Spiked Chain vs Bladed Scarf


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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With the update of the pathfinder rpg we now have a slight change in the spiked chain, insomuch as it is now no longer a reach weapon.

With the bladed scarf being a close relative of the spiked chain... would this change have any impact on the scarf?

Contributor

Lokie wrote:

With the update of the pathfinder rpg we now have a slight change in the spiked chain, insomuch as it is now no longer a reach weapon.

With the bladed scarf being a close relative of the spiked chain... would this change have any impact on the scarf?

Yes, which you'll see in the Adventurer's Armory.


Wow! Such a quick response and from a developer no less! Thanks for the info Sean.

The Exchange

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Lokie wrote:

With the update of the pathfinder rpg we now have a slight change in the spiked chain, insomuch as it is now no longer a reach weapon.

With the bladed scarf being a close relative of the spiked chain... would this change have any impact on the scarf?

Yes, which you'll see in the Adventurer's Armory.

What about the Meteor Hammer from the Legacy of Fire series? I'm curious to see what will happen to that.

Dark Archive

Sean, is there any chance for a maul-like (i.e. 2-H hammer) weapon in the Adventurers' Armory?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Asgetrion wrote:
Sean, is there any chance for a maul-like (i.e. 2-H hammer) weapon in the Adventurers' Armory?

The Eartbreaker has been in a lot of their other books (don't ask me which ones specifically as I'm at work), which is a 2-handed hammer if you're looking for one.

Nothing like hitting a baddie with a huge meat tenderizer.

Sovereign Court

Asgetrion wrote:
Sean, is there any chance for a maul-like (i.e. 2-H hammer) weapon in the Adventurers' Armory?

Mr. Slanky already answered but basically you can find the weapon in the RotR players guide which is a free download. I've seen Mr. Mona state that the earthbreaker is just their fancy fantasy name for a maul. Although I gotta admit hatred for all Hammer weapons illustrations (you want to see a good depiction of a maul, see the movie troy. It's basically a sledgehammer head at the end of a long haft, but since all hammers in DnD are pictured with the silly Thor dimensions the pictures of mauls you see tend to be illustrated about x2-x3 that size

Contributor

I believe the earthbreaker and meteor hammer are slated to make an appearance in the AdvArm.

Liberty's Edge

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I believe the earthbreaker and meteor hammer are slated to make an appearance in the AdvArm.

Will the meteor hammer have reach?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I would seriously like to see something to take the niche that the spiked chain has left, even though it is cheese. Not an all singing and dancing wep but something that gives you reach like the chain, even if there were significant disadvantages in it's other properties, like low damage.

Dark Archive

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I believe the earthbreaker and meteor hammer are slated to make an appearance in the AdvArm.

Ooh, that's great to hear, Sean! I know they've already been published, but I'd rather have all the "basic" equipment (like a 2-H hammer) in the core rules plus any equipment supplements than dig out 4-5 Chronicles or adventure books whenever the players want to have a "complete" list of stuff they can buy.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

With the other post around I wonder what will come out about firearms?


Maybe I'm a little out of the loop so if this was brought somewhere else my apologies, also let me say ahead of time that i really like about 95% of what you guys have done with pathfinder but I do have a question. I know the spiked chain was cheese but I was curious with the other options available to fix the spiked chain cheese (like perhaps standing up not provoking Attacks of Opp) what made you guys decide to drop reach from the chain over other fixes? I only ask because it actually leaves open a niche that the spiked chain filled that wasn't cheese.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

DeusNocturne wrote:
Maybe I'm a little out of the loop so if this was brought somewhere else my apologies, also let me say ahead of time that i really like about 95% of what you guys have done with pathfinder but I do have a question. I know the spiked chain was cheese but I was curious with the other options available to fix the spiked chain cheese (like perhaps standing up not provoking Attacks of Opp) what made you guys decide to drop reach from the chain over other fixes? I only ask because it actually leaves open a niche that the spiked chain filled that wasn't cheese.

The biggest problem was that the spiked chain was the only weapon that granted reach, but also allowed you to attack adjacent. Add that on to all of the other benefits the weapon gave you and it was just too good. Exotic weapons tend to grant some cool abilities, but the spiked chain really went over the top.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
DeusNocturne wrote:
Maybe I'm a little out of the loop so if this was brought somewhere else my apologies, also let me say ahead of time that i really like about 95% of what you guys have done with pathfinder but I do have a question. I know the spiked chain was cheese but I was curious with the other options available to fix the spiked chain cheese (like perhaps standing up not provoking Attacks of Opp) what made you guys decide to drop reach from the chain over other fixes? I only ask because it actually leaves open a niche that the spiked chain filled that wasn't cheese.

