Why is the Spear not a double weapon?


Homebrew

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So a spear is a 5' long wooden pole with a pointy bit at one end. A quarterstaff is a 5' long wooden pole without the pointy bit. So what is the difference between the non-pointy end of a spear and the end of a quarter staff?

So my suggestion is this: If the spear is used as a martial weapon (instead of simple), it can be used as a double weapon. It would have standard spear stats on one side and quarterstaff stats on the other. I just picture a spear fighter swinging a spear around stabbing and clubbing people is a fast flurry of spinning blows. Not just: stab, pull back, stab, pull back, stab, etc.

--------- Cost - Dmg (S) - Dmg (M) - Crit. - Range - Weight - Type - Special
Spear - 2 gp - 1d6/1d4 - 1d8/1d6 - x3/x2 - 20 ft. - 6 lbs. - P/B - brace, double

This is not nearly as good as the two-bladed sword, so it wouldn't make sense to make it exotic. So is it reasonable?


people who wield spears commonly wield a shield as well


Monks and Martial artist do not
I see no reason to not allow it as writen


Run, Just Run wrote:
people who wield spears commonly wield a shield as well

The spear in Pathfinder is listed as a two-handed weapon. You would need to use a short spear to use a shield as well. Although you are correct that historically even longer spears were commonly wielded one-handed with a shield. That would just be a different fighting style. If you didn't have a shield then there is no reason not to two-hand it.


Looks like a reasonable house rule to me.


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the longer spear would be used in a formation and its assumed you arent in a phalanx with 100 hoplites.

Scarab Sages

Its a question of effective grip on the weapon, wether you want to stab someone or give him a good twack your hands are going to be placed completely differently on the shaft. A spear would actually be closer to 6 to 8 feet depending on the height of the wielder and a quarterstaff would be roughly the height of its wielder and have weighted ends for added damage and protection vs splintering. Theres also thickness of the shaft to be considered. A spear would actually have a thicker shaft of hardwood because its expected to be the victim of ennemy battering down on it to break the point off wherehas a quarterstaff will be slightly less thick and a more flexible wood, that way its natural springness will add a bit of OOMPH to every strike.

They are not the same weapons at all. Feel free to house rule it though, but those are the main reasons why they are not the same, there are probably more reasons that im not aware of.


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Because trying to stab someone with a spear held in a staff grip is stupid and very hard.

Sovereign Court

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This (and similar things) have always been a house rule for me ever since I started DMing in 3.5e.

As to Pupsocket's comment, I merely point out that it is a very common cinematic technique for fighting with spears, to occasionally swing the weapon around and whack someone with the butt end. Also, it doesn't take more than a second to shift grips for anyone decently trained with a weapon. And to preemptively counter any comments about cinematic not being realistic, I only point out that this is a fantasy roleplaying game. You left realistic at the door the moment someone makes an ordinary rock glow like a lantern. What matters is verisimilitude.


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Lawrence DuBois wrote:
You left realistic at the door the moment someone makes an ordinary rock glow like a lantern.

I thought you left it when your random guy beats the Olympic weight lifting golds with no real effort (16 strength is all you need to lift higher than the gold medalist for some years while 17 beats them by a large margin); you don't even need levels in a PC class for that.

Sovereign Court

...On second thought, what deuxhero said. :p


Pupsocket wrote:
Because trying to stab someone with a spear held in a staff grip is stupid and very hard.

No it isn't.

Even if it was, if you're holding a spear in a staff grip, the spearhead is probably going to be used for slashing, not for stabbing.

The most basic spear kata I ever learned was essentially Upward Block, Crosscheck, Butt-end strike, Spear-end downward slash, Thrust.

Go ahead and run that sequence in your head. It's easy and makes sense.

Lastly, shifting stances and grips with a staff weapon is how you correctly wield them. Only ever using one stance means losing a lot of good options.


