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What action would it take to simply "hold" a two handed weapon in one hand?


Rules Questions

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Let's say that I'm wielding a two handed weapon, such as a spear. If I wanted to make a thrown range attack with a dagger for instance, I would need to free up a hand. Now drawing the dagger would count as my move action, and throwing it would count as a standard action, but what action would letting go of the spear with one hand be considered?

Would you call it a sheath action (another move action) or a drop action (a free action) or something else entirely?

Then after the dagger has been thrown, what type of action would be required to wield the spear completely again (such that I would be ready to make opportunity attacks, for instance)?

Any thoughts?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Free action to let go, free action to regrip. That's what I'd do. It's not even worth worrying about to me.


I'd agree with TOZ. As for AoO though, I'd say next round. You've started with a free action (taking a hand off the spear), burned through your move action (drawing the dagger) and standard action (throwing the dagger) and ended with a free (or maybe swift) action (regripping the spear for use). I don't think you'd have the spear "back on line" until the beginning of the next round. But that's just me, others may think it should be ready the same round for AoO. Some might want you to burn more time readying the spear too, but given you already have one hand on it I think a free / swift action is appropriate. Consult you're friendly, hopefully, DM :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I agree. Free actions all the way.

Dark Archive

Free actions, and I wouldn't penalize the character's attacks of opportunities either.


Alternately, get Quick Draw and you needn't worry about the action.

Free actions, however, seem to be right. Free to let go, free to re-grip. I might (if I was feeling especially rules lawyer-y) require you to take the two-weapon fighting penalties to hurl the dagger with a spear in your hands, but I'd likely only impose that if the group/player was trying to overpower other characters with it. Not that I see that tactic as overly powerful.


Quick draw would allow you to hit the guy in front of you with spear, 5ft. step back, draw and throw your dagger at him. Only then should you apply TWF penalties/otherwise he's not attacking with primary weapon therefore is not using a secondary weapon (ie the dagger is the primary and only weapon attacking).

But yeh, not that powerful.

Dark Archive

Well, he isn't fighting with the spear in his other hand, just holding it there.

Otherwise people carrying torches while swinging their swords should also take a two-weapon fighting penalty...


yeh, that's my point.


This question is also highly relevant for wizards with a two-handed weapon for an Arcane Bond.

Rules state that you have to hold the weapon to cast, and you can only cast with one hand free, which means that you probably release and re-grip you weapon every time you cast a spell in combat.

I agree with both actions being free actions. If for nothing else than keeping the book-keeping to a minimum.


I'd rule that changing hands requires no action. You assumedly use one hand to grab a dagger, and toss it then regrip your spear.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Endarire wrote:
I'd rule that changing hands requires no action. You assumedly use one hand to grab a dagger, and toss it then regrip your spear.

So people in your games can change hands freely even when dazed, unconscious, or stunned? :P

Sovereign Court

Dropping a weapon is a free action that provokes attack of opportunity.

It is free to drop your current weapon and draw a new weapon as part of a move action. standard action to throw the dagger.

only dropping one hand from the spear...

this assumes the player will switch his main hand for the dagger and hold the spear in his off hand.

with two weapon fighting no new penalties.

without this feat the PC should take a -2 with the new weapon (the dagger).

Any AoO that are provoked later in the round, the pc should take the standard penalty for using a two handed weapon one handed in her off hand.


The OP doesn't want to drop the weapon just let go of it with one hand (holding it in offhand).

I thought this was dusted.


Clee wrote:

Dropping a weapon is a free action that provokes attack of opportunity.

It is free to drop your current weapon and draw a new weapon as part of a move action. standard action to throw the dagger.

only dropping one hand from the spear...

this assumes the player will switch his main hand for the dagger and hold the spear in his off hand.

with two weapon fighting no new penalties.

without this feat the PC should take a -2 with the new weapon (the dagger).

Any AoO that are provoked later in the round, the pc should take the standard penalty for using a two handed weapon one handed in her off hand.

why wouldn't a PC be able to regrip the spear with his main hand after throwing the dagger, assuming it's a free action to do so? I don't see why someone would be saddled with a two-weapon fighting mod, unless they actually had attempted to make two attacks with a melée weapon in each hand. In this scenario the PC had a spear in both hands, let go with the main hand, drew a dagger as move equivalent action, then threw it as a standard. With a newly free hand, I really don't see a reason why he would wait the rest of the round before resuming to grip the spear. Taking this example one step further, if he had grabbed a potion and chugged it, do you think he would suffer TWF penalties if an AoE happened later in the round?

