Shattering Blows broken?


Rules Discussion


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How can my barbarian use their Shattering Blows feat when Strikes can only target creatures and not objects?


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Seems about as GM-dependent as attacking objects normally is. Not sure there's much else to say, there. It seems commonly known at this point that attacking objects a hole in the rules that GMs need to adjudicate themselves (or just play completely as-written, if they want to), so whatever your GM decides is however it works - which means the feat could be completely useless, if the GM decides not to let Strikes target objects at all.


One of my many house rules. You can always choose to target objects.

Its pretty clear this is intended. Otherwise how do you break down a door, or smash your way through the wall of stone that has been dropped in front of you.


Yea the structures section of the gm screen lists hp, hardness, and break thresholds of objects. It would be wasted space if objects weren't intended to be targetable. So yea.....the barb can smack away!


Personally, I allow my players to target any object that isn't attended with an attack, and for attended objects it very much depends on the situation, but I haven't had many people ask for that anyway. Usually it's just players wanting to break down a door or something, which depending on what it's made of could easily be possible.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gortle wrote:

One of my many house rules. You can always choose to target objects.

Its pretty clear this is intended. Otherwise how do you break down a door, or smash your way through the wall of stone that has been dropped in front of you.

The Force Open action perhaps?


Shield block

Constructs

Traps and hazards

And, as mentioned, while there aren't rules for attacking unattended objects, that doesn't mean that the GM can't allow it.


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Ravingdork wrote:
How can my barbarian use their Shattering Blows feat when Strikes can only target creatures and not objects?

Ask the DM... You should know this by now. ;)


Ravingdork wrote:
How can my barbarian use their Shattering Blows feat when Strikes can only target creatures and not objects?

Every object is a mimic until destroyed and therefore proven otherwise.


The item damage rules say items generally only take damage when a creature attacks them, so I would assume you can attack objects.

Quote:
Normally an item takes damage only when a creature is directly attacking it—commonly targeted items include doors and traps.


My assumption would be you don't use a Strike action to attack objects because they don't have an AC, you just hit them automatically and roll damage.

Which yes makes Shattering Blows and anything similar a little odd.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Guntermench wrote:

The item damage rules say items generally only take damage when a creature attacks them, so I would assume you can attack objects.

Quote:
Normally an item takes damage only when a creature is directly attacking it—commonly targeted items include doors and traps.

But with what exactly? Not with Strikes; those can only target creatures.


Which I agree is odd considering they have immunity to nonlethal attacks. Interestingly, not to critical hits. Edit: I guess since they don't have AC that makes sense.

Liberty's Edge

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Ravingdork wrote:
How can my barbarian use their Shattering Blows feat when Strikes can only target creatures and not objects?

I'm convinced this is intended to counter Constructs and Shields, NOT to be used to allow your Barbarian to just tunnel through every dungeon wall 1 action at a time. (Which would be the inevitable result if it were allowed)

You still cannot Strike Objects unless you otherwise have an ability that specifically allows it which this fails to establish.


Themetricsystem wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
How can my barbarian use their Shattering Blows feat when Strikes can only target creatures and not objects?
I'm convinced this is intended to counter Constructs and Shields, NOT to be used to allow your Barbarian to just tunnel through every dungeon wall 1 action at a time. (Which would be the inevitable result if it were allowed)

Don't forget traps. They can also have AC and HP.

I haven't had anyone try to tunnel through a wall yet. We did have someone trying to bash through a door recently. Though they were using Athletics Force Open rather than weapon attacks. Since it was a plot door that needed to be unlocked, not just bashed through, I had it set to need a higher proficiency level than the characters would be capable of. The same could be done for walls to prevent tunneling through.


Demolishing wrote:

CRB pg.515

A character might want to smash their way through a door, a window, or certain walls. The Hardness, Hit Point, and Broken Threshold values provided in the table below are based on the material the structure is typically made out of, so a portcullis made of iron, for example, has a higher Hardness than one of wood. For more on damaging objects, see page 272. Strong walls, such as well-maintained masonry or hewn stone, can’t be broken without dedicated work and proper tools. Getting through such walls requires downtime.