The biggest problem was that the spiked chain was the only weapon that granted reach, but also allowed you to attack adjacent. Add that on to all of the other benefits the weapon gave you and it was just too good. Exotic weapons tend to grant some cool abilities, but the spiked chain really went over the top.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Yet now that it is inferior to the heavy flail, should it still be classified as an exotic weapon?

Liberty's Edge

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
DeusNocturne wrote:
Maybe I'm a little out of the loop so if this was brought somewhere else my apologies, also let me say ahead of time that i really like about 95% of what you guys have done with pathfinder but I do have a question. I know the spiked chain was cheese but I was curious with the other options available to fix the spiked chain cheese (like perhaps standing up not provoking Attacks of Opp) what made you guys decide to drop reach from the chain over other fixes? I only ask because it actually leaves open a niche that the spiked chain filled that wasn't cheese.

The biggest problem was that the spiked chain was the only weapon that granted reach, but also allowed you to attack adjacent. Add that on to all of the other benefits the weapon gave you and it was just too good. Exotic weapons tend to grant some cool abilities, but the spiked chain really went over the top.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

but now as nerfed as it is... who would really want to use it?


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
DeusNocturne wrote:
Maybe I'm a little out of the loop so if this was brought somewhere else my apologies, also let me say ahead of time that i really like about 95% of what you guys have done with pathfinder but I do have a question. I know the spiked chain was cheese but I was curious with the other options available to fix the spiked chain cheese (like perhaps standing up not provoking Attacks of Opp) what made you guys decide to drop reach from the chain over other fixes? I only ask because it actually leaves open a niche that the spiked chain filled that wasn't cheese.

The biggest problem was that the spiked chain was the only weapon that granted reach, but also allowed you to attack adjacent. Add that on to all of the other benefits the weapon gave you and it was just too good. Exotic weapons tend to grant some cool abilities, but the spiked chain really went over the top.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Out of curiosity, what "cool abilities" does the dwarven waraxe, bastard sword, or hand crossbow really give? Especially abilities that are worth a feat?

The spiked chain gave some good abilities. But, frankly, besides the reach it's mechanically inferior to the Heavy Flail, a martial weapon. It seems to me that the reach + adjacent was the only "cool ability" the weapon was giving that justified a feat expenditure.

And the fact that Paizo has created several other weapons that functioned the same during 3.5 does seem telling that you guys didn't have a problem with it until the final RPG came out.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

Disciple of Sakura wrote:

Out of curiosity, what "cool abilities" does the dwarven waraxe, bastard sword, or hand crossbow really give? Especially abilities that are worth a feat?

The spiked chain gave some good abilities. But, frankly, besides the reach it's mechanically inferior to the Heavy Flail, a martial weapon. It seems to me that the reach + adjacent was the only "cool ability" the weapon was giving that justified a feat expenditure.

And the fact that Paizo has created several other weapons that functioned the same during 3.5 does seem telling that you guys didn't have a problem with it until the final RPG came out.

Couple of quick points here.

1. Exotic does not mean better. Yes you have to pay a feat to use it in most circumstances, but that is just not exactly how these are designed. Some do offer some nice benefits, but that is by no means the rules. Exotic means rare and unusual first. That means that some of them are not the "best" in-game mechanical decision your character can make.

2. As for the other weapons, the past is just that, the past. When these weapons get updated, we will be looking at them quite a bit closer for balance.

I know this is not a popular change, but the weapon was just too good.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Dark Archive

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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
1. Exotic does not mean better. Yes you have to pay a feat to use it in most circumstances, but that is just not exactly how these are designed. Some do offer some nice benefits, but that is by no means the rules. Exotic means rare and unusual first. That means that some of them are not the "best" in-game mechanical decision your character can make.

I strongly disagree with this logic.

Why eat a feat to say 'my character has a distinctive look / fighting style?' Shouldn't that sort of thing be the purview of the player's descriptive / creative talents?

To take this backwards, if having a 'cool, but not mechanically superior weapon' is worth a feat, then do I get a bonus feat for using the bog-standard longsword, which is an 'un-Exotic' as one can get?

It wouldn't make sense to charge a feat tax for a rare weapon, and not hand out free feats for using common ones, after all, would it?

IMO, Feats are a *game mechanic,* representing a price one pays to be able to do something that other characters cannot (or simply to be better at something than other characters), not an arbitrary punishment to be levied on the player for being creative and saying that his character uses a 'foreign' weapon or has an exotic hair color or something.

