What does it mean to 'wield' a weapon?


Rules Questions

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In the midst of the brew haha about armor spikes and two weapon fighting, I was thinking about another issue that really need clearing up in the rules.

The word wield is used all over the place in rules, but is never actually defined as a game term. Most of the time its fairly obvious, hold the thing in your hand so that you are able to use it. For instance holding a 2handed weapon in one hand does not count as wielding it. But what about the corner cases where hands are either modified or dont apply. What is the definition of the game term 'wield' and what if any action is required to change that. For instance

Can someone with improved unarmed strike for be considered wielding both his unarmed attack, and a 2handed reach weapon at the same time? What about armor spikes?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think of it more as being held in a manner that is ready for use as intended. Like if you hear the police say there is a knife wielding suspect, I hear that as having it ready to stab or slash someone. Someone just holding a knife just has it in their hands, with no real demonstration of some intent


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shar Tahl wrote:
I think of it more as being held in a manner that is ready for use as intended. Like if you hear the police say there is a knife wielding suspect, I hear that as having it ready to stab or slash someone. Someone just holding a knife just has it in their hands, with no real demonstration of some intent

Right, thats the intended distinction. But in game terms, it isnt defined. Holding, and wielding are different. Especially given the fact that is is possible to wield something you cannot hold (unarmed strikes, armor spikes). And there is potential to hold more then the original rules assume (2 hands worth) since the extended rules have several ways to get additional arms, or hold something without using a hand.

So what if any distinction is there between holding and wielding a weapon? What limits are there on wielding weapons? How is this modified by weapons that dont required hands? What about creatures with more then two hands? What about magical effects that allow you to use a weapon without holding it?

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Lacking a specific game definition of the two words, you fall back on the English definition of the words.

wield: to use (a weapon, instrument, etc.) effectively; handle or employ actively.

hold: to have or keep in the hand; keep fast; grasp: She held the purse in her right hand. He held the child's hand in his.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The problem with it is that there is no real mechanical difference that can be defined in the rules and be anything other than arbitrary. There is no "ready for combat" mode, so no way to definitively say when you are wielding and when you are holding something. I have given up on being hard core RAW and will have wielded and held synonymous when it makes more sense that way. As it stands now, it is a mysterious balancing rule that logically doesn't always work.

*

As a side note, I particularly don't like the Bonded Object part of "wielding", where you can have an object that is just held, but a bonded two handed weapon would make you unable to cast because it has to be held "ready for combat" to make the bond work, whereas if you had a amulet, it just needs to hang there touching your skin.

note: hopefully not missing spaces. working tech support and this keyboard is horrible. food and sticky keys


While it's correct that wielding a weapon has no actual game definition, the FAQ regarding the Defending Weapon property says that wielding a weapon requires you to make attacks in order to receive its benefits, as wielding a weapon is to mean to make attacks, and shields being wielded mean you are currently using the AC bonus it grants. Of course, using a shield as a weapon still means you must fulfill those requirements needed by any other weapon.

In any other case, wielding it requires you to use it for its intended purpose during that time/turn. If the issue becomes that Armor Spikes aren't being properly used for requirements qualifying for an off-hand and the Two-handed weapon being used as a main hand in a similar manner, that boils down to improperly wielding weapons for TWF.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

There is plenty of mechanical difference.

For example, you can hold a 2H weapon in one hand, but you can't wield a 2H weapon in one hand.

You can hold a too-big-for-you weapon or a too-small-for-you weapon, but you can't wield a too-big- or too-small-for you weapon.

The difference prevents you from merely holding an item that gives a benefit when wielded (like a defending weapon).


Kolokotroni wrote:

Can someone with improved unarmed strike for be considered wielding both his unarmed attack, and a 2handed reach weapon at the same time? What about armor spikes?

