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


Rules Questions

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Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Grick wrote:
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.

No. We are just applying the rules for ranged weapon: there are rules for reload, you know?

EDIT: oh! we pass the 100 posts!!! another achievment!!! ;-)


Rudy2 wrote:

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?

I would advise against making it different depending on weapon type just for the sake of keeping things simple. That is, regardless of whether you choose non-action, free action, move action, or any other action type my recommendation would be keep it consistent. Of course if both you and your players don't mind the extra complexity...


Want to know how people explain the use of the Buckler (RAW) with this Free Action to drop and another Free Action to re-grip.

Since as RAW, you do not get the AC bonus from the buckler if you use that hand for fighting or spell casting.


Defraeter wrote:
EDIT: oh! we pass the 100 posts!!! another achievment!!! ;-)

Me? I'm shooting for that 1000 post mark, like another recent thread - whose contents I will not mention - that was eventually locked.


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Matt2VK wrote:

Want to know how people explain the use of the Buckler (RAW) with this Free Action to drop and another Free Action to re-grip.

Since as RAW, you do not get the AC bonus from the buckler if you use that hand for fighting or spell casting.

You forget you must don a shield if you want to wield it.

Table 6-7 p153


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
bbangerter wrote:
Defraeter wrote:
EDIT: oh! we pass the 100 posts!!! another achievment!!! ;-)
Me? I'm shooting for that 1000 post mark, like another recent thread - whose contents I will not mention - that was eventually locked.

You're very gourmand...it may be a sin! ;-)


Defraeter wrote:
Matt2VK wrote:

Want to know how people explain the use of the Buckler (RAW) with this Free Action to drop and another Free Action to re-grip.

Since as RAW, you do not get the AC bonus from the buckler if you use that hand for fighting or spell casting.

You forget you must don a shield if you want to wield it.

Table 6-7 p153

didn't forget that. The Buckler is strapped to your arm so your hand is already free.


Matt2VK wrote:

Want to know how people explain the use of the Buckler (RAW) with this Free Action to drop and another Free Action to re-grip.

Since as RAW, you do not get the AC bonus from the buckler if you use that hand for fighting or spell casting.

You used your 'free' buckler hand to cast the spell, you lose the benefits to AC till the beginning of your next turn. Suggesting you can get around it by moving your weapon to your buckler hand, casting your spell with your now empty weapon hand, then moving the weapon back is a clear cut case of trying to game the system, and earns a dice to the forehead. The resulting dice wound makes you forget to use your buckler for defense till the beginning of your next turn.

I could see you arguing that the free action scenario is also trying to game the system. I counter by saying in the free action scenario you are making a trade off of benefits vs penalties. In the above buckler scenario trying to get around the buckler limitation presents no trade offs, only bonuses, hence it is an attempt to game the system.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Defraeter wrote:
We are just applying the rules for ranged weapon: there are rules for reload, you know?

Right. They say you have to hold the weapon in one hand and use the other free hand to reload it. Once that's done, you're still holding the weapon in one hand, and if you don't re-grip it before you fire, you're taking the -4 penalty.

Since those rules make your argument break the game, you're creating new rules about how the "Draw or Sheathe a Weapon" action acts differently for ranged weapons. Those are house rules.


Ilja wrote:

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.

Of course it's a little confusing; many things in this game are, and that's why there are forums like this. The reason why it would be "confusing" is because there is zero official ruling on what should and should not constitute as this or that. Yes, free action isn't a ruling that I don't agree with, but I am saying that a non-action is only different in terms of flexibility, and even that is by a small margin.

1. An AOO as read by RAW is not even an Action. It's a free attack that happens when creatures pass through threatened squares during a movement action or some other sort of distracting action.

2. RAW, at the time of provocation, you must either make the attack with the Spiked Gauntlets or avoid it. Making the attack, you can change how you hold the Greatsword (to a wielding status), but cannot make an attack with it upon provocation because the activity needed to regrip it occurs only at the time of provocation, not before. One could instead burn an Immediate Action from the Step Up feat, and choose to wield the Greatsword then. But they would invalidate all open-hand criteria for feats and other abilities.

3. This is probably one of the few caveats that would have to be written as an exception due to ridiculous abuse of it. (One can argue that GM would limit amount of free actions the player can take due to the non-action addition, but does not really affect it too much.) It's like people are using a Movement Action, then a 5-foot step (or just the 5-foot step repeatedly) to abuse the amount of movement possible, or to get an unlimited amount of movement. Exceptions are written for it to not work that way, meaning the same can be done for this.

And yes, there is. I was under the impression that our GM would rule that a Vital Strike would merely be an Attack Action; turns out he ruled it as a Full Attack Action, meaning I can't even use it with a movement action on top of it. (Good thing I'm playing a Mobile Fighter, so it will go away eventually.)


bbangerter wrote:

...and earns a dice to the forehead.

:D loved that. Would the dice happen to be one of those big, heavy metal ones or a cheap, light plastic?

Then there's the question of what type of dice?
I think the D4 hurt the most but that's usually only when you step on them.


bbangerter wrote:
You used your 'free' buckler hand to cast the spell, you lose the benefits to AC till the beginning of your next turn. Suggesting you can get around it by moving your weapon to your buckler hand, casting your spell with your now empty weapon hand, then moving the weapon back is a clear cut case of trying to game the system, and earns a dice to the forehead.

What about doing the same thing with a light shield? Is that OK, or does it also result in table violence?

James Jacobs: "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."

James Jacobs: "A light shield allows spellcasters to use their hand to cast, and lets you carry an object; the only thing it actually prevents is wielding a weapon."