A weapon shouldn't be Exotic if it doesn't offer some mechanical advantages not available to other weapon-users. Of the Exotic weapons, the Spiked Chain was probably the only one *worth* blowing a feat upon. Others, like the Hand Crossbow or the Whip, are like a punishment on the inexpert player, who might be suckered into blowing a feat to be *worse* at combat than their peers. Such things make the game less fun for those players, discouraging them from entertaining creative character concepts in the future, in my experience.

Compared to other Exotic weapons, the Spiked chain *was* too good. But that really wasn't a problem with the Spiked Chain. That was a problem with the whip, hand crossbow, etc. With the new CMB system, and the radical change to size modifiers for special maneuvers like Trip, the 'gatling-chain-tripper' is probably a thing of the past anyway, making the most egregious (ab)uses of the Spiked Chain a historical footnote.

As usual, add 'IMO' to the end of any sentence that ends with a period.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Couple of quick points here.

1. Exotic does not mean better. Yes you have to pay a feat to use it in most circumstances, but that is just not exactly how these are designed. Some do offer some nice benefits, but that is by no means the rules. Exotic means rare and unusual first. That means that some of them are not the "best" in-game mechanical decision your character can make.

2. As for the other weapons, the past is just that, the past. When these weapons get updated, we will be looking at them quite a bit closer for balance.

I know this is not a popular change, but the weapon was just too good.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

I'll obviously have to accept it, but I disagree strongly with point #1. If you are investing a feat, which is a limited character resource that you only get so many of, it should actually have a benefit. It shouldn't be solely for flavor. There's a reason no one takes EWP: Siangham or EWP: kama - because it's just not worth the feat. Even if a single level of monk didn't give you all those proficiencies for free, no one (except those who believe in punishing themselves for "role playing") would take a feat to use what is honestly a simple weapon.

If you're going to spend a feat, it should grant you a mechanical benefit, since it's buried in the mechanics. Flavor is flavor, but you shouldn't have to pay mechanics for flavor - I could just as easily say that my heavy flail looks like a spiked chain and get a more substantial mechanical benefit without actually sacrificing flavor, and I fail to see why I wouldn't if I really wanted to be wielding a length of chain.

I think, if this is the general concept of the Exotic Weapon feat, it should just be done away with. The spiked chain survived without change through three Alphas and an entire Beta, only to be changed in the final rules into something that frankly is inferior to another weapon simply because it "looks different." The whole category should just go away if it's just there to penalize people who want a bit of a different flavor to their characters.

*shrug* It's not like it's going to change anything, but this is just another thing I'm disappointed to see. There was a chance to actually make the category meaningful, and worth the feat cost, and it's been reduced to "that place you put funny things that you give out for free to races and funky classes." I'll just have to house rule it, and suck it up in Pathfinder Society games I play in (though I tend to err on the side of the rapier anyway, so I guess it's not an issue). Ah, well. Thanks for the insight into how Paizo's approaching the feat and weapon category.

Sovereign Court

Disciple of Sakura wrote:
Disciple of Sakura spoke words of wisdom.

QFT. (Quoted for truth)

The Exchange

I really hope Paizo doesn't completely do away with all the reach weapons that can be used on adjacent foes. How else is one to replicate a character like that hot asian schoolgirl chick in the Kill Bill movie?


Montalve wrote:
but now as nerfed as it is... who would really want to use it?

I assume people who like the disarm bonus and ability to trip with the weapon, but also want to use Weapon Finesse with their weapon.

It isn't really an awesome weapon before, but it still does have that slight advantage.

Edit: I guess I have to agree that exotic weapons don't need to be "better" weapons.

Edit, Edit: To me, I prefer the new spiked chain. I think the spiked chain should only be used by people who actually want to use the Weapon Finesse ability of it. I would feel similarly if I'm seeing a series of characters wielding a rapier as a two-handed weapon to smash with.

I don't really think that it alone is worth a feat, but being an exotic weapon, I can easily see feats (or traits) that grant the proficiency with another boon.


Tilquinith wrote:
I really hope Paizo doesn't completely do away with all the reach weapons that can be used on adjacent foes. How else is one to replicate a character like that hot asian schoolgirl chick in the Kill Bill movie?

With the heavy flail and lunge, obviously.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
I know this is not a popular change, but the weapon was just too good.

I haven't seen the new pathfinder rules yet, but I can tell you that the spiked chain is considered THE weapon in optimization threads. You just can't beat the control it can bring to a battlefield.

That said, it sound like in Pathfinder you will just have to work with the 'almost as good as spiked chain 'cause I was feat starved' option which is to use a reach weapon that allows tripping and either spiked gauntlets, spiked armor, or some other method of getting a 5' threat zone at the same time as the 10' threat zone (like unarmed attack if you have a level of monk).

Changing the one weapon won't really change the tactics it was used for... it just kind of ganks the priests of Zon-Kuthon... but they were jerks anyway.

