Do 'Improvised' Weapons Threaten?


Rules Questions

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Silver Crusade

MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
X^2 = 9. If the question is "What is the one correct value of X?", the only logical answer is "It cannot be determined", because X could be 3 or -3, and both are equally valid. That is where the rules are now. You are essentially saying that it must be true that either 3 or -3 is the right answer, so we have to ask additional questions in order to answer the question. I'm saying we've already got a sufficient answer, and there's no need to discard it in favor of another simply because you don't like it.

The square root of nine has two valid answers: +3 and -3.

The question of whether improvised weapons threaten has more than one possible answer: it could be 'yes' or 'no' (in which case we have our answer, one which you can ignore if you want), or it could be 'it depends', in which case asking what it depends upon is the next question.

Whether you want to know the answer doesn't concern me. Whether I want to know shouldn't concern you, yet astonishingly you are still trying to convince me that I shouldn't seek rules clarification. You know that you won't change my mind, so your continued attempts to do so are simply about your own ego.

There is a difference between this thread and the other: in this, I genuinely don't know (or believe I know) what the answer is, and I do want to know the answer, even if that answer leads to further questions.

While you are trying to convince me that the rules don't matter, or that the PDT have no authority to tell us what the rules are, I have no interest in telling you how to play or what questions you can or can't ask. But I would like you to stop interfering with my quest to learn the rules.

Shadow Lodge

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MrTsFloatinghead wrote:


Note the parts in bold. What I am saying is that these two concepts are NOT the same thing. I'm not saying that the devs don't have authority to clarify their intent, I'm saying that their intent is NOT necessarily the same thing as "what the rules mean", and that it is not a good idea to act like they are absolutely and objectively the same. That's what I was pointing out in my last post in the other thread - that you and Malachi are so closely wedded to this assumption that RAI = RAW that even though Malachi repeatedly explicitly clarified that he wanted only RAW, you and he both considered it "obvious" that he really meant RAI. Further, this is why you both, I think, keep acting like my statement that RAI doesn't matter to me is tantamount to throwing out the rules altogether, when I, at least, see a pretty clear distinction. Finally, it also explains why you think I'm being hypocritical, when I'm really not. My stance is not "You are wrong to equate RAI with RAW", it's "You are wrong to equate RAI with RAW UNIVERSALLY". I'm not saying you are wrong to value RAI personally, or that you are wrong to treat RAI as RAW in your own games. I'm saying that you are wrong to ignore that doing so is a choice, not an automatic given, and that making a different choice is exactly as valid as yours.

This does seem to be where our differences lie. We mean different things when we use the terms RAI and RAW. When I use the term "rules as written" I am referring to the explicit and implicit meaning of the words intended by the author. When I use the term "rules as intended" I am referring to the intended mechanical outcome desired by the author. Sometimes the developers make a decision on how something should work and word it appropriately but an unintended consequence they didn't foresee results. What they intended to write and what they intended to happen are two different things. What they intended to write is, to me, RAW. What they intended to happen as a result of what they wrote, to me, is RAI. So that is where our confusion is coming in.

Edit: Trying to explain that made my head hurt and I'm still not sure I explained myself very well. Maybe I'm not qualified to interpret my own posts after all! LOL

I'm out to go play some Pathfinder Munckin. I'm sure you will all be here tomorrow to argue more rules. Enjoy your evening!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Whether I want to know shouldn't concern you, yet astonishingly you are still trying to convince me that I shouldn't seek rules clarification.

I. AM. NOT. SAYING. YOU. SHOULD. NOT. ASK. ABOUT. THE. INTENT. OF. THE. RULES.

(typing that way sucks)

Seriously, I'm NOT telling you not to ask about the intent of the rules. I'm not even saying you shouldn't follow dev clarifications if you want to. All I am saying is that you are asking a question that boils down to "What are the right rules to play with?", which is a question steeped in judgement and assumptions, even if that wasn't your intent. Even worded as "I want to know what the rules actually are", you are still presuming that because the intent of the devs is the same thing as "what the rules actually are" to YOU, then they must necessarily be the same thing to ME, and while I am free to think otherwise in my home game, in the context of the objective reality of the rules, I am "wrong" to disagree. The indignation that you keep tossing my way at the idea that I'm somehow telling you that the way you are playing is wrong? That's how I feel about what you are doing. The difference is that I'm really, really not focused on how you play at all. Instead, I'm suggesting that the question you are really asking should be "Because I prefer to base my game as closely as possible on the designer's intent, I would like to know what the intent was for <situation>." Please explain to me what is so outlandish about that?

This isn't merely academic, by the way. This distinction, I think, goes to the very heart of what I see as a set of assumptions that aren't healthy for the game overall. I feel like the inability to see a distinction between viewpoints on rules as anything other than a question with only one "right" answer is more or less setting up every rules discussion as a contest where we all have to fight to persuade the overlords in the PDT that our opinion is best. Victory means a favorable FAQ, while failure means being cast out and exiled to the land of silly house rules (may the odds be ever in your favor!).

