what constitutes "wielding" a weapon?


Rules Questions

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Ilja wrote:

Honestly, I think the best solution was if the "you wield when you have the weapon ready to strike, gripping it as a weapon" comment from SKR was made the official ruling, and just with a FAQ clarifying that since defending doesn't mention "wielding" but rather "using", defending doesn't work unless you actually attack with it.

In that case, the staff magus would get the bonus as long as she's properly holding the weapon ready to strike, whether she strikes or not. Likewise, the ominous dagger actually functions without you having to shove it into the table 10 times during the minute it takes to use intimidate.

This is the interpretation we use, and it works very well. As far as I know, defending is the only thing in the game that can really be abused through "wielding" (though again, it never mentions it). So for me, the weapon property that should be considered as an exceptional case, and potential ramifications from it should not force a sweeping ruling that severely changes how other things function (such as the ominous dagger).

I agree with this also, and it's how I've always run it. The only reason I keep mentioning that the magic property description should be changed is to avoid confusion; there's no need to have two different definitions of 'wield'.


I still have problems with the version of "wielding = ready to use".

What if I have a defending spear braced against a charge, but I'm attacked from range? What if I have already used my AoO for the round, and an enemy steps adjacent, i.e. too close for me to wield my spear against them without a move on my part? What if instead of moving I use the haft as an improvised weapon without the reach limitation? What if I use a Combat Maneuver, like Bull Rush, that doesn't require a weapon?

When does the defending property turn on and off? Does it apply to some opponents and not others?

I understand that a few people will abuse defending if it's not 100% defined in a non-abuse-able way... it's just too bad the benchmark can't be "the common sense intent of wielding"...

Silver Crusade

You can't use a reach weapon as an improvised non-reach weapon.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
You can't use a reach weapon as an improvised non-reach weapon.

My polearm specialist Fighter archetype certainly can.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
You can't use a reach weapon as an improvised non-reach weapon.

Why?


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
You can't use a reach weapon as an improvised non-reach weapon.

Sure you can, but you have to change your grip to do so (a free action on your turn). When you do so, it's just a bad club.

Silver Crusade

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
You can't use a reach weapon as an improvised non-reach weapon.
Why?

Excellent question!

First:-

Improvised Weapons wrote:
Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat. Because such objects are not designed for this use....

The improvised weapons rules allow you to use an object that is not a weapon in combat. Since by definition a weapon is a weapon then rules specifying non-weapon objects do not apply.

Second:-

Quote:
To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match.

Even if you ignore the first objection, then the most reasonable match for a spear....is a spear! This is a reach weapon, and an improvised weapon which most resembles a spear therefore uses the stats for a spear (with a -4 attack penalty), and that is a reach weapon.

Silver Crusade

Democratus wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
You can't use a reach weapon as an improvised non-reach weapon.
My polearm specialist Fighter archetype certainly can.

Not quite:-

Quote:
Pole Fighting (Ex): At 2nd level, as an immediate action, a polearm master can shorten the grip on his spear or polearm with reach and use it against adjacent targets. This action results in a –4 penalty on attack rolls with that weapon until he spends another immediate action to return to the normal grip. The penalty is reduced by –1 for every four levels beyond 2nd. This ability replaces bravery.

Although he can use a polearm as a non-reach weapon (with a -4 attack penalty), it is not an improvised weapon for him; it's a proper weapon being used as a non-reach weapon. This ability does not reference the improvised weapon rules at all.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So, there is absolutely, no way, to use any weapon, in an improvised fashion?

I hit someone with the pole part of a polearm, and...

...world stops, action never happens, freeze in place?


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
You can't use a reach weapon as an improvised non-reach weapon.
Why?

Excellent question!

First:-

Improvised Weapons wrote:
Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat. Because such objects are not designed for this use....

The improvised weapons rules allow you to use an object that is not a weapon in combat. Since by definition a weapon is a weapon then rules specifying non-weapon objects do not apply.

Second:-

Quote:
To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match.
Even if you ignore the first objection, then the most reasonable match for a spear....is a spear! This is a reach weapon, and an improvised weapon which most resembles a spear therefore uses the stats for a spear (with a -4 attack penalty), and that is a reach weapon.

Both of these objections pretty blatantly and obviously violate the 'common sense' filter through which the designers state we should interpret the rules. Just because a spear is a formal weapon doesn't mean you suddenly lose the ability bash someone with the heavy wooden pole that makes up the majority of the weapon. At that point, you're not using it as a spear - you're using it as an improvised staff or club. Are you effective with it? No - but that's what the -4 penalty is for, and why you would deal bludgeoning staff damage rather than piercing spear damage (as that is actually the weapon that it most resembles at that point, at least for the purposes for which you're using it).

