extra +6 damage (+18 PA instead of +12 Challenge). At 6th level (when the Cavalier can get Power Attack as well) it's 3d8+54. I don't think your player's build can beat that. But since you mention crits we can look at the extreme (Barbarian with a scythe) of 8d4+60 damage or the more likely (Barbarian with a greataxe/earthbreaker) of 3d12/6d6+45 damage. Both likely beat your player's damage as well. I haven't found anything that gives an improvised weapon a higher crit multiplier.

As for the "surprise" factor, it's not a surprise unless they're unarmed. From Catch Off Guard: "Unarmed opponents are flat-footed against any attacks you make with an improvised melee weapon." If they're armed they're not surprised. Well, maybe surprised the enemy can actually use that as a weapon but not surprised in game terms (flat-footed). And that makes perfect sense. An unarmed person would rather not believe you're going to murder them with pinking shears. Someone who can fight back is going to assume the person jumping them in an alley and pulling out pinking shears is about to try to do something unspeakable to them and keep their guard up.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:


Now what I like to call the baseline build. It's basically a one big hit build. Big beefy Cavalier with Spirited Charge (doable by 4th). 18 Str, Challenges, two-hands their lance for 3d8+30 on a mounted charge. I think there's a build that can squeeze in Power Attack with maybe Furious Focus as well (Fighter, probably) for an extra +6 damage (+18 PA instead of +12 Challenge). At 6th level (when the Cavalier can get Power Attack as well) it's 3d8+54. I don't think your player's build can beat that. But since you...

I don't know the OPs problem build, but from what he's said and what people bounced around the forums when Shikigami style was new you can kind of guess.

Makeshift Scrapper 1/Fighter 3. Human.
Traits: Suprise Weapon (+2 to hit w/Improvised Weapons), Something Else
Feats: Catch Off Guard(free), Throw Anything(free), Shikigami Style(1),Shikigami Mimicry (bonus-human), Improvisational Focus(2), Power Attack(3), Cleave(figher bonus).

With an 18 str that would be +9 to hit, 4d6+9 with an additional +1d6 sneak attack. This is wielding a 2gp Sledge which counts as an improvised Earth Breaker.

5th level is where the big payoff comes. You're finally able to get Shikigami Manipulation (which requires 5 ranks UMD) that boosts your base damage to 6d6 with a Sledge. You're also able to take Weapon Specialization: Improvised for +2 more damage.

Though in my opinion what you want to do is retrain cleave for TWF and buy 2 minor rods of mercy at a cost of 1,500gp each. While this reduces your damage per strike significantly from 6d6 to 4d6 the rods count as light maces and give a +4 enhancement bonus to hit and damage which more than makes up for the -2 from TWF. End result would be +11/+11 4d6+14 damage at level 5 with power attack included.

The main thing about these Shikigami builds to keep in mind is that they peak early. Oh, and they get even more disgusting when they grow. +2d6 damage for each size category they increase. Shikigami is already a virtual size change. If you can convince a GM to let you have an improvised Butchering Axe that would be the same as another size increase from a Sledge/Earth Breaker. So its possible to be throwing around 8d6 two handed attacks. Combined with Vital Strike that could get really nasty.

But by late game it fizzles. You can't really get special abilities on your improvised weapons. Though, you save so much gold you can probably spend it on other things.


Otalp wrote:

Hi,

I need some clarity around Improvised Weapons - let me filter the people who will tell me "everyone does", etc., please - I am looking for the real scoop if you have it.

As it is being shown/explained to me with a couple of styles and tricks and pony shows, improvised weapons do more damage than "real" weapons.

Seriously, I have a 4th level character in one of my games who crits for 3 x all of the HP of all of the other characters in the group combined. Now EVERYONE wants to play Improvised Weapons.

What I need to understand better is not the why or the how but the WHAT. What exactly IS an improvised weapon. In my opinion, I am walking through a room or wherever, and whatever I pick up and swing and throw is an improvised weapon. You know, Jackie Chan, right?

As I read the rules, and everything I can find anywhere, and what my players are telling me...you can actually take a hammer - a sledge hammer that's not a weapon - no it's a tool - and carry that around with you ALL OF THE TIME and call it an improvised weapon. People are trying to make them from special materials and do all of the fancy things they can short of enchanting and masterwork...

So what is the REAL answer? Is it really like they say? In my mind that is an exotic weapon proficiency, and the spirit of the "Improvised weapon" and the "surprise" is, holy *&*^ he is swinging that ironing board at me, I didn't expect that vs. a large dude walks up with his silver pruning shears in their back scabbard and pulls them out and starts pruning you...help!

To me it sounds like your players have misinterpreted some rules, because there's no way they should be dealing that much damage, regardless of what feats or abilities they might have.

You have the rough and ready trait, which would allow you to be a blacksmith with a hammer (normally an improvised weapon) and gets rid of the attack penalties for using improvised weapon and also provides a bonus.

But regardless of anything else, the main drawback with improvised weapons is that can't be given magical enhancements.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ryze Kuja wrote:
Short Answer: Anything that is not crafted to be a weapon used in combat is an improvised weapon. So, sledgehammer = Not meant for combat. But it would do similar damage as a Light Hammer (2lbs) or a Warhammer (5lbs) depending on how much the sledgehammer in question actually weighs.

A Sledgehammer used as an improvised weapon deals damage as a equally sized Earthbreaker. That is, 2d6 for an average Medium creature.

