Threatening Adjacent Squares with a Reach Weapon


Advice

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Silent Saturn:

Armor Spikes also allow a person wielding a polearm to threaten adjacent squares and does not have the penalty that the beard does.

- Gauss


Well that's what I was going to bring up to JJ.

Given that you can have:

Armour Spikes
Dwarven Stonehelm
Barbazau Beard
IUS
Spiked Gloves

...some of which are effective weapons in their own right, I thought having to live with a -4 to hit clubbing attack with an improvised 'polearm haft' was a fairly NON powergamey approach.

Sad that we are back to Armour Spikes as a tool of choice for the forward thinking fighter. Don't even need to worry about proficiences for some of those as well.

Good to have clarified that Improvised weapons CAN AoO though, at least thats a bit more advanced, a bit of a shame Improvised Weapons are so sketchy and fiat, especially as they have a Feat system.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Anyone who wears armor, should have Armor Spikes.

There is no reason not too, and many reasons to do so, for every class.


I'm just aesthetically opposed, it just jars with my sense of style that my knight in shining armour good guy paladin would be covered in blades and huge spikes like an 80's cartoon bad guy.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You just need to flavor them better.

Maybe Golden Eagles across the pauldrons with wings tips coming to a point.


I know, I know, it's not you, it's me :p

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

An armor covered in small emblazoned cherubs, with wings pointing out would also work.


Just don't forget and go around hugging babies.

Sczarni

Between the armor spikes, Barbazu Beard, Blade Boot, Dwarven Stonehelm, etc. now I'm wondering how may weapons it's possible to have on you and threatening before you even hold one in your hand.


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..and yet apparently banging someone with a stick is 'too much' :p

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Must one attack with the weapon they threaten with?

Could you, threaten with armor spikes, and then quickdraw a dagger when a opponents provokes and attack with it, or attack with an improvised weapon?


I think the intent of a reach weapon is to use it like a pike. You poke people from way over there. Could you use the haft to make an improvised weapon attack? Not really. The pole is too long to be wielded like a quarterstaff. A quarterstaff might be six feet tall. A pike is between 10 and 25 feet as listed on wikipedia. Its fair to say that a small pike could easily be twice the length of a quarterstaff.

Why do you need to threaten adjacent if you have reach? Do you have mages provoking to get in point blank to cast a spell? As a player who doesn't want to wear armor spikes because of role playing reasons I would think you would just drop the polearm and pull out a sword.

As a note, a suit of fullplate comes with gauntlets which count as armed for weapons. If someone rushes into melee past your reach and provokes in melee, drop the weapon and punch him in the face (or trip or disarm). If your GM gives you crap about having been holding a weapon then provide him a demonstration of how easy it is to drop a stick and punch him in the face (for being a douche).

Overall this seams like a corner case that will hardly ever come up. Most things will be afraid of the poking end of a polearm and not try to rush past it where you would need some alternate weapon to threaten in melee.


ClintOfTheEasternWood:

It is a bit more than a corner case. There are builds centered around reach weapons. Eliminating the main weakness (not threatening adjacent squares) is the holy grail of those builds.

Yes, you can switch weapons but then you no longer threaten at 10feet. Additionally, if you have not spent money and feats on the back up weapon then your effectiveness will drop even farther.

Ultimately, my builds involve either the Dragoon archetype (which can attack adjacent targets at level 7 when using Lances), the Polearm Master archetype (which uses an immediate action to switch from reach to adjacent), or Dorn Dergar (exotic weapon) +Darting Viper (feat) which uses a swift action to switch from reach to adjacent, Meteor Hammer (exotic weapon).

There are probably other classes or weapons that can do this.

- Gauss


ClintOfTheEasternWood wrote:
I think the intent of a reach weapon is to use it like a pike. You poke people from way over there. Could you use the haft to make an improvised weapon attack? Not really. The pole is too long to be wielded like a quarterstaff. A quarterstaff might be six feet tall. A pike is between 10 and 25 feet as listed on wikipedia. Its fair to say that a small pike could easily be twice the length of a quarterstaff.

