Wielding a large bow


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

A friend of mine wants to make a medium character who wields a large bow. Inspired by anime I guess.

Is there any way to pull this off without resorting to actually being large?


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Tiefling Heritage comes to mind. Or being a Half-Giant if you allow DSP's stuff.


Tiefling alternate racial ability from the chart is the only way I know how to do it. Made a tiefling ranger with it for a short campaign. Shooting small trees at your opponents is fun.


LeesusFreak wrote:
Tiefling Heritage comes to mind. Or being a Half-Giant if you allow DSP's stuff.

This is what I was going to say also.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Source?


Tiefling
Variant Abilities table (1-100)

#16: "You have over-sized limbs, allowing you to use Large weapons without penalty."

Source: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/other-races/featured-races/arg-tiefling


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks guys. I think that might just do the trick. Let me know if you find any alternate methods.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, the Tiefling ability doesn't actually reduce the handedness.

It just removes penalties.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Now, if you have at least one level in Titan Fighter, you can use a Large Longbow, that is under the effect of a Bowstaff Spell.


Mummified Familiar wrote:

Tiefling

Variant Abilities table (1-100)

#16: "You have over-sized limbs, allowing you to use Large weapons without penalty."

Source: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/other-races/featured-races/arg-tiefling

Linkified. Original source presumably = Advanced Race Guide, although it doesn't appear in the Advanced Race Guide part of the official PRD on this site (which seems to be missing some other stuff, unless they put it in a really weird place), and it doesn't appear on Archives of Nethys either, so maybe it's actually from Blood of Fiends, or maybe even from Pathfinder Adventure Path #25: The Bastards of Erebus, which is listed as the source for the same Variant Tiefling Abilities table in the description of the feat Fiendish Heritage.

And here's the option from Dreamscarred Press: Half-Giant, from Psionics Unleashed.

A technological approach that has been used on Earth but is not reflected in any Pathfinder material that I know of can be found here: Yumi(*) (also see Kyūdō, especially first photo, which clearly shows how the bow and the drawing of it is asymmetrical). These ought to be listed as Exotic Eastern weapons, but the Eastern Weapons section of d20pfsrd.com doesn't have any bows at all.

(*)Exists in a long variant daikyū and a short variant hankyū.

Also see these videos:

here (just had to leave this in because the person doing it looks like Homer Simpson in Japanese monastic clothing)
here (not the best video, but demonstration from horseback)
here and here (not having the best time hitting the targets, but gives the best views of the asymmetrical bows in use)


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Well, the Tiefling ability doesn't actually reduce the handedness.

It just removes penalties.

I misremembered it. I thought it actually allowed you to use larger weapons.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Well, the Tiefling ability doesn't actually reduce the handedness.

It just removes penalties.

Not sure what you mean -- it actually does let you use larger weapons. Not sure where the handedness comes from.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Well, the Tiefling ability doesn't actually reduce the handedness.

It just removes penalties.

Not sure what you mean -- it actually does let you use larger weapons. Not sure where the handedness comes from.

What he is saying is that the ability never says you can use weapons that are larger than normal for your size. It says you can use large weapons without penalty, but you can you use some large weapons as a medium sized character already, but you will have a -2 penalty.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Think of the Titan Mauler.


^You're using a two-handed weapon (bow) two-handed, and the ability says "You have over-sized limbs, allowing you to use Large weapons without penalty", and Inappropriately Sized Weapons (under Weapons) says "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." It doesn't say that you can't use a Large two-handed weapon at all. So the Tiefling ability under Fiendish Heritage seems to solve the problem.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

^You're using a two-handed weapon (bow) two-handed, and the ability says "You have over-sized limbs, allowing you to use Large weapons without penalty", and Inappropriately Sized Weapons (under Weapons) says "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." It doesn't say that you can't use a Large two-handed weapon at all. So the Tiefling ability under Fiendish Heritage seems to solve the problem.

The ability never says you can used an oversized weapon that you could not use anyway. It allows you to not have a penalty for the oversized ones that you can use, as written.