The point about a spear being sturdier and the staff being more flexible is a good point.
the hight of a spear/staff is a moot point, most spears were made a uniform length for mass production and staffs can have such a large variation to length. Changing grips on a spear/staff is poor reasoning, most staff wielders change there grips all the time, from a spin to a block to a chop to a thrust ect. It comes with the weapon.
2 handing/1 handing spears, staffs, blades, even longer, heavier blades could be one handed when needed to by the exceptionally skilled and strong (remember that 16 str?). This does not generally translate well in pathfinder and is often just simplified. on the other hand the whole piercing/slashing/bludgeoning thing is similarly simplified. impaling someone with a greatsword, while rairer, is still possible and often done. smacking someone to close with the shaft of a blade rather than the blade itself is also possible. Hitting someone with the flat of the blade for bludgeoning damage, especially on something like a dwarven double axe (the thing looks something like db) is also doable in a pinch.

Ya go for it. Its not that far off, nor extraordinarily powerful and if your players want to use it, go for it.

Liberty's Edge

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I suspect the main reason why spears are presented as rather inflexible from a rules perspective has to do with a gaming tradition that was developed prior to the the current interest in both western and wide-spread Asian martial arts. Balance also fits in.

I have a number of friends who are involved in western martial arts these days, but this was almost unknown other than fencing when RPGs got their start. It seems like many of the assumptions about how many weapons were used, as well as degree of mobility in armor seems a bit obsolete now. Armor mobility example. 30 years ago, my friends and I thought we were fairly well informed about eastern martial arts because we knew about throwing stars and nunchucks. Things have changed, but gaming traditions die hard, and RPGs have their foundation in miniature gaming, with rows of spear armed peasants, rennaisance pikemen, and hoplites.

From a balance perspective, the only double weapon that isn't exotic is the quarterstaff. From what I understand, classification of simple, martial, and exotic was largely determined based on damage, crit range, and special attribute. Basically, count up the traits and that determines what chart they go on. Apparently, 1d8/x3 crit and brace was about the limit to keep it as a simple weapon, which was ingrained in thoughts about spear-armed levies. Brace has turned out to be rather meh, though.

I think OP has a fairly reasonable rule that doesn't feel overpowered at first glance. Playtest it, and it doesn't come out as an obvious favorite than it should be ok.


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In real life, it is entirely possible to use a spear as a double weapon. Staff, spear and halberd are closely related weapons.

In real life, a spear is very versatile, being usable with many different fighting styles (which is why it's by far the most popular weapon of the past 300,000 years). There are different one-handed grips possible, there are different two-handed grips possible, and that includes a very staff-like grip.

Same thing goes for halberds and other pole arms, by the way. I've been in a halberd workshop where we did use the blunt end for parries, and when stabbing with the sharp end, your little finger would be closest to the tip of the weapon, not your thumb.

But I also think the way Pathfinder handles "double weapons" is unrealistic. Or actually combat in general. But hey, it's a game. And a fantasy game at that. I see no reason not to introduce more interesting fighting styles for a spear.


That you cant use the haft of a polearm as an improvised club is really quite annoying too.

We had a long argument on the boards about it earlier.


I suppose it depends on the style of fighting used, be it standard, realistic martial arts, or anime rapidstab. Its a viable house rule, though.


It came up in relation to the Catch Off Guard feat, where it was given the 'noooo'. It was left as 'arguable'.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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mcv wrote:

In real life, it is entirely possible to use a spear as a double weapon. Staff, spear and halberd are closely related weapons.

In real life, a spear is very versatile, being usable with many different fighting styles (which is why it's by far the most popular weapon of the past 300,000 years). There are different one-handed grips possible, there are different two-handed grips possible, and that includes a very staff-like grip.

Same thing goes for halberds and other pole arms, by the way. I've been in a halberd workshop where we did use the blunt end for parries, and when stabbing with the sharp end, your little finger would be closest to the tip of the weapon, not your thumb.

But I also think the way Pathfinder handles "double weapons" is unrealistic. Or actually combat in general. But hey, it's a game. And a fantasy game at that. I see no reason not to introduce more interesting fighting styles for a spear.

Of course it's unrealistic.

The game (Dungeons & Dragons) was written by people who had never picked up a real weapon in their entire lives. So, they had no meaningful idea of how the weapons were/are actually used, let alone what they could be used for.


