Reach.


Rules Questions


Hey guys, how are you all?

This question seems a little silly in my own head, and I really did took my time before asking it, but it's been bugging me so much that I decided to go on and do it.

As read in the Core rulebook, a character using a reach weapon, such as a long spear, or a Monster with reach CAN NOT target foes adjacent to them?

I understand the intention here, but when it is kinda weird.

Am i right or I misread?

Shadow Lodge

You are right about the reach weapon, not the monster. The monster threatens the whole area, the weapon wielder threatens only those squares 10 feet away.

Scarab Sages

You're right for the most part. The idea here is that the pointy, dangerous end of the stick is at the far end of the pole, and the pole is too long to wield effectively if you try to pull the pointy end in closer. Each square is 5 feet. A reach weapon for a medium creature would need to reach across ten feet of space.

So imagine trying to stab someone ten feet away, and then using the same weapon to attack someone standing next to you. You're extended, you're off balance, and even if you pull the weapon into a quarterstaff-style position, the edges of your weapon will constantly be hitting the ground when you swing.

Also, in game terms, reach is a HUGE benefit in that creatures without it will (generally) provoke an aoo just getting close enough to attack you. WIth the right feat, you can use that aoo to prevent them from getting closer and on your turn you can take a 5 ft step back, effectively preventing them from closing.

The whip is the best example of a weapon with reach that can also attack into adjacent squares. Note it's limitations: it has weak damage, and can't get past natural armor for the most part.

Now, a monk for example could wield a reach weapon, but still be able to make unarmed strikes into adjacent squares. Monsters with bite attacks or similar could do the same.


Thanks a bunch guys, Magicdealer's explanation actually made it more plausible than before!

Thanks again!


Magicdealer wrote:
The whip is the best example of a weapon with reach that can also attack into adjacent squares. Note it's limitations: it has weak damage, and can't get past natural armor for the most part.

Not to mention the biggest one of all: It acts like a ranged weapon (it doesn't threaten and you provoke for attacking with it).

Quote:
Now, a monk for example could wield a reach weapon, but still be able to make unarmed strikes into adjacent squares. Monsters with bite attacks or similar could do the same.

This is actually a bit misleading - if the monster has reach, it'd use the same bite attack 10' away that it would on something adjacent, whereas a monk with a reach weapon (or a fighter with armor spikes) would use different weapons at 10' and at 5'. But conceptually, it's accurate.


Magicdealer wrote:

You're right for the most part. The idea here is that the pointy, dangerous end of the stick is at the far end of the pole, and the pole is too long to wield effectively if you try to pull the pointy end in closer. Each square is 5 feet. A reach weapon for a medium creature would need to reach across ten feet of space.

Also, in game terms, reach is a HUGE benefit in that creatures without it will (generally) provoke an aoo just getting close enough to attack you. WIth the right feat, you can use that aoo to prevent them from getting closer and on your turn you can take a 5 ft step back, effectively preventing them from closing.

Hi Magicdealer,

I have been playing a polearm fighter in my campaign, and I have had bad luck with this tactic - perhaps this is just because my GM is sinister - as many melee types have the "Step Up" feat - this basically hoses you completely.


Crispy Britches wrote:
Magicdealer wrote:

You're right for the most part. The idea here is that the pointy, dangerous end of the stick is at the far end of the pole, and the pole is too long to wield effectively if you try to pull the pointy end in closer. Each square is 5 feet. A reach weapon for a medium creature would need to reach across ten feet of space.

Also, in game terms, reach is a HUGE benefit in that creatures without it will (generally) provoke an aoo just getting close enough to attack you. WIth the right feat, you can use that aoo to prevent them from getting closer and on your turn you can take a 5 ft step back, effectively preventing them from closing.

Hi Magicdealer,

I have been playing a polearm fighter in my campaign, and I have had bad luck with this tactic - perhaps this is just because my GM is sinister - as many melee types have the "Step Up" feat - this basically hoses you completely.

Get a Spiked Gauntlet or, even better, Armor Spikes. Then when someone gets within 5' and can't be gotten away from, stab them with the spikes.

The advantage of the armor spikes vs. the gauntlet is that you count and holding the polearm with both your hands for any attacks of opportunity that might arise after you took your hand off the polearm to punch the enemy.

