Reach Weapon Versus an Adjacent Huge Enemy


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While I was working on my own little projects, I came upon a curious thought exercise.

If we consider distance in three dimensions, what is stopping a character armed with a reach weapon from attacking an adjacent huge creature by targeting a square two spaces in the air?

It seems to me as if this should logically work, but I might be missing a rule that would not allow this to occur.

Any thoughts?


Don't forget the combat system is an abstract/approximation, the rules for reach weapons are designed to balance their benefits against their downsides.

In this case the benefit of being able to attack at 10' is offset by not being able to attack adjacent, its a balance thing not a logic one.


Three dimensional combat exists in pathfinder, and so this should work just fine. And the idea of a dude with a pitchfork stabbing at the face of the huge monster is one I'm fine with.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Tolroy wrote:
what is stopping a character armed with a reach weapon from attacking an adjacent huge creature by targeting a square two spaces in the air

Nothing

Grand Lodge

What's stopping you? The rules. Quoted:

"Most reach weapons double the wielder's natural reach, meaning that a typical Small or Medium wielder of such a weapon can attack a creature 10 feet away, but not a creature in an adjacent square."

It doesn't matter how big they are, if they're occupying a square (or squares) next to you, you're out of luck.

If you consider the limitation on reach weapons to be flavoured as needing the distance to properly wield the weapon, it makes sense. When there's a huge slab of toothy whatever next to you, you don't have the room to get proper force behind your blows, so you have to use alternative weaponry.


If your basing the limitation off of the ability to wield the weapon properly, would wielding a reach weapon to attack an adjacent creature instead be considered using the item as an improvised weapon and thus at a minus to attack?


Yebng wrote:
If your basing the limitation off of the ability to wield the weapon properly, would wielding a reach weapon to attack an adjacent creature instead be considered using the item as an improvised weapon and thus at a minus to attack?

You just can't attack an adjacent creature with a reach weapon at all. The only way to do so is by DM Fiat. If it were possible by the rules this would not exist:

Quote:


Pole Fighting (Ex)

At 2nd level, as an immediate action, a polearm master can shorten the grip on his spear or polearm with reach and use it against adjacent targets. This action results in a –4 penalty on attack rolls with that weapon until he spends another immediate action to return to the normal grip. The penalty is reduced by –1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

This ability replaces Bravery.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If the creature occupy a 10'x10' or larger area it is possible to attack one of the further 5'x5' squares with a reach weapon?
If possible your target should get the +4 AC for cover?

Example: creature squares A for adjacent, F for further off, y for you:

FF
FA
--y

In the above diagram it is possible to attack the F squares with a reach weapon?


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I think this is a good FAQ question.

Grand Lodge

Diego Rossi wrote:

If the creature occupy a 10'x10' or larger area it is possible to attack one of the further 5'x5' squares with a reach weapon?

If possible your target should get the +4 AC for cover?

Example: creature squares A for adjacent, F for further off, y for you:

FF
FA
--y

In the above diagram it is possible to attack the F squares with a reach weapon?

The short answer, if I understand your diagram correctly, is no. Reach weapons check one thing; are you adjacent to an enemy? If yes, you cannot attack that enemy with a reach weapon. It doesn't matter how large the enemy is - if any part of the enemy is in a square directly next to you, you can't attack it with reach weapons, even if the creature also occupies space that is not adjacent to you.


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Ninjaiguana wrote:


The short answer, if I understand your diagram correctly, is no. Reach weapons check one thing; are you adjacent to an enemy? If yes, you cannot attack that enemy with a reach weapon. It doesn't matter how large the enemy is - if any part of the enemy is in a square directly next to you, you can't attack it with reach weapons, even if the creature also occupies space that is not adjacent to you.

Not quite.

The combat section in general assumes that a creature is in one square.

If a creature is in multiple squares then you can indeed target such a creature in any square that it occupies.

For example, does the reach weapon wielder threaten squares that the large enemy occupies? Obviously yes, right?

If the large creature picked up a weapon in one of those squares, that would provoke an AOO, right?

And the reach weapon wielder would then be entitled to an AOO as they threaten that square.

Thus the reach weapon wielder CAN attack such a creature. Denying them that would contradict the rest of the rules.

So while you could try to interpret the restrictions on reach weapons as you do, when you do so you find that it is not consistent with the rest of the system and thus you look over at your interpretation and find that it needs to change,

James


james maissen wrote:
For example, does the reach weapon wielder threaten squares that the large enemy occupies? Obviously yes, right?

Not necessarily. If the spearman can't make a melee attack into those squares because they are occupied by a creature he can't attack (because it's adjacent to him) then he doesn't threaten them, and isn't entitled to make an AoO when the creature performs a distracting action.

Lets apply your argument to an orc with a set Tower Shield.

