Does a Piercing OR Slashing weapon count as both for specific abilities?


Rules Questions


Simple question,

Has there been an official ruling on whether a piercing OR slashing weapon works for abilities that call the use for a piercing weapon or slashing weapon, even if you're using the other damage type.

Sample case:

Swashbuckler using a dagger's slashing damage type to overcome specific DR and benefit from his finesse class ability (which requires a piercing type weapon)

Example 2:
Using a dagger to deal piercing damage but applying Blade of Mercy + Enforcer (which requires a slashing type weapon)

Example 3:
Getting the benefits of both previous examples at once. (Piercing or slashing damage giving swashbuckler finesse and triggering Blade of Mercy's benefit)

From what I could find, there has been no official ruling and both sides have fair arguments. I see most people ruling all the above examples work though. It might still be DM fiat.


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No, there hasn't, because they don't make official trulings for everything, especially not things that aren't really unclear. "Or" means "or".

The relevant rule text is this: "In other cases, a weapon can deal either of two types of damage. In a situation where the damage type is significant, the wielder can choose which type of damage to deal with such a weapon." [samaller]CRB pg. 144[/smaller]
In this case, the word "either" means "one of them"; as the text says, you choose. It can never be both at the same time.


It depends on how the ability is worded. Swashbucklers Finesse states you gain the benefits of weapon finesse with a light or one handed piercing melee weapon. In this case they are talking about the weapon type. A dagger is a light piercing melee weapon so when using it the swashbuckler gains the benefit of weapon finesse even when using it to do slashing damage. Some abilities state you need to be doing a certain type of damage. If that is the case then Derklord is correct that it does not count as both.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
It depends on how the ability is worded. Swashbucklers Finesse states you gain the benefits of weapon finesse with a light or one handed piercing melee weapon. In this case they are talking about the weapon type. A dagger is a light piercing melee weapon so when using it the swashbuckler gains the benefit of weapon finesse even when using it to do slashing damage. Some abilities state you need to be doing a certain type of damage. If that is the case then Derklord is correct that it does not count as both.

Incorrect.

Quote:
Weapons are classified according to the type of damage they deal

If you're using it to deal slashing damage it doesn't count as a piercing weapon for things like swashbuckler finesse. If you use it to deal piercing damage it doesn't count as a slashing weapon for things like slashing grace.


Morning Stars do both Piecing and Blunt Damage at the same time, but that's the only thing that does something like that I can think of. Combination Pole Arms like the Halberd, for instance, give you a choice between Piercing and Slashing, but not both at once.


There is a one-handed "P and S" weapon, the Broken-back seax, but it requires 15 strength. A small-sized Chain spear would work as well. Neither fits the OP's character, though.


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Correct; the thread question appears to be about the "or" cases specifically.

I'm in the "It's only an X weapon if you're using it to do X damage" camp. If the benefit doesn't involve attacking with the weapon, though, such as swashbuckler's initiative, it should just work.


willuwontu wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
It depends on how the ability is worded. Swashbucklers Finesse states you gain the benefits of weapon finesse with a light or one handed piercing melee weapon. In this case they are talking about the weapon type. A dagger is a light piercing melee weapon so when using it the swashbuckler gains the benefit of weapon finesse even when using it to do slashing damage. Some abilities state you need to be doing a certain type of damage. If that is the case then Derklord is correct that it does not count as both.

Incorrect.

Quote:
Weapons are classified according to the type of damage they deal
If you're using it to deal slashing damage it doesn't count as a piercing weapon for things like swashbuckler finesse. If you use it to deal piercing damage it doesn't count as a slashing weapon for things like slashing grace.

That's the thing, neither of your are incorrect.

It seems there still might not be an official ruling on it.

But the issue lies in both the wording and the intent. The wording, sans intent, is simply "You must be using X type weapon to gain this effect" it does not mention you have to be doing that particular damage type when using the weapon. Thus, without assuming any other intent, the rules as RAW state if I use a dagger, regardless of how I'm using it (to stab or slash) I'm using a piercing weapon, so swashbuckler abilities should apply.