Well, some groups lets you take off a hand and return it as free actions, but if you want to reduce friction, just go with the armor spikes.


So what if a creature with reach, uses a (sized appropriatly) reach weapon? Does this effectivly double their threat? Furthermore, is there an area that is considered inside their range?

EX: An Ogre has a reach of 10 feet, and is using a large longspear (10 foot reach as well I think?) does this mean he can hit 20 feet away in melee? Can he not hit something at the 15 foot mark?


Xraal wrote:


Get a Spiked Gauntlet or, even better, Armor Spikes. Then when someone gets within 5' and can't be gotten away from, stab them with the spikes.

The advantage of the armor spikes vs. the gauntlet is that you count and holding the polearm with both your hands for any attacks of opportunity that might arise after you took your hand off the polearm to punch the enemy.

Well, some groups lets you take off a hand and return it as free actions, but if you want to reduce friction, just go with the armor spikes.

Yep that was the solution we reached, of course that requires you to get a second weapon enchanted and even then it does significantly less damage than the polearm, which is 2-handed and supported by feats.


hexa3 wrote:

So what if a creature with reach, uses a (sized appropriatly) reach weapon? Does this effectivly double their threat? Furthermore, is there an area that is considered inside their range?

EX: An Ogre has a reach of 10 feet, and is using a large longspear (10 foot reach as well I think?) does this mean he can hit 20 feet away in melee? Can he not hit something at the 15 foot mark?

This is one of those things that's easier to see than explain. Look over here at the diagrams. A creature can attack into the green areas with non-reach weapons and all natural attacks. A creature can attack into the purple areas with reach weapons and natural attacks which have extra reach (such as a bite attack on a dragon).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Though, anybody who has ever actually spent time with what amounts to a "reach" weapon in real life can tell you that the blunt end is not all that unwieldy to use against closer foes. In particular, anybody coming up behind or to your dominant side could get a really nasty clubbing in the chest, face or belly.

I mean, I'm hardly a monk or a samurai, or whatever, and I'm not bragging. I'm just a fat dude who's spent a bit more time with weapons training than the average geek. By no means a superhero. But even for me, the blunt end is hardly so unwieldy as 3.x/Pathfinder has made it out to be. Relatively speaking. Of course, it is a more limited means of attack.

Just sayin'. Flame away.

Grand Lodge

Don't forget one of the most over-looked rules. When fighting with a reach weapon, cover is determined the same as ranged. So if you are standing behind a party member, trying to fight through his square, your target gains the typical +4 cover bonus to AC vs. your attacks.

Scarab Sages

Crispy Britches wrote:


Hi Magicdealer,

I have been playing a polearm fighter in my campaign, and I have had bad luck with this tactic - perhaps this is just because my GM is sinister - as many melee types have the "Step Up" feat - this basically hoses you completely.

Really? That's odd. Let me make a couple notes here for you to consider. Step up only works on adjacent foes. If you're 10 feet away from someone, you're not adjacent.

An attack of opportunity occurs before the movement that instigated it is completed. As an example, someone moves within 10 feet of you. Nothing happens, because they've entered a threatened square of yours, but not left one. Then, when they try to move adjacent to you, they provoke an attack of opportunity. If, for instance, you trip them, they are prone in the 10 foot square, and that ends their movement. They can use their standard action to stand up, but now they're out of actions.

If someone *does* manage to make it next to you, you can make a trip attack on your turn with a secondary weapon, or even ignore them to target someone else.

Lunge is a particularly fun feat to stack on top of this build, once you get spring attack. While it won't help with attacks of opportunity, it means you can stay 15 feet away from your target. Enlarge can provide a similar benefit, and it increases your range for attacks of opportunity.

However, this build is pretty much a one-trick pony. It gives up versatility by pumping a bunch of feats into one area. It's a trade-off that might not be worthwhile if your DM is constantly working to undermine the effectiveness of your character.

The Exchange

A lot of DMs will happily let you use your reach polearm against adjacent foes as an improvised quarterstaff-equivalent weapon, just taking the -4 on attack rolls. The Polearm Master archetype from the APG lessens this penalty and gets to use the weapon as intended (i.e. hit with the pointy-bit) via his Pole Fighting class ability instead.

Quote:
... If, for instance, you trip them, they are prone in the 10 foot square, and that ends their movement. They can use their standard action to stand up, but now they're out of actions...

Not to mention they just provoked again by standing up, so you can stab 'im too... you did get Combat Reflexes for your reach-weapon fighter, right? ;)


Bruunwald wrote:

Though, anybody who has ever actually spent time with what amounts to a "reach" weapon in real life can tell you that the blunt end is not all that unwieldy to use against closer foes. In particular, anybody coming up behind or to your dominant side could get a really nasty clubbing in the chest, face or belly.

I mean, I'm hardly a monk or a samurai, or whatever, and I'm not bragging. I'm just a fat dude who's spent a bit more time with weapons training than the average geek. By no means a superhero. But even for me, the blunt end is hardly so unwieldy as 3.x/Pathfinder has made it out to be. Relatively speaking. Of course, it is a more limited means of attack.

Just sayin'. Flame away.

You are absolutely correct! - However, by the rules you are effectively using an improvised unenchanted weapon.

As mentioned above, the viable solutions are backup weapons of various sorts, with their own enchantments or movement or one of the rare reach weapons with special rules allowing adjacent attacks.

I believe I saw such a weapon referenced the other day, a chain wuth iron balls in either end. It had both Reach and Double-weapon tags.

Silver Crusade

Crispy Britches wrote:
Magicdealer wrote:

You're right for the most part. The idea here is that the pointy, dangerous end of the stick is at the far end of the pole, and the pole is too long to wield effectively if you try to pull the pointy end in closer. Each square is 5 feet. A reach weapon for a medium creature would need to reach across ten feet of space.

Also, in game terms, reach is a HUGE benefit in that creatures without it will (generally) provoke an aoo just getting close enough to attack you. WIth the right feat, you can use that aoo to prevent them from getting closer and on your turn you can take a 5 ft step back, effectively preventing them from closing.

Hi Magicdealer,

I have been playing a polearm fighter in my campaign, and I have had bad luck with this tactic - perhaps this is just because my GM is sinister - as many melee types have the "Step Up" feat - this basically hoses you completely.

Couple of points with polearms and reach weapons.

1. If you do not have a shield person. You don't use a polearm. Polearms where never meant to be used by them selves. ( Only use polearms with rows of them, Or with a shield wall.)
2. If they get close to you drop the polearm. Switch to back up weapon.
3. Using reach weapon in game requires planing. If you don't have a static group it's really not a weapon you want to use.

Shadow Lodge

When I think of polearms in D&D I always think of
this.


Xraal wrote:
Bruunwald wrote:

Though, anybody who has ever actually spent time with what amounts to a "reach" weapon in real life can tell you that the blunt end is not all that unwieldy to use against closer foes. In particular, anybody coming up behind or to your dominant side could get a really nasty clubbing in the chest, face or belly.

I mean, I'm hardly a monk or a samurai, or whatever, and I'm not bragging. I'm just a fat dude who's spent a bit more time with weapons training than the average geek. By no means a superhero. But even for me, the blunt end is hardly so unwieldy as 3.x/Pathfinder has made it out to be. Relatively speaking. Of course, it is a more limited means of attack.

Just sayin'. Flame away.

You are absolutely correct! - However, by the rules you are effectively using an improvised unenchanted weapon.

As mentioned above, the viable solutions are backup weapons of various sorts, with their own enchantments or movement or one of the rare reach weapons with special rules allowing adjacent attacks.

I believe I saw such a weapon referenced the other day, a chain wuth iron balls in either end. It had both Reach and Double-weapon tags.

The meteor hammer in the Adventurer's Armory. It actually has the "reach", "trip" and "see text" tags. Basically, you can choose each round whether to use it as a double weapon or as a reach weapon, and it's even more complicated than that.


Yes, that is the one.

It is funny that the Spiked Chain got nerfed in PF, and then they introduce something that is worse than Spiked Chain ever was... :-)


Xraal wrote:

Yes, that is the one.

