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Can I remove my hand from a weapon as a free action?


Rules Questions

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Jodokai wrote:
The problem I have with allowing it as a free action taken at any time is it forces you to imagine combat as if it were a line at the DMV. Everyone takes a number and waits their turn until their number comes up, they do what they have to do, then go sit down and wait for their number to come up again. While this is the mechanic the game uses, it isn't the way I prefer to imagine combat.

You aren't imagining a heroic enough sequence of events here.

Imagine our brave hero sees an evil orc standing in the field, and the evil orcs archer friend standing off to the side. The orc draws his blade and his archer friend pulls out his bow. Our brave hero charges across the field, his longsword coming free of its sheathe in a single fluid motion, and with both hands he rams the blade through the chest of the surprised orc. The archer lets loose his arrow, and our hero, spinning on his feet releases one hand from the hilt of his blade deflecting the arrow out of the way. Carried by his momentum his other hand, still on the hilt of his blade rips it free from the impaled orc and brings it around in front of him, coming to rest in both of his hands, ready to charge down the remaining orc.

3.5 FAQ ruled it as a move action to regrip, though I found the FAQ answer lacking in being well thought out or affirmative in its ruling. The answer was, IMO, about as wishy-washy and non-committal as one could get, something that should not be done in a FAQ that is supposed to be intended to clarify things. PF doesn't have on official ruling on it. I personally play it as a free action to drop a hand or regrip with a hand as it creates the fewest problems and inconsistancies, IMO, with other actions a player might also be taking during their turn.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
james maissen wrote:


So let me see if I understand what you are saying here:

1. A PC with one hand on the bow, say the left.

2. The PC takes their right hand, and takes out an arrow from a quiver. (Free action).

3. The PC notches the arrow and draws back the bowstring (non-action, part of attacking with the bow).

4. The PC lets go of the arrow and places the right hand firmly on the bow in order to 'wield' it prior to firing the bow.

5. PC wills the drawn bow to release the arrow (perhaps held in their teeth??) (standard action or attack as part of a full attack action).

You can't be serious.

-James

The bowstring is part of the bow, the arrow is a munition fitted into the bow. You notch the arrow, draw back the string and release the string when you "fire" the bow. Two hands used from the time you notch the arrow / draw the string up to the time you release the string and fire the arrow. Once you've released the arrow, and essentially released the bow (string) with your right hand, you have a hand free to pull out another arrow while the other (left) hand holds (but can not wield) the bow (stave). You then reaquire the bow by notching / drawing the arrow (2 hands in use again) and repeat the process.

Notching the arrow / pulling the string is inconsequential, a part of "firing" the bow (a standard action or part of a full attack). A free action would be used to pull out the next arrow. Wash, rinse, repeat.

*edit* Not sure what the point of this argument is about, but the process of firing a bow is pretty straight forward...


They're trying to use bows as an example to argue their perspectives.

I don't think "dropping" an item is the same thing as releasing the grip on it with a single hand, much less applying it. If I'm using a Longsword in two hands for 1.5x Strength + Power Attack, then use it in a single hand for Deflect Arrows or some other sort of ability, that's not the same as letting an item drop to the ground. I'm constantly changing how I hold the weapon for the best of both worlds.

In a real world example (dear god help us trying to explain fantasy with real life), it's not much different than twirling/fidgeting with a pencil or other object in your hand. You're constantly regripping/removing and applying appendages from your body/hand to the object that you currently have possession of. You're not just letting go of it, a do and generally forget sort of thing, you're constantly changing how you hold the object, whether in one hand or two hands, something that needs more attention than just a dropping of the item. On top of which, real world physics will generally have more factors in regards to dropping an item than it would changing how you grip an item (gravity's full-time influence being the first thing coming to mind).

With that aside, a non-action isn't much different from a Free Action with a couple caveats:

1. Character can do so at any point outside their turn, provided there is a mechanical activity that serves as a proxy (such as an Immediate Action or other active ability that takes place outside your turn).
2. The character only able to use a weapon in a certain manner (i.e. 2 handed weapons) would not threaten while holding the weapon improperly, only when wielding it.

Here's a few things that support this being a non-action:

1. Non-Action description and lack of listing in Action Table (or other listed action types).
2. Non-Action Example (Nocking an Arrow) and the Snap Shot line of Feats.
3. Retains "powergaming" abuse balancing for effects and abilities that require open hands and/or two hands.

I still don't see why it's silly to list it as a non-action.

Grand Lodge

Barry Armstrong wrote:
I was referring to RAW. Unless you choose not to use that in your house rules, dropping an item is a free action IAW CRB, pg. 188 "Dropping an item in your space or an adjacent square is a free action."

I think you missed my point, or else I didn't make it well enough. I don't use house rules. Dropping an item is a free action. But "letting go of an object" is not the same as dropping an item, and is not defined in the rules at all, much the same as changing between wielding/holding a weapon one- or two-handed.

My point is that dropping an object, as defined in the rules, is a controlled action which requires choice and precision, just not a lot of time. Just letting go of something (not defined in the rules) should require no precision whatsoever, and likely less time as well. At least in my opinion.

Ultimately, there is nothing in the rules, anywhere, which covers this sort of action, and I feel no need to try to find one to wedge it into.


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I've always gone with the "not-an-action" route.

Mostly because it's a method that doesn't make people keep track of how they're holding something, but also partly because, well... just watch a video of ANYONE fighting with a bo staff or a spear. Their grip has to be fluid and quick so they can manipulate the weapon to attack in a variety of ways.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Since combat rules are a rough approximate model at bast, I'd go for free actions.