This means that:
- A Large Sledgehammer deals 3d6 base damage. It can be used only by Titan Fighters and Titan Mauler Barbarians.
- Shikigamy Style x3 pumps it up to 8d6 due to virtual size increase (not stacking with other virtual size increases such as Impact).
- If made Large via spells that preserve equipment (Enlarge person), the wielder will now deal 12d6 due to actual size increase.
- If made Huge via spells that preserve equipment (Giant Form), the wielder will now deal 16d6 due to actual size increase. 16d6 is also, incidentally, the maximum damage explicitly addressed by size increase rules.

This however doesn't mean that you can't achieve the same level of damage with proper weapons. Given, in fact, the same level of optimization and focus, you can get pretty much to the same point.

- Medium Butchering Axe deals 3d6 damage
- Large Butchering Axe deals 4d6 damage (only usable by Titan Fighters and Titan Mauler Barbarians)
- +1 Impact Large BA deals 6d6 damage
- A Large creature wielding the weapon would deal 8d6 damage
- A Huge creature wielding the weapon would deal 12d6 damage

While the base damage is one step lower, unlike the improvised case this time the character has spent no feats. This means he can spend feats to achieve higher accuracy (which indirectly affects damage), get other feats ahead of time (such as Vital Strike), or implement other strategies that overall greatly increase DPR via other means (for example: Cornugon Smash + Hurtful to get a whole extra attack). Furthermore, enhancing improvised weapons cost much more than manufactured weapons (see below).

Claxon wrote:
But regardless of anything else, the main drawback with improvised weapons is that can't be given magical enhancements.

Luckily, those days are over.


Gray Warden wrote:


While the base damage is one step lower, unlike the improvised case this time the character has spent no feats. This means he can spend feats to achieve higher accuracy (which indirectly affects damage), get other feats ahead of time (such as Vital Strike), or implement other strategies that overall greatly increase DPR via other means (for example: Cornugon...

No feats? First, you are forced into at least 1 level of fighter. Second, you get -4 to hit to deal with. Compare that with the improvised side where you can get a +2 to hit trait bonus. Third you also pay 1 bonus feat for the privilege of using large weapons since the Archetype gives up your 1st level bonus feat. Fourth you are using an exotic weapon which means giving up another feat.

Also that medium sized Butchering Axe requires a 19 strength or you take another -2 to hit. That requirement is 17 for a small axe. Nothing said for a large axe but it would be easy to extrapolate it to 21 str.

So even ignoring the strength bit, you've paid 2 feats, a -4 to hit and locked yourself into at least 1 level of fighter. How many feats is it worth to get rid of that -4? You can invest 12 levels in Fighter to get rid of that penalty, but that also means you don't gain armor training and weapon training which is quite frankly worth more than what you are gaining.

And the cherry on top is...you could make an improvised Medium Butchering Axe and the shikigami style fanatic would be up to 8d6 damage without all the negatives to hit. People just point to the Sledge because its listed in the equipment section. But if you look at the rules for improvised weapons you can see anything with the approximate shape and weight of a regular weapon becomes an improvised version of it. And thanks to the way improvised weapons work you don't care if it is exotic or not because Catch Off Guard says you are treated as being proficient.

Which mean if you wanted to do that Spirited Charge build from above, you could spend 4 more feats and take that wimpy 1d8 lance and turn it into an improvised lance which would do 4d6 after 3 size increases. That means a 12d6 spirited charge.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Claxon wrote:


To me it sounds like your players have misinterpreted some rules, because there's no way they should be dealing that much damage, regardless of what feats or abilities they might have.

You have the rough and ready trait, which would allow you to be a blacksmith with a hammer (normally an improvised weapon) and gets rid of the attack penalties for using improvised weapon and also provides a bonus.

But regardless of anything else, the main drawback with improvised weapons is that can't be given magical enhancements.

My friend, have you seen the Extemporaneous Channeler archetype of the Occultist (swift action enchantment of improvised weapons, free Catch of Guard and Throw Anything, and the usual Occultist abilities to cast Lead Blades and use that Enlarge Person transmutation power), the Shikigami style feat chain (up to three virtual size increases for improvised weapons, plus weapon qualities, plus free enhancement bonus based on the very caster level of any very cheap magic items you wield as an improvised weapon), and/or the Gloves of Improvised Might (basically an Amulet of Mighty fists for improvised weapons, stacks with Occultist weapon enhancements), on top of the aforementioned sledgehammer which explicitly functions as a 2d6 improvised Earthbreaker?

A level 5 Occultist (Extemporaneous Channeler) with all three Shikigami feats can do 6d6 damage with a sledgehammer while in this style, 8d6 while enlarged. If he puts a +1 on it with Magic Weapon or Gloves of Improvised Might he can use his class ability to further enchant it with Bane as a swift action, for a +3 to hit and 10d6 (plus strength and other bonuses).

Or use a 1,500 gp metamagic rod (CL 17th) to act as a +4 improvised mace or club with the third Shikigami style feat, enhanced to +6 with Bane. Lower damage die, though.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Meirril wrote:
stuff

Maybe if you spent 5 more minutes to understand the context...

What I am doing in my post is comparing two similarly optimised builds trying to do the same thing, that is getting the maximum base damage:

- both builds require a Titan Fighter dip level (you can't use a Large Sledge otherwise)
- both builds get the same penalties to hit due to size
- both builds lose one Bonus feat due to the fighter archetype
- Butchering Axe can be used a martial weapon with a ioun stone at the negligible cost of 1500gp. On the other hand, improvised weapons need Catch Off-Guard, i.e. an extra feat.