Now of course they could mean penalty as in "restriction" instead of "numerical penalty", and it actually read that way to me the first time I read it, but it is not obvious. As a GM I would allow it, but I can't say with 100% certainty that is the actual intent.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You are forgetting the change in handedness.

For a medium creature, a large one-handed weapon, is a two-handed weapon. For a medium creature, a large two-handed weapon, is unwieldable.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I had not forgotten about the change in handedness. I read the words "allowing you to use Large weapons" to mean that handedness is ignored completely. Is it a large weapon? Yes? Than you can use it.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
I had not forgotten about the change in handedness. I read the words "allowing you to use Large weapons" to mean that handedness is ignored completely. Is it a large weapon? Yes? Than you can use it.

Without Ravingdork's interpretation, the large-limbed tiefling wouldn't be able to use a large bow at all, since it's a two-handed weapon.

That d100 list of abilities is far too succinct to allow for any more detailed rules interpretations. I'm also skeptical that the PC actually rolled rather than just picking the large-limbed ability, but hey.

Why not allow it? It gives this Tiefling archer an additional base damage die increase, that he'll doubtless try to capitalize on with further die-increasing abilities, but hey, Martials need all the help they can get, eh? It still doesn't trump magical pits, fogs, domination and summoning.


Ravingdork wrote:
I had not forgotten about the change in handedness. I read the words "allowing you to use Large weapons" to mean that handedness is ignored completely. Is it a large weapon? Yes? Than you can use it.

Yeah, I'm behind this reading. If the "without penalty" was the full ability then it should have been written differently such as, "suffers no penalty when using oversized weapons," or whatever they want to say. Biggest difference being the published material says "can use," and if the intent was to just remove the penalty it should have been, "when using."

As it's written, the ability definately allows the PC to use a large weapon they otherwise couldn't.


I would have to also agree with Ravingdork. The only thing I think is written wrong on the tiefling variant is that it only says large weapons. There are other variants that alter the size of a Tiefling, as in making them abnormally short so they count as a small humanoid. If you were to combine having oversized arms, you would have arms that become the next size increment. This means a small Tiefling should be able to use medium weapons and a medium Tiefling should be able to use large weapons.

However, think about this for your player. Do they want to have a small slim body with the arms of Hellboy just to make it possible to use a large bow? If the character is themed off of someone, I do not think this will be aesthetically rational for their design. Also, just a thought, shouldn't this alternative trait give some kind of penalty for something? You have arms that are basically the size of your body, there must be something penalized for that...


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

I agree that in the limited space available in the table, Oversized Limbs could not be adequately described.

From what it does say, I agree with BBT (shocking, I know) and wraithstrike (not so shocking). Handedness is not addressed, only the penalty for inappropriate size.

I also agree that it should have been written to say "one size larger than the tiefling" rather than simply saying "Large", because tieflings come in various sizes.


I will admit that in RAW, that handedness is not addressed, which would mean that only a weapon that someone your size could actually wield would be usable. In fact, maybe that is exactly what the author had in mind when they wrote it. To me, however, I always pictured some slender Tiefling (Neeshka to be precise) with large gorilla like forearms and hands. Of course, this would make little true sense and would have plenty of penalties like I said before. So maybe the way it is supposed to be is a Tiefling with just beefier muscles that allow them to swing a large one handed sword as a two handed sword, seeing as how their hands themselves are not bigger.


The ability says you can use oversize weapons, and clarifies that you have no penalty when doing so. It is fairly clear that you can use large weapons.


Dave Justus wrote:

The ability says you can use oversize weapons, and clarifies that you have no penalty when doing so. It is fairly clear that you can use large weapons.

It is fairly clear that you can use large weapons with no penalty. However, it never says you can use oversized weapons. Any medium humanoid can use a one handed or light large weapon, but not a two handed large weapon. Nothing in the trait says you can equip large weapons as if you are a large creature. You are a medium creature that can use large weapons without a penalty. It is quite clear that it does not give you extra abilities to use extra types that you can not normally use.


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Kaiin Retsu wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:

The ability says you can use oversize weapons, and clarifies that you have no penalty when doing so. It is fairly clear that you can use large weapons.

It is fairly clear that you can use large weapons with no penalty. However, it never says you can use oversized weapons. