7
\$\begingroup\$

Thistle arrows "deal damage as a bleed effect for 1d6 rounds after a hit". Do such arrows...

  1. ...cancel their normal damage, so an unmodified Longbow would deal 1d8 points of bleed damage at the start of the victim's turn unless stopped before that, OR
  2. ...deal their normal damage (1d8 in my case) right away, and then their bleed damage (1d8 again) at the start of the victim's turn?

If #2 is correct, do I roll again, or do I apply the same number as rolled when the attack has hit?

Is using such arrows at least once on every potentially vulnerable enemy optimal?

\$\endgroup\$
5
\$\begingroup\$

Thistle Arrows have no initial damage

Thistle Arrows

[...] deal damage as a bleed effect for 1d6 rounds after a hit.

Another way to say this is that their damage is altered to be a bleed effect; bleed does not 'tick' immediately on application, so the target won't take damage until the start of their turn.

If there was initial damage plus bleed, they would use words like "also" or "then takes/continues to take damage as a bleed effect".

\$\endgroup\$
4
\$\begingroup\$

Sort of

The entry on AoN and in the Adventurer's Armory is kinda wonky, luckily it also mentions another source that they appear in.

If we look at the entry in the Pathfinder Chronicles: Campaign Setting (written for 3.5), we can see the following entry for them:

Thistle Arrow: These arrows are a specialty of the Ekujae shamans, who craft the arrowheads out of the thistles of a toxic plant that most creatures find highly caustic. They deal normal damage but then become embedded in the wound and deal an additional 1 point of damage each round for 1d6 rounds from their irritating sap. Creatures immune to poison are immune to this extra damage. A creature can remove an embedded thistle arrow as a move action without provoking attacks of opportunity, but doing so deals an additional 1d3 points of damage as the thorny barbs are pulled free. A DC 12 Heal check (made as a standard action) can pull free a thistle arrow’s head without dealing any additional damage. A single thistle arrow costs 1 gp.

Given this entry, I'd say (in Pathfinder), they're supposed to deal the normal damage for a hit, and then deal 1 point of bleed damage for 1d6 rounds.

This logic is even more supported by the heading of the section in Adventurer's Armory for this item:

This book updates several items from the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting to the Pathfinder RPG rules.

Given its location near the end of the page, this would explain the funky wording and lack of an explanation given for how they work.

As they're currently written though, they wouldn't deal any damage on impact, and only deal the 1d8 bleed for 1d6 rounds.

\$\endgroup\$
7
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you mean to say that in 3.5 they do 1d8 and 1 bleed based on it being from the Pathfinder Chronicle Campaign Setting book? The Adventurer's Armory source is more recent and actually for [Pathfinder-1e] \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Apr 19 at 5:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ The entry in Adventurer's Armory is clearly not the same as the one in the Campaign Setting book you mentioned: the Heal DCs are different, there are no 1d3 points of damage on a failed check, etc. The damage is not bleed damage (it comes from the poison). Looks like they are very different items. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 19 at 9:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso hence why I say "The entry on AoN and in the Adventurer's Armory is kinda wonky" because it's written really oddly. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Apr 20 at 1:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Baskakov_Dmitriy AA has this before the entry for Thistle arrows (and other converted items) "This book updates several items from the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting to the Pathfinder RPG rules." So I'd say they're very similar items. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Apr 20 at 1:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso I don't disagree that the default is that latest source you should be looking at for things. It's only when things have pretty terrible wording (like this), that I think previous sources should be looked at, because sometimes editing to fit them into a new book causes them to make no sense all of a sudden. Ultimately, I agree on how they work as they're currently written with you. I just also think it's not the intended wording. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Apr 20 at 13:40
2
\$\begingroup\$

I'll stick only with the rule set you linked.

I think that option 1 is correct.

  1. ...cancel their normal damage, so an unmodified Longbow would deal 1d8 points of bleed damage on the start of the victim's turn unless stopped before that, OR

Bleed condition rules are here:

A creature that is taking bleed damage takes the listed amount of damage at the beginning of its turn. Bleeding can be stopped by a DC 15 Heal check or through the application of any spell that cures hit point damage (even if the bleed is ability damage). Some bleed effects cause ability damage or even ability drain. Bleed effects do not stack with each other unless they deal different kinds of damage. When two or more bleed effects deal the same kind of damage, take the worse effect. In this case, ability drain is worse than ability damage.

If it applied damage on a hit and the bleed damage, then they would take damage twice before your next turn (once on your turn and once on their turn for bleed), and I don't think that happens much in pathfinder.

The pfsrd includes an FAQ that says, you re-roll the bleed damage each time it happens. Which is new to me, I hadn't been playing that way.

To your last question, yes, it is best to use them on new targets because bleed damage doesn't stack. So either option that your DM chooses, a repeated hit on a target would miss dealing bleed damage.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.