Really sounds like it's intended that you can attack your way through some walls, but the GM can just decide that others are too well made for that to happen to prevent it from breaking the game.

Liberty's Edge

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Force Open and other specific Actions are Attacks (Trait) that can key off of this, you can totally Attack them but you cannot -STRIKE- them, ever, full-stop, Strikes can only target Creatures.

Anything short of this means that it is TRIVIALLY easy for anyone with at least a +1 Striking Weapon to invalidate every map that's drawn with walls or floors, nobody needs to know how to burrow or phase through solid matter if you can instead just deal 50+ points of damage every round (in some case per ACTION).


Force Open just straight breaks the thing though, the HP and BT are irrelevant.

The GM can just decide that some walls are too well made to just hack your way through, so it doesn't just invalidate every map.

Wayfinders

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From Living Graffiti, of all things...

Bestiary 3:
Backdrop wrote:
When a creature attempts to Strike a living graffiti and critically misses, the attacker hits the surface (a canvas, wall, or so on) behind the living graffiti. This might damage the surface or the attacker's weapon, at the GM's discretion.

So, we see that striking surfaces isn't something that PCs are incapable of... but that it's not unlikely to damage the weapon as well. Obviously, a Bestiary entry isn't necessarily the best place to find answers to this, but it provides a good common-sense response to the tunnelling suggestion: some surfaces are more likely to damage the weapon than the weapon is to damage the surface. I don't care if that sword has a +1 on it, it's not going to act like a pickaxe and it won't like being used as one for very long.

However, if you have a high-level Barbarian with Shattering Blows wanting to smash their way through a wall with an adamantine warpick, that's probably a thing they can do given time! They're strong, ignore plenty of hardness, are using a nigh-indestructible weapon that's a good shape for breaking rocks, and all in all it seems like a reasonable in-world thing to happen. If you really want to dissuade them, you could point out that some walls are load-bearing, or that the dungeon is something's house and very loudly breaking it might be a bad idea. Also, if the dungeon is filled with traps, hacking one's way into whatever high-tension cabling or superheated piping is powering those traps might be a similarly bad idea.

Of course, by a super strict reading you do actually need to gather some Living Graffiti and critically fail to hit them in order to hit any walls, but that doesn't feel fun or sensible. The fact remains, however, that RAW there is a clear example of hitting the scenery with one's sword in a published book, and it would seem RAI weird if that was the only way to do it.

*scuttles back into the shadows*


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Nitro~Nina wrote:
So, we see that striking surfaces isn't something that PCs are incapable of... but that it's not unlikely to damage the weapon as well.

This doesn't make much sense to me. The players can attack Huge walking creatures of metal and stone [golems, elementals, ect] with a tree branch [clubs] without damage so the off attack on a wall or door doesn't seem like something that'd damage a weapon. Now maybe extended tunneling might be an issue, but anything les than a mining project should be free of weapon damage if a similar monsters doesn't cause the weapon similar damage.

Wayfinders

graystone wrote:
Nitro~Nina wrote:
So, we see that striking surfaces isn't something that PCs are incapable of... but that it's not unlikely to damage the weapon as well.
This doesn't make much sense to me. The players can attack Huge walking creatures of metal and stone [golems, elementals, ect] with a tree branch [clubs] without damage so the off attack on a wall or door doesn't seem like something that'd damage a weapon. Now maybe extended tunneling might be an issue, but anything les than a mining project should be free of weapon damage if a similar monsters doesn't cause the weapon similar damage.

I would imagine that Striking those monsters typically doesn't involve just smacking their toughest surface dead-on with your weapon. Sticking a magic sword into a structural weak-point, misaligning a joint with a bludgeon and so on seems more probable. Resistances and AC are supposed to model what you can't get through, though I get that there's no weapon damage typically involved there. However, that could be because your weapon is almost never actually in contact with the monster; a few dozen strikes over the course of a minute is not a lot of contact time, which could feasibly reduce the damage to roleplay wear-and-tear that it's easy to numerically ignore. I'm guessing that the Graffiti example is supposed to represent a misjudged direct hit against, say, solid stone, which will do a lot more damage to your sword than a few glancing strikes against a stone golem's armour. Even then, I'd agree, it probably shouldn't be very much damage.

