Spear and Shield


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Throughout history and fantasy there have been many examples of warriors that fight with a spear and shield-Gondor soldiers, The Unsullied, Roman Auxiliaries, Macedonian Phalanxes and Spartan Hoplites are but a few examples. Soldiers using only a spear were often pikemen, due the unwieldiness of a 15-20ft pole (more than double the length of the longspear), especially when receiving a cavalry charge. However, from what I gather, there is only one fighter archetype that permits this style of combat, which not only seems fairly limited to me, but also incorporates other class features that aren't as deadly as others of an equivalent level. My question is, is there any way around this or other features I've missed within the rules, and if not, what houserules could I incorporate to make this less rigid?


Short-spear and Trident

These are the 'all the one-handed spears you can imagine' entry, reskin them to your needs.

If you are really asking "how can I get the advantage of reach in the game rules with a one-handed weapon" then you get referred to the Phalanx Fighter Archetype.

Sczarni

Titan Mauler Barbarian Archetype, Jotungrip (Ex)

At 2nd level, a titan mauler may choose to wield a two-handed melee weapon in one hand with a –2 penalty on attack rolls while doing so. The weapon must be appropriately sized for her, and it is treated as one-handed when determining the effect of Power Attack, Strength bonus to damage, and the like.

This ability replaces uncanny dodge.


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I've house ruled spears are one-handed weapons and short spears are light.


Sorry, Templar, I should have been specific. Yes, I was referring to two handed polearms, preferably with reach (longspear, bec de corbin, bill etc.)


I was trying to elude to scenarios where you may be a paladin, or a different fighter archetype because you prefer the benefits of a different ability. I understand there have to be trade-offs, but wielding a spear in one hand seems to be a fairly mundane thing to me, yet it requires someone to get three ranks in an archetype. Thanks for the suggestions so far guys; eakratz, I like the idea, you would lose the 1.5 strength modifier, so seems like a decent trade off.


The examples of effective spear/shield users from history have something in common. They are all good when used en masse.

In the movies there is the Brad Pitt version of Achilles who was pretty effective with spear and shield fighting solo. All the spears used there were regular throwing spears.


I'm not questioning it's effectiveness, I agree that you would need lightning reactions and a strong arm to fight like this solo. It just seems that if you want this option, however good/bad it may be, you can only go down one route.


Historically, spears (6ft - 8ft) were used one handed with a shield. Pikes (12ft+) were used two handed and could be set for a charge (stick the butt of the spear in the ground, stick your foot on top of the end, and aim the point at a horse).

Obviously spears and shields are highly effective in formation. So are swords and shields. That's why shield walls were the dominant form of combat in Europe until the lance and heavy cavalry were invented. Then units of pikeman were created to counter the heavy cavalry. People fought with shield and spear and sword and spear and many other combinations.

They also typically carried multiple weapons. Usually one longer weapon for initial contact with the enemy and one shorter one once formations broke down and it was all out melee. Also, swords broke a lot.


I get rid of the shortspear, make the spear a one-handed melee weapon, and leave the longspear (pike) as is.


I allow spear as a one handed martial weapon, and longspear as a one handed exotic weapon. (in the style of bastard sword, dwarven waraxe and katana.)


You have to remember that the longspear is only 8 feet long. I saw a third party pike that gave 15ft reach, which would be the type of anti-cavalry weapons aforementioned. Also, if the longspear requires an exotic weapon proficiency feat, you might aswell use the archetype surely?


DonDuckie wrote:
I allow spear as a one handed martial weapon, and longspear as a one handed exotic weapon. (in the style of bastard sword, dwarven waraxe and katana.)

I like the idea of using it one handed as a martial weapon. That's kind of cool.


Small Angry Golem wrote:
You have to remember that the longspear is only 8 feet long. I saw a third party pike that gave 15ft reach, which would be the type of anti-cavalry weapons aforementioned. Also, if the longspear requires an exotic weapon proficiency feat, you might aswell use the archetype surely?

It requires a feat for wielding it one handed. It's still usable as a two handed simple weapon.

I don't agree that it's worth multiclassing(with at least 2 levels) instead of spending one feat to get a one handed reach weapon. And a dagger is about 1 foot long with 5 ft reach (not to mention unarmed strike), so 8 ft spear with 10 ft reach is not that far fetched.

And I think the price of a feat opens up the option of spear and shield (which I really like) to all classes, without being so broken that nobody would ever play without it.


Yeah, good ideas guys, thanks!


Yeah I house rule Spears as simple 2H and Martial 1H weapons. Its an easy fix and seems balanced.


Not sure if it's what you're looking for but everything a swashbuckler from the ACG can do with a rapier he does just as well with a spear. He may only have buckler proficiency but if you're looking for an Achilles in Troy or Leonidas in 300, nimble fighter is more doable than a historicaly accurate version.


DonDuckie wrote:
I allow spear as a one handed martial weapon, and longspear as a one handed exotic weapon. (in the style of bastard sword, dwarven waraxe and katana.)

I use that rule for spears too. Longspears as exotic didn't think about it, but it sounds just fine.

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