magic ammunition such as Flaming Arrows?


Rules Discussion


Items like this, that provide a one-time +1d6 fire damage bonus, is not especially rare to see in D&D adventures.

But it does not seem Pathfinder 2 offers official support for them in the CRB.

I do see the Flaming rune*. But my question is: what about a "consumable"** Flaming rune that a Ranged character can benefit from? Or, in other words, Flaming arrows :-)

Question: have I missed something or is there no magic ammo with bonus damage?

Question: what would be the expected price if there was?
(That is, in your best opinion, following the general frameworks of this edition, at what level should something like a Flaming ammo be pegged? Do note there is SOME precedence: things like "oil of Keen Edges" that pretty much is a consumable Keen rune.)

*) meaning that if you can get bonus damage from a "Flaming Bow" there's no game-play or balance reason not to allow Flaming Arrows as well...
**) not all ammo is consumables but I expect this to be


It you are trying to find an extra font of dmg, there are not.

You can enchant your weapon with the rune you want, but that's it.

You want to set some hay on fire? You can rule it with your DM by using oil on an arrow.


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Do Explosive Ammunition and Storm Arrow not count?


I think it was consciously cut from the game. In theory in first edition you could make a Green Arrow character who has many different types for every occasion, but in practice you probably just have one type of go-to arrow, in which case you just enchant the bow instead.

Magic ammo is a thing still, but they are special specific ammo, not just any rune. I think it's to prevent ranged characters from getting double runes, from weapon and from ammo, instead you just get weapon runes.

The expected price should be fairly high, since stacking runes as mentioned above would be a very powerful boon which would be more valuable than simply adding an extra rune to the bow. Compare to the non-damage boosting ammo that exists, or maybe to the alchemical bombs, to try and come up with a number, keeping this in mind.


K1 wrote:
It you are trying to find an extra font of dmg, there are not.

Thank you (in so much I shouldn't keep looking for what's not there)

Quote:


You can enchant your weapon with the rune you want, but that's it.

You want to set some hay on fire? You can rule it with your DM by using oil on an arrow.

No I want to hand out a Flaming (or Frost or whatev) Rune, except not on a permanent basis.

A happy middle-ground between "yes, you get +1d6 fire damage forever" and "no".

Lots of examples of this in scenarios for previous editions


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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Do Explosive Ammunition and Storm Arrow not count?

No, they do count, except I was looking for something relevant to the mid single-digit levels. Thank you.

More specifically, what to do when a d20 scenario gives out "three Flaming arrows". Something even a level 1 character could get their hands on without any fuss.

Obviously the answer is "but hand out three Flaming arrows then" :-) ...but what if the party sells them. What is the market price? What is the level?

In PF2 terms, using your best efforts to mimic any offical thinking (that is, following CRB precedent. Am not interested in things like "the price of a consumable is too high, so I'm putting it at 1/50th like before".


BellyBeard wrote:

I think it was consciously cut from the game. In theory in first edition you could make a Green Arrow character who has many different types for every occasion, but in practice you probably just have one type of go-to arrow, in which case you just enchant the bow instead.

Magic ammo is a thing still, but they are special specific ammo, not just any rune. I think it's to prevent ranged characters from getting double runes, from weapon and from ammo, instead you just get weapon runes.

The expected price should be fairly high, since stacking runes as mentioned above would be a very powerful boon which would be more valuable than simply adding an extra rune to the bow. Compare to the non-damage boosting ammo that exists, or maybe to the alchemical bombs, to try and come up with a number, keeping this in mind.

I think your theory "I think it was consciously cut from the game" is interesting, except I must shoot down your arguments :)

The game already says magic ammo suppresses any property runes on the bow or crossbow (unless the specific ammo says otherwise) so that's not a concern.