Yes, it looks contra-intuitive to have the change occur only on the actor's turn.

However, possibilities of attacking with, say, a two-bladed sword in a two-weapon fighting mode, then instantly re-gripping to launch a two-handed swing as an AoO vs. the guy that shoots you from within your reach, letting one hand go of the weapon in one fluid motion to have a hand free, for deflecting that very same incoming arrow... is just a tad beyond what I am willing to accept.


Wow; a lot more great thoughts and feedback than I was expecting O.O

I think I will rule it a free action in the game that I'm running; I see the conceptual reasons for ruling it a non-action, but if it's a non-action it basically removes any downside to wielding a 2-handed, as opposed to a 1-handed.

As far as I understand it, if it's a non-action, then if an arrow is shot at a player, the player could remove one hand from the 2-handed sword, using the deflection as a proxy, and then return it, retaining his ability to threaten, then, throughout the entire round. If it's a free action, he'll at least have to give up his ability to threaten if he wants to deflect.

So, for game balance reasons I'm going to go with free, but I do see the point in the other arguments as well; it's not a clear issue.


bbangerter wrote:

You aren't imagining a heroic enough sequence of events here.

Imagine our brave hero sees an evil orc standing in the field, and the evil orcs archer friend standing off to the side. The orc draws his blade and his archer friend pulls out his bow. Our brave hero charges across the field, his longsword coming free of its sheathe in a single fluid motion, and with both hands he rams the blade through the chest of the surprised orc. The archer lets loose his arrow, and our hero, spinning on his feet releases one hand from the hilt of his blade deflecting the arrow out of the way. Carried by his momentum his other hand, still on the hilt of his blade rips it free from the impaled orc and brings it around in front of him, coming to rest in both of his hands, ready to charge down the remaining orc.

That's great, if you kill the first Orc, what if you don't? Now our hero is being threatend and is releasing his weapon. Now our hero and the Orc are dancing around while the archer orc takes aim. What if the melee orc tries a disarm while the Hero defelcts the arrow? Orc doesn't have Improved Disarm, does our hero get to make a 2-handed AoO? Mechanically, your way, he does, because mechanically combat is a DMV line, if you think about combat as being more dynamic, it's harder to rationalize that.

The other problem I have is with getting benefits with no downside. You can get the extra damage, and still keep your hand free. When you drop your sword, it has a downside, so I'm okay with a free action for that, being able to change grip at will, no downside and a lot of advantages.


james maissen wrote:
So let me see if I understand what you are saying here

You don't, and I suspect that's intentional. Because if you did, you would need to refute it, which you (apparently) can't, which would mean you're wrong. And that possibility must never be considered!

james maissen wrote:
1. A PC with one hand on the bow, say the left.

Ok. He's holding the bow, not wielding it. He can't fire it.

james maissen wrote:
2. The PC takes their right hand, and takes out an arrow from a quiver. (Free action).

Ok.

james maissen wrote:
3. The PC notches the arrow and draws back the bowstring (non-action, part of attacking with the bow).

Nocking the arrow is a non action, but you've also re-gripped the bow there. That, according to you, is a move action.

Even if the string isn't part of the bow and you can use it one-handed, you've still got crossbows and firearms.


Jodokai wrote:


That's great, if you kill the first Orc, what if you don't? Now our hero is being threatend and is releasing his weapon. Now our hero and the Orc are dancing around while the archer orc takes aim. What if the melee orc tries a disarm while the Hero defelcts the arrow? Orc doesn't have Improved Disarm, does our hero get to make a 2-handed AoO? Mechanically, your way, he does, because mechanically combat is a DMV line, if you think about combat as being more dynamic, it's harder to rationalize that.

The other problem I have is with getting benefits with no downside. You can get the extra damage, and still keep your hand free. When you drop your sword, it has a downside, so I'm okay with a free action for that, being able to change grip at will, no downside and a lot of advantages.

Of course he killed the orc, he is a heroic character.

Okay, so its a giant, and it takes more than one hit to kill. So rather than remaining facing the archer he does a full spin, deflecting the arrow as described as he does so, and still yanking his blade free from the giants leg. But round 2 starts in the middle of his spin and he continues that spin and with the momentum of that spin brings his hands back together on the hilt and hamstrings the giant then does a roll between its legs and moves to the other side of it to continue his attack and giving himself soft cover (the giant) from the archer.

Most players still think of their characters as heroes with very flashy fighting styles like you'd see in any movie or cartoon or fantasy book. And feats like great cleave, rapid shot, combat reflexes, etc, support this kind of vision.

They are Drizzt, who is able to use his blades to parry attacks coming at him from behind, while on his knees, and unable to see behind him.

They are Aang, the last Airbender, who falls onto his back to dodge an incoming blast of fire, and continues it into a back hand spring over the guy that was standing behind him.

They are Neo, from the matrix, out maneuvering multiple enemies and anticipating their incoming attacks.

And of course there are downsides. 2-handed weapon held in one hand at the end of your turn you don't get AoO's that round with that weapon. 2-handed weapon held in two hands at the end of your turn, you get to take AoO's with it but can no longer deflect arrows. Each turn you get to choose one OR the other, not both (non-action lets you do both which is why I favor free action). This isn't really any different than round by round choosing to fight defensively or normally - you get the benefits and penalties of one or the other each round.