Based on some post I've read in this thread and specifically this post I would postulate that no you cannot wield both unarmed strikes and a two-handed weapon at the same time. You can wield armor spikes at the same time for the purpose of AoO, but could not use them in a TWF sequence. However you could use them both with iterative attacks, for instance if you had a +6/+1 BAB you could first attack with your two-handed weapon and then with your armor spikes.

In this way a person with a two-handed reach weapon and armor spike can threaten both near and far with different weapons and be wielding them, even if not using them both during thier regular attack sequence.


The best way to put it is in mechanical terms. As with the Defending Weapon example, it would be cheesy to simply hold it and apply the entire enhancement bonus to AC since there's really no trade-off; if you attack with it, funneling enhancement from accuracy and damage to AC is a trade-off, but if the weapon is merely incidental while you're, say, casting a spell, there's no mechanical cost. Thus, you have to be properly manipulating the object for it to work. In most cases, Wielding involves Holding. Holding isn't necessarily Wielding, and there some weapons that can be Wielded but not Held. That having been said, there is a Manipulate an Item action and I don't think it's too far outside the scope of balance to say that you can spend a move action to "flourish" your weapon so that it's counted as "wielded" even though you didn't make an actual attack with it. There's still a cost involved (move action) so you're not getting something for nothing. Furthermore, given the "active" nature of wielding (as opposed to the passive nature of holding), it stands to reason that incidentally holding a weapon doesn't interfere with your ability to make attacks with other available weapons. For example, if you have a Shortsword and Dagger in your hands, you're "holding" them. You could then make attacks with them and they are considered "wielded". If you also have armor spikes, you could make an attack with Shortsword and Armor Spikes and the fact that you're "holding" the dagger in your other hand wouldn't interfere with "wielding" the armor spikes.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

There is plenty of mechanical difference.

For example, you can hold a 2H weapon in one hand, but you can't wield a 2H weapon in one hand.

You can hold a too-big-for-you weapon or a too-small-for-you weapon, but you can't wield a too-big- or too-small-for you weapon.

The difference prevents you from merely holding an item that gives a benefit when wielded (like a defending weapon).

Which is fine for the basic 2 armed humanoid weilding weapons in their hands.

But what about the numerous exceptions that now exist in the rules? We have alchemists who can grow extra arms, 18 armed 30 tentacle creatures being thought up by summoners, we have weapons that are not held in hand (unarmed strikes, armor spikes). How do these fit into the 'weilding' world?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For the sake of potential Faqing:

Can I weild a weapon in each hand, or a single weapon in both hands, in addition to a weapon that does not occupy a hand such as an unarmed strike at the same time?

Grand Lodge

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On a purely pendantic language note:

when you hold it in your hand, it is held.

when you hold it in a position where you are able to use it, you are brandishing it.

When you actually hit someone with it, or otherwise accomplish some effect using it, you are wielding it.


Wield, yes. But there are certain ways you cannot attack with them. For example, if you have 4 iterative attacks, you can use Greatsword/Greatsword-5/Armor Spikes-10/Armor Spikes-15. However, you cannot use TWF to do Greatswordx4 + Armor Spikes because your potential off-hand attack is eaten by making an attack with a 2-h weapon. You can still, however, make AoOs with Greatsword or Armor Spikes at your option.

Furthermore, based on preliminary response from JB, if you had a Longsword and Armor Spikes, 4 iterative attacks, and 3 off-hand attacks, you could make two Longsword attacks two-handed (which eats 2 of your 3 off-hand attacks) and then make your remaining Longsword attacks one-handed and use your last off-hand for armor spikes. By contrast, if you made your 3 off-hand attacks first, you have a "hand debt" and must make your next 3 main-hand attacks one-handed, though your last main-hand attack could be done two-handed.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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If you could potentially be making an attack with it (or an AOO with it), you are wielding it. Good enough.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Natural weapons can be "wielded" as well, as was clarified during one of the recent FAQs on Spell Combat.


Sean.