Hey if we can get reach weapons hitting 5 squares away (25') then sign me up, because right now they only go 10' :p

What you say is all true, hence why the wielder takes a -4 penalty as its not as good as using a legit quarterstaff or club.

Unfortunately the bit about gauntlets isn't quite right, they are still classed as an unarmed attack and thus draw AoO's for their use. Apparently doing the same thing with the same glove with some spkies on it doesn't provoke.

Silver Crusade

CRB wrote:-

''Gauntlet: This metal glove lets you deal lethal damage rather than nonlethal damage with unarmed strikes. A strike with a gauntlet is otherwise considered an unarmed attack.''

So you don't threaten with a gauntlet unless you have Improved Unarmed Strike.

Spiked gauntlets on the other hand....

(Ha! See what I did there...?)


nice...

The Exchange

ClintOfTheEasternWood wrote:
I think the intent of a reach weapon is to use it like a pike. You poke people from way over there. Could you use the haft to make an improvised weapon attack? Not really. The pole is too long to be wielded like a quarterstaff. A quarterstaff might be six feet tall. A pike is between 10 and 25 feet as listed on wikipedia. Its fair to say that a small pike could easily be twice the length of a quarterstaff.

Pikes aren't the most common polearm in this game, though - it usually seems to be halberds, glaives, ranseurs, etc. that PCs are using. And historically, late medieval fighting manuals show combatants striking with the shaft and butt of halberds as standard fighting maneuvers.

The way that reach weapons work in the rules is clumsy and causes a lot of weirdness. It's too bad that the good folks at Paizo didn't fix this, but they probably didn't have time considering the more pressing issues with stuff like Polymorph.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Could you, threaten with armor spikes, and then quickdraw a dagger when a opponents provokes and attack with it?

No. Quick Draw is a free action. Free actions can only be taken on your own turn. (Speaking is explicitly called out as an exception to this limitation.)

Grand Lodge

I know this kind of goes off topic, and the OP has said he doesn't have extra feats and isn't a fighter, but a combination of stand still and pin down is amazing. You still don't threaten around you, but if they can't move, they're going to stay at reach anyway. I had a player with pole arm fighter that made great use of this combo. Made mincemeat of a few battles, and its pretty amusing when an enemy first attempts to withdraw from him.


Standstill only works for adjacent squares.


Just want to chime in with this question because it has been bugging me: where, specifically in the rules (and not the unwritten or implied ones) does it ever state that you cannot weild a two handed weapon with armor spikes. To me, the description seems to suggest you can.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You can wield both. It's a common tactic used since 3.5, and not inherently overpowered, if that is a concern.


Be a tiefling or half orc and get a bite attack is my solution. The thing is if you actually charge with your bite attack while carrying the reach weapon against a caster they can't 5 foot step away and not be threatened. Works against archers as well. You might want disruptive if you are a fighter but the enemy can 5 foot step back but then guess what you can full attack with your reach weapon and then 5 foot step forward so they face the same opportunity next turn.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Axl wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Could you, threaten with armor spikes, and then quickdraw a dagger when a opponents provokes and attack with it?

No. Quick Draw is a free action. Free actions can only be taken on your own turn. (Speaking is explicitly called out as an exception to this limitation.)

Free actions can also be taken along with any other action, arguably allowing you to take them along with an attack of opportunity.


Some free actions can be taken with other actions. The overwhelming majority of actions must be taken during your own turn. Immediate actions are the exception.

Ironically, there is a debate on another thread as to whether an attack of opportunity is an action.


There is a 3rd party prestige called the pikeman that can use spear type weapons either with the point, slashing with the blade, or striking with the haft or butt. They can also use spear type weapons as double weapons. If you are looking for the versatility or realistic polearms I recommend you look at that class.

