Detonators and Grenades.


Rules Questions


I've had some of my fellow players swear that in the CRB there are rules that state you can hook up to six grenades to a single detonator, and use it as a single powerful (and expensive) grenade. I can't find this rule anywhere for the life of me.

Has anyone else seen this or are they pulling a fast one on our GM?

A six grenade bomb took a huge chunk out of what was supposed to be the BBG for the adventure.

Shadow Lodge

Pulling a fast one more or less. There's no rules for what happens when you do this.

Some food for thought on how to handle it.


It was for an organized play game too, so that really made it odd to me, but they convinced the GM the rule existed and he didn't want to stop play to search the CRB for a single line of text somewhere.

Liberty's Edge

Lets see what the rulebook says.

Quote:

Detonator - Tech Items pg 128

This conical device primes and detonates explosives (including grenades) with a push of a button. Programming a detonator to a specific package of explosives takes 1 minute, after which the detonator can be triggered in one of several ways. The detonator can be set to ignite its payload with the simple press of a button (no action), a four-digit command code (a move action), or a complex input method, such as scanning your retina or thumbprint (a full action). You choose the triggering method when setting the detonator. A detonator detonates its payload only if it is within 500 feet, but some detonators can make use of signal-boosting technologies at the risk of becoming vulnerable to countermeasures like signal jammers and other effects. Explosives have the same price, effect, and weight as grenades. If you successfully set an explosive on a stationary object with a detonator using the Engineering skill, the explosive’s damage ignores half of the object’s hardness.

Also if you see the Table 7-26 under "Capacity" it lists 5 for this item with 1/use.

To me this pretty explicitly states that you can take 5 INDIVIDUAL Explosives/Grenades, pack them in a "Conical Device" (Like a breaching Charge). It notes "package" of explosives which tells us that it detonates everything you place inside of it once activated in whichever way you setup.

This may seem powerful being able to trigger up to 5 grenades at once but mind you still have to have access to/loot/pay for them and they would all go off with their own independent Saving Throws none of would be raised by a Dex Modifier. Getting caught in this explosion would trigger 5 Saving throws with each corresponding to a different Grenade.

So, they were incorrect but only in terms of the total capacity for destruction by a digit.


Considering that for the price of a Frag Grenade II you get 20 Frag Grenades I, it's quite explicit that it's not intended by the rules. 20d6 damage instead of 2d6 damage at level 4 is far from balanced.

So, no, it's nowhere in the rules, and it shouldn't be allowed if you want your fights to stay interesting.


Uchuujin wrote:
I've had some of my fellow players swear that in the CRB there are rules that state you can hook up to six grenades to a single detonator, and use it as a single powerful (and expensive) grenade. I can't find this rule anywhere for the life of me.

Whether or not you can rig up multiple explosives to the same detonator is a GM discretion type thing, with a lot of wiggle room and gray areas, which means you should assume that one explosive can be rigged to one detonator with one minutes time unless the GM says otherwise.

In regards to your question, that was entirely against the rules. Grenades can't be rigged up to detonators in the first place. Explosives may be the same price, effect and item level as grenades, but explosives are not grenades and grenades are not explosives. Detonators can only detonate explosives, they can't RAW detonate grenades.


This same question was basically addressed here.

But the short answer is: Nowhere does it ever explicitly say this is allowed. And based on other things, it's much more reasonable to assume it is not allowed.

Like, why would you ever buy a level 20 explosive if you could just combine 20 level 1 explosives, for much cheaper.


Themetricsystem wrote:

Lets see what the rulebook says.

Quote:

Detonator - Tech Items pg 128

This conical device primes and detonates explosives (including grenades) with a push of a button. Programming a detonator to a specific package of explosives takes 1 minute, after which the detonator can be triggered in one of several ways. The detonator can be set to ignite its payload with the simple press of a button (no action), a four-digit command code (a move action), or a complex input method, such as scanning your retina or thumbprint (a full action). You choose the triggering method when setting the detonator. A detonator detonates its payload only if it is within 500 feet, but some detonators can make use of signal-boosting technologies at the risk of becoming vulnerable to countermeasures like signal jammers and other effects. Explosives have the same price, effect, and weight as grenades. If you successfully set an explosive on a stationary object with a detonator using the Engineering skill, the explosive’s damage ignores half of the object’s hardness.