Sean Mahoney

Liberty's Edge

Tilquinith wrote:
I really hope Paizo doesn't completely do away with all the reach weapons that can be used on adjacent foes. How else is one to replicate a character like that hot asian schoolgirl chick in the Kill Bill movie?

Pathfinder is not made to replicate cool, exotic and exiting things :)

unfortunately and saddly...

I agree with Sakura and Set... this could have been mentioned in any one of the betas... is sad as many other changes where people were playtesting something, just to see that changes were done "because we feel that was the right thign to do".. of course that is Jason's right... its his game.

for me every time i see opinions like this where you need to actually hurt our character or forget about something exiting (lets get real.. in Society play you need to make your character the clossest to a niche or you won't survive long... that is one of the reaosns (besides the groups hours) that I don't play... its simply not worth to me forcing to create a characater so much arranged in mechanics to give him/her a fighting change of rusvivial)

the change of the spiked change is an example of Paizo politic about its rules

"if something makes a character felt slightly better than others... EVEN if it costed something to him (even as costly and exotic as a feat), ITS wrong..."

every time I see this in one or another niche of the game, makes me feel that true personalization is not encourgaed, just given a false illusion... so to personalize your character is expensive, giving you little to nothing in return...

so Exotic Weapon becomes just that ornamental, fancy and ridicule in a set of rules that penalize you for lack of optimization.


This may not make anyone feel better, but there are weapons that grant reach and allow for attacking up close in some of the Oriental Adventures books. The kusari-gama(spelling?)is such a weapon. I would check the Arms and Equipment Guide to see what is in there if anyone has it. However if you just have to have a spiked chain I would present a similar argument to the DM.

As far as the spiked chain goes it was not all that great its own. It was great when combined with the old version of Improved trip, and having its own bonus to tripping. Without its partners in crime its not nearly as powerful as it was before. <----Stolen from another thread and paraphrased.


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This thread grew a life of its own...hmm.

As a DM I had a player who liked playing a trip master with a spiked chain. I just made a point to include mobs of mooks occasionally for her to play with and she was happy.

I do want to point out one thing about the spiked chain that made it VERY easy to counter. It was a length of chain. This made it relatively easy to sunder.

However... it never seemed to truly unbalance my games and I never really felt the need to fall back to destroying the chain.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Couple of quick points here.

1. Exotic does not mean better. Yes you have to pay a feat to use it in most circumstances, but that is just not exactly how these are designed. Some do offer some nice benefits, but that is by no means the rules. Exotic means rare and unusual first. That means that some of them are not the "best" in-game mechanical decision your character can make.

While that tends to be true with the monk weapons exotics (and don't even get me started on how stupid it is for most monk weapons to be exotic), that is not true for most other exotics. Take the bastart sword and waraxe for example. While some may argue that they are not worth the cost of a feat, they do still give a benefit (1d8 -> 1d10 Dam). Finessability isn't apparently a consideration by itself for a benefit (mainly because it costs an extra feat to use), consider the rapier and the scimitar. You can finesse the rapier but not the scimitar, yet both are martial weapons. Now if the spiked chain was now a monk weapon or its damage was 2d6/1d12 or its crit range was improved enough (I'm not sure if 18-20/x2 with 2d4 which was my first thought, would make it better than 1d10 with 19-20/x2, I'll crunch the numbers later) so that it was superior in some small fashion than the heavy chain, I would say it would still be fine as an exotic weapon. Just dropping the reach without balancing that out with something, appears to be a rushed decision, at least to me.

Jason Bulmahn wrote:

2. As for the other weapons, the past is just that, the past. When these weapons get updated, we will be looking at them quite a bit closer for balance.

I know this is not a popular change, but the weapon was just too good.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

When you are using the word "balance" here, I am not exactly sure what you mean, consider your #1 point. As in #1 you seem to be saying balanced doesn't matter, only flavor.

concerro wrote:
This may not make anyone feel better, but there are weapons that grant reach and allow for attacking up close in some of the Oriental Adventures books. The kusari-gama(spelling?)is such a weapon. I would check the Arms and Equipment Guide to see what is in there if anyone has it.

Of course if you are using 3.x D&D sources, you might as well at that point just use the 3.5 spiked chain and skip all the messing around.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I have to agree fully with Jason here. I've had two of my games broken so badly by the spiked chain now I simply disallow it outright. Frankly, despite the changes, I would have liked to not even see it in the book. It brings back bad memories.

