Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Can a Med. Character Use a Small Reach Weapon?


Rules Questions


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Reach Weapons wrote:
A reach weapon is a melee weapon that allows its wielder to strike at targets that aren't adjacent to him. Most reach weapons double the wielder's natural reach, meaning that a typical Small or Medium wielder of such a weapon can attack a creature 10 feet away, but not a creature in an adjacent square. A typical Large character wielding a reach weapon of the appropriate size can attack a creature 15 or 20 feet away, but not adjacent creatures or creatures up to 10 feet away.
Inappropriately Sized Weapons wrote:

A creature can't make optimum use of a weapon that isn't properly sized for it. A cumulative –2 penalty applies on attack rolls for each size category of difference between the size of its intended wielder and the size of its actual wielder.

The measure of how much effort it takes to use a weapon (whether the weapon is designated as a light, one-handed, or two-handed weapon for a particular wielder) is altered by one step for each size category of difference between the wielder's size and the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed. For example, a Small creature would wield a Medium one-handed weapon as a two-handed weapon. If a weapon's designation would be changed to something other than light, one-handed, or two-handed by this alteration, the creature can't wield the weapon at all.

So can a medium character use a small reach weapon one handed and still gain the benefits of reach?

Also, if you could somehow wield a large reach weapon, what would you threaten?


RAW is clear regarding reach and inappropriately sized weapons.

PRD Reach wrote:
Most reach weapons double the wielder's natural reach,...
PRD Inapprop.. wrote:
..is altered by one step for each size category of difference between the wielder's size and the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed.

The size dont matters in case of reach. You only double (or tripple) your natural reach.

Following this rules you can use small longspears with -2 to attack, 10ft reach and one handed. You can also use a large whip with -2 to attack, 15ft reach and two handed.

Reach, inappropriately sized weapons and realism are not really compatible :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

...I have never thought of this before. Is this really RAW? Could my half-orc character use a small Lucerne Hammer (1d10 damage), shield and armor spikes, and threaten both 5 and 10 feet away? And keep the benefit of his shield? With only a -2 to hit for the lucerne hammer?


Yep. It's a good trick.


Well, also lower damage dice for the smaller weapon... but that's largely insubstantial next to the static bonuses you add on (str bonus, weapon focus, etc).


What's the in-character reasoning for it, I'd want to ask.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:
What's the in-character reasoning for it, I'd want to ask.

Um, you're asking for the in-character reason, for my front-line fighting-type character to be able to protect himself, and be an effective combatant in a range of different situations?

I guess I'll have to say, that, that is the reason.


Icyshadow wrote:
What's the in-character reasoning for it, I'd want to ask.

Because it's are really good idea.


Or ask your GM if you can use the 3rd party feat Shaft and Shield. This lets you use a longspear one handed.

Or even better take the fighter archetype that lets you use a shield and spear together: Phalanx Soldier


Yeah reach weapons are one of the places where sizing can get a bit weird.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, wouldn't work in a game I'd run...broken.


Other than the minor advantage offered I don't see it as broken. And it's really hard to explain in game how it ceases to function.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Talonhawke wrote:
Other than the minor advantage offered I don't see it as broken. And it's really hard to explain in game how it ceases to function.

"As you begin to attempt to wield the weapon, you suddenly realize the weapon is inserted into your rectum, making you appear as giant lollipop."

Yeah, just like that.


????? Confused on whether or not to even begin to reason out where that came from. ?????


Wow there is some really childish reactions to this. So someone trades -2 to hit and weakened hit dice for reach? Its not like its is not a trade off and its not like there are not other ways to do it.

Talk about over reactions.

EDIT- Lets not forget they won't be getting 1.5 str and X3 power attack that they would if wielding a proper sized 2handed reach weapon.


Stome wrote:

Wow there is some really childish reactions to this. So someone trades -2 to hit and weakened hit dice for reach? Its not like its is not a trade off and its not like there are not other ways to do it.

Talk about over reactions.

EDIT- Lets not forget they won't be getting 1.5 str and X3 power attack that they would if wielding a proper sized 2handed reach weapon.

As it counts as a 1 handed weapon for the medium user there is nothing stopping you from using it in 2 hands either so a crane style defense or 2 handed offence style would be an option.

