Weapon damage, and weapon with the highest damage

Rules Discussion

Hi, all

I'm rolling up my very first P2e character (Barbarian), and I'm looking at big bad weapons - and so I thought - what are the best, or at least highest damage weapons in the game? I'm not factoring in feats or special runes, only plain weapons with and without strike runes; considering regular damage and damage for critical hits.
(I'm also wondering if I'm calculating damage correctly in the lists below. ;) )

I couldn't find any resource with a list of weapons with average damage, so I thought I'd make a list over the damages for the various damage type weapons in the game. This could be a nice resource to compare the damage of different weapons.

In the list:

  • Damage for regular weapons (Plain:), as well as weapons with Striking runes (Striking:), Greater Striking Runes (Greater:), and Major Striking Runes (Major:)

  • The damage dice roll, with the average number in parenthesis; 1d4 (2.5)

  • Strike damage (Plain/Striking/Greater/Major), crit damage (Crit), and crit damage/effect for Axe (Spec Axe) and Pick (Spec Pick) - for crits with the critical specialization

  • For weapons with the Forceful trait: Damage for the 2nd and 3rd+ hits (as the damage increases if you attack more than once in a round)

  • Special entries for the Lance and War Lance

I have tried to compile the list as best as I could - do comment below if I have made any typos (there are a lot of numbers!) or if I have made any conceptual errors calculating the damages (hope not!).
If I ever make such a list again I'd rather write a small program to output the numbers, rather than calculating and punching manually. ;)

I have listed several of the weapon names - the intention is to list the various damage types, so that you easily can look up the damage type and easily see what the dice calculation and average damage would be.
I have probably missed a few special weapons, and I did not list all the generic weapon names for the "main" categories.

Below is also some silly discussion about which weapon that can do the most damage.

