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Fighting Defensively, Crane Style and Archery


Rules Questions

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Grand Lodge

Possible?? I seem to have read somewhere that you can't fight defensively with ranged attacks, but I don't see anything off hand that contradicts it. Specifically, my Zen Archer monk seems to have a lot of available feats (wow do they get a lot of free) and I wanted him to take crane style - but is it possible?


Yes u can do this there is nothing that says that u cant. All the style's are ment for melle but no exclusive to. Question is there anyone in ur game that ur jioning that says u cant or that is argueing tword it.


The Combat chapter says,

Quote:
Fighting Defensively as a Standard Action: You can choose to fight defensively when attacking. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 to AC until the start of your next turn.
Quote:
Fighting Defensively as a Full-Round Action: You can choose to fight defensively when taking a full-attack action. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC for until the start your next turn.

Both rules allows fighting defensively while taking ranged attacks.

Grand Lodge

No, this is for PFS, so before I sunk three (well four, but dodge isn't really a total waste) feats into it I wanted to see what the consensus was. I was reading an archery guide and he said it wasn't technically allowed in his guide, but I didn't see anything stating that, which is why I asked. Thanks.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

What about for crane wing, am I considered having one hand free.


Paltinor wrote:
What about for crane wing, am I considered having one hand free.

If your hand is free, then it's free.

If you're attacking with a bow, you're using both hands. So if something interrupts you with an attack, you can't deflect it. After you're done attacking, it's a free action to hold your bow in one hand instead of wielding it. Now you've got a hand free and can deflect an attack. (though you can't use your bow until your turn, relevant for feats like Snap Shot)


Grick wrote:
Paltinor wrote:
What about for crane wing, am I considered having one hand free.

If your hand is free, then it's free.

If you're attacking with a bow, you're using both hands. So if something interrupts you with an attack, you can't deflect it. After you're done attacking, it's a free action to hold your bow in one hand instead of wielding it. Now you've got a hand free and can deflect an attack. (though you can't use your bow until your turn, relevant for feats like Snap Shot)

I don't think I agree with this.

If I could do that could I also use TWF and after making my primary attack drop my weapon as a free action and two hand power attack with my off hand weapon?

Or alternately by applying this, a magus could two hand a bastard sword (its also still in his other hand)then switch to one hand to cast a spell.

And many other wacky combos.


Zen Archers specifically are still able to take unarmed attacks while using their bow (last I checked) so I don't see the issue...

Further, even if say a fighter(with IUS) makes attacks with a 2h weapon, if he releases his grip at the end of his turn, he now threatens with the unarmed strike instead of his 2h

Andoran

Davick wrote:

I don't think I agree with this.

If I could do that could I also use TWF and after making my primary attack drop my weapon as a free action and two hand power attack with my off hand weapon?

Or alternately by applying this, a magus could two hand a bastard sword (its also still in his other hand)then switch to one hand to cast a spell.

And many other wacky combos.

You can release grip on a weapon and grip a weapon as a free action. That's the rule. Feel free to disagree with it all you like.

And yes, some people will argue that some of what you've argued is allowed. Note that magus explicitly requires an empty hand the round he casts. Not just part of the time.


ShadowcatX wrote:
Davick wrote:

I don't think I agree with this.

If I could do that could I also use TWF and after making my primary attack drop my weapon as a free action and two hand power attack with my off hand weapon?

Or alternately by applying this, a magus could two hand a bastard sword (its also still in his other hand)then switch to one hand to cast a spell.

And many other wacky combos.

You can release grip on a weapon and grip a weapon as a free action. That's the rule. Feel free to disagree with it all you like.

And yes, some people will argue that some of what you've argued is allowed. Note that magus explicitly requires an empty hand the round he casts. Not just part of the time.

I'm aware of the rule. And in the case of a cleric using it to cast a DF spell or something like that it works fine. But In this scenario I dont think it works for exactly the same reason as it wouldn't with the magus.

Otherwise, what is the point in having the restriction at all?

EDIT: Also, in this case, how can you qualify to be in the act of fighting defensively yet not actually wielding a weapon in a way you could use it but just holding onto it?


ShadowcatX wrote:
Davick wrote:

I don't think I agree with this.