In any case, there's a lot of abstraction and I do get your point, but none of this is quite the same as hitting a flat, homogenous stone wall with a thin piece of metal over and over and expecting to get through. Which I would totally allow with a war pick or something, mind you; it'd just have to be something feasibly designed with breaking through hard surfaces in mind. And it'd take ages, which is probably enough to stop most people doing it for a shortcut.

Of course, if someone shows up at your table absolutely set on playing an adventuring Heinrich Schliemann, you probably have other problems.


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One should not take random one-off mentions of things happening at GM's discretion found in an ancillary book as though they are anything near, or trying to suggest, core rules of the game.

After all, the game had already been played for years by thousands without that random one-off mention being in print, so it really can't be intended to be all that important.

Wayfinders

thenobledrake wrote:

One should not take random one-off mentions of things happening at GM's discretion found in an ancillary book as though they are anything near, or trying to suggest, core rules of the game.

After all, the game had already been played for years by thousands without that random one-off mention being in print, so it really can't be intended to be all that important.

Oh yeah I absolutely agree with this! It's not important at all, but it is a sensible way of looking at things that I feel is appropriate to apply generally in lieu of any more specific way for GMs to handle this situation. Certain objects being damaging to certain weapons removes a lot of the problems with being able to attack objects, and seems like a reasonable ruling based on what we know of the rules and the world, which had me thinking of this example of that actually coming up in a monster entry. I'm not trying to act like that one example should define how anyone plays, and I apologise if that's what I had inadvertently implied.

It was also supposed to act as a counter to the rigid idea that hitting a wall is be impossible in play, even if it's something that almost any character should reasonably be able to attempt to do. Working from that absolute RAW, low-narrative standpoint (not personally how I like to play), a single one-off mention does provide a counter-example. Of course, for some people, that won't change the fact that the game isn't built to specifically handle hitting walls and so they wouldn't allow it outside of that monster.

Grand Lodge

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Rules offer a simplified version of representing a flow of actions - they cut corners

Ammunition gets destroyed
Weapons never get dull or break

A club/sword is doing the same damage if it hits
Flesh that is difficult to hit via high dexterity but easy to cut
Armor that is difficult to slice through because it is tough

The worst offences against reality are dealt with
a) weakness
b) resistance or immunity

To keep the load of me for preparing I don't want to know if

A wall is made of paper and weak against slashing
A wall is made of plaster and weak against piercing
A wall is made of bricks and resists bludgeoning
A wall is made of stone and resists nearly every form of physical abuse
A wall is made of metal
A wall is composite
A wall is 1 inch thick
A wall is 1 feet thick

etc.

As GM I'm fully capable to come up with a fair ruling on the fly if it is needed that some group wants to enter through a wall/door or smash an item.

But in my view the advantages of such a detailed system outweigh the disadvantages.

Yes - you can use Shattering Blows in my games to smash an item. I will come up with a ruling I regard as fair - depending on the situation.


So I always assumed you could attack walls because of the wall of stone spell instead of listing force open dc (which it could) lists HP, AC and Hardness almost as if they expect you to attack it.


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siegfriedliner wrote:
So I always assumed you could attack walls because of the wall of stone spell instead of listing force open dc (which it could) lists HP, AC and Hardness almost as if they expect you to attack it.

You CAN attack it... with a small handful of attack spells that can target objects. ;)


graystone wrote:
siegfriedliner wrote:
So I always assumed you could attack walls because of the wall of stone spell instead of listing force open dc (which it could) lists HP, AC and Hardness almost as if they expect you to attack it.
You CAN attack it... with a small handful of attack spells that can target objects. ;)

I thought they errata'd all of those.