Do you threaten the square the orc occupies? You would say yes, since it's normally a threatened square. But because the tower shield is granting total cover, you can't make an attack against him. Thus you don't threaten, and thus you can't make an AoO.

Since threatening a square is based on being able to make an attack into that square, it can't be used to determine if an attack can be made.


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Grick wrote:
james maissen wrote:
For example, does the reach weapon wielder threaten squares that the large enemy occupies? Obviously yes, right?

Not necessarily. If the spearman can't make a melee attack into those squares because they are occupied by a creature he can't attack (because it's adjacent to him) then he doesn't threaten them, and isn't entitled to make an AoO when the creature performs a distracting action.

Lets apply your argument to an orc with a set Tower Shield.

Do you threaten the square the orc occupies? You would say yes, since it's normally a threatened square. But because the tower shield is granting total cover, you can't make an attack against him. Thus you don't threaten, and thus you can't make an AoO.

Since threatening a square is based on being able to make an attack into that square, it can't be used to determine if an attack can be made.

You threaten squares, not opponents. And your logic is circular here.

Can you make an attack into that square? Either yes you can or no you cannot.

Let us further extend this example.. there is a huge creature adjacent to you. You contend that you no longer threaten squares he is in? What if a smaller creature were in one of those squares, you're saying you could not attack it normally?

Of course not (at least if you want to be correct).

Thus you CAN attack those squares. You threaten those squares.

Now something else can prevent the AOO, such as cover or full concealment.

And an orc with a tower shield active does grant the orc full cover, but if a diminutive creature were also in his square it would not grant it any cover.

Thus you STILL threaten the SQUARE of the orc even if you are denied making an AOO against the orc. The same would be true if the orc were invisible to you. You could still make an AOO against another creature in the square of the orc however, right?

Again, you threaten SQUARES and not OPPONENTS.

Now because the orc has full cover relative to you any AOOs would normally be denied (except say a touch attack against which the tower shield does not protect, or say if you could still sunder on an AOO you could attack the tower shield) but that does not stop you from threatening the square.

You could on your turn for example, attempt to break this tower shield or target the orc holding it with a spell. Right?

Again to drive the point home: you threaten the squares. You can target those squares and hit the creature therein. Conditions might make hitting a specific creature harder or even impossible, but you still threaten the SQUARE. When you look at the rules for cover it becomes clear that this is the case when dealing with creatures that occupy more than one square that you can choose which square that you are attacking. Also if you look at the rules for firing into melee this will also become more clear to you.

I understand wishing to hold on to an interpretation of one sentence or phrase, but it has to be taken in context. If you have to contort everything else to make it fit.. well then it's time to realize that the square peg doesn't fit into that round hole as well as you first claimed.

Let's try something else... if a spell created a ring of fire 10 feet out from you with the wording: it harms any creature that is 10 feet away from you but does no harm to those adjacent (within 5feet). You would be taking that to mean that a large creature could stand within the ring of fire without harm. It fails logic.

-James

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

wraithstrike wrote:
Pole Fighting (Ex)

Doesn't matter, since if you want to take a -4 to hit (with a reach weapon as an improvised weapon) there is no rule preventing you from doing so.

Of course the GM can always rule 0 you away from using Improvised Weapons rules.

Ninjaiguana wrote:
Reach weapons check one thing; are you adjacent to an enemy? If yes, you cannot attack that enemy

PHB p145 "You use a reach weapon to strike opponents 10 feet away, but you can’t use it against an adjacent foe."

You are adding "This means if the target is both adjacent and 10 feet away, you may not attack it." which isn't in the rules.

Large creature:
Is it an opponent? Yes
Is it 10 feet away? Yes
Is it adjacent also? Yes
Is there an exclusion clause? No
Can you attack with the reach weapon to the 10 ft away square? Nothing prohibiting in rules
Does the monster get cover from this use of a reach weapon? Yes PHB p195 calls for Soft Cover
Can you attack with the reach weapon to the adjacent square? No, a rule prohibiting exists.
Can you use the reach weapon as an improvised melee weapon and attack adjacent? Yes at -4


James Risner wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Pole Fighting (Ex)

Doesn't matter, since if you want to take a -4 to hit (with a reach weapon as an improvised weapon) there is no rule preventing you from doing so.

Actually it does matter. Using an improvised weapon does mean you can use it however you want to, nor do the rules for improvised provide a clause saying you can use them to get around the reach weapon rules. If that was the intent the the Pole Fighting ability, and Short Haft from 3.5 would really not be needed.

Grand Lodge

James Risner wrote:

PHB p145 "You use a reach weapon to strike opponents 10 feet away, but you can’t use it against an adjacent foe."

You are adding "This means if the target is both adjacent and 10 feet away, you may not attack it." which isn't in the rules.