If I could do that could I also use TWF and after making my primary attack drop my weapon as a free action and two hand power attack with my off hand weapon?

Or alternately by applying this, a magus could two hand a bastard sword (its also still in his other hand)then switch to one hand to cast a spell.

And many other wacky combos.

You can release grip on a weapon and grip a weapon as a free action. That's the rule. Feel free to disagree with it all you like.

And yes, some people will argue that some of what you've argued is allowed. Note that magus explicitly requires an empty hand the round he casts. Not just part of the time.

Changing the grip on a weapon as a free action is a common house rule, but it is not in the rulebook. The rulebook only says,

Quote:

Draw or Sheathe a Weapon

Drawing a weapon so that you can use it in combat, or putting it away so that you have a free hand, requires a move action. This action also applies to weapon-like objects carried in easy reach, such as wands. If your weapon or weapon-like object is stored in a pack or otherwise out of easy reach, treat this action as retrieving a stored item.

If you have a base attack bonus of +1 or higher, you may draw a weapon as a free action combined with a regular move. If you have the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, you can draw two light or one-handed weapons in the time it would normally take you to draw one.

Drawing ammunition for use with a ranged weapon (such as arrows, bolts, sling bullets, or shuriken) is a free action.

Some GMs allow the house rule because other rules and penalties take care of the other wacky combos. For example, as ShadowcatX pointed out, the magus' Spell Combat rule says that the magus must have a hand empty during the entire spell combat, not just during the spellcasting (which is required by the somatic component rule for spellcasting).

As for TWF with dropping a dropping a primary-hand weapon and swinging two-handed during the off-hand attack: that has a -4 penalty for wielding a non-light weapon in the off hand. And that -4 penalty applies to all attacks that round, including that first primary-hand attack and later AoOs. The extra penalty on top of the inconvenience of dropping a weapon discourages people from trying that trick.

Davick wrote:
Also, in this case, how can you qualify to be in the act of fighting defensively yet not actually wielding a weapon in a way you could use it but just holding onto it?

I am glad to return to Paltinor's original question about fighting defensively with a ranged weapon.

A character taking a total defense standard action gets a +4 dodge bonus to AC without necessarily having any weapon at all. Fighting defensively gives only a +2 typeless bonus to AC. If we view fighting defensively as mixing fighting and total defense, then using a melee weapon is not necessary.

The rules say that fighting defensively with ranged weapons is allowed, and we have a good way of envisioning it for roleplaying. Isn't that enough?

Paltinor wrote:
What about for crane wing, am I considered having one hand free?

I myself would allow the grip change as a free action to free one hand after shooting a bow, because that would be the hand that was drawing ammunition, and the Draw or Sheathe a Weapon quote above says that drawing ammo is a free action. This argument might be good enough for PFS. Your character would have one hand free after changing the grip but not before changing the grip. In other words, an AoO while shooting an arrow could not be deflected by Crane Wing because that potentially free hand is holding an arrow, but the enemy's regular attack after the end of your turn could be deflected.


Mathmuse wrote:

I am glad to return to Paltinor's original question about fighting defensively with a ranged weapon.

A character taking a total defense standard action gets a +4 dodge bonus to AC without necessarily having any weapon at all. Fighting defensively gives only a +2 typeless bonus to AC. If we view fighting defensively as mixing fighting and total defense, then using a melee weapon is not necessary.

The rules say that fighting defensively with ranged weapons is allowed, and we have a good way of envisioning it for roleplaying. Isn't that enough?

I'm not arguing against that at all.

It's the part about crane wing that I find overly cheesy.

A longbow requires two hands to use. The literal text is use. Fighting defensively with it is a use. And as such requires both hands.

You can't use crane wing with a bow anymore than you could with a greatsword, possibly less so. Since some people would say you could let go of the sword with one hand after your turn, or possibly even during your turn between attacks, so that movement AoOs could be deflected during a charge. And if its that easy, then why even have the restriction?


Davick wrote:
A longbow requires two hands to use. The literal text is use. Fighting defensively with it is a use. And as such requires both hands.

Correct. So while using that bow, you do not have a hand free and cannot use crane wing.