And I am not sure the Green Arrow character is relevant to the matter at hand. After all, I'm looking to hand out a few bonus fire d6's. The fact this won't change the life quality of an enchanter shouldn't be held against this desire. :)

The price for stacking effects is fortunately not up for discussion. But you're right such a price would be stratospheric indeed (even a level 20 character would want free bonus damage!)


Probably Spellstrike Ammunition:
https://2e.aonprd.com/Equipment.aspx?ID=167
Lvl 3 item, *12 gp a pop, can store lvl 1 spells.
If you want them to be ready-to-go nukes, then say they've already got lvl 1 shocking grasps stored in them.
2d12 lightning damage, probably just give them the standard lvl 1 DC (15) - just realised doesn't need a DC, its a straight ranged attack.
Swap out the damage type for whatever you want.

These would be a bit powerful for a lvl 1 character, so might want to reduce the number.


Zapp wrote:
And I am not sure the Green Arrow character is relevant to the matter at hand. After all, I'm looking to hand out a few bonus fire d6's. The fact this won't change the life quality of an enchanter shouldn't be held against this desire. :)

Yeah sorry, that was posted before I knew why you were asking. Also didn't see the part in the book about overwriting your bow's runes, thanks for pointing it out, that means they aren't as powerful as I first thought.

If we did the PF1 thing of 1/50 price they would be 10 GP each (it makes a good starting point for comparisons). If these arrows are going to be Flaming arrows with the crit rider, I would say that sounds about right.

Compare to moderate alchemist's fire, also 10 GP. The arrow will do d8 or d6 + d6 fire, and on crit will add d10 persistent fire. The bomb will get +1 to hit, do 2d8 fire, 2 splash, and 2 persistent fire. On crit bomb damage is doubled but not the other effects. The arrow obviously has better range too. So the bomb is probably better DPS in the general case of a close enemy with low crit chance, but the arrow is more valuable from farther away and with higher crit chances. So compared to the moderate alchemist's fire I think a Flaming arrow is either equal value or slightly below.

Hope this helps! :)


BellyBeard wrote:
If we did the PF1 thing of 1/50 price

We won't :)

Edit: What I am specifically looking for is PF2-talk like "the Flaming rune is a permanent level 8 rune, so the one-time ammunition should be a level N consumable.

If we go with level 8, that's 40 gold (or thereabouts).

(Then if we want you or I can take this information and go "that feels a wee bit too expensive so let's make it level X instead". At least we have the baseline.)

What I want y'all to do is give me input on what level is appropriate :) Level 8 is just my guess, after all.

There might be precedent in the form of existing items that suggest that "equal level" isn't the intended "formula" after all, what do I know :)


Varus Wreckpoint wrote:
Probably Spellstrike Ammunition:

Interesting. Thanks!

Edit : Since you activate this particular piece of magical ammunition by casting a spell into it, and activation only lasts your turn, you cannot find "preloaded" spellstrike ammunition.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Could always give them talismans that would attach to a bow, like a Potency Crystal but for fire.

Activate the talisman and instead of the weapon becoming +1 Striking, make it +1 and 1d6 fire dmg.


Or houserule a spellstrike lvl 0 arrow. Use a cantrip like produce flame in it.

Not sure how to price it though.

Maybe lvl 1 item at a cost of 3-4 gp?


Vlorax wrote:

Could always give them talismans that would attach to a bow, like a Potency Crystal but for fire.

Activate the talisman and instead of the weapon becoming +1 Striking, make it +1 and 1d6 fire dmg.

Yeah I could... but "here's a flaming arrow" feels much more "classic D&D" you know?

Here's a flaming talisman, which you don't shoot, but affix to your bow, and then shoot (a normal arrow). The longer route, you know what I mean?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Zapp wrote:
Vlorax wrote:

Could always give them talismans that would attach to a bow, like a Potency Crystal but for fire.

Activate the talisman and instead of the weapon becoming +1 Striking, make it +1 and 1d6 fire dmg.

Yeah I could... but "here's a flaming arrow" feels much more "classic D&D" you know?