And it turned out that, while with a manufactured weapon you can get maximum at 12d6, you also get three feat slots to spare. Is it clear now?

Meirril wrote:
And the cherry on top is...you could make an improvised Medium Butchering Axe

Yeah, no way buddy. The section on improvised weapons says:

Improvised Weapons wrote:
Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat. Because such objects are not designed for this use, any creature that uses an improvised weapon in combat is considered to be nonproficient with it and takes a –4 penalty on attack rolls made with that object. To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match. An improvised weapon scores a threat on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a critical hit. An improvised thrown weapon has a range increment of 10 feet.

As you can see, it clearly refers to items not crafted to be weapons. The following paragraph, when it talks about the damage, sits on the assumption that the item is not crafted to be a weapon. As a result, the moment you use an "improvised" Butchering Axe and you expect it to work as a proper Butchering Axe, that's not an improvised weapon any more: it's an item crafted to work as a Butchering Axe, i.e. a fully functional weapon.

Several sources imply that, by default, light improvised weapons should deal around 1d4 damage, one-handed improvised weapons around 1d6 damage and 2-handed improvised weapons around 1d8 damage for a Medium creature.

Example 1:

Improvised Weapon Mastery wrote:
You do not suffer any penalties for using an improvised weapon. Increase the amount of damage dealt by the improvised weapon by one step (for example, 1d4 becomes 1d6) to a maximum of 1d8 (2d6 if the improvised weapon is two-handed). The improvised weapon has a critical threat range of 19–20, with a critical multiplier of ×2.

So, if you need a feat to pull-up your 2-handed improvised weapon base damage from 1d8 to 2d6, why would you ever assume that an average 2-handed weapon should already deal 2d6 damage or more by default? An improvised Butchering Axe will deal damage as an average 2-handed axe, that is 1d8 or 1d10 if your GM feels generous, definitely not 3d6. The Sledge is an exception to the rule because it's explicitly stated otherwise, and it still does not overcome the limit defined by Improvised Weapon Mastery.

Example 2:

Monk of the Empty Hand wrote:
Monks of the empty hand are proficient with the shuriken only. A monk of the empty hand treats normal weapons as improvised weapons with the following equivalencies (substituting all of their statistics for the listed weapon): a light weapon functions as a light hammer, a one-handed weapon functions as a club, and a Two-handed weapon functions as a quarterstaff.

An archetype that focuses on improvised weapons still limits improvised weapon damage to, guess what, 1d4 and 1d6 damage.

By your reasoning, there would be no need whatsoever to take any weapon proficiency feat at all if not for crit-fishing and reach builds, since you could pick Catch Off-Guard and use virtually any weapon as the improvised version of itself, and deal exactly the same damage, while also giving them 10ft range increment. I would understand if we were talking about old feats made obsolete by new ones, but what we are talking about here is plain old Catch Off-Guard, written in the Core rulebook. Clearly, this makes no sense in terms of game system.

EDIT. Ah, and about the Spirited Charge thing. That's even wrong-er, since improvised weapons do not inherit any special quality of the base weapon they refer to. This means no reach and definitely no double damage while charging.


Gray Warden wrote:
Ryze Kuja wrote:
Short Answer: Anything that is not crafted to be a weapon used in combat is an improvised weapon. So, sledgehammer = Not meant for combat. But it would do similar damage as a Light Hammer (2lbs) or a Warhammer (5lbs) depending on how much the sledgehammer in question actually weighs.

A Sledgehammer used as an improvised weapon deals damage as a equally sized Earthbreaker. That is, 2d6 for an average Medium creature.

It still depends on how big the sledgehammer in question is. Sledgehammers come in multiple sizes (i.e. mini-sledges). The weapon you linked is 10lbs, so yes it would deal the same damage as an Earthbreaker if the sledge in question was 10lbs. But if the player picked up a 2lbs. sledgehammer and tried to say it should do the same damage as an Earthbreaker, I would extend that player a raised eyebrow and a sigh of exhaustion before I said "no" :P

Improvised Weapons wrote:

Improvised Weapons

Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat. Because such objects are not designed for this use, any creature that uses an improvised weapon in combat is considered to be nonproficient with it and takes a –4 penalty on attack rolls made with that object. To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match. An improvised weapon scores a threat on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a critical hit. An improvised thrown weapon has a range increment of 10 feet.

A five ounce bird can't carry a 1 lb. coconut!


Meirril wrote:

Makeshift Scrapper 1/Fighter 3. Human.

Traits: Suprise Weapon (+2 to hit w/Improvised Weapons), Something Else
Feats: Catch Off Guard(free), Throw Anything(free), Shikigami Style(1),Shikigami Mimicry (bonus-human), Improvisational Focus(2), Power Attack(3), Cleave(figher bonus).

With an 18 str that would be +9 to hit, 4d6+9 with an additional +1d6 sneak attack. This is wielding a 2gp Sledge which counts as an improvised Earth Breaker.

5th level is where the big payoff comes. You're finally able to get Shikigami Manipulation (which requires 5 ranks UMD) that boosts your base damage to 6d6 with a Sledge. You're also able to take Weapon Specialization: Improvised for +2 more damage.
...
Oh, and they get even more disgusting when they grow. +2d6 damage for each size category they increase.
...

They have mentioned in another post somewhere Hinyasi Brawler. Still, I'm not seeing the power here. 3d8+30 is minimum 33. 4d6+9 is maximum 33. And that's not even getting into the fact that the more dice you roll (unless they're loaded) the more likely you are to get closer to average. With Brawler it'd get +3 from PA for higher BAB but that's still needing the absolute max on the dice to compete with a Cavalier throwing ones.