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Clee wrote:
Dropping a weapon is a free action that provokes attack of opportunity.

I think you mean "does NOT provoke attacks of opportunity".

See table 8-2 on page 183 right hand column under free actions.


I think there was a thread that had an official ruling in reference to a cleric passing his weapon to this shield hand and using a holy symbol to channel energy.....

That was ruled a free action as I recall.


Free action. It can already (especially with clerics) feel like you never have enough actions in a round when you wield and cast, like with a shield. If a sorcerer holds a two-handed weapon, and it takes a move-action to free a hand to cast and an enemy is adjacent, you are stuck like chuck.

I also let my PCs attack with weapons in either hand without TWF penalties, unless they attack with both in a round.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
KenderKin wrote:

I think there was a thread that had an official ruling in reference to a cleric passing his weapon to this shield hand and using a holy symbol to channel energy.....

That was ruled a free action as I recall.

It's worth noting that moving a weapon from one hand to the other is different from releasing one's grip and then reattaining it.

I would have thought moving a weapon from one hand to the other would have been a move action. Interesting.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
JaceDK wrote:

This question is also highly relevant for wizards with a two-handed weapon for an Arcane Bond.

Rules state that you have to hold the weapon to cast, and you can only cast with one hand free, which means that you probably release and re-grip you weapon every time you cast a spell in combat.

I agree with both actions being free actions. If for nothing else than keeping the book-keeping to a minimum.

Most wizards however aren't swinging with thier staves... unless they're truly in desperate straits. If it's a standard size quarterstaff, they're balancing it on the ground with one hand, Gandalf style while doing something else with the other.


LazarX wrote:


Most wizards however aren't swinging with thier staves... unless they're truly in desperate straits. If it's a standard size quarterstaff, they're balancing it on the ground with one hand, Gandalf style while doing something else with the other.

So you can't balance a spear on the ground?


Ravingdork wrote:
KenderKin wrote:

I think there was a thread that had an official ruling in reference to a cleric passing his weapon to this shield hand and using a holy symbol to channel energy.....

That was ruled a free action as I recall.

It's worth noting that moving a weapon from one hand to the other is different from releasing one's grip and then reattaining it.

I would have thought moving a weapon from one hand to the other would have been a move action. Interesting.

A combat round is 6 seconds long. The only time a caster would ever need to worry about how many hands he has free to use for AoEs is if the casting time on his spell is "1 full round".

ED: that might have come off as obtuse :D What I mean to say is I think people are getting too caught up in the minutia of combat round here. Sure, in a 6 second time span, you could be casting a spell with your offhand while simultaneously your opponent provokes an attack of opportunity, but the game is abstracted so that everybody gets a turn. Generally, the only time you end up with a modifier to our ability to act is when you are doing something that provides a reasonably important bonus. For example, power attack is a stance that lasts the round, AoE or no. Casting can make an AoE impossible, but not because of what hand you are using to grip a weapon that weighs 10-12 lb. If the casting is a standard action, the system assumes that once your action is resolved you go back to your "neutral stance". If you have a cast time of more than one action, then AoEs are off the table, because your hands are busy for the whole round.


JaceDK wrote:

This question is also highly relevant for wizards with a two-handed weapon for an Arcane Bond.

Rules state that you have to hold the weapon to cast, and you can only cast with one hand free, which means that you probably release and re-grip you weapon every time you cast a spell in combat.

I agree with both actions being free actions. If for nothing else than keeping the book-keeping to a minimum.

The Most High Designers, Blessed Be Their Names, have ruled that the word "wield" in the description of bonded weapons means that a wizard has to keep both hands on a two-handed weapon, specifically stating that a greatsword, for example, is a "poor choice" for wannabe spellswords.

And, yes, it's silly. But that's the ruling.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mynameisjake wrote:
JaceDK wrote:

This question is also highly relevant for wizards with a two-handed weapon for an Arcane Bond.

Rules state that you have to hold the weapon to cast, and you can only cast with one hand free, which means that you probably release and re-grip you weapon every time you cast a spell in combat.