Here's a flaming talisman, which you don't shoot, but affix to your bow, and then shoot (a normal arrow). The longer route, you know what I mean?

Gotcha, in that case I'd just theme them as magic "flaming arrows" where they're arrows with the talisman's embedded in them, maybe red crystal arrow heads.

Have them cost an Action to Activate since they're not affixed as normal, and when activated they're +1 +1d6 fire arrow.


Vlorax wrote:

Gotcha, in that case I'd just theme them as magic "flaming arrows" where they're arrows with the talisman's embedded in them, maybe red crystal arrow heads.

Have them cost an Action to Activate since they're not affixed as normal, and when activated they're +1 +1d6 fire arrow.

Honestly Talismans would not be my choice of a template/model. They are clearly meant to be heavily restricted (mainly because you can only use one every ten minutes*) and Flaming Arrows are clearly stuff the NPC bandits shoot at you two per round :)

*) Sure you could carry backup weaponry and pre-affix them, but the benefit of most Talismans isn't worth giving up your main weapon for


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Actually, talismans are the *perfect* model for magic arrows. They are affixed to their weapons (like a special arrowhead would be fixed to the arrow shaft) and they can be used only once, like all items with the "consumable" trait.

I don't see any functional difference between ammunition and talismans used as ammunition, aside from their varying powers.


Zapp wrote:
Vlorax wrote:

Gotcha, in that case I'd just theme them as magic "flaming arrows" where they're arrows with the talisman's embedded in them, maybe red crystal arrow heads.

Have them cost an Action to Activate since they're not affixed as normal, and when activated they're +1 +1d6 fire arrow.

Honestly Talismans would not be my choice of a template/model. They are clearly meant to be heavily restricted (mainly because you can only use one every ten minutes*) and Flaming Arrows are clearly stuff the NPC bandits shoot at you two per round :)

*) Sure you could carry backup weaponry and pre-affix them, but the benefit of most Talismans isn't worth giving up your main weapon for

If they are from npc then the whole problem is solved. Npc do whatever you want.

You simply say

You take 9 piercing dmg and 7 fire dmg.
Without telling them what you rolled.


Another option is to use a leaf from the "Special Circumstances" bit on Pg. 492.

In that section a character adds the Fire trait to her sword by dipping her sword in some hot coals.

Take this logic and apply it to an arrow: A character dips an arrow in pitch and lights it. This does not add an appreciable amount of damage to the arrow itself but adds the Fire Trait to it. The cost is that of an arrow. Maybe throw in the pitch or something, but the important thing is you have given the character an option that is "different" but still mechanically viable. If you want to allow them to light things on fire with the arrow, feel free. Maybe give the target a bit of persistent Fire damage on a crit similar to an Acid Flask or something. Just make sure that you require them to light that bad boy before flinging it around and it shouldn't be a balance issue.

So far as cost? Not much? A Fire Arrow would really just be a standard arrow with cloth soaked in oil tied behind the arrow head after all.


K1 wrote:


If they are from npc then the whole problem is solved. Npc do whatever you want.

You simply say

You take 9 piercing dmg and 7 fire dmg.
Without telling them what you rolled.

Except something like a flaming arrow can be looted. Once a PC tries to use one, I need game stats


beowulf99 wrote:

Another option is to use a leaf from the "Special Circumstances" bit on Pg. 492.

In that section a character adds the Fire trait to her sword by dipping her sword in some hot coals.

Take this logic and apply it to an arrow: A character dips an arrow in pitch and lights it. This does not add an appreciable amount of damage to the arrow itself but adds the Fire Trait to it. The cost is that of an arrow. Maybe throw in the pitch or something, but the important thing is you have given the character an option that is "different" but still mechanically viable. If you want to allow them to light things on fire with the arrow, feel free. Maybe give the target a bit of persistent Fire damage on a crit similar to an Acid Flask or something. Just make sure that you require them to light that bad boy before flinging it around and it shouldn't be a balance issue.

