Using a weapon as a large smaller version of itself.


Rules Questions


We just had a combat where the greatsword barbarian was grappled and was unable to use his two-handed weapon. He wanted to use the greatsword as a large longsword so that he could still attack with it.

I'm aware of the following rules:

Spoiler:
Weapon Size: Every weapon has a size category. This designation indicates the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed.

A weapon's size category isn't the same as its size as an object. Instead, a weapon's size category is keyed to the size of the intended wielder. In general, a light weapon is an object two size categories smaller than the wielder, a one-handed weapon is an object one size category smaller than the wielder, and a two-handed weapon is an object of the same size category as the wielder.

Inappropriately Sized Weapons: A creature can't make optimum use of a weapon that isn't properly sized for it. A cumulative –2 penalty applies on attack rolls for each size category of difference between the size of its intended wielder and the size of its actual wielder. If the creature isn't proficient with the weapon, a –4 nonproficiency penalty also applies.

The measure of how much effort it takes to use a weapon (whether the weapon is designated as a light, one-handed, or two-handed weapon for a particular wielder) is altered by one step for each size category of difference between the wielder's size and the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed. For example, a Small creature would wield a Medium one-handed weapon as a two-handed weapon. If a weapon's designation would be changed to something other than light, one-handed, or two-handed by this alteration, the creature can't wield the weapon at all.

What I'd essentially like to know is whether a player may arbitrarily choose to treat his weapon as a different size category, and, if he does, what penalties he takes to do so.

Thank you. :)


No. A greatsword is a greatsword. Even if he could use it as a large longsword, he still couldn't use it as a large longsword is a 2-handed weapon for a medium creature.


Using a large one handed weapon, requires 2 hands for a medium creature.


Any text citation for this? One way or the other?


Firstly: a greatsword is not a large longsword in pathfinder -- it was in 3.5.

Secondly: increasing a longsword from medium to large (for a medium sized creature) increases its size category from a one handed weapon to a two handed weapon, which can't be used in grapple anyway.

If he wanted to use a large longsword for some personal reason, he is free to do that; the cost is double a normal longsword's, he takes a -2 penalty to attack for wielding an improperly sized weapon within one size category of himself, and can only wield it two handed unless he is a titan mauler barbarian with the Jotungrip class feature. Only in this instance can the weapon be used in grapple since it is now treated as a one handed weapon (note that a greatsword does the same without an additional -2 penalty).

This information is all in the core rulebook under weapons in the equipment section.


This was last a 3.0 rule, where weapons had individual size categories (and don't get me started on weapon speeds). Essentially, some weapons were treated as chained. So a Large Short Sword was a Medium Longsword was a Small Greatsword.

In the rules that currently exist, those distinctions are not made. A Medium Longsword is just a Medium Longsword, but can be used 2 handed (going up one category) for a Small creature (with a -2 to hit) or as a light weapon (going down a category) for a Large creature (still a -2 to hit for differently sized).

And as for why it changes categories,

PRD wrote:

Inappropriately Sized Weapons: A creature can't make optimum use of a weapon that isn't properly sized for it. A cumulative –2 penalty applies on attack rolls for each size category of difference between the size of its intended wielder and the size of its actual wielder. If the creature isn't proficient with the weapon, a –4 nonproficiency penalty also applies.

The measure of how much effort it takes to use a weapon (whether the weapon is designated as a light, one-handed, or two-handed weapon for a particular wielder) is altered by one step for each size category of difference between the wielder's size and the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed. For example, a Small creature would wield a Medium one-handed weapon as a two-handed weapon. If a weapon's designation would be changed to something other than light, one-handed, or two-handed by this alteration, the creature can't wield the weapon at all.


Brogue The Rogue wrote:
Any text citation for this? One way or the other?

Well, here are the rules for weapon size from the weapon section of the CRB.

Weapon size wrote:

Every weapon has a size category. This designation indicates the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed.

A weapon's size category isn't the same as its size as an object. Instead, a weapon's size category is keyed to the size of the intended wielder. In general, a light weapon is an object two size categories smaller than the wielder, a one-handed weapon is an object one size category smaller than the wielder, and a two-handed weapon is an object of the same size category as the wielder.