I agree with both actions being free actions. If for nothing else than keeping the book-keeping to a minimum.

The Most High Designers, Blessed Be Their Names, have ruled that the word "wield" in the description of bonded weapons means that a wizard has to keep both hands on a two-handed weapon, specifically stating that a greatsword, for example, is a "poor choice" for wannabe spellswords.

And, yes, it's silly. But that's the ruling.

Could you please provide a link to the ruling, Jake? I'm curious to see it's exact wording.


James Jacobs wrote:

An arcane bonded weapon must be wielded in order for it to have effect. This, unfortunately, does mean that two-handed weapons make for relatively poor bonded objects, since they'd limit your spellcasting to things without somatic components. Carrying a 2-handed weapon in one hand isn't "wielding" it... you're just carrying it. You have to have both hands to cast spells with a two-handed weapon bonded object.

A feat or class ability that lets you use a 2H weapon's swings and stabs and motions as your somatic component would be pretty interesting... but nothing in the core currently lets you do that. Your best bet in this case is to only cast Still spells or spells without somatic components.

Link

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Santen Kesshun, I reject!


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Santen Kesshun, I reject!

What he said.

Also, this ruling would seem to rule out a quarterstaff as a bonded weapon as well, since a quarterstaff is listed as a two-handed weapon. Gandalf will be pissed.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mynameisjake wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

An arcane bonded weapon must be wielded in order for it to have effect. This, unfortunately, does mean that two-handed weapons make for relatively poor bonded objects, since they'd limit your spellcasting to things without somatic components. Carrying a 2-handed weapon in one hand isn't "wielding" it... you're just carrying it. You have to have both hands to cast spells with a two-handed weapon bonded object.

A feat or class ability that lets you use a 2H weapon's swings and stabs and motions as your somatic component would be pretty interesting... but nothing in the core currently lets you do that. Your best bet in this case is to only cast Still spells or spells without somatic components.

Link

Wow. That's a suck ruling. It doesn't really do anything to improve the game and only limits potential character concepts.

Does he further clarify whether it was just "his ruling" or whether it is an "official ruling?"

Also, thanks for the link. It would have taken forever to sift through a 750+ post thread.

Mynameisjake wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Santen Kesshun, I reject!

What he said.

Also, this ruling would seem to rule out a quarterstaff as a bonded weapon as well, since a quarterstaff is listed as a two-handed weapon. Gandalf will be pissed.

Actually, the ruling doesn't rule out anything provided you are able to make your Spellcraft checks to cast without a bonded item (which anyone with a bonded item should be striving for, if only as a precaution).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate. 9 people marked this as a favorite.
Mynameisjake wrote:

The Most High Designers, Blessed Be Their Names, have ruled that the word "wield" in the description of bonded weapons means that a wizard has to keep both hands on a two-handed weapon, specifically stating that a greatsword, for example, is a "poor choice" for wannabe spellswords.

And, yes, it's silly. But that's the ruling.

I don't think it's silly at all for two-handed weapons to be not the best choices for a spellcasting melee character. If you're going to mix spellcasting with melee combat, there NEEDS to be a trade-off of some sort.

As for the OP's question... if you're wielding a 2H weapon, you can let go of the weapon with one of your hands (free action). You're now only carrying the 2H weapon, not wielding it, but your free hand is now free to attack or help cast spells or whatever. And at the end of your turn if your free hand remains free you'd be able to return it to grip your 2H weapon so you can still threaten foes and take attacks of opportunity if you want.

ALL THAT SAID: If you want to say that you can cast a spell with a 2H weapon arcane bond just held in one hand, that's fine. That's a perfectly legitimate interpretation of the rules, I suppose. It's not the interpretation I made, but given time and thought I might be some day inclined to change my mind. In fact, I suspect I probably WOULD change my mind if a player in a game I was running made an impassioned plea without doing so in an argumentative and annoying manner.

Folks looking for OFFICIAL rules are going to be constantly disappointed, I fear, since my philosophy is closer to "official" is what your GM decides. I'm just here to provide my interpretations and opinions. If you disagree, don't take my advice. I'm fine with that! I'm just trying to help folks make their decisions for their games, not trying to tell them how to run their games.

