Two Weapon Fighting with a Bow and Unarmed Strike


Rules Questions

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Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Can one two weapon fight, with a Longbow/Shortbow, and an Unarmed Strike?

Please hit the FAQ button next to this post, if would like an answer.

Grand Lodge

Interesting. I was asking myself a similar question the other day. I doubt we'll ever get a definitive answer.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

FAQd, but wouldn't this fall into the same category as the armor spikes+two handed weapon thing?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
LoneKnave wrote:
FAQd, but wouldn't this fall into the same category as the armor spikes+two handed weapon thing?

That is why this is being asked. If the Longbow/Shortbow counts as a two-handed weapon, in regards to the FAQ on Armor Spikes.


Strict RAW a bow takes 2 hands to use so regardless of whether it's a "two-handed weapon" or not you are not considered as having an "off-hand" with which to make the extra attacks.


Tanganika wrote:
Strict RAW a bow takes 2 hands to use so regardless of whether it's a "two-handed weapon" or not you are not considered as having an "off-hand" with which to make the extra attacks.

But somehow you have a free hand to draw ammo. It's pretty clear projectile weapons operate differently than melee ones.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Currently, there is a debate on whether the FAQ is restricted to Melee only.


Tanganika wrote:
Strict RAW a bow takes 2 hands to use so regardless of whether it's a "two-handed weapon" or not you are not considered as having an "off-hand" with which to make the extra attacks.

strict RAW, there is no distinction between 1 handed and 2 handed ranged weapons. a ranged weapon is simply ranged. anything to do with how many hands are needed to use any of them is either dealing with reloading, or is fluff. everything else (all that "common sense" your about to throw back at this post) is simply not written down, and needs to be.

FAQed.


The general rule is if you use a limb as part of making an attack (drawing ammo, and drawing/firing a bow), then that limb is considered "occupied." So you can't for example make claw attacks, or punch, or (strict raw) qualify for TWF.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I'd say unless there is a game balance issue that if the DM was interested in allowing an off hand strike while holding a bow it should be allowed and adjucated per the unarmed strike rules. I'd say that it wasn't possible with an arrow nocked ( just me though). But my point is that if the DM and players can ageree to a fair method of allowing it. Then go for it. This kind a of stuff is why you have a game master. It says so right in the rule book. What other rule do you need?


Tanganika wrote:
The general rule is if you use a limb as part of making an attack (drawing ammo, and drawing/firing a bow), then that limb is considered "occupied." So you can't for example make claw attacks, or punch, or (strict raw) qualify for TWF.

well if that is the case, then a Bow cannot make multiple attacks a round without the rapid reload feat because you cannot reload a bow with the same hand you used to draw and release with....but wait.....thats how that works....hmmm....see how confusing it gets...

i already used my "offhand" to shoot with my bow...how then could i use that hand to reload it?

the answer that that reloading a bow is a free action associated with firing it, but no one had ever clarified not being able to take a -2 penalty on all your attacks to add an extra UAS at the end. given that all i'd need to do is choose not to take the free action to reload and now i have a whole fist free to punch with....

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Lord Silky wrote:
I'd say unless there is a game balance issue that if the DM was interested in allowing an off hand strike while holding a bow it should be allowed and adjucated per the unarmed strike rules. I'd say that it wasn't possible with an arrow nocked ( just me though). But my point is that if the DM and players can ageree to a fair method of allowing it. Then go for it. This kind a of stuff is why you have a game master. It says so right in the rule book. What other rule do you need?

It's not a game balance issue, but with things like PFS, you need a FAQ.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Shimesen wrote:
Tanganika wrote:
Strict RAW a bow takes 2 hands to use so regardless of whether it's a "two-handed weapon" or not you are not considered as having an "off-hand" with which to make the extra attacks.

strict RAW, there is no distinction between 1 handed and 2 handed ranged weapons. a ranged weapon is simply ranged. anything to do with how many hands are needed to use any of them is either dealing with reloading, or is fluff. everything else (all that "common sense" your about to throw back at this post) is simply not written down, and needs to be.

FAQed.

Actually it's in several places. CRB pg 141 tells us most projectile weapons require two hands. The weapon descriptions for longbows and short bows tell us they require two hands.

Several edits later...
Spoiler:
PRD wrote:
Projectile Weapons: Blowguns, light crossbows, slings, heavy crossbows, shortbows, composite shortbows, longbows, composite longbows, halfling sling staves, hand crossbows, and repeating crossbows are projectile weapons. Most projectile weapons require two hands to use (see specific weapon descriptions). A character gets no Strength bonus on damage rolls with a projectile weapon unless it's a specially built composite shortbow or longbow, or a sling. If the character has a penalty for low Strength, apply it to damage rolls when he uses a bow or a sling.
PRD wrote:

Crossbow, Hand: You can draw a hand crossbow back by hand. Loading a hand crossbow is a move action that provokes attacks of opportunity.