Once you're done attacking, though, you are no longer using the bow, so you can loose a hand (or just drop the bow) and thus have a hand free.

Davick wrote:
You can't use crane wing with a bow anymore than you could with a greatsword, possibly less so.

I have my greatsword. I'm using Crane Style. I fight defensively as a full-round action. I drop my weapon as a free action. My turn ends, and an orc attacks me. I still get the AC bonus from fighting defensively. My hands are completely free. Why in the world should I not be able to use crane wing to deflect an attack? The same thing applies to a bow.


By using Crane Wing, a Zen Archer is forfeiting his Reflexive Shot ability (once he gains it), as he is no longer threatening with his bow between turns, making his AoOs weaker. It's not a big cost, but it is a cost.


Grick wrote:
Davick wrote:
A longbow requires two hands to use. The literal text is use. Fighting defensively with it is a use. And as such requires both hands.

Correct. So while using that bow, you do not have a hand free and cannot use crane wing.

Once you're done attacking, though, you are no longer using the bow, so you can loose a hand (or just drop the bow) and thus have a hand free.

Davick wrote:
You can't use crane wing with a bow anymore than you could with a greatsword, possibly less so.

I have my greatsword. I'm using Crane Style. I fight defensively as a full-round action. I drop my weapon as a free action. My turn ends, and an orc attacks me. I still get the AC bonus from fighting defensively. My hands are completely free. Why in the world should I not be able to use crane wing to deflect an attack? The same thing applies to a bow.

Because fighting defensively is an act that lasts until the beginning of your next turn. Now maybe it's a misnomer, but it sounds like you're actively fighting in a defensive manner and not just saying boo to your enemies while you happen to be attacking. If you're fighting defensively with a two handed weapon then it makes sense that you'd be using both hands to do so.

Also, you SHOULDN'T be able to because WHY HAVE THE RESTRICTION IF IT'S MEANINGLESS?


Grick wrote:
Davick wrote:
A longbow requires two hands to use. The literal text is use. Fighting defensively with it is a use. And as such requires both hands.

Correct. So while using that bow, you do not have a hand free and cannot use crane wing.

Once you're done attacking, though, you are no longer using the bow, so you can loose a hand (or just drop the bow) and thus have a hand free.

Davick wrote:
You can't use crane wing with a bow anymore than you could with a greatsword, possibly less so.

I have my greatsword. I'm using Crane Style. I fight defensively as a full-round action. I drop my weapon as a free action. My turn ends, and an orc attacks me. I still get the AC bonus from fighting defensively. My hands are completely free. Why in the world should I not be able to use crane wing to deflect an attack? The same thing applies to a bow.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that it assumes when you are in combat all of the characters have taken a number and are waiting in line for their number to come up. When it does, they take their action, then just stand there and wait for everyone else to take their action. While this is the mechanic of combat, it isn't what it is supposed to represent.

What settles the issue for me is that it requires two hands to use a bow, if you attack you are using it, two hands, if you are fighting defensively, you are using it two hands.

Someone else mentioned a Zen Archer can unarmed attack while holding bow. This is because a Zen Archer can use his forehead to make unarmed attacks (the Monk specifically says hands aren't needed), you can't use your forehead to use a bow.


Davick wrote:
Also, you SHOULDN'T be able to because WHY HAVE THE RESTRICTION IF IT'S MEANINGLESS?

Which restriction is meaningless?

Fighting defensively? It's not meaningless, it's what crane style is all about. Even if you reduce the attack penalty, it's still an investment of resources.

Having a hand free? That's what you're using to deflect the attack. If your hand is free, you're not using it to do anything else. With the broadsword example, if you drop the weapon to have your hand free, you're not wielding the weapon, so you don't threaten with it, and you can't attack anyone with it until you wield it again.

If you feel that Crane Wing is overpowered, then go ahead and make a house rule that cripples it.

Jodokai wrote:
What settles the issue for me is that it requires two hands to use a bow, if you attack you are using it, two hands, if you are fighting defensively, you are using it two hands.

Fighting Defensively as a Standard Action: "You can choose to fight defensively when attacking. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 to AC until the start of your next turn."