To my understanding the closest you are going to get to actual rule is the 3.5 ruling, dropping items rule(for taking hand off not regripping) and drawing a weapon rule. That being said in my tabletop group it has always been ruled that you can change your grip on your turn and leave it as you want to at the end. So if you have crane style or deflect arrows or something similar that requires a free hand. You can not benefit from it and wielding a weapon two handed when it is not your turn. The decision was based mostly on balance. And it also has the added benefit of giving a reason to use hand and a half style of fighting.


Defraeter wrote:
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.

Realistic =/= game balance. They really aren't related at all.

Defraeter wrote:


You "push" when you try to use rules to obtain advantages without paying for.

Isn't that what all characters do at all times? Am I "pushing" the rules by using a heavy mace instead of a club? Or choosing EWP: Katana rather than EWP: Kama?


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Of course it's a little confusing; many things in this game are

But since this is a matter of interpreting rules to create a ruling rather than rules that are actually written, if we can choose between a complex ruling and a simple that weighs in the simple rules favor.

Quote:
1. An AOO as read by RAW is not even an Action.

I agree, but that's still something people discuss and in your previous example you seemed to imply that it was.

Quote:
2. RAW, at the time of provocation, you must either make the attack with the Spiked Gauntlets or avoid it.

Not if we go by the non-action ruling because non-actions can happen before the action that triggers them. So while you can't switch the grip by the AoO itself, since an AoO isn't an action, you can say "bumblebee" (a free action) and as part of that change your grip and make the AoO with the greatsword. But there's nothing saying a non-action is made after the action that triggered it (nocking arrow being a prime example - you don't nock the arrow at the exact same time as you fire it from the bow, I assume).

Quote:
3

Yes, so the non-action ruling requires house ruling how the speak action works. So the ruling in itself creates a need for a house rule - the free action ruling does not.

Quote:
It's like people are using a Movement Action, then a 5-foot step (or just the 5-foot step repeatedly) to abuse the amount of movement possible, or to get an unlimited amount of movement.

You cannot do that by the RAW though, as it's actually written you can't. Or rather you can use a movement action as long as it doesn't involve actually moving. Stand up + 5ft step = okay. Move 20ft + 5ft step = no can do.

What I mean is that if we're looking for a good interpretation/ruling on this, I think we should have this priority:
1. Does not directly contradict the RAW. (or it's a house rule rather than an interpretation, which is fine but not for this subforum)
2. Does not force changes to the RAW to keep working. (see above - wrong forum for house rules)
3. Does not cause severe "bugs" in the system that severely hurt verisimilitude (for example the "i can't regrip my weapon out of my turn unless I say something at the same time)
4. Does not break common practices rendering them unusable or enable new practices more powerful than intended (IMO, the move action interpretation somewhat does this in regards to crossbows etc)
5. Is easy and simple to understand.

I think those are the most important things when determining rules interpretation, more or less regardless of what rule one is talking about. Of course they are somewhat subjective, but I think they're good as basic guidelines.


Grick wrote:

What about doing the same thing with a light shield? Is that OK, or does it also result in table violence?

James Jacobs: "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."

James Jacobs: "A light shield allows spellcasters to use their hand to cast, and lets you carry an object; the only thing it actually prevents is wielding a weapon."

Bah, make me go read over the shield rules in detail...

Given that a light shield states "...although you cannot use weapons with it." I could either disagree with JJ and claim the shield simply interferes to much with the fine manipulation needed to wield a weapon properly or the somatic components of a spell. Or add in (which JJ did not) that casting a spell with that hand makes you lose the shield bonus just like the buckler does, thereby treating it just like a buckler without the option of using a weapon at -1 to hit. I'm feeling more inclined to disagree with JJ on this one given that many spells are attack spells resulting in a ranged or touch attack, thereby temporarily turning your hand into a 'weapon' - which cannot be wielded with a light shield. If they wanted to swap the weapon to the shield hand, cast, then swap back, I'd have to rule loss of the shield bonus for the turn. This is the first example that actually gets sufficiently complex, that for the sake of simplicity in the rules (in relation to the particular topic at hand and declaring it a free action), makes me frown.

Matt2VK wrote:

:D loved that. Would the dice happen to be one of those big, heavy metal ones or a cheap, light plastic?

Then there's the question of what type of dice?
I think the D4 hurt the most but that's usually only when you step on them.

I feel the d20 is the most aerodynamic for improved accuracy. And while I could use my masterwork dice for an additional +1 to hit, I prefer not to since I then risk chipping or losing the dice - better to lose or destroy a cheap one.


bbangerter wrote:
Given that a light shield states "...although you cannot use weapons with it." I could either disagree with JJ and claim the shield simply interferes to much with the fine manipulation needed to wield a weapon properly or the somatic components of a spell.

You can't wield a weapon, but you can hold one.

So free or non-action to swap your heavy mace into your shield hand. Cast (or Lay on Hands) with your free hand. Free/non action to swap your mace back into your free hand again.

Because that's a bunch of stuff nobody wants to explain over and over again, you can take a shortcut and just cast (or LoH) with your shield hand.

bbangerter wrote:
If they wanted to swap the weapon to the shield hand, cast, then swap back, I'd have to rule loss of the shield bonus for the turn.

So you're making a rule that if you hold an object in a hand with a light shield, you lose the AC bonus?

Silver Crusade

If you threw a d20 at the naughty player for daring to consider that the 'non-action' case has most merit, how would you resolve the paradox of the d20 taking his eye out while rolling a 'nat one'?


Well, it'd be worse if it rolled a nat two and took out both eyes.


Grick wrote:
So free or non-action to swap your heavy mace into your shield hand. Cast (or Lay on Hands) with your free hand. Free/non action to swap your mace back into your free hand again.

LoH doesn't require a somatic component, but point still noted.

Grick wrote:
Because that's a bunch of stuff nobody wants to explain over and over again, you can take a shortcut and just cast (or LoH) with your shield hand.

Sure, I agree. Part of why I'm in favor of the change hands/grips being a free action as opposed to a move action. If asked mechanically how that actually works though, this is the explanation.

