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The Interactive SRD - Breaking Items

(c)2003 Jeffrey A. Mills, DVM

This material is Open Game Content, and is licensed for public use under the terms of the Open Game License v1.0a.

Breaking an Item and Attacking Objects

Damage to Objects

The amount of damage that an object can withstand depends on what it is made out of and how big it is. Weapon damage is rolled normally against objects.

Table: Substance Hardness and Hit Points

Substance: Thickness:

SubstanceHardnessHit Points
Paper02/inch of thickness
Rope02/inch of thickness
Glass11/inch of thickness
Ice03/inch of thickness
Wood510/inch of thickness
Stone815/inch of thickness
Iron1030/inch of thickness
Mithral1530/inch of thickness
Adamantite2040/inch of thickness

Table: Common Weapon and Shield Hardness and Hit Points

Tiny blade101
Small blade102
Medium-size blade105
Large blade1010
Small metal-hafted weapon1010
Medium-size metal-hafted weapon1025
Small hafted weapon52
Medium-size hafted weapon55
Large hafted weapon510
Huge club560
Buckler 105
Small wooden shield510
Large wooden shield515
Small steel shield1010
Large steel shield1020
Tower shield520

Table: DCs to Break or Burst Items

A common use of Strength is to break open doors and burst bonds. Larger and smaller creatures get size bonuses and size penalties on these Strength checks: Fine –16, Diminutive –12, Tiny –8, Small –4, Large +4, Huge +8, Gargantuan +12, Colossal +16.

Strength Check to:DC
Break down simple door13
Break down good door18
Break down strong door23
Burst rope bonds23
Bend iron bars24
Break down barred door 25
Burst chain bonds26
Break down iron door28

Table : Object Hardness and Hit Points

ObjectHardnessHit PointsBreak DC*
Rope (1 inch diam.)0223
Simple wooden door51013
Small chest5117
Good wooden door51518
Treasure chest51523
Strong wooden door52023
Masonry wall (1 ft. thick)89035
Hewn stone (3 ft. thick)854050
Masterwork manacles101028
Iron door (2 in. thick)1060 28

* Break DC: The DC for a Strength check needed to destroy the item in one action, rather than reducing it to zero hit points through a series of attacks.


Inanimate objects are immune to critical hits. Objects are immune to subdual damage. Animated objects are immune to critical hits because they are constructs.

Ranged Weapon Damage

Objects take half damage from ranged weapons (except for damage from siege engines and the like). Divide the damage by 2 before applying the object's hardness.

Energy Attacks

Objects take half damage from acid, fire, and lightning attacks. Divide the damage by 2 before applying the hardness. Cold attacks deal one- quarter damage to objects. Sonic attacks deal full damage to objects.

Ineffective Weapons

The DM may determine that certain weapons just can't deal damage effectively to certain objects. For example, a combatant will have a hard time chopping down a door by shooting arrows at it or cutting a rope with a club.

Vulnerability to Certain Attacks

The DM may rule that certain attacks are especially successful against some objects. For example, it's easy to light a curtain on fire or rip up a scroll.


Each object has hardness—a number that represents how well it resists damage. Whenever an object takes damage, subtract its hardness from the damage. Only damage in excess of its hardness is deducted from the object's hit points.

Hit Points

An object's hit point total depends on what it is made of and how big it is. When an object's hit points reach 0, it's ruined. Very large objects have separate hit point totals for different sections.

Saving Throws

Unattended nonmagical items never make saving throws. They are considered to have failed their saving throws, so they always are affected by (for instance) a disintegrate spell. An item attended by a combatant (being grasped, touched, or worn) receives a saving throw just as if the combatant herself were making the saving throw.

Magic items always get saving throws. A magic item's Fortitude, Reflex, and Will save bonuses are equal to 2 + one-half its caster level. Attended magic items either make saving throws as their owner or use their own saving throws, whichever are better.

Magic Weapons and Shields

The attacker cannot damage a magic weapon or shield that has an enhancement bonus unless his own weapon has at least as high an enhancement bonus as the weapon or shield struck. Each +1 of enhancement bonus also adds 1 to the weapon's or shield's hardness and hit points. If a combatant's shield has a +2 enhancement bonus, a combatant add 2 to its hardness and to its hit points.

Breaking Items

When a combatant tries to break something with sudden force rather than by dealing regular damage, use a Strength check to see whether the combatant succeeds. The DC depends more on the construction of the item than on the material.

If an item has lost half or more of its hit points, the DC to break it drops by 2.

(c)2003 Jeffrey A. Mills, DVM

Requires the use of a Roleplaying Game Core Book published by Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
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