Also if you see the Table 7-26 under "Capacity" it lists 5 for this item with 1/use.

To me this pretty explicitly states that you can take 5 INDIVIDUAL Explosives/Grenades, pack them in a "Conical Device" (Like a breaching Charge). It notes "package" of explosives which tells us that it detonates everything you place inside of it once activated in whichever way you setup.

This may seem powerful being able to trigger up to 5 grenades at once but mind you still have to have access to/loot/pay for them and they would all go off with their own independent Saving Throws none of would be raised by a Dex Modifier. Getting caught in this explosion would trigger 5 Saving throws with each corresponding to a different Grenade.

So, they were incorrect but only in terms of the total capacity for destruction by a digit.

It probably was just five and I was mis-remembering a few days later. Thanks for pointing out the capacity 5 was on a table, that's what I must have been overlooking.


Themetricsystem wrote:

Lets see what the rulebook says.

Quote:

Detonator - Tech Items pg 128

This conical device primes and detonates explosives (including grenades) with a push of a button. Programming a detonator to a specific package of explosives takes 1 minute, after which the detonator can be triggered in one of several ways. The detonator can be set to ignite its payload with the simple press of a button (no action), a four-digit command code (a move action), or a complex input method, such as scanning your retina or thumbprint (a full action). You choose the triggering method when setting the detonator. A detonator detonates its payload only if it is within 500 feet, but some detonators can make use of signal-boosting technologies at the risk of becoming vulnerable to countermeasures like signal jammers and other effects. Explosives have the same price, effect, and weight as grenades. If you successfully set an explosive on a stationary object with a detonator using the Engineering skill, the explosive’s damage ignores half of the object’s hardness.

Also if you see the Table 7-26 under "Capacity" it lists 5 for this item with 1/use.

To me this pretty explicitly states that you can take 5 INDIVIDUAL Explosives/Grenades, pack them in a "Conical Device" (Like a breaching Charge). It notes "package" of explosives which tells us that it detonates everything you place inside of it once activated in whichever way you setup.

This may seem powerful being able to trigger up to 5 grenades at once but mind you still have to have access to/loot/pay for them and they would all go off with their own independent Saving Throws none of would be raised by a Dex Modifier. Getting caught in this explosion would trigger 5 Saving throws with each corresponding to a different Grenade.

So, they were incorrect but only in terms of the total capacity for destruction by a digit.

"Package of explosive" is the unit of measure that explosives come in.

Like "1 grenade" is equivalent to 1 "package of explosives".

As far as capacity is concerned, it only means you can use the detonator 5 times before it's power reserve is expended. Even if you could hook multiple packages of explosives to be detonated simultaneously it would still only use one charge to set all of them off.


Most everything has been said here, but I just wanted to chime in and mention energy resistances and hardness. 5 grenades going off at once isn't 5d6, it's (1d6-Resistance)x5. Items and beefy characters aren't going to take much damage.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

As a recommended house rule, have the damage and radius increase by 1 die and 1 square for every doubling of the payload, respectively. (For example, using 8 identical grenades would result in +15 foot radius that does +3 dice worth of damage.)

That along with the prohibitive cost would keep it from being used too often.

D20 Modern did something similar with its explosive rules and it always worked out fantastically.

Liberty's Edge

Garretmander wrote:
Uchuujin wrote:
I've had some of my fellow players swear that in the CRB there are rules that state you can hook up to six grenades to a single detonator, and use it as a single powerful (and expensive) grenade. I can't find this rule anywhere for the life of me.

Whether or not you can rig up multiple explosives to the same detonator is a GM discretion type thing, with a lot of wiggle room and gray areas, which means you should assume that one explosive can be rigged to one detonator with one minutes time unless the GM says otherwise.

In regards to your question, that was entirely against the rules. Grenades can't be rigged up to detonators in the first place. Explosives may be the same price, effect and item level as grenades, but explosives are not grenades and grenades are not explosives. Detonators can only detonate explosives, they can't RAW detonate grenades.