And 6d6+14 gets to compete with the Cavalier's 6th level 3d8+54 (made a mistake here). Comparing again, max is 50, min of the Cavalier is 57. The extra dice are nice but the Cavalier is adding +9 every four levels (PA), +3 every level (Challenge), and +3/+6 for every Strength boost. An extra 2d6 is a max of 14 (average of 7). The Cavalier is adding +21 every four levels, to (on average) compete the improvised weapon user will need three size increases every four levels. To compete with loaded dice they'd still need three size increases every eight levels. More doable, but I'd never base a plan on loaded dice.

Meirril wrote:

And the cherry on top is...you could make an improvised Medium Butchering Axe and the shikigami style fanatic would be up to 8d6 damage without all the negatives to hit. People just point to the Sledge because its listed in the equipment section. But if you look at the rules for improvised weapons you can see anything with the approximate shape and weight of a regular weapon becomes an improvised version of it. And thanks to the way improvised weapons work you don't care if it is exotic or not because Catch Off Guard says you are treated as being proficient.

Which mean if you wanted to do that Spirited Charge build from above, you could spend 4 more feats and take that wimpy 1d8 lance and turn it into an improvised lance which would do 4d6 after 3 size increases. That means a 12d6 spirited charge.

This however? This is just wrong. An "improvised weapon" in the size and shape and function of a Butchering Axe being used exactly like a Butchering Axe is a Butchering Axe. If it's being used as an improvised weapon (the flat side, usually) then the GM gets to set the damage. And I can almost promise it won't be 3d6. Similarly, there is no such thing as an "improvised lance" (yet, I suppose they might make one later). It's either an improvised weapon or a Lance. If it's a Lance it gets triple damage. If it's an improvised weapon it doesn't.

But sure, I'm always down for more math. Let's go back to the first build with 4d6+12. With Spirited Charge and a horse (somehow) we're looking at 8d6+24. Which looks real impressive but averages 52 damage (and you better believe you're going to get that most times) in comparison to the Cavalier's average of 42. With six feats sunk and a horse (hopefully one that won't die to Auras and AoOs). And some skill points, gold, ability scores, etc. Lots of extra costs there. With just one of those feats the Cavalier could take Power Attack for +18 damage, making them once again the king!

And what I feel like most pointing out here, this is a very naive build. Order of the Sword pumps the damage further. There's probably archetypes or other classes that could push this further. Heck, using Fighter and Power Attack instead increases the level 4 damage. There's a reason I called it the baseline build. It's what a newbie who wanted to do a a lot of damage might make. All you need to do is see Spirited Charge (in the Core rulebook) to understand how to do it. Cavalier is similarly billed as "the guy riding a horse" class. This isn't a complicated build. Literally just Core and APG. Has been around almost a decade. If you're not beating it you're not doing "too much damage". You might be doing "too much damage for your group" but that's a very different issue.

Silver Crusade

Ryze Kuja wrote:
It still depends on how big the sledgehammer in question is. Sledgehammers come in multiple sizes (i.e. mini-sledges

Dude, come on, you were wrong in your first post, it's ok, deal with it. A Medium Sledge for a Medium creature is a 2-handed weapon and deals damage as a Medium Earthbreaker, end of the story. There is no talking about weight, size and what not.

Of course you can get a miniature one if for some reason you are so inclined, but this is clearly not the point of having a Sledge in the first place.


Gray Warden wrote:
Meirril wrote:
stuff

Maybe if you spent 5 more minutes to understand the context...

What context? You presented a titan fighter vs a shikigami build. Now you want to compare your vanilla titan fighter vs a shikigami titan fighter? And your saying that your vanilla titan fighter spends 4 less feats than a titan fighter that takes shikigami style? Really? That is completely obvious and irrelevant at the same time. Congratulations on backing off from your presented argument and setting up a strawman argument while you back peddle. Well done.

Shikigami build doesn't need titan fighter. It is much stronger without that nonsense.


Gray Warden wrote:
Meirril wrote:
And the cherry on top is...you could make an improvised Medium Butchering Axe

Yeah, no way buddy. The section on improvised weapons says:

Improvised Weapons wrote:
Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat. Because such objects are not designed for this use, any creature that uses an improvised weapon in combat is considered to be nonproficient with it and takes a –4 penalty on attack rolls made with that object. To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match. An improvised weapon scores a threat on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a critical hit. An improvised thrown weapon has a range increment of 10 feet.

As you can see, it clearly refers to items not crafted to be weapons. The following paragraph, when it talks about the damage, sits on the assumption that the item is not crafted to be a weapon. As a result, the moment you use an "improvised" Butchering Axe and you expect it to work as a proper Butchering Axe, that's not an improvised weapon any more: it's an item crafted to work as a Butchering Axe, i.e. a fully functional weapon.

Several sources imply that, by default, light improvised weapons should deal around 1d4 damage, one-handed improvised weapons around 1d6 damage and 2-handed improvised weapons around 1d8 damage for a Medium creature.

But what the RAW actually says is: "To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match."

So if you have an object that weights as much or more than a Butchering Axe, looks sort of like a Butchering Axe, but isn't a weapon, it is an improvised Butchering Axe. And there are lots of examples of such items found in the various equipment and tool lists that counter your examples. We've all been talking about the Sledge, but there are also hatchets, and various hammers that act like weapons that are close to the tools weight and appearance. Rods as a class of weapon can be a light mace or a club because of the general shape and materials they are made of. It isn't because all improvised weapons default to that, its because the general class of items are shaped like that. You want the tail to wag the dog. Go with the general rule instead of specialized rules meant to be used for specific archetypes.

