How come bayonets don't have Brace?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


That is a large part of how one would use a bayonet when facing cavalry, and a pretty big reason why the bayonet was effective against cavalry. A lot of the time the mere appearance of a line of muskets with fixed bayonets and stocks braced against the ground was enough intimidation that a horse would refuse to charge. Granted, I am using GM fiat to declare that it does have Brace, but I am curious as to why this was not written into the official rules. It seems like an obvious choice.


As I understand it, Brace means you're bracing the butt end of the weapon against the ground, not simply planting your feet and getting ready for it. if we're talking rifle bayonets, rifles simply aren't that long.


Zhayne wrote:
As I understand it, Brace means you're bracing the butt end of the weapon against the ground, not simply planting your feet and getting ready for it. if we're talking rifle bayonets, rifles simply aren't that long.

If you are talking about a musket with a bayonet, however, that is exactly how it is used when facing cavalry.


Eh, you're already getting to make melee attacks with your ranged weapon. Besides, I don't think a rifle would make as good an anti-cavalry weapon as a pike.

If we're talking about using real-life tactics with fantasy game weapons, that could be a forum all to itself.


Well, I'm not exactly one for realistic combat, because that isn't fun, but if something is doable IRL and adds to the game rather than slowing down play or making it less fun, it should be used. In the case of a musket and bayonet, bracing it against the ground to ward off cavalry is something that was a common historical use, and I do not believe it makes the game more complicated or less fun.


The fact that you can't use a weapon for ranged attacks when a bayonet is affixed is a worse issue in my opinion.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rastrum wrote:
The fact that you can't use a weapon for ranged attacks when a bayonet is affixed is a worse issue in my opinion.

But historically accurate, I'm afraid. Early bayonets were uniformly plug bayonets because the other designs tended to fall off.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
As I understand it, Brace means you're bracing the butt end of the weapon against the ground, not simply planting your feet and getting ready for it. if we're talking rifle bayonets, rifles simply aren't that long.
If you are talking about a musket with a bayonet, however, that is exactly how it is used when facing cavalry.

Is there a description of the actual weapon around anywhere?

"Musket" covers an awful lot of territory. The Model 1795 musket was only 60 inches long in total length, which isn't really long enough to be useful against cavalry. While some of the very early muskets were longer than that, they weren't successful, partly because they were so cumbersome and partly because longer barrels were harder to forge.

A modern rifle is even shorter (it doesn't need the longer barrel for accuracy).

I have no problem believing that a musket-with-bayonet doesn't have brace if a shortspear doesn't either.

Bear in mind that you can still set a weapon against a charge, even if it doesn't have the brace characteristic. You just don't get additional damage. In the case of real-life muskets against cavalry,.... well, bracing your weapon may be the best option in that circumstance, but that doesn't make it a good option. I'm perfectly willing to believe that musketeers used this technique out of necessity, not out of choice or effectiveness. What, after all, were the alternatives? Using the muskets as clubs?


Muskets were long enough in those days to brace, too.

But crossbows weren't.


Well, by this same logic, long spears should also have brace, but the only simple weapon with brace is the boar spear (which has little protruding wings that help stop the target so it doesn't just use its momentum to collide with you as it slides down the spear).

I think the question here should not be why the bayonet doesn't have brace, but what qualities make cause a weapon to gain brace. The game only lists such features when they are extremely notable and intended part of the design from a lay perspective (another example- a sword could be used to bludgeon with the hilt or flat of the blade, but swords no swords do bludgeoning; you can only do that stuff with a feat, martial versatility, that is independent of the weapon itself)


lemeres wrote:

Well, by this same logic, long spears should also have brace, but the only simple weapon with brace is the boar spear (which has little protruding wings that help stop the target so it doesn't just use its momentum to collide with you as it slides down the spear).

I think the question here should not be why the bayonet doesn't have brace, but what qualities make cause a weapon to gain brace. The game only lists such features when they are extremely notable and intended part of the design from a lay perspective (another example- a sword could be used to bludgeon with the hilt or flat of the blade, but swords no swords do bludgeoning; you can only do that stuff with a feat, martial versatility, that is independent of the weapon itself)

Wasn't there an errata a while ago saying you could deal bludgeoning damage with the pommel of your sword as an improvised weapon?


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Rastrum wrote:
The fact that you can't use a weapon for ranged attacks when a bayonet is affixed is a worse issue in my opinion.

But historically accurate, I'm afraid. Early bayonets were uniformly plug bayonets because the other designs tended to fall off.