On the other hand, if you start to imply intent, RAI as it were, one could make the argument "Swashbucklers are supposed to stab things, so their abilities should only key off when they do that". But you could also make the argument that rapier fighting styles involved both slashing and poking your enemy and they were no less accurate when doing so. But obviously that's not how they designed the class, as rapiers are just piercing, but my point still stands, sometimes "reality" does not imply intent (even though it makes sense for some one trained in a weapon's use to still be able to attack effectively with that weapon regardless if they decide to poke or slash if the weapon is made to do both. It's kind of silly to assume that as soon as you try to slash with a weapon made to do so and that your trained to use, suddenly you fumble around worse than a commoner, but on the other hand you could argue your specialty training is only with how to poke with that weapon, not how to slash it around, even though you could)

Then there's the other corner issue of whether or not a X or X type of weapon has to call out the damage type before they attack, as the rules do state you get to choose the most advantages of the two types. Most rule RAI and think that X or X weapons you have to choose the weapon damage type before you attack, but the rules written I believe say you get full damage as either damage type, whichever is better for the player.

But, that then leaves the door open to certain weird cases where like, a monk (or someone who takes the unarmed feats) with snake style could suddenly do swashbuckler abilities if he had the class levels for it, because snake style says you can deal piercing damage.

But obviously this probably wasn't the intent here, as a fist is not a piercing weapon, you just learned how to pierce with it. Plus the wording is specifically different. "You can deal piercing damage" as opposed to "Treat your fists like a light piercing weapon". But one could make the argument that it's still a piercing attack, so a swashbuckler could use his training effectively for that to work.

But that leaves another issue of what if someone has the feat "Weapon Versatility"? That allows them to make an attack with any of the 3 main damage types. Suddenly EVERY weapon can be a swashbuckler weapon... but I'm pretty sure that was not the intent either.

So the rabbit whole can go pretty deep, and there's plenty of sway for it to work one way or the other, though the clear RAW does lean a bit more towards the "Can use either damage type and still gain the ability because it's that kind of weapon" ruling. Further, there are instances where specifically language states "This weapon can now deal X damage type" vs "This weapon is an X type of weapon". That distinction is important, otherwise, you run into issues where anyone with a single easy to get feat can suddenly use any weapon in any way with any weapon type restriction. There are other corner case issues to but best not to go that deep.

So ya, that's the issue. We just don't know what the true, official ruling is and there's RAW and RAI for both sides.

I don't know if we ever will now that they are focusing on Pathfinder 2.0 so it might just have to be left to GM fiat but it would be nice to get it FAQ or a designer for the game to weigh input.


I think looking through the lense of weapon versatility is a great. If a weapon is a type of weapon based so my on how you are dealing damage with it the weapon versatility allows any one handed or light weapon to do dex to damage when dealing slashing damage with slashing grace. That's a ruling that wwould have all sorts of people up in arms. So it is much more reasonable to say that a weapon is defined by isn't normal usage, not my the way you chose to deal damage with it in the moment.


baggageboy wrote:
I think looking through the lense of weapon versatility is a great. If a weapon is a type of weapon based so my on how you are dealing damage with it the weapon versatility allows any one handed or light weapon to do dex to damage when dealing slashing damage with slashing grace. That's a ruling that wwould have all sorts of people up in arms. So it is much more reasonable to say that a weapon is defined by isn't normal usage, not my the way you chose to deal damage with it in the moment.

Sure, I guess spending 4 feats instead spending 10.5k gp is too strong. It really is an unreasonable interpretation. [/sarcasm]

Not to mention the fact that you can't even select a weapon you make deal slashing damage with weapon versatility for slashing grace. Similarly, you can't select longsword for rogue finesse training even though you have an effortless lace longsword.

I do admit my example earlier was in error, as a dagger would count as a slashing weapon for taking slashing grace and slashing grace only cares whether you're wielding the chosen weapon (you could be using weapon versatility to deal bludgeoning damage and it'd still work with that weapon). However, if you didn't have slashing grace and were using it as a slashing weapon it wouldn't qualify for swashbuckler finesse.


willuwontu wrote:
Sure, I guess spending 4 feats instead spending 10.5k gp is too strong. It really is an unreasonable interpretation. [/sarcasm]

I personally don't think it is overpowered, but I've seen a lot of people very vehemently attack the combination in the past.