So let me explain why I feel declaring re-gripping as a move action is an ill thought out way of doing things.

Lets take a high level paladin, iconic ability is his swift action lay on hands on self, which requires a free hand to use. Our high level paladin with BAB of +11 gets iterative attacks of +11/+6/+1 normally. Using is trusty greatsword he is busy putting the beat down on the monster. He takes a hit from the monster and decides he wants to self heal. So on his turn he releases one hand and self LoH. He then goes to make his 3 iterative attacks, but the GM calls it a no go, he needs to take a move action to regrip his weapon in both hands and gets only a standard action to attack. Why even make LoH a swift action then, since using a swift action just cost him his move action as well - just make it a move action instead leaving his swift free and clear for the round for something else.

This same thing gimps any spell caster who is sometimes in the thick of melee with a two handed weapon or sword and board. Any turn they choose to cast a spell instead of full attack either:
Makes effective casting of the spell a full round action (cast spell standard action, re-grip move action)
or
Makes their next turn allow only a standard action for attacking because this turn they moved to a fallen ally and healed them/buffed them/whatever, next turn they re-grip using their move action and have only a standard left (and for added penalty lost all chance to AoO with their weapon for that round).

The action economy lost requiring a move action for this becomes so painful that martials need to be martials and casters need to be casters and anyone trying to blend a mix of both just becomes inefficient. Mixed types like this already have to deal with things like concentration checks because they are in melee, risk getting grappled, risk dirty tricks being played on them like sundering a holy symbol or stealing the spell component pouch - this in addition to not having a full BAB like a true martial and more limited spell casting than a true caster, so its not like they are getting the best of both worlds by mixing, there are downsides to balance it out.


Rudy2 wrote:

Wow; a lot more great thoughts and feedback than I was expecting O.O

I think I will rule it a free action in the game that I'm running; I see the conceptual reasons for ruling it a non-action, but if it's a non-action it basically removes any downside to wielding a 2-handed, as opposed to a 1-handed.

As far as I understand it, if it's a non-action, then if an arrow is shot at a player, the player could remove one hand from the 2-handed sword, using the deflection as a proxy, and then return it, retaining his ability to threaten, then, throughout the entire round. If it's a free action, he'll at least have to give up his ability to threaten if he wants to deflect.

So, for game balance reasons I'm going to go with free, but I do see the point in the other arguments as well; it's not a clear issue.

While there is nothing wrong with that houserule, there is a big caveat with it being not an action at all that is crucial to balancing it out compared to the other actions it could be ruled as: The non-action example (and its description) is only done as a part of another activity. The melee attack must take place in order for him to deflect the attack and change the stance (doing so as a part of completing the deflection); during that time, the two-handed martial does not threaten with his weapon, meaning the bad guys are free reign until they attack the martial (which would be silly unless they're dumb creatures).


bbangerter wrote:
So let me explain why I feel declaring re-gripping as a move action is an ill thought out way of doing things.

So, you don't like that it would require more..

What if the caster also wanted to use a metamagic rod, would you have them draw it out then stow it away both as move actions?

Certainly the same argument would apply.

Solution if you want to juggle weapons: take quickdraw. It eats a feat, and lets you accomplish the wield a weapon action as a free action.

Easy.

-James


I vote for it being a Free Action. Which technically allows my Fighter to wield his Longsword how I do in real life. Using a "Sliding Grip" where I will switch between 1 and 2 hands per SWING of the sword.

And I still find it funny that using a Bastard Sword I can make 5-6 attacks in 6 seconds were as a PFRPG Fighter can only make his 4 unless TWF.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dust Raven wrote:
Barry Armstrong wrote:
I was referring to RAW. Unless you choose not to use that in your house rules, dropping an item is a free action IAW CRB, pg. 188 "Dropping an item in your space or an adjacent square is a free action."

I think you missed my point, or else I didn't make it well enough. I don't use house rules. Dropping an item is a free action. But "letting go of an object" is not the same as dropping an item, and is not defined in the rules at all, much the same as changing between wielding/holding a weapon one- or two-handed.

My point is that dropping an object, as defined in the rules, is a controlled action which requires choice and precision, just not a lot of time. Just letting go of something (not defined in the rules) should require no precision whatsoever, and likely less time as well. At least in my opinion.

Ultimately, there is nothing in the rules, anywhere, which covers this sort of action, and I feel no need to try to find one to wedge it into.

I guess that's the difference. I see no distinction between dropping an object and letting go of an object and taking a hand off an object. If you have any DM interpretations of unwritten rules (such as this one) then you have house rules.

I see your point, though, where simply taking a hand off a sword in that manner would take less time than dropping an object into an adjacent square (which doesn't exactly require "precision" but does take SOME aiming).

However, to not drop said sword, the action does not end with simply removing a hand. You do have to tighten your grip on your other hand, or choke up, or do some kind of conscious action so as not to unbalance the sword. It takes a bit of effort, albeit not much. Therefore I stand by my "free action" stance.


james maissen wrote:


So, you don't like that it would require more..

I don't really have an objection to it 'requiring more' specifically.

My objection is that if completely nullifies the benefit a paladin is supposed to receive from having a swift LoH self unless the paladin is willing to relegate himself to only using a one handed weapon without a shield. No sword and board, no THF, no TWF, no using any ranged weapon, without losing (for all intents and purposes) one of their iconic abilities.