Silver Crusade

It's pointless to post thoughts along the lines of 'Well, we can houserule what we think makes sense', because that's always the case and is always as irrelevant in the rules forum.

If you want to make up a 'common sense' rule that you can 'improvise' a weapon as a non-weapon and back to a weapon again (a different weapon, mind you!), then there's nothing to stop others from 'improvising' a non-reach weapon as if it were an 'improvised' reach weapon, driving a coach and horses through the rules for reach.

The reach weapon is simply unuseable for you as a non-reach weapon.

The world no more suddenly stops as when you try to use a huge two-handed weapon if you're a medium creature. You don't get to 'improvise' it as a smaller weapon.

Sometimes a weapon is unusable. Live with it.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
You can't use a reach weapon as an improvised non-reach weapon.

This seems like a gross violation of common sense.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

It's pointless to post thoughts along the lines of 'Well, we can houserule what we think makes sense', because that's always the case and is always as irrelevant in the rules forum.

If you want to make up a 'common sense' rule that you can 'improvise' a weapon as a non-weapon and back to a weapon again (a different weapon, mind you!), then there's nothing to stop others from 'improvising' a non-reach weapon as if it were an 'improvised' reach weapon, driving a coach and horses through the rules for reach.

The reach weapon is simply unuseable for you as a non-reach weapon.

The world no more suddenly stops as when you try to use a huge two-handed weapon if you're a medium creature. You don't get to 'improvise' it as a smaller weapon.

Sometimes a weapon is unusable. Live with it.

No thanks, I'll stick with the common sense that says that putting a sharp metal point on the end of a long stick doesn't suddenly stop me from smacking someone with the stick itself. At the same time, I'll give your opinion on the matter all the weight it deserves (i.e., none, since it's completely lacking common sense - again, an integral part of interpreting the rules as per at least three designers [SKR, JB, and SRM respectively]).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

No.

If I can use a chair leg as a weapon, then nothing should stop me from using then pole end of a polearm.

You just treat it, as you would any improvised weapon.

This is not a houserule.

This is a RAW use of the improvised weapon rules.

Your "huge weapon" example, is silly, and it means you have no understanding of the RAW improvised weapon rules.

You don't like it?

Houserule it.

Silver Crusade

blackbloodtroll wrote:

No.

If I can use a chair leg as a weapon, then nothing should stop me from using then pole end of a polearm.

You just treat it, as you would any improvised weapon.

This is not a houserule.

This is a RAW use of the improvised weapon rules.

Your "huge weapon" example, is silly, and it means you have no understanding of the RAW improvised weapon rules.

You don't like it?

Houserule it.

Sure....apart from the part about using a non-weapon. And the part about finding the most similar weapon.

So, it's RAW in the way that it's completely ignoring the rules on improvised weapons.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The pole part of a polearm, is not a weapon, in and of itself.

So, you have all the ingredients for the improvised weapon rules.

You treat it as an improvised club, and be done with it.

I am anything, but ignoring any rules, on improvised weapons, whatsoever.

If there is a box, you can't think out of, then I am deeply sorry.

With a little imagination, you can think of endless things, and still follow RAW.


I believe we have resolved a good half of the issue. special class abilities use "wield" in the sense that you are using the weapon to block attacks (staff magus uses the staff as a shield and gains a shield bonus. duelist uses his weapon to parry and redirect attacks to gain a dodge bonus). interestingly, the fluff actually helps us determine what constitutes wielding in this case.

I think part of the problem with "defending" weapons is that we don't know HOW they do their defending. it's not obvious because it doesn't come with a class description describing a fighting style and is a typeless bonus.

with this in mind, we must first ask ourselves: what does a +1 on a weapon actually represent? (paizo REALY needs to get around to making a book that describes how magic ACTUALY WORKS.) I propose the following. have any of you seen the Disney movie "The Black Caldron"? if you have, note the magic sword in the movie and how it works. The magic helps the boy guide the weapon towards the monsters (sort of magnetically) while he holds it. the weapon doesn't just fly around however. the boy still has to swing it. the magic just assists rather than do all the work.

now consider the defending property in the same situation. All this does is alter the nature of the magic such that instead of being guided at the enemy, it helps him use the weapon to block attacks.

what we get form this is the following: magic weapons do not fly around unattended (barring dancing weapons of course). they must be guided by creatures and their intentions. Therefore, the weapon must be guided by someone at least part of the way to intercept an attack. if you cant do that, then you don't get the bonus.

this resolves the issue in most cases. however, it leaves a small problem for "worn" type weapons. really what it boils down to is this: can one wield more than two weapons and can one wield a weapon with something other than a hand (such as your neck for the bladed scarf, your shoulders for armor spikes and other unique situations.)

personally I would rule no (though it would make for an interesting feat if the developers would make it. just think: a hero wielding a bladed scarf who HAS NO ARMS!)