You are right about one thing, though - it's clear at this point that I'll likely never get you to understand what I'm trying to say. That's okay, though, because at this point, I feel like I've made my case strongly and clearly enough that it can stand on its own merits.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
PatientWolf wrote:
Trying to explain that made my head hurt and I'm still not sure I explained myself very well. Maybe I'm not qualified to interpret my own posts after all! LOL

No, I get it, and I want to be absolutely one hundred percent clear on this point: The way you are playing is totally awesome and fine, and can, I think, result in excellent game sessions and make everyone go home happy. I have no problem with anyone choosing to play that way, as long as everyone is having fun at the table, and nobody is trying to use the rules of the game as a weapon against another player (or the GM). Lest that last bit sound like a backhanded attempt to insinuate that your method is especially vulnerable to those flaws, I would make the same caveat with any method, most especially my own. In short, I stipulate that the way you are playing is unreservedly good.

Now, the other shoe: I just don't interpret the rules the same way. Again, you are not wrong, I just don't look at them that way, because I prefer to trust my own intuition about how the rules can best serve the game I'm trying to play, and the story I'm trying to tell. My objection here is NOT that you are playing it your way, it's that the way rules questions seeking dev clarification are being framed is, unintentionally or not, a de facto claim that such clarifications ARE the rules universally, instead of being "merely" the rules for your group (and any others that prefer to interpret the rules your way).

Silver Crusade

...well...now that that's all been explained...!

...does anyone have any clues as to the question: do improvised weapons threaten?

If, like me, you don't know but would like to know, please hit FAQ. : )


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Of course improvised weapons threaten. That's not a question you're going to get answered. Better is "When is a held object treated as a wielded improvised weapon ?"


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

...well...now that that's all been explained...!

...does anyone have any clues as to the question:was the intent for improvised weapons threaten?

If, like me, you don't know but would like to know, please hit FAQ. : )


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
X^2 = 9. If the question is "What is the one correct value of X?", the only logical answer is "It cannot be determined", because X could be 3 or -3, and both are equally valid. That is where the rules are now. You are essentially saying that it must be true that either 3 or -3 is the right answer, so we have to ask additional questions in order to answer the question. I'm saying we've already got a sufficient answer, and there's no need to discard it in favor of another simply because you don't like it.

The square root of nine has two valid answers: +3 and -3.

The question of whether improvised weapons threaten has more than one possible answer: it could be 'yes' or 'no' (in which case we have our answer, one which you can ignore if you want), or it could be 'it depends', in which case asking what it depends upon is the next question.

The answer is Yes and No.

Can you threaten with an improvised weapon? Yes and No.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

...well...now that that's all been explained...!

...does anyone have any clues as to the question: do improvised weapons threaten?

If, like me, you don't know but would like to know, please hit FAQ. : )

How have you been handling it up to this point? Oh? Cool. That working well for you? Yeah? Well, that is your answer.


PatientWolf wrote:
Avatar-1 wrote:

I don't know where the idea of "wielding" and "holding" being different is coming from.

If you are holding an improvised weapon (ala any object), and you want to threaten with it, you can. You don't have to declare that you're holding or wielding it just the same as if you're holding or wielding an actual weapon.

There's still a -4 to attack, and it's probably not going to do great damage, but it's enough to flank.

By that standard you always threaten adjacent squares if you are holding anything at all. Holding a scarf...you threaten because you could use it as a whip. Sitting at your desk writing you threaten all adjacent squares because you are holding a quill. I don't believe that is the intent and that is why I, and others, think that wielding is different than holding.

I think the problem isn't as big as some here make it to be. When someone is going about their business and suddenly combat breaks out he is, very likely, surprised and it doesn't matter whether he is threatening with whatever he's holding. Then, in the first normal round of combat, he is still flat-footed until he had a chance to act. And after that point it can be assumed that most people wound hold stuff in a way that makes them less helpless, which includes threatening. Even if said people would forgoe their AoOs most of the time. (if they are civilians and have something akin the docile trait horsed have.)


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I hit the FAQ. While in general i agree with the floating head, "what is wielding?" is such a very cornerstone of the rules that it should have had a clear answer in the cire rulebook.

The whole "what is a weapon" and "what is wielding" iss IMO paizos biggest screw-up. Such basic aspects of combat, that are central to hundreds of other rules, shouldd have mechanical definitions - though those definitions shouöd preferably include some "use common sense" language.

Silver Crusade

Remy Balster wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
X^2 = 9. If the question is "What is the one correct value of X?", the only logical answer is "It cannot be determined", because X could be 3 or -3, and both are equally valid. That is where the rules are now. You are essentially saying that it must be true that either 3 or -3 is the right answer, so we have to ask additional questions in order to answer the question. I'm saying we've already got a sufficient answer, and there's no need to discard it in favor of another simply because you don't like it.

The square root of nine has two valid answers: +3 and -3.

The question of whether improvised weapons threaten has more than one possible answer: it could be 'yes' or 'no' (in which case we have our answer, one which you can ignore if you want), or it could be 'it depends', in which case asking what it depends upon is the next question.

The answer is Yes and No.

Can you threaten with an improvised weapon? Yes and No.

Under what circumstances is it 'yes', and under what circumstances is it 'no'?

Silver Crusade

Remy Balster wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

...well...now that that's all been explained...!

...does anyone have any clues as to the question: do improvised weapons threaten?

If, like me, you don't know but would like to know, please hit FAQ. : )

How have you been handling it up to this point? Oh? Cool. That working well for you? Yeah? Well, that is your answer.