Game wise you must remember that it all boils down to mechanics. Everyone would use a reach weapon if they could be simply used in melee as well as at reach. If you really want that capability then you should look into a weapon like the whip with the appropriate feats.

As a GM I would allow you to use the shaft of a polearm to deal bludgeoning damage at the reach of the weapon for either a -2 or -4 penalty (Since the weapon wasn't designed to be used in that way and would be ackward). If you used a spear, I would allow you to treat it as a quarterstaff at no penalty since a spear is a staff with a pointed head on one end.

I would also allow certain combat maneuvers to take the place of improved unarmed strike, allowing you to take AoO's with any combat maneuver you could make instead of an attack. You would require a way to perform the action without provoking yourself (probably using the improved "X" feats). Hence you could trip someone trying to run past you, etc.

I don't like the idea of using armor spikes because they give some mechanical advantage any more then I like every dex based fighter under the sun wielding a scimitar. In organised play you do what you have to, but at my table we try to keep the game from becoming one giant fest of people in spiked armor with scimitars and falchions running around all over the place. If it would look stupid on film but there is a mechanical advantage then I say take away the part the looks stupid while keeping the benefit. That may mean I count gauntlets as armed for AoO's, or I open up the weapons a feat specifies, or even alter weapons so that people have reason to wield them.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Anyone who wears armor, should have Armor Spikes.

There is no reason not too, and many reasons to do so, for every class.

Weight.

blackbloodtroll wrote:


Must one attack with the weapon they threaten with?

Could you, threaten with armor spikes, and then quickdraw a dagger when a opponents provokes and attack with it, or attack with an improvised weapon?

No. You need to threaten with the weapon with which you take the AOO.

-James


just allow attacks with the butt end of a polearm as an improvised weapon. problem solved. if they want to mitigate the penalty, they can take the Catch off Guard Feat.

Silver Crusade

You've heard of a feat tax?

The inability to hit adjacent foes is a reach tax.


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Shuriken, I have said this before: You are bypassing several class and feat abilities by allowing the use of the butt end of a polearm as an improvised weapon.

Short list (not necessarily complete):
Dragoon (Fighter): At level 7 can use the butt end of a lance to strike adjacent foes.

Polearm Master (Fighter): At level 2 can switch from reach to adjacent (and back) with an immediate action and a -4attack penalty. The attack penalty is reduced by -1 for every 4 levels after the 2nd of Polearm Master.

Dorn Dergar (Exotic Weapon): Can switch from reach to adjacent as a move action. May take a feat (Darting Viper) to make the switch as a swift action.

Meteor Hammer (Exotic Weapon): Can switch from reach weapon to adjacent two-weapon style weapon as a free action at the start of your turn.

So, what you would give everyone via the improvised weapon rules is already solved by class abilities or feats.

For those people who claim that historically people did this (whack adjacent targets with a polearm) just look at Polearm Master. If we were to convert all of those historic polearm soldiers to PF then the ones that could strike adjacent targets would be doing so via the Polearm Master archetype. They would be fighters, they would be specializing with polearms.

- Gauss


Gauss wrote:

Shuriken, I have said this before: You are bypassing several class and feat abilities by allowing the use of the butt end of a polearm as an improvised weapon.

Short list (not necessarily complete):
Dragoon (Fighter): At level 7 can use the butt end of a lance to strike adjacent foes.

Polearm Master (Fighter): At level 2 can switch from reach to adjacent (and back) with an immediate action and a -4attack penalty. The attack penalty is reduced by -1 for every 4 levels after the 2nd of Polearm Master.

Dorn Dergar (Exotic Weapon): Can switch from reach to adjacent as a move action. May take a feat (Darting Viper) to make the switch as a swift action.

Meteor Hammer (Exotic Weapon): Can switch from reach weapon to adjacent two-weapon style weapon as a free action at the start of your turn.

So, what you would give everyone via the improvised weapon rules is already solved by class abilities or feats.