Inappropriately Sized Weapons: A creature can't make optimum use of a weapon that isn't properly sized for it. A cumulative –2 penalty applies on attack rolls for each size category of difference between the size of its intended wielder and the size of its actual wielder. If the creature isn't proficient with the weapon, a –4 nonproficiency penalty also applies.

The measure of how much effort it takes to use a weapon (whether the weapon is designated as a light, one-handed, or two-handed weapon for a particular wielder) is altered by one step for each size category of difference between the wielder's size and the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed. For example, a Small creature would wield a Medium one-handed weapon as a two-handed weapon. If a weapon's designation would be changed to something other than light, one-handed, or two-handed by this alteration, the creature can't wield the weapon at all.

I high lighted the bits that seem the most relevant. If the weapon is the same size category as you (a greatsword is about 5 feet long, which would put it at medium), then you can't use it in a grapple under normal circumstances.

Also, the 'just because it has similar stats doesn't mean they are the same weapon' deal people have said about med. greatswords and large longswords. And really, if you could always do that, then why doesn't everyone do it? And why isn't explain how to do it in the rules?

And what about other 2 handed weapons? Like a bill, or a halberd?


As posted in my original post, I'm already aware of the text that was cited several times.

We are not trying to use or make a large longsword. The barbarian in question wants to treat his regular greatsword as a large longsword so that he can use it in a grapple. So really, it wouldn't need to be a longsword. He wants "the best weapon he can use in one hand" from his greatsword. I know this is NOT covered in the section of text that I cited. I'm wondering if a different section of text covers treating a weapon as a different size category.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if this isn't covered in the rules, but, again, what the barbarian wants isn't really what's covered in the cited text.


As previously stated you cannot use a large longsword in grapple so your question....

Basically he wants a small greatsword which he'd have to pay for and deal with the size penalty.

This all is actually explained in the many times quoted piece of text.

Just tell him to take the titan mauler archetype; then it all becomes moot because he can use his 2 handed greatsword as a one handed weapon.


Brogue The Rogue wrote:

As posted in my original post, I'm already aware of the text that was cited several times.

We are not trying to use or make a large longsword. The barbarian in question wants to treat his regular greatsword as a large longsword so that he can use it in a grapple. So really, it wouldn't need to be a longsword. He wants "the best weapon he can use in one hand" from his greatsword. I know this is NOT covered in the section of text that I cited. I'm wondering if a different section of text covers treating a weapon as a different size category.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if this isn't covered in the rules, but, again, what the barbarian wants isn't really what's covered in the cited text.

Sounds like you're looking for a houserule then. You can not use a greatsword in one hand unless you have the titan mauler archetype.

Dark Archive

Some Random Dood wrote:
Brogue The Rogue wrote:

As posted in my original post, I'm already aware of the text that was cited several times.

We are not trying to use or make a large longsword. The barbarian in question wants to treat his regular greatsword as a large longsword so that he can use it in a grapple. So really, it wouldn't need to be a longsword. He wants "the best weapon he can use in one hand" from his greatsword. I know this is NOT covered in the section of text that I cited. I'm wondering if a different section of text covers treating a weapon as a different size category.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if this isn't covered in the rules, but, again, what the barbarian wants isn't really what's covered in the cited text.

Sounds like you're looking for a houserule then. You can not use a greatsword in one hand unless you have the titan mauler archetype.

And even if you could wield the weapon in one hand, you still can't use it in a grapple, because it's not a light weapon or natural attack.


Seranov wrote:
Some Random Dood wrote:
Brogue The Rogue wrote:

As posted in my original post, I'm already aware of the text that was cited several times.

We are not trying to use or make a large longsword. The barbarian in question wants to treat his regular greatsword as a large longsword so that he can use it in a grapple. So really, it wouldn't need to be a longsword. He wants "the best weapon he can use in one hand" from his greatsword. I know this is NOT covered in the section of text that I cited. I'm wondering if a different section of text covers treating a weapon as a different size category.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if this isn't covered in the rules, but, again, what the barbarian wants isn't really what's covered in the cited text.

Sounds like you're looking for a houserule then. You can not use a greatsword in one hand unless you have the titan mauler archetype.
And even if you could wield the weapon in one hand, you still can't use it in a grapple, because it's not a light weapon or natural attack.

When you're grappled, I thought you were only prevented from doing anything that required 2 hands.


Seranov wrote:
Some Random Dood wrote:
Brogue The Rogue wrote:

As posted in my original post, I'm already aware of the text that was cited several times.

We are not trying to use or make a large longsword. The barbarian in question wants to treat his regular greatsword as a large longsword so that he can use it in a grapple. So really, it wouldn't need to be a longsword. He wants "the best weapon he can use in one hand" from his greatsword. I know this is NOT covered in the section of text that I cited. I'm wondering if a different section of text covers treating a weapon as a different size category.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if this isn't covered in the rules, but, again, what the barbarian wants isn't really what's covered in the cited text.

Sounds like you're looking for a houserule then. You can not use a greatsword in one hand unless you have the titan mauler archetype.
And even if you could wield the weapon in one hand, you still can't use it in a grapple, because it's not a light weapon or natural attack.
False, you may use one handed, light, or natural weapons in grapple. From Jotungrip
Quote:
The weapon must be appropriately sized for her, and it is treated as one-handed when determining the effect of Power Attack, Strength bonus to damage, and the like.

Dark Archive

PRD wrote:
Damage: You can inflict damage to your target equal to your unarmed strike, a natural attack, or an attack made with armor spikes or a light or one-handed weapon. This damage can be either lethal or nonlethal.

Welp, someone told me otherwise at some point, and I never cared enough to check. My bad.

Still doesn't change the fact that a Medium Greatsword can't be used in one hand w/o Jotungrip, full stop.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

the only difference between a large longsword and a medium greatsword is that large longsword is worse. It still requires 2 hands, and is at -2 to-hit.

you simply cannot wield something in one hand that is normally wielded in two unless something specifically states otherwise, such as titan mauler barbars and (sort of) bastard sword.


Thank you, Bandw2. That's more along the lines of what I'm looking for. I feel that most people don't really understand what the barbarian is trying to do. He wants to know if he can choose to treat his greatsword as some kind of one-handed weapon with penalties. We're all already aware of how weapons are treated when they are over or undersized. The question is whether or not he can choose to do it.

I expect that the rules do not cover it. All I need to know is whether or not rules covering this situation **already** exist. I don't actually want a houserule. Our DM will want to design his own should a rule not exist.

Grand Lodge

There is no rule that would let your Barbarian do what he wants, beyond retraining into the Titan Mauler archetype.

Dark Archive

No, he cannot pretend his Medium Greatsword is a Large Longsword. They're not the same thing. You full stop cannot wield a two-handed weapon, sized for your race, in one hand. You especially cannot wield any weapon sized for someone larger than you in one hand (unless it's a light weapon designed for a Large-sized creature, which a Longsword certainly is not).

PRD wrote:

Weapon Size: Every weapon has a size category. This designation indicates the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed.

A weapon's size category isn't the same as its size as an object. Instead, a weapon's size category is keyed to the size of the intended wielder. In general, a light weapon is an object two size categories smaller than the wielder, a one-handed weapon is an object one size category smaller than the wielder, and a two-handed weapon is an object of the same size category as the wielder.

Inappropriately Sized Weapons: A creature can't make optimum use of a weapon that isn't properly sized for it. A cumulative –2 penalty applies on attack rolls for each size category of difference between the size of its intended wielder and the size of its actual wielder. If the creature isn't proficient with the weapon, a –4 nonproficiency penalty also applies.

The measure of how much effort it takes to use a weapon (whether the weapon is designated as a light, one-handed, or two-handed weapon for a particular wielder) is altered by one step for each size category of difference between the wielder's size and the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed. For example, a Small creature would wield a Medium one-handed weapon as a two-handed weapon. If a weapon's designation would be changed to something other than light, one-handed, or two-handed by this alteration, the creature can't wield the weapon at all.