Actually, in 15 years of d20, it's never come up.

If the devs rule that you may use a reach weapon to attack at 5-feet as an improvised weapon, it suddenly becomes very important to know the right answer.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Remy Balster wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

...well...now that that's all been explained...!

...does anyone have any clues as to the question: do improvised weapons threaten?

If, like me, you don't know but would like to know, please hit FAQ. : )

How have you been handling it up to this point? Oh? Cool. That working well for you? Yeah? Well, that is your answer.

No that isn't an answer and jerkish comments like that are designed to just stir up drama not meaningfully contribute to the discussion.

If Malachi wants to know how the experienced game designers on the Pathfinder Development Team actually meant for this to work who do you think you are to imply he shouldn't ask? We have already covered over and over again and everyone completely agrees that if something is working well for your game you are free to keep doing it and aren't a slave to the rules (organized play is a different story but not relevant here). Those who, for whatever reason or even no reason, want to know what the actual rules are and want developer input don't need you popping into every thread to spout this kind of inane and unhelpful comment.

Shadow Lodge

Ilja wrote:

I hit the FAQ. While in general i agree with the floating head, "what is wielding?" is such a very cornerstone of the rules that it should have had a clear answer in the cire rulebook.

The whole "what is a weapon" and "what is wielding" iss IMO paizos biggest screw-up. Such basic aspects of combat, that are central to hundreds of other rules, shouldd have mechanical definitions - though those definitions shouöd preferably include some "use common sense" language.

I don't necessarily agree with the part about "what is a weapon" but there is no doubt they really need to define "what is wielding". Unfortunately, since they use it different ways in different places I'm not sure they can give it just one definition. I don't know how they can fix it without clarifying every instance where it occurs which would be prohibitively time consuming and complicated.


PatientWolf wrote:
Remy Balster wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

...well...now that that's all been explained...!

...does anyone have any clues as to the question: do improvised weapons threaten?

If, like me, you don't know but would like to know, please hit FAQ. : )

How have you been handling it up to this point? Oh? Cool. That working well for you? Yeah? Well, that is your answer.

No that isn't an answer and jerkish comments like that are designed to just stir up drama not meaningfully contribute to the discussion.

If Malachi wants to know how the experienced game designers on the Pathfinder Development Team actually meant for this to work who do you think you are to imply he shouldn't ask? We have already covered over and over again and everyone completely agrees that if something is working well for your game you are free to keep doing it and aren't a slave to the rules (organized play is a different story but not relevant here). Those who, for whatever reason or even no reason, want to know what the actual rules are and want developer input don't need you popping into every thread to spout this kind of inane and unhelpful comment.

Excuse me?

If Malachi wants to know what the developers think why doesn't he ask them directly? Is this an open forum for rules discussions or a beg the devs for answer wait-list?

I'm providing an answer, whether you care to see it or not. I'm contributing to the discussion. Don't try to dictate to me what I can or cannot discuss.

The answer to the question is: Yes and No.

If you read the threaten rules as unarmed = no weapon, then No.
If you read the threaten rules as unarmed = nothing useable as a weapon, then Yes.

Both are perfectly valid, both are completely true.

That is the answer. So, whatever is working for you for the last however many years you have been playing the game is probably the right answer. What does your GM say? That is the right answer. What do you say as a GM? That is the right answer.

It really is okay for the right answer to be both Yes and No.

The rules don't cover everything explicitly, they empower us as players and GMs to make calls. This is one of those cases. That is fine.

Malachi just said it has never come up in 15 years for him. Guess what? That is probably a sign that whatever the answer is... doesn't even matter. Whatever he and he peeps decide to roll with IS the right answer to the question.

You wanna talk about the pros and cons of the two answers? We can do that. You wanna talk about why you feel one answer is better than the other? We can do that. There are a lot of questions we could ask. But to the question which one is the right one….

Both are. Just like the answer to X^2, X= -3, and 3. Both are true. That is the answer to that question. Maybe you don’t like that answer? Truth doesn’t care if you agree with it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

This would be something that comes up for say, the Monk of the Empty Hand.

I'd hate to take something else away from the Monk.

Shadow Lodge

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Remy Balster wrote:


I'm providing an answer, whether you care to see it or not. I'm contributing to the discussion. Don't try to dictate to me what I can or cannot discuss.

The only answer you are giving is completely irrelevant to this forum. This forum is for determining what the rules actually are not to discuss "what do you do in your game". What Malachi does in his game and what I do in my game at home and whether it works for my group is utterly irrelevant to what the rules of the game actually are. So saying "Does what you are doing now work? Well that is the answer". No it isn't no matter how many times you continue spout it and you know it.

The answer to the question is not Yes and No either. Both answers are not equally valid and true. Both interpretations are possible but only one can be true from an actual RAW standpoint.

Shadow Lodge

blackbloodtroll wrote:

This would be something that comes up for say, the Monk of the Empty Hand.

I'd hate to take something else away from the Monk.

Yes but you don't want to make them too powerful either.

If you say they that improvised weapons can't threaten at all it kills the Monk of the Empty Hand.

If you say that anytime you hold an object at all you are threatening with an improvised weapon I think you make them too powerful because then they almost always threaten.

There has to be a middle ground I think.