  • 1d4
    (Hand Adze (axe), Club, Dagger, many many others)
    Plain: 1d4 (2.5), Crit: 2d4 (5), Spec Axe: 2d4 (5), adjacent 1d4 (2.5)
    Striking: 2d4 (5), Crit: 4d4 (10), Spec Axe: 4d4 (10), adjacent 2d4 (5)
    Greater: 3d4 (7.5), Crit: 6d4 (15), Spec Axe: 6d4 (15), adjacent 3d4 (7.5)
    Major: 4d4 (10), Crit: 8d4 (20), Spec Axe: 8d4 (20), adjacent 4d4 (10)
  • 1d4 Forceful, 2nd and 3rd strike in the same turn
    (Hand Adze)
    2nd: 1d4+1 (3.5), Crit: 2d4+2 (7), Spec Axe: 2d4+2 (7), adjacent 1d4 (2.5)
    3rd+: 1d4+2 (4.5), Crit: 2d4+4 (9), Spec Axe: 2d4+4 (9), adjacent 1d4 (2.5)
    Striking 2nd: 2d4+2 (7), Crit: 4d4+4 (14), Spec Axe: 4d4+4 (14), adjacent 2d4 (5)
    Striking 3rd+: 2d4+4 (9), Crit: 4d4+8 (18), Spec Axe: 4d4+8 (18), adjacent 2d4 (5)
    Greater Striking 2nd: 3d4+3 (10.5), Crit: 6d4+6 (21), Spec Axe: 6d4+6 (21), adjacent 3d4 (7.5)
    Greater Striking 3rd+: 3d4+6 (13.5), Crit: 6d4+12 (27), Spec Axe: 6d4+12 (27), adjacent 3d4 (7.5)
    Major Striking 2nd: 4d4+4 (14), Crit: 8d4+8 (28), Spec Axe: 8d4+8 (28), adjacent 4d4 (10)
    Major Striking 3rd+: 4d4+8 (18), Crit: 8d4+16 (36), Spec Axe: 8d4+16 (36), adjacent 4d4 (10)
  • 1d4 Deadly 1d6
    (Forked Bipod, Katar, Fighting Fan, Filcher's Fork, Pantograph Gauntlet)
    Plain: 1d4 (2.5), Crit: 2d4+1d6 (8.5)
    Striking: 2d4 (5), Crit: 4d4+1d6 (13.5)
    Greater: 3d4 (7.5), Crit: 6d4+2d6 (22)
    Major: 4d4 (10), Crit: 8d4+3d6 (30.5)
  • 1d4 Deadly 1d8
    (Shears, Claw Blade, Kris)
    Plain: 1d4 (2.5), Crit: 2d4+1d8 (9.5)
    Striking: 2d4 (5), Crit: 4d4+1d8 (14.5)
    Greater: 3d4 (7.5), Crit: 6d4+2d8 (24)
    Major: 4d4 (10), Crit: 8d4+3d8 (33.5)
  • 1d4 Fatal 1d8
    (Fangwire, Light Pick (pick))
    Plain: 1d4 (2.5), Crit: 3d8 (13.5), Spec Pick: 3d8+4 (17.5)
    Striking: 2d4 (5), Crit: 5d8 (22.5), Spec Pick: 5d8+8 (30.5)
    Greater: 3d4 (7.5), Crit: 7d8 (31.5), Spec Pick: 7d8+12 (43.5)
    Major: 4d4 (10), Crit: 9d8 (40.5), Spec Pick: 9d8+16 (56.5)
  • 1d6
    (Boarding Axe (axe), Hatchet (axe), Mace, Morningstar, many many others)
    Plain: 1d6 (3.5), Crit: 2d6 (7), Spec Axe: 2d6 (7), adjacent 1d6 (3.5)
    Striking: 2d6 (7), Crit: 4d6 (14), Spec Axe: 4d6 (14), adjacent 2d6 (7)
    Greater: 3d6 (10.5), Crit: 6d6 (21), Spec Axe: 6d6 (21), adjacent 3d6 (10.5)
    Major: 4d6 (14), Crit: 8d6 (28), Spec Axe: 8d6 (28), adjacent 4d6 (14)
  • 1d6 Forceful, 2nd and 3rd strike in the same turn
    (Panabas (1h), Scimitar, Talwar (1h), Sickle-Saber)
    2nd: 1d6+1 (4.5), Crit: 2d6+2 (9)
    3rd+: 1d6+2 (5.5), Crit: 2d6+4 (11)
    Striking 2nd: 2d6+2 (9), Crit: 4d6+4 (18)
    Striking 3rd+: 2d6+4 (11), Crit: 4d6+8 (22)
    Greater Striking 2nd: 3d6+3 (13.5), Crit: 6d6+6 (27)
    Greater Striking 3rd+: 3d6+6 (16.5), Crit: 6d6+12 (33)
    Major Striking 2nd: 4d6+4 (18), Crit: 8d6+8 (36)
    Major Striking 3rd+: 4d6+8 (22), Crit: 8d6+16 (44)
  • 1d6 Deadly 1d8
    (Elven Branched Spear, Katana (1h), Mambele (axe), Rapier)
    Plain: 1d6 (3.5), Crit: 2d6+1d8 (11.5), Spec Axe: 2d6+1d8 (11.5), adjacent 1d6 (3.5)
    Striking: 2d6 (7), Crit: 4d6+1d8 (18.5), Spec Axe: 4d6+1d8 (18.5), adjacent 2d6 (7)
    Greater: 3d6 (10.5), Crit: 6d6+2d8 (30), Spec Axe: 6d6+2d8 (30), adjacent 3d6 (10.5)
    Major: 4d6 (14), Crit: 8d6+3d8 (41.5), Spec Axe: 8d6+3d8 (41.5), adjacent 4d6 (14)
  • 1d6 Deadly 1d10
    (Shortbow, Composite Shortbow, Leiomano, Urumi, Shauth Lash)
    Plain: 1d6 (3.5), Crit: 2d6+1d10 (12.5)
    Striking: 2d6 (7), Crit: 4d6+1d10 (19.5)
    Greater: 3d6 (10.5), Crit: 6d6+2d10 (32)
    Major: 4d6 (14), Crit: 8d6+3d10 (44.5)