Sovereign Court

If its about usage, then Swashbucklers can Finesse a Warhammer using Weapon Versatility and get level to damage with Precise Strike. If its not about usage, then the same character can finesse a Gozreh's Trident and get level to damage with Precise Strike.

Take your pick.


Weapon versatility is the worst thing to ever happen to pf1


Yet weapons really should have had the right damage type from the beginning. No one can deny you can do piercing (stab) attacks with a longsword, and a few people might even be able to do blunt (pummel strike). Weapon Versatility is a fix to the problem of them oversimplifying damage types, by charging whats effectively a tax.

I will agree, that the abilities depend on how you are using it at the moment, barring specific wording. Its the same reason you can 2-h a 1-h weapon for Power Attack, why Jotungrip works, and why you can use range feats with thrown melee weapon.


Roco wrote:
But the issue lies in both the wording and the intent. The wording, sans intent, is simply "You must be using X type weapon to gain this effect" it does not mention you have to be doing that particular damage type when using the weapon. Thus, without assuming any other intent, the rules as RAW state if I use a dagger, regardless of how I'm using it (to stab or slash) I'm using a piercing weapon, so swashbuckler abilities should apply.

No, this is wrong. It is only a slashing weapon if you use it to deal slashing damage, and it's only a piercing weapon if you use it to deal piercing damage - "Weapons are classified according to the type of damage they deal". The damage you choseto deal is what makes the classification.

Roco wrote:
Then there's the other corner issue of whether or not a X or X type of weapon has to call out the damage type before they attack, as the rules do state you get to choose the most advantages of the two types. Most rule RAI and think that X or X weapons you have to choose the weapon damage type before you attack, but the rules written I believe say you get full damage as either damage type, whichever is better for the player.

Er, what? Could you please quote the rule you're referring to? Becuase I have no idea where that is supposed to come from. The rules don't talk about "the most advantages", the rules say you choose which damage you want to deal.

Roco wrote:

But, that then leaves the door open to certain weird cases where like, a monk (or someone who takes the unarmed feats) with snake style could suddenly do swashbuckler abilities if he had the class levels for it, because snake style says you can deal piercing damage.

But obviously this probably wasn't the intent here, as a fist is not a piercing weapon, you just learned how to pierce with it.

Wrong again - if you attack with unarmed strikes to deal piercing damage, it's a piercing weapon. I see no reason to doubt that this is exactly the intend.

Roco wrote:
But that leaves another issue of what if someone has the feat "Weapon Versatility"? That allows them to make an attack with any of the 3 main damage types. Suddenly EVERY weapon can be a swashbuckler weapon... but I'm pretty sure that was not the intent either.

Why not? You're wasting a feat after all. Compare Slashing Grace, which explicitly allows slashing weapons to work with Swashbuckler abilities, so the ability to do so is without any doubt within the realm of a feat. Considering that there are no bludgeoning 18-20 weapons (and only two B 19-20 weapon), there's basically no reason for a Swashbuckler to use Weapon Versatility. Not the least because if you use Weapon Versatility to make your weapon piercing, it is only piercing, so doesn't work with e.g. Blade of Mercy (unlike Slashing Grace, which allows using both at the same time).


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Firebug wrote:

If its about usage, then Swashbucklers can Finesse a Warhammer using Weapon Versatility and get level to damage with Precise Strike. If its not about usage, then the same character can finesse a Gozreh's Trident and get level to damage with Precise Strike.

Take your pick.

YMMV really heavily, since you require fiat to suggest that Weapon Versatility changes the type of the weapon. X bludgeoning weapon doesn't -become- a slashing weapon just because you have a feat that lets you change its bludgeoning damage to slashing, you're not causally changing a property of the weapon.

Ryan Freire wrote:
Weapon versatility is the worst thing to ever happen to pf1

And *this* is sensationalist hilarity. Are you gonna backup that claim at all: That a feat that most see as 'not worth taking' from a splatbook is the single greatest tragedy in the system? It's a great feat, and is make-or-break for many low-level characters in specific campaigns. But even more ubiquitous is Power Attack, and this is the hill you choose?