If you say potentially making an attack with it qualifies as wielding it.

Then why isn't holding an [appropriately sized] defending weapon [in the proper number of hands] enough to allocate its AC bonus, provided you take appropriate penalties on AoOs and such. It is being "used in the manner designed", still threatens attacks, etc. But from the FAQ, it doesn't work.

Not trying to get into an argument, just the reasoning behind it. Used, wielded, held, readied, etc. are all terms that are used to qualify items (usually weapons), but consistency in application of those terms has been sketchy.

I fully agree with the idea that a weapon you could not possibly use not counting, but just the fact that you didn't happen to attack that turn (due to getting in position, or whatever) should not negate the fact that you bought an entire enhancement that is no longer valid.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So, Defending weapon is an exception, in that it must be used to attack.

Note so, and all is good.

Otherwise, if you could potentially be making an attack with it (or an AOO with it), you are wielding it.

Just like SKR noted.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Because the defending weapon says this:

As a free action, the wielder chooses how to allocate the weapon's enhancement bonus at the start of his turn before using the weapon, and the bonus to AC lasts until his next turn.

If a wizard is holding a defending weapon with one hand and casting a spell with the other, he's not using the weapon and therefore gains no benefit from it. He has to actively be trying to use the weapon to hurt someone to be able to trigger its special ability.

Silver Crusade

I've always had a problem with using the word 'wield' in the rules, simply because it is used in two difference senses with no way to be certain (in corner cases) in which sense 'wield' is intended.

Sometimes it means 'hold'.

Sometimes it means 'attack with'.

Sometimes it means 'held in such a way that you could immediately attack with'.

But the user of the word knows exactly what he means when he uses it, and is not thinking of all the uses that he doesn't intend.

So the writer of the Bonded Object section casually wrote 'wield' (meaning 'hold') and the ability works equally well with all of the objects. But if the reader understands 'wield' to mean 'immediately able to attack with' then he would have to have a quarterstaff in two hands in order to cast spells, and doing that denies casting spells with somatic components.

I believe Bonded Object was errata'd to change 'wield' to 'hold'?

The Exchange

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Because the defending weapon says this:

As a free action, the wielder chooses how to allocate the weapon's enhancement bonus at the start of his turn before using the weapon, and the bonus to AC lasts until his next turn.

If a wizard is holding a defending weapon with one hand and casting a spell with the other, he's not using the weapon and therefore gains no benefit from it. He has to actively be trying to use the weapon to hurt someone to be able to trigger its special ability.

SKR's position seems clear to me:

1. Wield =/= use
2. Wield = could potentially make an AoO or attack with weapon
3. Use = Actually making an AoO or attack with weapon

Actually, I have to admit, this raises one fringe case that needs clarification. If the wizard has a dagger, he cannot allocate an AC bonus if he's just wielding it in his hand. If he takes an AoO, however, using the dagger, can he then allocate some of the bonus to AC and thence enjoy the AC bonus (whilst taking the penalty to hit on his AoO) until the start of his next turn?

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
I believe Bonded Object was errata'd to change 'wield' to 'hold'?

Yep:

If the object is an amulet or ring, it must be worn to have effect, while staves, wands, and weapons must be held in one hand.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Exiel wrote:
Actually, I have to admit, this raises one fringe case that needs clarification. If the wizard has a dagger, he cannot allocate an AC bonus if he's just wielding it in his hand. If he takes an AoO, however, using the dagger, can he then allocate some of the bonus to AC and thence enjoy the AC bonus (whilst taking the penalty to hit on his AoO) until the start of his next turn?

No, because the defending weapon says "at the start of his turn," and making an AOO isn't during your turn.