Now I'll admit I missed the parts where improvised weapons would lose special qualities, so no benefit from using an improvised lance. But by the same token, no using improvised weapons to crit fish, unless you really want a weapon with a crit range of 20.

Silver Crusade

Meirril wrote:
Gray Warden wrote:
Meirril wrote:
stuff

Maybe if you spent 5 more minutes to understand the context...

What context? You presented a titan fighter vs a shikigami build. Now you want to compare your vanilla titan fighter vs a shikigami titan fighter? And your saying that your vanilla titan fighter spends 4 less feats than a titan fighter that takes shikigami style? Really? That is completely obvious and irrelevant at the same time. Congratulations on backing off from your presented argument and setting up a strawman argument while you back peddle. Well done.

Shikigami build doesn't need titan fighter. It is much stronger without that nonsense.

Backing off? What are you talking about?! The comparison I did was always the same, just read the damn posts!

Myself wrote:

This means that:

- A Large Sledgehammer deals 3d6 base damage. It can be used only by Titan Fighters and Titan Mauler Barbarians.
- Shikigamy Style x3 pumps it up to 8d6 due to virtual size increase (not stacking with other virtual size increases such as Impact).
- If made Large via spells that preserve equipment (Enlarge person), the wielder will now deal 12d6 due to actual size increase.
- If made Huge via spells that preserve equipment (Giant Form), the wielder will now deal 16d6 due to actual size increase. 16d6 is also, incidentally, the maximum damage explicitly addressed by size increase rules.

This however doesn't mean that you can't achieve the same level of damage with proper weapons. Given, in fact, the same level of optimization and focus, you can get pretty much to the same point.

- Medium Butchering Axe deals 3d6 damage
- Large Butchering Axe deals 4d6 damage (only usable by Titan Fighters and Titan Mauler Barbarians)
- +1 Impact Large BA deals 6d6 damage
- A Large creature wielding the weapon would deal 8d6 damage
- A Huge creature wielding the weapon would deal 12d6 damage

Obvious and irrelevant? For you maybe, since you can't read, but since the OP was interested in the performances of improvised weapons vs manufactured ones, I think an actual comparison between two top-builds is quite useful.

Your build just does not work, deal with it. The maximum base damage you can achieve with only Shikigami Style feats is 6d6 for a Medium Sledge. Everything else needs to come from a Large Sledge (requires Titan Fighter), virtual size increase and actual size increase. Once you remove one step (e.g. Titan Fighter, because for some reason -4 to hit is a big penalty on a Str-based full-BAB class who will probably focus on a single-hit build), you are bound to get less damage overall, that's how math works. After that, you can do whatever you want with it. Full-attack? Cool. Spirited Charge for double damage? Go with it. Vital Strike + Furious Finish? That's the stuff. There's a reason if it's called base damage.

So yeah, you have no idea of what you are talking about.

EDIT. An "improvised" Butchering Axe that works exactly like a Butchering Axe IS a Butchering Axe, not an improvised one. What's not clear about it? And I dare you find a single one improvised weapon sized for a Medium creature that deals more damage than a damn dagger, club or quartestaff.

Silver Crusade

Improvised weapons according to Meirril.

> 3ft heavy wooden pole. Not made for fighting, so it's an improvised weapon.
> Attach a thick, fairly flat piece of metal at the end. Still an improvised weapon.
> Shape the piece of metal a little bit. Still an improvised weapon.
> Make it a little bit sharper. Still an improvised weapon.
> Wrap the wooden pole with a bit of leather to make it slightly easier to wield. Still an improvised weapon.
> Use it to butcher a cow. Still an improvised weapon.
> It's an improvised Butchering Axe. It deals 3d6 damage. Crit is only x2, but has a range increment of 10ft. Still an improvised weapon.

Also:
> Repeat for any single weapon by simply stating the sum of the parts, neglecting the whole.
> Pick Catch Off-Guard.
> Free proficiency with any weapon.

Yeah, no s*it.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
They have mentioned in another post somewhere Hinyasi Brawler.

Oh. That. Yeah...I disagree with how other people insist Hinyasi Brawler works. Hinyasi Brawler changes the damage done by improvised weapons to be the same as monk damage. So it scales with level.

The part I disagree with is they want Skikigami style to modify the damage after its been replaced with the monk unarmed damage. So the amount you do grows with levels.

But I think that is wrong. This is a replacement ability we're talking about. While its good when you're talking about replacing the damage on small stuff (that naturally has d4 for damage) its a positive. But when you've got an improvised weapon that does 2d6 damage (like the Sledge) its clearly better not to use the replacement ability. So the big question is when do you add in the modifier for shikigami style? Do you just choose the order that is best for you? Is there a set order? Does it matter when we're talking about an ability that replaces whatever damage the weapon does with a fixed amount?

But thinking about Shikigami style itself, the damage dice increase is a size modifier. If we were talking about a larger monk I'd naturally expect the unarmed damage to go up. So really, I guess I have to reverse my opinion and say its valid. Well, crap. So yeah any brawler/monk build that replaces improvised weapon damage will eventually become incredibly disgusting.


Gray Warden wrote:
Meirril wrote:
Gray Warden wrote:
Meirril wrote:
stuff

Maybe if you spent 5 more minutes to understand the context...

