If a character with the Sneak Attack skill attempts a Sunder Combat Manoeuvre whilst in a position where they would normally be able to make use of Sneak Attack (e.g. when flanking) can they apply the extra damage when calculating the amount of damage dealt to the item?

I understand that objects are immune to critical hits, but cannot find anything specifically related to sneak attacks.

If an item is vulnerable to sneak attack damage then would an unattended item always be considered to be sneak-attackable?


2 Answers 2


Sneak Attack damage applies to creatures, not objects; unless there is explicit text that allows it.

If being able to sneak attack objects was the norm, then there wouldn't be the Vandal (Goblin) feat in existence.

We can point to the FAQ, but the FAQ only addresses creatures. There's no mention of objects.

Critical Hits: The following creature types...

Precision Damage: The following creature types...

We can look at the glossary and see what precision damage means.

Precision Damage: Precision damage assumes that the target has a somewhat normal anatomy or at least has a physical form which might have weak spots which could be detected or taken advantage of.

If a GM says that an object can have a "physical form that might have weak spots" despite the strong implication of "creature" in the sentences not directly quoted, that is a special house rule and not the norm.

What exactly do we know?

  1. Objects have no anatomy.
  2. Objects are immune to critical hits.
  3. There are feat(s) that specifically allow sneak attacks to be used on objects.
  4. The forum has an overwhelming "no" on the subject.

Can a sneak attack typically be performed on objects? This GM says, "No, unless you give me a really good reason as to why it should."

  • \$\begingroup\$ Savage critical doesnt seem to allow sneak attacks on objects, Vandal does though, However, it is a feat from a 32-page supplement, which might never see an errata or second print, and normally written by freelancers. So, unless someone brings it up and the community is vocal about it, the feat is legal and should be allowed even on society games if goblins are ever allowed. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Jan 31, 2017 at 11:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras You're right about Savage Critical, I don't know what I was thinking... edited. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zangief
    Jan 31, 2017 at 15:21

In this page from the pfsrd there is a rule clarification about "Precision Damage & Critical Hits". This rule clarification is about creature (so nothing about items is included) but makes clear that being immune to critical hits and being immune to sneak attacks are different things.

That said, there is really no specific rules about sneak attacks on items, so by the magic of the raw the Rogue has no reason not being able to sneak-attack an item. Still considering the raw, (most of the) items have no way to perceive the Rogue and so is always flat-footed: you don't even need to flank to sneak.

How I would rule it as a GM (I never came across this case in a game for now) is that you can only sneak an item that actually presents weaknesses and is unattended or held by someone you can sneak.

For example you could sneak a metallic weapon with a wooden handle wield by someone you flank, or the insane machine of the mad alchemist which have many parts of different materials, or a full-plate armor (where the articulations and stripes are more fragile than the plates themselves).

You couldn't sneak an anvil, a 10ftc mass of earth, or the poison vial of a master assassin who is perfectly aware of you.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Nearly everything had a weak point (though dirt and anvils are good examples) would you consider knowledge rolls for different items? \$\endgroup\$
    – Levi
    Jan 25, 2017 at 12:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Knowledge (Engineering) or Disable Device seems to be fair rolls if you want, but I prefer to ask them only if the character attempt to break it "the clever way", not by bluntly hitting the object. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2017 at 13:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Isn't sneak attack the clever way? \$\endgroup\$
    – Levi
    Jan 25, 2017 at 14:00
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I would concur, given that sneak attack(precision damage) works on Contstructs now, so there is kind of a precedent \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2017 at 14:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sneak attack is an attack. If you want to make an object don't work there is usually more subtle ways than stabbing it, even if for fragile items stabbing usually is enough. You may be attacking with finesse or in a sneaky way, with precision damages, it's still a hit with a weapon, not a clever sabotage with a proper tool. If you hit harder (with something like Power Attack) it seems ok to make it deal more damages, I think it's ok too for precision damages as long as being more precise against the item means something (no, this pile of poo don't have any weak point). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2017 at 15:28

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