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

I've often thought of the +N on a magic weapon as "power steering". The weapon reads the force you're applying to the handle and helps you move it. The bigger the +N, the bigger the boost.

Magic weapons with enhancements to threat range somehow analyze the target and steer you towards the critical areas.

A defending weapon has the option of analyzing the incoming attack and steering your weapon to intercept, but you have to help it by at least getting close to the right position. Hence the need to actually be swinging the weapon.

But this is all just my visualization of it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

No.

If I can use a chair leg as a weapon, then nothing should stop me from using then pole end of a polearm.

You just treat it, as you would any improvised weapon.

This is not a houserule.

This is a RAW use of the improvised weapon rules.

Your "huge weapon" example, is silly, and it means you have no understanding of the RAW improvised weapon rules.

You don't like it?

Houserule it.

Sure....apart from the part about using a non-weapon. And the part about finding the most similar weapon.

So, it's RAW in the way that it's completely ignoring the rules on improvised weapons.

I think that what will actually stop blackbloodtroll from using the butt end of a reach weapon as a improvised club or staff would be the extra feet of haft and the heavy striking part made of metal.

A quarterstaff is "a simple piece of wood, about 5 feet in length" weighting 4 lbs. a longspear is "is about 8 feet in length" and weight 9 lbs.

I think a perfect example is a old film by Kurosawa with Toshiro Mifune. One of the character was fighting with a long spear and his adversary was capable to enter under his guard and fight at short range. The reaction wasn't to "shorten the grip" or use the longspear as an improvised staff. The reaction was to break the last section of the longpear and use it as a spear.
A film isn't the best reference but it give a good visual of how the long aft will ot allow you to sue the longspear as a staff.


You don't have to swing the weapon like a bat. Watch the fight between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon. Right before Maul kills him, he drives the handle of his weapon into his face. He never brings the bladed ends anywhere near himself by doing so.


Wielding is basicly:

"Wearing your weapon in the apropriate item slot so you can make an attack with it in your action."

You can hold 2 handed weapons with 1 hand, but you only is "wielding" them when you hold with 2 hands. So a caster with a staff, casting a spell(which need 1 free hand), holding the staff in one hand is not considered "wielding the staff" until he finish casting and can hold the staff 2 handed again(a free action he must use after casting). Unless he has staff master changing staff to a one-handed weapon.

if youre with your shield straped to your forearm you can hold a weapon, but youre not wielding it... if you wield it, youre only holding your shield and dont get the shield bonus to AC(unless specific feat or ability says otherwise).

Wield is basicly "ready to be used with all requeriments met".


How do you actually hold a dagger and not wield it? Grasp it at the pointy end, cut your hand and take 1pt of damage?

Perhaps whenever a player picks up a dagger (or other weapon) they should make a DC2 intelligence check to ensure they pick it up properly and don't cut themselves.


You can pick and not wield if you pick it in the hand of a light shield for example. Youre holding it, but your not wielding it.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Jeven wrote:
How do you actually hold a dagger and not wield it? Grasp it at the pointy end, cut your hand and take 1pt of damage?

In your teeth is one way. Grasping it by the vestigal crossguard is another. Holding it by the blade in a pinch grip ready to throw (in this case you're wielding it as a thrown weapon, not a melee weapon).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Using the pole part of a polearm isn't always a great idea though.

You are not threatening with the polearm when you do so, and it won't get any bonuses from any enchantments on the polearm.

Be assured, you can do it though.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
nothing to stop others from 'improvising' a non-reach weapon as if it were an 'improvised' reach weapon, driving a coach and horses through the rules for reach.

Incorrect. First off, the only support you have for it being impossible.is the mention of using items .ot intended as weapons in the bread text. Thats a possible argument, though i can find a bazillion nonworking parts of the rules if i read the book that way. Your second point is incorrect because it only says to compare the weapon for size and damage - not for special qualities like monk and reach. Thus, even if you were to attack people with a spear improvised and trying to shove it through and thus compare to the spear, it would be a large 1d8 20x2 weapon. With no reach.

Quote:


The world no more suddenly stops as when you try to use a huge two-handed weapon if you're a medium creature. You don't get to 'improvise' it as a smaller weapon.