To Jason's point that exotic weapons are simply unusual, and not better, this makes perfect sense. The reason most exotic weapons were not universally used in history is that they were both difficult to use and often not as effective as a conventional weapon such as a sword. If it isn't worth a feat to you to use what you consider to be a 'cool' weapon, then don't choose that weapon. Or ask your DM if he will allow your 'bastard sword' to look and feel like a Katana, your 'heavy flail' to look and feel like a chain. You can keep the flavor without resorting to feats.

To the suggestion of a reach weapon + spiked armor or gauntlets, I personally wouldn't let a player use both at the same time. Said player would have to declare on his turn which he was using, and that would be the weapon he would be using for purposes of AoO's until his next turn. The major point is this: The rules are not really compatible with allowing someone to attack both 5 feet and 10 feet away. Period. With the exception of larger size categories, which carry their own penalties, I would never allow this in my games.

Character optimization seems to be exactly what Paizo is working against. And they have done a damn good job. Once there is a list of 'optimized' characters out there, it limits the freedom of players to play something that really calls out to them. If they do anyway, they'll feel inferior (rightly so) to someone who plays a character which is 'optimized'.

To end this nonsense, I suggest to all GM's out there to simply ban any optimized character concepts from the game. Or ideally, for Paizo to issue errata to correct any 'over-optimized' character concepts that come out of the woodwork. This is the best way to make sure Pathfinder remains fun to play for years to come. Thanks Paizo Staff, for everything you have done to make an amazing game.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
pres man wrote:
Yet now that it is inferior to the heavy flail, should it still be classified as an exotic weapon?

Can you use weapon finesse with the heavy flail? The spiked chain is *still* unique, in that it is the only two handed weapon you can use weapon finesse with. Be happy and move on.


Auspician wrote:
To the suggestion of a reach weapon + spiked armor or gauntlets, I personally wouldn't let a player use both at the same time. Said player would have to declare on his turn which he was using, and that would be the weapon he would be using for purposes of AoO's until his next turn. The major point is this: The rules are not really compatible with allowing someone to attack both 5 feet and 10 feet away. Period. With the exception of larger size categories, which carry their own penalties, I would never allow this in my games.

Question: You are running a session as the DM, you have a group of undead, zombies and skeletons, coming after the party. A player of yours has their ranger character holding a longsword (good against zombies) in their on-hand and a light mace (good against skeletons) in the off-hand. Do you as the DM make the player declare which weapon he is going to be making AoO with?

Auspician wrote:
Can you use weapon finesse with the heavy flail? The spiked chain is *still* unique, in that it is the only two handed weapon you can use weapon finesse with. Be happy and move on.

Two issues:

1)The spiked chain is not unique in that regard (2-handed finessable) in the PFRPG, as there is now the elven curved blade (the PF version of the elven court blade).

2)As I mentioned above (but you might not have read it yet as you could be working your way down), finessability is not apparently enough to make a weapon exotic. Consider the rapier and the scimitar. Both are still martial despite the rapier being finessable. My guess is that due to the fact that you have to burn an extra feat to get the finesse access it is enough cost that you don't need an additional added cost of an exotic weapon proficiency feat. With that in mind, the new spiked chain appears to be "balanced" with the heavy chain (actually slightly weaker than it), and thus the new spiked chain should probably be put in the martial weapons.


Auspician wrote:
To end this nonsense, I suggest to all GM's out there to simply ban any optimized character concepts from the game. Or ideally, for Paizo to issue errata to correct any 'over-optimized' character concepts that come out of the woodwork. This is the best way to make sure Pathfinder remains fun to play for years to come.

Unless, of course, the group enjoys using optimised characters. Then your "best way to play" approach ruins the fun.

But that can't be, since your way is the only fun way to play - yes?

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

To be honest folks, I cannot see this thread developing in a positive way, and it seems to be heading down the "lets argue over optimized characters" avenue...

Tempted to lock it, but I will let it run on a bit to see where it goes.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


One of my DMs once said that the Spike Chain was a red herring put into the game to test GMs ability to balance the game.

I don't think it was intentional, but this was a change a long time coming.


Auspician wrote:

I have to agree fully with Jason here. I've had two of my games broken so badly by the spiked chain now I simply disallow it outright. Frankly, despite the changes, I would have liked to not even see it in the book. It brings back bad memories.

To Jason's point that exotic weapons are simply unusual, and not better, this makes perfect sense. The reason most exotic weapons were not universally used in history is that they were both difficult to use and often not as effective as a conventional weapon such as a sword. If it isn't worth a feat to you to use what you consider to be a 'cool' weapon, then don't choose that weapon. Or ask your DM if he will allow your 'bastard sword' to look and feel like a Katana, your 'heavy flail' to look and feel like a chain. You can keep the flavor without resorting to feats.