The main reason I prefer to say 2H weapons are suboptimal choices for arcane bonds is, honestly, nothing more than an attempt to leave something for fighters to be better at than wizards.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Santen Kesshun, I reject!

Does this mean I get to call you Orihime now?

:P


@James:

Silly is in the eye of the beholder.*

*This reference is not intended to infringe on any copyrighted material, characters, or ideas.

What about quarterstaffs (staves?). They are listed under two-handed weapons on the chart. Does bonding with one have the same limitations as bonding with a greatsword, i.e. must be wielded with both hands thus disallowing spells with somatic components?

Oh, and no disrespect intended. We loves us some Paizo in these parts.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Mynameisjake wrote:

Silly is in the eye of the beholder.*

*This reference is not intended to infringe on any copyrighted material, characters, or ideas.

What about quarterstaffs (staves?). They are listed under two-handed weapons on the chart. Does bonding with one have the same limitations as bonding with a greatsword, i.e. must be wielded with both hands thus disallowing spells with somatic components?

Oh, and no disrespect intended. We loves us some Paizo in these parts.

Quarterstaves and staves are not necessarily the same thing. A magic staff could be a clumsy or delicate length that simply isn't optimized to be wielded in combat. That's why magic staffs are treated as their own magic items, after all, and not as magic weapons. Combat quarterstaves are, likewise, handled as magic weapons and NOT as magic staves.

An arcane bonded magic staff and an arcane bonded magic quarterstaff are two VERY different things. They aren't identical at all.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mynameisjake wrote:
Oh, and no disrespect intended. We loves us some Paizo in these parts.

Most definitely. Most definitely.


James Jacobs wrote:


Quarterstaves and staves are not necessarily the same thing. A magic staff could be a clumsy or delicate length that simply isn't optimized to be wielded in combat. That's why magic staffs are treated as their own magic items, after all, and not as magic weapons. Combat quarterstaves are, likewise, handled as magic weapons and NOT as magic staves.

An arcane bonded magic staff and an arcane bonded magic quarterstaff are two VERY different things. They aren't identical at all.

Understood. But still, does bonding with a quarterstaff (the weapon) have the same limitations? I'm assuming, yes, as a two handed and double weapon it would have the same limitations as a great sword. Some people insist that a double weapon can be wielded in a single hand for a single attack, just like a "normal" weapon. I disagree, but....

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Mynameisjake wrote:
Understood. But still, does bonding with a quarterstaff (the weapon) have the same limitations? I'm assuming, yes, as a two handed and double weapon it would have the same limitations as a great sword. Some people insist that a double weapon can be wielded in a single hand for a single attack, just like a "normal" weapon. I disagree, but....

As quarterstaff is listed as a 2H weapon on the list, you'd treat it the same as a greatsword. Even if you're not using it as a double weapon.


James Jacobs wrote:

As quarterstaff is listed as a 2H weapon on the list, you'd treat it the same as a greatsword. Even if you're not using it as a double weapon.

Got it. And let me reiterate, although you're probably tired of hearing it by now, how much it means to all of us to have your participation on these boards. Paizo rocks!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Zurai wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Santen Kesshun, I reject!

Does this mean I get to call you Orihime now?

:P

No, but you do get a Cero-flavored cookie. :D


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Zurai wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Santen Kesshun, I reject!

Does this mean I get to call you Orihime now?

:P

No, but you do get a Cero-flavored cookie. :D

Not being Nelliel, I'll pass on the eating of Ceros, thanks anyway.


I think a reasonable house rule would be that you only have to hold a weapon to use the bonded ability. Or perhaps there's an exception for certain pole arms. A quarterstaff has a long history as being a mag thing, and it's silly to rule it out.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I think a reasonable house rule would be that you only have to hold a weapon to use the bonded ability. Or perhaps there's an exception for certain pole arms. A quarterstaff has a long history as being a mag thing, and it's silly to rule it out.

I would rule that you just have to be holding the bonded weapon, you can easily grab the weapon with your other hand after casting a spell. That's just my opinion though.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Mynameisjake wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

As quarterstaff is listed as a 2H weapon on the list, you'd treat it the same as a greatsword. Even if you're not using it as a double weapon.

Got it. And let me reiterate, although you're probably tired of hearing it by now, how much it means to all of us to have your participation on these boards. Paizo rocks!