My objection is that someone who chooses to dual class caster/martial is already going to not be as good at doing either as a full caster or martial due to class level shortages and splitting feats that are good for both classes (which in and of itself I'm fine with, greater flexibility means weaker at any core things) but 'move to regrip' requirement hits them even more by killing their action economy and thereby virtually eliminating any flexibility they had gained.

My objection is that for classes like clerics, who are allowed to wear heavy armor, and by inference expected to be part of the front line, can't actually use any of their casting abilities while on the front line without a severe loss in effectiveness.

james maissen wrote:


What if the caster also wanted to use a metamagic rod, would you have them draw it out then stow it away both as move actions?

Certainly the same argument would apply.

I'm not really sure what you are trying to imply here, you are going to need to clarify.

But I'll try and answer anyway based on what I think you are getting at.
If a partial caster class has a one handed weapon in hand and decides they want to use a metamagic rod, they draw it (move action). At this point they have an entirely different problem - they now have two hands occupied and can't cast till they drop one (free action) or sheathe one (another move action). But this is really the same scenario for, say, a full martial who is fighting with a weapon and decides they want to change weapons. They have to drop or sheathe their current weapon then draw the new one. In both cases though both players are burning the same action economy. If you want to use a different piece of gear then what you currently have in hand it is going to cost you move actions to draw and either free actions (to drop) or move actions to put the previous piece of equipment away. ALL players are affected equally by this, it is simply the cost of deciding your currently used equipment isn't matching what you want to accomplish. A martial class doesn't have to burn extra actions though to one turn use power attack, the next turn use cleave, and the next turn use whirlwind attack. He doesn't burn extra actions if he wants to sunder one turn, trip the next, all out defense the next. He doesn't burn extra actions to one turn start raging and the next turn stop raging, or switch between monk fighting styles. Why does the mixed caster/melee have to burn extra actions to use his class given abilities? Why does the paladin in particular have a swift ability action that he can't actually even use in most circumstances except by burning two actions worth in a turn (burning both his swift and move action)?

james maissen wrote:


Solution if you want to juggle weapons: take quickdraw. It eats a feat, and lets you accomplish the wield a weapon action as a free action.

Easy.

So a class like a paladin or a cleric has to take quick draw at first level to use the basic parts of their class that they get at 1st or 2nd level? How come no other classes have a required feat that is a MUST have to use their default basic built in class features? The easy part is make it a free action so as not to gimp the action economy of a few select classes while preventing the abuse of the non-action case where I can both two-handed AoO and deflect arrows with a free hand at the same time :).


If we're basing it on reality, then I'd say "non-action" or "free". Probably free for reasons explained below. The "readjusting your grip" argument isn't very convincing only because in sports such as tennis where one has to readjust the grip often, it becomes part of what you're doing. Even people who play with two back-hands in tennis (which requires switching your hands every few seconds) can do it very quickly and compete at high levels.

Then again, in extremely fast sports such as ping-pong, only slight adjustments are possible. Out-of-turn actions are more likely to be like ping-post, fast. So, that's why I ultimately would go with "free." Again, assuming the goal is to make the game realistic.


I am going to rule it as a Free Action and even let my players go from wielding 2 handed during their attacks to wielding one handed for the rest of the round.

Because that is one of the easiest way to fight with a Longsword and similar sized weapons.


Where are people getting that a "non-action" allows a character to do both one and the other at the same time, and that a "free" action does not? Both "free" and "non-action" technically allow both; the difference between the two is the level on which they are capable of doing so.

The Free Action only allows a character to do one action first, then the other second; they can't switch between the two outside their turn, meaning they are SoL against a smart enemy creature.

The Non-Action only allows a character to do both actions, but adjusting between the two requires a proxy; the clause that a Non-Action is only done as a part of something (not an object of itself, but an addition to an object) suggests that activity (that is, abilities and such that activate or are used outside your turn in terms of game mechanics) severely limits any sort of abuse that could be had.

Of course, that is to say that ruling it as a Free Action isn't wrong, that's not what I'm writing about at all. I am confused as to where people seem to get that a Free Action cannot be abused/imbalanced, while a Non-Action can.

Gameplay Example:
If I'm wielding a Greatsword and have the full Crane Style feat line, I make my full attack (or my single attack, whatever), while fighting defensively, and as a part of completing my attack/turn, I remove a hand from my Greatsword, no longer threatening with it. (I still threaten with my Unarmed Strike due to pre-requisites.) If an enemy creature wants to walk by me, I won't be able to strike them with my Greatsword because I currently do not threaten, meaning that little squishy caster is going to be its next lunch. Sure, I can hit it with an Unarmed Strike, and upon completing the Attack of Opportunity I regrip my Greatsword, but considering it's only 1 AOO per action type, I can't abuse it with a constant badgering of attacks unless I burn other abilities, such as Step Up and Strike (which requires 3-4 feats, mind you), and even then that is fairly situational.

If the enemy creature is dumb enough to strike me, and I deflect its Vital Strike attack, I can regrip it upon completing the deflection, making an Attack of Opportunity with my Greatsword. If for some reason I choose to use some other Immediate-like action to change the grip on my sword, I invalidate the criteria needed to fulfill abilities that require one hand open, and unless I have other mechanical activity outside my turn, I would have to use that in order to change back and forth

The limits for the Non-Action ruling are already written, and are just skimmed over due to its seemingly straight-forward title. It's about as ridiculous as seeing the top of a car contract and say it's a scam because it's a Chevrolet and not a Ford, yet the fine print says otherwise.