The Exchange

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Exiel wrote:
Actually, I have to admit, this raises one fringe case that needs clarification. If the wizard has a dagger, he cannot allocate an AC bonus if he's just wielding it in his hand. If he takes an AoO, however, using the dagger, can he then allocate some of the bonus to AC and thence enjoy the AC bonus (whilst taking the penalty to hit on his AoO) until the start of his next turn?
No, because the defending weapon says "at the start of his turn," and making an AOO isn't during your turn.

Ah, so to use a defending weapon, you need to commit to using the weapon during your turn, and then actually use it during your turn.

Thanks heaps for taking the time to clarify something that has plagued rules-lawyers for waaaaaaaay too long. XD

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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This old FAQ, he played one...


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
If you could potentially be making an attack with it (or an AOO with it), you are wielding it. Good enough.

Thats where things get cyclical. In order to get an attack of opportunity, you have to threaten with it. In order to threaten, you have to be wielding it. You are wielding it if you can make an attack of opportunity with it...

Quote:


Threatened Squares: You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn. Generally, that means everything in all squares adjacent to your space (including diagonally). An enemy that takes certain actions while in a threatened square provokes an attack of opportunity from you. If you're unarmed, you don't normally threaten any squares and thus can't make attacks of opportunity.

Reach Weapons: Most creatures of Medium or smaller size have a reach of only 5 feet. This means that they can make melee attacks only against creatures up to 5 feet (1 square) away. However, Small and Medium creatures wielding reach weapons threaten more squares than a typical creature. In addition, most creatures larger than Medium have a natural reach of 10 feet or more.

The implication is that in order to threaten, you must be wielding a weapon that can make a melee attack against that location. You can make an attack of opportunity if you threaten, so how can wielding be defined as able to make an attack of opportunity?


The primary reason I asked is because properly wielding the weapon, ready to attack after moving into position, and threatening adjacent squares, is using it.

It would be very simple to specify attacking in the text by changing

CRB Defending wrote:
A defending weapon allows the wielder to transfer some or all of the weapon's enhancement bonus to his AC as a bonus that stacks with all others. As a free action, the wielder chooses how to allocate the weapon's enhancement bonus at the start of his turn before using the weapon, and the bonus to AC lasts until his next turn. This ability can only be placed on melee weapons.
Into
New Text wrote:
A defending weapon allows the wielder to transfer some or all of the weapon's enhancement bonus to his AC as a bonus that stacks with all others. As a free action, the wielder chooses how to allocate the weapon's enhancement bonus at the start of his turn before attacking with the weapon, and the bonus to AC lasts until his next turn. This ability can only be placed on melee weapons.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Actually, this is pretty clear to me.

Whether it's an unarmed strike(with the needed feat), polearm, Barbazu Beard, Dwarven Boulder Helmet, Armor Spikes, Boot blade, or Kobold Tail attachment, it is something that is available, and ready to use as an attack, thus, it is wielded, and you threaten with it.

Could potentially make an AoO or attack with weapon?

Good, then you are wielding it.


Ok, so I can Wield a polearm and an armor spikes at the same time with the purpose of threaten the first and second square way from me?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Holding: have in one or more hands.
Wielding: if the character had the opportunity to make an attack roll at this instant in time, can he do so?
Using: the character is making an attack roll.

It's essentially a tiered condition state: if you are using a weapon, you are wielding and holding it. If you are wielding it, you are holding it. If you are holding a weapon, all you are doing is holding it. Yes, I'm aware that weapons not held in the hand don't quite follow this pattern, but in that case, all you do is remove the "holding" condition.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Nicos wrote:
Ok, so I can Wield a polearm and an armor spikes at the same time with the purpose of threaten the first and second square way from me?

Absolutely.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Lacking a specific game definition of the two words, you fall back on the English definition of the words.

wield: to use (a weapon, instrument, etc.) effectively; handle or employ actively.

hold: to have or keep in the hand; keep fast; grasp: She held the purse in her right hand. He held the child's hand in his.

Next printing will just have to include a dictionary of all the words used in the text of the rules.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
He has to actively be trying to use the weapon to hurt someone to be able to trigger its special ability.

