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Thread: Acid

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Acid

    Atleast two of my players have mentioned getting through locks with acid, either in the form of acid vials or acid splash cantrip.

    The idea strikes to me as somewhat odd as 1d6 Acid can't even pass hardness 5 most of the time, 1d3 never.

    But to hear other opinions, have you as DMs allowed getting past doors with acid? What was the explanation for it, either game mechanical or roleplay-wise?
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    Default Re: Acid

    It's never come up. But based on chem class, I'd rule it'd have to be pretty strong acid, otherwise it's just going to etch the edge (heh). Even then, it's possible that it simply ruins the lock, rendering it un-open-able.

    Then again, I'm also the kind of DM that rules that, if you use spells to hunt rabbits for food, if the damage is an order of magnitude larger than the hit points of the poor critter, it gets splattered and there isn't much left that's edible.

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    Default Re: Acid

    If I remember correctly, Acid ignores the hardness of metal objects in DnD, so it should be possible.

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    Default Re: Acid

    According to the SRD, acid and sonic attacks damage objects "just like they damage creatures". Doesn't mention bypassing hardness, but then creatures don't have hardness.

    Comparison with other elements doesn't clear it up either - they all do reduced damage, and hardness is mentioned to make it clear when it's applied (it's after the reduction due to elemental type).

    I'd have to say that hardness still applies, since acids could more easily burn a person's skin than significantly damage wood or stone. From a balance POV, you shouldn't be able to bypass Open Locks with those things.

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    Default Re: Acid

    Quote Originally Posted by Pegasos989 View Post
    The idea strikes to me as somewhat odd as 1d6 Acid can't even pass hardness 5 most of the time, 1d3 never.
    Hardness, I believe, only affects physical damage, as in, I whack it with my sword. Acid damage, just like fire, sonic, etc. is not reduced by hardness or damage reduction. When you think about it, though, any decent 1st level fighter can keep hitting a wooden door with his sword until it breaks, and at higher levels all it takes is an adamantine weapon to be able to break through almost anything.

    Are you worried about them bypassing locks they shouldn't be able to? I think it's actually a creative way to get around a poor lock-picking skill or something like that. Just make them keep track of how many acid vials it actually takes to eat through the hp of the door or lock and remind them that they'll end up spending a decent bit of money on this after a while.
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    Default Re: Acid

    Quote Originally Posted by blue_fenix View Post
    Are you worried about them bypassing locks they shouldn't be able to? I think it's actually a creative way to get around a poor lock-picking skill or something like that. Just make them keep track of how many acid vials it actually takes to eat through the hp of the door or lock and remind them that they'll end up spending a decent bit of money on this after a while.
    This does make the rogue less useful, but with only expendable flasks it could work, the real problem are wizards that have nothing to do with their lvl 0 spells anyway.

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    Default Re: Acid

    Quote Originally Posted by blue_fenix View Post
    Hardness, I believe, only affects physical damage, as in, I whack it with my sword. Acid damage, just like fire, sonic, etc. is not reduced by hardness or damage reduction. When you think about it, though, any decent 1st level fighter can keep hitting a wooden door with his sword until it breaks, and at higher levels all it takes is an adamantine weapon to be able to break through almost anything.
    The problem was that Fire damage is affected by hardness...
    Acid and sonic attacks deal damage to most objects just as they do to creatures; roll damage and apply it normally after a successful hit. Electricity and fire attacks deal half damage to most objects; divide the damage dealt by 2 before applying the hardness. Cold attacks deal one-quarter damage to most objects; divide the damage dealt by 4 before applying the hardness.
    Fire (and cold damage) are both specifically affected by hardness, as you reduce the damage before applying it. Apparently, acid and sonic damage are not supposed to be affected by hardness, as they "deal damage to most objects just as they do to creatures", and as mentioned, creature have no hardness - unless they're animated objects...ugh...
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    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Default Re: Acid

    How about this scenario? There are three low level wizards, none of whom have knock or any ranks in open lock. One of the wizards is on the other side of a locked door and is being attacked by zombies. Would it be feasible for an Acid Splash spell to burn a hole in the door so that a hand could reach through and open the lock from the inside?

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    Default Re: Acid

    For that we'd have to turn to our good non-core friend, the Psion (Kineticist). He's got a series of powers (Energy Missile, Energy Cone, Energy Ball, Energy Current) which let him choose which type of energy fries the opponent. Every one of these powers has the energies described as follows:

    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    Cold
    A missile of this energy type deals +1 point of damage per die. The saving throw to reduce damage from a cold missile is a Fortitude save instead of a Reflex save.