Large creature:
Is it an opponent? Yes
Is it 10 feet away? Yes
Is it adjacent also? Yes
Is there an exclusion clause? No
Can you attack with the reach weapon to the 10 ft away square? Nothing prohibiting in rules
Does the monster get cover from this use of a reach weapon? Yes PHB p195 calls for Soft Cover
Can you attack with the reach weapon to the adjacent square? No, a rule prohibiting exists.
Can you use the reach weapon as an improvised melee weapon and attack adjacent? Yes at -4

Your reading is no more valid than mine, when it comes to it. A Huge creature adjacent to a Medium creature is still adjacent to it, no matter how many other squares it occupies. There's no line saying 'If you are adjacent to a Large or larger creature, you may attack parts of the creature that are not adjacent to you with a reach weapon.'

I agree that the wording of the reach weapon ability makes no provision for creatures larger than the wielder of the reach weapon, but I don't see the reading supporting either one of us any more than the other; it's a situation that isn't touched upon.


Yebng wrote:
If your basing the limitation off of the ability to wield the weapon properly

Polearms and the human body are not designed to "attack straight up". You simple don't get the same muscle-efficiency when thrusting up as you do when thrusting forward. Slashing is even worse.

Yebng wrote:
would wielding a reach weapon to attack an adjacent creature instead be considered using the item as an improvised weapon and thus at a minus to attack?

I've always HR'd to allow anyone with a reach weapon to "choke up" at a -4 penalty to attack an adjacent foe, then allowed a single Feat to negate that penalty, as with feats/abilities that allow use of Improvised & Exotic Weapons.

wraithstrike wrote:

The only way to do so is by DM Fiat. If it were possible by the rules this would not exist:

Quote:


Pole Fighting (Ex) - At 2nd level ... a –4 penalty on attack rolls ... reduced by –1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Wow ... what an incredibly weak ability compared to so many others already in the rules that instantly negate -4 penalties.

Diego Rossi wrote:

If the creature occupy a 10'x10' or larger area it is possible to attack one of the further 5'x5' squares with a reach weapon?

If possible your target should get the +4 AC for cover?

Regardless of rules semantics argued by others above, there are some problems with the concept of attacking the "far squares" of an opponent. Because opponents are solid, the front squares effectively block access to the back squares, unlike if row-upon-row of Small/Medium-sized creatures were coming after you and there would be natural gaps between them.

Given the basically "round" cross-section of most creatures, let's imagine standing in front of a very large barrel and trying to hit the rear portion of it with a spear, halberd or whatever. It simply cannot be done.

At the very least, I think the rear squares deserve cover, and any attack on them might be conditional based upon layout in the battle-space as determined by the DM.

IMHO,

Rez


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
James Risner wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Pole Fighting (Ex)

Doesn't matter, since if you want to take a -4 to hit (with a reach weapon as an improvised weapon) there is no rule preventing you from doing so.

Actually it does matter. Using an improvised weapon does mean you can use it however you want to, nor do the rules for improvised provide a clause saying you can use them to get around the reach weapon rules. If that was the intent the the Pole Fighting ability, and Short Haft from 3.5 would really not be needed.

Not really Wraith. The improvised weapon rules mean that if you use a reach weapon as an improvised weapon, you take the -4, and you do improvised weapon damage. That means you aren't getting any MW qualities, no enhancement bonuses, no flaming etc. You are simply able to attack with it as an improvised weapon. So, if I remember correctly, it would do 1d6 and have a x2 crit on a 20. That's ignoring whatever it is from the weapon table. Improvised weapons really are just using whatever is at hand to smack someone on the head, like hitting them with the haft of your long spear, not actually using the longspear as designed.


mdt wrote:


Not really Wraith. The improvised weapon rules mean that if you use a reach weapon as an improvised weapon, you take the -4, and you do improvised weapon damage. That means you aren't getting any MW qualities, no enhancement bonuses, no flaming etc.

That's stupid. If I have my Adamantine Mug of Drinking Forever, it's still adamantine, and masterwork. And if I set it on fire, it's on fire. Do torches not do fire damage because they are improvised weapons?

Your base damage and crit will change, but why are the enhancements on the weapon going to go away?


Rezdave wrote:
Yebng wrote:
If your basing the limitation off of the ability to wield the weapon properly
Polearms and the human body are not designed to "attack straight up". You simple don't get the same muscle-efficiency when thrusting up as you do when thrusting forward. Slashing is even worse.

Odd, I thought part of the appeal of polearms historically was to allow foot soldiers to attack people on horses.

But enough trying to bring the real world into this. I'd be wiling to admit it seems odd to attack the farside of a large creature, because the nearside is in the way. That's not the case when attacking the top square of a huge creature though. The area being attacked is neither adjacent or being blocked.