There are no rules for treating a given weapon as a different size category at a penalty, because rules for that don't exist. It can be houseruled, but by RAW you can't do it at all, outside of the Jotungrip class feature.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Brogue The Rogue wrote:

Thank you, Bandw2. That's more along the lines of what I'm looking for. I feel that most people don't really understand what the barbarian is trying to do. He wants to know if he can choose to treat his greatsword as some kind of one-handed weapon with penalties. We're all already aware of how weapons are treated when they are over or undersized. The question is whether or not he can choose to do it.

I expect that the rules do not cover it. All I need to know is whether or not rules covering this situation **already** exist. I don't actually want a houserule. Our DM will want to design his own should a rule not exist.

the rules specifically state you cannot boost something outside of the light-one_hand-two_hand range.

it doesn't not have rules for it, it says it cannot happen.

you can wield a one-hander with two-hands to get 1.5 str bonus but not the vice versa.

basically unless some size changing occurs he cannot change the wielding of his sword, except for one-handed weapons and wielding it as a two-hander. you can HOLD your two-handed weapon in one hand, but not use it as a weapon in such a circumstance.

what you are trying to do is basically shrink your sword, which cannot happen under normal means.

ADVICE: What he could do is use a longsword, and wield it normally in 2 hands. he'll lose like 1 average damage.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Another thing is that if he was to do that, it would be considered an improvised weapon, as it isn't really a longsword.

Dagger. Every character needs a dagger to cut rations with and use when they are grappled. He should learn a valuable lesson here...


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
thaX wrote:

Another thing is that if he was to do that, it would be considered an improvised weapon, as it isn't really a longsword.

Dagger. Every character needs a dagger to cut rations with and use when they are grappled. He should learn a valuable lesson here...

that would undermine the monk of the empty hand archetype which allows you to do this. though yeah if you didn't care about that look up that archetype for advice. (although it still doesn't allow you to wield it with one hand)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Doesn't he use everything as Improvised weapons? He doesn't take the penalty because of the feat/ability, if I recall.

There was another thread similar to this that talked about Ceremonial weapons and decorations that look like weapons but are not made to be so. (Like a statue or a stone sword on a crest) Those would be used as Improvised Weapons even though they are shaped like the weapons they would be used as. They are not made to be those weapons, it was not their purpose.

Just to point it out, every character should have a light/one handed weapon as a standbye, more so when using reach weapons, and at least have a sling for a ranged weapon.

Just in case.

Grand Lodge

thaX wrote:

Doesn't he use everything as Improvised weapons? He doesn't take the penalty because of the feat/ability, if I recall.

There was another thread similar to this that talked about Ceremonial weapons and decorations that look like weapons but are not made to be so. (Like a statue or a stone sword on a crest) Those would be used as Improvised Weapons even though they are shaped like the weapons they would be used as. They are not made to be those weapons, it was not their purpose.

Just to point it out, every character should have a light/one handed weapon as a standbye, more so when using reach weapons, and at least have a sling for a ranged weapon.

Just in case.

Preferably a light weapon (or both), as while you can use one-handed weapon in a normal grapple, you can only use a light weapon if you get swallowed whole.

Dark Archive

I totally agree, thaX. Most of my characters have like three daggers on them, a gauntlet AND a sling. Or natural attacks. Can't ever be too prepared.

Also daggers are D&D/PF's best tool. Door stop, knife for cutting stuff, half-assed lock pick, etc.

Jeff Merola wrote:
Preferably a light weapon (or both), as while you can use one-handed weapon in a normal grapple, you can only use a light weapon if you get swallowed whole.

Ah! This was the rule I was thinking of when I mentioned you can't use one-handed weapons in a grapple. Now I understand why I derped.


thaX wrote:

Another thing is that if he was to do that, it would be considered an improvised weapon, as it isn't really a longsword.

Dagger. Every character needs a dagger to cut rations with and use when they are grappled. He should learn a valuable lesson here...

Yeah, but in weapon size section that keeps being quoted, it mentioned how handedness is related to relative size to the wielder. 2 handed weapons are the ones in the 4-8 foot range for medium creatures, generally.

Of course, by that same logic, the party halfling could be wielded as a 1 handed weapon, since it is a size smaller.

