From the SRD:

Hardness and Hit Points
Each +1 of enhancement bonus adds 2 to a weapon’s or shield’s hardness and +10 to its hit points.

Does a quarterstaff +1/+2 get a total increase in hardness of +4 or +6? (Or, somehow, +4 on some parts and +6 on others?) The increases are not worded as bonuses, but if they were they would be untyped. I'm not sure whether separate enhancement bonuses on each head of the weapon constitute separate sources.


2 Answers 2


Nothing in the rules state that double weapons behave differently when targeted by sunder, so I’d expect that a single successful sunder would break the entire weapon. It does not seem possible to fight on with the other end after one has been broken. This inclines me to feel that a weapon, as a singular object, can only have one HP and hardness value.1 Thus, though the two ends see independent enhancement bonuses for determining their attack and damage bonuses, the weapon as a whole sees two overlapping enhancement bonuses when determining the HP and hardness.

Since enhancement bonuses do not stack, the weapon uses the higher enhancement bonus to determine its HP and hardness.

The bigger confusion is actually weapon materials. The rules say that you can create the two ends from different materials, but then never explain how that works for things—like HP and hardness, and also weight—that belong to the weapon as a whole, rather than to a single head. Again, I would probably just treat them as overlapping, but that is a bigger stretch than with enhancement bonuses.

Ultimately, double weapons are a mess; these are not the only confusions that arise from their use. And due to the need for Exotic Weapon Proficiency (aside from the quarterstaff), they tend to be rather poor weapons, too. And they are massively unrealistic (quarterstaff again excepted). I happen to think that they’re pretty cool, myself, and don’t care too much for realism, but ultimately they just have so many problems that I just avoid them.

  1. I am not aware of any rule that comes out and says this, but any other interpretation leads to either having to make pretty big assumptions about sundering double weapons, or just plain nonsense. So I’m invoking Occam’s razor here: singular HP and hardness values requires the least speculation and fewest assumptions on our part.
  • \$\begingroup\$ What if one head of an axe is made of adamantine while the other is not? I don't think you can reasonably say they can target the other side and destroy the whole axe. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 23, 2016 at 21:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nickmagus No, I’d use the higher hardness value there, and say the entire weapon is protected from sunder as if adamantine. But that is a good point, and an unfortunate problem: so far as I know, the rules never specify what to do with this situation, and numerous options are kind of reasonable. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 23, 2016 at 21:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would argue that treating the two heads as separate weapons is simpler as it does not require rulings on the variety of conflicts that arise from having multiple different heads. How much does a mithral/adamantine weapon weigh? How much hp does it have? Can a half dancing weapon hit things with its other half? What happens with a half throwing weapon? All of these have simple answers if you treat the double weapons as two separate weapons that happen to be joined. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 23, 2016 at 21:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nickmagus They do? Tell me, where are the rules for the HP of individual parts of a weapon, the weight of different parts, using the non-dancing or non-throwing end of the weapon while dancing or throwing is doing its thing, etc.? No, I do not think so: double weapons are a mess, but that is not the panacea you seem to think it is. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 23, 2016 at 22:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ We can certainly agree that double weapons are a mess. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 23, 2016 at 22:05

From the SRD:

Double weapons have separate bonuses for their different heads.


A character can fight with both ends of a double weapon as if fighting with two weapons.

The game mostly treats double headed weapons as two separate weapons and I would say the same principle applies here and each head has its own hardness and HP. Sunders etc could target either side of the weapon.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ The game does not treat double weapons as two separate weapons “for all intents and purposes,” it treats a double weapon that way for the sole and singular purpose of gaining extra attacks by using two-weapon fighting, and determining the attack penalties when you do so. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 23, 2016 at 20:39

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