Honestly, there wasn't that long of a period after the invention of bayonets before non-plug varieties became prevalent; it seems like in a world with dwarven craftsmen, magic, etc., it wouldn't be much of a stretch for someone with gunsmithing and a craft skill to invent a socket bayonet. I would guess it was more of a balance concern than a realism one, since we already have stuff like axe muskets, but they deal reduced ranged damage from the standard models.


Rastrum wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Rastrum wrote:
The fact that you can't use a weapon for ranged attacks when a bayonet is affixed is a worse issue in my opinion.

But historically accurate, I'm afraid. Early bayonets were uniformly plug bayonets because the other designs tended to fall off.

Honestly, there wasn't that long of a period after the invention of bayonets before non-plug varieties became prevalent; it seems like in a world with dwarven craftsmen, magic, etc., it wouldn't be much of a stretch for someone with gunsmithing and a craft skill to invent a socket bayonet. I would guess it was more of a balance concern than a realism one, since we already have stuff like axe muskets, but they deal reduced ranged damage from the standard models.

-2 penalty to ranged attacks when bayonet is fixed? In the American Civil War, you didn't fix bayonets unless you were right about to use them, in part (not in whole) because it put the rifle off balance.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Rastrum wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Rastrum wrote:
The fact that you can't use a weapon for ranged attacks when a bayonet is affixed is a worse issue in my opinion.

But historically accurate, I'm afraid. Early bayonets were uniformly plug bayonets because the other designs tended to fall off.

Honestly, there wasn't that long of a period after the invention of bayonets before non-plug varieties became prevalent; it seems like in a world with dwarven craftsmen, magic, etc., it wouldn't be much of a stretch for someone with gunsmithing and a craft skill to invent a socket bayonet. I would guess it was more of a balance concern than a realism one, since we already have stuff like axe muskets, but they deal reduced ranged damage from the standard models.
-2 penalty to ranged attacks when bayonet is fixed? In the American Civil War, you didn't fix bayonets unless you were right about to use them, in part (not in whole) because it put the rifle off balance.

Harder to reload a muzzle-loaded gun when there's a great big knife right next to your rammin' hand as you ram the shot down the barrel.

History of the bayonet. Fun stuff, also rather out-of-context. The first Socket Bayonet showed up within the same century as the first plug bayonets, but a socket bayonet is a lot harder to machine and make than a plug bayonet, which can affect which one will see large-scale deployment when you are outfitting your peasant conscripts. Not that this affects Pathfinder Gunslingers, who probably have to manufacture both by their own three hands.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
lemeres wrote:
Well, by this same logic, long spears should also have brace, but ...

The longspear does have the brace quality, at least according to the pfsrd.


Magda Luckbender wrote:
lemeres wrote:
Well, by this same logic, long spears should also have brace, but ...

The longspear does have the brace quality, at least according to the pfsrd.

Damn, really?

Man, I have been off on everything recently. Heck, looking at it, most polearms have reach. Was I thinking of lances (which are basically the same as long spears when unmounted)?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
As I understand it, Brace means you're bracing the butt end of the weapon against the ground, not simply planting your feet and getting ready for it. if we're talking rifle bayonets, rifles simply aren't that long.
If you are talking about a musket with a bayonet, however, that is exactly how it is used when facing cavalry.

Badly. The bayoneted rifle was generally used against other infantry because you had one shot and a horrendous reload time. When it came to bracing against cavalry, that was centuries earlier with pikemen.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
As I understand it, Brace means you're bracing the butt end of the weapon against the ground, not simply planting your feet and getting ready for it. if we're talking rifle bayonets, rifles simply aren't that long.
If you are talking about a musket with a bayonet, however, that is exactly how it is used when facing cavalry.
Badly. The bayoneted rifle was generally used against other infantry because you had one shot and a horrendous reload time. When it came to bracing against cavalry, that was centuries earlier with pikemen.

17th to 18th century tech had bayonets and rifles destroying cavalry. it's the main reason we saw cavalry fall off as a battlefield front line unit.

first you fire your volley at the horses, who then promptly freak if they survived, and then you brace for the rest.


Bayoneted rifle was shorter than the super-long-barreled muskets of several eras, on account of the rifling. Actually, by the time rifling was common, reloading was a lot better, come to think of it.

Depends on the gun, LOTTA gun history out there, and frankly a lot of it doesn't really apply because Pathfinder represents severely alternate history. Ring Bayonets were made and discarded early in development, socket bayonets appeared on battlefields maybe 2 generations after the development of plug bayonets but plug bayonets still saw a lot of use depending on the industrial base and the quality of the soldiers. Plenty of tech was developed, even used by the elite, but too expensive for troops who were considered rather disposable.