  • 1d6 Fatal 1d8
    (Double-Barreled Pistol)
    Plain: 1d6 (3.5), Crit: 3d8 (13.5)
    Striking: 2d6 (7), Crit: 5d8 (22.5)
    Greater: 3d6 (10.5), Crit: 7d8 (31.5)
    Major: 4d6 (14), Crit: 9d8 (40.5)
  • 1d6 Fatal 1d10
    (Pick (pick), Switchscythe (pick), Tricky Pick (pick), Piercing Wind, Flintlock Musket, Axe Musket, Clan Pistol, Double-Barreled Musket, Dueling Pistol, Gnome Amalgam Musket, Mithral Tree, Sliding Pistol, Flingflenser)
    Plain: 1d6 (3.5), Crit: 3d10 (16.5), Spec Pick: 3d10+4 (20.5)
    Striking: 2d6 (7), Crit: 5d10 (27.5), Spec Pick: 5d10+8 (35.5)
    Greater: 3d6 (10.5), Crit: 7d10 (38.5), Spec Pick: 7d10+12 (50.5)
    Major: 4d6 (14), Crit: 9d10 (49.5), Spec Pick: 9d10+16 (65.5)
  • 1d6 Fatal 1d12
    (Big Boom Gun)
    Plain: 1d6 (3.5), Crit: 3d12 (19.5)
    Striking: 2d6 (7), Crit: 5d12 (32.5)
    Greater: 3d6 (10.5), Crit: 7d12 (45.5)
    Major: 4d6 (14), Crit: 9d12 (58.5)
  • 1d8
    (Battle Axe (axe), Dwarven War Axe (axe), Orc Necksplitter (axe), Thundermace, Bastard Sword (1h), many many others)
    Plain: 1d8 (4.5), Crit: 2d8 (9), Spec Axe: 2d8 (9), adjacent 1d8 (4.5)
    Striking: 2d8 (9), Crit: 4d8 (18), Spec Axe: 4d8 (18), adjacent 2d8 (9)
    Greater: 3d8 (13.5), Crit: 6d8 (27), Spec Axe: 6d8 (27), adjacent 3d8 (13.5)
    Major: 4d8 (18), Crit: 8d8 (36), Spec Axe: 8d8 (36), adjacent 4d8 (18)
  • 1d8 Forceful, 2nd and 3rd strike in the same turn
    (Elven Curve Blade, Orc Necksplitter (axe))
    2nd: 1d8+1 (5.5), Crit: 2d8+2 (11), Spec Axe: 2d8+2 (11), adjacent 1d8 (4.5)
    3rd+: 1d8+2 (6.5), Crit: 2d8+4 (13), Spec Axe: 2d8+4 (13), adjacent 1d8 (4.5)
    Striking 2nd: 2d8+2 (11), Crit: 4d8+4 (22), Spec Axe: 4d8+4 (22), adjacent 2d8 (9)
    Striking 3rd+: 2d8+4 (13), Crit: 4d8+8 (26), Spec Axe: 4d8+8 (26), adjacent 2d8 (9)
    Greater Striking 2nd: 3d8+3 (16.5), Crit: 6d8+6 (33), Spec Axe: 6d8+6 (33), adjacent 3d8 (13.5)
    Greater Striking 3rd+: 3d8+6 (19.5), Crit: 6d8+12 (39), Spec Axe: 6d8+12 (39), adjacent 3d8 (13.5)
    Major Striking 2nd: 4d8+4 (22), Crit: 8d8+8 (44), Spec Axe: 8d8+8 (44), adjacent 4d8 (18)
    Major Striking 3rd+: 4d8+8 (26), Crit: 8d8+16 (52), Spec Axe: 8d8+16 (52), adjacent 4d8 (18)
  • 1d8 Deadly 1d6
    (Hongali Hornbow)
    Plain: 1d8 (4.5), Crit: 2d8+1d6 (12.5)
    Striking: 2d8 (9), Crit: 4d8+1d6 (21.5)
    Greater: 3d8 (13.5), Crit: 6d8+2d6 (34)
    Major: 4d8 (18), Crit: 8d8+3d6 (46.5)
  • 1d8 Deadly 1d8
    (Fauchard, Glaive, Naginata, Rhoka Sword (1h), Kalis, Lance (not mounted, 2h), War Lance (not mounted, 2h))
    Plain: 1d8 (4.5), Crit: 3d8 (13.5)
    Striking: 2d8 (9), Crit: 5d8 (22.5)
    Greater: 3d8 (13.5), Crit: 8d8 (36)
    Major: 4d8 (18), Crit: 11d8 (49.5)
  • 1d8 Deadly d8 Jousting 1d6 (mounted, 1h)
    (Lance (mounted, 1h), War Lance (mounted, 1h))
    Plain: 1d6 (3.5), Crit: 2d6+1d8+2 (13.5)
    Striking: 2d6 (7), Crit: 4d6+1d8+4 (22.5)
    Greater: 3d6 (10.5), Crit: 6d6+2d8+6 (36)
    Major: 4d6 (14), Crit: 8d6+3d8+8 (49.5)
  • 1d8 Deadly d8 Jousting 1d6 (mounted, 2h)
    (Lance (mounted, 2h), War Lance (mounted, 2h))
    Plain: 1d8 (4.5), Crit: 3d8+2 (15.5)
    Striking: 2d8 (9), Crit: 5d8+4 (26.5)
    Greater: 3d8 (13.5), Crit: 8d8+6 (42)
    Major: 4d8 (18), Crit: 11d8+8 (57.5)
  • 1d8 Deadly 1d8 Forceful, 2nd and 3rd strike in the same turn
    2nd: 1d8+1 (5.5), Crit: 3d8+2 (15.5)
    3rd+: 1d8+2 (6.5), Crit: 3d8+4 (17.5)
    Striking 2nd: 2d8+2 (11), Crit: 5d8+4 (26.5)
    Striking 3rd+: 2d8+4 (13), Crit: 5d8+8 (30.5)
    Greater 2nd: 3d8+3 (16.5), Crit: 8d8+6 (42)