To the suggestion of a reach weapon + spiked armor or gauntlets, I personally wouldn't let a player use both at the same time. Said player would have to declare on his turn which he was using, and that would be the weapon he would be using for purposes of AoO's until his next turn. The major point is this: The rules are not really compatible with allowing someone to attack both 5 feet and 10 feet away. Period. With the exception of larger size categories, which carry their own penalties, I would never allow this in my games.

Character optimization seems to be exactly what Paizo is working against. And they have done a damn good job. Once there is a list of 'optimized' characters out there, it limits the freedom of players to play something that really calls out to them. If they do anyway, they'll feel inferior (rightly so) to someone who plays a character which is 'optimized'.

To end this nonsense, I suggest to all GM's out there to simply ban any optimized character concepts from the game. Or ideally, for Paizo to issue errata to correct any 'over-optimized' character concepts that come out of the woodwork. This is the best way to make sure Pathfinder remains fun to play for...

It makes sense from a fluff point of view, but not mechanically. Why spend a feat to get nothing?

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Auspician wrote:
Can you use weapon finesse with the heavy flail? The spiked chain is *still* unique, in that it is the only two handed weapon you can use weapon finesse with. Be happy and move on.

There is also the new feat: Cornugon Shield (Pathfinder Comp. Cheliax) for the spike chain.

I tend to agree with the change but not 100% I think the traditional benefits of the spike chain could be returned with an additional feat (I'm not looking at Lunge to do this but probably something new that would be more like it was in 3.5.)

I already allow a number of 3.5 resources and in the Dragon Magazine Compendium there is a feat I like called Shorten Grip (Also Jason's) that allows pole arms to be used up close by changing your grip. I'm thinking that I may house rule a similar feat for the spiked chain and related weapons for my game.

Reaching Blow
You know how to alter your grip on a Spiked chain or similar weapon to use it against opponents at reach.

Benefit: When wielding a spiked chain or similar weapon that you are proficient with, you may treat the weapon as if it has reach. The weapon is unwieldy when used in this fashion and you take a -2 penalty on attack rolls when attacking an opponent you normally could not.
Normal: Spiked chains cannot be used at reach.
Special:Since most of the chain is now utilized for reach you may not benefit from any other Spiked Chain feat such as Cornugon Shield.
A fighter may select Reaching Blow as one of his fighter bonus feats.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Locke1520 wrote:
Auspician wrote:
Can you use weapon finesse with the heavy flail? The spiked chain is *still* unique, in that it is the only two handed weapon you can use weapon finesse with. Be happy and move on.

There is also the new feat: Cornugon Shield (Pathfinder Comp. Cheliax) for the spike chain.

I tend to agree with the change but not 100% I think the traditional benefits of the spike chain could be returned with an additional feat (I'm not looking at Lunge to do this but probably something new that would be more like it was in 3.5.)

I already allow a number of 3.5 resources and in the Dragon Magazine Compendium there is a feat I like called Shorten Grip (Also Jason's) that allows pole arms to be used up close by changing your grip. I'm thinking that I may house rule a similar feat for the spiked chain and related weapons for my game.

Reaching Blow
You know how to alter your grip on a Spiked chain or similar weapon to use it against opponents at reach.

Benefit: When wielding a spiked chain or similar weapon that you are proficient with, you may treat the weapon as if it has reach. The weapon is unwieldy when used in this fashion and you take a -2 penalty on attack rolls when attacking an opponent you normally could not.
Normal: Spiked chains cannot be used at reach.
Special:Since most of the chain is now utilized for reach you may not benefit from any other Spiked Chain feat such as Cornugon Shield.
A fighter may select Reaching Blow as one of his fighter bonus feats.

I had something similar for my games except I added a limitation to both this feat and Shorten Grip: it's an immediate action to change styles. Not all that costly in terms of combat ability, but still, it's not just a free action to suddenly slide five feet of weapon haft down through your hands or to let five extra feet of chain out to start whirling around.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Kvantum wrote:
I had something similar for my games except I added a limitation to both this feat and Shorten Grip: it's an immediate action to change styles. Not all that costly in terms of combat ability, but still, it's not just a free action to suddenly slide five feet of weapon haft down through your hands or to let five extra feet of chain out to start whirling around.

I was having the same thought but for the moment decided to just restore the traditional power level. I wanna play with it a bit and see how it goes.


There has been some talk of "balance", so let's compare the PF spiked chain and the heavy flail.

Weapon Type
PF SC: Exotic
HF: Martial
observation: for most classes that would be using either of them, they would already be proficient with the heavy flail. Higher cost for the spiked chain.

Handedness
PF SC: 2-handed
HF: 2-handed

Cost
PF SC: 25 gp
HF: 15 gp
observation: The heavy flail is slightly cheaper. This a very small issue.