Grick wrote:


bbangerter wrote:
If they wanted to swap the weapon to the shield hand, cast, then swap back, I'd have to rule loss of the shield bonus for the turn.

So you're making a rule that if you hold an object in a hand with a light shield, you lose the AC bonus?

Not precisely. Holding an item is fine. Using that shield hand in an aggressive manner (while wielding a weapon) is not. Spells, depending on the nature of the spell, could be a passive type thing or an aggressive thing. As I said, I don't care for the complexity this particular case brings out. Rules don't say anything for or against using a spell with a light shield hand. JJ gave an opinion of allowing spells. My leaning would be against it for any spells that require a somatic component and more so for spells that generate an attack roll. A GM could certainly call it on the fly, attack spells are a no-no, self buffs are fine, etc. But you generate a whole list of exceptions doing that. Or you could even get really crazy and say you can cast a touch attack spell, but don't get the free attack with it, so you hold the charge till next turn. My preference would be a single clear rule on it. Either you can cast spells or you cannot.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
If you threw a d20 at the naughty player for daring to consider that the 'non-action' case has most merit, how would you resolve the paradox of the d20 taking his eye out while rolling a 'nat one'?

It's a critical failure of course. The attack was intended to deal non-lethal damage.


bbangerter wrote:
LoH doesn't require a somatic component, but point still noted.

You still need a free hand. Lay On Hands (Su): "Despite the name of this ability, a paladin only needs one free hand to use this ability."

bbangerter wrote:
Grick wrote:
bbangerter wrote:
If they wanted to swap the weapon to the shield hand, cast, then swap back, I'd have to rule loss of the shield bonus for the turn.
So you're making a rule that if you hold an object in a hand with a light shield, you lose the AC bonus?
Not precisely. Holding an item is fine. Using that shield hand in an aggressive manner (while wielding a weapon) is not.

But you're not using the shield hand in an aggressive manner. You're just holding a weapon in it. Not wielding, just holding. The spell or LoH or whatever uses the non-shield hand, which is free once you pass the weapon over.

I might have gotten the reply nesting screwed up, but it sounded like you were saying earlier that you would remove the shield AC bonus if someone used their shield hand to hold a weapon.

bbangerter wrote:
JJ gave an opinion of allowing spells. My leaning would be against it for any spells that require a somatic component and more so for spells that generate an attack roll.

Well, he said he would allow it, since it means you don't have to describe three actions every time it happens. If you say "Sure, to save you the trouble of passing your weapon back and forth all the time, just cast the spell with your shield hand" but then put odd rules about aggressive casting, the caster could just pass the weapon back and forth when he casts an attack spell, so why bother?

Grand Lodge

Azaelas Fayth wrote:
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.

nocking an arrow...nothing says anything about pulling said arrow from a quiver...and the issue isn't even with nocking the arrow. If re-gripping isn't a free or none action, this is what happens. You have the bow in two hands to wield it right? Even if nocking an arrow is a none action, you need to regrip the bow to one hand to actuially DRAW the arrow right? If regripping is a swift or move, that means you need to spend said action so you can take your none action to nock an arrow. Then after you nocked your arrow, you need to regrip your bow that you had in one hand to wield it in two to fier it...opps out of action.

Grand Lodge

james maissen wrote:
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.

It was clarified as a move action to SWITCH weapons to another hand. So a weapon in right hand to left. It was also clarified to be a FREE action to re-grip in 3.5...which meant that as long as the weapon was two handable (like a longsword), you could take 4 free actions instead of the two move to switch a weapon back and forth...which was assinine to say the least. 3.5 also had feats to deal with some of the issues...like somatic weaponry...which was left out of pathfinder. And yes the somatic weaponry feat was a response to some of the issues that people on the D&D board complained about with the move action ruling. So no, the world did not end...it did cause enough of a complication that a patch via feat had to be made...I consider that in the realm of really messy.


Grick wrote:

You still need a free hand. Lay On Hands (Su): "Despite the name of this ability, a paladin only needs one free hand to use this ability."

Your shield hand is free in the sense you could put something in it, pick something up off the ground, or touch something with a simple touch effect. So LoH is fine as it has no somatic components requiring fine dexterous use of the hand.

Grick wrote:

I might have gotten the reply nesting screwed up, but it sounded like you were saying earlier that you would remove the shield AC bonus if someone used their shield hand to hold a weapon.

Yes, you've gotten it a little bit mixed up. I wouldn't rule that for just holding it. I'd only rule that if they did the whole weapon swap, cast spell from weapon hand, swap back. And the reason I'd apply that is just to be consistent with how bucklers work.

"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."

Grick wrote:


Well, he said he would allow it, since it means you don't have to describe three actions every time it happens. If you say "Sure, to save you the trouble of passing your weapon back and forth all the time, just cast the spell with your shield hand" but then put odd rules about aggressive casting, the caster could just pass the weapon back and forth when he casts an attack spell, so why bother?

You can't wield a weapon in a light shield hand at all. Spells don't get mentioned at all, but they should have been. The buckler spells both out. For consistency in the light shield rules gut feeling would be that you can't cast spells from the light shield hand. But then we get the whole swapping of weapons thing thrown into the mix it makes a mess of things, of which I'm still forming and reforming a solid opinion on. You've either got to:

Disallow swapping weapons in this edge case, which is really bizarre.
Change swapping weapons to be a move action (broken IMO).
Disallow casting of spells period with a light shield without sheathing/dropping your weapon first.
Or use the buckler rules for how they affect spell casting.

I'm torn between the last two, more in favor, currently, of the last. I don't like gimping the shield bearing spell casters. But I also don't like making the light shield a copy of the buckler with an exception that you can't wield a weapon.


