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I'm running a Pathfinder game for a few friends (using core + UM + UC + APG). Last session the party thief said that he was planning on buying a called anchoring adamantium axe. What I want to know is why he would want an axe with such a peculiar combination of enchantments.

Called is pretty useful on its own, and I can see how anchoring might help in some situations, but I really can't fathom why he would want a weapon with both properties (and an axe, at that; he was very specific about wanting an axe).

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closed as too broad by SevenSidedDie Nov 2 '15 at 20:59

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

have you tried to ask him? – Colin D Nov 16 '12 at 18:57
Whatever it is, it may run afoul of the calling and anchoring requiring two separate swift actions. – mxyzplk Nov 16 '12 at 19:27

The Axe part is probably down to preference. Maybe he's seen an image somewhere he wants to replicate. There's also the possibility he wants to be able to use the blade of the axe as a step using the anchoring property.

Combining those two qualities is useful. One scenario I can imagine for a thief is getting caught by a guard, hitting him with the axe, escaping and finally calling the axe back to him.

It also has plenty of tactical applications for holding high defence enemies in place while the party deals with softer targets.

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Trying to think outside the box in a game breaking way I came up with the following:

The character hits the target with a thrown attack and anchors the target. He then calls the weapon back to him without releasing the anchor. As the target is fixed to the weapon it is teleported back to the character along with the weapon.

I wouldn't allow it but I can see the argument. Called specifically says it comes even if held by another creature. Normally only the item comes back via calling but as the target is "stuck" to it, it has to come along as well.

The biggest problem with this is Anchored says the weapon remains motionless but the player may claim that teleportation isn't motion just instantaneous relocation.

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@MatthewNajmon I don't remember how older versions of Anchoring worked way back, but Pathfinder's Anchoring indeed does stick the creature to the weapon. Check this:… – Thales Sarczuk Mar 3 '15 at 10:24
Oh man, I would so let a player play Scorpion! (mild animated blood, but more damningly not the original, which I could not find) – KRyan Nov 2 '15 at 20:54

There are two possibilities that I can see with that combo:

  • Bringing enemies closer: This has been discussed several times by other posted, so I won't go into much detail. Basically, you throw the axe, use anchoring to make it stick, then use calling to pull the enemy back to you with the axe still attached. This does not work. Anchoring cannot be used while throwing a weapon. From the text of the ability:

As a swift action, the weapon can be fixed in place in a point in space, functioning as an immovable rod. This ability can also be used when the wielder hits a creature with a melee attack using an anchoring weapon.

Since you can't (typically) activate an item if it's not in your possession, you can't use either activation condition of anchoring with a throw.

  • Crowd Control: This is the option that I feel is more likely. Basically, use the axe as a way to keep enemies in place while you and your party go to town on them. If the enemy gets out, call the axe back and do it again. If your enemy doesn't have a ranged weapon and the party does, then the enemy either needs to destroy the weapon or make a DC 30 Str check to get to the players. Adamantine has a hardness of 20, so very little will be able to destroy the axe.

I really think that calling is there just so the player can get the axe back in a hurry if need be. The fact that it's specifically an axe is most likely mechanically inconsequential; as others have said here, it's probably as much preference as anything.

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Could you activate the item with a mage-hand, a familiar or some other such telekinetic devices? – Mouhgouda Mar 2 '15 at 20:16
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, it was nothing spectacular that he was planning. Just using the axe to pin people and anchoring them so they can't move.

I believe he was under the impression that he could throw it at an enemy, anchor them, then use calling to bring it back. However, as explained by DuckTapeal above, this will not work

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You're the GM. You have the power to allow the throw-pin to work, and it sounds like a cool idea. – Gustav Bertram May 14 '14 at 9:12
That's true, but I prefer to stick to the rules as written as much as possible, unless I think there's a good reason to do otherwise. – Meta May 14 '14 at 16:47

Just a wild idea. I don't know much about Pathfinder, but I read the description of the enchantments... considering that the PC is a thief, what about this?

"The PC wants to steal something that is guarded by a single monster/NPC he cannot defeat alone... so he intends to throw (is this throwable?) the axe from a safe distance... if it hits, the guardian is pinned, allowing him to steal the object, then recall the weapon from a safe distance - if it misses... he can (I suppose) recall the axe in his hand and try again (supposing that he can do from a place where the guardian cannot reach him)."

Can you think of some thievery scenario where this plan could work?

Another possibility (assuming the PC is really interested in playing a Thief, even if I understand this is not the case, I am adding this to my answer as an inspiration to others):

I suppose that the axe+a rope could also be useful as a sort of grappling hook? Throw it against a (wooden?) balcony or beam, climb up, steal, climb down, teleport back to your hand...

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You said he is not really caring much about the thief part so this is probably moot, but I suppose that the axe+a rope could also be useful as a sort of grappling hook? Throw it against a (wooden?) balcony or beam, climb up, steal, climb down, teleport back to your hand... – p.marino Nov 19 '12 at 15:56
Great speculation, and a pretty handy/novel use of such an item. However, this is a player who took 7 levels in rogue, 2 levels in Shadow Dancer, and then wanted to take another 3 levels in Sorcerer. In short... He is not a clever man. – Meta Nov 19 '12 at 16:10

It's possible the rogue thought that he'd also have difficulty removing the weapon once it was anchored to someone. Called would fix that issue.

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Technically, if he had 2-3 he could use them as an infinite ladder...

Put 3 in the air, climb on them, recall the last one, pin it above ... rinse and repeat until you can no longer breathe or you freeze... or you fall asleep...

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This doesn't really answer the question. What you describe can be done with just anchoring weapons, and you don't say anything about why the player would want both called and anchoring, or why it has to be an axe. – DuckTapeAl Mar 2 '15 at 21:37
@DuckTapeAl: How are you going to get the anchored weapon that you're standing on without calling on the weapon? Granted, I probably wouldn't spend a pile of gold for an infinite length ladder.... – Ellesedil Mar 2 '15 at 22:13
@Ellesedil The standard 'immovable rod ladder' uses two rods as pull-up bars, rather than having a full ladder. Move one rod up, set it, move the other rod up a foot or two higher than that, set it, repeat. The same thing works with these weapons. – DuckTapeAl Mar 2 '15 at 22:39
well, if i'd use a weapon for a ladder, it wouldnt be entirely bladed, it wouldnt be too heavy or too long, and i could use it to defend myself and use it for utility purpose... i'd probably end up with an axe, a light pick and a small hoe or shovel. I'd think only 2 rods would be risky of falling and you'd have to climb with mostly only your arms, you'd have to be rather strong. – Mouhgouda Mar 3 '15 at 12:30

Our play group is currently running the Skulls and Shackles AP which contains quite a bit of combat in or on the sea. I had considered using the Anchoring + Called combination to hold enemies underwater, removing them from the fight and potentially drowning them, then returning the weapon to hand so as not to lose it.

If I had to make a guess, the player either wants it for thematic or tactical reasons.

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