Damage
PF SC: 1d6(S), 2d4(M)
HF: 1d8(S), 1d10(M)
observation: The heavy flail has a higher maximum damage and higher average damage, while the spiked chain has a higher minimum damage and is more consistent around its average.

Critical range
PF SC: 20/x2
HF: 19-20/x2
observation: The higher critical range combined with the higher average and maximum danger means that the heavy flail is going to do 5-15% more damage overall (depending on what extra damage is added on).

Weight
PF SC: 10 lbs
HF: 10 lbs

Damage Type
PF SC: Piercing
HF: Bludgeoning
observation: There are slightly more creatures with DR/Bludgeoning than there are DR/piercing. Though again this is a small difference.

Special Abilities
PF SC: disarm, trip, finessable
HF: disarm trip

Overall, I think it is clear to some people that the heavy flail is superior to the PF spiked chain, without considering the finessability. So the question then becomes, is the finesability by itself enough to justify it as an exotic weapon from a "balance" perspective? Well, since you have to spend a feat to use that finessability and since we already have an example of how finessability doesn't change a weapon from martial to exotic (compare the rapier to the scimitar), I think quite a few people can safely feel that it does not.

Now perhaps the problem is the heavy flail shouldn't be a martial weapon. Perhaps it is "strange" enough and powerful enough that it should be exotic.

Dark Archive

Sean Mahoney wrote:
I haven't seen the new pathfinder rules yet, but I can tell you that the spiked chain is considered THE weapon in optimization threads. You just can't beat the control it can bring to a battlefield.

Although, quite often, in those same CharOp threads that have helped to give the (IMO absurd-looking and, based on the artwork, mechanically unusable) weapon a bad rep, also combine it with using various growth builds, to get (in 3.X) massive +4 / size category bonuses to Trip checks. In Pathfinder, those pluses are +1 to CMB, and not nearly as friendly to the 'gatling chain-tripper' build.

IMO, this is one of those 'nerf by committee' moments, where something is clearly too good, and, instead of a single targetted fix, is chipped away from multiple angles until it is unintentionally made 'too bad.' MMOs are horribly prone to this, with one class being 'too good' and the devs cutting it down in class mechanics, spell effects, items designed for the class *and* by making various monsters immune to some of it's abilities, making it a 'death of a 1000 cuts' scenario.

This, IMO, is what happened to the Spiked Chain. Already the issue of the CharOp chain-monster was addressed first by the switch to CMB, second by the change to size categories impact on trip attacks and thirdly by mechanically changing the weapon's properties itself.

It seemed to me, in my admittedly limited playtesting, that CMB significantly decreased the availability of the disarm, trip, etc. maneuvers, limiting them to specialists. In the Six Monks Bar, a team of six monks found the use of CMB to be deeply frustrating, in our initial mashup, and strictly inferior to just punching people in the head. The size bonus change also would *seem to me* to drastically cut down the effect of those CharOp builds (that most GMs would balk at allowing anyway, since half of them involved psionic expansion psychic warrior nonsense), which relied strongly on the +4 bonus from size, which has been quartered. (Well, that and some freakish interpretation of Improved Trip that allowed one to get a free attack + Trip with every successful Trip attack, leading to potentially infinite attacks a round, but I don't think anyone actually ate that particular slice of stinky cheese...)

I nerfed the Spiked Chain myself, but by reducing damage to 1d6 B (for a weighted end) or 1d4 P (for a hooked end good for trip/disarm bonuses) and dropping size bonuses to +2 (instead of +4 in 3.X or +1 in Pathfinder). The whole Reach / Close thing never was an issue, since reach weapon users usually rely on spiked gauntlets or whatever for close in stuff, in my experience.

My biggest beef with the weapon is the darn artwork, which almost invariably portrays a weapon that would get snagged on itself and twist around. Anyone who has swung a chain (uh, wait, hasn't everyone been in a biker gang?) knows that the links twist around when it spins, and those alien things in the artwork wouldn't work, mechanically... Grr. I'll suspend my disbelief for a multi-tonned magical flying lizard that can somehow breath a cone of something that causes a 'heat-absorbing chemical reaction' (per Draconomicon 2E), but a mundane item that simply no worky? No. The artwork so turned me off that I found myself having an immediate dislike of the Shadar-kai and various other 3.X add-ons that involved the spiked chain.


Set wrote:
I nerfed the Spiked Chain myself, but by reducing damage to 1d6 B (for a weighted end) or 1d4 P (for a hooked end good for trip/disarm bonuses) and dropping size bonuses to +2 (instead of +4 in 3.X or +1 in Pathfinder). The whole Reach / Close thing never was an issue, since reach weapon users usually rely on spiked gauntlets or whatever for close in stuff, in my experience.

