Revisiting Two-Handed Weapons and Armor Spikes


Rules Questions

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Don't forget the rule about starting armor spike threads:

Spoiler:

Pathfinder Design Team wrote:
Anytime you start a thread about armor spikes you owe Jason Bulmahn a scotch.

-TimD


Diego Rossi wrote:

An halberd isn't a reach weapon in Pathfinder.

The list of reach weapons is fairly short, especially if you limit yourself to the CRB...4 weapons that would require you to completely change your grip to use them at close range and would have problems when used at close range (those 3-4 feet of shaft sticking out behind you will probably stick into something and limit your range of movements).

Huh. I’m convinced.


Keep Calm and Carrion wrote:
jlighter wrote:

I do disagree with that ruling, though, and house-rule it in my games to the more realistic "penalties apply when fighting with two weapons simultaneously." Having done it in real life, it's bloody difficult coordinating both. .... I personally disagree with when that ruling in the first place, and so house-rule it in my own games back to the 3.X interpretation. ...

The purpose of this thread is to determine if one can threaten with both a two-handed reach weapon and a light/unarmed weapon such as armor spikes or a spiked/gauntlet. My gut says no...

I sounds like if you don't like the answer you get from folks here, you’re just going to houserule that you can’t threaten with both armor spikes and a two-handed reach weapon, so why not skip this intermediary step and rule the way you’re going to anyway?

I’ve done lots of western armed martial arts, and there’s plenty of chances to plant a knee or elbow in someone if they get inside your guard, so using armor spikes for attacks of opportunity while you have a two-handed weapon seems perfectly reasonable to me. It’s not so much a case of attacking with both the weapon and spikes at once (as you do when using the two-weapon fighting full round attack action) as choosing which weapon you have at the ready to attack with (as when you use different weapons for different iterative attacks).

(The unrealistic thing to me is that this game doesn’t let you use reach weapons on someone less than 5’ away...I mean, maybe that’s a problem with a pike, but with a halberd it’s not going to be an issue.)

I agree with most of your post, but the Halberd is not a reach weapon and can be used at 5'.

There are other weapons though - like a glaive or guisarme they are generally 2 meters long, which isn't that akward to use against someone 1.5 meters away (5') if gripped correctly. It's when someone gets really close it does, like someone coming at you with a knife or short sword.

Silver Crusade

Here is that 3.5 FAQ, in full for context:-

Quote:

'Can you wield the weapon in two hands and still make an off-hand attack with the spikes?

When you fight with more than one weapon, you gain an extra attack. (Improved Two-Weapon Fighting and greater Two-Weapon Fighting give you more attacks with the extra weapon.) Armor spikes are a light weapon that can be used as the extra weapon.

If you attack only with your armor spikes during your turn (or use the armor spikes to make an attack of opportunity), you use them just like a regular weapon. If you use the full attack action, you can use armor spikes as either a primary light weapon or as an off-hand light weapon, even if you're using a shield or using a two-handed weapon. ****In these latter two cases, you're assumed to be kicking or kneeing your foe with your armour spikes.****

Whenever you use armor spikes as an off-hand weapon, you suffer all the penalties for attacking with two weapons (see Table 8-10 in the Player's Handbook). When using armor spikes along with a two-handed weapon, it is usually best to use the two-handed weapon as your primary attack and the spikes as the off-hand weapon. You can use the armor spikes as the primary weapon and the two-handed weapon as the off-hand attack, but when you do so, you don't get the benefit of using a light weapon in your off hand. You cannot, however, use your armor spikes to make a second off-hand attack when you're already fighting with two weapons. If you have a weapon in both hands and armor spikes, you can attack with the weapons in your hands (and not with the armor
spikes) or with one of the weapons in your hands and the armor spikes.'

It is not my intention to re-open the can of worms which is '2HW/TWF' in this thread.

However, the italicised part shows how the armour spikes are intended to be used by the designers of them, who also designed the d20 version of D&D upon which pathfinder is based. The rules for armour spikes have not changed.

The italicised and bolded part specifies that attacks with armour spikes can be 'kicking or kneeing' with the armour spikes.

Armour spikes have never required a free hand. Therefore, the fact that you're holding a two-handed weapon does not prevent you attacking, and therefore threatening, with armour spikes.

The PF devs don't want us to be able to use a 2H weapon while TWFing. They have no problem with using armour spikes outside of TWFing.

TWF only exists within its own full attack. Neither the bonus (extra attack) nor the penalties exist before or after that full attack.

Attacking with two weapons is notTWF! Getting an extra attack by TWF is the only thing that counts as TWF. If my BAB is +6 then I can attack with my polearm at +6 ten feet away and at +1 at five feet, with no TWF penalties (because this is notTWF).

There has never been any rule stating that you have to use a free action to mentally switch which weapon threatens. You simultaneously threaten with all weapons with which you can attack, so long as you don't need to take any action (not even free or immediate) in order to make that attack.

Armed with a reach weapon and armour spikes, you simultaneously threaten with both.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Friend of the Dork wrote:

I agree with most of your post, but the Halberd is not a reach weapon and can be used at 5'.

There are other weapons though - like a glaive or guisarme they are generally 2 meters long, which isn't that akward to use against someone 1.5 meters away (5') if gripped correctly. It's when someone gets really close it does, like someone coming at you with a knife or short sword.

Your comment can be true for a glaive, but a guisarme is a 7' pole plus another 2 feet of blade, about 2,7 meters and you use the point more than the blade. And the glaive require a good swing to work, so shortening your grip can be a problem.

Both weapons could do something against close foes, but simulating that would require relatively complicated rules, like giving a malus to hit and reducing the damage, so it is simpler to make them unusable at a 5' range but give everyone the possibility to use a 5' step unless in difficult terrain.
The end result is that you trade away some of your attack ability in exchange for reach. Exactly the wanted result.

Shadow Lodge

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Here is that 3.5 FAQ, in full for context:-

Quote:

'Can you wield the weapon in two hands and still make an off-hand attack with the spikes?

When you fight with more than one weapon, you gain an extra attack. (Improved Two-Weapon Fighting and greater Two-Weapon Fighting give you more attacks with the extra weapon.) Armor spikes are a light weapon that can be used as the extra weapon.

If you attack only with your armor spikes during your turn (or use the armor spikes to make an attack of opportunity), you use them just like a regular weapon. If you use the full attack action, you can use armor spikes as either a primary light weapon or as an off-hand light weapon, even if you're using a shield or using a two-handed weapon. ****In these latter two cases, you're assumed to be kicking or kneeing your foe with your armour spikes.****

Whenever you use armor spikes as an off-hand weapon, you suffer all the penalties for attacking with two weapons (see Table 8-10 in the Player's Handbook). When using armor spikes along with a two-handed weapon, it is usually best to use the two-handed weapon as your primary attack and the spikes as the off-hand weapon. You can use the armor spikes as the primary weapon and the two-handed weapon as the off-hand attack, but when you do so, you don't get the benefit of using a light weapon in your off hand. You cannot, however, use your armor spikes to make a second off-hand attack when you're already fighting with two weapons. If you have a weapon in both hands and armor spikes, you can attack with the weapons in your hands (and not with the armor
spikes) or with one of the weapons in your hands and the armor spikes.'

It is not my intention to re-open the can of worms which is '2HW/TWF' in this thread.

However, the italicised part shows how the armour spikes are intended to be used by the designers of them, who also designed the d20 version of D&D upon which pathfinder is based. The rules for armour spikes have not changed.

The...

So poking a couple of holes into your statements.

First, in 3.5, fighting with two weapons is TWF. The wording in PF was changed, and thus the intent was changed.

Second, I linked up-thread two developers whose opinion was that being able to use armor spikes to threaten when wielding a reach weapon defied intent. So your point about PF Devs not having a problem with armor spikes outside of TWF is only partially correct.

Third, your point about threatening with all weapons that you can attack with without needing to take an action to do so is part of the problem that I had at the beginning of the thread. The Dev opinion I linked indicated that those two (Bulmahn and Moreland) both believed the intent to be that you needed a free limb (limb, not hand) to threaten with armor spikes. A hand occupied with wielding a reach weapon meant that the limb was not free to use the armor spikes. You would need to take a free action to free up the limb to use the armor spikes by their rulings.

