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Getting Past a Character With Reach's Threatened Squares


Rules Questions

Qadira

3 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Staff response: no reply required.

A reach weapon allows the wielder to attack a square 10 feet away, but not squares adjacent to itself. Every second diagonal counts as double distance. Does this mean that a character with a reach weapon is practically defenseless if someone runs up to it diagonally, since its diagonal squares go from 5 feet and then 15 feet, skipping the 10 feet square?

Diagram:
c=character with reach weapon
T=threatened squares
X=squares it cannot attack
XTTTX
TXXXT
TXcXT
TXXXT
XTTTX

Shadow Lodge

No. For creatures with 10 feet of reach there's a specific exception for the distance rules. No Limburger cheese for you.

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:


No. For creatures with 10 feet of reach there's a specific exception for the distance rules. No Limburger cheese for you.

A large-sized creature would not have this problem, but I'm more worried about the medium-sized spearman.

Taldor

My understanding of the rule is that, yes, the long spear wielding M size creature would be "defenseless". Without a feat, class ability or other means to attack, they would not threaten and thus not be able to attack an adjacent enemy.
Plenty of ways around this of course, one being another means to attack such as a "boot blade" or natural attack.

Taldor

Yes, but that's why historically spearmen and pikemen also carried short swords for when the melee grew too close for the spears.

Free action to drop the reach weapon, move action to draw out the secondary weapon and then standard action to attack with it.

You could also take a 5' step on your turn to move the opponent back into your threatened squares to attack but that doesn't keep them from just moving back in without an Attack of Opportunity.


Note that a reach weapon has "Reach: 10 feet" not "Reach: squares more than 5 feet but less than 15 feet away according to the movement chart". This is a crucial difference. If a creature were to move from 15 feet away (a point two diagonal squares away) to 5 feet away (a point adjacent) he passes through a 10 foot arc. The grid system is an abstraction to help with movement, miniatures and spell placement. You do have to keep in mind what the actual rules say though. 10 feet is 10 feet, no matter the angle.

So, in short, no you cannot by-pass a polearm by coming in from an angle.


Mauril wrote:

Note that a reach weapon has "Reach: 10 feet" not "Reach: squares more than 5 feet but less than 15 feet away according to the movement chart". This is a crucial difference. If a creature were to move from 15 feet away (a point two diagonal squares away) to 5 feet away (a point adjacent) he passes through a 10 foot arc. The grid system is an abstraction to help with movement, miniatures and spell placement. You do have to keep in mind what the actual rules say though. 10 feet is 10 feet, no matter the angle.

So, in short, no you cannot by-pass a polearm by coming in from an angle.

While I certainly agree with this statement, I'm certain I've never seen anything in the rules specifically saying such.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Maldollen wrote:
Mauril wrote:

Note that a reach weapon has "Reach: 10 feet" not "Reach: squares more than 5 feet but less than 15 feet away according to the movement chart". This is a crucial difference. If a creature were to move from 15 feet away (a point two diagonal squares away) to 5 feet away (a point adjacent) he passes through a 10 foot arc. The grid system is an abstraction to help with movement, miniatures and spell placement. You do have to keep in mind what the actual rules say though. 10 feet is 10 feet, no matter the angle.

So, in short, no you cannot by-pass a polearm by coming in from an angle.

While I certainly agree with this statement, I'm certain I've never seen anything in the rules specifically saying such.

There was a caveat to that effect in the 3.5 era but it was omitted in Pathfinder. I'm not exactly sure why it was removed, but I've just been sticking with the 3.5 rule to prevent these sorts of issues.

Basically, a medium creature with a reach weapon threatens the squares two away along the diagonals.

Taldor

I too use the old 3.5 rules for reach. It's far simpler and more elegant.

--Electrical Vrocket


A reach weapon actually hits 2.5' into the second diagonal square, so I don't understand why that is considered a 'safe' square. However it would be really helpful if Piazo would officially rule on this issue.


http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/combat/space-reach-threatened-area-te mplates

I cant remove the space in templates so I`m having trouble urling it for you.


Tem wrote:
Maldollen wrote:
Mauril wrote:

Note that a reach weapon has "Reach: 10 feet" not "Reach: squares more than 5 feet but less than 15 feet away according to the movement chart". This is a crucial difference. If a creature were to move from 15 feet away (a point two diagonal squares away) to 5 feet away (a point adjacent) he passes through a 10 foot arc. The grid system is an abstraction to help with movement, miniatures and spell placement. You do have to keep in mind what the actual rules say though. 10 feet is 10 feet, no matter the angle.

So, in short, no you cannot by-pass a polearm by coming in from an angle.

While I certainly agree with this statement, I'm certain I've never seen anything in the rules specifically saying such.

There was a caveat to that effect in the 3.5 era but it was omitted in Pathfinder. I'm not exactly sure why it was removed, but I've just been sticking with the 3.5 rule to prevent these sorts of issues.

Basically, a medium creature with a reach weapon threatens the squares two away along the diagonals.

From what I've read in other threads the caveat of which you speak was not a part of the Standard Reference Document (SRD) from which the Pathfinder rule set was developed as per the Open Gaming License (OGL). This is unfortunate because on page 137 of the Player's Handbook under the section on threatened squares for attacks of opportunity concerning reach weapons it specifically states:

Player's Handbook wrote:
Reach Weapons: Most creatures of Medium or smaller size have a reach of only 5 feet. This means that they can make melee attacks only against creatures up to 5 feet (1 square) away. However, Small and Medium creatures wielding reach weapons (such as a longspear)threaten more squares than a typical creature. For instance, a longspear-wielding human threatens all squares 10 feet (2 squares) away, even diagonally. (This is an exception to the rule that 2 squares of diagonal distance is measured as 15 feet.) In addition, most creatures larger than Medium have a natural reach of 10 feet or more; see Big and Little Creatures in Combat, page 149.

A lot of things were not included in the SRD. The SRD is the bare bones of the system we all love so much, and Pathfinder was developed from it. As I understand it the things that were not included in the SRD are protected intellectual property owned by Wizards of the Coast, not Paizo. This includes the quote above. Paizo designers will have to come up with their own clarification, but I suspect they expect common sense to prevail on this one and an FAQ is not necessary.

There was a another thread that went into this extensively, but, unfortunately, I destroyed it. I tried to create another thread and link to the the other, older thread and somehow obliterated it.

Sorry.

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