Bob the Fighter is using a Maul of the Titans and has the Greater Sunder feat.

Maul of the Titans: This mallet is 8 feet long. If used as a weapon, it is the equivalent of a +3 greatclub and deals triple damage against inanimate objects. The wielder must have a Strength of at least 18 to wield it properly. Otherwise, she takes a –4 penalty on attack rolls.

Greater Sunder: You receive a +2 bonus on checks made to sunder an item. This bonus stacks with the bonus granted by Improved Sunder. Whenever you sunder to destroy a weapon, shield, or suit of armor, any excess damage is applied to the item's wielder. No damage is transferred if you decide to leave the item with 1 hit point.

Emphasis mine.

Let's say that Bob is a level 8 Fighter, with Strength 22 (+6) and Power Attack, Improved Sunder, Greater Sunder, Gate Breaker.

Sunder Damage with Two-Handed Maul = 1d10+27 [Strength +9, Power Attack +9, Gate Breaker +6, Maul Enhancement +3].

He Sunders a shield with hardness 10 and 10 hit points (let's assume he rolls max damage) for a total 37×3 = 111.

Does the wearer of the shield take 91 damage (111 − 10 hardness − 10 hp)? That is way more damage that Bob could inflict with a regular non-critical attack to the target's face.


2 Answers 2


The Maul of Titans is complicated and has led to dozens of rules questions at paizo.com. There are even questions asking for clarification what counts as an inanimate object in an attempt to clarify what counts as attended and unattended objects.

If we look at the rules about damaging objects, we have:

An inanimate object has not only a Dexterity of 0 (–5 penalty to AC), but also an additional –2 penalty to its AC.

Normally, the rules that affect objects will specify wether they work on inanimate (unattended) objects or also on worn/wielded objects. That was not the case here, and the ruling on Greater Sunder probably didn't expect this weird interaction to happen. For example, how do you decide which part of the damage carries over when the weapon deals multiple damaging types (like a flaming sword).

That said, there is no official answer to the question of which to apply first, or if the excess damage should be directly applied to the wielder, leaving us with a table variation of two scenarios:

  • The weapon deals triple damage, and the excess of that tripled damage is applied to the wielder;
  • The weapon deals triple damage, but since the wielder is not an inanimate object, that tripled damage is divided by 3 and then applied to the wielder.

In Pathfinder Society, the only reference in the forums is from a Venture Agent, followed by a Venture Lieutenant, vouching for the second option (divide by 3 against the wielder). But other than that, no official ruling can be found anywhere else.

Personally, I would go with the idea that the wielder is not an inanimate object and divide the excess damage by 3, rounded down.


As written yes that's exactly what happens, my justification would be that the shattered fragments of the shield do most of the damage not his direct blow, which is not entirely unrealistic. It's an odd one but you are dealing with a magic effect so strange things will happen sometimes, if it becomes a problem a GM may rule it a non-event or declare that the carryover should be cut by two-thirds to balance it back down since the person is not an inanimate object but that's their call.


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