    Greater 3rd+: 3d8+6 (19.5), Crit: 8d8+12 (48)
    Major 2nd: 4d8+4 (22), Crit: 11d8+8 (57.5)
    Major 3rd+: 4d8+8 (26), Crit: 11d8+16 (65.5)
  • 1d8 Deadly 1d10
    (Composite Longbow, Longbow)
    Plain: 1d8 (4.5), Crit: 2d8+1d10 (14.5)
    Striking: 2d8 (9), Crit: 4d8+1d10 (23.5)
    Greater: 3d8 (13.5), Crit: 6d8+2d10 (38)
    Major: 4d8 (18), Crit: 8d8+3d10 (52.5)
  • 1d8 Fatal 1d12
    (Arquebus, Shobhad Longrifle, Jezail)
    Plain: 1d8 (4.5), Crit: 3d12 (19.5)
    Striking: 2d8 (9), Crit: 5d12 (32.5)
    Greater: 3d8 (13.5), Crit: 7d12 (45.5)
    Major: 4d8 (18), Crit: 9d12 (58.5)
  • 1d10
    (Adze (axe), Boarding Pike, Falchion, Gill Hook, Gnome Hooked Hammer (2h), Greatclub, Griffon Cane (2h), Guisarme, Halberd, Khakkara, Panabas (2h), Ranseur, Talwar (2h), War Flail, Wish Blade (2h), Broadspear, Clockwork Macuahuitl, Heavy Crossbow, Halfling Sling Staff, Harmong Gun, Repeating Heavy Crossbow)
    Plain: 1d10 (5.5), Crit: 2d10 (11), Spec Axe: 2d10 (11), adjacent 1d10 (5.5)
    Striking: 2d10 (11), Crit: 4d10 (22), Spec Axe: 4d10 (22), adjacent 2d10 (11)
    Greater: 3d10 (16.5), Crit: 6d10 (33), Spec Axe: 6d10 (33), adjacent 3d10 (16.5)
    Major: 4d10 (22), Crit: 8d10 (44), Spec Axe: 8d10 (44), adjacent 4d10 (22)
  • 1d10 Forceful, 2nd and 3rd strike in the same turn
    (Adze (axe), Falchion, Panabas (2h), Talwar (2h), Clockwork Macuahuitl)
    2nd: 1d10+1 (6.5), Crit: 2d10+2 (13), Spec Axe: 2d10+2 (13), adjacent 1d10 (5.5)
    3rd+: 1d10+2 (7.5), Crit: 2d10+4 (15), Spec Axe: 2d10+4 (15), adjacent 1d10 (5.5)
    Striking 2nd: 2d10+2 (13), Crit: 4d10+4 (26), Spec Axe: 4d10+4 (26), adjacent 2d10 (11)
    Striking 3rd+: 2d10+4 (15), Crit: 4d10+8 (30), Spec Axe: 4d10+8 (30), adjacent 2d10 (11)
    Greater Striking 2nd: 3d10+3 (19.5), Crit: 6d10+6 (39), Spec Axe: 6d10+6 (39), adjacent 3d10 (16.5)
    Greater Striking 3rd+: 3d10+6 (22.5), Crit: 6d10+12 (45), Spec Axe: 6d10+12 (45), adjacent 3d10 (16.5)
    Major Striking 2nd: 4d10+4 (26), Crit: 8d10+8 (52), Spec Axe: 8d10+8 (52), adjacent 4d10 (22)
    Major Striking 3rd+: 4d10+8 (30), Crit: 8d10+16 (60), Spec Axe: 8d10+16 (60), adjacent 4d10 (22)
  • 1d10 Deadly 1d8
    (Katana (2h)), Rhoka Sword (2h)
    Plain: 1d10 (5.5), Crit: 2d10+1d8 (15.5)
    Striking: 2d10 (11), Crit: 4d10+1d8 (26.5)
    Greater: 3d10 (16.5), Crit: 6d10+2d8 (42)
    Major: 4d10 (22), Crit: 8d10+3d8 (57.5)
  • 1d10 Deadly 1d10
    (Ogre Hook (pick), Scythe, Taw Launcher)
    Plain: 1d10 (5.5), Crit: 3d10 (16.5), Spec Pick: 3d10+4 (20.5)
    Striking: 2d10 (11), Crit: 5d10 (27.5), Spec Pick: 5d10+8 (35.5)
    Greater: 3d10 (16.5), Crit: 8d10 (44), Spec Pick: 8d10+12 (56)
    Major: 4d10 (22), Crit: 11d10 (60.5), Spec Pick: 11d10+16 (76.5)
  • 1d10 Fatal 1d12
    (Greatpick (pick))
    Plain: 1d10 (5.5), Crit: 3d12 (19.5), Spec Pick: 3d12+4 (23.5)
    Striking: 2d10 (11), Crit: 5d12 (32.5), Spec Pick: 5d12+8 (40.5)
    Greater: 3d10 (16.5), Crit: 7d12 (45.5), Spec Pick: 7d12+12 (57.5)
    Major: 4d10 (22), Crit: 9d12 (58.5), Spec Pick: 9d12+16 (74.5)
  • 1d12
    (Bastard Sword (2h), Greataxe (axe), Greatsword, Maul, Butchering Axe (axe), Dwarven War Axe (2h, axe), Gada (2h), Backpack Ballista, Backpack Catapult)
    Plain: 1d12 (6.5), Crit: 2d12 (13), Spec Axe: 2d12 (13), adjacent 1d12 (6.5)
    Striking: 2d12 (13), Crit: 4d12 (26), Spec Axe: 4d12 (26), adjacent 2d12 (13)
    Greater: 3d12 (19.5), Crit: 6d12 (39), Spec Axe: 6d12 (39), adjacent 3d12 (19.5)
    Major: 4d12 (26), Crit: 8d12 (52), Spec Axe: 8d12 (52), adjacent 4d12 (26)

