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Combat Maneuvers while Holding Torches! Help!


Rules Questions

Liberty's Edge

Hello, I am a first time GM!

I am breaking my head over few questions, without answers to which, I am afraid I may not be able to host a good game or answer a volley of questions that are certain to come my way.

Question#1: The PCs have a dungeon to explore tomorrow, so it is obvious that one of the PCs has to carry a torch.My question is, is the PC holding the torch prohibited from using certain combat maneuvers like grapple (because such an action is impossible to carry out while holding a torch!)?

Questions#2: Is the PC holding the torch prohibited from using a shield or a two-handed weapon, because obviously, one of his hand is holding a torch?

I am asking this because if the above is true, and my guess is it is, its a slight handicap for the player holding the torch and the PCs might have a conflict there.

I searched the core rulebook and there was nothing relevant to the above questions, mentioned in the vision and light section on page 172.

Many thanks in advance.


Grapple can be done with one of the hands occupied, it just incurs a -4 penalty to the roll for not using both hands.

For two handed weapons, yes, he can't use it. For shields, depends on the shield. Light Shields and Bucklers permit the hand they're attached with to hold items. Heavy Shields and Tower Shields, on the other hand, cannot.

I'd cite rules, but I'm on my phone and there are numerous references I'd have to cite to explain how that is.

Scarab Sages

Hiklin Kemaal wrote:

Hello, I am a first time GM!

I am breaking my head over few questions, without answers to which, I am afraid I may not be able to host a good game or answer a volley of questions that are certain to come my way.

Question#1: The PCs have a dungeon to explore tomorrow, so it is obvious that one of the PCs has to carry a torch.My question is, is the PC holding the torch prohibited from using certain combat maneuvers like grapple (because such an action is impossible to carry out while holding a torch!)?

Questions#2: Is the PC holding the torch prohibited from using a shield or a two-handed weapon, because obviously, one of his hand is holding a torch?

I am asking this because if the above is true, and my guess is it is, its a slight handicap for the player holding the torch and the PCs might have a conflict there.

I searched the core rulebook and there was nothing relevant to the above questions, mentioned in the vision and light section on page 172.

Many thanks in advance.

If you read the grapple rules, you'll note that they include a penalty for grappling with one hand. Regarding the other maneuvers, recall that the Torch is an improvised weapon and has specific rules for it's use as a weapon in the equipment section of the CRB. So things like Sunder Maneuvers can be attempted with the Torch, but will be penalized for using an improvised weapon. Penalties to attack, like those for using improvised weapons, are also considered penalties to CMB for maneuvers with that weapon. Not all maneuvers use weapons, but those that do will be penalized for using them with improvised weapons.

As for two-handed weapons, the player can drop a held item as a free action, so they hold (not wield, but hold) a two handed weapon and a torch at the same time. For combat, they'll need to drop the torch, or just attack with the torch as an improvised weapon. As a light source, the Torch should continue providing light provided they don't drop it into water or down a hole.

Regarding Shields, that one depends on the shield. The buckler can hold a Torch without issue. There are penalties for wielding a Torch as a weapon at the same time you equip a buckler, as detailed in the buckler rules. The Tower Shield and the Heavy shield are unable to hold anything in that hand while equiping them as per their rules.

The light shield is a grey area. A light shield can be equiped in a hand that is also holding objects, but it cannot hold weapons. As GM you could determine that the Torch is an improvised weapon, so is unable to be held with the light shield. In alternative, you could determine that the player was just unable to use/wield it as a improvised weapon while in that hand. Either is reasonable and it is up to you the GM. A Light shield user could definitely hold a candle or lantern while equiping a light shield, the grey area is created because the torch has weapon rules.


Most of the rules you're looking for are in (1) the Combat section and (2) the equipment section.

1. Almost all combat maneuvers are still usable at no penalty with only one hand free. Grapple generally uses both hands, but a character can still attempt to grapple with one hand with a -4 penalty to the associated CMD checks. Disarm, trip, and sunder don't require a free hand at all--they can be made with an equipped weapon.

2a. The PC can use a light/heavy/tower shield in one hand and a torch in the other, but that's about it. Alternately, the PC can use a buckler and still wield a weapon with the same hand with a -1 penalty to attack rolls.

2b. There's no obvious way to wield a two-handed weapon and carry a torch, though the PC could carry the weapon in one hand and drop the torch and grip the weapon in both hands as free actions.

Some options for the intrepid spelunkers:

1. Drop/throw the torch to free up the hand. It'll keep burning in most circumstances.

2. Use a light spell instead. Most parties have at least one character with access to light, usually as an at-will 0-level spell. Cast it on a pendant or something that requires no hands and can be covered with little difficulty.

3. Use a miner's lantern instead. They're built to strap to a character's helmet or other headgear with no penalty, though they provide cone-shaped light rather than omnidirectional. (A creative character might try to set up some other light source similarly; as the GM, you can decide whether such an improvised setup would penalize the character or be prone to falling apart in a hairy situation.)

4. Fight with the torch. More of an option for a character with Catch Off-Guard. Might result in the torch ending up broken or doused, again at GM discretion.

5. Some characters may have darkvision. They won't need torchlight at all.

Hope this helps!

Liberty's Edge

It is obvious that if there is no light at all and everyone does not have dark vision that a light source is needed. That having been said no one says that it must be a torch. If there is a caster in the party, especially if they have the ability to change out spell lists each day, there is a 0 level light spell that can be recast all day. Put a light spell on the face of a shield or a belt buckle and you are set. If you haven't got a caster your players can have the character buy a 2GP Sunrod that could be dropped, chemical reaction should not go out like a torch might. The main thing though is to, at least, give a hint that light might be an issue so that preparations can be made and decisions about who is the " Torchbearer "is going to be can be reached in the tavern rather than the dungeon doorway. "
Hey run back to town and get some sunrods. We'll wait."


Lock picks are improvised weapons. Bottl
es and cups are improvised weapons. Sausage links are improvised weapons.

You can hold something in the hand while using a heavy shield, even a weapon. You cannot WIELD it as a weapon, but you can hold it. Torches don't need to be wielded unless your trying to smack someone with it.


toastedamphibian wrote:

Lock picks are improvised weapons. Bottl

es and cups are improvised weapons. Sausage links are improvised weapons.

You can hold something in the hand while using a heavy shield, even a weapon. You cannot WIELD it as a weapon, but you can hold it. Torches don't need to be wielded unless your trying to smack someone with it.

Quote:
Shield, Heavy; Wooden or Steel: You strap a shield to your forearm and grip it with your hand. A heavy shield is so heavy that you can't use your shield hand for anything else.


Oops. Meant light shield. Point being that a thing being a potential improvised weapon make it unable to be held makes basically everything unable to be held.


For when no one in the party has the light spell available

Liberty's Edge

Thank you all for the excellent answers.

Throwing the torch down and getting into combat didn't occur to me at all, and apparently that's just one of the possibilities.

I seem to have missed the one handed grapple in the core rulebook.

I also happened to read "holding" vs. "wielding" thread elsewhere which has prepared me better to be able to answer "can I do this?" questions.

Thanks guys!

Scarab Sages

Hiklin Kemaal wrote:
I seem to have missed the one handed grapple in the core rulebook.

Let's see, in Grapple subsection of the Combat section. The wording is "grappling without two hands free" rather than one-handed grappling. And the penalty for doing so is -4 on the grapple check.

Additionally, there is a +5 circumstance bonus for maintaining the grapple in turns after the initial grapple attempt.

So the penalty for one-handed grappling is effectively negated on later turns (nets a +1 on the check to maintain).

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