A side note if a small lucerne hammer does a d10 then enlarge would make it do 2d8. :D


Stome wrote:

Wow there is some really childish reactions to this. So someone trades -2 to hit and weakened hit dice for reach? Its not like its is not a trade off and its not like there are not other ways to do it.

Talk about over reactions.

Its clearly trying to abuse unforseen issues in the rules to gain a mechanical advantage that doesn't make any "sense".

Some people like that, some don't. That shouldn't really be a newsflash.


Funky Badger wrote:
Stome wrote:

Wow there is some really childish reactions to this. So someone trades -2 to hit and weakened hit dice for reach? Its not like its is not a trade off and its not like there are not other ways to do it.

Talk about over reactions.

Its clearly trying to abuse unforseen issues in the rules to gain a mechanical advantage that doesn't make any "sense".

Some people like that, some don't. That shouldn't really be a newsflash.

The whole game doesn't make any sense. All one handed melee weapons save for one having the same reach makes no sense. The "Doesn't make sense" argument hasn't been worth anything since the founding of table tops.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Stome wrote:


The whole game doesn't make any sense. All one handed melee weapons save for one having the same reach makes no sense. The "Doesn't make sense" argument hasn't been worth anything since the founding of table tops.

Not in your games, maybe... don't recall you playing in any with me though, so, like, how would you know how we roll?


Funky Badger wrote:
Stome wrote:


The whole game doesn't make any sense. All one handed melee weapons save for one having the same reach makes no sense. The "Doesn't make sense" argument hasn't been worth anything since the founding of table tops.
Not in your games, maybe... don't recall you playing in any with me though, so, like, how would you know how we roll?

Because you are discussing this on a forum dedicated to Pathfinder.


johnlocke90 wrote:
Funky Badger wrote:
Stome wrote:


The whole game doesn't make any sense. All one handed melee weapons save for one having the same reach makes no sense. The "Doesn't make sense" argument hasn't been worth anything since the founding of table tops.
Not in your games, maybe... don't recall you playing in any with me though, so, like, how would you know how we roll?
Because you are discussing this on a forum dedicated to Pathfinder.

This. This is the pathfinder rules forums if you missed that. Your second rate house rules trying to "Make sense" out of a game are irrelevant.


What fails to make sense about this?


Talonhawke wrote:
What fails to make sense about this?

I personally do not think it fails to make sense but even if it had the argument is flawed and useless.

A small longspear MUST be long enough to reach bast one square away or it would or halflings would never be able to have reach. So there is no reason to claim this does not make sense. Would using it be a bit awkward? Yep hence the -2 to attack.

It is just as valid as a medium creature using a large bastard sword with EWP. The rules are meant to allow this sort of thing. That is why the rules are there rather then just a flat out "Can't use anything not made for your size."


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Sorry, my comments are simply me being silly.

I felt inspired by the silly responses.

To answer the OP: Yes, at a penalty.


Stome wrote:
Talonhawke wrote:
What fails to make sense about this?

I personally do not think it fails to make sense but even if it had the argument is flawed and useless.

A small longspear MUST be long enough to reach bast one square away or it would or halflings would never be able to have reach. So there is no reason to claim this does not make sense. Would using it be a bit awkward? Yep hence the -2 to attack.

It is just as valid as a medium creature using a large bastard sword with EWP. The rules are meant to allow this sort of thing. That is why the rules are there rather then just a flat out "Can't use anything not made for your size."

I had always assumed the rules were there primarily to facilitate players using weapons too big for themselves(Think the barbarian wielding a huge greatsword) or to deal with someone using a inappropriate weapon when they didn't have a choice. I highly doubt this scenario is one the rule writers thought of.


I had always assumed the rules were there primarily to facilitate players using weapons too big for themselves(Think the barbarian wielding a huge greatsword) or to deal with someone using a inappropriate weapon when they didn't have a choice. I highly doubt this scenario is one the rule writers thought of.

You should read the rules again. One can never use even a large great sword. Even the archetypes meant to make this doable don't work right by RAW do to poor wording. A large bastard sword is as good as it gets for using big weapons.


I still find it odd that there aren't any one-handed martial reach weapons. Most cultures in history that wielded spears did so with shields.

Don't even try to say those spears weren't longspears. You ever see pictures of a phalanx?)

