[5e] Sundering rules?

Robyo

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Hey folks, I've been looking around, but haven't found any rules about sundering weapons in the 5e system. For my 14th level planes-hopping campaign, I'd like to build a villain with a lightsaber. I want him to be able to potentially sunder weapons that are anything less then Legendary items.

Ideas? Suggestions?
 

Enlightened

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Are you sure you want your player characters to have a lightsaber?

Because they WILL kill him, and they WILL get it.
 

Robyo

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Good point, but I'm not too worried. The party will have to figure it out first, of which the Alien Technology rules in the DMG are very helpful. The party has been carrying around a WWI Russian rifle for awhile now and still haven't figured it out. Although they did figure out how to use some hand grenades...

For sundering rules, I may have to adapt from Pathfinder.
 

Particle_Man

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This might be a case where the rules are so simple, they are invisible. Because attacks of opportunity only occur when one leaves reach, there is no Aoo for sundering an object held by another person. One simply targets the object the person holds, rather than the person holding it, and makes a normal attack roll. The DM determines the AC and hit points of that object (there are rules for this in the DMG). I would house rule that if the wielder has a dex bonus to AC, that dex bonus would be added to the object's AC.

I believe there is one magic item quality known as "unbreakable" but aside from that, things can break.
 

Particle_Man

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That said, this might leave it too easy to sunder people's stuff, so you might want to make it a harder thing to do by having would-be sunderers attack at a disadvantage.
 

Law Orc

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That said, this might leave it too easy to sunder people's stuff, so you might want to make it a harder thing to do by having would-be sunderers attack at a disadvantage.
Yeah, this is one of those things that is extremely hard to balance well. It seems to be one of those things (like disarming, like grappling) that tips really easily into useless or overpowered, with a really narrow sweet spot.
 

The Wyzard

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What I would do is something like...

If the lightsaber-wielding villain made an attack that would normally reduce the PC to 0HP or below, the PC could make a saving throw. If they succeeded, then their weapon or shield would instead be sundered. And the "lightsaber" would also have pretty good stats. Notably, this would actually make the lightsaber less effective, in that it would be giving opponents a chance to avoid outright death. This would somewhat balance out its increased stats.

However, I tend to think in terms of Classic D&D/AD&D. In 5E, saves work differently and hitting 0HP is much less big of a deal, so it wouldn't work out too well.
 

Law Orc

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What I would do is something like...

If the lightsaber-wielding villain made an attack that would normally reduce the PC to 0HP or below, the PC could make a saving throw. If they succeeded, then their weapon or shield would instead be sundered. And the "lightsaber" would also have pretty good stats. Notably, this would actually make the lightsaber less effective, in that it would be giving opponents a chance to avoid outright death. This would somewhat balance out its increased stats.
If the PCs get their hands on it, that would have the weird side effect that Lord Sunder's Sword of Sundering is most effective against bestial or otherwise unarmed enemies.
 

Icarium

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I'd personally be really careful with sundering. PCs get tetchety when their magical items go boom.

How I've been running it is non-magical items are fairly easy to sunder. I use enough non-armed creatures that this is fine. I use the DMG values for objects with some tweaks. For magical items, I say sundering them (which is much harder), damages them and a good check by an artisan can repair them.

As others have said, I'd use the DMG values for objects as a base. I usually say you have to do a set amount of damage in one hit to sunder, rather than continually pounding on it - doesn't work that way unless the person is an idjit and just holds it in front of you, and so on.
 

Illithidbix

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A good basis from existing 5E rules are Damaging Items on page 246 of the DMG and Disarm optional rules on page 271 of the DMG.
Note Damage Threshold is a little different from Hardness in that it doesn't subtract damage once it's been achieved.

It might feel a bit cheap but I'd actually just do it as a special attack (maybe inspired by rust monster's existing mechanics) that the villain has rather than introducing it as a special rule.

Whilst I like the idea that sunder (and Disarm) are combat maneuvers anyone could attempt, it runs the risk of either being too hard to pull off to make it a worthwhile action (as was usually the case in 3.5/Pathfinder unless you had the feat or were vastly superior)
…. Or they're just far too effective at neutering an enemy that they become the “go to” attack rather than something cool that's done occasionally.

From my understanding Sundering wasn't worth it... until you had a Feat... and esp. once you got an Adamantine weapon.
And at lower levels the weapon is a far tougher target than the wielder.
Then at higher levels an enemy’s weapon is a far better choice of target since their weapon has far fewer hitpoints.

The ideal solution is for Sunder/Disarming to be a difficult to pull off way to allow fighty characters to forcefully end a fight without injury.
 
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