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No way, those dudes totally fought with totally legit weapons at a Ren Faire or LARP, which is practially the same thing as real blood and guts combat. They ensured they studied real lefit combat styles too (ok it was on a Karate DVD, but they DID send away a videotape of them doing their grading and got posted back their black belts).

Sheesh Lord Fyre, where you been man.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Doomed Hero wrote:
Pupsocket wrote:
Because trying to stab someone with a spear held in a staff grip is stupid and very hard.

No it isn't.

Even if it was, if you're holding a spear in a staff grip, the spearhead is probably going to be used for slashing, not for stabbing.

The most basic spear kata I ever learned was essentially Upward Block, Crosscheck, Butt-end strike, Spear-end downward slash, Thrust.

Go ahead and run that sequence in your head. It's easy and makes sense.

Lastly, shifting stances and grips with a staff weapon is how you correctly wield them. Only ever using one stance means losing a lot of good options.

I agree. The Dragoon fighter archetype has a class feature that allows it to fight 'realistically' with a spear, and think there was a 3.5 feet "Haft Fighter" or something, that allowed you to do the same.

Early D&D evolved from tabletop wargames, and in a tabletop game a spear is what your levies have that they use use to thrust at the enemy and hold them off at a distance, and that's how D&D has treated spears since.

The old 'Haft Fighter' feat needs to come back, if it hasn't already!

Edit: I'm an idiot, it IS back already - Catch Offguard! Your haft is an improvised weapon, after all, and this negates the penalty of using one...duh!

Liberty's Edge

I was looking for vids on youtube showing that style, and really didn't find any fighting like that from the orient, but did stumble across this Celtic vid where they fight exactly like that:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBZtocCFPP4


I handle it like a bastard sword. A spear is a spear unless you pick up exotic weapon Spear in chich case its a double weapon.

Sovereign Court

Dabbler wrote:
The old 'Haft Fighter' feat needs to come back, if it hasn't already!

It was called Short Haft, and appeared in Player's Handbook II. Pathfinder's answer to that is the Polearm Master archetype for fighters.

clff rice wrote:
I handle it like a bastard sword. A spear is a spear unless you pick up exotic weapon Spear in chich case its a double weapon.

For the average person in today's world, it probably is a little difficult, but for someone whose occupation was combat, the switch between using the weapon normally, and striking with different parts would have been so simple they'd be wondering why we're even having this conversation.

Anyway, all that said, I understand why RAW doesn't have these things. It would require them to try and figure out every alternate way a weapon could deal damage that doesn't require contortion. A sword can strike with the pommel, treating it as a sap, just about any piercing weapon could do slashing damage by sweeping it across the target, any hefty weapon with a decent sized flat area could deal bludgeoning, etc.
If I were writing the books, at most, I would only add a sidebar mentioning these things with suggestions on how a GM could implement it - and a reminder that they don't have to. That's what house ruling is all about.


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Spears have lighter shafts. The lighter, thinner shaft doesn't make a good swinging weapon; they're designed so that the damage comes from the pointy bit.
Quarterstaffs are thicker and sturdier.


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Hmm, well you could make a feat or trait:
--
Actually know how to use spears
Prerequisites 3 int and 10 dex.

You may use a spear as a double weapon, doing d8 pierce/d6 bludgeoning. You may use a standard two-handed spear one-handed, in accordance with historical accuracy.
--
To Zhayne, spears vary greatly, and they are not always light or thin. I was checking out some Malay spears in the Asian civilisations museum in Singapore, they had really large heads suitable for cutting or thrusting, with quite thick and lengthy shafts. The same applies to pikes, you might think they are thin, and then you hold one. They have to take the force of a charging horse and a lot of hits on any battlefield.

The Koreans are another people that were all over spears, here are some types:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_spears

Scarab Sages

I would suggest that if you house rule it, using a speast as a double weapon be an exotic weapon. Like most double weapon its more a question of fighting style then anything else

Sovereign Court

If you insist on making it another class of weapon, I would urge just knocking it up to Martial. Notice that a lot of Exotic double weapons are paired Martial ones. Here, we're taking a couple of Simple weapons - one of which is already available as a double weapon.