Fourth, I am getting a tiny bit irritated that people keep saying that I'm ignoring what people in the thread are saying. I have already stated twice that I've been at least partially convinced (armor spikes and unarmed strikes, but not the other items). My intention by raising the point about the Bulmann/Moreland opinion was fostering discussion and seeing responses to the additional input.

Thank you everybody for your input and opinions. Thank you especially to those who stopped and made more reasoned arguments as opposed to just stating that it worked one way and any other viewpoint was wrong.

Silver Crusade

A leg is a limb. If there were a requirement for a free limb to 'wield' armour spikes (there isn't) then your legs are not holding any other weapon, so are 'free' to knee, kick or 'wield' armour spikes.


jlighter wrote:
Nicos: if it were 100% true in all cases that you don't need free actions to fight with a polearm and armor spikes, then there would be no reason to disallow TWF with them, because the fact that your hands were occupied would be completely irrelevant.

IT was completely irrelevant. THe THF/TWF thing was banned for balanced issues not to make sense with the preexisting rules.

Liberty's Edge

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:


Not trying to dispute the new TWF ruling with that 3.5 FAQ in this thread, but that FAQ makes clear that attacks with armour spikes represent knees/elbows/shoulders/feet/etc., and so a free hand is not a requirement to use armour spikes.

I don't disagree. The point I was trying to make, which I didn't make very clear, was that the primary/off-hand limitation is due to the fact that normal PC race humanoids have two arms/hands, not that the attacks have to be made with the hands.


Nicos wrote:
jlighter wrote:
Nicos: if it were 100% true in all cases that you don't need free actions to fight with a polearm and armor spikes, then there would be no reason to disallow TWF with them, because the fact that your hands were occupied would be completely irrelevant.
IT was completely irrelevant. The THF/TWF thing was banned for balanced issues not to make sense with the preexisting rules.

This is a false statement. It was/has been demonstrated multiple times that THF/TWF is only the second poorest fighting style in the game. The only thing worse than THF/TWF is TWF with different weapons in one hand each. All other combat styles are more powerful than THF/TWF including just THF by itself!

Silver Crusade

BigDTBone wrote:
Nicos wrote:
jlighter wrote:
Nicos: if it were 100% true in all cases that you don't need free actions to fight with a polearm and armor spikes, then there would be no reason to disallow TWF with them, because the fact that your hands were occupied would be completely irrelevant.
IT was completely irrelevant. The THF/TWF thing was banned for balanced issues not to make sense with the preexisting rules.
This is a false statement. It was/has been demonstrated multiple times that THF/TWF is only the second poorest fighting style in the game. The only thing worse than THF/TWF is TWF with different weapons in one hand each. All other combat styles are more powerful than THF/TWF including just THF by itself!

Although you are correct about TWF being the second poorest, Nicos is also correct.

Despite the evidence, the design team simply feel that 2H/TWF is somehow cheating and wrong. Even though it doesn't result in an imbalance, they banned it anyway, and eventually gave up trying to justify the ban after every attempt at an explanation was shot down full of holes.


BigDTBone wrote:
Nicos wrote:
jlighter wrote:
Nicos: if it were 100% true in all cases that you don't need free actions to fight with a polearm and armor spikes, then there would be no reason to disallow TWF with them, because the fact that your hands were occupied would be completely irrelevant.
IT was completely irrelevant. The THF/TWF thing was banned for balanced issues not to make sense with the preexisting rules.
This is a false statement. It was/has been demonstrated multiple times that THF/TWF is only the second poorest fighting style in the game. The only thing worse than THF/TWF is TWF with different weapons in one hand each. All other combat styles are more powerful than THF/TWF including just THF by itself!

I am not saying it was for good balance. But the dev concern was balance.

ANd in the THF/TWF threads the falchion/armor spikes outdamage the kukris (at least for the fighter posted).