Well, sometimes there would just be nothing to compare it to. A Huge Longspear could very well be 50 ft long, and saying no to wielding that is in no way the same as saying no to wielding a spear as an improvised club.

But, here your second argument _is_ relevant. You compare for size and damage. A huge weapon is huge. Improvised it would be a huge twohanded weapon dealig 3d6 bludgeoning or piercing damage. With no reach.

Silver Crusade

Ilja wrote:

Well, sometimes there would just be nothing to compare it to. A Huge Longspear could very well be 50 ft long, and saying no to wielding that is in no way the same as saying no to wielding a spear as an improvised club.

But, here your second argument _is_ relevant. You compare for size and damage. A huge weapon is huge. Improvised it would be a huge twohanded weapon dealig 3d6 bludgeoning or piercing damage. With no reach.

So you're happy to ignore the improvised weapon rules in favour of common sense...and then that common sense leads you to say that a huge 50-foot longspear doesn't have reach?

Silver Crusade

The combat rules are a fairly comprehensive set of rules which detail how attacking with a weapon is resolved. They assume that you are attacking with an object designed to be a weapon (herein henceforth known as a 'weapon'), or a natural weapon. Some spell effects operate as weapons, and interact with the combat rules as if they were weapons, as detailed in the spell description.

The rules include how to adjudicate if weapons are or need to be used in one or two hands, what happens if the weapon was made for a creature of different size, how bludgeoning/piercing/slashing weapons interact with the other rules, how special weapon qualities such as 'reach' or 'double' affect the combat rules, how weapon use is affected if the attacker/defender is grappled/pinned, etc. etc.

But what if you attack with an object which was not designed as a weapon? Does that mean I can ignore all or any of the above rules?

No. The improvised weapon rules allow you to attack with an object not designed as a weapon, by interacting with all the combat rules as if it were a weapon. It does this very simply: judge which actual weapon the non-weapon object most resembles, then interact with all the combat rules as if it were that kind of weapon, and suffer a -4 attack penalty, adjust the crit stats to 20/x2, and change any thrown range increment to 10-feet.

What the improvised weapon rules do not do is allow you to ignore the combat rules, nor pick and choose which rules you want to ignore!

Player: I'm using a large shield in my left hand and a greatsword in my right hand.

DM: A greatsword is a two-handed weapon. You require two hands to execute an attack with it.

Player: No problem; I'm using it as an improvised longsword. Don't worry, I'll eat the -4 attack penalty.

*The improvised weapon rules do not allow you to ignore the rules for light/one-handed/two-handed weapons*

Player: I'm picking up the dead giant's colossal longspear and attacking his mate.

DM: The weapon is too big for you to use effectively.

Player: No problem; I'm using it as an improvised longspear designed for a medium creature. Don't worry, I'll eat the -4 attack penalty.

*The improvised weapon rules do not allow you to ignore the rules for using a weapon of inappropriate size*

DM: I'm afraid that your 14 damage doesn't get through the monster's DR15/bludgeoning.

Player: No problem; I'm using my quarterstaff as an improvised greatsword. Don't worry, I'll eat the -4 attack penalty.

*The improvised weapon rules do not allow you to ignore the rules detailing the game stats of each weapon, nor allow you to pretend that your weapon is an entirely different weapon*

Player: I'm attacking the monster. I know it's 10-feet away, but I'm using my dagger as an improvised longspear. Don't worry, I'll eat the -4 attack penalty.

*This is where your common sense should kick in! Improvised weapon uses the stats of the weapon it most resembles, except for the parts that the improvised weapons rule specifically changes, namely:-

-attacks with them are considered non-proficient (even if you are proficient with the weapon it most resembles), and that is the cause of the -4 attack penalty

-the threat range/crit multipler are set to 20/x2, no matter what they would be normally

-if it most resembles a weapon that can be thrown, then the range increment becomes 10-feet, no matter what it would be usually*

Player: I attack the monster with my quarterstaff.

DM: You have been swallowed whole. You can only use light slashing or piercing weapons...

Player: Let me stop you there! I'm using my staff as an improvised dagger. Don't worry, I'll eat the -4 attack penalty.

*The improvised weapon rules do not allow you to ignore the rules for which weapons can or cannot be used when grappled/swallowed whole*

But most of all, most of all, the improvised weapon rules do not allow you to ignore the rules for improvised weapons! Which boil down to:-

1.) They allow you to use an object not designed as a weapon as if it were a weapon. Therefore, the improvised weapon rules do not apply to objects which are weapons.

2.) They allow a non-weapon object to follow the combat rules (not ignore them), and they do this by initially finding the actual weapon that this object most resembles, then use the rules for that weapon (except for the parts which the improvised weapon rules specifically change: proficiency/crit range and multiplier/range increment). Even if you were to ignore the first part, the type of weapon that an actual weapon most resembles is itself! You'd be required to use all the normal rules for that weapon (including reach, size and everything else), apart from proficiency/crit range and multiplier/range increment.

This is the rules forum. I can't tell you that you are not allowed to make an exception in your own game to allow a player to get around the rules for reach by improvising his weapon as a different weapon, but I can tell you that this is not allowed in the Pathfinder rules; you are houseruling. I don't want any reader to be deceived into thinking that the rules say that you can use the improvised weapon rules to ignore any combat rule that you want.


I think you guys are over-thinking this. Magic weapons and armor are use activated items, much like wands. If you don't use the item, you don't gain its benefit.

"Use Activated: This type of item simply has to be used in order to activate it. A character has to drink a potion, swing a sword, interpose a shield to deflect a blow in combat, look through a lens, sprinkle dust, wear a ring, or don a hat."

If you look at the description of the defending quality:

"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."

It specifically states that you have to use the weapon. Nobody uses a weapon by merely holding it in their hand. So no attack = no benefit from a defending weapon.


Its not just the defending property that is affected by "weilding". Look at two weapon defense. Since you can only use both weapons in a full attack, do you not get the bonus when move more than 5 feet?

I'm in the camp of weilding = capable of making an attack camp.


Wielding a weapon is using a weapon with the intent to injure, not just holding it in your hand. It's actively presenting your weapon in such a manner as to deter an opponent from attacking you.

Look at total defense, you do not threaten any squares near you when you use it. That's because you are not using the weapon with the intent of injuring anyone.

So in the case of the guy that holds a staff or wears a scarf while focusing on punching and kicking people, it's fairly obvious that he's not threatening anyone with anything but his unarmed strikes.

In the case of the Staff Magus and Bladed Scarf Dancer, I'd rule that at least one of your attacks must be with your staff or scarf in order to gain the benefits of Quarterstaff Defense or Canny Defense.

I can run around with a shield on my back all day long, doesn't mean that I'm using it to defend myself.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Stuff...

So, if you had a spear head, with no shaft, could you wield it as an improvised dagger? Yes.

If you had an eight foot long pole, could you wield it as an improvised club or quarterstaff? Again, yes.

But, for some reason, if you attach one to the other, you lose the ability to improvise with the object? Ridiculous.

What if you just had a statue or decorative spear? Or a ceremonial tool, not designed to be used as an actual weapon? You are using a single word, in a single clause, of a very abbreviated section of the rules to override not only common sense, but the verisimilitude of the game.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Lets stop that right here. If it is a ceremonial or decorative item that resembles a weapon, one can use the improvised rules to use that piece as a weapon. The item itself is not considered a weapon because it was not manufactured to be used as one.

The pole would be a quarterstaff or a staff equivalent, depending on how big it is. (I would think it would be called something else to be an equivalent club?)

The Spearhead was manufactured to be used in concert with the shaft, so using it as an improvised dagger is withing the scope of the improvised weapon rule.

A little common sense would be used to know what is a weapon verses something that is not meant to be used as such.

The GM could also have you use the decorative spear as a spear with a -2 penalty for being of unusual make (an adjustment with the Size Rules parallel)


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
This is the rules forum. I can't tell you that you are not allowed to make an exception in your own game to allow a player to get around the rules for reach by improvising his weapon as a different weapon, but I can tell you that this is not allowed in the Pathfinder rules; you are houseruling. I don't want any reader to be deceived into thinking that the rules say that you can use the improvised weapon rules to ignore any combat rule that you want.

First and foremost, the only person here who's implying anything about "ignoring any combat rule you want" is you. Your attempts in your examples to 'ad absurdum' what your opposition is saying aren't reducing their arguments to the absurd; instead, your responses are just absurd in and of themselves and have slipped into the realm of post hoc fallacies.

No one has argued that you can use a quarterstaff as an improvised dagger or greatsword; no one has argued that you can ignore the rules on weapon types (two-handed) or size. No one except you, that is. The rest of us haven't argued it because half your examples violate common sense (see below) and the other half violate explicit rules that don't violate common sense when applied.

To quote SKR:

SKR wrote:
Assuming the GM has common sense allows us to have a 576-page rulebook instead of a 1,200-page rulebook.

The moment that you no longer are interpreting the rules with common sense, you are no longer arguing RAW. And claiming that because it's a dagger or a sword, you can't punch someone in the forehead with the hilt (a common maneuver in martial blade styles), or that you cannot butt someone in the chest with the haft of your polearm (again, a common combat maneuver), means that you're not longer interpreting the rules with common sense.