Hi Sean,

So does that mean that if a character is using a defending weapon and fighting defensively, they get to allocate the defending weapons bonus to either attack or AC; but if they are using the total defense option they can't use the bonus on the defending weapon?

Wouldn't a character engaged in a total defense action be using their weapon to parry (and would therefore have the entire bonus in their AC)?


Vod Canockers wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Lacking a specific game definition of the two words, you fall back on the English definition of the words.

wield: to use (a weapon, instrument, etc.) effectively; handle or employ actively.

hold: to have or keep in the hand; keep fast; grasp: She held the purse in her right hand. He held the child's hand in his.

Next printing will just have to include a dictionary of all the words used in the text of the rules.

I don't know if you are being facetious or serious, but I think this actually would be a good idea. There are a number of words that are clearly used as game terms that should be added to the glossary.

And perhaps some terms in the glossary that need modification.

Well-defined terms can only help to communicate clearly.

I rather think when a game term is used it should be emphasized in the text in some manner. Perhaps a different font or bolded. Then the reader knows it is something that has a specific definition that can be looked up.


Drachasor wrote:
Vod Canockers wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Lacking a specific game definition of the two words, you fall back on the English definition of the words.

wield: to use (a weapon, instrument, etc.) effectively; handle or employ actively.

hold: to have or keep in the hand; keep fast; grasp: She held the purse in her right hand. He held the child's hand in his.

Next printing will just have to include a dictionary of all the words used in the text of the rules.

I don't know if you are being facetious or serious, but I think this actually would be a good idea. There are a number of words that are clearly used as game terms that should be added to the glossary.

And perhaps some terms in the glossary that need modification.

Well-defined terms can only help to communicate clearly.

I rather think when a game term is used it should be emphasized in the text in some manner. Perhaps a different font or bolded. Then the reader knows it is something that has a specific definition that can be looked up.

Mostly facetious but, based upon the number of posters here that argue that a word doesn't mean what the definition of the word is, there is some seriousness to it too.


Apocryphile wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
He has to actively be trying to use the weapon to hurt someone to be able to trigger its special ability.

Hi Sean,

So does that mean that if a character is using a defending weapon and fighting defensively, they get to allocate the defending weapons bonus to either attack or AC; but if they are using the total defense option they can't use the bonus on the defending weapon?

Wouldn't a character engaged in a total defense action be using their weapon to parry (and would therefore have the entire bonus in their AC)?

By SKR's reading this wouldn't work. If you allowed it "using it" to mean "using the weapon to defend yourself", then it would allow that defense when not taking a total defense action. And honestly to me this seems similar in spirit to casting on the defensive. Seems a bit weird to allow one and not the other.

On the other hand, using it to not get your head cut off does seem like a use. And perhaps the main intention of the text is to prevent you from upping your AC with Defending AFTER you attack.

I'm not sure if allowing Defending Weapon to work is really all that problematic. It's quite a bit more expensive than any other AC source, and multiple defending weapons will not stack.

Silver Crusade

A comprehensive glossary would be useful.


Vod Canockers wrote:
Drachasor wrote:
Vod Canockers wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Lacking a specific game definition of the two words, you fall back on the English definition of the words.

wield: to use (a weapon, instrument, etc.) effectively; handle or employ actively.

hold: to have or keep in the hand; keep fast; grasp: She held the purse in her right hand. He held the child's hand in his.

Next printing will just have to include a dictionary of all the words used in the text of the rules.

I don't know if you are being facetious or serious, but I think this actually would be a good idea. There are a number of words that are clearly used as game terms that should be added to the glossary.

And perhaps some terms in the glossary that need modification.

Well-defined terms can only help to communicate clearly.

I rather think when a game term is used it should be emphasized in the text in some manner. Perhaps a different font or bolded. Then the reader knows it is something that has a specific definition that can be looked up.

