This amazing answer has inspired me to ask a very multi-faceted question. I considered breaking it up into multiple questions, but then I realized each question was really just a part of a big question, and asking them individually might not give the comprehensive answer they deserve. Without further ado...

Can thrown and single-use projectile alchemical weapons be enchanted as though they were ammunition? And if so, how does that work? Many (maybe most) of those items do splash damage... Does a +1 flaming alchemist's fire do the bonus 1d6 to every target struck, or only the direct target? For that matter, what about the extra damage from the +1?

What about "single-use projectile" alchemical weapons that hit multiple times before their single use is spent, like some of the fireworks that damage a line, a spread, or a target once per round for X rounds? What about "single-use melee" alchemical weapons like the liquid blade? Can we enchant a stack of fifty liquid blades for the cost of one magic item?

What about non-damaging ranged alchemical items? They're still listed in the alchemical weapons table. Should flash powder and tanglefoot bags be made corrosive? Would the tanglefoot bag then do its acid per round the target remains entangled, or only on impact?

I realize the most common use for enchanting alchemical weapons will be to enchant some sort of launcher and let it bestow the benefits, instead of directly enchanting the alchemical weapons, but the answers to all these facets of the core question matter quite a bit to the end result.

I'm primarily interested in Pathfinder answers, but as Pathfinder is 3.5-compatible, those rules sources are good too. "Rules-as-written" are best, but I imagine you won't find much; official FAQs and errata and developer comments are excellent; anything is helpful. One special note: actual play experience with/as a player who used enchanted alchemical weapons would be very informative. Thanks in advance, everyone.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know about enchanting them as weapons, but I don't see why alchemical weapons would ever be considered ammunition. On the PFSRD, they are (mostly) listed as ranged weapons, and I can't think of anywhere in the rules where they are treated as ammunition. Can you elaborate on why you think they might be for enchanting? \$\endgroup\$
    – MrLemon
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 9:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MrLemon I suspect it's because of the linked Q&A saying "...a gnomish calculus lets you hurl alchemical weapons". Thus implied (or stated, I didn't get out my A&EG yet) that the they are the ammunition of the calculus. While not an answer to the Q, I also wanted to comment that I believe if your character is considering this they have too much money. It's 2k to make a weapon +1 so would be 8k to give it anything beyond +1 damage for a 1 use item. IMO, even enchanting 50 arrows to +1 is not worth the cost. This is probably why this potentially grey area was left largely unevaluated. \$\endgroup\$
    – joedragons
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 16:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Enchanting a launcher like the gnomish calculus, however, could enchant the ammo at no further cost, if it is considered ammo. There's also precedent for treating thrown weapons that are consumed when thrown (like shuriken) as ammo instead of individual weapons. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Pedantically, the gnome calculus's description says, "Alchemical ammunition deals damage according to its properties" (AE 7), which both A) makes at least what the gnome calculus can fire into ammunition and B) prevents that ammunition from inflicting more damage when using the gnome calculus. Make of that what you will. (I still think making the alchemical ammunition masterwork in the first place would be the biggest hurdle.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 18:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's no need to make it masterwork. Ordinary arrows launched from a magical bow gain the bow's properties. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 18:49

2 Answers 2


This post assumes Pathfinder rules. It also makes some (hopefully) logical assumptions.

This forum post seems to indicate by RAW that it is possible. These threads also argue this point.

As far as RAW is concerned, it is possible to make an alchemical weapon masterwork, and therefore enchant it. Where RAW is less clear (if it states at all, really) is what effect that has. What we're left with now is trying to infer how they would work based on other examples in the system.

Take the Alchemist's bombs for example. They are splash weapons that can be enhanced for better damage (+INT to damage, splash is minimum damage). How exactly this happens in universe is up to the GM, and probably whatever James Jacobs has in his head. But we can assume that they are being enhanced in some magical way, as the alchemist is a magical class:

Rather than cast magic like a spellcaster, the alchemist captures his own magic potential within liquids and extracts he creates, infusing his chemicals with virulent power to grant him impressive skill with poisons, explosives, and all manner of self-transformative magic.

So, from that we could infer that enhancing a splash weapon magically would indeed increase its splash damage.

The non-damaging items aren't as bad to work though, actually. Pathfinder by default has a few non-damaging weapons (the lasso and the net), and by RAW, these are totally enchantable. They can also deal damage via magical weapon effects, as the flaming ability states "on a successful hit". As these weapons require touch attacks to strike, they are valid for dealing damage.

What's more tricky is the enhancement bonus. By RAW, the enhancement bonus from a magical weapon applies to attack and damage rolls. However, the net deals no damage. It has no entry in its damage column in the rulebook, and you don't add STR or other bonuses to damage, as it traditionally does not deal damage.

So, in summary: alchemical weapons CAN be made masterwork and magical, splash weapons should get magical damage to both direct and splash, and non-damaging alchemical weapons get on-hit effects, but not enhancement damage (weird by RAW).

Of course, all of this is subject to GM as usual, but more so in this case as this is a very grey area of RAW.


Note: All my sources are DnD 3.5e, as I have never played Pathfinder. Also, remember that the primary reason that these RPG's exist is to have fun. If someone here comes up with the perfect answer, great. However, even if no-one does, use the method that will provide the most enjoyment for your players, and yourself.

I think the first thing you would have to do is classify the particular item. I will use for an example, Alchemist's fire.

You could or could not classify Alch. Fire as "ammunition", though nowhere in any book I have read have I seen it referred to as such. On the other hand, the following links would indicate that they qualify, at least in a general sense.


Personally, I would never classify any of the alchemical items from PHB 128 or A&E Guide 32 as "weapons", but opinions will differ on this.

Third, you could classify as just an "item", which coincides the best with their category in both aforementioned tables. However, the method in dealing with this, at least in my experience is the most complicated.

The rules for "ammunition" and "weapons" are in the Dungeon Master's Guide 221 - 226

The rules for "items", which would become "wondrous items" after being enchanted are in the Dungeon Master's Guide, pages 284 - 288.

I would imagine that the pathfinder books also have sections for creating Magic Weapons/Wondrous Items. If anyone has additional info, which I realise I am lacking in somewhat, please add a comment or edit.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG Stack Exchange. While thoughtful, your answer doesn't seem to really answer the question. The problem isn't if alchemical weapons are ammunition, but what the effects of enchantment on them would be. Moreover, when citing rules, it's almost always better to cite a particular passage than a series of pages. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidReeve Arn't you assuming if they can be enchanted they are ammunition thus answering the Q? I think Hilseksel read the Q the same way I did. \$\endgroup\$
    – joedragons
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 15:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @joedragons The question is a lot more complicated than "is it ammunition?" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 16:41

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