Who/what makes the Fort save on the splinter spell resistance spell?

I'm noticing that the splinter spell resistance spell description states "Saving Throw Fort negates; Spell Resistance no"... But since the actual target of the spell is the weapon, is this supposed to mean that the object makes the Fort save, or the creature being struck by the weapon?

(I'm leaning towards the latter because it makes more sense, but I do feel like that should have been better clarified within the spell itself.)


1 Answer 1


Yeah, this is nonsense. RAW, no one makes the Fortitude save: the target of the spell is an object, and objects only have to save against spells that note “(object)” in the saving throw line.

Looking at precedents, we have magic weapon, which has “Save: Will (harmless, object),” suggesting that maybe it’s common for weapon-enhancing spells to allow the weapon (or its wielder) the option of resisting it if they so choose. Maybe that’s what they were going for? Fortitude is a weird choice for that, though, and they definitely needed that “(harmless, object)” for it to work.

To have whoever is attacked with the weapon save, it really needs to say that. Actually, almost all spells that force a save from anyone spell it out, even when it just is the target of the spell. Usually, the save line is just to help you tell at a glance whether the spell is appropriate for a given target or not. Though there are exceptions—like that magic weapon above. But still, that’s very much for the weapon saving, not whoever’s hit with it.

Instead, what splinter spell resistance says is that the target just loses SR—no if’s, and’s, or but’s. Properly speaking, this also says no one makes a save.

And honestly, a save on every hit is questionable game design. It makes for a very weak spell, and it also just adds a ton of extra rolling to the game, wasting time. Balance and smooth gameplay again say no to having any save involved here.

I do not know what the author intended. I think it’s safe to say they didn’t intend to write a spell that indicates a saving throw that no one will ever make, but beyond that, it could go either way. Most likely, this happened in the editing process: someone decided the spell needed to lose, or gain, a saving throw, and then that save was removed or added incompletely. But we don’t really know what the intent was. Remember that Pathfinder mechanical material is primarily written by underpaid¹ freelancers with the bare minimum of editorial oversight, on a blistering schedule. These things happen.

But it is clear, to me, how to rule on this for the sake of the best game: splinter spell resistance is a Save: None spell. Or maybe follow the lead of magic weapon, and change it to Save: Fortitude (harmless, object), in case for some reason the weapon (or weapon’s wielder) doesn’t want splinter spell resistance (or, more realistically, doesn’t trust you and doesn’t know what spell you’re attempting to cast). Though honestly at that point I’d probably change it to Will like the rest of those kinds of things; makes a lot more sense to me.

  1. This is a critique of Paizo, but not as strong a critique as it might sound. Paizo definitely leveraged their size/visibility as an excuse to pay less—as did Wizard of the Coast—but ultimately the real reason these authors are underpaid is because there is simply very little money in the RPG market to begin with. Properly writing RPG material, testing it, iterating on it, it takes incredible amounts of time, and there just aren’t enough people to sell the result to. Pathfinder and D&D turn a profit, probably, but we know it isn’t much of one, even at their party rates. Also, for the record, I have been out of the scene for a bit, so I don’t know what their rates currently look like. Since this is a PF1e question, though, my experience is relevant to that.
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Hah, fair enough. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 15, 2021 at 19:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree. I reckon it's pretty clear the Fort Save would be made by whoever the ammo hit. Obvs, ymmv. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Nov 15, 2021 at 21:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would like to quickly comment that it's target a weapon - meaning a wizard could theoretically target the weapon of the resident fighter/barbarian/rogue/other full BAB class and get several stacking rounds of spell resistance being lowered in a single full round attack - creature making fort save feels a little more balanced in my opinion - but nitpick aside this is an excellent answer although I'm going to see if I get other answers involving this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pacattack
    Nov 16, 2021 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pacattack It is limited to lowering SR 1/round. And spending three turns (wizard’s to cast splinter spell resistance, fighter’s to attack, wizard’s to land whatever spell had an issue with SR) to cast one spell is rarely a good strategy. Even if it literally guaranteed the wizard’s next spell would land, it’s still never going to be better than a niche thing—and reducing SR by 5 is not going to guarantee that. Balance absolutely does not call for a Fortitude save here. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 16, 2021 at 14:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ 1/round/successful hit (the successful hits stack - so again you stick this on the weapon of the dude who takes 3/4 attacks a turn…) but I agree with you \$\endgroup\$
    – Pacattack
    Nov 17, 2021 at 15:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .