Recently I have been writing code for a program that calculates the HP, Hardness, and Saving Throw Bonus of a given piece of equipment when you input the equipment's level and type (weapon, armor, computer, etc). This has caused me to question how the crafting rules, and other effects that state they increase an item's effective level, do or do not stack.
Here is a list of things I would like some clarification on:
1: If a weapon was crafted by a PC and later imbued with the Durable fusion, do both benefits stack to grant a total of +7 to the effective level?
2: If a suit of armor was crafted by a PC and later had the Tensile Reinforcement upgrade applied, do both benefits stack to grant a total of +7 to the effective level? Though clearly given the way the upgrade is worded, it doesn't increase the armor's save bonus.
3: If a PC were to buy a weapon manufactured by Multifold Industries and then imbue it with the Durable fusion, would they use the Multifold Industries calculation method and still treat the effective level as 5 higher?
4: Does an item (that is not a weapon or armor) have to be described in its respective entry as "sturdy" for a GM to use the better HP and Hardness calculations, or is that simply at the GM's discretion?
5: In Armory it says it's possible for a PC to make weapons with the benefits of any Manufacturer listed. Does this mean it is possible for a PC to make a weapon with the benefit granted by Multifold Industries weapons? Would the item in question still gain the +2 bonus to its effective level?
6: If 1 and 5 are true, could a PC stack the benefits of making a weapon themselves, grant it gain the Multifold Industries trait, and imbue it with the Durable fusion, granting a total +7 to the effective level and the ability to use the Multifold Industries HP and Hardness calculations?
I ask these because I'd like to be able to account for them in my program, and also so I can give suggestions to players on how they can safeguard their favorite items against being destroyed.
Yeah, sundering is pretty rare. The deck is kinda stacked against it being a good tactic.
* First off, it doesn't do anything against monsters that don't use weapons or armor. Those are not that rare.
* Sundering is never easy; it's against KAC+8 while you could also be attacking for damage against EAC, which is usually KAC-2. That's a 10 point swing in your to hit odds, that's huge. If you can reliably sunder people's stuff you're probably fighting enemies below your level and you could be full attacking them on EAC instead, winning the fight sooner.
* Sundering weapons can be interesting, but disarming is easier. In both cases it's against KAC+8 and for both there's +4 feat and a +2 weapon property available. But if you disarm, then the enemy is really disarmed, whereas with sunder you have to also do enough damage. Also, with disarm you're not destroying loot.
* Sundering armor can be interesting, but it differs depending on what kind of armor the enemy is wearing. Note that NPC AC is based on CR, regardless of what armor they're wearing, but if you then sunder their armor their AC should go down by the amount of the armor they're wearing. So how much you profit from sundering armor depends on how good the armor is. If you're facing a CR 10 enemy he should have a KAC of 25. He might be wearing a Defiance Specialist armor (+18 KAC) in which case doing enough damage make it Broken reduces his AC by 9; 18 if you destroy it. But he could also be wearing Officer Ceremonial Plate (+8 KAC) and then breaking or destroying the armor is only worth 4 or 8 KAC respectively. It's a lot easier however because that lower level item is much less robust. Worst case, he's wearing Freebooter III (light armor), worth only 6/13 points to break/destroy, but just as hard to do as the Defiance Specialist heavy armor of the same level.
So what it comes down to is, sometimes sundering can be good:
* Enemies that have one weapon they're really good with. For example operatives that have one gun that they're great with and a melee weapon that's a lot less impressive, but they keep using Uncanny Mobility to run out of melee. Disarm does it better though.
* If your to-hit is much better than that of the rest of the party and you're fighting an armored opponent with a LOT of HP. In that case, you could attack the armor to reduce the opponent's AC so that the rest of your party can attack more effectively.
These are rather niche circumstances. PCs interested in weapons shouldn't have much lower to-hit than the best one in the party. A difference of more than 2 is pretty big actually.