Patientwolf: "the rules are unclear, use whatever suits your game, ive found this works best" isnt wrong to post in this forum. It is called the rules questions forum, and is for asking and answering questions about rules - afaik, there is no forum rule that dictates that only straight RAW clear answers must be given.

Its name "rules questions", not "RAWy RAW legalistic analysises".

You might say that is the intent of the rules question forum rules, but its not the RAW ;)


Also, the middle groud im hoping for and that i think is fairly close to rai:
You have two hands. You canwield stuff in those hands. When you wield you threaten. Light and 1h weapons require one hand. 2h weapons require two hands. Switching grip to change what you wield is a free action as long as you have the weapons ready for use such as holding them (but not wielding). Improvised weapons work like any other.


PatientWolf wrote:
blahpers wrote:


I don't really have a problem with that. The GM calls all the shots when it comes to the effectiveness of an improvised weapon. A quill could do, e.g., 1d3-8 damage on a successful hit, and a scarf could do zero period. Combat maneuver? Sure, as long as you take the -4 to hit for the improvised weapon.
I am just very wary of allowing a character to always threaten. It just seems to be begging for a power gamer to find a way to exploit. Also that seems to make Monk of the Empty Hand more powerful than intended if they are always threatening because now that improvised scarf can do damage, and do lethal damage, and of any damage type.

All you need to always threaten is Improved Unarmed Strike. Not sure how that's begging for an exploit. MotEH is fairly underwhelming, even more so if it never threatened.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
PatientWolf wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

This would be something that comes up for say, the Monk of the Empty Hand.

I'd hate to take something else away from the Monk.

Yes but you don't want to make them too powerful either.

If you say they that improvised weapons can't threaten at all it kills the Monk of the Empty Hand.

If you say that anytime you hold an object at all you are threatening with an improvised weapon I think you make them too powerful because then they almost always threaten.

There has to be a middle ground I think.

Um, they already have Improved Unarmed Strike, so they do, at least with unarmed strikes.

Shadow Lodge

Ilja wrote:

Also, the middle groud im hoping for and that i think is fairly close to rai:

You have two hands. You canwield stuff in those hands. When you wield you threaten. Light and 1h weapons require one hand. 2h weapons require two hands. Switching grip to change what you wield is a free action as long as you have the weapons ready for use such as holding them (but not wielding). Improvised weapons work like any other.

So would you consider a Monk of the Empty hand to be constantly threatening all adjacent areas whenever he has anything in his hand?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

A Monk of the Empty hand is constantly threatening all adjacent areas, even when he has nothing in his hand.

The question, is if he is holding something, does he threaten with the held object?

Shadow Lodge

blackbloodtroll wrote:
PatientWolf wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

This would be something that comes up for say, the Monk of the Empty Hand.

I'd hate to take something else away from the Monk.

Yes but you don't want to make them too powerful either.

If you say they that improvised weapons can't threaten at all it kills the Monk of the Empty Hand.

If you say that anytime you hold an object at all you are threatening with an improvised weapon I think you make them too powerful because then they almost always threaten.

There has to be a middle ground I think.

Um, they already have Improved Unarmed Strike, so they do, at least with unarmed strikes.

Yes but a normal Monk with their unarmed strikes can't just decide from round to round what damage type they want to do. I had thought of that as something of a trade off. However, once combat starts realistically the Monk is always going to be using whatever he is carrying as a weapon. So I guess you are right.

Shadow Lodge

blackbloodtroll wrote:

A Monk of the Empty hand is constantly threatening all adjacent areas, even when he has nothing in his hand.

The question, is if he is holding something, does he threaten with the held object?

You know. I had never noticed that a Monk of the Empty Hand doesn't lose Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. I've been misreading that this entire time. You are correct. So it does seem to be intended that if you are holding something that can be used as an improvised weapon that you do threaten adjacent areas.


Note that damage type, size and damageis decided ad hoc and done by comparing to other weapons. A scarf has less damage potential than any other weapon, includi an unarmed strike, so damage should be at the most 1, and damage type S, like a really really lame whip. If it is even determined to have reasonabledamage potential to be used as a weapon.

Shadow Lodge

Ilja wrote:
Note that damage type, size and damageis decided ad hoc and done by comparing to other weapons. A scarf has less damage potential than any other weapon, includi an unarmed strike, so damage should be at the most 1, and damage type S, like a really really lame whip. If it is even determined to have reasonabledamage potential to be used as a weapon.

I realize this thread isn't just about Monk of the Empty hand but since they stand to benefit or lose the most by how this is handled I keep referencing them. A Monk of the Empty Hand treats all improvised weapons as either a light hammer, a club or a quarterstaff. So that scarf in the hands of a monk of the empty hands is either a light or one handed weapon weapon and does damage accordingly. Furthermore, at 3rd level he can do whatever damage type he desires.

However, as BBT pointed out it really doesn't change their capabilities to allow them to threaten all the time because they do anyway with their unarmed strikes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
If the devs rule that you may use a reach weapon to attack at 5-feet as an improvised weapon, it suddenly becomes mildly interesting to know the what the original intent was.
PatientWolf wrote:
The answer Malachi and I want to the question is only Yes or No regardless of what the rules text actually says. Both answers are not equally what the designers intended. Both interpretations are possible but only one can be true from an actual RAI standpoint.