Silver Crusade

Xaratherus wrote:
First and foremost, the only person here who's implying anything about "ignoring any combat rule you want" is you.

There are those on this thread who claim that the rules allow you to ignore the rules for reach weapons and the rules for improvised weapons.

Quote:
No one has argued that you can use a quarterstaff as an improvised dagger or greatsword; no one has argued that you can ignore the rules on weapon types (two-handed) or size.

They have argued that you can use a longspear as an improvised club, breaking the rules for improvised weapons in two ways, and breaking the rules for reach weapons.

Someone has also argued that you can use a huge, 50-foot longspear as an improvised (medium) club, without reach. This violates the improvised weapon rules in two ways, the rules for reach weapons and the rules for using a weapon of inappropriate size.

Quote:
The moment that you no longer are interpreting the rules with common sense, you are no longer arguing RAW. And claiming that because it's a dagger or a sword, you can't punch someone in the forehead with the hilt (a common maneuver in martial blade styles), or that you cannot butt someone in the chest with the haft of your polearm (again, a common combat maneuver), means that you're not longer interpreting the rules with common sense.

Common sense =/= RAW.

Some things are common sense and crazy to think otherwise (the dead taking actions). Some things are thought of as common sense but are interpreted in exactly opposite ways (the paladin's detect evil).

I'm using a greatsword. I'm swallowed whole. I don't have room to swing it two-handed, but surely I can grab it near the point and use it to scratch a hole? That's common sense, right?

Now I'm out I want to attack someone 10-feet away. It's a six-foot blade and my arms are 3-feet long; that's close enough, right? It's only common sense!

I'm not saying that a DM can't make rulings on the fly to cope with situations not described in the rules. Nor am I saying that a DM can't alter rules if he wants to. I do that myself. But what I don't do is come on the rules forum and claim that my made-up/altered rule is RAW no matter how much sense it might make to me.

The example that started this, using a reach weapon as an improvised non-reach weapon, may be seen as common sense by some. But to others it's seen as cheating. If I cornered that spear-wielder and attacked from adjacent, i'd be furious if the DM changed the rules on the fly to allow him to attack me with his spear by mis-using the improvised weapon rules!

Quote:
Pole Fighting (Ex): At 2nd level, as an immediate action, a polearm master can shorten the grip on his spear or polearm with reach and use it against adjacent targets. This action results in a –4 penalty on attack rolls with that weapon until he spends another immediate action to return to the normal grip. The penalty is reduced by –1 for every four levels beyond 2nd. This ability replaces bravery.

It takes a special ability to do this. Therefore, without that special ability, you cannot.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Quote:
Pole Fighting (Ex): At 2nd level, as an immediate action, a polearm master can shorten the grip on his spear or polearm with reach and use it against adjacent targets. This action results in a –4 penalty on attack rolls with that weapon until he spends another immediate action to return to the normal grip. The penalty is reduced by –1 for every four levels beyond 2nd. This ability replaces bravery.
It takes a special ability to do this. Therefore, without that special ability, you cannot.

It takes a special ability to do this as an immediate action. Without the special ability you cannot do this as an immediate action. Without the special ability readying any weapon is a move action.


colemcm wrote:

Look at total defense, you do not threaten any squares near you when you use it. That's because you are not using the weapon with the intent of injuring anyone.

This is not correct. Total defense removes your ability to make AoO's. It makes no mention of whether you threaten or not. There was another thread about this exact issue, in which some made the claim that you stopped threatening as a result of total defense, or being unable to make AoO's because the target had total concealment, or you'd used them all up in the turn etc. If you are interested in that discussion and the for/against sides I'll leave it to you to find the thread. But strict RAW total defense only does what it says it does - prevents you from taking AoO's.

Silver Crusade

What is 'readying a weapon'?


Quantum Steve wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Quote:
Pole Fighting (Ex): At 2nd level, as an immediate action, a polearm master can shorten the grip on his spear or polearm with reach and use it against adjacent targets. This action results in a –4 penalty on attack rolls with that weapon until he spends another immediate action to return to the normal grip. The penalty is reduced by –1 for every four levels beyond 2nd. This ability replaces bravery.
It takes a special ability to do this. Therefore, without that special ability, you cannot.
It takes a special ability to do this as an immediate action. Without the special ability you cannot do this as an immediate action. Without the special ability readying any weapon is a move action.