    Electricity
    Manifesting a missile of this energy type provides a +2 bonus to the save DC and a +2 bonus on manifester level checks for the purpose of overcoming power resistance.

    Fire
    A missile of this energy type deals +1 point of damage per die.

    Sonic
    A missile of this energy type deals -1 point of damage per die and ignores an objectís hardness.
    You'll note, of course, that fire damage normally doesn't explicitly provide +1 damage per die, nor do electricity spells have any effect on saves or SR checks. Therefore, because this power feels the need to explicitly state that a Sonic Energy Missile ignores hardness, I would rule that sonic damage does not ordinarily ignore hardness. Since it's described using the same terms as acid with regards to damaging objects, acid damage is subject to hardness, though it's still good against objects since it's damage isn't divided first.
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    Default Re: Acid

    I haven't had players try it, and it would work (or not work) depending on the lock in question. A cheap simple iron lock and a lot of acid, I would probably allow to work and let the expense and obviousness of the break-in be balancing factors. A suitably complex lock or a lock made of special materials, I would probably either make unaffected by the acid or cause the acid to damage the internal mechanisms and make the lock un-openable. You can burn your way through a cheap lock if you use enough acid, but expensive locks are expensive specifically because they're designed to foil such tactics.

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    Default Re: Acid

    Quote Originally Posted by Pegasos989 View Post
    Atleast two of my players have mentioned getting through locks with acid, either in the form of acid vials or acid splash cantrip.

    The idea strikes to me as somewhat odd as 1d6 Acid can't even pass hardness 5 most of the time, 1d3 never.

    But to hear other opinions, have you as DMs allowed getting past doors with acid? What was the explanation for it, either game mechanical or roleplay-wise?
    There's a couple terms used in security.
    Fail safe and fail secure. Fail safe means that if the particular item fails, people can still get out. Fail secure means that if the particular item fails, the room remains locked up.

    Melting a padlock would be fail safe... if the padlock (on the outside of a chest) is broken you can open it.
    Melting a lock in a door would be fail secure. The bolt holding the door locked would not be accessible any more.

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    Default Re: Acid

    the bit from the SRD suffers from inconsistent writing...i think the key phrase is "roll damage and apply it normally after a successful hit". The question is which "normally" is it refering to, normal damage to creatures or normal damage to objects. It isn't clear, especially since it makes the incredibly stupid mistake of throwing that whole "deal damage to objects just as they do to creatures" line in there, though i would sumbit they do indeed mean damage normally with respect to objects (ie they don't ignore hardness). Personally i think the line is just a poor way of saying "Acid and sonic do full damage to objects (not half or quarter damage as other eneergy types do) just as they do to creatures but still follow normal object damaging rules." which is a pretty poor sentence to begin with. If Sonic and Acid ignored hardness i truly believe/hope they would have just said "Acid and sonic ignore hardness" since that isn't such a hard line to write or understand. They were trying to clarify that acid and sonic dealt full damage, and instead open up a whole realm of misunderstandings.
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    Default Re: Acid

    Okay...

    I think I will stick with my ruling that Acid doesn't make even a small hole in the door if it won't get past the hardness.
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    Default Re: Acid

    I'd have to say that hardness still applies, since acids could more easily burn a person's skin than significantly damage wood or stone.
    Wood or stone maybe, but many acids are actually more effective against (some) metals than against flesh. Hydrocloric, for instance, won't even leave a rash after several seconds on skin, but will immediately sizzle through zinc.

    Real-world, I don't think it makes sense to apply hardness to acid damage. If I hit an inch-thick chunk of metal with a hammer, yeah, I'll have to hit it pretty hard to dent it. But if I apply acid to that same chunk of metal, I'm going to damage it no matter what. If it's only a little bit of acid, of course, it'll only do a little damage, but it does still do damage, unlike a light tap with that hammer.

    As for sonic damage, in the real world it's actually more effective on harder objects. You can't shatter a feather pillow with a loud sound.

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    Default Re: Acid

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    As for sonic damage, in the real world it's actually more effective on harder objects. You can't shatter a feather pillow with a loud sound.
    Literally QFT. We always use soft objects for earplugs/covering head to sleep in precisely because they absorb sound and don't let it go through unimpeded.
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    Default Re: Acid

    Stomach acid of a purple worm, it'll eat through anything

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    Default Re: Acid

    My old Duskblade had a vial of acid in is boots of smuggling in case he was chucked in prison and needed to get through the lock. He also had a hacksaw blade without the handle in his boots.
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    Default Re: Acid

    Quote Originally Posted by leperkhaun View Post
    Stomach acid of a purple worm, it'll eat through anything
    So... It's a universal solvent? That glorping stuff is dangerous! (Reference. Cookies. You know the drill.)

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    Default Re: Acid

    Energy Attacks

    Acid and sonic attacks deal damage to most objects just as they do to creatures; roll damage and apply it normally after a successful hit. Electricity and fire attacks deal half damage to most objects; divide the damage dealt by 2 before applying the hardness. Cold attacks deal one-quarter damage to most objects; divide the damage dealt by 4 before applying the hardness.
    It adds the fact about hardness been applied after the damage is reduced to make clear when the damage reduction is done. Not because hardness is ignored on the nergies that aren't reduced. Read in context.

    Vulnerability to Certain Attacks

    Certain attacks are especially successful against some objects. In such cases, attacks deal double their normal damage and may ignore the object’s hardness.
    Here it makes clear that choosing to ignore hardness is a DM call.

    I'd suggest that the PCs should be alloed to buy anti-metal acids, ecetre if they so wish, which will ignore hardness of the type they're "anti" but that bog-standard spell acid shouldn't have any advantage unless the wizard researchs a specific spell.

    Stephen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Attilargh View Post
    That glorping stuff is dangerous! (Reference. Cookies. You know the drill.)
    Was it the movie Alien? When the acid ate through several decks?

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    Default Re: Acid

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen_E View Post
    Here it makes clear that choosing to ignore hardness is a DM call.

    I'd suggest that the PCs should be alloed to buy anti-metal acids, ecetre if they so wish, which will ignore hardness of the type they're "anti" but that bog-standard spell acid shouldn't have any advantage unless the wizard researchs a specific spell.

    Stephen

    Yeah, I could concider that or alternatively allowing them to just buy/craft stronger acids (priced off lesser orb of acid spell at diffrent casterlevels, the price being somewhere between scroll and wondrous item?)...
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    Default Re: Acid

    From the FAQ
    Quote Originally Posted by FAQ
    Hardness applies to acid and sonic attacks. These attacks deal normal damage both to creatures and to objects, and thus would deal normal damage to an animated object (less the effect of the hardness). You would subtract 5 points for hardness from whatever damage a Melfís acid arrow spell deals to the animated table in your example.
    so it wouldn't work, except with strong, or large quantities of acid

    EDIT: of course: if you want to reward this kind of player creativity, why not
    Last edited by Bender; 2007-08-30 at 07:52 AM.

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    Default Re: Acid

    OK here we go... relevant information about Hardness
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    Hardness

    Each object has hardnessóa number that represents how well it resists damage. Whenever an object takes damage, subtract its hardness from the damage. Only damage in excess of its hardness is deducted from the objectís hit points
    -----------------------
    Energy Attacks

    Acid and sonic attacks deal damage to most objects just as they do to creatures; roll damage and apply it normally after a successful hit.
    -----------------------
    Vulnerability to Certain Attacks

    Certain attacks are especially successful against some objects. In such cases, attacks deal double their normal damage and may ignore the objectís hardness.

    ------------------------
    Adamantine

    This ultrahard metal adds to the quality of a weapon or suit of armor. Weapons fashioned from adamantine have a natural ability to bypass hardness when sundering weapons or attacking objects, ignoring hardness less than 20.
    So, since most metals are susceptible to most acids, in most cases you can bypass the DR of the metal. However, this is up to the DM.

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    Default Re: Acid

    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen Joe View Post
    So, since most metals are susceptible to most acids, in most cases you can bypass the DR of the metal. However, this is up to the DM.
    This is a massively general statement. There are far too many of both metals and acids to say this!

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    Default Re: Acid

    The two key quotes seem to be:

    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    Whenever an object takes damage, subtract its hardness from the damage. Only damage in excess of its hardness is deducted from the objectís hit points.
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    Acid and sonic attacks deal damage to most objects just as they do to creatures; roll damage and apply it normally after a successful hit.
    The first quote is pretty clear. Any time an object takes damage, you subtract the hardness from the amount of damage taken, no matter what the source, unless the source specifically states that it ignores hardness.