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Weapon versatility is the worst thing to ever happen to pf1

Not even close.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Roco wrote:
Most rule RAI and think that X or X weapons you have to choose the weapon damage type before you attack, but the rules written I believe say you get full damage as either damage type, whichever is better for the player.

The actual rule is simply

Quote:
Some weapons deal damage of multiple types. If a weapon causes two types of damage, the type it deals is not half one type and half another; all damage caused is of both types. Therefore, a creature would have to be immune to both types of damage to ignore any of the damage caused by such a weapon. In other cases, a weapon can deal either of two types of damage. In a situation where the damage type is significant, the wielder can choose which type of damage to deal with such a weapon.

That pretty clearly says that you choose which of the available damage types to deal. Granted, it doesn't specify exactly when you choose, but it does say 'In a situation where the damage type is significant...'...if you are claiming an attack bonus based on the damage type of the weapon, that sounds significant to me, so is probably the point you need to choose. It's not entirely explicit that you can't change that choice during a single attack, but that seems fairly self-evident to me. So, a morning star is indeed both B and P for all attacks, while a Gladius has to pick and choose for each attack.


blahpers wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Weapon versatility is the worst thing to ever happen to pf1
Not even close.

Meh, piercing warhammers

Hot garbage


Take a look at a picture of RL rather than fantasy warhammers and you may decide that warhammers doing bludgeoning damage is the crazy thing. Piercing looks more natural for those thin or spiky points.


Real life warhammers always had one pointy end made to pierce plate armor (and one blunt end to dent it). They should very much be "B or P".


Ryan Freire wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Weapon versatility is the worst thing to ever happen to pf1
Not even close.

Meh, piercing warhammers

Hot garbage

Not saying it isn't silly, but there are way worse things.

Edit: Just noticed that it isn't even limited to melee weapons. I love the idea of "shifting my grip" on a musket so that it deals slashing damage. *facepalm*


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
blahpers wrote:
Edit: Just noticed that it isn't even limited to melee weapons. I love the idea of "shifting my grip" on a musket so that it deals slashing damage. *facepalm*

A grazing shot along the widest part of the exposed belly of the zombie for slashing damage. Aiming for the thickest point at the bridge of the nose on the skeleton's helmet to force the blunt helmet into its skull.

Not really far-fetched for a heroic, cinematic, fantastical setting.


blahpers wrote:
Edit: Just noticed that it isn't even limited to melee weapons. I love the idea of "shifting my grip" on a musket so that it deals slashing damage. *facepalm*

I mean for ranged weapons with ammo, the damage type is determined by the ammo not the weapon, which is why we have blunt arrows and not blunt bows.


willuwontu wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Edit: Just noticed that it isn't even limited to melee weapons. I love the idea of "shifting my grip" on a musket so that it deals slashing damage. *facepalm*
I mean for ranged weapons with ammo, the damage type is determined by the ammo not the weapon, which is why we have blunt arrows and not blunt bows.

Exactly, but then this feat comes along. We're all imaginative folks and can come up with rationales for a given situation, but it's still pretty weird.

Sovereign Court

Shift your grip on that Battle Poi so it no longer deals fire damage...


Firebug wrote:
Shift your grip on that Battle Poi so it no longer deals fire damage...

Same for my Mystic Bolts.


Mystic Bolts don't work, because they only exist in the split second you attack with them. At a time where you could take a swift action, you aren't wielding any.


Weapon versatility doesn't require any action to activate so it would work just fine...


Basically, magic only goes so far, fantasy only goes so far, eventually you run into suspension of disbelief issues, and the last five or six posts show where this feat runs into hot garbage territory.

Is it the single greatest problem in pf1?

No obviously that was hyperbole

Is it a feat that is well intentioned but opens up disbelief destroying options? Yeah it is.


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baggageboy wrote:
Weapon versatility doesn't require any action to activate so it would work just fine...

"When wielding a weapon with which you have Weapon Focus, you can shift your grip as a swift action (...)"


Derklord wrote:
baggageboy wrote:
Weapon versatility doesn't require any action to activate so it would work just fine...
"When wielding a weapon with which you have Weapon Focus, you can shift your grip as a swift action (...)"

I apologize. I was misremembering and should have gone back and read the feat before posting, but did you miss the part at the end?