For those people who claim that historically people did this (whack adjacent targets with a polearm) just look at Polearm Master. If we were to convert all of those historic polearm soldiers to PF then the ones that could strike adjacent targets would be doing so via the Polearm Master archetype. They would be fighters, they would be specializing with polearms.

- Gauss

the ability is at best, worth a feat tax more than a class tax. why should everybody have to be a fighter to do something that historically could be done by anybody with a polearm? what about polearm wielding rangers? paladins? battle oracles? or barbarians? by restricting it to two fighter archtypes or 2 exotic weapons nobody uses unless they get them as a free proficiency. you are basically saying that this should only be done by fighters. this ability is not really worth taxing both class and archetype choice. feat tax (improvised weapon) is more fitting for the power of this ability.

it's like offering a theoretical feat tax to wield a Jian when a Jian has all the same statistics as a longsword. there is no need to differentiate between a longsword and a Jian. the Jian should be just a longsword, but it's being feat taxed because of the chinese name.

i believe it would have taken a whole lot less page count to produce alternate class features (ala 3.5.) than to produce archetypes and i'm not really a fan of the different weapon specialist archetypes anyway. they are all built around improving specific weapon styles and completely further shoehorn the fighter into a set path.


Shuriken:

How do we know it was 'anybody with a polearm'? Last time I checked most polearm users of that era fell into two categories: regular troops (who knew how to use thier weapons pretty well and would probably be classified as fighters of at least level 2) and conscripts (who didn't know how to use them very well and probably could not use this maneuver).

Regardless, whatever your opinion of the historical abilities of conscripts, the game has clearly made this outside of the realm of things that are normally allowed. The game even has a variety of ways to accomplish this task.

To put it another way: A 10' long stick used as an improvised weapon still has the reach property even when being used as an improvised weapon. Thus, it cannot attack adjacent targets.

Now, in your own home games..do whatever you want. That is the beauty of this game. But as far as the rules are concerned, you cannot use a reach weapon against adjacent targets without an ability that specifically states you can.

Note: I am not placing judgements as to what may or may not be worth a class ability or feat. I am simply stating that what you want to do is already covered by the rules in the Fighter Archetype Polearm Master.

- Gauss


Shifty wrote:
Gauss wrote:
APG p106 wrote:
Pole Fighting (Ex)...

The point is: They would not have written such an ability if anyone at any time can just whack away with the haft of a reach weapon and ignore the reach property.

No, the point is that the Archetype allows you to use the actual WEAPON at -4, as opposed to what DH is suggesting which allows you to use it as an improvised weapon.

The Archetype allows you to do the full damage range etc of the weapon, as opposed to DH Feat which allows you a D6.
MASSIVE difference.

As well, the Archetype ability means all special effects/abilities applicable to the weapon are usable at normal Reach: Keen, Brilliant, Ghost Touch, mundane bonuses to certain types of attacks/CMBs, etc.

Using the pole-arm merely as an object AKA improvised weapon will have no such effects,
unless they are SPECIFICALLY made to affect the Improvised Weapon aspect (and therefore, not the normal Polearm weapon).
Further, even ignoring those differences, the eventual negation of the -4 penalty is similar to what a Feat does.
(except the weapon effects are going to be better pretty much across the board)
Definitely worthy to be called a Class Ability, even if it's not Power Word: Kill At-Will.


re: Armor Spikes, Paizo has stated that using them/wielding them/threatening with them requires a free hand, meaning you will have to UN-wield your two-handed weapon if you wish to use them/threaten with them... Not much different from Spiked Gauntlets in that regard... Basically, the idea is that Armor Spikes are spikes on your fore-arms. I'm not sure exactly who stated this, searching JJ/JB/SKR's posts should find it though. I would certainly hope that goes into the next Errata/Print run, but I am not embarassed to use expressly stated developer intent when they go to the trouble of doing so.