The rules aren`t that clear on this subject, but I think the best solution here would be based on SKR`s take on Trip / Trip Weapons, namely that any weapon can deliver a Trip (e.g. non-Trip Quality Pole-Arms) but you don`t use weapon-specific bonuses unless using a Trip Quality Weapon.

So Enhancement Bonuses and Special Qualities like Flaming wouldn`t `trigger` if you`re not using the weapon as intended (just like the weapon dosn`t burn a hole in your butt when you sheathe it).

I would say that Special Material still apply, if it`s Adamantine, it`s Adamantine.
If you apply oil and set it alight, that OBJECT is always doing Fire damage to anything in contact with it, and that would apply. Flaming Weapon Quality is something different that is more based on using the weapon in it`s designed manner... Though I would say that part is more open to interpretation. I`d definitely say a Keen Bardiche shouldn`t apply the Crit Expansion when used as an Improvised Weapon.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Cartigan wrote:
mdt wrote:


Not really Wraith. The improvised weapon rules mean that if you use a reach weapon as an improvised weapon, you take the -4, and you do improvised weapon damage. That means you aren't getting any MW qualities, no enhancement bonuses, no flaming etc.

That's stupid. If I have my Adamantine Mug of Drinking Forever, it's still adamantine, and masterwork. And if I set it on fire, it's on fire. Do torches not do fire damage because they are improvised weapons?

Your base damage and crit will change, but why are the enhancements on the weapon going to go away?

Because the long spear is not adamantine, the blade is. You are not hitting with the blade, you are hitting with the shaft as an improvised weapon.

last I checked, there's no Admantine Mug of Drinking Forever. However, if there was, then yes, you would get the benefit of it being Adamantine. If you set it on fire, then yes, you would get the fire (to both the enemy and your hand, darn oil burning). However, in the discussion at hand, which was taking a +1 flaming longspear and using it's haft as an improvised weapon against an adjacent target, trying to say that you still get the benefits of the spear tip is what's stupid.


Davick wrote:
But enough trying to bring the real world into this. I'd be wiling to admit it seems odd to attack the farside of a large creature, because the nearside is in the way. That's not the case when attacking the top square of a huge creature though. The area being attacked is neither adjacent or being blocked.

Right, at minimum I would apply Soft Cover penalties if anybody DID try to attack `the far side of a creature`, and you could also claim that FulL Concealment applies since you can`t see the `far side of a creature` either.

But attacking other squares of a creature which you DO have LoS to seems perfectly reasonable...
In fact, I`m pretty sure Reach Weapons allow choosing which corner you`re attacking from, and which square you`re attacking into, as opposed to non-Reach (which tend to suffer more from things like corners which provide Partial Cover, since you can`t choose one corner, all lines between corners can trigger Partial Cover).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Davick wrote:
Rezdave wrote:
Yebng wrote:
If your basing the limitation off of the ability to wield the weapon properly
Polearms and the human body are not designed to "attack straight up". You simple don't get the same muscle-efficiency when thrusting up as you do when thrusting forward. Slashing is even worse.

Odd, I thought part of the appeal of polearms historically was to allow foot soldiers to attack people on horses.

It truly depends on the polearm. Longspears and pikes were designed to catch charging horses and could catch the rider as well. Polearms with hooks on them were designed for pulling riders from there horses or cutting straps, etc to cause a rider to lose balance or hinder ability to control the animal. The angle of attack was still a bit of distance away from the rider, not straight up but more of a 33° to 45° angle. From a directly adjacent position it would be very difficult to attack a rider from a steeper angle such as 90°.

From the perspective of a huge foe, the angle might not be as steep but I don't think it would be easy, I would allow it but would adjudicate it on the spot -2 to -4 to attack and damage. I would definitely not disallow this as it is a creative and fun way to use the weapon and seems to add to the fun of combat rather then detract from it.


Rezdave wrote:
Yebng wrote:
If your basing the limitation off of the ability to wield the weapon properly

Polearms and the human body are not designed to "attack straight up". You simple don't get the same muscle-efficiency when thrusting up as you do when thrusting forward. Slashing is even worse.

Yebng wrote:
would wielding a reach weapon to attack an adjacent creature instead be considered using the item as an improvised weapon and thus at a minus to attack?

I've always HR'd to allow anyone with a reach weapon to "choke up" at a -4 penalty to attack an adjacent foe, then allowed a single Feat to negate that penalty, as with feats/abilities that allow use of Improvised & Exotic Weapons.

wraithstrike wrote:

The only way to do so is by DM Fiat. If it were possible by the rules this would not exist:

Quote:


Pole Fighting (Ex) - At 2nd level ... a –4 penalty on attack rolls ... reduced by –1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Wow ... what an incredibly weak ability compared to so many others already in the rules that instantly negate -4 penalties.