So far as cost? Not much? A Fire Arrow would really just be a standard arrow with cloth soaked in oil tied behind the arrow head after all.

Yes... but I've already stated I'm not just looking to set something on fire.

I am specifically talking about your best suggestions as to implementing Fire Arrows, Frost Arrows etc as seen in anything from Baldur's Gate, 5th Ed, Pathfinder 1 etc in PF2 :)


Zapp wrote:
K1 wrote:


If they are from npc then the whole problem is solved. Npc do whatever you want.

You simply say

You take 9 piercing dmg and 7 fire dmg.
Without telling them what you rolled.

Except something like a flaming arrow can be looted. Once a PC tries to use one, I need game stats

You are forcing it too much.

Flaming rune could shot flaming arrows.

You don't have to justify the flavor too much.


Wheldrake wrote:

Actually, talismans are the *perfect* model for magic arrows. They are affixed to their weapons (like a special arrowhead would be fixed to the arrow shaft) and they can be used only once, like all items with the "consumable" trait.

I don't see any functional difference between ammunition and talismans used as ammunition, aside from their varying powers.

I really don't want to talk about Talismans so I'll just say I strongly disagree - a Talisman is supposed to take 10 minutes to prep, so please don't stare yourself blind on the spurious resemblance, that both are consumable. (Plus Talismans are for the most part horribly overpriced and plain bad, so no thanks)


I'm looking for suggestions as how to price something like a magic arrow that deals +1d6 fire damage, with the intent that there is no added action cost.

(If you normally can shoot three arrows in a round, you can shoot three Flaming Arrows in a round)

Should it be priced as a level 4 consumable? Level 6? Level 8? I would love to hear your best lines of reasoning for the answer you provide! :)


K1 wrote:

You are forcing it too much.

Flaming rune could shot flaming arrows.

You don't have to justify the flavor too much.

I really don't want to rain on your parade, but can I please ask you to read the request.

A flaming rune is permanent. I don't want to hand out infinite flaming arrows. (Plus - knowing my players they'd transfer the rune to a melee weapon right away!)

I want to hand out individual arrows. Such as "you find half a dozen Flaming Arrows".

Please take this as encouragement. I really like that you want to help out.

What do you feel is the appropriate cost of one (1) Flaming Arrow? :)


Zapp wrote:
K1 wrote:

You are forcing it too much.

Flaming rune could shot flaming arrows.

You don't have to justify the flavor too much.

I really don't want to rain on your parade, but can I please ask you to read the request.

A flaming rune is permanent. I don't want to hand out infinite flaming arrows. (Plus - knowing my players they'd transfer the rune to a melee weapon right away!)

I want to hand out individual arrows. Such as "you find half a dozen Flaming Arrows".

Please take this as encouragement. I really like that you want to help out.

What do you feel is the appropriate cost of one (1) Flaming Arrow? :)

It's just everytime seems that you ask waiting for the one who agrees with what's on your mind.

Oh, whatever.

Compare it to the cost of a on use poison.

Eventually, they could be from some personal dedication ( like the thief, which can create X poisons per day, that can be used only by him ).

This could mean the players could find strange arrows which they don't know how to use properly ( maybe without the proficiency or the feat they hurt themselves ).

As for the cost, if you really want them to sell or even craft them. Remember that a light healing potion, which should cost more or less the same, is worth 3gp.

Remember also that even if a Striking rune is worth 45gp,we are talking about extra elemental dmg ( that why an extra d6 is worth 500gp as enchantment ).

So the arrows must me definitely expensive.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Reading about Spellstrike ammunition, there doesn't appear to be anything preventing you from preparing multiple arrows well in advance (days or more) and keeping the arrows in your quiver.

If that is the case, you could have a level 1 spellstrike arrow with the spell Burning hands in it, dealing 2d6 fire damage to the target. All for 12gp per arrow (level 3 item). And you could find such arrows in treasure.

The only problem would be if there was some caveat I haven't found stating you have to cast the spell on the round the arrow is shot.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Alternatively, if you could affix a Potency crystal to an arrow (as the arrowhead, presumably) then it would become a +1 striking weapon. Are talismans disallowed from being attached to arrows? If not, it's a level 1 item costing 4gp, giving you +1 hit and an extra die of damage. Not fire, but not bad.

If I were going to place a 1d6 flaming arrow in loot somewhere, this would be a good price point. You could rule that on a critical hit it also inflicts 1d4 persistent fire damage, like a produce flame cantrip.

Like the OP, I am surprised that basic elemental damage arrows are not a standard thing in PF2.


I think because of the cost.

Now magic wespone are for free.

25g for a +1 and 45g for the first extra dice.

Elemental damage, because of immunities i guess, is now relegated to high lvls ( in order to allow casters to be better ).

Imagine a single fire arrow for 12g.

Would you buy 5 of em or maybe a permanent item?


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So, there are currently magic items for ammunition with 0-level spells and 1st-level spells.

For a very low level drop for 1st and 2nd level PCs, let’s focus on 0-level ammo but use 1st level ammo for cost and level comparisons.

Shining Ammunition, pg 560, is a Lvl 1 item that costs 3gp. Simply adds Light as a spell.

Vine Ammunition, pg 560-561 is a Level 3 item that costs 10gp. Adds Tanglefoot as a spell.

Both are cantrips added but the level and cost is quite varied.

Interestingly, Alchemical items with cantrips that damage, like Acid Flask, are Level 1 and cost 3gp.

It seems they raise Ammunition in cost and Level the more damaging or controlling in combat they are for cantrip Ammunition.

Level 1 infused ammunition is similar. Compare Spellstrike Ammunition with a Viper Arrow. Level 3/12gp vs. level 4/17gp.

I would lean closer to Vine Ammunition to add a cantrip to an arrow due to the combat effect.

So, Fire Arrows would be Level 3 items that cost 10gp. They would add Produce Flame effects, giving an extra 1d4 damage on a successful hit along with the critical success benefits.

It is less than Level 1 spell ammunition and more than alchemical items due to the increased range.

Thoughts?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Wheldrake wrote:

Reading about Spellstrike ammunition, there doesn't appear to be anything preventing you from preparing multiple arrows well in advance (days or more) and keeping the arrows in your quiver.

If that is the case, you could have a level 1 spellstrike arrow with the spell Burning hands in it, dealing 2d6 fire damage to the target. All for 12gp per arrow (level 3 item). And you could find such arrows in treasure.

The only problem would be if there was some caveat I haven't found stating you have to cast the spell on the round the arrow is shot.

You can't prep spellstrike ammo, it has to be used on the turn it is activated.

Activated Ammunition

"" wrote:
Once you activate the ammunition, you must shoot it before the end of your turn


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Have you considered giving your NPC bandits a few lesser alchemist fires and give them an ability that allows them to apply those to the arrows similar to how poison can be applied? Maybe have one alchemist fire be good for 2 or 3 arrows, but lose some of the potency in the process (1d6 instead of 1d8, and no splash or persistent damage)? Maybe let them have a few arrows pre-soaked and have a rule that they lose their potency after a day or so, if you want to give them to your players (be aware, however, that in the similar "official" example below, max duration is 1 minute).

In Fall of Plaguestone, one enemy has a "alchemical crossbow" that auto-applies a slotted alchemical bomb to the next 3 bolts fired, giving them +1d6 of the appropriate damage. So there's one option for a hawk-eye-type archer who wants to be able to flexibly apply various effects to his shots.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vlorax wrote:

You can't prep spellstrike ammo, it has to be used on the turn it is activated.

Activated Ammunition

"" wrote:
Once you activate the ammunition, you must shoot it before the end of your turn

Thanks, that's one point I wasn't finding.