So - what do you think? Did I miss anything, fundamentally misunderstand anything, and/or screw something up in any arguments or calculations?
Is it a useful list? Should I change something in the formatting?
I'd love to hear your thoughts. :)

Mucho Damage (a slightly silly discussion):
So - what is the most damagest weapon in the game?


If we look at plain damage for regular attacks, it might be a 1d12 weapon, with 6.5 average for a regular attack all the way up to 26 with a major striking rune.
But - let's not compare regular attacks. We wish to see which weapon that does the most damage on a Critical Hit. (Yeah!)

A Greatsword with a major striking rune does 8d12 - 52 average damage on a critical hit!
But that is still not the weapon doing the most damage. We must also consider the weapons critical specialization damage, which makes it complex. A sword will make the target flat-footed, maybe causing you to crit and do more damage on the next attack. A hammer or flail will knock the target prone, which makes the target flat footed and having to waste an action to stand up. A polearm or a club will knock the target back, which may be even more valuable. It's - complicated. If you add various runes with advanced effects you might get even more interesting combinations. If a monster is weak to fire damage you should rather deal fire damage etc.

But - let's look at pure damage on critical hits, using striking runes.
The Greatpick (1d12, pick, Fatal d12) is perhaps the best pure damage dealer in the game. As it is fatal d12, the d10 die will increase to d12 on a crit, and with critical damage specialization you also get +2 per die.
A critical hit with a Greatpick if you have critical damage specialization will cause 3d12+4 damage (average of 23.5), and a major striking rune will do a whopping 9d12+16 damage (average of 74.5)!!

So - is the major striking Greatpick the weapon with the most damage on crits, then, with 74.5 average damage? Well, not quite. Fatal d12 will change the die size to d12 and add a single extra die on a crit - but a deadly d10 will add up to three dice on a crit. The Ogre Hook (1d10, pick, Deadly d10) does less damage on a crit than a greatpick without runes or with a striking or greater striking rune, but if you get a major striking rune, the damage increases to 11d10+16 (average of 76.5), which is even slightly higher than even the mighty greatpick.

So - is the major striking Ogre Hook the weapon dealing the most damage on a critical hit, then, with 76.5 average damage?
Well - not necessary, if there are special circumstances. If there is another target within range and adjacent to the original target, then an Axe has the critical damage effect to deliver damage to the adjacent target, and if we take that into consideration, then a major striking Greataxe (1d12, axe, sweep) would deal 8d12 (52) to the main target and 4d12 (26) to an adjacent target - a total of 78 in average damage, slightly above the average of 76.5 of what a major striking Ogre Hook deals to a single target. (Of course there are other factors - resistances will result in less damage, but if there's a big baddie you might hit but not crit, and there's a minion next to it, then you could crit the minion for double damage, and also deal single damage to the big baddie if the roll would be a hit.)
(And when attacking multiple targets it doesn't hurt that it's got sweep either. ;) )

So - if the stars and the circumstances are just right for an attack to also hit an adjacent enemy - is the major striking Greataxe the weapon dealing the most damage on a critical hit, then, with 78 average damage?
Well - not necessary. You see - if we compare the Greataxe (1d12, axe, sweep) to the Grippli Adze (1d10, axe, sweep, forceful), then the Greataxe does more damage on the first attack in the turn, and still on the second attack in the same turn (main target 8d10+8 (52), adjacent 4d10 (22)), but on the third strike (and beyond) in the same turn, the Adze actually does even more damage on crits: 8d16+16 (60), adjacent 4d10 (22), for a whopping total of 82(!!).

So - if the stars are right, and you're regularly hitting 3 or more enemies on the same turn (could very well happen with Whirlwind Strike for a Giant Instinct Barbarian), then you could argue that the Adze (the 2h weapon often used by the lowly Grippli) has the potential of being the highest damage weapon in the game. But - as the first two attacks do less damage than the Greataxe, you should regularly be hitting more than 3 targets in the same round.

But - as these are a lot of ifs and buts - the "real" answer is probably that the Greatpick (or major striking Ogre Hook) is the highest damage weapon. But - for sweep attacks a sweep weapon is quite cool. ;)

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Crits aren't super duper common unless you're attacking something below your level.

Personally I wouldn't make my selection based on the potential crit difference unless I could be reasonable sure that the added damage on a crit would over time average out to more than another weapon. But since your chance to crit is variable and dependent on enemy AC it's much harder to know if it is or isn't reliably going to happen.

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Should probably be in general or advice no?

That aside, unless you're a fighter, crits don't happen enough to be a factor in weapon choice.

Further aside, there's already a tool to calculate damage from attack routines where you can set things up and get a nice graph.Tool

I think you kind of need to factor in special runes (if adding runes at all). And for many builds, feats (and class abilities) have a major impact on weapon effectiveness, as does attack routine (as gesalt linked to).
Just finding "average damage" isn't actually that helpful. Sorry.
(Plus the info's so dense it's simpler to calculate in one's head.)

The primary reason for choosing a weapon would for me anyway be a thematic reason, even though it helps that it performs ok. :)

But - as you also state - I'd rather want a weapon that does works well for regular attacks, instead of a pure crit monster.

I originally started this post out as questions about damage, but it changed underway, and ended up as a table answering my own questions. (I still wonder if my math is correct, though.)

Horizon Hunters

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Also note, Barbarians don't get their rage bonus damage with Ranged attacks. So while a Big Boom Gun does a lot on a crit, a Giant barbarian with a Great Axe does an additional 6 flat damage on a normal hit, doubling to 12 on a crit.