Diego Rossi wrote:

If the creature occupy a 10'x10' or larger area it is possible to attack one of the further 5'x5' squares with a reach weapon?

If possible your target should get the +4 AC for cover?

Regardless of rules semantics argued by others above, there are some problems with the concept of attacking the "far squares" of an opponent. Because opponents are solid, the front squares effectively block access to the back squares, unlike if row-upon-row of Small/Medium-sized creatures were coming after you and there would be natural gaps between them.

Given the basically "round" cross-section of most creatures, let's imagine standing in front of a very large barrel and trying to hit the rear portion of it with a spear, halberd or whatever. It simply cannot be done.

At the very least, I think the rear squares deserve cover, and any attack on them might be conditional based upon layout in the...

A large creature does not actually take up a 10' by 10' space, its just the space they occupy in the game to simulate how much space a creature of that size uses up moving around in combat. People are not 5' in every direction anymore then a horse is 10' in every direction. giving a creature cover from itself seems kind of silly to me, but I see the rules application.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

OOOOO
OMMMO
OMMMO
OXMMO
OOOHO

H = Hero
O = Empty Space
M = Huge Monster (filling 3x3 spaces)
X = Where Hero Strikes Monster From Reach

Anything preventing this from working? I'm striking a monster 10 feet away and I don't even have to bring in the oft-confusing 3D aspects, only the 2D gaming grid.


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Ninjaiguana wrote:


Your reading is no more valid than mine, when it comes to it.

I agree that the wording of the reach weapon ability makes no provision for creatures larger than the wielder of the reach weapon, but I don't see the reading supporting either one of us any more than the other; it's a situation that isn't touched upon.

When you look at the rest of the ruleset however his reading makes more consistent sense than yours.

You are reading one line in isolation and holding fast to it. Look at the rest of the rules.

Specifically how about the following:

SRD wrote:
If your target (or the part of your target you're aiming at, if it's a big target) is at least 10 feet away from the nearest friendly character, you can avoid the –4 penalty, even if the creature you're aiming at is engaged in melee with a friendly character.

Seems like a target that's in more than one square can be attacked in any of the squares that it occupies.

Moreover you would be able to AOO those other squares as you threaten them. So I think your reading goes against the grain here, especially when the context is taken into account.

Consider the following:

SRD wrote:
With a typical reach weapon, you can strike opponents 10 feet away, but you can't strike adjacent foes (those within 5 feet).

Now an ogre (or other large tall creature) with a reach weapon cannot attack anything at a distance of 0, 5 or 10 feet away with his reach weapon despite what the above says.

So the line is clearly assuming a medium/small wielder.

But also look what the line is saying what adjacent means here- 'those within 5 feet'. It's also assuming that the target is medium/small sized.

Now lets look at the english here. The line is saying two things: you can do one thing and can't do another. It supposes that these two are mutually exclusive (which they are for medium/small combatants). You can try to claim that you don't know what should happen for such overlap, but in all honesty that's disingenuous when taken with the rest of the rules-set.

-James


No problems here, RD.

Re: Pole-Fighter `choking up` ability, besides that the penalty does in fact reduce progressively (just not all at once), the difference vs. Improvised Weapon usage is that such usage is NOT Improvised Weapon usage, so all weapon-specific bonuses and enhancements would fully apply, as well as using real weapon damage and crit range.


mdt wrote:
Cartigan wrote:
mdt wrote:


Not really Wraith. The improvised weapon rules mean that if you use a reach weapon as an improvised weapon, you take the -4, and you do improvised weapon damage. That means you aren't getting any MW qualities, no enhancement bonuses, no flaming etc.

That's stupid. If I have my Adamantine Mug of Drinking Forever, it's still adamantine, and masterwork. And if I set it on fire, it's on fire. Do torches not do fire damage because they are improvised weapons?

Your base damage and crit will change, but why are the enhancements on the weapon going to go away?

Because the long spear is not adamantine, the blade is. You are not hitting with the blade, you are hitting with the shaft as an improvised weapon.

Who says? If I grab it mid-staff to attack short haft, I am still attacking with the blade, but the weapon is misbalanced.

Quote:
last I checked, there's no Admantine Mug of Drinking Forever.

Way to miss the point.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Cartigan wrote:


Who says? If I grab it mid-staff to attack short haft, I am still attacking with the blade, but the weapon is misbalanced.

Ah, I see, so what you're saying is that an entire fighter archetype (which allows them to do this) should be allowed to everyone from barbarians to wizards, just at a -4 penalty to do it.