Did you ever read the statblock, it LITERALLY states "primes and detonates explosives (including grenades)" right in the first sentence.

You seem to be confusing RAW with your personal view on how it should work.

You can fit 5 grenades in and detonate them all at once. It's really quite simple, just .... read the book.


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You can detonate grenades that much is clear.

Doing 5 at once is your personal view that isn't supported by the rules.

Capacity rules determine how many times you can use an item.

If you could connect multiple items, it wouldn't be limited by capacity. Capacity simply means you can use the detonator 5 times before it's internal power runs out and you have to buy a new one.

It doesn't even cover whether you could recharge it or not in the case of a detonator.

Personally I like Raving Dork's suggestions as a moderate way to reward "ingenuity" without allowing it be overpowering.


Also I'm not sure that once you have five all wired together it's going to be easy to throw anymore. I would say non-proficient with a 5 or 10 ft range increment at that point?


Apparently I am blind, whoops.

Now, 'package of explosives' is the sticking point up to GM discretion. Is that one? as many as you have free hands including the detonator? All explosives in reach? an infinite amount?

Liberty's Edge

Regardless if you're using the Detonator you're going to have to spend 1 full minute setting up the Explosives wherever you want them, throwing them and detonating is simply not in the cards, the device simply wouldn't work in that situation.

So, there IS no throwing this item for on the fly in-combat use... thats part of my justification for why this equipment is not "OP."

To me, "package of explosives" tells me everything I need to know, and the 5 Capacity indicates how much "Ammo" it fits. The 1/use is there to indicate that the Device is consumed when you use it.

These would all be DC 10 Saving throws for Frag Grenades MKI, and even for the most crazy Frag VIII Detonator with 5 enclosed in the blasting cap you'd still be looking at only a DC 20 Saving throw, something that ANY CR 20 Creature is going to make on a roll of 3+, esp given that they'd need to make 5 throws...

I just don't see ANY wording anywhere in the description that would indicate that it can only hold 1 Grenade, it would literally just be a straightup downgrade for more time and money investment in order to simply reduce an items hardness by 1/2.

All that aside, this probably needs FAQd for clarity since it's clear that different people read it differently.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Even if you can't connect a detonator to five grenades at once, I think it's clear that you can connect five detonators each to one grenade. As a skittermander, you hold all five detonators and as a free action set all of them off.

Detonators are a bucket of worms from a game-balance standpoint.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Themetricsystem wrote:
To me, "package of explosives" tells me everything I need to know, and the 5 Capacity indicates how much "Ammo" it fits. The 1/use is there to indicate that the Device is consumed when you use it.

Please see the text on how to read the table which contains the detonator on core book page 218.

Quote:

Capacity: This lists the maximum capacity for an item that

requires charges to function. An item that holds electrical
charges can be replenished with a battery (see page 190).

The detonator's entry does not indicate that its capacity is measured in grenades rather than charges. Thus it means you can detonate 5 explosives with it before you need to recharge or replace it.

Contrast the grenade launchers on page 178 which explicitly have their capacities listed as X grenades.


Arutema wrote:
Themetricsystem wrote:
To me, "package of explosives" tells me everything I need to know, and the 5 Capacity indicates how much "Ammo" it fits. The 1/use is there to indicate that the Device is consumed when you use it.

Please see the text on how to read the table which contains the detonator on core book page 218.

Quote:

Capacity: This lists the maximum capacity for an item that

requires charges to function. An item that holds electrical
charges can be replenished with a battery (see page 190).

The detonator's entry does not indicate that its capacity is measured in grenades rather than charges. Thus it means you can detonate 5 explosives with it before you need to recharge or replace it.

Contrast the grenade launchers on page 178 which explicitly have their capacities listed as X grenades.

I tried to point this out already, but themetricsystem isn't listening.

Shadow Lodge

So if i can duct tape 5 grenades together this pistol should be 24d6 damage at level 1 right?


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
So if i can duct tape 5 grenades together this pistol should be 24d6 damage at level 1 right?

So right :D

I want a plasma flame launcher rocket bolter thrower, tactical red star subzero!
Duct tape weapons for the win!!