@Darksol: Don't really get the concept of your car contract anecdote...

But I actually would say Free Action to shift grip for a 2H weapon and a non-action for a 1H weapon.

Simply because the 2H weapon is shifting between wielding and carrying.

1H weapons on the other hand are still going to be wielded either way.

Grand Lodge

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I use free action...why? Because a LOT of things get REAL messy otherwise.

Your cleric has a mace and light shield and wants to cast a heal spell? Unless re-gripping is free actions, that is not gonna happen. Note that if you had a heavy shield, you can't even do the regrip thing, you have to burn actions to cast. Or worse, you paladin in up there in the front ranks and need to cast a spell...yeah that is just bad bad news.

You wield a bow in both hands like you need to to have it be wielded. You let go to draw an arrow (either swift or move). You knock your arrow and pull back to rewield your bow...oh wait you can't.


Actually the arrow thing is considered a non-action since you can't fire the Bow without the arrow...

Grand Lodge

Azaelas Fayth wrote:
Actually the arrow thing is considered a non-action since you can't fire the Bow without the arrow...

Nowhere is that written. Just like re-gripping. If you rule re-gripping a weapon to take any action other then free or none...what I just wrote is what should happen under that ruleset. Free works just as well as none for the bow...I don't like the option of being able to defelct arrow while having a greatsword ready for AoO (although crane style shinangens are still available...but that is an AWEFUL lot of feats to do those shinangens with any efficency so...meh)...so I use free.


Not an Action wrote:


Some activities are so minor that they are not even considered free actions. They literally don't take any time at all to do and are considered an inherent part of doing something else, such as nocking an arrow as part of an attack with a bow.

It isn't even an action AKA a Non-Action.


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@Darksol

My only reason for saying free instead of non-action is to require the player to make the decision on their turn whether they want the benefit of having a free hand or the benefit of of threatening with an AoO (assuming 2-handed weapon) or using a one-handed weapon two handed for the str bonus for AoO's. There aren't a lot of things that could trigger a non-action change, but making the player make choices ahead of time is more interesting than letting them take the best of whatever situation pops up in between their turns, and eliminates a couple of edge cases for abuse.


bbangerter wrote:

@Darksol

My only reason for saying free instead of non-action is to require the player to make the decision on their turn whether they want the benefit of having a free hand or the benefit of of threatening with an AoO (assuming 2-handed weapon) or using a one-handed weapon two handed for the str bonus for AoO's. There aren't a lot of things that could trigger a non-action change, but making the player make choices ahead of time is more interesting than letting them take the best of whatever situation pops up in between their turns, and eliminates a couple of edge cases for abuse.

I agree with this.


ok lets see if I got this straight. Fighter with complete crane style and EWP bastard sword.
My turn I attack using weapon 2 handed at the end of my turn I remove my hand from my weapon as a free action(using JJ's ruling) I threaten with the bastard sword one handed. Do I have to use it one handed for AOO or do they generate a free action to put the hand back? If they don't and crane wing/riposte does(like in darksol's example) why do they generate the free action when the AOO doesn't?


I feel making it a non-action but enforcing the "must be part of another action" makes it... weird. It becomes harder to understand for new players when you can and cannot, and opens up a lot of other questions that need ruling on.
- First of, is an AoO an action? I think that's a big one that still hasn't been resolved.
- Second, if the AoO is provoked with the spiked gauntlet, can't the non-action to regrip the greatsword be done before the attack itself? From what I know, the general view is that an AoO need not be taken with the same weapon that provoked it.
- Third, speaking is a free action that can be done out of turn, can't you speak and regrip as part of that action?

I'm not saying it's impossible to come to a balanced, sane conclusion on these questions, but it would require a lot more work, potential houserules/DM rulings on what's not in the RAW and opportunities for confusion and misunderstandings.

I feel "free action" is much clearer and doesn't open up for more questions.

Silver Crusade

proftobe wrote:

ok lets see if I got this straight. Fighter with complete crane style and EWP bastard sword.

My turn I attack using weapon 2 handed at the end of my turn I remove my hand from my weapon as a free action(using JJ's ruling) I threaten with the bastard sword one handed. Do I have to use it one handed for AOO or do they generate a free action to put the hand back? If they don't and crane wing/riposte does(like in darksol's example) why do they generate the free action when the AOO doesn't?

They don't. Darksol is not saying they do; he's saying that regripping, like knocking an arrow, is not an action, but part of another action.


I didnt read the whole thread but I get the impression some one is trying to take a one handed action while genrally wielding a two handed weapon.

like a magus with a great sword or something.

has the OP clarified the specific action being attempted?


AoO aren't an Action. They are just an Attack. They aren't an attack Action. But just an Attack. Search around and you will see numerous places where this has been said.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:
AoO aren't an Action. They are just an Attack. They aren't an attack Action. But just an Attack. Search around and you will see numerous places where this has been said.

It's still debated. While it's pretty clear it isn't an Attack action, there has been arguments put forward that it is an action of unstated type. Let's not go further into the discussion about that here; I agree with you in that it's not an action, but apparently Darksol is of the opposite opinion and it's still a somewhat contested matter that AFAIK has not Dev input.

But my point isn't that it can't be proven either way (I believe it can), it's that it makes it more complicated. Making it a free action means we don't even have to open that can of worms.


So the General Consensus is that it should be a Free Action, correct?


I don't think there's a general consensus. I think the majority seem to support the idea of it as a free action, with a large minority preferring it as a non-action and a few as a move action.