Nah, thanks. I'll use the rules as written. As posted above, there's precedent for the weapon not being used in it's designed manner not getting it's bonus's (see tripping).


mdt wrote:
Cartigan wrote:


Who says? If I grab it mid-staff to attack short haft, I am still attacking with the blade, but the weapon is misbalanced.
Ah, I see, so what you're saying is that an entire fighter archetype (which allows them to do this) should be allowed to everyone from barbarians to wizards, just at a -4 penalty to do it.

I didn't realize fighting short haft at -4 was the ENTIRETY of the archetype, nor that it NEVER improved in doing so despite the text in this very thread that says it does. If that's the case, then someone should do a better job doing their job.

Quote:
Nah, thanks. I'll use the rules as written.

You mean the ones you are making right the hell up to say how someone is using a weapon so they can't have XYZ bonuses?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Cartigan wrote:


You mean the ones you are making right the hell up to say how someone is using a weapon so they can't have XYZ bonuses?

No, the rule that says you can't use a reach weapon to attack an adjacent enemy. All the rules allow you to do is make an improvised weapon attack. An improvised weapon is not choking up on the haft and stabbing him with the tip, that's using your reach weapon to attack adjacent enemies. An improvised weapon is just that, improvised. You're not using it how it was intended. Allowing someone to use the bonuses for the weapon totally negates the concept of 'you can't attack an adjacent foe with your reach weapon'.

Grand Lodge

james maissen wrote:

When you look at the rest of the ruleset however his reading makes more consistent sense than yours.

You are reading one line in isolation and holding fast to it. Look at the rest of the rules.

Specifically how about the following:

SRD wrote:
If your target (or the part of your target you're aiming at, if it's a big target) is at least 10 feet away from the nearest friendly character, you can avoid the –4 penalty, even if the creature you're aiming at is engaged in melee with a friendly character.

Seems like a target that's in more than one square can be attacked in any of the squares that it occupies.

Moreover you would be able to AOO those other squares as you threaten them. So I think your reading goes against the grain here, especially when the context is taken into account.

Consider the following:

SRD wrote:
With a typical reach weapon, you can strike opponents 10 feet away, but you can't strike adjacent foes (those within 5 feet).

Now an ogre (or other large tall creature) with a reach weapon cannot attack anything at a distance of 0, 5 or 10 feet away with his reach weapon despite what the above says.

So the line is clearly assuming a medium/small wielder.

But also look what the line is saying what adjacent means here- 'those within 5 feet'. It's also assuming that the target is medium/small sized.

Now lets look at the english here. The line is saying two things: you can do one thing and can't do another. It supposes that these two are mutually exclusive (which they are for medium/small combatants). You can try to claim that you don't know what should happen for such overlap, but in all honesty...

Hmm, you make a compelling argument. Just to clarify my position, I don't actually have a problem per se with people using reach weapons to attack large creatures in the way people have been suggesting, I just didn't think that the rules supported it. Nevertheless, you present fine counterpoints. I'm going to go think it over.


mdt wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
James Risner wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Pole Fighting (Ex)

Doesn't matter, since if you want to take a -4 to hit (with a reach weapon as an improvised weapon) there is no rule preventing you from doing so.

Actually it does matter. Using an improvised weapon does mean you can use it however you want to, nor do the rules for improvised provide a clause saying you can use them to get around the reach weapon rules. If that was the intent the the Pole Fighting ability, and Short Haft from 3.5 would really not be needed.
Not really Wraith. The improvised weapon rules mean that if you use a reach weapon as an improvised weapon, you take the -4, and you do improvised weapon damage. That means you aren't getting any MW qualities, no enhancement bonuses, no flaming etc. You are simply able to attack with it as an improvised weapon. So, if I remember correctly, it would do 1d6 and have a x2 crit on a 20. That's ignoring whatever it is from the weapon table. Improvised weapons really are just using whatever is at hand to smack someone on the head, like hitting them with the haft of your long spear, not actually using the longspear as designed.

I am going to need a quote for that, mostly the part about the mw qualities, enhancement bonuses, and flaming. How does the weapon turn itself off?


mdt wrote:
Cartigan wrote:


You mean the ones you are making right the hell up to say how someone is using a weapon so they can't have XYZ bonuses?
No, the rule that says you can't use a reach weapon to attack an adjacent enemy. All the rules allow you to do is make an improvised weapon attack. An improvised weapon is not choking up on the haft and stabbing him with the tip, that's using your reach weapon to attack adjacent enemies. An improvised weapon is just that, improvised. You're not using it how it was intended. Allowing someone to use the bonuses for the weapon totally negates the concept of 'you can't attack an adjacent foe with your reach weapon'.

No, allowing someone to use the weapon damage, threat range, and crit modifier is negating the concept. That has nothing to do with innate abilities conveyed to the weapon as a weapon. I could tap him with the point end - you know, the enchanted end - and the enchantments EXIST on that end, so they would apply. Are you going to argue that enchantments don't apply to weapons when used to deliver subdual damage now?


mdt wrote:

You are not hitting with the blade, you are hitting with the shaft as an improvised weapon.

