Reach Weapons

Rules Questions

Hi, i have some reach questions i was hoping people could help with.

One of the players wants to use a spear or other reach weapon.

Assuming they are in combat, they will be one square away from the target rather than base contact, however assuming the monster acts next, i guess it will step into combat (assuming it doesnt have a reach weapon), as its moving into combat i assume no attack of opportunity.

So next round for the fighter, he's now base:base with the monster and thus cant use his reach weapon against it, although i assume he can use it at other monsters still at range 2 (assuming they arent blocked).

I guess the fighter is left with 3 options

1. 5 foot step back, if space is available and attack again
2. Attack a different monster still in reach range
3. Drop the spear and swap to a sword or other shorter weapon (would that be free action drop, move action draw, standard action attack ?)


Sounds right to me. Notice that most monsters will close with a PC from a distance greater than 10 feet away, possibly through charging. If they do so, they will pass a square he threatens 10 feet away and provoke an attack of opportunity.

If he player attacks first and ends 10 feet away, they can simply 5 foot step on their turn to bypass the AOO.

Also the fighter can use armor spikes, spiked gauntlets, unarmed strike, etc to engage in direct melee combat, without actually dropping his reach weapon.

Silver Crusade

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Sounds like you have the right of it. Glad your group is figuring out how this works. Here's a hilarious 3-minute video that explains Attacks of Opportunity, although it does not explicitly address reach weapons.

You are correct that a reach weapon wielder who willingly moves up to a foe and attacks that foe will not get an AoO versus that foe. This is the least effective way to use a reach weapon.

A smarter tactic is to stay back 15', do something else (e.g. cast a spell, ready an action, whatever), and wait for the foe to come to you. If it does, you will get the attack you didn't take in your round, and you win. If it does not, then you are not being attacked, and you win. You force the foe to choose between bad options.

Here are ten reasons why reach weapons are a strong option

Example of Reach Tactics:
Two orcs are rushing a PC who wields a long spear. The PC has the Combat Reflexes feat and a 12 DEX. The orcs are both 20' away when the PC wins initiative. What are some of her options?

Option A - PC rushes the orcs and attacks. She takes one attack from 10'. Both orcs 5' step and attack. She rolled one attack, while the orcs got two.

Option B - PC holds her ground, readies an action to attack the first foe to come within reach, and ends her turn. Both orcs run up to her and attack. Her readied action goes off first, giving her an attack against the first orc. It survives and keeps coming. She gets an AoO against that same orc, possibly killing it before it attacks. The other orc runs up, and she gets another AoO. She rolls three attacks, versus only one or two from the orcs.

See how that works?

Advanced trick: Move away! Say two orcs have closed on our doughty PC,intent on slaying her. It's her turn again. What are some options?

A. She 5' steps away and attacks an orc. On their turn they close and attack. She's trading one attack for two until she can kill one.

B. She moves away, giving each orc an AoO. For her Standard Action she readies an action to attack the first foe to come within reach. If the orcs rush her she gets her readied attack, and another AoO versus each orc as it approaches. She trades three attacks for their 4 attacks, unless she manages to kill one. not great, but better than option A.

C. She uses Acrobatics to tumble 15' away. Probably it will work but, worst case, the orcs might get an AoO. She's now wounded, so she decides to cast Cure Light Wounds on herself. She can cast safely, as no foes are close. The orcs rush and attack. She gets an AoO against each. She's now trading her one spell and her two attacks for two attacks from the orcs.

Shadow Lodge

Devalin wrote:
as its moving into combat i assume no attack of opportunity.

Moving out of a threatened square provokes. If the monster leaves the fighter's reach, it provokes no matter if it moves closer to or away from the fighter. The monster can choose to make a 5ft. step or to use the Withdraw action to avoid provoking as normal.

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