Fighting with Reach Weapons


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My Dwarven fighter with bardiche uses throwing axes as his main back-up weapon, weapon training (axe) applies to both, he can attack adjacent squares or throw axes to get the most out of iterative attacks, plus having focused on trip feats and thrown weapon feats 'sliding axe throw' from Dwarves of Galorian is his signature move.

Lots of fun and options, i just have to suck up not threatening adjacent squares all the time in exchange for plenty of battlefield control. I have javelins for long range attacks too.

Doomed Hero wrote:

Here's a nasty pile of feats for the reach fighter-

Power Attack
(great) Cleave
(imp) Cleaving Finish
Combat Reflexes
Catch Off Guard (for close range)
Combat Expertise
Improved Trip (and greater trip)

Every step of the way this build is fun. By the time you get to 11th level you're going to feel like Lu Bu from the Dynasty Warriors games.

Dip a level of Flowing Monk and take Vicious Stomp for added fun.

I suppose if you have Lu Bu's str mod, you could actually win the vast majority of those trips...

You left out the 2 most important feats for a reach fighter. Pin Down and Dazing Assault. THOSE will actually reliably stop someone in his tracks. Sadly they're not till level 11 and 12, respectively.

Dark Archive

I would take a cestus or spiked armour before grabbing Catch Off-Guard.

I agree with Mergy. Why waste a precious feat when a cheap item (cestus, spiked gauntlet, armor spikes, or even dagger with spring loaded sheath) can do the same thing. Besides, if you use your polearm as an improvised weapon, I don't believe you will be getting your magic enhancements anyway.

Shadow Lodge

Catch Off-Guard WOULD let you have 1.5 STR bonus at melee range along with full power attack as opposed to light weapons. I don't think that's worth a feat, though.

Dark Archive

Slightly off-topic but definitely a Reach + Combat Maneuver question.

Say you are currently a Large sized creature with natural weapons (like an enlarged natural weapon ranger) who does not have improved disarm. When your opponent moves through your threatened area and provokes that AoO you decide to do a Disarm maneuver in place of a regular attack.

As I currently see it you should be able to reach out and snatch the weapon out of their hand (this provokes but since they are not adjacent yet the target can't attack you), and since you are armed but your hands are empty you are now holding their weapon and can then choose to wield it (move action) or drop it in the square behind you (free action).

I'm 90% sure this is legal but I know my group is going to have a few issues with this tactic. First and foremost I know they'll want to try and get the AoO on the arm when the ranger reaches out to snatch the weapon. Followed closely by trying to use that AoO to attempt to sunder the reaching arm.

I'm pretty sure neither of these will work but I can't find the actual rulings in the book to show them.

If you have natural weapons, your attack is considered "armed." Same as an unarmed strike if you have the feat. Not sure what you mean by wielding it is a move action... But yeah, you have a claw and enough reach to not be threatened by the foe, you can try a disarm and not care. And your hand is free so you can hold it after disarming.

The foe cannot AoO you just because your arm is within reach. That's not how D&D works. They have to actually be threatening you, in the space you're in, to take an AoO against you. Now, they may houserule otherwise and I wouldn't blame them as it is pretty unrealistic and cheesy. But you can exploit reach like that. Heck, PF even took a VERY common and sensible 3E houserule to let a foe ready an attack for when a foe with greater reach moves its limb in to strike to hit it, and turned it into the obscenely high level "Strike Back" feat. Paizo didn't even want you to be able to ready attacks against a reach in, let alone get AoOs against them. (In case you haven't guessed, I hate that Strike Back exists as a feat; it should be an option to everyone right from level 1 IMO)

Liberty's Edge

I have a flowing monk/paladin of Shelyn idea that I want to play sometime... glaive focused, but monk unarmed damage for adjacent foes and lots of fun with repositioning.

Shadow Lodge

Is anyone able to show me where it says in the rules that combat maneuvers use your natural reach? Everything I see is just referring to melee range, of which reach weapons extend.

Maneuvers are an attack, and an attack uses your reach, armed or unarmed depending on whether you choose to use a weapon or not.

Silver Crusade

The OP said

So, the major strength I see is that, at the beginning of combat, I can ready an action to attack the first person in range, and then if anyone without reach tries to attack me, they end up taking the readied attack, and then the AoO as they try to move further inward. Once they get within my reach, however, ...

Yes, that is the major strength of a reach weapon. Regarding the weaknesses of a reach weapon ... remember that it's a team game. If a foe gets inside your reach and in your face, then that foe is in perfect position for a flanking full attack from your martial allies, and you already got two hard-hitting attacks on them. So you might ignore that foe and prepare to intercept the next incoming foes.

Also, remember that you may get an AoO against EACH incoming foe. A reach weapon is most effective when you face ~3 foes who are still out of range. Combat Reflexes with a 14 DEX gives you 3 AoOs. So, on the round when the foes 'close the gap', a Level 1 PC can conceivably get five attacks: your readied action from the previous round, 3 x AoOs, and your own normal action. Each attack is at your full BaB and hits quite hard. Chances are you will inflict as much damage in that ONE round as you will in the next FIVE rounds. When you inflict that much damage at the start of combat it shortens the combat, which protects your allies.

Your reach also protects your allies in other ways. Say a foe is trying to finish off a wounded ally. Your ally hides within your reach and chooses Full Defense. The foe braves your AoO and attacks your ally. Your ally now uses the Withdraw action to move OUTSIDE your reach. If the foe wants to chase your ally it must take ANOTHER AoO from you. Your reach can both give you extra attacks and screen your allies.

How useful this is depends strongly on team tactics. If your team is uncooperative (common, until they, too, understand how reach weapons work) it won't work very well. If your team plays along and takes actions that cooperate with your tactics, it can work very well indeed.

Grand Lodge

spalding wrote:
I like the phalanx fighter archetype personally. You can two weapon fight that way if you want to (if you use a light shield you'll only have the -2/-2 penalty on attack rolls) covering both reach and close in while still getting a shield bonus to AC.

The Phalanx fighter is a graeat archetype

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