Sundering damage


Rules Questions


I know this has been beat to death (Yes it's a pun for sundering) but I haven't been able to find anything even remotely like this question.
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Sunder

You can attempt to sunder an item held or worn by your opponent as part of an attack action in place of a melee attack in place of a melee attack* (see Editors Note: Multiple Sunder Attempts). If you do not have the Improved Sunder feat, or a similar ability, attempting to sunder an item provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

If your attack is successful, you deal damage to the item normally. Damage that exceeds the object’s Hardness is subtracted from its hit points. If an object has equal to or less than half its total hit points remaining, it gains the broken condition. If the damage you deal would reduce the object to less than 0 hit points, you can choose to destroy it. If you do not choose to destroy it, the object is left with only 1 hit point and the broken condition.
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Improved Sunder

You are skilled at damaging your foes’ weapons and armor.

Prerequisite: Str 13, Power Attack, base attack bonus +1.

Benefit: You do not provoke an attack of opportunity when performing a sunder combat maneuver. In addition, you receive a +2 bonus on checks made to sunder an item. You also receive a +2 bonus to your Combat Maneuver Defense whenever an opponent tries to sunder your gear.

Normal: You provoke an attack of opportunity when performing a sunder combat maneuver.
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Greater Sunder

Your devastating strikes cleave through weapons and armor and into their wielders, damaging both item and wielder alike in a single terrific strike.

Prerequisites: Improved Sunder, Power Attack, base attack bonus +6, Str 13.

Benefit: You receive a +2 bonus on checks made to sunder an item. This bonus stacks with the bonus granted by Improved Sunder. Whenever you sunder to destroy a weapon, shield, or suit of armor, any excess damage is applied to the item’s wielder. No damage is transferred if you decide to leave the item with 1 hit point.

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So by these rules, you get to add +4 to your CMB to Sunder. Great. But does it only get applied to the CMB check? Or does it also get applied to the damage dealt normally?

My interpretation is that it only applies to the CMB check and would have to be applied to the damage roll through Power Attack. No other option available.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not sure I totally understand the question, but the bonuses from Improved and Greater Sunder don't add to the damage you deal. Power Attack does, though. You would take Power Attack's penalty to your CMB roll, but you do more damage to the object.


Yes. That's exactly what I meant although I apparently didn't word it very well.

The bottom line is that Improved and Greater Sunder add +4 to the CMB roll which could then be Power Attacked to the damage roll as per the norm.

Instead of Improved and Greater Sunder adding +4 to both the CMB roll and the damage roll.


Correct. Bonuses to combat maneuver checks apply to combat maneuver checks, not to damage rolls, just like bonuses to attack rolls apply to attack rolls, not damage rolls. (There are lots of bonuses that apply to both attack and damage rolls, but they explicitly say so.)

Note that Power Attack will still apply a penalty to the combat maneuver check just as it would an ordinary attack roll. But let's face it--you're gonna use Power Attack unless you know you'll break the thing with a regular hit.


I get the sense that you might be familiar with 3.x power attack, where the character could choose how much of a penalty to take when power attacking, limited to a maximum but not set to specific number by their BAB. If so, this changed. In PF, power attack is a set penalty to attack and a corresponding set bonus to damage according to BAB. You don’t get to opt for -1att/+2 dmg when you think you will have a hard time hitting your opponent. You also don’t get to opt for -5 att/+10dmg when you’ve got a bunch of bonuses to hit so you can afford to take a bigger penalty there.

Sunder, Improved Sunder and Greater Sunder will have absolutely no direct affect whatsoever on your damage roll, power attack or not. The bonuses they add will simply make it easier to land your attempt to sunder without any effect on the damage should you land your attempt.


born_of_fire wrote:

I get the sense that you might be familiar with 3.x power attack, where the character could choose how much of a penalty to take when power attacking, limited to a maximum but not set to specific number by their BAB. If so, this changed. In PF, power attack is a set penalty to attack and a corresponding set bonus to damage according to BAB. You don’t get to opt for -1att/+2 dmg when you think you will have a hard time hitting your opponent. You also don’t get to opt for -5 att/+10dmg when you’ve got a bunch of bonuses to hit so you can afford to take a bigger penalty there.

Sunder, Improved Sunder and Greater Sunder will have absolutely no direct affect whatsoever on your damage roll, power attack or not. The bonuses they add will simply make it easier to land your attempt to sunder without any effect on the damage should you land your attempt.

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Power Attack

You can make exceptionally deadly melee attacks by sacrificing accuracy for strength.

Prerequisites: Str 13, base attack bonus +1.

Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +2 bonus on all melee damage rolls. This bonus to damage is increased by half (+50%) if you are making an attack with a two-handed weapon, a one handed weapon using two hands, or a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls. This bonus to damage is halved (–50%) if you are making an attack with an off-hand weapon or secondary natural weapon.

When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every 4 points thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the bonus to damage increases by +2.

You must choose to use this feat before making an attack roll, and its effects last until your next turn. The bonus damage does not apply to touch attacks or effects that do not deal hit point damage.

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You are correct in that I am more familiar with the 3.5 version of power attack. However, now you've got me confused. The wording for Power Attack seems to work quite a bit like the 3.5 version. The only thing I see here is that I may only get to use Power Attack at one increment...the -1 attack/+2 damage you were referring to. Or as I progress in BAB it goes up to -2/+4, -3/+6, -4/+8 and so on. This is different from 3.5 because I can choose to use it or not...instead of at what increment.

If this is correct, then Improved and Greater Sunder will in fact boost my Sunder CMB roll thereby allowing me to choose to Power Attack my BAB bonus over to Damage. Albeit at the one increment instead of me choosing how much to transfer.

Am I wrong somehow?


I think your understanding is correct, but you're phrasing some things very weirdly and thus spread confusion.

The way you're phrasing it implies that there is some connection between Power Attack and Improved/Greater Sunder, when there really isn't. For instance, you don't "[apply Improved Sunder's bonus] to the damage roll through Power Attack" - they bonus from iSunder may match the PA penalty at BAB 4 through 7, but there're still independent things. Likewise, the sunder feats don't "[allow you] to chose to Power Attack", you always have that ability when you have the feat - you can use Power Attack to get a bonus on sunder damage rolls without having any sunder improving feats.

Oh, and maybe you should start putting feat text in spoilers, for ease of reading.

Click here to see how:
[spoiler=Name­]Text[/spoiler­]


Ok. Now I see what you are getting at.

If I get +2 from Improved Sunder and +2 from Greater Sunder, that evens out 4 the BAB I use for power attack if I choose to do so. Beyond that it becomes a matter of what level I'm at and how much more BAB I want to sacrifice to power attack at higher levels.


I feel like we are all very close to being on the same page but we’re just not quite connecting up properly.

The first thing that might help is to stop treating power attack and the sundering feats as if they are somehow related to or dependant on each other. They are not. The power attack feat has nothing to do with the sundering feats and the sundering feats have nothing to do with power attack (other than PA as a prerequisite to gain the sundering feats at all). You need power attack to power attack; you need the sundering feats to sunder without provoking and to gain additional bonuses to your sunder attempts. You can have some, none or all of these feats but sundering is not dependant upon or restricted by PA and PA is not dependant upon or restricted by sundering.

My main concern with what your understanding appears to be is that you keep referring to choosing how much your penalty is when power attacking based on how much of a bonus you have from your sundering feats. In PF, there is no choice for you to make regarding your PA penalty and the corresponding damage bonus. It is determined by your BAB. Whether you have 0 bonuses to your attack roll from buffs, feats, tactical positioning etc. or you have +70 to your attack roll from buffs , feats, tactical positioning etc. the penalty for power attack ALWAYS goes like this: BAB 1-3 = -1attack/+2 damage, BAB 4-7 = -2/+4, BAB 8-11 = -3/+6, BAB 12-15 = -4/+8, BAB 16-20 = -5/+10. There’s some variation in the damage depending on a few things like whether you are 2 handing and some class abilities and such but the attack penalty is ALWAYS fixed and ALWAYS determined by your BAB.

In your description, the +4 from your sundering feats will be offset/negate/pay for your -4 attack penalty when power attacking only if your BAB is between 12 and 15 because -4 is the penalty you take for power attacking at that BAB range. You do not ever get to choose “how much more BAB I want to sacrifice to power attack at higher levels.” Power Attack is an on/off switch in PF. You’re either PA’ing or you’re not and the penalty to attack and bonus to damage are a fixed amount determined by your BAB.

Many edits—composing on my phone. Apologies for any trouble this may cause.


The attack penalty and damage bonus from Power Attack is explicitly tied to your BAB. You have NO choice how much to apply. You either apply none by not using it, or applying all by using it.

What the sunder feats do is apply a bonus to the check to make the attack. This has zero relation to the use of power attack.

/cevah

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