What context? You presented a titan fighter vs a shikigami build. Now you want to compare your vanilla titan fighter vs a shikigami titan fighter? And your saying that your vanilla titan fighter spends 4 less feats than a titan fighter that takes shikigami style? Really? That is completely obvious and irrelevant at the same time. Congratulations on backing off from your presented argument and setting up a strawman argument while you back peddle. Well done.

Shikigami build doesn't need titan fighter. It is much stronger without that nonsense.

Backing off? What are you talking about?! The comparison I did was always the same, just read the damn posts!

Ok. Ok. I'm being a little slow today, obviously. So lets ask why you're dismissing my critique without addressing it? Compare your optimized Titan Fighter to a flat normal 4 feats into Shikigami Style with any class. Because that is what I did.

And what you did was set up a really horrible build for a shikigami style to intrude into. For a 1 size increase that Shikigami build gave up way too much going into titan fighter. That is your strawman. So yeah, in worst case scenario it looks bad. Now compare that with any base class build with full BAB and see how it looks at 5th level (the earliest you can qualify for Shikigami Manipulation). I don't think your Titan Fighter will be able to dig himself out of his negatives to hit even with 4 extra feats.

And if we're talking optimized builds, compare that Hinyasi Brawler build does to your Titan Fighter.


There are tradeoffs and depending on what you want to do with your character one route will be more appealing then the other, but which option is more appealing depends on what you're trying to do and how much money you have to spend.

The best printed improvised weapon is a sledge since it counts as a 2d6 earth breaker (2-handed weapon). You might be able to do better but it will require DM approval.

The best normal weapon is a butcher axe which is a 3d6 2-handed weapon. Again, you might be able to do better but it too would require DM approval so for the sake of comparison I will look at these two

For basic proficiency both weapons require a feat. There may be archetypes, traits, etc that will give you said feat but in the end they both cost a feat to have proficiency with them.

Sledge ->Catch off Guard
Butcher Axe -> exotic weapon proficiency

The sledge is basically one size smaller then the axe. You can spend one feat to make them the same. Both weapons could be enchanted with impact but this does not stack with the weapon enchant. So, to arrive at the same damage you can either have

butcher axe +impact
or
sledge +Shikigami style x2

There is a 3rd feat that you can grab for shikigami which allows you to increase the sledge one additional size category. There is no equivalent feat that can be taken for the butchering axe. At this point both weapons are maxed out in terms of virtual size increases. Any other size increase that happens will be an actual size increase and could equally apply to both weapons.

This means that for the sledge you have spent 3 feats, while those same feats are available to the butcher axe wielder to spend on something that doesn't increase size. Conversely, the sledge wielder has an extra weapon enchant they could spend on something else that isn't impact. Any feat the sledge wielder could take at this point the butcher axe wielder can also take while still having 3 extra feats to spend on whatever.

The butcher axe wielder therefore has more flexibility then the sledge wielder does in terms of feats they could take. But after a certain point the sledge welder will always have a weapon that is one size bigger then the axe wielder.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The real question is why are we using a sledge instead of having someone craft a CL 20 traveler's anytool so that we benefit from shikigami manipulation and gloves of improvised might.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
then I'm only going to use them unless I really have to use something else (bow, usually).

Why let that stop you? Carry a cello around. Use it as an improvised bow. } : D


Gray Warden wrote:
Ryze Kuja wrote:
It still depends on how big the sledgehammer in question is. Sledgehammers come in multiple sizes (i.e. mini-sledges

Dude, come on, you were wrong in your first post, it's ok, deal with it. A Medium Sledge for a Medium creature is a 2-handed weapon and deals damage as a Medium Earthbreaker, end of the story. There is no talking about weight, size and what not.

Of course you can get a miniature one if for some reason you are so inclined, but this is clearly not the point of having a Sledge in the first place.

I'm not wrong, you're being unrealistic. If you pick up a 2lbs sledgehammer and use it as an improvised weapon and try to tell me it's going to do the same damage as a 10lbs sledgehammer just because they have the same name, then you're adhering to the rules so strictly that it doesn't make sense.

You ever been to a construction site before? Well, if you haven't, newsflash: sledgehammers come in different sizes. They range from 2lbs to 25lbs. Sometimes you have to make whack, and sometimes you have to make bigger whack. Medieval/Fantasy settings would be the same way. Just because Archives of Nethys only has one entry for a Sledge being 10lbs doesn't mean that every Sledge you come across is now exactly 10lbs. It seems like you're assuming that every smithy in the realm got a memo that all sledgehammers have to be 10lbs and deal the same damage as an Earthbreaker? Lol. That 10lbs sledge you linked is for basic adventuring gear, not for every sledge you'll ever come across. I mean, are you really going to tell me that if you get into a fight in a blacksmith's shop and there's 30 sledgehammers and they all weigh 10lbs? And then right across the street, there's another blacksmith with 50 sledgehammers that are all 10lbs too? That's laughably unrealistic.

TLDR: Hammers come in different sizes. The hammer you linked is for basic adventuring gear.

It even says in the Improvised Weapon rules: "To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match."

So if you pick up some random 2lb sledgehammer and use it as an improvised weapon, I'm going to say that thing deals the same damage as a Light Hammer (1d4), not an Earthbreaker (2d6).

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

You are being wrong in the sense that a Medium Sledge has specific weight and damage (equal to that of a equally sized Earthbreaker), as it is explicitly stated in its description.

