I have this sai and it's already a speed weapon. That character will be taking improved disarm. Am looking at the entry for brilliant energy. "A brilliant energy weapon ignores nonliving matter." Obviously intended to pass through armor and such, but also golems and undead. It looks like not only can I not sunder with it but disarm would be ineffective as well.

This character would do well with a weapon which could switch between being brilliant and not brilliant, but I don't remember if turning on/off weapon enchantments was a homebrew thing or if there is an option in any of the 3.5 core rules. Anybody have an alternative to this? I don't want to give up passing through armor just so she can disarm every now and then.


Brilliant Disarm

Brilliant does indeed ignore all armor and hardness. You can't sunder with it and disarm is debatable, though Obi-Wan Kenobi managed it. Are you really going to be able to afford brilliant as a weapon enchant anyway; it's a +4 bonus?

There's no RAW way to turn off a weapon enchant. You could try to convince your GM to make it an extra-cost option on the enchant. Or you could try to add it via an add-on, like those weapon power crystals from the Magic Item Compendium. Or just have an item where you can cast the spell Brilliant Blade (Complete Arcane) when you really want it (likely to be a lot cheaper too) and use the weapon normally most of the time.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Ironically I've always called Brilliant Energy weapons Lightsabers. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Aug 13 '12 at 15:06
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ I think that would only be ironic if brilliant wasn't a deliberate light saber ripoff... \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 13 '12 at 15:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Flaming can be turned off, so why cant other weapon properties? \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Mar 21 '17 at 3:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Because flaming explicitly says it can be and brilliant doesn't? \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 21 '17 at 4:20

Your assumptions are right.

I'd like to point out that turning on and off enchantments is a feature of certain enchantments such as flaming. I suggest you to have two separate weapons, one for disarming and one for ignoring armor. Which one to unsheat is up to you.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought about that, but signature weapons are a favorite of mine. I guess another weapon of +3 in place of this weapons +4 isn't a poor trade-off though. I do recall that flaming and such could go on and off, but brilliant energy seems to be one of those like vicious and merciful without an off-button. \$\endgroup\$
    – LitheOhm
    Aug 13 '12 at 19:52

As a side option, you could further enchant your brilliant energy weapon with Psychokenetic, thereby giving it an activatble 'mass' when you want to sunder/disarm. Depending on the DM, you might be able to slide the BE blade into an object (say, a wall) turn on the PK and have the weapon stuck, until you turn off the PK (so you can climb said object), though I could see a counter argument that if the BE blade was inside an object when PK was activated, the blade would just pop out of the object automatically.


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