Once you've used your standard action (or full-round action) to fight defensively, you gain the AC bonus until the start of your next turn. Even if you just threw a dagger and are now completely unarmed, you keep the AC bonus. It has nothing to do with being armed, or where your weapon is, or what you're doing with the rest of your turn.


You don't even need a weapon to fight defensively. Swing with your fist at the air for your standard action to fight defensively. Though, at that point full-defensive action might be a better choice.


Grick wrote:
Davick wrote:
Also, you SHOULDN'T be able to because WHY HAVE THE RESTRICTION IF IT'S MEANINGLESS?

Having a hand free? That's what you're using to deflect the attack. If your hand is free, you're not using it to do anything else. With the broadsword example, if you drop the weapon to have your hand free, you're not wielding the weapon, so you don't threaten with it, and you can't attack anyone with it until you wield it again.

If you feel that Crane Wing is overpowered, then go ahead and make a house rule that cripples it.

I was referring to having a hand free. If it were required to drop the weapon that wouldn't be bad. But it gets cheezy when you say you can change your grip as a free action and always gain the benefit of having a two handed weapon and crane wing (the defensive part is barely a penalty really). And I don't think it would be crippling it to use it in the manner it was intended, with one free hand.

I seem to remember something from 3.5 saying that you couldn't just attack the air for the bonus either. But don't hold me to that.


Which makes more sense to you, someone holding their bow in two hands and waving it about like a makeshift club (blocking sword swings with it?) or holding it in one hand, and using the other hand to employ their crane style which they spent a significant amount of time (feat) learning in order to be able to more successfully defend?

If characters are walking around in a dungeon with a bow out, do you make them sheathe it with a move action before they can open a door/chest/etc? Do you make them drop/sheathe it to drink a potion? I'd say if you allow them to hold it in their hand for other actions, its only reasonable to let them give up their Zen Archer AoOs in order to use crane style.


Davick wrote:
But it gets cheezy when you say you can change your grip as a free action

Since this is a houserule feel free to do as you like... Rule like you cannot drop a weapon on the floor nor change grip, you can sheathe a weapon as part of a move action that's all... ;)


You can, but I think it might not be worthwhile to eat the accuracy penalty to fight defensively when you're already flurrying and using Deadly Aim.


Davick wrote:
But it gets cheezy when you say you can change your grip as a free action and always gain the benefit of having a two handed weapon and crane wing (the defensive part is barely a penalty really).

Are you ignoring the part where you're not wielding the weapon until you can re-grip it? Meaning, if you drop a hand from your greatsword to use Crane Wing, you're not wielding it, and you don't threaten with it, and you can't take AoO's with it until your next turn when you can spend the free action to wield it again.

Davick wrote:
And I don't think it would be crippling it to use it in the manner it was intended, with one free hand.

No-one is saying you don't need a free hand to use it. That's intended, that's the rule, it's never been in question.

It sounds like your problem is not with holding an item in one hand and using crane wing with the other, but with the action required to release your grip on something. Just remember when you make your house rule that you include some mechanic for them to release the weapon and draw more ammunition, or you'll break iterative ranged attacks.

Davick wrote:
I seem to remember something from 3.5 saying that you couldn't just attack the air for the bonus either. But don't hold me to that.

In PFRPG, you can attack into an empty square. Maybe you're just checking to see if there's an invisible opponent there. Not that it matters, since if you just want to use the style but don't have a target, you can use Total Defense instead of Fighting Defensively.


Tarantula wrote:

Which makes more sense to you, someone holding their bow in two hands and waving it about like a makeshift club (blocking sword swings with it?) or holding it in one hand, and using the other hand to employ their crane style which they spent a significant amount of time (feat) learning in order to be able to more successfully defend?

If characters are walking around in a dungeon with a bow out, do you make them sheathe it with a move action before they can open a door/chest/etc? Do you make them drop/sheathe it to drink a potion? I'd say if you allow them to hold it in their hand for other actions, its only reasonable to let them give up their Zen Archer AoOs in order to use crane style.

Opening a door or drinking a potion isn't an action you do while using a bow. Fighting defensively is. You don't fight, and be defensive, it's a single thing.


Davick wrote:
You don't fight, and be defensive, it's a single thing.

A single thing which requires a standard action. Once you've used your standard action to do so, you can use the rest of your actions as you see fit.