Likewise for potential 2h strength bonus on 'main hand' weapons of 2WF users: RAW it should work if you can be using 2hands, e.g. Double Weapon or you have 3 arms, but per JJ it's not so, and I think it would make 2WF/Mobile Fighter Archetypes too powerful if allowed... they really should Errata it to make that clear though. That is really just JJ's opinion though, I'm pretty sure that the ruling for Armor Spikes was made in a more official capacity.

I believe the bit on Armor Spikes is official for PFS, albeit I don't think RAW supports that otherwise.
I think Improvised Weapon usage is a great approach, and isn't problematic RAW or cheese-wise...
It's also something to consider if facing a DR/damage-type (e.g. you want to do Bludgeoning with a Slashing weapon)


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Quandary wrote:
Paizo has stated that using/wielding/threatening with armor spikes requires a free hand, meaning you will have to UN-wield your two-handed weapon if you wish to use them/threaten with them...

That's news to me. Link it or it didn't happen.


Quandary wrote:
]As well, the Archetype ability means all special effects/abilities applicable to the weapon are usable at normal Reach: Keen, Brilliant, Ghost Touch, mundane bonuses to certain types of attacks/CMBs, etc.

Everything you say is true, and this is something that Gauss appears to be missing. Those abilities are allowing you to use the actual weapon, as the weapon, as opposed to as a true 'improvised weapon'.

It's two different things.


Not missing it Shifty, but that is not the whole picture.

Reach weapons being able to be used as improvised non-reach weapons basically turns them into a double weapon. People will start trying to enchant the 'improvised weapon' aspect. The game simply isn't built for that. Note: People are already asking if they can enchant improvised weapons.

Do I personally think that a generalized Feat (or two) should be all it takes for a reach weapon to attack adjacent enemies? Yes.

Do I personally think that feat should be a move or swift action to switch? Yes (move for the first feat, swift for the second feat).

Do the rules currently allow reach weapons to be used against adjacent targets via the improvised weapon rules? No. A spear with reach used as an improvised weapon is still an object with reach.

- Gauss


Except you can't enchant an improvised weapon. That people ask for it doesn't make it so. People ask for all sorts of things all the time on these boards.

If wishes were fishes.

Not sure about your feat breakdown though, as that would be subpar to something like Quickdraw.

The thing is taht Improvised could mean I'm using the back end of the spear (Ie hiolding the blade end) and using it as a long club, or using it in close without having the full utility or otherwise trying to use it in an odd way. You aren't (in this case) trying to use the full reach of the weapon, you aren't trying to wield it as a spear but rather a close in club. Hitting someone with the pommel of a two handed sword - what would you class that as? They are using only a small portion of the weapon, and in a way not intended, and the mechanics of the swing/poke are entirely different.

By the way, in the interest of 'balance', this is the SAME GAME in which you can wield that two handed sword in confined quarters too. Below decks of a rolling ship? No worries. Squeezing through a tight gap? No worse off than the guy with a dagger.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Quandary wrote:
re: Armor Spikes, Paizo has stated that using them/wielding them/threatening with them requires a free hand,

This is very much untrue.

This is a tried and true tactic used for years,since 3.5, and it has not changed in Pathfinder. Unless you have distinct proof, then you are either confused, or simply making up rules.


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

Shifty, where's the rule that says you can't enchant an improvised weapon if you were so inclined?

Silver Crusade

Ravingdork wrote:
Shifty, where's the rule that says you can't enchant an improvised weapon if you were so inclined?

There doesn't need to be such a rule.

Only masterwork weapons may be enchanted as weapons. By definition, an improvised weapon is not a masterwork weapon. It's not even a weapon.


So many peple talking about "enchanting" weapons, even including the master rules lawyer Ravingdork.

This makes me sad.

:'(


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Quandary wrote:
re: Armor Spikes, Paizo has stated that using them/wielding them/threatening with them requires a free hand,

This is very much untrue.

This is a tried and true tactic used for years,since 3.5, and it has not changed in Pathfinder. Unless you have distinct proof, then you are either confused, or simply making up rules.

The post was made by Mark in the PFS corner.. and he was confused at the time.

