I have been working on a weapon plan for as my character develops and so I have been examining the rules concerning weapons. I got to a point where I am not sure how the rules work. It has to do with enhancement value adding to the hardness and hp of the item under the damaging objects.

Add +2 for each +1 enhancement bonus of magic items.

Add 10 hp for each +1 enhancement bonus of magic items.

Assume weapon has 5 hardness and 10 hp to start with. These values I am confident of. Each level of enhancement increases hardness by 2 and hp by 10.

  • Enhancement +1 = 7 hardness and 20 hp
  • Enhancement +2 = 9 hardness and 30 hp
  • Enhancement +3 = 11 hardness and 40 hp
  • Enhancement +4 = 13 hardness and 50 hp
  • Enhancement +5 = 15 hardness and 60 hp

What I would like to know is when you have an equivalent +6 to +10 weapon, is that enhancement value factored into the weapon's hardness and hp or does it only count the numerical enhancements?

So say I have a +1 flaming weapon which is equivalent to a +2 weapon. Would the hardness 7 or 9?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the more general question here is "do weapon enchantments increase the hardness/hp of the weapon"? Because a +1 Flaming Weapon could also gain either+2 hardness or +4 hardness depending on whether the +1 enhancement bonus counts or the +2 equivalent enhancement bonus counts, right? \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jul 1 '16 at 5:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ That was the question, I guess I did a poor job of detailing that. Ill take a shot at correcting in the morning if I remember. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Jul 1 '16 at 6:17

Enhancement bonus is clearly seperated from other magical effects on equipment. Therefore, when Damaging Objects specifies 'enhancement bonus' and not 'effective enhancement bonus', it is implicitly stating that only the base enhancement bonus provides an item more Hardness and HP.

To put it another way, a +2 Longsword makes the weapon simply better than it was, whereas a +1 Flaming Longsword would just add the ability to deal Fire damage. Adding the ability to deal Fire damage does not make the weapon more durable or sharp, which is what an enhancement bonus 'represents'.

From Damaging Objects

Each +1 of enhancement bonus adds 2 to the hardness of armor, a weapon, or a shield, and +10 to the item's hit points.

And from Common Terms

An enhancement bonus represents an increase in the sturdiness and/or effectiveness of armor or natural armor, or the effectiveness of a weapon, or a general bonus to an ability score.

Finally, from Magic Armor

In addition to an enhancement bonus, armor may have special abilities... cannot have an effective bonus (enhancement plus special ability bonus equivalents, including those from character abilities and spells) higher than +10. A suit of armor with a special ability must also have at least a +1 enhancement bonus.

All emphasis mine. The most incriminating line is the bold from the third link, clearly stating that 'Special abilities' are not part of the 'enhancement bonus'.


It counts only the actual enhancement bonus, not the enhancement-equivalent special properties. The actual enhancement bonus is limited to +5 (barring Epic), which effectively caps the hardness improvements you can get from it as well.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you back this answer up with a reference? \$\endgroup\$ – Dan Henderson Jul 1 '16 at 16:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanHenderson The reference is literally included in the question, with links to the official rules on the matter. What do you think is lacking references? \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 1 '16 at 16:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ It counts only the actual enhancement bonus, not the enhancement-equivalent special properties. I don't see anything in the question that makes that obvious. I'm not saying I disagree, but a quotation would really improve this answer. (Otherwise, I could write a nearly identical answer, with the opposite position, and a third party would be unable to determine which was correct.) \$\endgroup\$ – Dan Henderson Jul 1 '16 at 16:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanHenderson Votes are how a third-party who does not know themselves would be able to tell. The statement is that each +1 of “enhancement bonus” provides these benefits. It turns out “enhancement bonus” means “enhancement bonus,” not thing that are similar to enhancement bonuses in some contexts unrelated to this one. This is very close to a “read the book to me” question and I see no reason to waste more time on it. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 1 '16 at 16:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DanHenderson Oh and also, please do not use code formatting (backtick, four spaces preceding a paragraph, or <pre> tags) for quotes or emphasis. Those markings don’t merely apply formatting, they also semantically indicate that the text within is code, and some non-visual technology (e.g. screen readers for the blind) may attempt to treat it as such and make it very difficult to understand (e.g. it might attempt to read the text letter-by-letter). \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 1 '16 at 17:59

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