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For a Dwarf Brawler, you can select the Favored Class Bonus:

Brawler: Reduce the hardness of any object made from clay, stone, or metal by 1 whenever the object is struck by the brawler's unarmed strike (minimum 0).

Does this...

  • Reduce the hardness for the unarmed strike but not other things
  • Permanently reduce the Hardness once
  • Permanently reduce the Hardness each time an object is stuck
  • Something else?
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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ O, wow. That's awesome. I'd always read that as bullet 1, but now I love reading it -- Magic: The Gathering style -- as bullet 3! \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 23 '17 at 22:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ May I suggest changing the word permanently to instantaneously? That is, in defiance of the normal definition, in Pathfinder (and 3.5e) permanent effects are typically removable, yet instantaneous effects are not. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 24 '17 at 3:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ironically accurate, but that also leads me to question if it is reversible and I'm going to reign in my questions on the matter for now. That feels like a whole other bag of worms. I'm going to leave that word ambiguous for the time being. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Jan 24 '17 at 4:02
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I would read it as #3: Permanently reduce the Hardness each time an object is struck (to a minimum of 0)

It does not restrict the weapon used; instead it merely says "Reduce the hardness...by 1" without specifying a specific weapon or attack. Everywhere else that I can see that has a duration (e.g. Bless) specifies it somewhere, and things that have a permanent duration (e.g. Weapon Focus feat) doesn't have a duration and is presumed to me infinite.

As for whether or not it stacks, I would interpret this as a penalty to the object's hardness score:

Penalties are numerical values that are subtracted from a check or statistical score. Penalties do not have a type and most penalties stack with one another.

and since the wording is "whenever the object is struck by the brawler's unarmed strike" without any restriction on how many times this can occur, I would conclude that the penalty would be able to stack since there is no restriction on that.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That's how I read it too. I'm going to leave the question open for a while to see if someone else knows of a rule, FAQ, or eratta that we're not aware of pertaining to Hardness 'damage' before accepting this answer, though. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Jan 24 '17 at 3:10
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I would assume that this is supposed to be “treat the hardness of anything the brawler unarmed-strikes as being lower by the number of times this FCB has been selected.” This is not particularly clear, but it’s the only reading that seems sensible. Permanently reducing the hardness of an object every time the brawler hits it is just unreasonable, and the lack of duration makes no other duration likely.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ While I agree that it seems a viable way to run the trait (and probably more balanced) I agree with Firedraco on how it functions RAW. Unless Paizo deems to respond to my request for clarification on if this is RAI, I'm going to give him the answer. Thanks for putting in your 2c! \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Feb 7 '17 at 20:39

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