And of course, while technology was never really LOST, it could and would make appearances in places, be temporarily adopted, and then disappear again when the infrastructure required to build/maintain it fell apart because of war or whatnot. I seem to recall Russian soldiers were using plug bayonets in the 19th century despite socket ones having been around for 200 years because it was easier to make and maintain a long metal spike than a shorter metal spike with a finicky attachment bit that might rust or break or shrink in the cold, and the soldiers themselves were dirty, genetically-inferior Ukrainian conscripts*.

*ha ha! irony!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bandw2 wrote:


17th to 18th century tech had bayonets and rifles destroying cavalry. it's the main reason we saw cavalry fall off as a battlefield front line unit.

Yes, but I think I could make the same statement about calculus and rifles, or telescopes and rifles, or thermometers and rifles, or barometers and rifles, or pocket watches and rifles,....


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Bandw2 wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
As I understand it, Brace means you're bracing the butt end of the weapon against the ground, not simply planting your feet and getting ready for it. if we're talking rifle bayonets, rifles simply aren't that long.
If you are talking about a musket with a bayonet, however, that is exactly how it is used when facing cavalry.
Badly. The bayoneted rifle was generally used against other infantry because you had one shot and a horrendous reload time. When it came to bracing against cavalry, that was centuries earlier with pikemen.

17th to 18th century tech had bayonets and rifles destroying cavalry. it's the main reason we saw cavalry fall off as a battlefield front line unit.

first you fire your volley at the horses, who then promptly freak if they survived, and then you brace for the rest.

The last horse cavalry charge by the United States was in 1941. Horse cavalry was common through the 19th century. What truly ended horse cavalry was repeating rifles and machine guns.


I really do not know why bayonets do not have brace, i did what you are doing and just house ruling that they do. If i had to guess its because paizo do not want one weapon to do to many things. I am devils advocating here, you could use your musket with bayonet as a good ranged weapon, an anti charging weapon, and a good melee weapon. That would mean you really only need one weapon thus you do not need to worry about lots of gear to carry like other people do. just a thought, but like i said i house rule it the same as you do. because its awesome to see players reenact the thin red line of the battle of balaclava on a large group of goblins.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Vod Canockers wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
As I understand it, Brace means you're bracing the butt end of the weapon against the ground, not simply planting your feet and getting ready for it. if we're talking rifle bayonets, rifles simply aren't that long.
If you are talking about a musket with a bayonet, however, that is exactly how it is used when facing cavalry.
Badly. The bayoneted rifle was generally used against other infantry because you had one shot and a horrendous reload time. When it came to bracing against cavalry, that was centuries earlier with pikemen.

17th to 18th century tech had bayonets and rifles destroying cavalry. it's the main reason we saw cavalry fall off as a battlefield front line unit.

first you fire your volley at the horses, who then promptly freak if they survived, and then you brace for the rest.

The last horse cavalry charge by the United States was in 1941. Horse cavalry was common through the 19th century. What truly ended horse cavalry was repeating rifles and machine guns.

BUT cavalry was no longer the heavy, beat-um-up smash through infantry lines they used to be, they were mostly used as light cavalry(as a role supporting other infantry units), as heavy cavalry lost almost all of it's combat effectiveness as a front line unit, and we saw it move to a more organizational capacity (especially in the 1900's) in that it let officers and such get around the battlefield quicker.

to put it bluntly, the last sword was used by the United States military around the same time.

@machine guns, a lot more changed than just cavalry not being used anymore by that time.

but yeah, riflemen were essentially pikemen carrying around a small cannon to a cavalryman. add to that updated organization on how to have infantry resist cavalry charges(such as 3 layer's deep line with a volley then a switch to bayonetes), and suddenly cavalry charges became a lot less shock and awe, and a lot more dead horses and men.
so, I guess you could say it was the gun + the bayonet + improved infantry organization, that lead to the downfall of the cavalry.

Sovereign Court

It's for the same reason a bayonet doesn't have reach. It's a matter of degrees.

Could a bayonet be braced historically? Yes - but not as well as a pike.

Does a bayonet have reach on a sword? Yes - but not enough to give it Pathfinder reach. For that matter - you'd need to give a greatsword reach against daggers etc.

Basically - think of 'brace' as being able to brace a weapon really well - not just being able to brace it at all.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As far as I am concerned, any nods to reality need to be thrown out the window by the fact that you can reload and fire a muzzle-loading early firearm multiple times in six seconds. If you are willing to accept that as reality, then maybe in that reality a bayonet doesn't need to have brace.