A Sledge that weights 1/10th of the standard weight does not deal the standard damage? Oh really, you don't say? Of course it doesn't, because we are not talking about a standard Sledge anymore! A differently sized one will follow standard improvised weapons rules, but rest assured that 99.99% of the times someone here on the boards will be talking about a Sledge in the context of improvised weapons, they will be referring to THIS, not a randomly sized hammer they happened to find in a damn construction site.

Or are you going to pull off the same completely redundant talk every time someone talks about longswords saying that their damage depends on size and hence weight because in MeDiEvAl/fAntAsY SeTtInGs you could find different sized longswords and JuSt BecAusE ArChiVes oF NethYs onLy HaS oNe EntRy fOr a LoNgSword BeiNg 4lbs dOeSn't mEaN tHaT eVeRy LonGswOrd yOu cOmE aCroSs iS nOw eXacTly 4lbs?

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Removed a few posts. Even if you're annoyed with another user, you need to treat them with respect. If you would like to post again, rephrase your statements.

Silver Crusade

To Meirril:

- Penalty for a Large Slege is -3 at 5th level, not -4. It becomes -2 a couple of levels after.
- The penalty comes with an increase of +2d6 damage at Medium size, or +4d6 after chugging an inexpensive Potion of Enlarge Person, which is integral part of my suggested build.
- So, to summarize, at 5th level we get -3 to hit for +14 damage, and -2 to hit for +14 damage at level 7. Without Enlarge Person, we get -3/+7 and two levels later -2/+7. Just for comparison, Power Attack trades -2 for +6 damage on a 2-handed weapon, which is universally considered a good trade.

If this is sign of a sad build, as you said, then it's your problem. Looking forward to your strawman.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Now that we’ve established that sledgehammers weigh 10 pounds, and only something the equivalent size and weight to an earth breaker would count as an earth breaker...

Earth Breakers weigh 14 pounds...

*runs and hides*

Silver Crusade

Warwick Cailean wrote:

Now that we’ve established that sledgehammers weigh 10 pounds, and only something the equivalent size and weight to an earth breaker would count as an earth breaker...

Earth Breakers weigh 14 pounds...

*runs and hides*

Ahahah dude, you are right! :D I swear I checked before on the d20pfsrd table and for some reason I read 10lbs. Probably I was reading the wrong row.

Anyhow, since the RAW argument is essentially closed, I would like to add an insight from physics perspective.

Indeed weight is an important factor in determining real life weapons damage, especially bludgeoning ones, but that's not all. Damage is essentially an index of how much energy is delivered to the target. Front-heavy weapons, such as hammers, are usually handled to store energy through rotational movement. The stored rotational kinetic energy, and so the damage, can be then represented as:

Eq. 1 wrote:
dmg = 1/2 I ω^2

with I being the moment of inertia of the object and ω being its angular velocity.

Since both a Medium Sledge[1] and a Medium Earthbreaker[2] deal the same damage, it meas that:

Eq. 2 wrote:
dmg[1] = dmg[2] ==> I[1] ω[1]^2 = I[2] ω[2]^2

Assuming the same creature wields both weapons, it will impart the same torque τ = I α, where α is the angular acceleration, defined as the variation of ω over time t:

Eq. 3 wrote:
α = dω / dt

As a result:

Eq. 4 wrote:

τ[1] = τ[2] ==> I[1] α[1] = I[2] α[2]

substitute Eq. 3 in ==> I[1] dω[1] / dt = I[2] dω[2] / dt
integrate over the same interval of time (1 standard action) ==> I[1] ω[1] = I[2] ω[2]
so that ==> ω[1] = I[2]/I[1] ω[2]

Assuming the majority of the hammer's mass m is stored in the head, its moment of inertia can be approximated to:

Eq. 5 wrote:
I = m r^2

with r being the length of the handle. Substituting Eq. 4 and Eq. 5 in Eq. 2 we get:

Eq. 6 wrote:

I[1] I[2]^2/I[1]^2 ω[2]^2 = I[2] ω[2]^2

==> I[2]/I[1] = 1 ==> I[1] = I[2] ==> m[1] r[1]^2 = m[2] r[2]^2
==> 10lbs r[1]^2 = 14lbs r[2]^2 ==> r[1] = 1.18 r[2]

So yeah, not only a Medium Sledge and a Medium Earthbreaker have different weights, but they have also different sizes, with the Sledge being about 18% longer than the Earthbreaker.

And since, according to the Earthbreaker's description:

Earthbreaker wrote:
The crude metal of this massive hammer’s head ends in multiple blunt spikes that help concentrate the force of a powerful swing down into a smaller, more focused area, allowing it to smash through armor with greater ease. Due to the tremendous size and weight of its head, an earth breaker is poorly balanced, and requires two hands to properly lift and control.

Earthbreakers are already poorly balanced, it is this size increase which probably makes the Sledge too cumbersome to use in battle, and thus an improvised weapon.

The moment however someone can overcome this challenge (Catch Off-Guard), they can make great use of Sledges in battle as well.


The RAW argument is not closed.

Your 10lb Sledge example is for simple, basic adventuring gear, not a description of every sledge you'll ever come across while adventuring.

Therefore this excerpt from the Improvised Weapon rules is the more appropriate rule to follow: "To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match."

.

Gray Warden, I apologize for what I said earlier. It was uncalled for and bad form.


Quick question since a sledge hammer functions as an improvised earth breaker can you use thunder and fang to wield it in 1h?


doomman47 wrote:
Quick question since a sledge hammer functions as an improvised earth breaker can you use thunder and fang to wield it in 1h?