If you find the thread, I believe you'll find Jason later saying that this is not the case in that same thread.

You certainly don't need a hand free for these. And there's always the Barbazu beard which by the reasonings listed for armor spikes would require a free hand, but it expressly says you do not need one.

Bottom line, you do not need to even have hands to use armor spikes.

-James


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CrackedOzy wrote:
You might see if your DM would allow you to treat the haft of your bardiche as an improvised weapon and take the Catch Off-Guard feat to negate the -4 penalty. I did this for a Paladin in my last game.

I think this is an excellent idea.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Axl wrote:

So many peple talking about "enchanting" weapons, even including the master rules lawyer Ravingdork.

This makes me sad.

:'(

Yes, yes, I know it's not proper. What of it?


LearnTheRules wrote:

You threaten adjacent squares with unarmed strike if you have IUS.

I know this will spark a huge argument again but you can kick while wielding a 2h weapon. I don't want to hear anyone going on about "equipping unarmed strikes" or "kicks are only flavour"; I've debated this to death on other threads. 3.5 allowed kicks and headbutts by any character, not as flavour but as a rule. It was moved in the Pathfinder CRB but remains just that, a rule.

I see this idea sometimes that anyone with improved unarmed strike can attack with any part of their body. It does not jive with what is in the CRB though.

Monk's Unarmed Strike class ability wrote:
Unarmed Strike: At 1st level, a monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A monk's attacks may be with fist, elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk may make unarmed strikes with his hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking unarmed. A monk may thus apply his full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all his unarmed strikes.
Improved Unarmed Strike feat wrote:

You are skilled at fighting while unarmed.

Benefit: You are considered to be armed even when unarmed—you do not provoke attacks of opportunity when you attack foes while unarmed. Your unarmed strikes can deal lethal or nonlethal damage, at your choice.

Normal: Without this feat, you are considered unarmed when attacking with an unarmed strike, and you can deal only nonlethal damage with such an attack.

Note that the ability to attack with any part of your body and with your hands full is granted by the monk ability, but not by the improved unarmed strike feat.

I think of IUS as having taken a basic self defense course or boxing lessons. You aren't going to be doing fancy kicks, head butts, and such; you just know enough to not open yourself up to attack when you try to punch someone and know how to not accidentally kill someone when you do hit them.

Dark Archive

Mike Lindner wrote:


Note that the ability to attack with any part of your body and with your hands full is granted by the monk ability, but not by the improved unarmed strike feat.

I think of IUS as having taken a basic self defense course or boxing lessons. You aren't going to be doing fancy kicks, head butts, and such; you just know enough to not open yourself up to attack when you try to punch someone and know how to not accidentally kill someone when you do hit them.

That doesn't seem to be true.

Improved Unarmed Strike isn't called Punch. It's called Strike. The ambiguity is there for a reason. There's nothing to suggest that " A monk's attacks may be with fist, elbows, knees, and feet." isn't simply an expanded description of IUS as available to all. Nothing in IUS suggests otherwise.

Dark Archive

Anyhow, my question is whether the consensus is that if I'm equipped with a two-handed reach weapon and have Armor Spikes, do I threaten adjacent with my Armor Spikes, such as from a kick?


Cestus is normally what I use.

Armoured Spikes threaten. If you have Full Plate or most other Heavy Armours you count as having free gauntlets to use as well.

I even think they count as the material the armour is made of.


Lemmy wrote:

Right now I've a bardiche-wielding Paladin. I want to know if there is any wau to threaten adjacent squares. Can it be done?

The closest thing I could find is the Dragoon Fighter class feature. Another option would be getting Improved Unarmed Strike, but unarmed strikes are not that great.

A polearm fighter can also wield a shield and a polearm. So I think he threatens adjacent squares with Shield Bash. I'm not sure, though.

Can anyone think of another way? Preferably one that does not involve multclassing.

Can't you just go for a shortsword and quickdraw?

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