Silver Crusade

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MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
If the devs rule that you may use a reach weapon to attack at 5-feet as an improvised weapon, it suddenly becomes mildly interesting to know the what the original intent was.
PatientWolf wrote:
The answer Malachi and I want to the question is only Yes or No regardless of what the rules text actually says. Both answers are not equally what the designers intended. Both interpretations are possible but only one can be true from an actual RAI standpoint.

Your copy/pasting skills leave a lot to be desired.

It seems you're more interesting in playing semantic games for your own amusement/ego than of helping answer the question.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
If the devs rule that you may use a reach weapon to attack at 5-feet as an improvised weapon, it suddenly becomes mildly interesting to know the what the original intent was.
PatientWolf wrote:
The answer Malachi and I want to the question is only Yes or No regardless of what the rules text actually says. Both answers are not equally what the designers intended. Both interpretations are possible but only one can be true from an actual RAI standpoint.

Your copy/pasting skills leave a lot to be desired.

It seems you're more interesting in playing semantic games for your own amusement/ego than of helping answer the question.

Did a linguistics major take your lunch money?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Your copy/pasting skills leave a lot to be desired.

It seems you're more interesting in playing semantic games for your own amusement/ego than of helping answer the question.

I'm trying to determine what the question you want answered actually is, because you keep talking about what the rules actually are, but then keep dismissing the answers based on what the rules actually say. The only semantic "game" I'm playing is exposing the disconnect between what you are saying, and what it seems to me that you actually mean by that. If you don't get the meta-level connection to why I keep pointing out that what YOU say and what YOU mean might not always line up, consider what I'm saying about how I view RAW as RAI.

Now, PatientWolf did a good job explaining the viewpoint that the designer's intent is an integral part of the "actual rules". I'm explicitly on the record as saying that is a fine way to do things, but it is still only one possibility. Different people have different interpretations of the importance of finding out what the designers meant, but you still keep acting like anyone who responds to your question from a viewpoint you don't agree with is trolling or irrelevant, and then you get snippy and defensive when I point out that it's probably not a good idea to dismiss people's answers as irrelevant or useless simply because they interpret your question differently than you intended it, because they don't think about the rules in the same way you do.

Again, I'm not saying your viewpoint is wrong. I'm saying stop treating your viewpoint as if it were the only viable one.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I can't prove it but I suspect the RAW answer is "yes". Improvised weapons seem to be treated as weapons. There's nothing saying that they're treated categorically uniquely except for the penalty to your attack roll. There's actually nothing even suggesting special treatment beyond that penalty. So RAW... yes.

That said, I can't say I like that.

BAR STOOL
If you're running a bar fight, it seems entirely reasonable to let a participant pick up a bar stool and attack with it. It seems entirely reasonable to let them make an AoO if someone tries casting a spell nearby. It's basically a badly balanced two-handed club. Here, the RAW seems to work.

BROKEN KNIFE HILT
If someone's sundered your dagger, it seems entirely reasonable to let you bang the hilt on your attacker's head. Not unlike brass knuckles, this is a reasonably weaponized non-weapon. It may or may not be reasonable to let you make AoO with this... it's kind of a short-range improvised weapon that might not be practical. Dunno. Probably RAW allowing threatening with this is okay, but there might be circumstances a DM would be reasonable to not want to allow it.

CROSSBOW
If a player asks to butt someone over the head with their crossbow, it seems like a reasonable request. I'll avoid discussion over "are weapons allowed to be improvised" for obvious reasons and just assume we're allowing it for this thread. On the other hand, it also seems reasonable to only allow this as an "active" attack, where the PC is explicitly shifting their grip around and handling the crossbow in a very different fashion from the way it's intended. It seems... odd... to allow on-the-fly transition from ranged to melee uses of a crossbow. Thus - to me - it seems reasonable to tell someone they don't threaten with a crossbow improvised as a club... unless they want to forgo the ability to make ranged attacks for a while. So in this case I'd think RAW feels inadequate and wrong.

Conclusion:
The RAW say what they say... "yes". I don't like it universally and personally would be happily house-ruling specific scenarios contrary to RAW.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Anguish wrote:

CROSSBOW

If a player asks to butt someone over the head with their crossbow, it seems like a reasonable request. I'll avoid discussion over "are weapons allowed to be improvised" for obvious reasons and just assume we're allowing it for this thread. On the other hand, it also seems reasonable to only allow this as an "active" attack, where the PC is explicitly shifting their grip around and handling the crossbow in a very different fashion from the way it's intended. It seems... odd... to allow on-the-fly transition from ranged to melee uses of a crossbow. Thus - to me - it seems reasonable to tell someone they don't threaten with a crossbow improvised as a club... unless they want to forgo the ability to make ranged attacks for a while. So in this case I'd think RAW feels inadequate and wrong.

I'm actually not sure you really have to house rule this situation - shifting grip is a free action, but free actions are (edit: TYPICALLY) only allowed on your own turn - a player would thus have to specify at the end of his turn that he's using a free action to shift to club someone, or else he's not threatening with the improvised melee weapon. I feel like that requirement, plus the RAW GM ability to place a "check" on what/how many free actions are allowed, should let you deal with the on-the-fly transformations, at least.

Silver Crusade

MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Your copy/pasting skills leave a lot to be desired.