Fight Defensively as a standard action. Drop bow as a free action. Open door as a move action. When the orc on the other side of the door attacks you, you still have your bonus to AC because it lasts until the start of your next turn.


Davick wrote:
Opening a door or drinking a potion isn't an action you do while using a bow. Fighting defensively is. You don't fight, and be defensive, it's a single thing.

I'm curious. What if someone is fighting with a one-handed weapon. They decide to use it with both hands to get 1.5x str on their damage. They fight defensively, and then want to let go with one hand so they have a hand free for crane. Would you allow this?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I removed some posts and the replies to them. Don't be a jerk.


Tarantula wrote:
Davick wrote:
Opening a door or drinking a potion isn't an action you do while using a bow. Fighting defensively is. You don't fight, and be defensive, it's a single thing.
I'm curious. What if someone is fighting with a one-handed weapon. They decide to use it with both hands to get 1.5x str on their damage. They fight defensively, and then want to let go with one hand so they have a hand free for crane. Would you allow this?

Well, I would. Because it's RAW legal, totally not overpowered, and sensible given how a RL swordfight might play out, alternating your grip between 2H and 1H.


I think this would be treated as the rules for the buckler...

Benefit: You can also use your shield arm to wield a weapon (whether you are using an off-hand weapon or using your off hand to help wield a two-handed weapon), but you take a –1 penalty on attack rolls while doing so. This penalty stacks with those that may apply for fighting with your off hand and for fighting with two weapons. In any case, if you use a weapon in your off hand, you lose the buckler's Armor Class bonus until your next turn. You can cast a spell with somatic components using your shield arm, but you lose the buckler's Armor Class bonus until your next turn. You can't make a shield bash with a buckler.

So if you use your Off Hand during that round you would not be able to deflect because you were firing your bow at the time. A round is 6 seconds so if your lauching arrows down range your hand is not free.

Grand Lodge

Thanks everyone. It seems pretty torn, which means likely some DM's will allow it and others will not in PFS. I personally probably would allow it, but I see both sides and would understand someone not wanting to. So I guess that would go with the deflect arrow feats too. Alright, back to figuring out mid-level feats then. Thanks.


It's completely RAW legal. Both fighting defensively with ranged attacks and the ability to take a hand on or off a weapon as a free action. The people arguing against that are doing so because they don't like that and want to houserule. Which is fine, I houserule tons of RAW I hate. But there's no reason it shouldn't work in PF Society.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
It's completely RAW legal. Both fighting defensively with ranged attacks and the ability to take a hand on or off a weapon as a free action.

The second one is not explicitly RAW.

The rules do not mention the action required to take a hand off a weapon.

It's generally ruled as the correct interpretation, however. James Jacobs (Creative Director) said that's how it works, it's a free action to drop an item, reloading firearms says "you hold the weapon in one hand and load it with the other" which wouldn't be possible in onr round if it used more than a free action, and without the ability to freely release a weapon with one hand, multiple bow attacks would be impossible.

But again, it's not specifically written in the rules. So expect table variation. Any character dependent on hand switching (or take-10, or touch spells, or reach weapons, etc) should probably check with the DM first to make sure you're all on the same page.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Grick wrote:

Any character dependent on hand switching (or take-10, or touch spells, or reach weapons, etc) should probably check with the DM first to make sure you're all on the same page.

Or iterative attacks with different weapons, or main-handing a shield, or casting during a bardic performance, or really anything that wasn't already overdone to the point of cliche' ten years ago.

/mini-rant


See I totally Agree with Gricks, If you Fire a single Shot and still Have a move action, I can totally understand and see this working. But if you are using a Full Round Attack action you will never have a free hand that round.


Reecy wrote:
See I totally Agree with Gricks, If you Fire a single Shot and still Have a move action, I can totally understand and see this working. But if you are using a Full Round Attack action you will never have a free hand that round.

That is not what I'm saying, and that's not what the rules say.

If you take a full round action you can still use a swift action and free actions.

You're free to rule otherwise, just be aware of how it will affect (break) the rest of the game.


Well gricks to be totally by the book you are using your free action to reload yuor bow... Can you get more than one a round kind of doesnt make sense...