You should look into getting a weapon with a good trait, like Sweep, Backswing, Reach, or Forcefull, in the d8-d12 range. Here's some of my recommendations for each weapon group:

Axe: Greataxe, Dwarven War Axe*
Club: Griffon Cane
Flail: Gnome Flickmace*, Meteor Hammer, War Flail
Hammer: Gnome Hooked Hammer*
Pick: Greatpick, Gnome Switchscythe*, Kobold Tricky Pick*
Polearm: Fauchard, Glaive, Guisarme, Halberd, Goblin Horsechopper*, Naginata, Ranseur, Scythe
Spear: Broadspear, Azarketi Gill Hook*, War Lance
Sword: Bastard Sword, Elven Curve Blade*, Falchion, Greatsword, Katana, Panabas, Talwar

*Ancestral weapons all have the ancestry in the name, and require the ancestral weapon feat, or Unconventional Weaponry.

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Forceful's kind of a trap in practice, since you're usually downgrading your damage die to get it, it's actually reducing the damage you do by moving power from your most accurate attack to your weakest.

The only real exceptions are the curve blade and necksplitter, since those don't lose damage die right now.

Agree with other people about Fatal, you're trading static damage for crit fishing which isn't always a great trade (but you can do the math by seeing how much extra damage you do with a non-fatal weapon and seeing how often you need to crit to balance it out).

It's worth noting though that Fatal is also a much stronger trait at low levels, since the extra die from Fatal doesn't scale, it's worth much more the fewer damage modifiers you have.

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A giant barbarian with an ogre hook is probably the highest single target crit damage. I've played one and they are brutal damage dealers after you get past the levels where you go down super easy because you are easy to critical hit.

Crits are not common on boss creatures, but do happen more often than you think if you are well-supported by a group that debuffs and buffs. You can shift AC by 3 or more points at higher level and add group true strike and buff your attack roll for a shift of 1 to 3 points upwards. Using Synesthesia or phantasmal killer will usually shift an enemy AC down from to 1 to 3 points, then add in flanking for a further -2, then if you are buffed with a bard song or some status bonus from heroism you get another bump up +1 or more. So you're looking at a hit roll shift from 4 to 6 which greatly improves your critical rate.

You should also look at other factors like Critical Specialization. The highest damage I've seen from a martial is a maul fighter. I never tested this with a barbarian, so a barbarian could probably do some brutal damage as well with it. But if you have a maul fighter and critical hit, you knock the target prone without having to spend an action or make a roll. When the target gets up regardless of movement type as they have to get into position to move, you get an Attack of Opportunity which is an extra attack at full bonus.

I'd say my experience is the Ogre Hoot/Great Pick with critical specialization is the top single hit damage on a critical hit. When they land, they are absolutely brutal.

But the maul will give you more damage over time I believe with its critical specialization working very well with Attack of Opportunity giving you more chances to critical hit and do damage.

Horizon Hunters

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Ogre Hooks were not in my recommendations because they are uncommon with no reliable way to access them, so you would have to work with your GM on gaining access (Or kill an ogre wielding one I guess).

But yes, Flails and Hammers are the best weapon groups because they knock enemies prone on a crit, with Swords being second best since they just make the enemy Flat-Footed for one round.

Well - thematically you could argue that there's a problem getting any kind of large weapon for a giant instinct barbarian - most weapon smiths probably mostly make weapons for medium or small sized creatures. (Unless you are in a society where there are many large humanoid creatures regularly wielding large weapons.)

Getting a Large sized weapon should be much easier if the weapon is of a type commonly used by Large creatures - like Ogre Hooks or Great Axes for Ogres. You could get one off an Ogre, or a blacksmith might have one lying around, as there are many such weapons "in circulation". A blacksmith might be happy to buy some, if nothing else for reforging to other types of weapons or tools.

As for weapon types I thought a lot about hammers and flails (just as you mentioned, also for the sweet critical specialization), and mostly settled on a large War Flail - a cool weapon with decent damage, sweep, trip and a nice critical specialization.
I also considered a weapon with the Two Handed trait, to also be able to fight with a free hand, for various Athletics skills. I considered a large Gnome Hooked Hammer, to also get Trip in 2h mode and versatile damage, but an uncommon small gnome weapon sounds really unlikely to have for a low-level character (my new character will be joining an existing campaign at level 4), and a Large version of a Small Uncommon weapon would thematically in my opinion have be a custom job by a blacksmith (unless the player has a really good thematic explanation).

I'd also prefer to go for a weapon that works well late game - Maul and War Flail sound really cool and imposing, and should be rather nice for later Whirlwind attacks when I have more reach (I don't rank reach as highly for this character since I'll be getting more reach at higher levels).

Buuut - I ended up with an Ogre Hook. Not because of the crazy crit damage, but because it has Trip, and thematically because it is plausible to get a Large sized one. And especially since we weaved it into my backstory - about an Ogre killing off the rest of my family when I was younger, and me later getting revenge and taking its weapon. (It is uncommon and thus unfit as a starter weapon, but since I start at level 4 it is more plausible that I have gotten one. We'll probably start off with a solo pre-adventure where I use a different weapon and (hopefully) end up taking down that Ogre.)

Side note: That you only can start with ancestry weapons if you have an ancestral trait - is that a rule in the rule book or just a (very reasonable) house rule? I know that you cannot start with uncommon weapons unless you have access to them, but ancestral weapons should be fine, as long as they are not uncommon or rare, right? Otherwise the rules to me seem more thematic than anything else: "Elves craft and use these weapons".
(To me it seems a reasonable house rule, in that I would disallow it, unless you have a thematic reason. I'd allow a thematic reason without requiring any feats or backgrounds; "One of my best friends growing up was an Grippli, who taught me to hunt with the Hand Adze".)
But looking closer, this rant doesn't have much impact in the game - there are only a very few non-uncommon weapons with ancestry traits - seems to me to only be Grippli, Vanara and a few Monk weapons. (I guess the Grippli Adze weapons aren't uncommon because they really are common tools - it's just uncommon to use them as weapons.)

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Giant instinct barbarians specifically get access to a large weapon. Access is a rules thing here. You need it for an uncommon weapon unless you can specifically loot it and the easiest way to circumvent it is the unconventional weaponry ancestry feat.
It's not the most well handled part of the rules to be honest, but it's easy to work around at private tables.

Liberty's Edge

Shifting Rune on a Large Dagger for a 1h Giant Barbarian. And a Bladed diabolo for a 2h one (but it's Uncommon).

Shadow Lodge

Mer_ wrote:

Giant instinct barbarians specifically get access to a large weapon. Access is a rules thing here. You need it for an uncommon weapon unless you can specifically loot it and the easiest way to circumvent it is the unconventional weaponry ancestry feat.

It's not the most well handled part of the rules to be honest, but it's easy to work around at private tables.
Barbarian / Giant Instinct / Titan Mauler (Instinct Ability) wrote:

Source Core Rulebook pg. 87 (3.0)

You can use a weapon built for a Large creature if you are Small or Medium (both normally and when raging). If you're not Small or Medium, you can use a weapon built for a creature one size larger than you. You gain access to this larger weapon, which can be of any weapon type otherwise available at character creation. It has the normal Price and Bulk for a weapon of its size. When wielding such a weapon in combat, increase your additional damage from Rage from 2 to 6, but you have the clumsy 1 condition because of the weapon's unwieldy size. You can't remove this clumsy condition or ignore its penalties by any means while wielding the weapon.

Giant Barbarians can somehow always find an oversized version of any weapon otherwise available for sale: It's just one of those things...

Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Giant Barbarians can somehow always find an oversized version of any weapon otherwise available for sale: It's just one of those things...

Sure, but if you want to justify getting/finding an item later on in-game, or (as I did) justifying getting an uncommon item at character creation at a slightly higher level...

I'd argue that thematically it should be easier to find a large Ogre Hook than large versions of many other items.

(But hey - I totally agree that a lvl 1 Giant Instinct Barbarian should be able to get a large version of any weapon they otherwise have access to.)

Horizon Hunters

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

As long as your GM is cool with you having the weapon, there's no issues. They're just trying to explain what the Uncommon trait means.

You should never just assume you can get an Uncommon character option, unless you have something that says you have access to it. That's what the ancestral weapon feats do, give you access to the items.

If you want access to an item otherwise, it's entirely up to the GM.

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That is a problem with the rarity system yes.
Uncommon weapons are hard to get access to when planning a character but once one instance of a weapon exists in your game and you have access to qualified smiths in a high magic setting, there's no reason you couldn't get one replicated and share with the group. There's no reason seeing one weapon doesn't grant you access to turn your weapon into it via a shifting rune.

In my opinion the rarity system should interface more with weapon categories and relax (not remove) access requirements. But I think there's PFS reasons why that is not the case.

Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Giant Barbarians can somehow always find an oversized version of any weapon otherwise available for sale: It's just one of those things...

They order from home.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'd note that while giant barbarians who need larger weapons to use their instinct ability have guaranteed Access, there is no inherent rarity to Large weapons. That looks initially like a mismatch, but makes sense with the Access being designed around the GM being able to shift it to fit campaigns and characters.

Dark Archive

You missed that Orcs or half orcs or those adopted by them can take the L5 Hold Mark feat which allows axes to use the pick crit specialization if you want to. So you can choose the crit specialization that give the best damage based on the circumstance and get that pick crit spec on a 1D12 weapon when facing a single target.

The other thing to consider for fighters is selection of your primary weapon group should consider if there is a thrown weapon option that you can strap a returning rune on so you have a ranged option at full attack bonus. I think the Trident (1D8 spear) or Mambele (1D6 axe with deadly d8) and the light hammer (1d6 agile hammer) are the standouts.

My personal choices would be hammer for the crit spec since a AoO at no map and mid turn flatfooted from prone, and burning an action is a solid choice. Also because you can have that backup thrown light hammer. But I also agree with others here that unless you're a fighter you're better off assuming there won't be any crits. I know statistically that isn't true, but psychologically it'll feel awful hoping for crits for you main damage average. Especially if you have a GM or AP that throws over-tuned encounters your way by adding 1-2 CR=level or CR+1/CR+2 monster instead of like 2-4 CR-2/CR-1 creatures that get crit more often.