RAW it must be an Earthbreaker, so no. But it doesn't really change anything mechanically so I'd allow it.


I'd definitely say no. You're trained with a specific weapon combination. Something that behaves differently form an earthbreaker doesn't match your training (muscle memory etc.), and if it does behave like an earthbreaker, it's not an improvised weapon but *drumroll* an earthbreaker!

Silver Crusade

I don't understand why you keep stating the obvious. Of course if we are talking about an unconventionally sized Sledge we get to follow improvised weapons rules, the same way if we are talking about an unconventionally sized Longsword we have to adapt its damage according to size rules. And I have already agreed with you on this point several times already.

What I do not agree with is essentially this statement:

Ryze Kuja wrote:
It would do similar damage as a Light Hammer (2lbs) or a Warhammer (5lbs) depending on how much the sledgehammer in question actually weighs.

and not because it's intrinsically wrong, but because it conveys the idea that there is no such thing as a clearly defined and codified item called Sledge in the rulebooks. After I pointed out this fact, you then started insisting on the fact that size matters. But again, that's obvious, it's just not the point of this discussion.

The point is that we are talking about a game that, you like it or not, is based on clearly defined stereotypes. As a result, if the GM says "You find a Longsword", anyone in their right mind will rightfully assume it's a Medium sized Longsword made of steel, weighting 4lbs, dealing 1d8 damage and in pristine conditions, regardless if it was found in a 2000 years old ruin in Osirion or the high-tech Numeria or anywhere else.

Similarly, if someone talks about a Sledge, with any chance they will be referring to the one linked so far, because that's the most sensible assumption without any further and explicit information saying otherwise. IF for some reasons they are not referring to that one, say because it's a Fey-sized Sledge or because it's made of unconventional materials or it has the broken condition, then it's up to the OP (or the GM) to specify it.

But until then, these are the stats for Sledges, the same way these are the stats for Longswords, and it makes no sense questioning them without a clear reason to do so.

Silver Crusade

doomman47 wrote:
Quick question since a sledge hammer functions as an improvised earth breaker can you use thunder and fang to wield it in 1h?

It doesn't, the same way other weapon-specific feats would not apply, such as Weapon Focus [Earthbreaker]. Essentially, Derklord's statement sums it up: it doesn't matter if you say it's improvised; if it works as a specific manufactured weapon, it is that specific manufactured weapon.


Only thing I want to add here, because... christ the back and forth...

Gloves of Improvised Might

Since people were talking about weapon enhancements and improvised weapons not being able to get them.

Edit: then I see it mentioned in passing

Dark Archive

I would recommend using the Pathfinder society's campaign rule, which states that the maximum damage for shikigami style is 3d6.

Further, if the player is combining shikigami style with the Extemporaneous Channeler, it's good to note that both boosting the weapon AND activating the style feat are swift actions, so he can't do them both on the first round.

Further, while the channeler stacks with shikigami style, and it stacks with gloves of improvised might,the gloves and shikigami style do not stack with each other, nor do they stack with whatever enchantment the improvised weapon would have.

And if they want to enchant the "improvised" item as if it were a weapon, it no longer counts as an improvised weapon since it's now meant to be used as a weapon.

As a sidenote, the shikigami manipulation is mostly brokenly strong because before it, the caster level of items usually meant next to nothing. It had no use whatsoever. So there are items that have caster levels that do not correlate in anyway with their power level, like a 250 gp traveler's any-tool that has cl9 and thus functions as a +2 weapon despite specifically saying it works poorly as a weapon (compare the price of a +3 weapon which also has CL 9 and costs 18 000 gp, or rod of merciful metamagic with CL 16, costing 2500gp, functioning as a +4 weapon which would normally cost 32k and would have a caster level of 12). While not RAW, it would be a good idea to houserule shikigami manipulation to work off of the CL AND the cost of the weapon, say, +1 per 4 caster levels, maximum bonus equal to +1 at 2k gp, +2 at 8k gp, +3 at 18k gp, +4 at 32k gp, and +5 at cl 20 and 50k gp.

Dark Archive

Sorry, that merciful metamagic rod is just 1500gp, not 2500.

Realistically, the most they should be doing caps around lvl 5, and should be AROUND*:
Lesser Merciful Metamagic Rod (1500gp), ruled by the GM to work as a 1d6dmg club (you could always rule it's just 1d4, though?)
Three shikigami feats -> 3d6, capped at max
Swift action to enter the style, turning the rod into a +4, 3d6+4 weapon.
Next round swift action, using extemporaneous channeler occultist to give the weapon +1 bane (whatever they are fighting) (requires successfully identifying the monster),
they now have a weapon that is effectively +7 to hit, 3d6+2d6+7 dmg, before any other feats or abilities or stats are factored in.
This has taken up their 1st, 3rd, and 5th level feats.
(do note that you can't have shikigami manipulation before level 5).
Should they grow large, 3d6 -> 4d6. No other size modifications should stack.

*I realize that a more effective build would have just 1 level of occultist and 4 levels of something else, like fighter for power attack and furious focus and 4 bab to get an effective +4 ab, +6 dmg to the weapon, maybe with a barbarian/bloodrager dip for rage to boost str -> more attack and dmg. This isn't the "maximum damage they can do" but it's an example of how much their base should probably be, before tweaks and multiclassing.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

1. Bad houserules.
2. The point of using shikigami manipulation and improvised gloves is to get the enhancement bonus via manipulation, while using the gloves for their enchantments.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / I need your help: Improvised Weapons All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.