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Guntermench wrote:
graystone wrote:
siegfriedliner wrote:
So I always assumed you could attack walls because of the wall of stone spell instead of listing force open dc (which it could) lists HP, AC and Hardness almost as if they expect you to attack it.
You CAN attack it... with a small handful of attack spells that can target objects. ;)
I thought they errata'd all of those.

They took an axe to a lot of them but some remain. For instance, Shatter and Disintegrate survived plus anything outside Core was untouched.


Ah.


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graystone wrote:
Guntermench wrote:
graystone wrote:
siegfriedliner wrote:
So I always assumed you could attack walls because of the wall of stone spell instead of listing force open dc (which it could) lists HP, AC and Hardness almost as if they expect you to attack it.
You CAN attack it... with a small handful of attack spells that can target objects. ;)
I thought they errata'd all of those.
They took an axe to a lot of them but some remain. For instance, Shatter and Disintegrate survived plus anything outside Core was untouched.

If they can take an axe to the spells, surely I can hit a wall with one.


Yeah its pretty clear that the GM just has to make some sort of common sense ruling.

Shatter didn't really survive as it now only affects objects which is the opposite problem. But I can see GMs being less sympathetic with targetting creaters with that.

Personally I think it is a plot by Acererak to drive the spell into obscurity.


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Gortle wrote:
Yeah its pretty clear that the GM just has to make some sort of common sense ruling.

In a home game with a single DM, this is a fine solution. In online gaming with multiple DM's though, it's less than ideal.

Sovereign Court

I think you have to look for the intent of the game design and avoid getting bogged down in a dogmatic literal reading.

The Strike action only mentions creatures, but several hazards and spell-created walls have AC and HP. Further, it stands to reason that you could hit a lot of free-standing physical objects with your weapon and there should be some action to adjudicate the results.

On the other hand, the game made Disarm really hard and didn't port over the Sunder maneuver. So making Strikes against attended objects is probably not intended.


Ascalaphus wrote:
The Strike action only mentions creatures, but several hazards and spell-created walls have AC and HP. Further, it stands to reason that you could hit a lot of free-standing physical objects with your weapon and there should be some action to adjudicate the results.

I would counter this by mentioning the existence of spells that specifically target objects hence a reason for those AC's and HP. If any old attack can do that instead, what exactly is the reason for a shatter spell if I can ignore the targeting and just magic missile or strike an object instead? No matter how you look at it or how you solve it, it comes our feeling strange.


graystone wrote:
what exactly is the reason for a shatter spell if I can ignore the targeting and just magic missile or strike an object instead?

Shatter ignores the object's hardness. At least, if the object's hardness is low enough.

So even under the ruling that you could attack a chair with Magic Missile, there is still purpose in Shatter that makes it worth printing.


breithauptclan wrote:
graystone wrote:
what exactly is the reason for a shatter spell if I can ignore the targeting and just magic missile or strike an object instead?

Shatter ignores the object's hardness. At least, if the object's hardness is low enough.

So even under the ruling that you could attack a chair with Magic Missile, there is still purpose in Shatter that makes it worth printing.

Not my point really: I was making a point on the target line. If everything can target an unattended object, what is the purpose of making spells with that in the target line. An argument could be make for shatter as only targeting objects but then what is the point of Disintegrate mentioning objects as targets, if we assume EVERY attack can target them by default? Do we assume the targeting line is meaningless?

Sovereign Court

graystone wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
The Strike action only mentions creatures, but several hazards and spell-created walls have AC and HP. Further, it stands to reason that you could hit a lot of free-standing physical objects with your weapon and there should be some action to adjudicate the results.
I would counter this by mentioning the existence of spells that specifically target objects hence a reason for those AC's and HP. If any old attack can do that instead, what exactly is the reason for a shatter spell if I can ignore the targeting and just magic missile or strike an object instead? No matter how you look at it or how you solve it, it comes our feeling strange.

I didn't say all spells that say they target creatures can now target objects too. Although I'd consider it on a case by case basis. Can you burn some documents lying on a desk with a fireball? I'd allow that.