"If your base attack bonus is +5 or higher, using this feat is a free action instead."


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
baggageboy wrote:
Derklord wrote:
baggageboy wrote:
Weapon versatility doesn't require any action to activate so it would work just fine...
"When wielding a weapon with which you have Weapon Focus, you can shift your grip as a swift action (...)"

I apologize. I was misremembering and should have gone back and read the feat before posting, but did you miss the part at the end?

"If your base attack bonus is +5 or higher, using this feat is a free action instead."

A free action is still an action. The argument against Versatile Mystic Bolts still holds.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Ryan Freire wrote:

Basically, magic only goes so far, fantasy only goes so far, eventually you run into suspension of disbelief issues, and the last five or six posts show where this feat runs into hot garbage territory.

Is it the single greatest problem in pf1?

No obviously that was hyperbole

Is it a feat that is well intentioned but opens up disbelief destroying options? Yeah it is.

Interesting. I always found the lack of this mechanic a bigger disbelief issue. I would expect using a weapon to do different damage to be a free action that anybody can do, but you take the non-proficiency/improvised penalty to do so.

In fact, before this feat, that was a GM ruling that I had seen more than once.


GinoA wrote:
baggageboy wrote:
Derklord wrote:
baggageboy wrote:
Weapon versatility doesn't require any action to activate so it would work just fine...
"When wielding a weapon with which you have Weapon Focus, you can shift your grip as a swift action (...)"

I apologize. I was misremembering and should have gone back and read the feat before posting, but did you miss the part at the end?

"If your base attack bonus is +5 or higher, using this feat is a free action instead."

A free action is still an action. The argument against Versatile Mystic Bolts still holds.

That interpretation is reasonable, but the limitations on mystic bolts don't say that they are intantaneous, just "imperminant" the only listed limitation is no applying spells that target a single weapon. Regardless, the whole "how can weapon versatility be weird" discussion while diverting is off topic.

The main take away from this thread is that this question is still contentious and that there isn't a single answer so still expect table variation.

Peraonaly I believe the most reasonable interpretarion is this. In the core book where it says that a season's type is determined by the damage it is explaining what a weapon type is. A weapon is defined by the type of damage it normally does. If you use an ability to change what type of damage it doesn't change the weapon's actual type. A rapier whether used in a way to do slashing or blunt damage is still a piercing weapon.

When you have a weapon capable of multiple damage types like a gladius it is a slashing weapon, and it is a piercing weapon. It makes no sense that using a gladulius one way you're an amazing swashbuckling boss, but used to cut instead of stab you become inept. Or that you can suddenly become a boss when "stabbing" someone with a maul.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quote:
It makes no sense that using a gladulius one way you're an amazing swashbuckling boss, but used to cut instead of stab you become inept.

My own disbelief suspenders actually feel differently here. I find it far more sensible that the swashbuckler gets better results when using the weapon with a technique he's trained in. Clearly, YMMV.


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baggageboy wrote:
That interpretation is reasonable, but the limitations on mystic bolts don't say that they are intantaneous, just "imperminant" the only listed limitation is no applying spells that target a single weapon.

The ability says "the bolt appears only briefly, so a warlock using mystic bolts has a free hand any time she isn’t attacking with a mystic bolt."

Free hand means no bolt, which means any time the warlock isn't attack, there is no bolt.

baggageboy wrote:
It makes no sense that using a gladulius one way you're an amazing swashbuckling boss, but used to cut instead of stab you become inept

It totally makes sense. Your whole trainign is about stabbing motions, slashing motions require completely different training. The Precice Strike deed is about stabbing where it hurts most, that's not something you can do while doing slashing or bludgeoning damage.

That Versatile Weapon, which no sane Swashbuckler ever takes anyway, mostly doesn't make sense in-universe should not affect the ruling.

The "most reasonable interpretation" is to do what the CRB says, the damage you try to deal in an attack defines what type of wweapon it is for that attack.


as far as i remember from reading the weapon rules a while back over a similar argument:

the type and damage done rules are a cycle.

it does slashing damage because its a slashing weapon.
its a slashing weapon because it does slashing damage.

so once an ability breaks this cycle we are in a state of, who the f$~+ designed these rules? and can someone punish him please?

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