Not that a general consensus would do that much, as it's still open for interpretation until a Dev weighs in.


Ilja wrote:

I don't think there's a general consensus. I think the majority seem to support the idea of it as a free action, with a large minority preferring it as a non-action and a few as a move action.

Not that a general consensus would do that much, as it's still open for interpretation until a Dev weighs in.

I was meaning more as a Majority feel it should be a Free Action.


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Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Azaelas Fayth wrote:
I was meaning more as a Majority feel it should be a Free Action.

No, it's just your "feeling".

Too much threads have been written on this subject, so many don't react now.
I think that many have the modesty to wait dev's decision and don't try to impose their ideas as a mythic "general consensus".


Cold Napalm wrote:

I use free action...why? Because a LOT of things get REAL messy otherwise.

It was clarified to be a move equivalent action in 3.5, and the world did not end.

Pathfinder came along, and nothing changed in this regard.

People that didn't like certain rulings from 3.5 leap at the chance to say 'anything goes' again in Pathfinder for some reason, but they have to be honest with themselves that those should be the default..

As to the bow, it's a straw-man argument and flawed. Please explain exactly what one is supposedly doing when going from after having drawn the arrow (free action), and after notching it to fire (non-action, part of the attack) that is *needed* to constitute what a few posters here are claiming as 'rewielding' it?

My answer: absolutely nothing, because the alternative is that you let go of the arrow to put the second hand on the bow and that is ludicrous. Just like drawing an arrow is called out as a free action (rather than a move action for drawing a weapon or stowed accessible item), so too is notching the arrow called out as a non-action part of making an attack.

Sorry, again.. switching weapons between hands as a move action rather than a free or non-action was expressly the rule in 3.5e, and nothing has changed.

Want to draw weapons as a free action, take quickdraw. Don't just carry 3-4 in your offhand and claim you can switch them over to your main hand as a free action because Pathfinder hasn't bothered to (or for copyright cannot) go over material that was already spelled out to us. We have a feat to do this, use it rather than demand it for free.

The claims of 'it's a new edition, and because they are not repeating those rules I didn't like they must no longer exist' is a tired, self-deluding argument.

-James
PS: Just cast with the hand the light shield or buckler is on... though I don't know why you don't claim that they should still be able to cast with a heavy shield and weapon in hand.. after all the same motivations and reasonings should apply there just as well.


Of of the things that isn't pointed out is that when wielding a weapon two handed, be it a two handed weapon or a one handed wielded two, both hands are not constantly on the weapon, at least if you have ever seen some one wielding a great sword, they use that second hand to not only provide leverage, but sometimes counterbalance, and using that hand for anything else would interfere in proper wielding.

Sometimes, for example, a long spear is thrust forward one handed, the body lunging, the second hand is behind to counterbalance. A cleave with the great sword, making a wide swipe over an area, held one handed, and yet again, that second hand is no where near the hilt. But if you believe that initiative is just a way for you to order things, and everything happens so fast in those 6 seconds, then suddenly using that had for something else will screw your attack up. I swing me sword at Orc, planning to slice him in two, suddenly an arrow fires, and my second hand releases an snaps the arrow out of its trajectory, but the sword doesn't bite as deep, since it missed its mark by a inch due to the loss of

Make one handed and two handed wielding similar to a style feat. It's a swift to switch styles. You attack the Orc, kill it, then realize the other orc can shoot you, so you switch from two to one hand (swift). You now have to wait to switch back until your turn.

This would then allow warrior to cut Orc in two with his two handed wield, then, concously drop the style to a one handed. Like the style feats. You gain only one style benicia at a time.

Otherwise, you could use deflect arrows with impunity, releasing 'grip'p,' deflecting, then 'regripping.' why even have the requirement to have a hand free. Just say you can deflect it with your sword (there should be a feat for THAT :) and if there is,what's its name and what book?)


Was it expressly the rule in 3.5 (I'm not that good with English, but "expressly" = explicitly, correct?) or was it just something mentioned in some off sage advice at some point? I do think that there is some difference when taking that and porting the ruling to PF - I don't think it's fair to say that "nothing has changed" between 3.5 and PF. I'm not saying it can't be a move action, just that your post seems a little too strongly worded with the lack of evidence we have. The only source I find is the 3.5 FAQ saying:
"The rules don’t state what type of action is required to switch hands on a weapon, but it seems reasonable to assume that it’s the equivalent of drawing a weapon"
If that's what you mean by "expressly the rule" I think you're exaggerating a bit.

I think "it's a new edition, and since they omitted the rules that were on this in the earlier edition we shouldn't be too sure of ourselves when it comes to interpreting the current rules" is a very fair argument.

There's also this comment from James Jacobs, supporting the non-action proponents:
"Switching a held object from one hand to the other doesn't require an action, so the end result is the same whether or not you use the light shield hand to lay on hands or your weapon hand after switching your weapon to the off hand, and then back to your weapon hand. The fact that allowing you to use your light shield hand to do so without so many fiddly steps is why I'd say it's fine to let it work that way." linky

It kind of contradicts his statement that releasing a weapon is a free action, but my point is more that since that semi-vague 3.5 rulings are not that relevant when the pathfinder devs seem to have different intents.


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In my party, those who are for free or non-action are more often players who want to "optimize", and don't matter if they have to "push rules" to their limits.

Those who agree to move-action are more often players/GM who want a play more realist and balanced.

