Why are nodachis polearms?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


I mean. I get why they're in the heavy blade weapon group. They're basically greatswords (in fact the name is literally greatsword). Cool.

But why are they also polearms? Like. I don't see why they're in a group of weapons with Glaives and Halberds. At all.


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Most likely because of its length. It is long enough to have brace, a special ability which is usually reserved for Polearms.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Oracle of Sunder wrote:
Most likely because of its length. It is long enough to have brace, a special ability which is usually reserved for Polearms.

They've got super long hilts and are traditionally used in the types of situations you would normally use a polearm. As mentioned, they also have brace, typically a polearm ability.

While it doesn't quite conform to the standard idea of a polearm, I could see why it would be added to that weapon group.


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Also, it is of a size where you could only really use it on the battlefield. It is not the tool of back alley shankings.

Admittedly, that seems like an equally good argument for greatswords to be on the polearms list....but hey, I was only aiming to justify nodachis here.


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Because of anglo-saxon cultural imperialism! Doesn't fit neatly into one of our euro-centric categories? Too bad!

(Also, I'm mostly kidding. I just love to say 'anglo-saxon cultural imperialism'.)


Maybe someone in the design team confused them with naginatas? Happens to me all the time.

"And my character should wield a nodachi. No wait, a naginata. Hold on a minute, which one's the giant katana again?"


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In all honesty, a greatsword having the same reach as a dagger is kinda silly to begin with.

Sovereign Court

LoneKnave wrote:
In all honesty, a greatsword having the same reach as a dagger is kinda silly to begin with.

So true.

It's a bit late to add it to the rules now, but it's something that often bugs GMs: when players want to use greatswords in cramped dungeons. I know you can't use them while in a grapple, but it looks like you can just use them even while squeezing.


Ascalaphus wrote:
LoneKnave wrote:
In all honesty, a greatsword having the same reach as a dagger is kinda silly to begin with.

So true.

It's a bit late to add it to the rules now, but it's something that often bugs GMs: when players want to use greatswords in cramped dungeons. I know you can't use them while in a grapple, but it looks like you can just use them even while squeezing.

Over hand chops in a narrow passage, hard to evade Ascalaphuson


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Ascalaphus wrote:
LoneKnave wrote:
In all honesty, a greatsword having the same reach as a dagger is kinda silly to begin with.

So true.

It's a bit late to add it to the rules now, but it's something that often bugs GMs: when players want to use greatswords in cramped dungeons. I know you can't use them while in a grapple, but it looks like you can just use them even while squeezing.

Choke up on the ricasso and Put the pointy end in the other person.Thats what its there for.

Sovereign Court

Rogar Stonebow wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
LoneKnave wrote:
In all honesty, a greatsword having the same reach as a dagger is kinda silly to begin with.

So true.

It's a bit late to add it to the rules now, but it's something that often bugs GMs: when players want to use greatswords in cramped dungeons. I know you can't use them while in a grapple, but it looks like you can just use them even while squeezing.

Over hand chops in a narrow passage, hard to evade Ascalaphuson

Which brings us to the question of low ceilings.

Like, the adventure where some human samurai invade kobold-sized tunnels.

Yeah, they'll be taking Squeezing penalties, but somehow it rankles that the greatsword has no more penalty than the shortsword.


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Use it like a spear or a pole?

The Exchange

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Ascalaphus wrote:
Rogar Stonebow wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
LoneKnave wrote:
In all honesty, a greatsword having the same reach as a dagger is kinda silly to begin with.

So true.

It's a bit late to add it to the rules now, but it's something that often bugs GMs: when players want to use greatswords in cramped dungeons. I know you can't use them while in a grapple, but it looks like you can just use them even while squeezing.

Over hand chops in a narrow passage, hard to evade Ascalaphuson

Which brings us to the question of low ceilings.

Like, the adventure where some human samurai invade kobold-sized tunnels.

Yeah, they'll be taking Squeezing penalties, but somehow it rankles that the greatsword has no more penalty than the shortsword.

It is easy to grab the ricasso, as BigNorseWolf points out, and use the pointy end to poke people, and this is part of how to use a greatsword, or a claymore, in combat. What should be addressed is how space would limit a weapon to being used in certain manners that could limit the type of damage done by a weapon. For example, a greatsword might realistically be limited to piercing damage in narrow confining areas....this opens a whole other can of worms with weapons doing different types of damage then those listed (I poke with the pointy end. I smash with the end of the handle) and rules to govern their usage that would slow the game down.

Sometimes you have to sacrifice realism a bit to keep the rules from overwhelming the game. You could certainly houserule something like different type of damage and how, when, where they would be used and at what penalties but it doesn't seem necessary unless your group wants the added complication and realism.


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I think we can just chalk this up to "In order to keep things simple and smooth, the game doesn't simulate every single fiddly little detail of realistic combat." After all, most long weapons have at least some fighting techniques intended for close quarters. BNW already brought up half-swording with a greatsword.


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for those who dont know
One of the biggest users of Greatsword in History where the Landskenchtes, who used them mixed in units of Pole arms. So I can see the Great sword being classed as a pole arm

The Exchange

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Ascalaphus wrote:
... it's something that often bugs GMs: when players want to use greatswords in cramped dungeons. I know you can't use them while in a grapple, but it looks like you can just use them even while squeezing.

That's nothing! I can use my whip while prone, entangled, and fighting in a phone booth! Indiana Jones is a chump compared to a 1st-level bard!


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Lincoln Hills wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
... it's something that often bugs GMs: when players want to use greatswords in cramped dungeons. I know you can't use them while in a grapple, but it looks like you can just use them even while squeezing.
That's nothing! I can use my whip while prone, entangled, and fighting in a phone booth! Indiana Jones is a chump compared to a 1st-level bard!

Well have you seen that phone booth? Its HUGE on the inside! Just make sure you don't piss her off, you might end up sometime you didn't start out at xD


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Because they have high hopes and aspirations and their parents said they could be whatever they wanted to be when they grew up?


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Many nodaichi techniques resemble classic pollaxe and halberd moves.

Dark Archive

From my understanding, No-Dachis were actually about half handle. Basically a katana with a really hilt. Less pole than a Naginata(thus no reach) or what ever those weapons where that are just a katana blade on the end of really long pole(nagimaki maybe).


According to wikipedia the average nodachi is 65-70 inches long with 4-5 feet of that being blade. Sure there isn't much pole to it with about 1 foot's worth of handle, but the length of the blade itself almost justifies the status of polearm.

Note also that they were made for Japanese people hundreds of years ago, and as late as WWII they stood about 5 feet tall. (I've seen a Japanese WWII uniform in person, and that thing was tiny!) If you were to size it for a taller person (average human male in Pathfinder according to the table is 5'9''), it's not unreasonable to assume that it might be a bit longer too.


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K177Y C47 wrote:
Lincoln Hills wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
... it's something that often bugs GMs: when players want to use greatswords in cramped dungeons. I know you can't use them while in a grapple, but it looks like you can just use them even while squeezing.
That's nothing! I can use my whip while prone, entangled, and fighting in a phone booth! Indiana Jones is a chump compared to a 1st-level bard!
Well have you seen that phone booth? Its HUGE on the inside! Just make sure you don't piss her off, you might end up sometime you didn't start out at xD

Well, that certainly explains why there is a phone booth on Golarion.


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anlashok wrote:

I mean. I get why they're in the heavy blade weapon group. They're basically greatswords (in fact the name is literally greatsword). Cool.

But why are they also polearms? Like. I don't see why they're in a group of weapons with Glaives and Halberds. At all.

Well, the thing is, there isn't a clear cut-off between polearms and swords in real life. A glaive with a long blade can be used in a thrusting style like a spear, and you can use the blade just to get you some draw cuts. Or if you've space you can swing it around like it's a sword.

Similarly, a sword can be held in a more polearm type guard and used like a short polearm. In fact, you can see some swords have adaptations specifically for doing this, eg:
http://www.coldsteel-uk.com/store/two-handed-great-sword-88wgs-full-1.jpg

See the leather-covered bit in between the two sets of quillons? That's where you put your lead hand (typically your off hand) when you're using it like a pole weapon.

The Exchange

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lemeres wrote:
Well, that certainly explains why there is a phone booth on Golarion.

It's a Numerian phone booth. Used to transmit technobabble.

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