You can shoot, but not load, a hand crossbow with one hand at no penalty. You can shoot a hand crossbow with each hand, but you take a penalty on attack rolls as if attacking with two light weapons.

PRD wrote:

Crossbow, Heavy: You draw a heavy crossbow back by turning a small winch. Loading a heavy crossbow is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity.

Normally, operating a heavy crossbow requires two hands. However, you can shoot, but not load, a heavy crossbow with one hand at a –4 penalty on attack rolls. You can shoot a heavy crossbow with each hand, but you take a penalty on attack rolls as if attacking with two one-handed weapons. This penalty is cumulative with the penalty for one-handed firing.

PRD wrote:

Crossbow, Light: You draw a light crossbow back by pulling a lever. Loading a light crossbow is a move action that provokes attacks of opportunity.

Normally, operating a light crossbow requires two hands. However, you can shoot, but not load, a light crossbow with one hand at a –2 penalty on attack rolls. You can shoot a light crossbow with each hand, but you take a penalty on attack rolls as if attacking with two light weapons. This penalty is cumulative with the penalty for one-handed firing.

PRD wrote:
Longbow: At almost 5 feet in height, a longbow is made up of one solid piece of carefully curved wood. You need two hands to use a bow, regardless of its size. A longbow is too unwieldy to use while you are mounted. If you have a penalty for low Strength, apply it to damage rolls when you use a longbow. If you have a Strength bonus, you can apply it to damage rolls when you use a composite longbow (see below), but not when you use a regular longbow.
PRD wrote:
Shortbow: A shortbow is made up of one piece of wood, about 3 feet in length. You need two hands to use a bow, regardless of its size. You can use a shortbow while mounted. If you have a penalty for low Strength, apply it to damage rolls when you use a shortbow. If you have a bonus for high Strength, you can apply it to damage rolls when you use a composite shortbow (see below), but not a regular shortbow.


The only thing that seems to be confusing you is the difference between a free action and an attack action.

You can always choose not to reload the bow, and instead substitute an unarmed strike using your normal BaB progression, but you can't two weapon fight in the same round that you make a ranged attack with the weapon because both your hands are occupied.

The only way I can think to do something analogous is with the crusader's flurry feat (diety's favored weapon would need to be a bow) and flurry of blows.


you all DO realize that there is already a way to do this with Crusader's Flurry from the Warpriest, right? he can FoB with his bow and unarmed strikes. effectively TWF with both...there is mechanically no difference....


Not really, Flurry is an entirely different animal to typical TWF other than the number of attacks. Flurry does not have off-hand attacks, so "handness" requirements for bows doesnt matter, you can make all your attacks with a bow, or none of them, or anywhere in between.


As I said, you need crusader's flurry and the flurry of blows class feature.

Two weapon fighting is a special full round action which requires you to have 2 hands using 2 different weapons to attack simultaneously. You cannot use it if both hands are being used to make any single attack in the sequence.

It's like this: I'm lvl 1 and have EWP bastard sword, TWF, and quick draw -- I can't make one attack with the bastard sword with both hands, then quick draw a dagger/other weapon/use my fist and get a second attack from TWF. This is identical to attacking with a bow, then trying to get an extra punch from TWF.

I could if I used 2 monk weapons as part of a flurry, because there's no one/two handedness to the mechanic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Tanganika wrote:

As I said, you need crusader's flurry and the flurry of blows class feature.

Two weapon fighting is a special full round action which requires you to have 2 hands using 2 different weapons to attack simultaneously. You cannot use it if both hands are being used to make any single attack in the sequence.

It's like this: I'm lvl 1 and have EWP bastard sword, TWF, and quick draw -- I can't make one attack with the bastard sword with both hands, then quick draw a dagger/other weapon/use my fist and get a second attack from TWF. This is identical to attacking with a bow, then trying to get an extra punch from TWF.

I could if I used 2 monk weapons as part of a flurry, because there's no one/two handedness to the mechanic.

Well, anyone can use two-weapon fighting to kick twice.

You would not even need the Improved Unarmed Strike, or Two-Weapon Fighting feat.

You would just have terrible penalties, and provoke, twice.