But what about talismans and ammunition like arrows and bolts? Wether or not you can use talismans on ammunition seems to hinge on whether arrows, bolts and sling bullets are considered to be "weapons". They certainly appear on the weapons table, and although there are a few sentences explaining how they are different from other weapons, the CRB never says they are *not* weapons.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The CRB explains the listing of ammo on the weapons table here:

CRB p.280 wrote:
Some entries in the ranged weapons tables are followed by an entry indicating the type of ammunition that weapon launches. The damage die is determined by the weapon, not the ammunition. Because that and other relevant statistics vary by weapon, ammunition entries list only the name, quantity, Price, and Bulk.

which makes it quite obvious that ammunition is something other than a weapon. In chapter 11, crafting and treasure, ammo is listed under consumables (along with alchemical bombs and talismans, amongst others) and not under weapons.

So, no, not a weapon.

That said, similar to poison, an argument could be made that they are still meant to apply to the part that actually deals the damage, which for ranged weapons would be the ammunition. However, applying a bloodseeker beak or iron cube to a blowgun dart might run into practical issue of just not being able to fit the modified dart through the tube...

Unlike with the biochemical effects of poison, for magical effects like these talismans it's much easier to imagine them working just fine when attached to the actual weapon and transfering their magical power to the projectile when fired. Similarly, a talisman attached to the pommel of a sword still transfers its energy to the blade...

For the old PF1 and 3.x fire arrows, an arrow that has had an alchemical bomb applied to it, is still the best PF2 approximation.


Wheldrake wrote:

Reading about Spellstrike ammunition, there doesn't appear to be anything preventing you from preparing multiple arrows well in advance (days or more) and keeping the arrows in your quiver.

If that is the case, you could have a level 1 spellstrike arrow with the spell Burning hands in it, dealing 2d6 fire damage to the target. All for 12gp per arrow (level 3 item). And you could find such arrows in treasure.

The only problem would be if there was some caveat I haven't found stating you have to cast the spell on the round the arrow is shot.

Indeed. Read the rules for activating ammunition (in the beginning of the section on ammunition, a type of consumable)

You will find that once activated the ammo only stays activated a short while (until the end of your turn IIRC) before turning "inactive" again.

And Spellstrike specifically calls out for Cast a Spell as the activation! :)

Edit: ninjas!


Thanks everybody for thoughts so far!

I completely get that the main component of any "official" price needs to be based on whether the fire damage stacks with a magic bow.

I mean, since you can achieve a permanent +1d6 damage by simply purchasing a relatively cheap striking rune, the damage itself isn't very highly priced.

I understand the difference to AD&D, say, is the availability of crafting. In AD&D you can hand out as many Fire Arrows as you like, and put a relatively low cost on them.

Here, that would just be an invitation to craft.

So I need to say that Flaming Arrows can't stack with the bow's regular damage, or it must be kep out of reach of every hero except those of the highest level.

Problem is, don't the rules already say this?

Meaning, why do we discuss it as if it was a problem if it really isn't?

(I'm guessing you can shoot a Flame Arrow froma +1 Bow and get the +1 to attacks, but you won't get the double/triple damage dice from the weapon itself)

Since this means a 1d6 Flame Arrow a decidedly low-level treasure it should mean our discussion ends up with a low-level price. Once you can afford a two-dice Striking rune, all the arrow would do is let you switch damage types. (Not useless, but generally not worth it)


Just remember that low lvl price should include the fact that it is extra dmg per action.

While with a propulsive Striking shortbow +1 you will be able to deal

1d6 from weapon
1d6 from Striking rune
1d6 from flaming arrow
1 from str ( or maybe even 0 )

The arrow will be 50% extra dmg on hit.

So ok being low, but at low lvls would be overkilling if way too affordable.

It should the the item you use to make sure you kill or deal enough damage.

Assaulting a caravan using 6 arrows would mean to invest around 20g. So the profit would be definjtely higher. Just to make an example.

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