It is funny that the Spiked Chain got nerfed in PF, and then they introduce something that is worse than Spiked Chain ever was... :-)

The hammer does not give the option of being used up close and at a reach distance. The Spiked Chain did, and that is where the nerf came in.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

One of the things that complicates Reach in PF is the lack of the 3.5 clause that determines that the alternating 5 ft./10 ft. diagonal intervals don't apply to Reach.

This leaves your spearman's diagonal wide open, and I can't find the clause that makes this irrelevant to natural reach. The Whip however, gets the exception.


Mahorfeus wrote:

One of the things that complicates Reach in PF is the lack of the 3.5 clause that determines that the alternating 5 ft./10 ft. diagonal intervals don't apply to Reach.

This leaves your spearman's diagonal wide open, and I can't find the clause that makes this irrelevant to natural reach. The Whip however, gets the exception.

I am sure the intent is the same as before, but they do need to reinsert that clause. A lot of the newer guys are being taught by us old-timers, but if a new group starts up on its own it could cause issues. This issue has come up before on the boards, but the core book is taking more and more of a backseat so I don't see if left out material that should have stayed in will ever be fixed.

Liberty's Edge

Mahorfeus wrote:

One of the things that complicates Reach in PF is the lack of the 3.5 clause that determines that the alternating 5 ft./10 ft. diagonal intervals don't apply to Reach.

This leaves your spearman's diagonal wide open, and I can't find the clause that makes this irrelevant to natural reach. The Whip however, gets the exception.

The diagonal clause doesn't exist in 3.5 either. Rather, it exists in D&D 3.5; it isn't part of the SRD 3.5. However, the clause follows implicitly from the fact that the grid is artificial; it is a tool that is selected to be convenient. It doesn't have to be explicitly spelled out to still make sense.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Devilstrider wrote:
long spear, or a Monster with reach CAN NOT target foes adjacent to them?

You confused two concepts:

Reach weapon

and

Natural Reach

A medium PC has a natural reach of 5 ft.
A reach weapon doubles the natural reach to 10 ft and you can't attack those in your normal reach.

If a monster with natural reach of 15 ft (huge) used a reach weapon he wouldn't be able to attack with that weapon in the first 15 ft but would be able to attack from 16 ft to 30 ft.


Can I maybe necro this instead of posting a new thread?
As per PRD: "However, Small and Medium creatures wielding reach weapons threaten more squares than a typical creature. In addition, most creatures larger than Medium have a natural reach of 10 feet or more."
So far, so good. But right under that we have:
"Provoking an Attack of Opportunity: Two kinds of actions can provoke attacks of opportunity: moving out of a threatened square and performing certain actions within a threatened square.

Moving: Moving out of a threatened square usually provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening opponents. There are two common methods of avoiding such an attack—the 5-foot step and the withdraw action."

So, I use a spear, poke someone 10 feet away. Next round, they use 5-foot-step to catch up with me, whack me. My turn: 5-foot-step, attack. Rinse, repeat.
I wonder: What's the point of having reach?


liondriel wrote:

Can I maybe necro this instead of posting a new thread?

As per PRD: "However, Small and Medium creatures wielding reach weapons threaten more squares than a typical creature. In addition, most creatures larger than Medium have a natural reach of 10 feet or more."
So far, so good. But right under that we have:
"Provoking an Attack of Opportunity: Two kinds of actions can provoke attacks of opportunity: moving out of a threatened square and performing certain actions within a threatened square.

Moving: Moving out of a threatened square usually provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening opponents. There are two common methods of avoiding such an attack—the 5-foot step and the withdraw action."

So, I use a spear, poke someone 10 feet away. Next round, they use 5-foot-step to catch up with me, whack me. My turn: 5-foot-step, attack. Rinse, repeat.
I wonder: What's the point of having reach?

It's the defensive side that gives you an advantage; if you run up and poke, then you lose that. If they come to you initially, they provoke when they first come towards you since they have to be adjacent.

Also, Reach means you don't have to provoke if you approach a monster with 10ft reach or less; one less hit from a giant can make a difference in combat.


Trip with AoO and they never close.