Flurry of blows is mechanically identical to two-weapon fighting in every way EXCEPT the handiness. and fyi, it is entirely possible to TWF with unarmed strike without FoB and never use your hands. the number of attacks you can make per round (weather or not your using FoB or TWF) is still determined by how many hands you actually have. since an unarmed strike is, as you've said, not a primary or an off hand (and there is no way to determine which hand is which without a weapon in it because they are equivalently identical as far as the rules go), meaning that primary or off hand suffers no difference in penalty assuming you have the feats, and given that you can use any part of your body as an unarmed strike (even without being a monk) then it is entirely possible to kick with an unarmed strike via the Improved Unarmed Strike feat while holding a 2HW in both hands. i have, however, just take my one attacks for the primary weapon away from said 2HW by doing so, because im only allowed 1.

[Edit]ninja'd by BBT and a better explanation...

Scarab Sages

Shimesen wrote:

you all DO realize that there is already a way to do this with Crusader's Flurry from the Warpriest, right? he can FoB with his bow and unarmed strikes. effectively TWF with both...there is mechanically no difference....

The Sohei has been able to do this for some time now.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, the reason there is no specific wording allowing Bow to be used with two-weapon fighting, is because there never was a restriction before.

RAW was altered.


Artanthos wrote:
Shimesen wrote:

you all DO realize that there is already a way to do this with Crusader's Flurry from the Warpriest, right? he can FoB with his bow and unarmed strikes. effectively TWF with both...there is mechanically no difference....

The Sohei has been able to do this for some time now.

well then, there ya go.

if Flurry in all its formats can be used to accomplish this, then honestly, from a mechanical standpoint TWF does the same thing and should be capable of being used the same way.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, Flurry really is it's own thing.

You can Flurry with one two-handed weapon.

Not really a good example.:(


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Well, the reason there is no specific wording allowing Bow to be used with two-weapon fighting, is because there never was a restriction before.

RAW was altered.

thats a good point. the FAQ on armor spikes changed the rules on TWF to DENY certain combo's, but prior to that, those combos AND this one we're entirely legal by technicality. so now the question is, does that ruling stand for ALL combos of this manner, or just melee/melee?

having said that, i have to argue no it doesnt, because it really is the same as using a 2hw and armor spikes. its netting you an extra attack you haven't paid for, and thats simply unfair. if this we're allowed, then the armor spikes should also be allowed.


Shimesen wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Well, the reason there is no specific wording allowing Bow to be used with two-weapon fighting, is because there never was a restriction before.

RAW was altered.

thats a good point. the FAQ on armor spikes changed the rules on TWF to DENY certain combo's, but prior to that, those combos AND this one we're entirely legal by technicality. so now the question is, does that ruling stand for ALL combos of this manner, or just melee/melee?

having said that, i have to argue no it doesnt, because it really is the same as using a 2hw and armor spikes. its netting you an extra attack you haven't paid for, and thats simply unfair. if this we're allowed, then the armor spikes should also be allowed.

The FAQ did not change the rules.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

In 3.5, there was a FAQ that specifically allowed it.

The wording for two-weapon fighting is identical in 3.5, and Pathfinder.

This is why "unwritten rules" were used as a reasoning for the FAQ.

This creates confusion, as we have to take from the FAQ, and judge if these "unwritten rules" cover both ranged, and melee.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

In 3.5, there was a FAQ that specifically allowed it.

The wording for two-weapon fighting is identical in 3.5, and Pathfinder.

This is why "unwritten rules" were used as a reasoning for the FAQ.

This creates confusion, as we have to take from the FAQ, and judge if these "unwritten rules" cover both ranged, and melee.

After the 3.5 FAQ that disallowed it. Wonder why you never mention that?


You keep claiming unwritten rules. I've used only written rules to explain my case and have not even cited the FAQ.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

In 3.5, there was a FAQ that specifically allowed it.

The wording for two-weapon fighting is identical in 3.5, and Pathfinder.

This is why "unwritten rules" were used as a reasoning for the FAQ.

This creates confusion, as we have to take from the FAQ, and judge if these "unwritten rules" cover both ranged, and melee.

After the 3.5 FAQ that disallowed it. Wonder why you never mention that?

Link to that additional 3.5 FAQ?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
You keep claiming unwritten rules. I've used only written rules to explain my case and have not even cited the FAQ.

The Developers specifically noted unwritten rules. I did not make this up.

I have linked these posts before.


Sorry if this is a derail, but reading this thread has got me thinking about a strategy one of my players uses in my game. The player is a monk who wields a longbow to attack, but takes attack of opportunities from any enemy that provokes them from her with an unarmed strike (specifically arguing that shes kicking people). Is this actually valid by the rules? Or would this count as kind of two weapon fighting being discussed, even though the character only ever uses the unarmed strike for AoOs?