Doomed Hero wrote:
The most basic spear kata I ever learned was essentially Upward Block, Crosscheck, Butt-end strike, Spear-end downward slash, Thrust.

That's more than just a "spear kata". That's the most basic sequence one is taught in the U.S. Army for one's rifle with bayonet training, too.=)


It seems that it is not game breaking then. No one has said anything about it being unbalanced, and I don't see how it could be. clff rice mentioned exotic weapon proficiency. I think that is going too far as there are many other double weapons that are just better. Martial proficiency seems about right.

Some have said spears are thicker, some thinner. I think both might have been true depending on the spear and quarterstaff. I fully understand that we will never get complete realism in a game, and I don't think it would be fun if we could, but this is one thing that can be done to make it a little closer.

The issue really came to light when a character was fighting skeletons with a spear. The player wanted to start beating on them with the blunt end of the spear to get past their DR. It seemed perfectly reasonable, so I allowed it.


Lord Twig wrote:
It seems that it is not game breaking then. No one has said anything about it being unbalanced, and I don't see how it could be. clff rice mentioned exotic weapon proficiency. I think that is going too far as there are many other double weapons that are just better. Martial proficiency seems about right.

It's not game breaking and is perfectly reasonable. Only real thing I'd bother with regarding it might, AT MOST, be an occasional break DC check, dependent on the quality of the weapon (makeshift being more fragile than a reinforced weapon designed for war, i.e. different degrees of sturdiness/design).


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I houseruled that all pole weapons, including spear, could be used as if the "haft" end were a quarterstaff. I did not require any feats. This doesn't even mean using it as a double weapon - if someone wants to repeatedly bang on an enemy with the blunt end of his pole weapon, doing 1d6 bludgeoning damage, they are allowed to do that - it's perfectly legal to use a quarterstaff that way in the current system.

I used this houserule for a decade or more, since the early days of 3.0, and it never caused any imbalance.

In fact, I'd say it was almost necessary to let a guy with a polearm, say a glaive, to have some way to deal with an enemy inside his "reach", and it's still way less efficient than taking the 5' step and hitting the enemy with the blade, so there was never any balance problems.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Zhayne wrote:

Spears have lighter shafts. The lighter, thinner shaft doesn't make a good swinging weapon; they're designed so that the damage comes from the pointy bit.

Quarterstaffs are thicker and sturdier.

Throwing spears certainly, but other spears, less so.

Da'ath wrote:
Doomed Hero wrote:
The most basic spear kata I ever learned was essentially Upward Block, Crosscheck, Butt-end strike, Spear-end downward slash, Thrust.
That's more than just a "spear kata". That's the most basic sequence one is taught in the U.S. Army for one's rifle with bayonet training, too.=)

Naturally. The bayonet was originally invented to turn a musket (later a rifle) into a spear so that musketeers had a melee weapon and did not need to be protected by pikemen.

Sovereign Court

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Why isn't a spear a double weapon? Because Darth Maul didn't fight with a two-ended spear.

Star Wars Episode 1: 1999
D&D 3.0 (which included the ass-ridiculous double sword: 2000

Sovereign Court

Dabbler wrote:
Naturally. The bayonet was originally invented to turn a musket (later a rifle) into a spear so that musketeers had a melee weapon and did not need to be protected by pikemen.

Rule of thumb in war: The more things a weapon is able to do, the better. This is true throughout all of history.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Certainly is! A soldier should carry as little weight into battle as possible, and should be as versatile as possible in combat.


Lord Twig wrote:
I just picture a spear fighter swinging a spear around stabbing and clubbing people is a fast flurry of spinning blows.

The spear-tip is designed to pierce with you putting all of your weight behind it in the thrust. It wouldn't really work as a slashing weapon which you would need for a flurry.

Spear-handles are also quite narrow as they form the hand-grip. So it would be a bit like whacking someone with a broom-handle (how much damage does a broom-handle do?). Quarterstaffs on the other hand are quite thick and solid with a narrow grip and with metal-shod ends (going by the pictures).

A custom weapon might work better. Make it spear-like, but with a slashing blade at one end and an iron-shod haft which is specifically weighted for a slash/thump routine.