So if everything is being interpreted properly a detonator can be used to detonate 5 explosives or grenades primed to that detonator?


Magyar5 wrote:

So if everything is being interpreted properly a detonator can be used to detonate 5 explosives or grenades primed to that detonator?

There's no agreed upon interpretation. It's all GM discretion.

The only guaranteed thing you can do at any table is detonate one grenade using one of a detonator's charges after spending one minute to link the detonator to the grenade.

Anything else is going to be up to the GM.


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Magyar5 wrote:

So if everything is being interpreted properly a detonator can be used to detonate 5 explosives or grenades primed to that detonator?

No.

Most of the people in this thread would disagree with that interpretation. The only person asserting that is themetricsystem who is conflating the capacity of the detonator to say that you can attach 5 explosives/grenades to it.

Rather than realizing it means it can be used to set off 5 things, with no definition of "how many" things can be set off at once.


Magyar5 wrote:

So if everything is being interpreted properly a detonator can be used to detonate 5 explosives or grenades primed to that detonator?

Sequentially, sure.


Uchuujin wrote:
Also I'm not sure that once you have five all wired together it's going to be easy to throw anymore. I would say non-proficient with a 5 or 10 ft range increment at that point?

I know not every one has English as a first language but I don't see how this is so difficult to understand.

I would take it that its a set of 5 detonators ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detonator) and a triggering device or you could use a com unit.

Just like it works in real life most explosives are inert you need something to set it off.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

As a Game Master (or Star Lord, as I have instructed my group to call me), this is how I would rule:

-Ductaping grenades together would be treated as cluster weapons.

Here is the rule from the armory for cluster weapons:
Cluster A cluster weapon is a form of grenade launcher that can fire a single grenade or (if loaded with appropriate grenades) can expend two identical grenades as a single attack. In the latter case, the grenades act as a single grenade of the same type (with a single attack roll, dealing damage only once, and so on), except its radius is increased by the listed amount listed and the save DC of any effects created by the grenade is calculated using the cluster weapon’s item level if it is higher than the grenade’s item level. Attempting to fire two nonidentical grenades results in an error code and the weapon does not fire.

There would be no damage increase, only area of effect increase. Attaching more than 2 grenades together would have no effect in my book, but you other GM's could possibly rule it by increasing the area of effect again.


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That's also a great way to rule it Nimor.

Heck, I might even be generous and say you can keep combining more for higher and higher save DCs and blast radius. The part that's unbalancing about multiple grenades is the damage increase. Not accounting for appropriate DR or energy resistance, 20 grenades would do a minimum of 20 damage.

But by simply expanding the blast radius and save DC, sure the damage might be more likely to be full but you're still only dealing 1d6 with a level 1 grenade cluster.

Edit: Actually, I think I like this rule best on how to deal with. Sure, you can cause a planet wide explosion with a save DC of infinity. Most people survive and now everyone hates you.

Shadow Lodge

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Nimor Starseeker wrote:

As a Game Master (or Star Lord)

Who?


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Nimor Starseeker wrote:

As a Game Master (or Star Lord)

Who?

The GM term is obsolete - we are Star Lords now. You can also say: his enlightened Excellency Star Lord (insert first name).


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would allow increases in damage from stacked explosives, personally. . . but *only* for placed and positioned explosives, not for anything resembling an attack. If you want to blow a hole in a wall or bulkhead, you could improvise together a bunch of explosives. . . but if you want to try and throw some giant 30 pound bag full of interlinked grenades at an enemy in battle, it ain't going to work. It would also *not* scale linearly.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

In the Dead Suns adventure, book 2, encounter C5, the enemy has rigged 10 explosives to go off, triggered with a detonator all in one go. In the example, the explosives are used to destroy a large section of ceiling, making it fall down on the PCs, so it’s falling debris that hurts the players, not the actual explosion itself. So I think it is fairl to say that you can rig several explosives to go off at once. L
I would still have the area of effect increased, and not the damage.


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Starfinder isn't really a good system to use a 'But the NPCs can do it!' argument as to what a PC can do.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

For the purpose of deciding if you can detonate several of explosives at once it is. We are not talking about a special NPC/monster ability here - it’s weapon items: explosives and detonators plus skills engineering.