But, as far as I understand, my opponent shimmying up to me via 5-foot-step doesn't provoke AoO, thus none of this works, does it? Only use I could see would be tripping them at 10' away, and AoO them when they get up, but that's a bit limited.
So, I'm pretty sure I'm not getting something important here.


liondriel wrote:

But, as far as I understand, my opponent shimmying up to me via 5-foot-step doesn't provoke AoO, thus none of this works, does it? Only use I could see would be tripping them at 10' away, and AoO them when they get up, but that's a bit limited.

So, I'm pretty sure I'm not getting something important here.

There are two ways this could go. If you trip when they're on the ground as Christoph-K suggested, you're right, you get an AoO for them standing up.

If they're further away than 5ft, you can 5ft wherever you like that's not towards them then ready an attack; you'll attack them when they hit 10ft and then again when they move through the 10ft zone.

Once they're within 5ft, you're right, it turns into a dance where you take turns moving 5ft, and you don't get an AoO; the value of Reach is in that initial AoO, which could finish off an enemy that's been injured prior. It's just a headstart in the damage race, but that's all you need sometimes.


liondriel wrote:

But, as far as I understand, my opponent shimmying up to me via 5-foot-step doesn't provoke AoO, thus none of this works, does it? Only use I could see would be tripping them at 10' away, and AoO them when they get up, but that's a bit limited.

So, I'm pretty sure I'm not getting something important here.

If the enemy stops at 10 feet away you just take the full attack and 5-foot step back. If they just move up 5 feet do it again. If they move up 10 feet it provokes so you trip them. They are not likely to just stare at you while staying 15 feet away because it can give you the first full attack if you choose to take it.


Alright, I think I'm starting to get the picture.
Thanks a lot, all of you.


Something that came up on another old post re: Reach and Trip: If you attempt a Trip combat maneuver with a reach weapon (that does not have the Trip special), can you be tripped on a failed attempt? (You're making the attempt with the foe 10' away.)


Otherwhere wrote:
Something that came up on another old post re: Reach and Trip: If you attempt a Trip combat maneuver with a reach weapon (that does not have the Trip special), can you be tripped on a failed attempt? (You're making the attempt with the foe 10' away.)

You don't provoke an AoO if the opponent doesn't threaten your square, but you would still fall prone if you failed by 10 or more. You falling over has nothing to do with the opponent's actions and is only determined by the result of your check vs their CMD.

Trip Combat Maneuver wrote:

You can attempt to trip your opponent in place of a melee attack. You can only trip an opponent who is no more than one size category larger than you. If you do not have the Improved Trip feat, or a similar ability, initiating a trip provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

If your attack exceeds the target's CMD, the target is knocked prone. If your attack fails by 10 or more, you are knocked prone instead. If the target has more than two legs, add +2 to the DC of the combat maneuver attack roll for each additional leg it has. Some creatures—such as oozes, creatures without legs, and flying creatures—cannot be tripped.


Don't forget one of the big benefits of some polearms, brace. Useful if you know your enemy's fond of charging. Once he/she/it is within your reach (and despite a note earlier, those diagonals DO count as in reach for reach weapons), give them a pointy greeting. Even with a longspear, 2d8 plus 2 x (1.5x Str bonus) is probably not going to feel very good.


liondriel wrote:

Can I maybe necro this instead of posting a new thread?

As per PRD: "However, Small and Medium creatures wielding reach weapons threaten more squares than a typical creature. In addition, most creatures larger than Medium have a natural reach of 10 feet or more."
So far, so good. But right under that we have:
"Provoking an Attack of Opportunity: Two kinds of actions can provoke attacks of opportunity: moving out of a threatened square and performing certain actions within a threatened square.

Moving: Moving out of a threatened square usually provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening opponents. There are two common methods of avoiding such an attack—the 5-foot step and the withdraw action."

So, I use a spear, poke someone 10 feet away. Next round, they use 5-foot-step to catch up with me, whack me. My turn: 5-foot-step, attack. Rinse, repeat.
I wonder: What's the point of having reach?

Getting that 1 extra hit in when they attack first.

And you can get 2 hits in for the same action if you have a weapon with the new fortuitous weapon property (1/round, you get a second aoo in at BAB-5).

Also, you could always use lunge and pushing assault. They perfect the use of positioning to get your AoOs. Lunge lets you attack an enemy 15' away during your turn. That means the enemy have to move 10' to attack you, which draw an AoO. Pushing assault solve the little 5' step dance when they get in close, since it lets you trade in the power attack on one of your attacks in return for pushing the enemy back 5' (which puts them in the same position they were in with lunge).