I apply move-action since i play DD3+ and i have no problems. Feat Quick Draw is only useful when you effectively draw weapon from a scabbard.
It prevents many abuses, the 2Hweapon to be the "only one interesting weapon" and forces players to plan theirs actions.
The monsters have the same.

I'm not at all convinced by supporters of free or non-action. And i remind you that the pathfinder devs's intents was to have a more balanced game and to prevent the "skids" of DD3.5...


Defraeter wrote:
I apply move-action since i play DD3+ and i have no problems.

If a player wants to make multiple attacks with a two-handed crossbow or firearm, and they can reload as a free or swift action, do you require that they take the -4 penalty for shooting one-handed on the second shot?


bbangerter wrote:
And of course there are downsides. 2-handed weapon held in one hand at the end of your turn you don't get AoO's that round with that weapon.

Except when it's a free action this will never happen. You block your arrows use your free hand for whatever you want, at the end of your turn, put your hand back on your sword, no downside.

As far as the paladin, the paladin in getting the benefit of the increased damage a 2-handed weapon brings, if you don't want to deal with the limitations, use a different weapon.

Azaelas Fayth wrote:

I vote for it being a Free Action. Which technically allows my Fighter to wield his Longsword how I do in real life. Using a "Sliding Grip" where I will switch between 1 and 2 hands per SWING of the sword.

And I still find it funny that using a Bastard Sword I can make 5-6 attacks in 6 seconds were as a PFRPG Fighter can only make his 4 unless TWF.

That's because you're not understanding what the die rolls simulate. 1 die roll isn't 1 swing of the sword. It is a series of attacks and parries.


Grick wrote:
Defraeter wrote:
I apply move-action since i play DD3+ and i have no problems.
If a player wants to make multiple attacks with a two-handed crossbow or firearm, and they can reload as a free or swift action, do you require that they take the -4 penalty for shooting one-handed on the second shot?

This whole ranged thing really seems to be twisting your panties, so let me help clear it up: Ranged weapons are treated differently than melee weapons, since they are, you know, different.


Jodokai wrote:
let me help clear it up: Ranged weapons are treated differently than melee weapons, since they are, you know, different.

Ah, so your house rules are that it's a move action to put a free hand back on a melee weapon, but not on a ranged weapon. You should have said so. Any other exceptions you want to mention? Perhaps for weapons that are both ranged and melee, like the Axe Musket?


Defraeter wrote:

In my party, those who are for free or non-action are more often players who want to "optimize", and don't matter if they have to "push rules" to their limits.

Those who agree to move-action are more often players/GM who want a play more realist and balanced.

Note that there is no "pushing of rules" involved in this since there's no clear rules. And note that the Creative Director of pathfinder has stated at one time that it's a free action to release a grip (no mention of gripping) and at another time that it's a nonaction both to release and to grip (or rather, switching hands is a nonaction).

And I don't see how it's inherently more realistic with move action. It then takes longer time to grab a weapon than to say a few sentences, and about as much as moving 30 ft or standing up from prone.

Defraeter wrote:

In my party, those who are for free or non-action are more often players who want to "optimize", and don't matter if they have to "push rules" to their limits.

Those who agree to move-action are more often players/GM who want a play more realist and balanced.

Note that there is no "pushing of rules" involved in this since there's no clear rules. And note that the Creative Director of pathfinder has stated at one time that it's a free action to release a grip (no mention of gripping) and at another time that it's a nonaction both to release and to grip (or rather, switching hands is a nonaction).

And I don't see how it's inherently more realistic with move action. It then takes longer time to grab a weapon than to say a few sentences, and about as much as moving 30 ft or standing up from prone.

Jodokai wrote:
This whole ranged thing really seems to be twisting your panties, so let me help clear it up: Ranged weapons are treated differently than melee weapons, since they are, you know, different.

In this case, not really. Or are you saying it takes less effort to grab a crossbow in both hands than a spear?

Jodokai wrote:

Except when it's a free action this will never happen. You block your arrows use your free hand for whatever you want, at the end of your turn, put your hand back on your sword, no downside.

As far as the paladin, the paladin in getting the benefit of the increased damage a 2-handed weapon brings, if you don't want to deal with the limitations, use a different weapon.

What? It's the reverse. With a two-handed weapon it means you can choose to release it with one hand during your turn to for example lay on hands on yourself or to use a wand and then regrip it at end of turn. People don't shoot arrows at you on your own turn, most of the time.

For people who use something like a bastard sword or battleaxe it might be used in two hands when making your attacks, and then released to allow use of Deflect Arrows.

EDIT: It would be very nice if people avoided using the term "house rule" in a discussion like this, especially in a derogatory sense. Since there are no strict rules on this, everything we say is rules interpretations unless they strictly go against what we know of actions. Saying it's a move action is no more of a house rule than saying it's a free action or non-action and vice versa. "House rule" is more appropriate as a term when talking about _changing_ the RAW, rather than when interpreting gray areas.


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Grick wrote:
Jodokai wrote:
let me help clear it up: Ranged weapons are treated differently than melee weapons, since they are, you know, different.
Ah, so your house rules are that it's a move action to put a free hand back on a melee weapon, but not on a ranged weapon. You should have said so. Any other exceptions you want to mention? Perhaps for weapons that are both ranged and melee, like the Axe Musket?

It's not because you don't agree, you have to say the others use "house rules".

