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So I am running a Steelbound fighter in an Iron Gods campaign who has chosen whips. Assuming I get a monowhip, what, if anything, can I use for the monowhip? Can I use it as my bonded weapon and/or use the whip specific feats (weapon focus, serpent lash, and others)?

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It counts as a whip when it is activated

From the weapon's description:

A monowhip is a deadly melee weapon capable of inflicting horrible wounds, even in the hands of the weak. An inactive monowhip looks like a short metal baton, but when it’s activated, a small weight detaches, revealing a 15-foot-long monofilament length. Wielded like a whip, a monowhip slices deeply into targets and can inflict grievous critical hits with shocking ease. Attacks made with a monowhip resolve as touch attacks, and they ignore hardness as if the monofilament were made of adamantine. A monowhip’s damage cannot be enhanced by strength, as the monofilament slices with equal ease regardless of the force applied. Activating a monowhip is a move action; once activated, the whip consumes power incredibly quickly, at the rate of 1 charge per round.

Basically, for all purposes, an activated monowhip counts as a whip, for as long as it has charges left.

As for the Steelbound fighter archetype, you need a bit of GM Fiat there. It counts as a whip when it's activated, for all purposes. Otherwise, it's a metal baton and not a whip, which is not a valid target for Steelbound Awakening. It's up to the GM to decide if it can be a bonded weapon or not in that situation.

Personally, unless the player is able to find a way to supply it with power indefinitely (which is possible), I would say it's not a valid target for that ability.

For instance, we know that you can install a Power Generator in a technological weapon. Those generators yield a certain number of charges per hour, which can be used to supply any technological gear. Considering that a Fission Reactor Generator can supply 1000 charges per hour, and we have 600 rounds of combat per hour, you could use one of those to keep your Monowhip supplied with energy 24/7. Then, I would consider it a valid target to become an intelligent weapon.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I understand your conclusion with the steelbound archetype, but i do have one concern about it, your claim that the monowhip is a metal baton when not active. My concern is the wording states that it looks like a baton, and when activated it reveals the whip aspects. I assume that is something you already took into consideration when writing this. I just have concerns about how that line of thinking affects other weapons that don't look like weapons until used. \$\endgroup\$ – shufly Apr 25 at 22:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I suppose there is another possible issue. If i had picked, for some awful reason, a monowhip as my bonded weapon, would I need to keep it active 24/7 to bond with it or is that only because it only counts as a whip when wielding it? If i can't bond with it even choosing monowhip because it needs to be active, does that mean i cannot bond with a gun or bow unless they are ready to fire 24/7? \$\endgroup\$ – shufly Apr 26 at 11:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @shuffy if your weapon of choice at first level, from Weapon Focus, was "steel baton", then sure, it could be your bonded weapon while not activated. But ultimately, this all seems like GM Fiat to me. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Apr 26 at 11:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ So if I picked "monowhip" I could only bond with the monowhip if it was active 24/7? I would need to pick "steel baton" to bond with an inactive monowhip? That doesn't seem right to me. It seems like that would mean an unloaded gun isn't a gun, or a magic staff is only a magic staff when you are casting a spell from it. \$\endgroup\$ – shufly Apr 26 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sounds like a good time to consult your GM. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Apr 26 at 21:25
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A monowhip counts as a whip as a weapon

According to the general rule of technological weapons:

If an existing weapon proficiency allows the new weapon’s use, that weapon proficiency is listed in parentheses.

The monowhip entry has Proficiency exotic (whip) listed, so it is considered a whip whenever a whip is needed as a weapon. So most feats and class abilities will consider a monowhip a whip.

Depending on your GM a monowhip might not be able to be used for more utility things, such as grabbing small items. This is not because it isn't a whip, but because:

A monowhip’s damage cannot be enhanced by strength, as the monofilament slices with equal ease regardless of the force applied.

As a result you will probably still want to keep a non-monowhip around.

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