Sovereign Court

Bad Sintax wrote:
As far as I am concerned, any nods to reality need to be thrown out the window by the fact that you can reload and fire a muzzle-loading early firearm multiple times in six seconds. If you are willing to accept that as reality, then maybe in that reality a bayonet doesn't need to have brace.

Or even once for that matter. I know in the napoleonic wars troops were considered crack troops if they could reload & fire 3 times a minute. (Though I believe some veterans could manage 4.)


Bandw2 wrote:


but yeah, riflemen were essentially pikemen carrying around a small cannon to a cavalryman. add to that updated organization on how to have infantry resist cavalry charges(such as 3 layer's deep line with a volley then a switch to bayonetes), and suddenly cavalry charges became a lot less shock and awe, and a lot more dead horses and men.
so, I guess you could say it was the gun + the bayonet + improved infantry organization, that lead to the downfall of the cavalry.

I think you may be giving a lot more credit to the bayonet and a lot less to the gun than is due.


Why get so caught up on reality? just house rule it and have fun. The most fun I ever had with pathfinder was when we were playing with a mix of house rules and official rules.
Giving dependent bonuses is actually not a bad idea, giving a great sword user reach vs daggers can actually be fun, if everyone understands the rules. It opens up new avenues and tactics people would not have thought of under the older, rigid rules.
Perhaps you give brace to a weapon without brace but at a drawback, say -4 to attack. So you could turn your bayonet into a brace weapon if you were willing to take -4 to attack. Just an idea.


Oni_Sloth wrote:


Perhaps you give brace to a weapon without brace but at a drawback, say -4 to attack. So you could turn your bayonet into a brace weapon if you were willing to take -4 to attack. Just an idea.

A lot of people seem to have the idea that you can't brace a weapon without the brace property.

"Bracing" a weapon is simply "readying an action to attack a charging foe," which you can do with any weapon, including a sling. The only advantage that having the brace descriptor gives you is a damage bonus.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Oni_Sloth wrote:


Perhaps you give brace to a weapon without brace but at a drawback, say -4 to attack. So you could turn your bayonet into a brace weapon if you were willing to take -4 to attack. Just an idea.

A lot of people seem to have the idea that you can't brace a weapon without the brace property.

"Bracing" a weapon is simply "readying an action to attack a charging foe," which you can do with any weapon, including a sling. The only advantage that having the brace descriptor gives you is a damage bonus.

yep it doubles damage on a successful hit. I just suggest that people can either house rule weapons that do not have brace to have brace if it makes sense. Or people can house rule it such that a weapon can be given brace or perhaps another property if the person is willing to take a draw back.

Doing stuff like that means that people do not need to worry when their weapon of choice does not have some quality. If it makes sense then make it so or do it with a negative. Seems fair to me.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:


but yeah, riflemen were essentially pikemen carrying around a small cannon to a cavalryman. add to that updated organization on how to have infantry resist cavalry charges(such as 3 layer's deep line with a volley then a switch to bayonetes), and suddenly cavalry charges became a lot less shock and awe, and a lot more dead horses and men.
so, I guess you could say it was the gun + the bayonet + improved infantry organization, that lead to the downfall of the cavalry.
I think you may be giving a lot more credit to the bayonet and a lot less to the gun than is due.

without the bayonet after the first volley the infantry would still have been destroyed.

Sovereign Court

Bandw2 wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:


but yeah, riflemen were essentially pikemen carrying around a small cannon to a cavalryman. add to that updated organization on how to have infantry resist cavalry charges(such as 3 layer's deep line with a volley then a switch to bayonetes), and suddenly cavalry charges became a lot less shock and awe, and a lot more dead horses and men.
so, I guess you could say it was the gun + the bayonet + improved infantry organization, that lead to the downfall of the cavalry.
I think you may be giving a lot more credit to the bayonet and a lot less to the gun than is due.
without the bayonet after the first volley the infantry would still have been destroyed.

Precisely - that's why napoleonic infantry formed 'square' versus cavalry despite it being inefficient in firepower in comparison to the more common lines. And the reason that skirmishers were destroyed by cavalry.

Grand Lodge

Typically when your using a Bayonet in pathfinder your not using a gun on it....A bayonet could be used similiar to a short sword/short rapier to fight in a trenches as well as mounted on the gun and used like a spear.

But the Base Bayonet in pathfinder they are intending you to use it by hand like a sword. SO it can not be braced or readied for a charge by hand.

It was a ingenious weapon of war tho. Almost as good as the tri-blade dagger/sword. made wounds that were impossible for the current medical field to patch up. So many a people died to its wounds later than on the field.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / How come bayonets don't have Brace? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.