Jodokai is true when he says they are different.
EDIT: ninja'ed by Ilja!!! :-)


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ilja wrote:

Note that there is no "pushing of rules" involved in this since there's no clear rules. And note that the Creative Director of pathfinder has stated at one time that it's a free action to release a grip (no mention of gripping) and at another time that it's a nonaction both to release and to grip (or rather, switching hands is a nonaction).

And I don't see how it's inherently more realistic with move action. It then takes longer time to grab a weapon than to say a few sentences, and about as much as moving 30 ft or standing up from prone.

More realistic because it's more balanced between the weapons, for the game and it's not only grip a weapon but wield it to threaten. It's a way to balance actions and prevents skids.

You "push" when you try to use rules to obtain advantages without paying for.
Some want cast with hand full with a swift for ex and be able to do a full round in the same turn with 2Hweapon.
This is possible with metamagic and feat like Still Spell: it has a cost of course, but this feats have been created for that.

Or to justify they can "switch" objects in theirs hands. So it allows...

Or they says, i have a 2Hweapon like a longspear that "i cannot put in my scabbard or my backpack" and "everyone takes them with one hand to walk as a walking staff", so "i am always Ready"...


Defraeter wrote:
It's not because you don't agree, you have to say the others use "house rules".

The only argument for the move action nonsense is that you're using the "Draw or Sheathe a Weapon" action, which is a move action. (Or the "Manipulate an Item" action to Retrieve a stored item)

Neither of those actions have any differentiation between melee and ranged weapons, so the same action would apply to both.

Thus, by not applying the action equally, you're using house rules.


Since there seems to be no absolute on this issue, I'm more interested in determining what provides the best/most interesting balance, as opposed to what someone in 3.5 said, or whatever. As far as I'm concerned, unless this is Pathfinder Society (which it's not in the case I'm looking at), official word is only important insofar as official word is *usually* good judgment. The fact that it's "official" is incidental.

To that end, I'm now considering making it a non-action for one-handed weapons, and a free action for two-handed weapons. This allows more flexibility for the one-handed melee weapon fighter, and promotes that less viable form in comparison, I think.

Thoughts on that?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Now, if you make it a move action to "switch grips" then odd things happen.

One example is Weapon Cords. You wield a Longsword, with a Weapon Cord, with two hands, then drop it as a free action, then retrieve it as a swift action, wielding it in one hand.

A complicated, but RAW way to avoid this houserule.

Then you have ranged weapons, that are also melee weapons, like the Musket Axe, or Halfling Sling Staff. Even if you treat ranged weapons different, then these weapons are stuck in a weird flux, as the action to regrip is constantly changing.

You also have thrown weapons, that are also melee weapons, such as the Shortspear, which can be gripped with two hands for melee attacks, then thrown as one-handed weapons.


Ilja wrote:


"The rules don’t state what type of action is required to switch hands on a weapon, but it seems reasonable to assume that it’s the equivalent of drawing a weapon"
If that's what you mean by "expressly the rule" I think you're exaggerating a bit.

Yes, this is the 3.5 FAQ answer from Sage advice that james states made it expressly a move action in 3.5. This is the same answer that I consider to be "ill considered, non-assertive, and wishy-washy" for a FAQ answer. "But it seems reasonable to assume..." does not inspire confidence in me as being a definitive answer.

Defraeter wrote:
In my party, those who are for free or non-action are more often players who want to "optimize", and don't matter if they have to "push rules" to their limits.

My group likes a system that flows smoothly without having to try and remember how all kinds of corner case events work. I admit with any given set of rulings a given group would become accustomed to it and it would soon flow smoothly regardless. But straight out of the box making a player jump through hoops to switch back and forth between spellcasting or melee attacks is not a smooth experience. Of course your anecdotal evidence may vary :).

Defraeter wrote:
Those who agree to move-action are more often players/GM who want a play more realist and balanced.

In my real life experience, switching from holding something in two hands to one hand and vice versa takes a lot less time then:

Moving 30', even at a run.
Digging something out of a backpack, or putting something into a backpack.
Standing up from a prone position.
Loading a crossbow.
etc.

So that covers the realist part, pretty heavily in "it is a free action" groups favor I think.

For the balance part, I have given example for the extreme case with the paladin (having to use both swift AND move action to LoH), and the standard case for clerics and other front line melee/spellcaster hybrids whether as a single class hybrid type or because a player multi-classed. The only examples put forth as 'pushing the rules envelope' so far that I have seen are the deflect arrows and crane wing feats. Two feats out of hundreds of feats. Yet the re-grip is a free action doesn't even really have a problem with this scenario. If you want the benefit of those feats you take a penalty during your AoO's where you either AoO one handed or don't even get an AoO if your weapon requires two hands. Of course balance is pretty subjective in any case, or there wouldn't be much reason for this discussion anyway.

Defraeter wrote:
Some want cast with hand full with a swift for ex and be able to do a full round in the same turn with 2Hweapon.

I don't find this unbalanced. The spell slot opportunity cost to make a spell quickened is extremely expensive. I better darn well get some good benefits out of it.

Jodokai wrote:
Except when it's a free action this will never happen. You block your arrows use your free hand for whatever you want, at the end of your turn, put your hand back on your sword, no downside.

Free actions (with a few exceptions) can only be taken on your turn. This would not be one of the exceptions (my personal RAI of course). As Ilja already pointed out, it would be a rare thing for you to even have an opportunity to block an arrow on your turn. Between your turns when things like deflect arrow are going to matter, you are now stuck with your end of turn decision to have a free hand or not and take the benefits and penalties for your decision.

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