Also a damage rune is typically worth 3.5 DPR but some runes (e.g., crushing/major crushing) can give condition penalties of 1 or 2 to the enemies AC until the end of your NEXT turn. A -1 or -2 to AC can be significantly more damage than 3.5 (I forget the breakdown but each -1 can be roughly 10-15% increase in damage). So you can have some pretty crazy turns as a fighter with a major crushing maul that crits on strike 1, knocks prone and now your second strike is an effective -1 from full MAP from flatfooted and Clumsy 2, AoO them standing up with a effective +3 to +4 and have that same +2 Clumsy Bonus for all the strikes on your next turn.

Red Griffyn wrote:
You missed that Orcs or half orcs or those adopted by them can take the L5 Hold Mark feat which allows axes to use the pick crit specialization if you want to. So you can choose the crit specialization that give the best damage based on the circumstance and get that pick crit spec on a 1D12 weapon when facing a single target.

That's not how I read the rule:

aonprd wrote:

(..) When you critically hit using a weapon of the listed group, you apply the weapon's critical specialization effect. (..)

  • Axe axe or pick
  • Shield hammer or shield
  • Torch bomb or knife

I read this as that if you have the feat and chose the group Axe, then you get the critical specialization effect of your weapon - if you are wielding a weapon in the group (here an axe or pick). The group is "axe", and the weapons in the group are "axe or pick".

It doesn't say "you may apply any specialization effect from the group" or similar - it says to apply "the weapon's critical specialization effect" - not that of another weapon. And if you already have critical specialization for your wielded weapon from other feats, then this feat has no effect. It could, however, be useful to gain critical specialization for a weapon you do not already have critical specialization for. I read it as a fun and thematic way to get critical specializations, as many other feats do at level 5. Wield a pick - this is a way to get the critical specialization of a pick.

Good observations on AC - and I plan to take several feats mainly to reduce the AC of my enemies, by making them flat footed. :)

Torch doesn't have a weapon group or specialization so I would assume that you would pick from the list but bomb makes very little sense as a replacement specialization for torch. How would that even work?

aobst128 wrote:
Torch doesn't have a weapon group or specialization so I would assume that you would pick from the list but bomb makes very little sense as a replacement specialization for torch. How would that even work?

It is quite legitimate to have a weapon not belong to a weapon group, and therefore have no weapon specialization ability.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It's a little confusingly written because Axe and Shield are both weapon groups and the name of the mark, but I agree that you pick a mark and gain the listed option, not that you get to choose crit specs at will. As pointed out, the third option can't really be parsed at all if it's run the other way.

Gortle wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
Torch doesn't have a weapon group or specialization so I would assume that you would pick from the list but bomb makes very little sense as a replacement specialization for torch. How would that even work?
It is quite legitimate to have a weapon not belong to a weapon group, and therefore have no weapon specialization ability.

Right but what I'm saying is how would you use bomb specialization on a torch?

aobst128 wrote:
Right but what I'm saying is how would you use bomb specialization on a torch?

The light splashes 5 feet further, of course! The other way around is even easier - you use the torch to light the fuse! Ahem.

But no, it doesn't make sense.

aobst128 wrote:
Right but what I'm saying is how would you use bomb specialization on a torch?

You don't, the torch is an improvised juggling club. With some extra fire damage mirroring the fire poi if your GM's generous.

Dark Archive

On second reading I honestly don't know what the feat is saying, but I'm probably leaning to your interpretation. I can see what you're saying that you 'get a axe/shield/torch symbol' and thus open up crit spec with the listed groups (Axe lets you crit with axes or picks, shield with hammer or shields, torch with bombs or knives). But if that is the feat, that's pretty boring!

It'd be way more interesting to do some swapping of crit specs between weapons to mix and match to taste within certain bounded group limits.

All the L5 'get crit spec' options really aren't that great. Only the Gunslinger and Fighter are getting criticals with any meaningful frequency and they already get these spec options at L5. Even the archer/mauler that can expand the fighter primary group selection give crit spec. So those feats are only useful in two highly specific corner cases

1.) Fighter that goes into Aldori Duelist where you didn't pick swords as your group. However you grab a L5 feat that gives sword group specialization like the hobgoblin weapon discipline. Then you can have aldori swords at max proficiency, get the spec and have another weapon as well.

2.) Fighter that wants to do something similar to the above and grabbing the L13 feat which bumps your proficiency up and you're committed to taking the L5 and L13 feat combination. But this is so late game that it only really comes around for a high level start game. Definitely want a triggerbrand fighter MC Gunslinger Dwarf who is taking those munition feats to get guns/swords/bombs at max proficiency (and I guess specialization) so I can have fun shooting/slashing/throwing bombs.

3.) You're going to face lots of CR-1/-2/-3/-4 monsters and are another type of martial that didn't get crit spec already due to choices or because you don't want to spend a class feat on that)

Horizon Hunters

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

How that feat works is you pick one of the three choices, Axe Shield or Torch. You gain the mark related to that choice. From then on, any time you crit with a weapon listed in that choice, you apply crit specialization.

Example: If you pick Torch, any time you crit with a Bomb or Dagger you would apply the weapon's normal crit specialization. You do not get crit specialization when using a Torch as a weapon.

This doesn't let you change crit effects of a weapon, it just unlocks the ability to get crit effects on more weapons.

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