Mostly facetious but, based upon the number of posters here that argue that a word doesn't mean what the definition of the word is, there is some seriousness to it too.

Words have multiple definitions. "Wield" is not clear, for instance, since it can easily be read to require that you actually USE the weapon, not just have it ready to use.

The thing about specialized terminology is that it has a specialized meaning. "Wield" in the game always means the exact same thing, because it is a game term. There are a lot of other game terms that are not well-defined within the rules despite having a specific meaning. We would only be helped if this were to change.


Drachasor wrote:
Vod Canockers wrote:
Drachasor wrote:
Vod Canockers wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Lacking a specific game definition of the two words, you fall back on the English definition of the words.

wield: to use (a weapon, instrument, etc.) effectively; handle or employ actively.

hold: to have or keep in the hand; keep fast; grasp: She held the purse in her right hand. He held the child's hand in his.

Next printing will just have to include a dictionary of all the words used in the text of the rules.

I don't know if you are being facetious or serious, but I think this actually would be a good idea. There are a number of words that are clearly used as game terms that should be added to the glossary.

And perhaps some terms in the glossary that need modification.

Well-defined terms can only help to communicate clearly.

I rather think when a game term is used it should be emphasized in the text in some manner. Perhaps a different font or bolded. Then the reader knows it is something that has a specific definition that can be looked up.

Mostly facetious but, based upon the number of posters here that argue that a word doesn't mean what the definition of the word is, there is some seriousness to it too.

Words have multiple definitions. "Wield" is not clear, for instance, since it can easily be read to require that you actually USE the weapon, not just have it ready to use.

The thing about specialized terminology is that it has a specialized meaning. "Wield" in the game always means the exact same thing, because it is a game term. There are a lot of other game terms that are not well-defined within the rules despite having a specific meaning. We would only be helped if this were to change.

When you need a FAQ to define that yes when Cackling you have to actually make noise, there is something wrong.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nicos wrote:
Ok, so I can Wield a polearm and an armor spikes at the same time with the purpose of threaten the first and second square way from me?

No you can't because your hands are busy wielding that big stick. Exception, there is a feat that will allow you to threathen adjacent with that polearm that I can't recall just now.


LazarX wrote:
Nicos wrote:
Ok, so I can Wield a polearm and an armor spikes at the same time with the purpose of threaten the first and second square way from me?
No you can't because your hands are busy wielding that big stick. Exception, there is a feat that will allow you to threathen adjacent with that polearm that I can't recall just now.

You can actually do this, even the Devs have said so. Armor spikes don't require having physical hands free, and what you used during your turn doesn't affect what you can make AoOs with.

Heck, if you have iterative attacks you can switch between weapons that you are wielding (like armor spikes and a greatsword).


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
This old FAQ, he played one...

Please forgive me if I'm being dense, but that FAQ seems doubly head-scratching confusing in light of some of the other posts you made in this thread. The FAQ treats that requirement to attack is something common to ALL magic weapons as a fundamental, underlying rule "unless otherwise specified", whereas in this thread you describe the requirement as being only because Defending specifically specifies that it does apply with the "before using the weapon" clause.

Just going by that FAQ, not having seen this thread, I'd resigned myself to not being able to use things like Ominous weapons with my bard's Demoralize, since I don't have any of the feats to use Demoralize as something other than a standard action, and going by the FAQ ruling the Ominous enchantment (or any other weapon enchantment) won't work without attacking, unless it's specified that restriction doesn't apply. And if I blow my standard to attack I can't Demoralize.

But now reading this thread, if it's the other way around, if you don't need to make an attack unless the description text specifically says that the attack-restriction DOES apply (and that restriction is not synonymous with "weilding" after all) then that Ominous enchantment might get a second look from me after all.