I just want to clear something up before it starts confusing the issues. The spiked chain is not a "double-weapon", it doesn't have a piercing end and a bludgeoning end, it only has a single "end" which is a piercing end. I just wanted to clear that up, because sometimes people think it is a double-weapon and so think it is "unbalanced" because of this false understanding.

Dark Archive

pres man wrote:
The spiked chain is not a "double-weapon", it doesn't have a piercing end and a bludgeoning end, it only has a single "end" which is a piercing end. I just wanted to clear that up, because sometimes people think it is a double-weapon and so think it is "unbalanced" because of this false understanding.

True, although it does lend itself well to having two different ends, giving it the Morningstar-like option of doing on thing or another, depending on the needs of the moment. The heads could even be removable, and swappable, with a bit of work. Just so long as one of the 'heads' isn't a sword that shoots bears that shoots bees out of it's mouth, that are on fire. Or a gun on the end of a whip. 'ssshhh-Crack! Bang!'

And a feat to allow someone to use a Spiked Chain as a double weapon? That could be hot. Watching those dudes swing around a pair of meteor hammers in the videos definitely could inspire some spiked-chain-as-double-weapon fantasies. :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

MY spiked chain shoots shurikens and lightning. :)


Set wrote:
True, although it does lend itself well to having two different ends, giving it the Morningstar-like option of doing on thing or another, depending on the needs of the moment.

Yes, but it doesn't have it by default, so I think it might be a bad idea to talk about houserules or possible future feats when discussing its "balance" at the current point in time. Also, morningstars do P and B, not P or B, I think you mean like a urgrosh, dagger, scythe, or halberd instead like a morningstar, but I get your point.


pres man wrote:
Now perhaps the problem is the heavy flail shouldn't be a martial weapon. Perhaps it is "strange" enough and powerful enough that it should be exotic.

If you think so, go for it.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

To be honest folks, I cannot see this thread developing in a positive way, and it seems to be heading down the "lets argue over optimized characters" avenue...

Tempted to lock it, but I will let it run on a bit to see where it goes.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

I understand it needed a nerf in comparison to other exotic weapons, but people do tend to want a certain amount of benefit for spending a feat. To a lot of people I have spoken to since 3.5 came out the spiked chain was the only exotic weapon worth the feat. I personally would have preferred an upping of all the exotic weapons to the level of the spiked chain (perhaps doing 1D6 damage instead); however I know space and time were a factor and that balancing might have been difficult.


Jason, perhaps making the lunge attack work with the spiked chain better than normal would be a fair compromise. Something like, you don't take a -2 to AC with the feat?? So then people can keep their build, but need to use up one of their 3 additional feats.

Shadow Lodge

Jason Bulmahn wrote:


1. Exotic does not mean better. Yes you have to pay a feat to use it in most circumstances, but that is just not exactly how these are designed. Some do offer some nice benefits, but that is by no means the rules. Exotic means rare and unusual first. That means that some of them are not the "best" in-game mechanical decision your character can make.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Just to cast my vote, I have no problem with exotic = rare.

Why not have a character use a feat to use a weapon other characters can't? It means NPC will react to you differently, there will be different role playing as a result. Having rare weapons not cost a feat makes them not rare in my mind.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
pres man wrote:
Question: You are running a session as the DM, you have a group of undead, zombies and skeletons, coming after the party. A player of yours has their ranger character holding a longsword (good against zombies) in their on-hand and a light mace (good against skeletons) in the off-hand. Do you as the DM make the player declare which weapon he is going to be making AoO with?

Answer: Since all reach weapons use two hands, you don't have a hand free to attack with a different weapon. Two weapon fighting rules work differently, you can attack with either weapon without having to drop what you're carrying to do something else. Dropping a weapon may be a free action, but since you can only perform free actions on your turn, I wouldn't allow the spear/gauntlet combo to work.

From a purely balance perspective, having two different weapons to bypass DR isn't nearly as overpowered as being able to attack both 5 feet and 10 feet away. Besides, think of the logic behind it. You're threatening him with your spear, he moves in close to you, you somehow get a free attack with your gauntlet? The idea behind an attack of opportunity is you're taking advantage of an opportunity - would be pretty hard to do when you're juggling weapons.

pres man wrote:
the new spiked chain appears to be "balanced" with the heavy chain (actually slightly weaker than it), and thus the new spiked chain should probably be put in the martial weapons.

Again, its not an issue of balance so much as rarity and difficulty to wield. You pick up a spiked chain, I'll pick up a longsword, and we'll see who is still standing a minute later. Simple reality is that conventional weapons are easier to wield than unusual weapons. The rules reflect that. Is that a bad thing?

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