    The second quote is where the problem lies, particularly the bit about dealing damage to objects as to creatures. However, since it doesn't specifically mention hardness, I'd say hardness still applies.

    I'm also going to get extremely technical here, and argue that the second quote talks about dealing and applying damage, while the first talks about taking damage. You deal/apply damage normally to the object, but when it's the object's turn to take the damage you've dealt/applied, it gets to subtract its hardness.

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    Default Re: Acid

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikkitosen View Post
    This is a massively general statement. There are far too many of both metals and acids to say this!
    Which is why I said
    However, this is up to the DM.
    It is an 'out' for a DM if he decides that acid would work. Ferrous metals particularly are susceptible to acids. Gold and silver much less so. Aqua Regia will go right through gold though, so it depends on the acid. So, surprise surprise, its up to the DM to make the decision.

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    Default Re: Acid

    So we've come up with "it's up to the DM", which is a bit of a non-answer really since everything is up to the DM. Harumph.

    From a game balance POV I'm inclined to go with the specific acid for a task rule, since that stops them from becoming too powerful but still allows some efficacy in the right circumstances. Clearly, acids for harder, more common materials should cost more.

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    Re: Acid

    Just to throw more "key quotes" onto the fire (both far more explicit than the mass above):

    Quote Originally Posted by Main 3.5 FAQ, pg. 69
    Many animated objects have hardness scores. What affect, if any, will an animated object’s hardness have on spells used against the animated object? For example, an animated wooden table would have hardness 5, right? How would that hardness affect spells such as fireball, lightning bolt, Melf’s acid arrow, ray of frost, and magic missile?

    If the spell in question has an energy descriptor, hardness affects the attack as noted in the rules for damaging inanimate objects (see page 165 in the Player’s Handbook); here’s a summary:
    • Hardness applies to acid and sonic attacks. These attacks deal normal damage both to creatures and to objects, and thus would deal normal damage to an animated object (less the effect of the hardness). You would subtract 5 points for hardness from whatever damage a Melf’s acid arrow spell deals to the animated table in your example.
    • Hardness applies to electricity and fire attacks. These attacks deal half damage to inanimate objects, but animated objects are creatures and they take full damage (less the effect of the hardness). You would subtract 5 points for hardness from whatever damage a fireball or lightning bolt spell deals to the animated table in your example. Reduce the damage for a successful saving throw before you apply hardness.
    • Hardness also applies to cold damage. Cold attacks deal one-quarter damage to inanimate objects, but again, an animated object takes full damage less the effect of the hardness. You would subtract 5 points of damage for hardness from whatever damage a ray of frost spell deals to the animated table in your example. Since ray of frost deals only 1d3 points of damage, it will prove ineffective against the animated table unless you somehow increase the damage the spell deals.
    • Hardness applies to force attacks. These attacks deal normal damage both to creatures and to objects (when applicable), and thus would deal normal damage to an animated object (less the effect of the hardness). You would subtract 5 points for hardness from whatever damage a magic missile spell deals to the animated table in your example. A magic missile spell normally cannot be aimed at an object. Because an animated object is a creature, however, it can affect the animated table in the example.
    (emphasis mine)
    Quote Originally Posted by Main 3.5 FAQ, pg. 93
    Hardness applies to all types of damage unless specifically stated otherwise by the effect. (Page 165 in the Player’s Handbook is sometimes misinterpreted to suggest that hardness doesn’t apply to acid and sonic damage; in fact, the phrase “apply [damage] normally after a successful hit” simply means that the damage isn’t halved or quartered, as other energy damage is.)
    (Second quotation not full entry because this is mentioned in passing in an otherwise unrelated question.)

    As to specific acids: There exists Stonebreaker Acid which ignores the hardness of stone. This is from the Arms and Equpiment Guide. The final issue of Dragon (#359) also introduced similar acids for destroying wood and metal objects.
    Last edited by Shhalahr Windrider; 2007-08-30 at 09:56 AM.
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    Default Re: Acid

    Awesome, a definitive answer. Thanks

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    Thumbs up Re: Acid

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikkitosen View Post
    Thanks
    You're welcome!

    Saw the thread last night, but didn't have time to dig it out. I thought Silvanos or one of the other RAW gurus was going to beat me to the punch.
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