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Why isn't the greatsword a double weapon. The fighting style used the pommel as much as blade, and had lots of kicks.


I would allow the shaft of a spear or polearm to be used as an improvised quarterstaff. The point about the shaft being thinner and lighter that several posters have made is a good one.

Jeven's comment about a custom weapon would circumvent the improvisation factor, but then it would by definition be an exotic weapon to wield properly. Apart from the game rules, this would also be true in reality as the weighting of the weapon will have changed and it will no longer be a spear. One effect of the customisaiton is that it will no longer be an effective thrown weapon with so much weight in the tail.


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People keep saying that a spear haft is thinner and lighter than a quarterstaff, but that is just not true. If it were then it would shatter the first time it was braced against a charge. They are as think as they can while still being able to get a good grip on it, exactly like the quarterstaff.

As for the quarterstaff, it would commonly be capped with something to keep it from splintering, but it was not thinner in the center. It is, almost without exception (as far as I can tell), one uniform thickness.

And I don't understand the idea that it would be an improvised or exotic weapon. Several posters have pointed out how this fighting style is one of the most basic.


With all the speculation about how something like this should be handled, I decided to actually look at the rules (go figure) to see if there was something that covered it. The rules for improvised weapons cover this question pretty adequately - from spear haft to pommel strikes.

Thank you, Hugo Rune, for using the word "improvised" which triggered my memory.


Two Weapon Fighting is already a feat tax. There's no reason to make it an exotic weapon too.

Just houserule it to be exactly the same as a quarterstaff, but with one end that has higher/different damage.

I can see using a spear this way needing Martial weapon proficiency, but even that is something of a stretch.


srd wrote:

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.

How is a spear an object that was not crafted to be a weapon? It is a weapon!

As for a pommel strike, wouldn't that be dealing nonlethal damage? Still a -4 penalty to attack, but it is a different thing.


Lord Twig wrote:
How is a spear an object that was not crafted to be a weapon? It is a weapon!

You're getting hung up on the first sentence. Ask yourself this: if someone chopped off the spear tip and left just the haft in your hand, would it still be a spear or would it become an improvised weapon? The haft, by itself, is not designed to be a weapon. It's not a quarterstaff. It's not a club. It's a handle... and spontaneously... you keep using it as an improvised weapon.

You're using an object, in this case the haft of a spear, in a manner for which it was not designed (smacking against skeletons).

This isn't a new "debate" either, not by a long shot. One example of this debate is around 2 years old and can be found here. If I wasn't about to head out the door for the gym, I'd search for a few more to give further examples of how polarized people get over these questions.

Regarding the pommel dealing nonlethal, could you please cite the page number for that in Pathfinder?


Mechanically the weapon being described is almost identical to the Dwarven Urgosh. Both do 1d8/1d6 and can be braced. The spear is much cheaper, can be thrown and weighs half as much whereas the the urgosh does x3 damage with both sides of the weapon and the spear does B instead of S damage - oh and the Urgosh is considered an exotic weapon (for non-dwarves) whereas the proposed weapon appears to be simple.

The -4 improvisation penalty I suggested can be easily explained as it is not weighted as well as a quarterstaff due to the weight of the spearhead


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Realistically a spear (as a polearm) is very easily a double weapon with both sides used. Some of you need to stop watching so many movies.


easy enough house rule.

i would add that as a double weapon the damage type be B/S instead of P


I'm tempted to ask the OP whether he has raised the suggestion as a GM, player or just out of curiousity.

If he's the GM: then run with it if it suits your game world

If he's a player in a game: then please don't raise this with your GM, as it is an attempt to change the RAW in your favour and will set the GM on the defensive and will probably cost you in future judgement calls.

If it's out of curiousity: I would suggest it's a game balance issue, all the weapons are designed to be slightly different so there is no clear 'best weapon' in a given category (simple/martial/exotic). They all have trade-offs and the Staff-Spear is far superior to either the quarterstaff or the spear.


Why is the spear not a double weapon? because it has a pointy end.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Anburaid wrote:
Why is the spear not a double weapon? because it has a pointy end.

Why is the spear not a double weapon? It does, afterall, have a Bludgeony end...

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