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Grick wrote:
Defraeter wrote:
We are just applying the rules for ranged weapon: there are rules for reload, you know?

Right. They say you have to hold the weapon in one hand and use the other free hand to reload it. Once that's done, you're still holding the weapon in one hand, and if you don't re-grip it before you fire, you're taking the -4 penalty.

Since those rules make your argument break the game, you're creating new rules about how the "Draw or Sheathe a Weapon" action acts differently for ranged weapons. Those are house rules.

No. Not at all. Each ranged weapon has its rule.

For ex, "You need two hands to use a bow, regardless of its size.", so 1 hand to wield and 1 hand to reload. "Use" is different of "wield".
I don't see where is the problem.

You search to create difficulties where there are none to justify your point of view. Your argument is just nonsense.


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ilja wrote:
Defraeter wrote:
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.
Realistic =/= game balance. They really aren't related at all.

On the contrary, the game try to "simulate" with its own mechanisms. You break the realism of the game if you choices imply you favour some parts over others, so your game becomes unbalanced. The game balance is the measure of realism.

Ilja wrote:
Defraeter wrote:
You "push" when you try to use rules to obtain advantages without paying for.
Isn't that what all characters do at all times? Am I "pushing" the rules by using a heavy mace instead of a club? Or choosing EWP: Katana rather than EWP: Kama?

I don't understand why you say that, your ex aren't related at all to the subject.


Ilja wrote:

But since this is a matter of interpreting rules to create a ruling rather than rules that are actually written, if we can choose between a complex ruling and a simple that weighs in the simple rules favor.

I agree, but that's still something people discuss and in your previous example you seemed to imply that it was.

Not if we go by the non-action ruling because non-actions can happen before the action that triggers them. So while you can't switch the grip by the AoO itself, since an AoO isn't an action, you can say "bumblebee" (a free action) and as part of that change your grip and make the AoO with the greatsword. But there's nothing saying a non-action is made after the action that triggered it (nocking arrow being a prime example - you don't nock the arrow at the exact same time as you fire it from the bow, I assume).

Yes, so the non-action ruling requires house ruling how the speak action works. So the ruling in itself creates a need for a house rule - the free action ruling does not.

You cannot do that by the RAW though, as it's actually written you can't. Or rather you can use a movement action as long as it doesn't involve actually moving. Stand up + 5ft step = okay. Move 20ft + 5ft step = no can do.

What I mean is that if we're looking for a good interpretation/ruling on this, I think we should have this priority:
1. Does not directly contradict the RAW. (or it's a house rule rather than an interpretation, which is fine but not for this subforum)
2. Does not force changes to the RAW to keep working. (see above - wrong forum for house rules)
3. Does not cause severe "bugs" in the system that severely hurt verisimilitude (for example the "i can't regrip my weapon out of my turn unless I say something at the same time)
4. Does not break common practices rendering them unusable or enable new practices more powerful than intended (IMO, the move action interpretation somewhat does this in regards to crossbows etc)
5. Is easy and simple to understand.

I don't think it really matters if a rule is simple or complex. The rule is the rule, and that's that. I doubt the rules published by the Devs are going to be 100% simplified or even interpreted properly; these forums (with the constant questions, concerns, the Dev statements, as well as their clarifications and such) are proof of this. We can try to keep things simple to make the game run smooth, and we adjust things to do just that. Such an exception is not made for the RAW presented within the hardcovers, which is what a ruling such as this is to be presented as. (This is to say that I don't like simplicity, but it is important to be concise, and if that requires an extra level of complexity, then so be it.)

An "activity" does not have to be written out as an action, especially considering that they would not have to be actions to begin with. Attacks of Opportunity, specific Class Abilities, Feats, etc. Which is the crux of the issue where changing grips on the weapon is important to be defined as.

The largest problem with the Non-Action is its supposed limitation, in that it can be done as a part of something. The same could be said for the 5-foot step, since it's labeled as a Non-Action; however, such an activity has written exceptions and restrictions for balance purposes. The same can be done for this, the only problem is that the Devs don't want to even touch this subject; whether its through the fact they're too busy to fudge with a corner-case like this (most likely), or if its something that they feel should be left to those who play the game to decide between their sessions (less likely but still probable), I can't say.

But back to your example, that still wouldn't work since at the time of speaking that word the creature already moved and provoked; you could've still made the attack of opportunity with another weapon which threatens, and upon making that attack of opportunity, gripping the greatsword back. Many people argued that allowing it to begin with is "cheese" and "abusive" of the rules, yet there is no proof behind it. If the character chooses to grip that sword again, he must burn another action or perform some other notable activity outside his turn (i.e. Step Up) in order to change back and forth outside their turn. Even upon doing so, he sacrifices the fact that abilities requiring free hands to perform are no longer available, which is where the origin of people calling it "cheese" and "abuse" began with.

There is no need to adjust the Free Action section at all. What there needs to be is an addition to the Miscellaneous Actions section called "Changing Grips," giving a fairly basic description, a couple examples, and an exception statement like "Actions such as speaking do not allow a character to change how a weapon is wielded or held," and that's it. There is no need to change the RAW of the Free Action description, since the issue isn't with the Free Action description itself, it's with how a concept such as this is brought up, and how it correlates with other rules. If there is a bypass that should not be allowed (such as speaking a silly word allowing you to be a crazy bladedancing madman to change where you hold a weapon whenever you want), then there should be a written exception (like the one above) for it.

If we're going to sit here and say "It was actually written that you can do this or that," then we might as well just abolish this silly little thread and all of its predecessors because there is no RAW about this in the hardcovers whatsoever, and that the simple concept of being able to change how you hold or wield anything is just a bunch of pickles and daisies. But we don't play that game, especially since that's the entire issue with why there is such a massive range of perspective regarding this. There is no RAW that says they're wrong (or that they're right for that matter).