It just seems like the FAQ was more a knee jerk reaction to someone posting the idea of holding a weapon they weren't capable of using in the off hand to get a free deflection bonus to AC, or walking thruogh a dungeon with your weapon out with the whole bonus applied to deflection for the surprise round AC boost, than a thought out response to whether having a weapon you are fully capable of attacking with in hand and at the ready counts as "using". (I know in 3.5 there were some common ideas that this could really hit those high AC builds)

For example, using a Defending weapon during a total defense action gives no benefit at all, yet seems exactly like the situation you buy a Defending weapon for in the first place.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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I'm not going to nitpick over the wording of every single ability in the book and dissect whether they mean "wield," "bear," "carry," or "use." Considering that some of these items we inherited from 3.5, and most were neither written by nor developed by me, I doubt there is 100% consistency in the use of these terms. I've told you what the intent is, your GM is not a robot, use your human brain, make a call.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I'm not going to nitpick over the wording of every single ability in the book and dissect whether they mean "wield," "bear," "carry," or "use." Considering that some of these items we inherited from 3.5, and most were neither written by nor developed by me, I doubt there is 100% consistency in the use of these terms. I've told you what the intent is, your GM is not a robot, use your human brain, make a call.

A very understandable response, but unfortunately that option isn't available for PFS, and such things do need to be clarified when playing.

Of course, some synonyms being used to replace an actual game term can cause confusion, hence why the questions are asked. For example, I referenced incorporeal creatures as ethereal creatures in the Smite Evil threas, since I interpreted the two words as synonyms. However, when they are actual game terms, they mean different things, and it caused confusion.


It was what an FAQ is, the Pathfinder Design Team trying to clarify something for the masses. For what its worth, reading the defending enchant,

PRD wrote:
A defending weapon allows the wielder to transfer some or all of the weapon's enhancement bonus to his AC as a bonus that stacks with all others. As a free action, the wielder chooses how to allocate the weapon's enhancement bonus at the start of his turn before using the weapon, and the bonus to AC lasts until his next turn.

You allocate this before using the weapon, and if you're not wielding it, let alone using the weapon to attack, how could you have possibly seen the intent was the weapon allows you to protect yourself.

I do actually have a question about intent though Sean. Regrading the menacing enchant, if you threaten with a weapon (Say an unarmed strike, a bite attack, etc), and you're adjacent to a target and attack a different target with a reach weapon, or take any action that isn't attacking with that weapon (the one with the menacing enchant). Do allies still get the benefit of the Menacing enchant, I'd be inclined to say yes (as a GM), but wanted to clarify that with you.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
A very understandable response, but unfortunately that option isn't available for PFS, and such things do need to be clarified when playing.

I will never rule out the "GM has a brain and sometimes has to make a call if the rules aren't clear" option, even for PFS. :)

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Menacing says "wielder," so that says to me "the character with the wielding weapon is trying to attack with it on his turn, not merely holding it while making other attacks."

Silver Crusade

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Menacing says "wielder," so that says to me "the character with the wielding weapon is trying to attack with it on his turn, not merely holding it while making other attacks."

Without disagreeing one iota on this particular call, it does illustrate quite nicely that the word 'wielder' needs to be interpreted, and that it's entirely reasonable for 'wielder' to mean 'holder', 'ready to attack', 'actually attacking', and in the context of this particular weapon ability it could reasonably be any of those.

Granted, the DM makes a call, but that call could very well be different on different tables, and the result of that call could have a major effect on the result of an encounter, or the decision to pay for that enchantment in the first place.

Which is the point of this thread. Because it could reasonably mean different things, and those different things have such different impacts on the game, the word 'wield' should be avoided at all costs, and replaced in each instance with a less ambiguous word.

Am I making sense?


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
A very understandable response, but unfortunately that option isn't available for PFS, and such things do need to be clarified when playing.

I will never rule out the "GM has a brain and sometimes has to make a call if the rules aren't clear" option, even for PFS. :)

But we must also never rule out the opposite!

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