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Reecy wrote:
Well gricks to be totally by the book you are using your free action to reload yuor bow... Can you get more than one a round kind of doesnt make sense...

Well Reecy, to be totally by the book you can have any number of free actions per round up to what the GM decides is reasonable.


Grick wrote:

The second one is not explicitly RAW.

The rules do not mention the action required to take a hand off a weapon.

It's generally ruled as the correct interpretation, however. James Jacobs (Creative Director) said that's how it works, it's a free action to drop an item, reloading firearms says "you hold the weapon in one hand and load it with the other" which wouldn't be possible in onr round if it used more than a free action, and without the ability to freely release a weapon with one hand, multiple bow attacks would be impossible.

But again, it's not specifically written in the rules. So expect table variation. Any character dependent on hand switching (or take-10, or touch spells, or reach weapons, etc) should probably check with the DM first to make sure you're all on the same page.

Fair enough. Switching hands isn't addressed in the rules specifically. But there's heavy support for it being a free action and nothing that contradicts it, so while you would have to check with your DM, it's very likely to be ok. What does PF Society do?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Reecy wrote:
Well gricks to be totally by the book you are using your free action to reload yuor bow... Can you get more than one a round kind of doesnt make sense...

You get theoretically infinite free actions in a round; that's why they're free; the theory is that they take virtually no time and/or are done at the same time as other actions. The practical limit on the amount of free actions in a round is the GM saying, "OK, it's one thing to banter in combat, it's another to recite the entire Holy Book of your religion in what is theoretically 6 seconds," or "No, you can't fast mount/dismount across a line of horses to travel across the continent instantaneously." It's swift/immediate actions that you only get one per round.


An archer using Crane Wing is using 2 free actions per round. One at the start of the turn to put his other hand back "on the bow" or whatever (kinda silly, one hand's only ever really holding the bow, other's free or drawing or firing an arrow), then another after shooting to free action remove his hand. 2 free actions per turn on that is not excessive at all.

Grand Lodge

Grick wrote:
Reecy wrote:
See I totally Agree with Gricks, If you Fire a single Shot and still Have a move action, I can totally understand and see this working. But if you are using a Full Round Attack action you will never have a free hand that round.

That is not what I'm saying, and that's not what the rules say.

If you take a full round action you can still use a swift action and free actions.

You're free to rule otherwise, just be aware of how it will affect (break) the rest of the game.

Is this really breaking the game though?? I can't see this really ruining the game for anyone's enjoyment, though being a back line fighter it does make me really hard to kill, though.

So officially, this is not covered in the rules??

I guess my biggest argument for it would be a zen archer gets deflect arrow. Now, one might argue its for when the archer doesn't full attack, but really, that's almost never for an archer.


Well by this logic, it is completely insane to buy and enchant two weapons. Just put the weapon in your primary hand, make your attacks with it, switch it to your off hand as a free action, and make your attacks. Heck that takes care of the Flurry of Blows debate going on right now too... Everyone is okay with that?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Jodokai wrote:
Well by this logic, it is completely insane to buy and enchant two weapons. Just put the weapon in your primary hand, make your attacks with it, switch it to your off hand as a free action, and make your attacks. Heck that takes care of the Flurry of Blows debate going on right now too... Everyone is okay with that?

Wait, when did we start talking about moving a weapon from one hand to another?

The main argument going on in this thread was whether your "arrow hand" (the one nocking and releasing arrows, rather than the one holding the bow) counted as a "free hand" while you're not firing.


Jiggy wrote:
Jodokai wrote:
Well by this logic, it is completely insane to buy and enchant two weapons. Just put the weapon in your primary hand, make your attacks with it, switch it to your off hand as a free action, and make your attacks. Heck that takes care of the Flurry of Blows debate going on right now too... Everyone is okay with that?

Wait, when did we start talking about moving a weapon from one hand to another?

The main argument going on in this thread was whether your "arrow hand" (the one nocking and releasing arrows, rather than the one holding the bow) counted as a "free hand" while you're not firing.

He's referring to moving your hands on a weapon as a free action. Interestingly, the ability to use one weapon for all TWF attacks was a feat in the alpha test, but was removed.

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