Thanks! I'm certainly NOT tired of hearing comments like this! :)

And it's good to see folks taking rules clarification and advice as just that and not slaving themselves to rulings from the book or Paizo employees as THE ONLY WAY. It's your game as much as ours, after all. Make it do what you want! :)


James Jacobs wrote:


And it's good to see folks taking rules clarification and advice as just that and not slaving themselves to rulings from the book or Paizo employees as THE ONLY WAY. It's your game as much as ours, after all. Make it do what you want! :)

No, but your decisions in these threads do make a difference in how things are done by Josh in the PFS threads, where the rulings from the book and Paizo folks actually ARE the only way.


James Jacobs wrote:


Thanks! I'm certainly NOT tired of hearing comments like this! :)

And it's good to see folks taking rules clarification and advice as just that and not slaving themselves to rulings from the book or Paizo employees as THE ONLY WAY. It's your game as much as ours, after all. Make it do what you want! :)

You are wise and correct, but do not fail to appreciate the value some place on consistency, especially when integrating new players into a group or occasional pickup groups such as at cons.

That being said, I approve and embrace the house rule that a bonded two handed weapon need only be held when casting (but not be wieldable for AoOs until the caster's next action, even if the 3.5 supplement feat Somatic Weaponry is allowed.


Thanks everyone for the speedy responses!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

i kind of like the thought that a quarter staff has to be wielded (as in with 2 hands)if it's a bonded item. the power of a staff isn't it's ability to wack someone over the head but it's magical power. when you really think about it a staff is really a poor choice for a bonded item. since wizards are suppose to be so smart they should know this. a staff can be sundered,disarmed,lost,stolen etc. a ring would be the best choice.

Shadow Lodge

First off, I love Paizo. and their products.

That said, this is an absolutely horrible ruling. It makes the most iconic wizardly bonded item into a completely unusable POS. It would be akin to saying that paladins cannot use their special abilities while wielding a holy avenger sword.

My proposed solution: introduce a new weapon...the walking staff (also commonly known as the arcane staff). Like the bastard sword, it can be "wielded" either one-handed or two-handed. It would, of course, be added to the list of weapons that sorcerers and wizards are proficient with.

Walking Staff (AKA Arcane Staff)
Martial One-Handed Melee Weapon
Cost: 3 gp
Dmg(S): 1d4
Dmg(M): 1d6
Weight: 3 lbs
Type: Blunt

The walking staff is approximately 4-5 feet long. The bottom end of a walking staff is often shod in steel. They are often topped with an orb or some other decorative device, which can add to the cost of the staff. A character can use a walking staff two-handed as a simple weapon.


RunebladeX wrote:
i kind of like the thought that a quarter staff has to be wielded (as in with 2 hands)if it's a bonded item. the power of a staff isn't it's ability to wack someone over the head but it's magical power. when you really think about it a staff is really a poor choice for a bonded item. since wizards are suppose to be so smart they should know this. a staff can be sundered,disarmed,lost,stolen etc. a ring would be the best choice.

Speaking strictly from a metagame perspective, I'd have to cast my vote for a gauntlet, actually. It doesn't take up a slot like a ring or amulet, it can't be disarmed, and it doesn't interfere with casting, holding an item, or wielding another weapon in the same hand. It sounds goofy for anything except an EK build, I know, but....

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Kthulhu wrote:
That said, this is an absolutely horrible ruling. It makes the most iconic wizardly bonded item into a completely unusable POS. It would be akin to saying that paladins cannot use their special abilities while wielding a holy avenger sword.

If it's that big of a deal, make your bonded object something other than your staff. Or take a familiar instead of a bonded object. Or perhaps best of all, work with your GM to create a solution. Maybe even a new feat or something to make it work. Adapt the game as you wish. The walking staff option you present is a good solution... it's also identical stat-wise to a club, so it's hardly an unbalanced weapon. (In fact, since you can't throw it and it costs more than a club, it's even LESS powerful than a club, so it's REALLY not unbalanced).

In fact, that's basically what our iconic wizard Ezren carries around. (Although we call it a cane.)

But keep in mind my "ruling" is for a wizard, not a spellcasting quarterstaff warrior. The wizard is supposed to be casting spells, after all. That's his thing. If you want him to be a cool quarterstaff fighter, that's fine, but that's a different thing than the "iconic wizard."

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