There are ways to take advantage of reach. But mostly- it stops enemies from getting past you to gnaw on the squishy wizard.


Snowblind wrote:

You don't provoke an AoO if the opponent doesn't threaten your square, but you would still fall prone if you failed by 10 or more. You falling over has nothing to do with the opponent's actions and is only determined by the result of your check vs their CMD.

Trip Combat Maneuver wrote:

You can attempt to trip your opponent in place of a melee attack. You can only trip an opponent who is no more than one size category larger than you. If you do not have the Improved Trip feat, or a similar ability, initiating a trip provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

If your attack exceeds the target's CMD, the target is knocked prone. If your attack fails by 10 or more, you are knocked prone instead. If the target has more than two legs, add +2 to the DC of the combat maneuver attack roll for each additional leg it has. Some creatures—such as oozes, creatures without legs, and flying creatures—cannot be tripped.

This is exactly right. "Tripped" and "Knocked prone" are interchangeable phrases throughout the game.

PRD wrote:
Trip: You can use a trip weapon to make trip attacks. If you are tripped during your own trip attempt, you can drop the weapon to avoid being tripped.

Although the wording here uses the word "tripped", there is no actual roll taking place or action on the part of your target. "Tripped" does not refer to any Combat Maneuver being done. What they mean is that you are falling prone.

This interchange of words is found elsewhere in the rules as well. To be tripped means to fall prone.


@ Elbedor

Careful with that generalization, now. The subtle distinction between being tripped and falling prone is what makes Greater Trip function in conjunction with Vicious Stomp. I'm sure that you know that, but I don't want others to be confused. Ah, the vagaries of the English tongue!


heh. Greater Trip has been a point of discussion on and off here. A discussion for another thread probably. No need to hijack this one. :)

Scarab Sages

Howie23 wrote:
Mahorfeus wrote:

One of the things that complicates Reach in PF is the lack of the 3.5 clause that determines that the alternating 5 ft./10 ft. diagonal intervals don't apply to Reach.

This leaves your spearman's diagonal wide open, and I can't find the clause that makes this irrelevant to natural reach. The Whip however, gets the exception.

The diagonal clause doesn't exist in 3.5 either. Rather, it exists in D&D 3.5; it isn't part of the SRD 3.5. However, the clause follows implicitly from the fact that the grid is artificial; it is a tool that is selected to be convenient. It doesn't have to be explicitly spelled out to still make sense.

The Appropriate FAQ

Except it was explictly stated due to the confusion.


@ Elbedor

Not hijacking, it's a non-issue because:


burkoJames wrote:
Howie23 wrote:
Mahorfeus wrote:

One of the things that complicates Reach in PF is the lack of the 3.5 clause that determines that the alternating 5 ft./10 ft. diagonal intervals don't apply to Reach.

This leaves your spearman's diagonal wide open, and I can't find the clause that makes this irrelevant to natural reach. The Whip however, gets the exception.

The diagonal clause doesn't exist in 3.5 either. Rather, it exists in D&D 3.5; it isn't part of the SRD 3.5. However, the clause follows implicitly from the fact that the grid is artificial; it is a tool that is selected to be convenient. It doesn't have to be explicitly spelled out to still make sense.

The Appropriate FAQ

Except it was explictly stated due to the confusion.

Well, Mahorfeus posted that in 2011, so I think he can be forgiven for not noticing a 2014 FAQ.

:)


That is only OK if he comes back here and updates his post!


Devilstrider wrote:

Hey guys, how are you all?

This question seems a little silly in my own head, and I really did took my time before asking it, but it's been bugging me so much that I decided to go on and do it.

As read in the Core rulebook, a character using a reach weapon, such as a long spear, or a Monster with reach CAN NOT target foes adjacent to them?

I understand the intention here, but when it is kinda weird.

Am i right or I misread?

However, there is a Fighter archetype that has an ability called Pole Fighting that allows you to attack adjacent squares albeit at a -4 penalty.


galahad2112 wrote:

@ Elbedor

** spoiler omitted **

Sent you a PM. :)

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