Depends on what you mean by readying a weapon. Drawing a weapon is normally a move action. Holding a two handed sword in one hand, then placing your other hand on it (hence you could now attack with it, because it is ready by the common meaning of the word) is a free action per the FAQ. Other scenarios might take other actions depending on circumstances, weapon type, etc.


bbangerter wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Quote:
Pole Fighting (Ex): At 2nd level, as an immediate action, a polearm master can shorten the grip on his spear or polearm with reach and use it against adjacent targets. This action results in a –4 penalty on attack rolls with that weapon until he spends another immediate action to return to the normal grip. The penalty is reduced by –1 for every four levels beyond 2nd. This ability replaces bravery.
It takes a special ability to do this. Therefore, without that special ability, you cannot.
It takes a special ability to do this as an immediate action. Without the special ability you cannot do this as an immediate action. Without the special ability readying any weapon is a move action.
Depends on what you mean by readying a weapon. Drawing a weapon is normally a move action. Holding a two handed sword in one hand, then placing your other hand on it (hence you could now attack with it, because it is ready by the common meaning of the word) is a free action per the FAQ. Other scenarios might take other actions depending on circumstances, weapon type, etc.

Putting a hand on or removing it from a greatsword, in both instances you are weilding the same weapon, the greatsword.

To go from wielding one weapon (a long spear) to an entirely different weapon (an improvised club) is a move action.

Actually, though, my post is incorrect. The Pole Fighting ability allows you to use a polearm to attack adjacent, you take a -4 penalty, but you are still using the polearm. Any bonuses you get from using the polearm will still be applied.
Without the ability you can't you a polearm to attack adjacent at all. You'd have to switch to a different improvised weapon. It's an entirely different (and inferior) way to attack adjacent.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
What is 'readying a weapon'?

Edit: My original reply was inappropriate.

It's the same as drawing a weapon. I didn't use 'draw' because that term might imply the weapon was sheathed which is not necessarily true. To go from "not holding the weapon" to "holding and ready to use the weapon" one must first draw it.


bbangerter wrote:
colemcm wrote:

Look at total defense, you do not threaten any squares near you when you use it. That's because you are not using the weapon with the intent of injuring anyone.

This is not correct. Total defense removes your ability to make AoO's. It makes no mention of whether you threaten or not. There was another thread about this exact issue, in which some made the claim that you stopped threatening as a result of total defense, or being unable to make AoO's because the target had total concealment, or you'd used them all up in the turn etc. If you are interested in that discussion and the for/against sides I'll leave it to you to find the thread. But strict RAW total defense only does what it says it does - prevents you from taking AoO's.

Fair enough. I can see the need for the distinction. However, negating that point does not negate my point about what it means to wield a weapon.

Holding a weapon in my hand is not the same as threatening someone with a weapon in my hand. Anyone who's ever trained to use a weapon will tell you this.

In the English language, to wield a weapon means to use a weapon. It's not really any more complicated than that.

Silver Crusade

Quote:
To go from wielding one weapon (a long spear) to an entirely different weapon (an improvised club) is a move action.

Er....you can drop your polearm on the floor as a free action, and use a move action to draw a sheathed weapon.

Draw Or Sheath A Weapon wrote:
Drawing a weapon so that you can use it in combat, or putting it away so that you have a free hand, requires a move action. This action also applies to weapon-like objects carried in easy reach, such as wands.

Whether an object that is specifically not a weapon (as an improvised weapon must be) counts as 'weapon-like' is extremely debatable. However, you already have the required number of hands on the polearm. You don't need to 'ready' it again.

There is no rule which allows you to spend a move action to treat your weapon as if it were a different weapon, nor allows you to treat it as if it weren't a weapon and simultaneously try to claim it's not a weapon but an improvised weapon and the weapon it most resembles is not the polearm that it is.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
There is no rule which allows you to spend a move action to treat your weapon as if it were a different weapon, nor allows you to treat it as if it weren't a weapon and simultaneously try to claim it's not a weapon but an improvised weapon and the weapon it most resembles is not the polearm that it is.

This is a better argument, but the rules don't say, "treat this as an improvised version of the weapon it most resembles."

What is says is, "To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match."

So, a spear wielded as an improvised club is a two-handed weapon that deals 1d8 damage.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:


There is no rule which allows you to spend a move action to treat your weapon as if it were a different weapon, nor allows you to treat it as if it weren't a weapon and simultaneously try to claim it's not a weapon but an improvised weapon and the weapon it most resembles is not the polearm that it is.

Well the move action bit is my interpretation, but when you use an object in a manner other than intended as a makeshift weapon, well there's pretty clearly a rule for that.