It seems you're more interesting in playing semantic games for your own amusement/ego than of helping answer the question.

I'm trying to determine what the question you want answered actually is, because you keep talking about what the rules actually are, but then keep dismissing the answers based on what the rules actually say. The only semantic "game" I'm playing is exposing the disconnect between what you are saying, and what it seems to me that you actually mean by that. If you don't get the meta-level connection to why I keep pointing out that what YOU say and what YOU mean might not always line up, consider what I'm saying about how I view RAW as RAI.

Now, PatientWolf did a good job explaining the viewpoint that the designer's intent is an integral part of the "actual rules". I'm explicitly on the record as saying that is a fine way to do things, but it is still only one possibility. Different people have different interpretations of the importance of finding out what the designers meant, but you still keep acting like anyone who responds to your question from a viewpoint you don't agree with is trolling or irrelevant, and then you get snippy and defensive when I point out that it's probably not a good idea to dismiss people's answers as irrelevant or useless simply because they interpret your question differently than you intended it, because they don't think about the rules in the same way you do.

Again, I'm not saying your viewpoint is wrong. I'm saying stop treating your viewpoint as if it were the only viable one.

Since you have already posted an altered form of my question, a form which you think is adequate, why don't you answer that?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:


Since you have already posted an altered form of my question, a form which you think is adequate, why don't you answer that?

I already have - I think that RAW improvised weapons threaten, and I think that RAI improvised weapons threaten, and I think that for the deeper question of what did the designers intend to "count" as "wielding an improvised weapon", the answer is they always intended to leave that up to GMs to decide, and thus a general rule is impossible to discern, and the only viable answer is to determine on a case by case basis.

Silver Crusade

MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Anguish wrote:

CROSSBOW

If a player asks to butt someone over the head with their crossbow, it seems like a reasonable request. I'll avoid discussion over "are weapons allowed to be improvised" for obvious reasons and just assume we're allowing it for this thread. On the other hand, it also seems reasonable to only allow this as an "active" attack, where the PC is explicitly shifting their grip around and handling the crossbow in a very different fashion from the way it's intended. It seems... odd... to allow on-the-fly transition from ranged to melee uses of a crossbow. Thus - to me - it seems reasonable to tell someone they don't threaten with a crossbow improvised as a club... unless they want to forgo the ability to make ranged attacks for a while. So in this case I'd think RAW feels inadequate and wrong.
I'm actually not sure you really have to house rule this situation - shifting grip is a free action, but free actions are (edit: TYPICALLY) only allowed on your own turn - a player would thus have to specify at the end of his turn that he's using a free action to shift to club someone, or else he's not threatening with the improvised melee weapon. I feel like that requirement, plus the RAW GM ability to place a "check" on what/how many free actions are allowed, should let you deal with the on-the-fly transformations, at least.

There is no requirement in the PF rules to shift your grip in order to 'wield' a weapon instead of just 'hold' it. There is no distinction between holding it one way or the other. The only requirement is that you hold it in at least the correct number of hands (unless the weapon is worn).

If you hold a two-handed weapon in two hands, you don't have to do anything else to threaten with it.

If your crossbow had an attached blade with melee stats, allowing the whole thing to be used in melee as a proper melee weapon, then whether you shot a bolt or stabbed with the blade as your last attack is irrelevant; with that weapon you'd threaten at 5-feet while you had it in two hands.

So, if they rule that improvised weapons threaten, then since it is okay to use a normal crossbow as an improvised melee weapon, the crossbow user would threaten 5-feet constantly.

I don't believe this is intended at all!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Breaker Barbarian is another situation where this might come up.

Liberty's Edge

Nah, I buy all my battle debris from Slorg's Junk Shop so everything is certified usable.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

There is no requirement in the PF rules to shift your grip in order to 'wield' a weapon instead of just 'hold' it. There is no distinction between holding it one way or the other. The only requirement is that you hold it in at least the correct number of hands (unless the weapon is worn).

So, in your mind, there is no way a character can be holding a weapon in hand without being actively threatening with it? That seems like a mighty big assumption on your part. What about SlimGauge's example of holding a stack of swords in both hands like a bundle of wood. Are you literally saying that RAW you think the character is "wielding" all of those swords?

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

If your crossbow had an attached blade with melee stats, allowing the whole thing to be used in melee as a proper melee weapon, then whether you shot a bolt or stabbed with the blade as your last attack is irrelevant; with that weapon you'd threaten at 5-feet while you had it in two hands.

So, if they rule that improvised weapons threaten, then since it is okay to use a normal crossbow as an improvised melee weapon, the crossbow user would threaten 5-feet constantly.

I don't believe this is intended at all!

So here we get to the crux of the issue. At least you are being completely transparent now that your purpose is to try to use this issue as a lever to convince the dev team that improvising with weapons is a bad idea, RAW.

Thing is, that's a terrible strategy, because it presupposes that the design team is snookered into ignoring the part of the rules that would make your concerns invalid - they could simply say that "wielding" is different from "holding", and leave it up to the GM to decide, on a case by case basis, what was sufficient to be "wielding an improvised weapon". I actually think the rules already pretty explicitly work that way, but if you want to ask if that's what the designers intended to be the case, go for it.