Nimor Starseeker wrote:

In the Dead Suns adventure, book 2, encounter C5, the enemy has rigged 10 explosives to go off, triggered with a detonator all in one go. In the example, the explosives are used to destroy a large section of ceiling, making it fall down on the PCs, so it’s falling debris that hurts the players, not the actual explosion itself. So I think it is fairl to say that you can rig several explosives to go off at once. L

I would still have the area of effect increased, and not the damage.

We discussed that above and said that was more a plot device than an actual example with rules to explain how it was done.

My group played through this scenario, and I freaked out at first because our GM had the NPC monologue about having "several explosives rigged to go". When they set them off we thought we we're going to die. And then the explosion did no damage to us and we just had to roll to avoid the falling debris.

If anything I think this is more an example of a plot "hazard" that just happens to use "explosives" as a dramatic example, rather than a mechanical one.

Nimor Starseeker wrote:
For the purpose of deciding if you can detonate several of explosives at once it is. We are not talking about a special NPC/monster ability here - it’s weapon items: explosives and detonators plus skills engineering.

It's really not. And even if it were, the example given has the explosives deal no damage to people and instead cause the building to collapse. So sure, if you set up explosives in advance of the people you're trying to kill in their building and then lure them in you can detonate them and deal building collapse damage.

But you don't make a super bomb.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I am not sure we are on the same page here, especially in regards to your statement: But you don't make a super bomb.

Here is what I am thinking in detail and my reasoning behind it. I claim that you can put two grenades together and the effect of doing this will increase the explosion radius by 5 ft. The damage will not increase. In effect, I am creating a cluster effect, which is the same thing you get from the grenade launchers from the armoury. With a grenade launcher, you shoot two of the same types of grenades and the explosion radius expands by 5 ft. It is house-ruling, because there are no rules that say you can stick 2 grenades together and toss them at you enemies with increased radius, but as a GM/StarLord, I think it is OK to do this, because the same cluster effect is made with the Grenade launcher and that is by the rules.

As for rigging 10 explosives/grenades spread in a LARGE AREA, lets say 50 ft by 50 ft. I think: Yes, you can do this, because I have seen this in Dead Suns Book 2 event C5. The effect it has is:
1 - all 10 explosives blow up at once,
2 - they explode over a large area. So if a PC was in the explosion area, that PC would still only take normal damage from 1 grenade.
3 - If two grenades have overlapping explosion areas, Id consider raising the saving throw DC, but not increase damage.

As for the example from
As for rigging 10 explosives/grenades spread in a SINGLE SQUARE, 5 ft by 5 ft. I think: Yes, you can do this, and this is what it does:
1 - all 10 explosives blow up at once,
2 - a total of 2 grenades add 5 ft radius, a total of 6 grenades add 10 ft radius and a total of 12 grenades add 15 ft radius.
3 - For each grenade/explosive beyond the first explosive, id consider raising the DC saving throw by 1.

I might be a bit off, when it comes to adding the blast radius, DC saving throw increasing according to different amounts of grenades, but I think I am on the right track for being reasonable.

I agree with you that in the Dead Suns adventure, book 2, encounter C5, the enemy rigging a destructive trap to make the ceiling fall apart over the PCs, is a dramatic "hazard", not so much mechanical, but, BUT... I think the part about setting the 10 explosives to go off at once is mechanical.


My point is the rules don't explicitly cover what would happen if you combine grenades.

I agree it probably should be possible, but we simply don't have rules that cover it anywhere.

People have provided reasonable house rules in this thread about how to approach it.

But saying that "the adventure path does it" and using that to imply that it should just be linear damage increase isn't supported by anything.

Now, you seem to be saying that you don't support a linear damage increase, although the original poster seemed to. I was still focusing on that aspect where people were trying to argue that 20 level 1 explosives would do 20d6 damage.

I'd be all for increasing the save DC and radius by putting multiple grenades or explosives together. If you want to spend 20 grenades worth of credits to and increase the radius by 20 squares and the DC by 20 and still only have it do 1d6...hey I'm pretty okay with that. The radius and DC increases are exaggerations, but with the damage not scaling it just shouldn't be much of an issue.

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