Furthermore, when you use an object, or weapon, other than the way in which it was intended, the weapon it most closely resembles when used in that fashion is not necessarily the object, or weapon,it is.
For example, an arrow used as a melee weapon more closely resembles a dagger than an arrow. A bow used as a melee weapon would more closely resemble a club. A rapier held by the pointy end wouldn't function very well as a rapier, but it might function like a different weapon.

After all, the only difference between a long spear and a long stick is a bit of sharpened metal. That bit of metal should stop you from using a spear in all the ways you could use a stick.

Silver Crusade

Quantum Steve wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:


There is no rule which allows you to spend a move action to treat your weapon as if it were a different weapon, nor allows you to treat it as if it weren't a weapon and simultaneously try to claim it's not a weapon but an improvised weapon and the weapon it most resembles is not the polearm that it is.

Well the move action bit is my interpretation, but when you use an object in a manner other than intended as a makeshift weapon, well there's pretty clearly a rule for that.

Furthermore, when you use an object, or weapon, other than the way in which it was intended, the weapon it most closely resembles when used in that fashion is not necessarily the object, or weapon,it is.
For example, an arrow used as a melee weapon more closely resembles a dagger than an arrow. A bow used as a melee weapon would more closely resemble a club. A rapier held by the pointy end wouldn't function very well as a rapier, but it might function like a different weapon.

After all, the only difference between a long spear and a long stick is a bit of sharpened metal. That bit of metal should stop you from using a spear in all the ways you could use a stick.

I'm sure that seems reasonable to you, but let me be clear: your use of a weapon as if it weren't a weapon is not in the rules.

Silver Crusade

The Crusader wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
There is no rule which allows you to spend a move action to treat your weapon as if it were a different weapon, nor allows you to treat it as if it weren't a weapon and simultaneously try to claim it's not a weapon but an improvised weapon and the weapon it most resembles is not the polearm that it is.

This is a better argument, but the rules don't say, "treat this as an improvised version of the weapon it most resembles."

What is says is, "To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match."

So, a spear wielded as an improvised club is a two-handed weapon that deals 1d8 damage.

You missed the important part:-

Improvised Weapons wrote:
Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat.

Therefore, a weapon is not eligible to use the improvised weapon rules.


If you are proficient with a weapon surely when you are holding it you are always wielding it - because its become second nature. What sort of Fighter would pick up a weapon in a way other than how he/she is habitually used to wielding it?

Silver Crusade

Quantum Steve wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Quote:
Pole Fighting (Ex): At 2nd level, as an immediate action, a polearm master can shorten the grip on his spear or polearm with reach and use it against adjacent targets. This action results in a –4 penalty on attack rolls with that weapon until he spends another immediate action to return to the normal grip. The penalty is reduced by –1 for every four levels beyond 2nd. This ability replaces bravery.
It takes a special ability to do this. Therefore, without that special ability, you cannot.
It takes a special ability to do this as an immediate action. Without the special ability you cannot do this as an immediate action. Without the special ability readying any weapon is a move action.

It's a special ability for the polearm master, which is not available to anyone without a special ability that allows them to do that.

Saying that because polearm masters can do it as an immediate action, therefore anyone must be able to do it as a move action, is one of the most spurious bits of logic I've ever seen. It's the equivalent of saying that because barbarians have the special ability to rage as a free action, that therefore anyone can rage as a move action!

It's not the ability to do it as an immediate action which is special, it's that they can do it at all!


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Saying that because polearm masters can do it as an immediate action, therefore anyone must be able to do it as a move action, is one of the most spurious bits of logic I've ever seen

You're really going to call someone else's logic spurious when you're proposing that because of a single line in the rules, you can't hit someone with a long stick when that that long stick happens to have a metal point on the end?

When you've thrown common sense that far to the horizon, you're no longer discussing RAW. I'm just going to keep repeating the whole "the designers want us to read the rules with common sense engaged", because while you're arguing that we're leading people astray by discussing what you label house rules, I personally feel that the pedantic and completely-lacking-in-common-sense nature of your argument does the same thing.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

You missed the important part:-

Improvised Weapons wrote:
Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat.

Which would include knives, gauntlets, stakes, staves, axes, hammers, picks, tridents, scythes, sickles, nunchaka, whips, chains, harpoons, ropes, nets, shields, and yes... spears.

Since these were all created for uses other than as weapons, I suppose everyone now takes -4 when wielding them. At least we can improvise...

Seriously, if you broke a spear in half you could wield it as a club and a shortspear. If you took it apart, you could wield it as a staff or greatclub and a dagger. According to you, the only way "the rules" prevent you from improvising is if the weapon is whole and usable, which is absurd.

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