But the idea that you can never Strike objects is too dogmatic I think.


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Ascalaphus wrote:
But the idea that you can never Strike objects is too dogmatic I think.

*shrug* I don't see it any different from any other ability with defined targets. I don't find it "dogmatic" to take listed targets as actually what the ability can target. Strike is VERY clear that it only targets creatures so I don't see any functional difference between that and spells that to the same: it's as dogmatic to say you can only target a creature with magic missile. Now I don't mind a houserule to allow Strikes vs objects [in fact I prefer it], but I concede it's a houserule and RAW provides no means to do so.

Ascalaphus wrote:
Can you burn some documents lying on a desk with a fireball? I'd allow that.

Sure, you could houserule that but that leads you down the path of collateral damage from area spells and you have to start wondering how many hp things like floors, roofs and support columns have... Many groups in my experience are fine with not worrying about ending up under a collapsed burning building and it's not like it breaks verisimilitude as attended items are immune anyway so it's no more jarring that a paper on the ground doesn't burn when a paper in the hand of someone standing in the middle of the fireball [say a scroll] is also completely unsinged.


graystone wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
But the idea that you can never Strike objects is too dogmatic I think.

*shrug* I don't see it any different from any other ability with defined targets. I don't find it "dogmatic" to take listed targets as actually what the ability can target. Strike is VERY clear that it only targets creatures so I don't see any functional difference between that and spells that to the same: it's as dogmatic to say you can only target a creature with magic missile. Now I don't mind a houserule to allow Strikes vs objects [in fact I prefer it], but I concede it's a houserule and RAW provides no means to do so.

Strike actually says targeting one creature within your reach. Yes it is clear but stirke is a real world action we are familiar with so it is very reasonable to interpret it with some common sense. Creature is the normal use for it, so that is the terminology that they use.

Not being about to strike an object fails the common sense test - unless there was some other in game action that covered "strike an object" for you.

graystone wrote:


Ascalaphus wrote:
Can you burn some documents lying on a desk with a fireball? I'd allow that.
Sure, you could houserule that but that leads you down the path of collateral damage from area spells and you have to start wondering how many hp things like floors, roofs and support columns have... Many groups in my experience are fine with not worrying about ending up under a collapsed burning building and it's not like it breaks verisimilitude as attended items are immune anyway so it's no more jarring that a paper on the ground doesn't burn when a paper in the hand of someone standing in the middle of the fireball [say a scroll] is also completely unsinged.

Its not a house rule. The rules explcitly state that objects being damaged in an area of effect is something that the GM should determine.

So we are told to wing it. Which is clearly what they intend for GMs to do with strike.

I can totally see a GM who disallows a Sap or an Arrow to be used to damage an iron door, but is perfectly OK with a War Hammer attacking the same door. GMs are supposed to be doing this stuff.


Gortle wrote:


Not being about to strike an object fails the common sense test - unless there was some other in game action that covered "strike an object" for you.

It might fail your common sense but that doesn't alter it's being a rule, hence the need to houserule. As to an in game action, the closest is Force Open that allows you to literally cool-aid man through walls.

Gortle wrote:


Its not a house rule. The rules explcitly state that objects being damaged in an area of effect is something that the GM should determine.

So we are told to wing it. Which is clearly what they intend for GMs to do with strike.

IMO, "wing it" IS telling you to houserule it. [what is a house-rule but a rule that only applies in your 'house'?] As I pointed out, you start making a precedent items take damage and things get a lot more complicated as damage goes up.

Secondly, the rules also tell you that "Damaging an unattended item usually requires attacking it directly", which is already telling you that objects shouldn't "usually" take damage from area attacks [as those are by definition not directly attacking them]. So it tells you most time only a direct attack harms items but you can wing it if you want... So, isn't that something you could say about ANY rule that a DM could wing it if that wanted?

PS: how do you even figure out saves and AC's for such attacks? Shatter has no save or hit needed for instance and disintegrate specifically offers no save to objects.

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