Defraeter wrote:
Ilja wrote:
Realistic =/= game balance. They really aren't related at all.
On the contrary, the game try to "simulate" with its own mechanisms. You break the realism of the game if you choices imply you favour some parts over others, so your game becomes unbalanced. The game balance is the measure of realism.

Uhm... No. It would be realistic to remove all spells from the game and make wizards use bluff/perform checks to make people think they can make magic tricks, because turning bat-poopoo (lol, the other word got @#) into a fireball is not realistic. But doing that would be bad for balance, as diviners would be as powerful as so-called psychics are in real life - not something you really want to take on your adventuring trip. Likewise, it would be more realistic if characters had to go to the toilet every x or so hours, but that doesn't affect balance one bit. And it would be more realistic if it was harder to swim with a heavy load than it is, but that would just further nerf those engaging in skills.

Realism isn't important in a fantasy game, though verisimilitude is (though of course, what works and doesn't is a subjective matter). And neither of those have anything with game balance to do.

If you want a ruling for game balance's sake, fine. There's nothing wrong with that, and I'm not particularly against the move action interpretation (even if it's not my prefered). But call it for what it is, don't say it's for realism.

And regardless, you said "more realist and balanced" - if you now for some reason think those are the same, did you just state "balanced" twice because it sounded more convincing?

Ilja wrote:
Defraeter wrote:
You "push" when you try to use rules to obtain advantages without paying for.
Isn't that what all characters do at all times? Am I "pushing" the rules by using a heavy mace instead of a club? Or choosing EWP: Katana rather than EWP: Kama?
I don't understand why you say that, your ex aren't related at all to the subject.

You said that pushing the rules where "using the rules to obtain advantage without paying for". Choosing a heavy mace over a club is a very, very small payment for +1 damage - isn't that using the rules to obtain an advantage? And for a mid-level character, the payment involved is like .01% of your WBL, to gain the same benefit other characters have to pay 2000 gp for! (making a +1 weapon compared to a masterwork weapon).

Isn't that then pushing the rules?

And if I chose EWP: Katana I pay the same amount as if I chose EWP: Kama, yet I use the rules to obtain a large advantage over those using EWP: Kama since katana has MUCH better stats!

My point is that defining "pushing the rules" in such a way means anyone who ever choses a mechanically stronger option is "pushing the rules".


Defraeter: Of course it matters! If you want to present your interpretation to a new player, and it's the free action interpretation, this is what you have to say:
"Switching grip on a weapon is a free action."

And the player is like "okay, I know how free actions work, they're pretty simple".

If it's non-action:
"Switching grip on a weapon is a non-action that can be taken as part of any action, except the speak action. You also have to switch the grip _after_, not before taking the action in question. Also note that AoO's are not actions, so you have to find some other way to make them out of your turn. In your turn, you cannot switch grip between attacks in a full attack, unless you find some way to perform some other free action in between."

And the player is like: Can I cast feather fall to switch grip out of turn?
And you're like: Yes/No (whatever you think)
And the player is like: So, if I have three iterative attacks, I can't attack with the spear, attack with the spear, release the spear with one hand and beat the other guy with my glove, but if I drop prone after the second attack I can switch grip as part of that action and attack... That seems really weird?
And you're like: Explaining how you rule in that case.

If written into a rulebook or FAQ, it would have to be written in a much more legalese way too.

You see what I mean? I feel the non-action creates more question that it answers. Now, if you want people to be able to do it out of turn, freely or limited, it might be easier to rule switching grip as a free action that can be taken outside your turn, or as a free action and an immediate action so they can switch freely during their turn or for a price outside of their turn. Either way is much simpler than the whole "you can do it at any time you take another action but not otherwise".

Silver Crusade

@Ilja; I'm glad you're not the one explaining it!

Let's try again:-

Q: When I want to switch grip on a weapon, is it a move action, a swift action, a free action, or isn't it an action at all in terms of 'Actions In Combat'?

A: Switching grip on a weapon is not an action in terms of 'Actions In Combat'. Switching grip is part of an attack with that weapon.

Any questions?


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

@Ilja; I'm glad you're not the one explaining it!

Let's try again:-

Q: When I want to switch grip on a weapon, is it a move action, a swift action, a free action, or isn't it an action at all in terms of 'Actions In Combat'?

A: Switching grip on a weapon is not an action in terms of 'Actions In Combat'. Switching grip is part of an attack with that weapon.

Any questions?

Yes. Two rather huge ones.

1. How can I attack with a weapon I'm not wielding?

2. How do I change grip if I don't want to attack right now?

3. If I can release the weapon from my left hand into my right hand whenever I want, why can't I just release it from my left hand and not catch it whenever I want? (or in other words, why can I change hand on other's turns but not drop a weapon on other's turns?)

4. If I hold a greatsword in one hand, can I use that to threaten since I'm free to attack with it without spending actions?

5. If I hold a greatsword in one hand and have a spiked gauntlet on the other (so I definately threaten) can I regrip the greatsword and use that for the attack?

6. If I hold a longspear in one hand, do I threaten 10ft away?

"Threatened Squares: You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn."


Defraeter wrote:
You search to create difficulties where there are none to justify your point of view.

Best. Post. Ever.


Defraeter wrote:

Each ranged weapon has its rule.

For ex, "You need two hands to use a bow, regardless of its size.", so 1 hand to wield and 1 hand to reload. "Use" is different of "wield".

"Use" is used identically to "wield" in the book. You need two hands to "use" a two-handed weapon, so to you I guess that means one hand on the sword, and the other hand up in the air striking a jaunty pose? Of course not. If you're using a weapon, you're wielding it. You need both hands to wield a bow, not just one. If you only have one arm, you cannot shoot a bow.

Defraeter wrote:
I don't see where is the problem.

Of course you don't see the problem. If you did, you would realize that you're wrong.

Defraeter wrote:
You search to create difficulties where there are none to justify your point of view. Your argument is just nonsense.

My argument is nonsense? I'm not the one claiming that putting a hand back on a weapon is a move action, and basing that on the "Draw or Sheathe a Weapon" action, then adding inexplicable exceptions to the action to make it not apply to ranged weapons. That's nonsense.

Making it a free action to put your hand back on the weapon, just like it's a free action to take it off, is sensible.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Ilja wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

@Ilja; I'm glad you're not the one explaining it!

Let's try again:-

Q: When I want to switch grip on a weapon, is it a move action, a swift action, a free action, or isn't it an action at all in terms of 'Actions In Combat'?

A: Switching grip on a weapon is not an action in terms of 'Actions In Combat'. Switching grip is part of an attack with that weapon.

Any questions?

Yes. Two rather huge ones.

1. How can I attack with a weapon I'm not wielding?

2. How do I change grip if I don't want to attack right now?

3. If I can release the weapon from my left hand into my right hand whenever I want, why can't I just release it from my left hand and not catch it whenever I want? (or in other words, why can I change hand on other's turns but not drop a weapon on other's turns?)

4. If I hold a greatsword in one hand, can I use that to threaten since I'm free to attack with it without spending actions?

5. If I hold a greatsword in one hand and have a spiked gauntlet on the other (so I definately threaten) can I regrip the greatsword and use that for the attack?

6. If I hold a longspear in one hand, do I threaten 10ft away?

"Threatened Squares: You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn."

The key here is that switching grip is a free action, but it's not an immediate or swift action.

In other words, you can't do it in reaction to something else.

1) On your turn? Just do it. Just make sure you aren't violating attacks/rd as you do it (i.e. attacking with all your off hand attacks with a spiked gauntlet, then grabbing your 2h'er to finish off all primaries...nope!)

2)Just do it. Free action.

3) You can't change a weapon on other's turns without spending an immediate action...you need a trigger effect. A free action is not faster then an immediate action.

4) No. You aren't threatening, therefore there's no trigger effect, for AoO's for instance. Without something making it your turn, you can't spend the free action to shift handedness.

5) No, the greatsword isn't threatening. You can attack the AoO, or blow it and use the action to regrip...but the threat opportunity will have passed by the time you do so.

6) Not without a special feat that allows you to do so, or an archetype. It's a two handed weapon and doesn't threaten when wielded in one hand.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:
The key here is that switching grip is a free action, but it's not an immediate or swift action.

Ilja was asking Malachi to further define the 'non-action' interpretation, since the simple explanation didn't really function.

Silver Crusade

Ilja wrote:

1. How can I attack with a weapon I'm not wielding?

2. How do I change grip if I don't want to attack right now?

3. If I can release the weapon from my left hand into my right hand whenever I want, why can't I just release it from my left hand and not catch it whenever I want? (or in other words, why can I change hand on other's turns but not drop a weapon on other's turns?)

4. If I hold a greatsword in one hand, can I use that to threaten since I'm free to attack with it without spending actions?

5. If I hold a greatsword in one hand and have a spiked gauntlet on the other (so I definately threaten) can I regrip the greatsword and use that for the attack?

6. If I hold a longspear in one hand, do I threaten 10ft away?

"Threatened Squares: You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn."

1. You can't. In order to attack with a light or one-handed weapon you must have at least one hand free (free=not holding anything except the weapon in question) at the moment you execute an attack with that weapon.

In order to attack with a two-handed weapon you must have two hands free at the moment you execute an attack with that weapon. When you are not in the actual process of attacking, you can hold the weapon in one hand. As long as the other hand is free, you may add that free hand as part of an attack with that weapon. Since you can therefore attack with a two-handed weapon held in one hand as long as the other hand is free, then you threaten with that weapon. This is a consequence of 're-gripping' not being an action itself, but being part of the attack with that weapon. If there was an action cost (such as 'free action') to re-grip then this would not be the case.

2. Changing grip is part of another action. But not any old action! Part of the action you are doing! So, for example, if you attack with a greatsword then adding a free hand is part of that attack. But attacking with a spiked gauntlet, while allowing you to let go of your longspear with your gauntleted hand is part of the attack, re-gripping your spear is not part of the gauntlet attack! No matter; if someone provokes 10-feet away you can add your gauntlet hand to the spear as part of that spear attack.

This 're-gripping' is not limited to weapon attacks. If you use a quarterstaff you can let go of the staff with one hand in order to retrieve components/perform somatic components as part of the spellcasting. At this point you are holding a staff in one hand. You still threaten with it as you can attack with it by adding your free hand as part of the AoO.

3. When you make an attack, in game, the attack roll doesn't represent a single swing, but a 'compound attack'; several moves leading to an attempted hit. In real life, when attacking with a greatsword or spear or other two-handed weapon, you don't have both hands 'glued' to the weapon; both hands constantly re-adjust, many times in six seconds! Try to imagine using a quarterstaff without being able to shift grip! You'd lose! That's not how wielding weapons works! Picture a samurai with a katana; combat has the hands constantly adjusting, going from one-handed to two to one to two, many times in any six second period.

So, while deliberately dropping an item is a free action so can only be done on your own turn, dropping a weapon in response to being panicked can be done even when it's not your turn, and gripping your weapon properly to execute an attack with a held weapon is part of the attack with that weapon no matter when that attack takes place; in a similar way that nocking an arrow is part of an attack with a bow, and nocking an arrow is a far more complex action than adding your free hand to a katana for more power as you make the stroke.

4. Yes, so long as your other hand is free. Note that if your other hand is holding something you'd have to drop it in order to free that hand, and since that takes a free action, and since free actions can only be taken on your turn, then you don't threaten if you other hand is not free.

5. Yes, but threatening with the gauntlet is irrelavent. In this case, you threaten with both the greatsword and the spiked gauntlet, irrespective of if you hold the sword in one or two hands, as you can choose which of the two weapons to use to execute that AoO, and adjusting your grip would be part of that AoO.

6. Yes, as long as your other hand is free.

All of the above is how to adjudicate 're-gripping' as a non-action. If it were a move/swift/free action then adjudicating these questions would have different answers. This is not some strange effect of 'non-action'; adjudicating applies to all of these possibilities.

I've found none of your questions difficult to answer. They are simply logical consequences of 're-gripping' being a non-action. Conceptually, there are no problems.

Where mileage may vary are what those consequences mean for game play. There are no balance issues, because whatever action covers 're-gripping' at your table, the same rules will cover the PCs and NPCs alike.

Do you envision ruling 're-gripping' as a non-action causing problems at your table? If so, what are those problems?


Realism, if defined as being reflective of the real, physical world, is obviously not important in the fantasy setting. However, internal consistency is important. You want rules that make sense in relation to one another, rather that each rule being its own free-floating thing.

With that in mind, I've reached the following conclusions given the input in this thread:

1) Simply removing one hand from a weapon that you have two hands on cannot be more than a free action. Reason: To remove both hands is a free action; thus removing one hand must be for internal consistency. Note: This does not necessarily leave you in a position where you would be wielding the weapon in the one hand after removing the second, even if you could normally do so, as the position of your hands likely matters. You may simply be holding it.

2) Simply removing one hand from a weapon cannot be performed outside your turn. Reason: Dropping a weapon cannot be performed outside of your turn; if one was allowed to remove a hand from a weapon outside of your turn, it would have to follow for consistency that you could drop things outside of your turn.

3) Placing a second hand onto a weapon you already have in one hand can be more than a free action without violating internal consistency; the reasoning would be that it requires more focus to place your hand in a specific location than to remove it.

My decision:
* It is a free-action to remove one hand from a weapon you have two hands on. If you could normally wield the weapon in one hand, you are wielding it; if not, you are holding it.
* It is a draw-a-weapon action to switch from holding or wielding a weapon in one hand, to wielding it in two hands. Thus, it is normally a move action that can be performed as part of a movement if your BAB >= +1. Or a free action if you have Quick Draw.

Note: This is not the only decision compatible with the three conclusions I drew above; it's simply the one that I personally think has the best balance of simplicity and game balance while staying within those conclusions.

Note 2: This decision would imply that it's a draw-a-weapon action plus a free action to switch a weapon from one hand to the other, as you'd first hold it in two hands, and then remove the first hand.

Silver Crusade

@Rudy2; assuming your conclusion that switching from holding a weapon in one hand to holding it in two hands takes the 'draw a weapon' action:-

• I have two hands free, holding nothing, with a greatsword in a scabbard at my left hip

• I want to draw my greatsword and move 30-feet up to an enemy, then attack him with said sword

• I can combine drawing my sword with a move, so I do so

• To draw my sword I use my left hand to hold the scabbard steady, and my right hand to draw the sword. This is an action I can combine with moving 30-feet up to my foe

• After moving/drawing, I'm adjacent to my foe with my greatsword in one hand! In order to attack with it I have to put my left hand on my sword, and that takes a move action

• I now have no actions left

• My foe smirks (free action), full attacks, and loots my corpse

This is a serious objection to the 'move action' interpretation. It takes a 'draw a weapon' action to, well, draw my weapon, and a second 'draw a weapon' action to use an already drawn weapon!

It's not a quantum sword! It's either drawn, or it isn't!


Rudy2 wrote:

My decision:

...
* It is a draw-a-weapon action to switch from holding or wielding a weapon in one hand, to wielding it in two hands.

Do you also rule you can shoot a bow one-handed? Do you have exceptions to this for crossbows and firearms, or do they always take a -4 penalty on subsequent shots?


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
(free=not holding anything except the weapon in question)

So I can cast spells with somatic and material components while wielding two shortswords? My hand is "free" after all.

Silver Crusade

Grick wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
(free=not holding anything except the weapon in question)

So I can cast spells with somatic and material components while wielding two shortswords? My hand is "free" after all.

How on Earth did you get that?

In your example, neither hand is free for any purpose except wielding the sword held in that hand.


Malachi: Your assumption of holding the scabbard with one hand is a bit odd to me. For a greatsword, the scabbard would usually be on your back, and you're not going to be holding it in one of your hands, but rather reaching up with both hands.

Grick wrote:
Rudy2 wrote:

My decision:

...
* It is a draw-a-weapon action to switch from holding or wielding a weapon in one hand, to wielding it in two hands.

Do you also rule you can shoot a bow one-handed? Do you have exceptions to this for crossbows and firearms, or do they always take a -4 penalty on subsequent shots?

I'm not sure what you're talking about, to be perfectly honest... If you shoot a bow, you are holding it in one hand; it requires two hands to use because of the fact that you have to use your other hand to grab an arrow, and then pull back the nocked arrow.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Grick wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
(free=not holding anything except the weapon in question)

So I can cast spells with somatic and material components while wielding two shortswords? My hand is "free" after all.

How on Earth did you get that?

In your example, neither hand is free for any purpose except wielding the sword held in that hand.

You defined "free" as holding a weapon.

If you meant "(free=not holding anything)" that would be different. It would also break your explanation, since "In order to attack with a light or one-handed weapon you must have at least one hand free" would no longer be true, since if your hand is holding a weapon, it's no free.


Rudy2 wrote:
I'm not sure what you're talking about, to be perfectly honest... If you shoot a bow, you are holding it in one hand; it requires two hands to use because of the fact that you have to use your other hand to grab an arrow, and then pull back the nocked arrow.

A bow requires two hands to use. If a bow already has an arrow nocked, you still need two hands to shoot it. Shooting a bow one-handed makes no sense.

How about a musket?

You hold it one hand, and load it with your other hand. Once that's done, if you shoot it without re-gripping it, you're shooting it one handed, at -4 penalty. By require a move action to re-grip the weapon, you're making it so you can't make multiple attacks without taking that penalty, since you don't have a move action to re-grip it after each reload.

This is why using the "Draw or Sheathe a Weapon" action to re-grip a weapon is broken.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:


1. You can't.

Then I can't change grip as part of an attack unless I can already wield the weapon in that grip. For example, if I hold a two-handed weapon in one hand I can't regrip it to attack since I have to attack to regrip it and I can't attack unless I wield it which requires me to first regrip it.

See the loop?

Quote:
2. Changing grip is part of another action. But not any old action! Part of the action you are doing!

Is that any action I'm doing or only the attack action or any action with an attack or any attack?

Also, you claim one can change grip during an AoO, but there's a lot of discussion on whether AoO's are even actions (and IMO the evidence is heavy of it not being an action), so you open up yet another can of worms with this.

Quote:

So, for example, if you attack with a greatsword then adding a free hand is part of that attack. But attacking with...

There are no rules for using a weapon in three hands and you can't attack with a two-handed weapon held in one hand so I don't see how this can even come up unless we're talking about a human with a small greatsword or similar size change.

Quote:
3. When you make an attack, in game, the attack roll doesn't represent a single swing, but a 'compound attack';

This is fine for a fluff explanation and one I use as well but not part of the rules. Also, it doesn't explain why I can take my longsword held in the right hand, throw it to the left hand as part of an attack action - but cannot just not catch it with the left hand and let it drop to the floor (since dropping items is a free action, not a non-action).

4, 5, 6. See point 3 about it being a bit silly to be able to release one hand from a weapon as a non-action but only if you're holding the weapon with another hand.


Grick wrote:

You hold it one hand, and load it with your other hand. Once that's done, if you shoot it without re-gripping it, you're shooting it one handed, at -4 penalty. By require a move action to re-grip the weapon, you're making it so you can't make multiple attacks without taking that penalty, since you don't have a move action to re-grip it after each reload.

This is why using the "Draw or Sheathe a Weapon" action to re-grip a weapon is broken.

Ah, I don't know how firearms work (as they never exist in games I run), but I'm starting to see what you're saying, and here's where I disagree:

In the case of the gun, both hands are focused on the gun the entire time; the other hand is right there essentially, and it's part of a fluid motion. In other words, I view the load-regrip as a single move action. If someone took their hand off to use a wand or something, I would require them to regrip as a Draw-a-weapon action, yes.

In the case of a melee weapon, your other hand is off doing something else. Maybe it's deflecting an arrow, maybe it's deflecting an attack, maybe it's picking your nose. In any case, it's involved in some unrelated activity.


Rudy2 wrote:
Ah, I don't know how firearms work

Loading a Firearm: "You need at least one hand free to load one-handed and two-handed firearms. In the case of two-handed firearms, you hold the weapon in one hand and load it with the other—you only need to hold it in two hands to aim and shoot the firearm."

Rudy2 wrote:
In the case of the gun, both hands are focused on the gun the entire time;

The other hand has to be removed in order to be free. Once that's done, it's another free action to retrieve the ammunition. Once that's done, it's whatever reloading action to reload the gun. Once that's done, you need to put your free hand back on the gun.

Rudy2 wrote:
In other words, I view the load-regrip as a single move action.

So no iterative shooting at all? Many characters can reload a firearm as a swift or free action.

Basically, you're saying it's a move action to re-grip, except when that would break the game, in which case it's some other kind of action. Doesn't that sort of imply that you're using the wrong interpretation? A free action wouldn't have any of those issues, and doesn't need exceptions or flowcharts to figure out, and doesn't depend on the whim of a GM deciding how far away your hand has to move in order to change the action required.

Putting a hand back on a weapon you're already holding shouldn't be the same action as mounting a horse, digging a potion out of your backpack, or moving a heavy object.


Grick wrote:
The other hand has to be removed in order to be free. Once that's done, it's another free action to retrieve the ammunition. Once that's done, it's whatever reloading action to reload the gun. Once that's done, you need to put your free hand back on the gun.

I disagree with your interpretation. As said, I would view the load-regrip as a single move action, not as separate actions as you paint here.

If I were to allow firearms in my game, I wouldn't allow iterative shooting, no.


I get the whole monk argument where there is a number of actions per round. Even though a monk can kick, shoulder bash, headbutt, punch, elbow, knee, etc. they get a set number of attacks per round. I have a few questions regarding this topic:

If you had a V-arm, could you triple wield a weapon for 2xStr? (an extra half str for the 3rd arm)

If someone had TWF and were dual wielding short swords with extended hilts, could someone use the free action to move their V-arm back and forth between the weapons to attack with TWF? Why/why not?


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Grick wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
(free=not holding anything except the weapon in question)

So I can cast spells with somatic and material components while wielding two shortswords? My hand is "free" after all.

How on Earth did you get that?

In your example, neither hand is free for any purpose except wielding the sword held in that hand.

I've noted Grick likes his wording to be very precise, which I can't argue with, since a large number of rules questions come up as a result of poorly worded or imprecise language. Free hand has a meaning, saying a hand is free while having a weapon in it - while I know what you meant, and I'm pretty confident Grick knew what you meant - that phrasing could be very confusing.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
I don't think it really matters if a rule is simple or complex.

I should rephrase that. A rule should not be needlessly complex. Or rather, I'd prefer consistent rules rather than rules with multiple exceptions and requirements of several pages of notes, errata, and FAQ's to understand how it works in the grand scheme of things.

As the second half of your post (starting at your 4th paragraph), you seem to be addressing it to me, but I didn't actually make the comments you are responding to.

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