Subparhiggins wrote:
Sorry if this is a derail, but reading this thread has got me thinking about a strategy one of my players uses in my game. The player is a monk who wields a longbow to attack, but takes attack of opportunities from any enemy that provokes them from her with an unarmed strike (specifically arguing that shes kicking people). Is this actually valid by the rules? Or would this count as kind of two weapon fighting being discussed, even though the character only ever uses the unarmed strike for AoOs?

AoOs are not affected. That strategy is perfectly legal.


Subparhiggins wrote:
Sorry if this is a derail, but reading this thread has got me thinking about a strategy one of my players uses in my game. The player is a monk who wields a longbow to attack, but takes attack of opportunities from any enemy that provokes them from her with an unarmed strike (specifically arguing that shes kicking people). Is this actually valid by the rules? Or would this count as kind of two weapon fighting being discussed, even though the character only ever uses the unarmed strike for AoOs?

It is fine so long as the character has IUS. Even if the poo-poo'ers come in here and say otherwise, the character can take their hand off the bow at the end of their turn as a free action and threaten. Then regrab the bow at the beginning of their next turn as a free action.


BigDTBone wrote:
Subparhiggins wrote:
Sorry if this is a derail, but reading this thread has got me thinking about a strategy one of my players uses in my game. The player is a monk who wields a longbow to attack, but takes attack of opportunities from any enemy that provokes them from her with an unarmed strike (specifically arguing that shes kicking people). Is this actually valid by the rules? Or would this count as kind of two weapon fighting being discussed, even though the character only ever uses the unarmed strike for AoOs?
It is fine so long as the character has IUS. Even if the poo-poo'ers come in here and say otherwise, the character can take their hand off the bow at the end of their turn as a free action and threaten. Then regrab the bow at the beginning of their next turn as a free action.

you dont even need to take your hand off as a free action. the IUS from monk means that you are always armed, and that you can attack with any part of the body. meaning that an unarmed strike from a monk as an AoO can be made with both hands full. it actually specifically makes mention of this under the monk IUS description.


even if the FAQ didn't "change" the rules, as you put it, it did at the very least, clarify something that was previously a grey area. all we want is more clarification because the FAQ does not specifically make mention of bows, and as i've already mentioned, ranged weapons are not specifically part of the two handed weapon group. there are four groups: light, one handed, two handed, and ranged. there are categories such as martial, simple, exotic, but nothing to separate one handed and two handed ranged weapons aside from the weapon description its self. a "two handed ranged" weapon does not, its self, have a category, as it should. this causes issues with regard to the FAQ because it calls out two-handed weapons for its clarifications.


Shimesen wrote:
even if the FAQ didn't "change" the rules, as you put it, it did at the very least, clarify something that was previously a grey area. all we want is more clarification because the FAQ does not specifically make mention of bows, and as i've already mentioned, ranged weapons are not specifically part of the two handed weapon group. there are four groups: light, one handed, two handed, and ranged. there are categories such as martial, simple, exotic, but nothing to separate one handed and two handed ranged weapons aside from the weapon description its self. a "two handed ranged" weapon does not, its self, have a category, as it should. this causes issues with regard to the FAQ because it calls out two-handed weapons for its clarifications.

Click the spoiler tab.


and just so we are clear: if we argue that a composite longbow is the effective equivalent of a 2HW, then for arguments sake, the strength bonus to damage granted by the composite quality should be in line with the strength bonus granted to a 2HW...its not. its only a x1 which would make it comparable to a 1HW.

i'm not saying that i think a bow is a 1hw, but to play the devil's advocate, the rules on the different types of damage seem to suggest the comparison is equal as i've stated above.

and for anyone who's ever actually used a Bow in the real world, they can tell you that it does take a lot of strength to draw, and the power the arrow receives is comparably higher than the strength used to draw it. so by all rights and rules of physics as transferred into game mechanics, a x1.5 strength bonus to damage for a composite bow is actually the more accurate way to go....


Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Shimesen wrote:
even if the FAQ didn't "change" the rules, as you put it, it did at the very least, clarify something that was previously a grey area. all we want is more clarification because the FAQ does not specifically make mention of bows, and as i've already mentioned, ranged weapons are not specifically part of the two handed weapon group. there are four groups: light, one handed, two handed, and ranged. there are categories such as martial, simple, exotic, but nothing to separate one handed and two handed ranged weapons aside from the weapon description its self. a "two handed ranged" weapon does not, its self, have a category, as it should. this causes issues with regard to the FAQ because it calls out two-handed weapons for its clarifications.
Click the spoiler tab.

i do specifically state in that post about "other than the weapon descriptions" and make mention about the need for 2 separate groups...

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