How am I not using the blade/point/sharp end? As an example an arrow used as a dagger is an improvised weapon but it still uses the point of the arrow.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
mdt wrote:

You are not hitting with the blade, you are hitting with the shaft as an improvised weapon.

How am I not using the blade/point/sharp end? As an example an arrow used as a dagger is an improvised weapon but it still uses the point of the arrow.

*sigh*

Then you're with Cartigan. You believe that it's perfectly fine to make an attack with a weapon against an adjacent foe with a reach weapon. First off, the arrow isn't a reach weapon. Either the rule about reach weapons not attacking adjacent means something (which means if you're making an improvised weapon attack with them, you don't use them as a normal weapon, and thus don't get the pretties on them), or it means nothing, and you might as well give everyone short-haft for free.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

To those who think using the abilities of the weapon are ok when using it as an improvised weapon, I point you at the FAQ, under Trip with Non-Trip Weapons.

FAQ wrote:


For example, you'd add the enhancement bonus from a +5 whip to your trip combat maneuver roll because a whip is a trip weapon. You wouldn't add the enhancement bonus from a +5 longsword to your trip combat maneuver roll because a longsword is not a trip weapon. In effect, there's no difference between making an unarmed trip attempt and a trip attempt with a +5 longsword because the sword doesn't help you make the trip attempt.

Just as a non-trip weapon doesn't add it's bonuses to a trip attack, a standard weapon shouldn't add it's bonuses to a non-standard attack with the same weapon. A trip with a +5 long-spear is a non-standard attack with the long-spear, you are not using it in the way it was designed, and it doesn't get it's bonuses. It doesn't get the enhancements, and it doesn't get the flaming.

Using the same long-spear as an improvised weapon against an adjacent opponent is the same thing. It is an attack in a non-standard way with the weapon. You don't use it's damage, it's threat range, it's crit multiplier, nor would you use any special abilities it has (trip, monk, etc), because you are not using it as it was designed.

If you can get those bonuses on an improvised attack, then you should logically get them on a trip attack with a non-trip weapon, which you don't.


You have failed to explain where, at any point, why the enchantments wouldn't continue to be on the weapon.

Moreover, you have repeatedly ignored and purposefully mischaracterized what we are saying and what the Polearm Fighter archetype is capable of doing.


@the main topic

I'm with James on this.

PRD: Combat: Big Creatures and Cover wrote:

Any creature with a space larger than 5 feet (1 square) determines cover against melee attacks slightly differently than smaller creatures do. Such a creature can choose any square that it occupies to determine if an opponent has cover against its melee attacks. Similarly, when making a melee attack against such a creature, you can pick any of the squares it occupies to determine if it has cover against you.

If we extrapolate this to combat in general, you can pcik the square of the opponent you wish to attack, thus you can attack a creature that occupies more than one space, even if it does occupy a space adjacent to you (because it will occupy others are further than 5 feet).

Cartigan wrote:
You have failed to explain where, at any point, why the enchantments wouldn't continue to be on the weapon.

MDT and Quandary both are asserting that if you use the weapon as an Improvised Weapon, you'd lose these bonuses. If you use the Polearm Fighter's ability Pole Fighting you may still use the weapon with the enhancements and damage, which is not the same the Improvised Weapon penalties.

That being said, I can't find clear text in the rules that state you lose weapon qualities, enhancements or special abilities if you use a weapon as an improvised weapon.

Thus, I can only conclude that the developers reason that you cannot use a "Weapon" as an "Improvised Weapon".

From Improvised Weapons:
Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat. Because such objects are not designed for this use, any creature that uses an improvised weapon in combat is considered to be nonproficient with it and takes a –4 penalty on attack rolls made with that object.

What about an Arrow you might say?

Well an arrow has no damage die associated with it, crit range, or damage type yet is classified with Weapons. Some could argue that it is not techically a weapon because it lacks these attributes.

That being said, it does have specific wording of how it can function as an Improvised Weapon. So, it is an example of a weapon classified object that can also be used as an improvised weapon. Since other weapons lack any of this detailing, it is my estimation that they cannot function in the dual role that is specifically given to certain weapons.

General Rule: Weapons can't be Improvised Weapons.
Specific Rule: Arrows can be Improvised Weapons.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

wraithstrike wrote:
I am going to need a quote for that, mostly the part about the mw qualities, enhancement bonuses, and flaming. How does the weapon turn itself off?

Your not likely to find a quote for it, but you aren't using the weapon. You are using the stick that the longspear is part of. So any balancing (the MW property) wouldn't factor in since you are NOT using the longspear as a weapon, but rather using it as an improvised weapon.

No MW properties would be in use.