As soon as they say something to the effect of "Of course we can't list every single situation that would be an acceptable use of an improvised weapon - we're relying to a large extent on GM interpretation", then by YOUR interpretation of RAW, your concerns go away, because the design team would have just given you, as a GM, the explicit right to allow or disallow any particular improvised weapon as you see fit.

In other words, the "problem" with always threatening adjacent goes away if you stop assuming that there is no distinction between "wield" and "hold" (and that wielding a weapon for one use means wielding it for all possible uses). In order for the rules to 'break' in the way you are suggesting, you have to assume that the explicit intent of the designers was to make it impossible, RAW, to say that presenting a greatsword to someone with the blade across your palms is the same as actively wielding the weapon, or that putting your hand on a book on a bookshelf is the same as preparing to club someone with an improvised weapon. I find it... unlikely that they would do so. I also find it telling that instead of asking the relevant question that might resolve your dilemma, you are only interested in asking the question that you think makes the dilemma look unresolvable.

Shadow Lodge

MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
If the devs rule that you may use a reach weapon to attack at 5-feet as an improvised weapon, it suddenly becomes mildly interesting to know the what the original intent was.
PatientWolf wrote:
The answer Malachi and I want to the question is only Yes or No regardless of what the rules text actually says. Both answers are not equally what the designers intended. Both interpretations are possible but only one can be true from an actual RAI standpoint.

MrT, we've already covered this. I've explained exactly what I mean when I use the term RAW and you indicated you understood my explanation though when you use the term RAW in your own posts you mean something else.

So you know exactly what I meant when I used the term RAW as opposed to RAI. You may like not that definition but you know very well what I mean so to act like I mean something different, and even going so far as to reword my statement, is dishonest. Unless we are back to you telling me that I don't get to decide what my own posts mean.

Shadow Lodge

MrTsFloatinghead wrote:


So, in your mind, there is no way a character can be holding a weapon in hand without being actively threatening with it? That seems like a mighty big assumption on your part. What about SlimGauge's example of holding a stack of swords in both hands like a bundle of wood. Are you literally saying that RAW you think the character is "wielding" all of those swords?

I agree here. There has to be something more than just having something in hand to be considered wielding. If I am fighting with a rapier in one hand and a torch in the other do I incur penalties for fighting two handed because I am "wielding" a weapon and an improvised weapon? That seems to me absurd.

Silver Crusade

MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
I already have - I think that RAW improvised weapons threaten, and I think that RAI improvised weapons threaten, and I think that for the deeper question of what did the designers intend to "count" as "wielding an improvised weapon", the answer is they always intended to leave that up to GMs to decide, and thus a general rule is impossible to discern, and the only viable answer is to determine on a case by case basis.

Thank you for a useful answer. : )

However, the part I bolded seems very unlikely! I don't believe for a moment that the designers intended to leave part of the combat system as 'It could be either; each table makes its own decision'. If they thought that sometimes it should be yes and sometimes no, they would have given us rules or at least guidelines about when it should be yes and when it should be no.


I would think this would be as simple as following the RAW.

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.

If you have an improvised weapon, you're armed. I would think that would be simple.

Silver Crusade

MrTsFloatingHead wrote:
they could simply say that "wielding" is different from "holding"

In that case the devs would have to write a rule that has never been in the d20 system before, which affects not just a corner case but how combat fundamentally works.

Don't you object to the devs telling you how to play your game?

As to my motive, rules should be well thought out and stand scrutiny. If reach weapons can be used as improvised weapons, and if they threaten, then this has far reaching consequences which should be considered, as opposed to hastily making a rule only to have to change it again once the consequences are realised.

I think this is a noble motive, but I'm sure your mileage varies.


If you are gripping a broken bottle by the handle and waving it around, how that works is specifically left up to your GM, beyond a clear-cut penalty to any attacks you make with it. I would say you can take attacks of opportunity with it, but in determining what sort of weapon it functions as, your GM could arbitrate that it has a special quality where it can't be used to take AOOs, it functions as a ranged weapon, it deals 1 point of bleed damage on a successful hit, etc.

If you are looking to find, or establish, some weird loophole in the rules where the completely unambiguous line about reach weapons not allowing you to attack adjacent targets no longer applies, that's not going to happen. Even if you established all the rulings you'd need, that line isn't going away.

If you're trying to establish a consistent house rule (or official rule even), that a reach weapon, held improperly, can be wielded as an improvised weapon without the reach feature, I would suggest looking at the Polearm Master Fighter archetype's Pole Fighting ability as a precedent.

Personally, I would say without that ability switching from a regular reach weapon to an improvised non-reach weapon would require a move action. Essentially, you are dropping your current weapon, then drawing a weapon with different properties. If you'd like to do that more quickly, you can just play the archetype which specifically supports the fighting style you are trying to use.

Silver Crusade

Sindalla wrote:

I would think this would be as simple as following the RAW.

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.

If you have an improvised weapon, you're armed. I would think that would be simple.

If only it were that simple!

When someone is 'armed' it means that they have a weapon. Is someone carrying a book considered 'armed and possibly dangerous'?

Improvised weapons, by definition, are 'objects not crafted to be weapons'. Therefore, if the only thing you hold is a book, this means that you're not carrying a weapon, i.e. 'unarmed'.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

In that case the devs would have to write a rule that has never been in the d20 system before, which affects not just a corner case but how combat fundamentally works.