THF by itselfs is indeed more powerful.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
Nicos wrote:
jlighter wrote:
Nicos: if it were 100% true in all cases that you don't need free actions to fight with a polearm and armor spikes, then there would be no reason to disallow TWF with them, because the fact that your hands were occupied would be completely irrelevant.
IT was completely irrelevant. The THF/TWF thing was banned for balanced issues not to make sense with the preexisting rules.
This is a false statement. It was/has been demonstrated multiple times that THF/TWF is only the second poorest fighting style in the game. The only thing worse than THF/TWF is TWF with different weapons in one hand each. All other combat styles are more powerful than THF/TWF including just THF by itself!

Although you are correct about TWF being the second poorest, Nicos is also correct.

Despite the evidence, the design team simply feel that 2H/TWF is somehow cheating and wrong. Even though it doesn't result in an imbalance, they banned it anyway, and eventually gave up trying to justify the ban after every attempt at an explanation was shot down full of holes.

The rules against THW and TWF are in the book. It's just that people who allowed it refuse to accept that interpretation.

Shadow Lodge

Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
Nicos wrote:
jlighter wrote:
Nicos: if it were 100% true in all cases that you don't need free actions to fight with a polearm and armor spikes, then there would be no reason to disallow TWF with them, because the fact that your hands were occupied would be completely irrelevant.
IT was completely irrelevant. The THF/TWF thing was banned for balanced issues not to make sense with the preexisting rules.
This is a false statement. It was/has been demonstrated multiple times that THF/TWF is only the second poorest fighting style in the game. The only thing worse than THF/TWF is TWF with different weapons in one hand each. All other combat styles are more powerful than THF/TWF including just THF by itself!

Although you are correct about TWF being the second poorest, Nicos is also correct.

Despite the evidence, the design team simply feel that 2H/TWF is somehow cheating and wrong. Even though it doesn't result in an imbalance, they banned it anyway, and eventually gave up trying to justify the ban after every attempt at an explanation was shot down full of holes.

The rules against THW and TWF are in the book. It's just that people who allowed it refuse to accept that interpretation.

^I tend to agree with this. I read through at least one of those threads and didn't see nearly as much shooting their explanations full of holes as trying to justify a reason to be able to do elsewise. They gave their reasons, and a lot of people didn't like it. So don't play Society, and houserule it at home.


Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
Nicos wrote:
jlighter wrote:
Nicos: if it were 100% true in all cases that you don't need free actions to fight with a polearm and armor spikes, then there would be no reason to disallow TWF with them, because the fact that your hands were occupied would be completely irrelevant.
IT was completely irrelevant. The THF/TWF thing was banned for balanced issues not to make sense with the preexisting rules.
This is a false statement. It was/has been demonstrated multiple times that THF/TWF is only the second poorest fighting style in the game. The only thing worse than THF/TWF is TWF with different weapons in one hand each. All other combat styles are more powerful than THF/TWF including just THF by itself!

Although you are correct about TWF being the second poorest, Nicos is also correct.

Despite the evidence, the design team simply feel that 2H/TWF is somehow cheating and wrong. Even though it doesn't result in an imbalance, they banned it anyway, and eventually gave up trying to justify the ban after every attempt at an explanation was shot down full of holes.

The rules against THW and TWF are in the book. It's just that people who allowed it refuse to accept that interpretation.

The rule was not clear in the book, even the devs admitted it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So far, only Armor Spikes are explicitly disallowed.

SKR already said the Barbazu Beard, Boot Blade, and Dwarven Boulder Helmet are valid options.


I am confused by the post, perhaps someone could point me to another as i am newish to these forums. Why are TWF/THF considered so bad? I plan on running a half-orc TWF ranger with double orc axe in my next campaign. This is bad? Why? He will be able to TWF when in most combats or choke up 2handed when one attack/charge or need higher to hit. am i misunderstanding?


Evilserran wrote:
I am confused by the post, perhaps someone could point me to another as i am newish to these forums. Why are TWF/THF considered so bad? I plan on running a half-orc TWF ranger with double orc axe in my next campaign. This is bad? Why? He will be able to TWF when in most combats or choke up 2handed when one attack/charge or need higher to hit. am i misunderstanding?

NO, you can totally do that. Your character is fine.