But yeah, buying gauntlets or whatever seems like the simplest solution. Whatever just counts as armed attacks and doesn't get in the way of regular greatsword attacks.


The rule explicitly does not exist. Currently a weapon is only usable as itself (include what size category it's for) or as an improvised weapon, which brings it back to DM decision category.

If you want the framework of a rule (and probably means this should be moved to homebrew), as I said, 3.0 had certain weapon chains, Short Sword -> Longsword -> Greatsword and Shortspear -> Spear -> Longspear, off the top of my head. So an Ogre's Longsword was a Greatsword to your average PC. Neither chain works right now (Longspear gains reach, Short Sword is piercing damage and Longsword is slashing) but it's not that hard to look for which weapons belong together. Find things with the same threat range, damage type, description, etc. where the higher size category's Small damage is the same as the Medium damage of the lower one.

So a Small Longsword could be treated as a Medium Dogslicer/Gladius/Short Sword. A Small Battleaxe could be a Medium Throwing Axe/Boarding Axe/Handaxe.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It is relating the size of the weapon to the size of the character.

A Med weapon and a med character is fine, but a small weapon trying to be used by a huge monster? Not gonna happen.

The weapon itself never loses it's own designation. The Greatsword that the barbarian has is a Two-Handed weapon. Nothing is going to change that.

There are some abilities and feats that allow one handed use of two handed weapons, but that is the character's ability, not a change in the weapon itself. Still can't wield two, nor wield a larger one in two hands. Most likely, a grappled character can not use it, as he needs a one handed or light weapon.

Or he can punch it.


If he'd be using a Bastart Sword as a Martial 2hd weapon, he could then decide to use it one-handed. He would take the -4 non-proficiency penalty on it however, unless he also has the EWP feat for it.

With a Greatsword however? No.
If he wants to use the big weapon with the nasty damage, he gotta accept that there are situations where it's not the ideal one. If he wants more flexibility, then he'll has to pay for it with reduced damage or something else.


Quatar wrote:
If he'd be using a Bastart Sword as a Martial 2hd weapon, he could then decide to use it one-handed. He would take the -4 non-proficiency penalty on it however, unless he also has the EWP feat for it.

Nope. There's a FAQ that explicitly contradicts this. You can't wield a Bastard Sword one-handed at all, not even with the -4 non-prof penalty, if you lack EWP. Lacking EWP, you MUST treat it as a virtual 2-h weapon, even though it's technically a 1-h weapon.

Regarding the issue at hand, there is absolutely no allowance within the rules for what this Barb wants to do unless he has a feat or ability that explicitly gives him allowance to do so (ie. Jotungrip). And you won't find a rules citation that states you "can't" because Pathfinder is a game of permissions; it would take billions of pages to list each and every contingency of what you can't do so they list things you can do and, if something isn't listed, then you simply can't do it. Moreover, even if he were to have a Large 1-h weapon, such a weapon is treated as a 2-h weapon for a Medium character. Again, just as with the Bastard Sword, it's a virtual consideration; the weapon itself is still a 1-h weapon, but you virtually "step-up" for each size category difference. It would be considered a light weapon in the hands of a Huge creature (and benefit from all benefits thereof such as getting better TWF penalties, being easier to conceal, etc). What he wants is a Medium Longsword or other appropriately sized 1-h weapon if he simply wants the best smack for his full-attack.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The only real exception to that is the Lance when doing a mounted charge. (I think)

If it is a Two Handed weapon, then it will always be a Two Handed weapon. It is the character that is adjusting to the size differential to wield it with the penalty. To them, they need to handle it differently to account for the difference in size, if it is possible at all. A large Two Handed weapon is to much for a Medium creature to wield with any effectiveness.

Dagger, my friend, carry a dagger. It is also a way to get special matarial weapons, as the lighter weapon is cheaper to buy than the huge chunk of a blade.

Simply put, the character tries to hit the grappeler with the hilt of the big weapon and finds it just isn't forceful enough to do anything. He can't get both hands on it (he has use of one hand, basically) to properly swing it either.

I would think he would be better off breaking the grapple and setting up to hit him the next round.

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