No it doesn't, don't be hyperbolic. The vast majority of the time, nothing will meaningfully change in any combat. Ask yourself:

When was the last time you had a character or NPC move inside a reach weapon and then do something that would have provoked an AoO? I'm betting it's something that doesn't come up often in your games, because it certainly doesn't come up often in mine.

When was the last time your characters went into a combat encounter with either no weapons or "wrong" damage types (slashing vs skeletons at low level, for example), and there was nothing readily available for them to use as an improvised weapon? It is really a fundamental balance issue for the combat system that we make sure and punish players who don't metagame properly by making sure they have the "right" kind of damage available on a backup weapon?

Sorry, I just don't see it. I think you are so fixated on your revulsion of the idea of using weapons in an improvised way that you have blown this up in your mind into something it's not. I've got news for you - empirically, playing the game the way I'm suggesting works absolutely fine. I've been doing it for years, and it hasn't seemed to damage my game, or yours.

Further, I think at this point you are clearly just demonstrating how... fragile your vision of the rules really is. We can't allow improvised weapons to threaten if we allow weapons to be improvised, because we can't expect combat to work if we leave it to GMs to make common sense distinctions between situations because that's not RAW and never has been ever and if we don't DO SOMETHING AHMAHGERD REACH THREATENS ADJACENT AND THE GAME IS RUINED. Thus, reasonable player actions MUST be prohibited RAW, or else.

Or, you know, we could just admit that the RAW aren't intended to work the way you are trying to make them work. If you want a set of limited, prescribed options that you can use to play Pathfinder combat chess without the need for a GM, that's fine. Make whatever changes to the game you need to make that work for you. Just don't pretend that you are on some noble quest to find the One True Game. You aren't.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Don't you object to the devs telling you how to play your game?

As to my motive, rules should be well thought out and stand scrutiny. If reach weapons can be used as improvised weapons, and if they threaten, then this has far reaching consequences which should be considered, as opposed to hastily making a rule only to have to change it again once the consequences are realised.

I think this is a noble motive, but I'm sure your mileage varies.

Cute. Of course, I'm saying that the game already works fine, but if YOU need that clarification, it would, in fact, demonstrably solve every problem you have. The rules, as they stand now, ARE well thought out, and DO withstand scrutiny, precisely because they are flexible enough to suit different needs. They work perfectly well for everyone in my interpretation - you can have the limited, permissive rules that you want, by simply choosing to interpret them that way. I can have the flexible building blocks I want, by simply choosing to interpret them that way. Tell me, honestly, besides the validation of being "right", in what way does changing the RAW of the game from more play style options to fewer make things better for you?

Thus, I feel that in no way are you improving the game over what it is now, because right now the game allows multiple options to suit different styles. You can play the game EXACTLY how you want, and so can I, and the RAW are fine with it either way. If, instead, we push to make sure some of those options are verboten RAW because of your desire to reduce the game to a set of inviolate instructions, well, it doesn't change the way YOU play (assuming you got the clarifications you want, which is NOT a given), so no improvement there, but it does either force me to change my play-style (which is only a good thing if you feel like the way I play is bad), OR it serves to further undermine the very inviolate authority you are a fan of, because players like me simply choose to explicitly disregard the clarification completely (thus raising the question of why we bother having FAQs at all).

Let me put it this way: The goal, in your mind, is that combat should resolve without the need of a GM. I assert it already can, for the players who wish to play that way. If you are one of those players, then you should have no problems in the game right now. If you ARE having problems, and feel like other players are "gaming" the system, or are "exploiting" loopholes, I strongly, strongly suspect that what's actually happening is that they want a different kind of game than what you want. That's what I mean when I talk about using the rules as a weapon - you seem to want to make sure that you have an FAQ tucked away to stifle those cheaters, when the fact is that they are probably just "guilty" of thinking hitting a goblin with a spear haft "looks cool", and makes for a better story. You don't have to like playing that way, but you certainly do have to be willing to accept that other people do.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

There is no requirement in the PF rules to shift your grip in order to 'wield' a weapon instead of just 'hold' it. There is no distinction between holding it one way or the other. The only requirement is that you hold it in at least the correct number of hands (unless the weapon is worn).

If you hold a two-handed weapon in two hands, you don't have to do anything else to threaten with it.

If your crossbow had an attached blade with melee stats, allowing the whole thing to be used in melee as a proper melee weapon, then whether you shot a bolt or stabbed with the blade as your last attack is irrelevant; with that weapon you'd threaten at 5-feet while you had it in two hands.

So, if they rule that improvised weapons threaten, then since it is okay to use a normal crossbow as an improvised melee weapon, the crossbow user would threaten 5-feet constantly.

I don't believe this is intended at all!

You maybe missed my point. RAW, improvised weapons are weapons and you can attack with them, thus they threaten. There isn't much argument for the opposite.

But my point was that I don't LIKE that RAW. As a secondary to having answered your question, I mused on why I don't. I explained that I don't want a reduction of complexity. So I explained what I'd prefer to rule. It isn't a question of what the rules say... precisely in my examples, but how I'd prefer to break down the situation. Absolutely, positively house-rule-land.

So again, RAW says improvised weapons threaten. Then words about why I wish it were otherwise. See?

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