Longspears work as one handed weapons because they are balanced and can be wielded in one hand from the middle (google Hoplite)

Don't try to tell me all Hoplites are Phalanx Fighters. There's no reason everyone wanting to fight in that style should be forced into that one archetype.


Bearded Ben wrote:
Reach Weapons wrote:
A reach weapon is a melee weapon that allows its wielder to strike at targets that aren't adjacent to him. Most reach weapons double the wielder's natural reach, meaning that a typical Small or Medium wielder of such a weapon can attack a creature 10 feet away, but not a creature in an adjacent square. A typical Large character wielding a reach weapon of the appropriate size can attack a creature 15 or 20 feet away, but not adjacent creatures or creatures up to 10 feet away.
Inappropriately Sized Weapons wrote:

A creature can't make optimum use of a weapon that isn't properly sized for it. A cumulative –2 penalty applies on attack rolls for each size category of difference between the size of its intended wielder and the size of its actual wielder.

The measure of how much effort it takes to use a weapon (whether the weapon is designated as a light, one-handed, or two-handed weapon for a particular wielder) is altered by one step for each size category of difference between the wielder's size and the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed. For example, a Small creature would wield a Medium one-handed weapon as a two-handed weapon. If a weapon's designation would be changed to something other than light, one-handed, or two-handed by this alteration, the creature can't wield the weapon at all.

So can a medium character use a small reach weapon one handed and still gain the benefits of reach?

Also, if you could somehow wield a large reach weapon, what would you threaten?

Actually, if you look at the section that talks about the size of items. It says a two handed item is the same size category of the user, a one-hander is 1 size category smaller, a light weapon is 2 size categories smaller.

So a Longspear made for a small sized creature is the same size category, small. Which makes it equivalent to a medium sized creatures spear.

So, no. A small-sized longspear is a medium-sized spear, and a large-sized javelin.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
mrofmist wrote:

Actually, if you look at the section that talks about the size of items. It says a two handed item is the same size category of the user, a one-hander is 1 size category smaller, a light weapon is 2 size categories smaller.

So a Longspear made for a small sized creature is the same size category, small. Which makes it equivalent to a medium sized creatures spear.

So, no. A small-sized longspear is a medium-sized spear, and a large-sized javelin.

The RAW does not support this. A small-sized longspear is a small-sized longspear. It is not in any way a medium-sized spear (the damage dice don't even line up). A medium creature takes -2 to his attack rolls while using it, but benefits from any special abilities it may have, i.e., reach.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bertious wrote:
A side note if a small lucerne hammer does a d10 then enlarge would make it do 2d8. :D

No - the small lucerne hammer will be enlarged one step, and thus be medium - and thus cause 1d12 damage.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Derwalt wrote:
Bertious wrote:
A side note if a small lucerne hammer does a d10 then enlarge would make it do 2d8. :D
No - the small lucerne hammer will be enlarged one step, and thus be medium - and thus cause 1d12 damage.

I hadn't thought of it that way i was only looking at the dice but you are correct this makes me happy. :)

Grand Lodge

I understand why going up a size would be a hindrance. But...I have had this idea of a medium fighter dual wielding small sized longspears (d6) for the x3 crit...according to RAW my character first off wouldn't even be able to dual wield these; and even if he was using just 1 small sized longspear I would still take a -2 penalty. Am I getting that right? Of course, I know I could just use medium sized small spears (d6) to get a similar result, but i wouldn't get that x3 crit or brace ability. What's everybody's take on that?


@Karlisle: your off-hand weapon should be a light weapon, not a one-handed weapon.


So I can dual-wield small Flying Blades and effectively be Kratos lol

Shadow Lodge

Oakbreaker wrote:
So I can dual-wield small Flying Blades and effectively be Kratos lol

I suppose you could, albeit at a -8 to attack for each weapon before BAB.

It would be fun to see a character TWF with Lucerne Hammers though (-6 per). Just the sight of a guy with these two long hammers under his arms just kinda wailing on someone very inaccurately.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Doomed Hero wrote:
Don't even try to say those spears weren't longspears. You ever see pictures of a phalanx?)

Phalanx spears (the Sarissa) and hoplite spears (the dory) are different.

I think what Pathfinder is missing is a proper PIKE.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Rules Questions / Can a Med. Character Use a Small Reach Weapon? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.