Liberty's Edge

wraithstrike wrote:
You just can't attack an adjacent creature with a reach weapon at all.

"I use the haft of my polearm as an improvised quarterstaff, and attack at -4!"

I do this fairly often (and roll a d6 for damage if I hit).


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mike Schneider wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
You just can't attack an adjacent creature with a reach weapon at all.

"I use the haft of my polearm as an improvised quarterstaff, and attack at -4!"

I do this fairly often (and roll a d6 for damage if I hit).

Sounds fine to me, but the GM is the final arbiter in what an improvised weapon is treated as, not the player.


James Risner wrote:

Your not likely to find a quote for it, but you aren't using the weapon. You are using the stick that the longspear is part of. So any balancing (the MW property) wouldn't factor in since you are NOT using the longspear as a weapon, but rather using it as an improvised weapon.

No MW properties would be in use.

While I agree with you in principle, the RAW does not outline any of these penalties - simply a -4 non-proficiency for using a weapon that is not supposed to be a weapon, a similiar sized damage die and a 20/x2 threat range.

Grand Lodge

Why is it so bad to let a character attack a taller cereature, 10ft or taller, or a huge creature, one that the pc has line of sight to another part of his body 10 ft away. Is this tactic really going to ruin your game so much that the world is going to explode. Some people forget that the rules cannot and will not be able to cover every miniscule speck of the game. Use some proper judgement and stop being the DM telling everyone "No!".


Cartigan wrote:

You have failed to explain where, at any point, why the enchantments wouldn't continue to be on the weapon.

Moreover, you have repeatedly ignored and purposefully mischaracterized what we are saying and what the Polearm Fighter archetype is capable of doing.

+1.

You(MDT) said the point of the weapon is not used. I used the arrow example as a counterpoint. From what I understand you are now saying the point of reach weapons can't be used if the weapon is being used as an improvised weapon. If that is true then provides a rules quote. The tripping rule is not even close enough to what we are discussing to provide precedent IMHO.


TheAndromedaStrain wrote:
Why is it so bad to let a character attack a taller cereature, 10ft or taller, or a huge creature, one that the pc has line of sight to another part of his body 10 ft away. Is this tactic really going to ruin your game so much that the world is going to explode. Some people forget that the rules cannot and will not be able to cover every miniscule speck of the game. Use some proper judgement and stop being the DM telling everyone "No!".

I am sure the rule had a certain intent when it was made. The object of the rules forum is to discover intent. From there people can houserule as they please.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
Cartigan wrote:

You have failed to explain where, at any point, why the enchantments wouldn't continue to be on the weapon.

Moreover, you have repeatedly ignored and purposefully mischaracterized what we are saying and what the Polearm Fighter archetype is capable of doing.

+1.

You(MDT) said the point of the weapon is not used. I used the arrow example as a counterpoint. From what I understand you are now saying the point of reach weapons can't be used if the weapon is being used as an improvised weapon. If that is true then provides a rules quote. The tripping rule is not even close enough to what we are discussing to provide precedent IMHO.

I have repeatedly ignored the person you are quoting because he cant' seem to put up a single post without being a jerk about it. I've yet to see a post from him that wasn't insulting or rude in some way. I occasionally forget that I have him on my 'ignore' list and respond, only to be reminded why he's on my list.

As to your contention, I posted my interpretation based on existing known rules intepretations per devs. If you don't like it, don't use it. I suggest you FAQ it and move on.

If you want a RAW quote, then you can't do it at all, as nothing in the improvised weapons section says you can use a weapon to make them, only non-weapon items. Since the RAW specifically calls out non-weapon items, weapons can't be used to make improvised weapon attacks at all. Since non-weapon items don't have enhancement bonuses to attack/damage or weapon special properties, any further discussion is mooted on that point.

From a balance point, I think allowing a normal weapon to be used as an improvised weapon and still retain all it's bonuses and special abilities violates the entire spirit of 'can't use reach weapons to attack adjacent' and negates the entire concept of archetypes that allow such.

Finally, with regards to arrows, unless you can point to RAW that says you can stab someone with an arrow and activate it's special abilities, I'm afraid that's strictly house rule. If you can point to RAW for it, I'll reconsider my stance.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

mdt wrote:

weapons can't be used to make improvised weapon attacks at all.

From a balance point, I think allowing a normal weapon to be used as an improvised weapon and still retain all it's bonuses and special abilities violates the entire spirit of 'can't use reach weapons to attack adjacent' and negates the entire concept of archetypes that allow such.

+1


I haven't thought of this, I think I'm going to rule that players (and monsters) can indeed reach a Large or Huge creature with a reach weapon...

Oh and for improvised weapon here is the first phrase of the entry in the SRD : "Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat."
Rules for improvised weapon do not apply to "object crafted to be weapon" period.

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