What is disallowed is to THF with , lets say, a great axe and then TWF with armor spikes (all in the same turn).


oooohhh ok.. Well yea that makes more sense ... haha excuse me while i wash my brain out.

Silver Crusade

Evilserran wrote:
oooohhh ok.. Well yea that makes more sense ... haha excuse me while i wash my brain out.

If you're really interested, there are many threads with literally thousands of posts to read through.... : )

Your brain will never be clean again!


Nicos wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
Nicos wrote:
jlighter wrote:
Nicos: if it were 100% true in all cases that you don't need free actions to fight with a polearm and armor spikes, then there would be no reason to disallow TWF with them, because the fact that your hands were occupied would be completely irrelevant.
IT was completely irrelevant. The THF/TWF thing was banned for balanced issues not to make sense with the preexisting rules.
This is a false statement. It was/has been demonstrated multiple times that THF/TWF is only the second poorest fighting style in the game. The only thing worse than THF/TWF is TWF with different weapons in one hand each. All other combat styles are more powerful than THF/TWF including just THF by itself!

Although you are correct about TWF being the second poorest, Nicos is also correct.

Despite the evidence, the design team simply feel that 2H/TWF is somehow cheating and wrong. Even though it doesn't result in an imbalance, they banned it anyway, and eventually gave up trying to justify the ban after every attempt at an explanation was shot down full of holes.

The rules against THW and TWF are in the book. It's just that people who allowed it refuse to accept that interpretation.
The rule was not clear in the book, even the devs admitted it.

I didn't say it was clear. I said it was in the book.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Evilserran wrote:
oooohhh ok.. Well yea that makes more sense ... haha excuse me while i wash my brain out.

If you're really interested, there are many threads with literally thousands of posts to read through.... : )

Your brain will never be clean again!

See, now that's just mean. Why would you do that to somebody? There's no coming back from something like that.

Silver Crusade

fretgod99 wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Evilserran wrote:
oooohhh ok.. Well yea that makes more sense ... haha excuse me while i wash my brain out.

If you're really interested, there are many threads with literally thousands of posts to read through.... : )

Your brain will never be clean again!

See, now that's just mean. Why would you do that to somebody? There's no coming back from something like that.

I did include a warning!

Caveat emptor, and all that. : )


fretgod99 wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Evilserran wrote:
oooohhh ok.. Well yea that makes more sense ... haha excuse me while i wash my brain out.

If you're really interested, there are many threads with literally thousands of posts to read through.... : )

Your brain will never be clean again!

See, now that's just mean. Why would you do that to somebody? There's no coming back from something like that.

It's a gift! Normally, a player might read an ability, assume it works a certain way, and use it without incident. NOW they can second guess the unclear wording, go to the forums, get into 10 page arguments, and after an unsatisfactory conclusion go to their GM with a link to three threads, two FAQ posts, and a dissertation on why the GM should allow an ability to work in a way they'd never second guess in the first place. :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Nicos wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
Nicos wrote:
jlighter wrote:
Nicos: if it were 100% true in all cases that you don't need free actions to fight with a polearm and armor spikes, then there would be no reason to disallow TWF with them, because the fact that your hands were occupied would be completely irrelevant.
IT was completely irrelevant. The THF/TWF thing was banned for balanced issues not to make sense with the preexisting rules.
This is a false statement. It was/has been demonstrated multiple times that THF/TWF is only the second poorest fighting style in the game. The only thing worse than THF/TWF is TWF with different weapons in one hand each. All other combat styles are more powerful than THF/TWF including just THF by itself!

Although you are correct about TWF being the second poorest, Nicos is also correct.

Despite the evidence, the design team simply feel that 2H/TWF is somehow cheating and wrong. Even though it doesn't result in an imbalance, they banned it anyway, and eventually gave up trying to justify the ban after every attempt at an explanation was shot down full of holes.

The rules against THW and TWF are in the book. It's just that people who allowed it refuse to accept that interpretation.
The rule was not clear in the book, even the devs admitted it.
I didn't say it was clear. I said it was in the book.

General usability guideline: If it ain't clear, it ain't there.

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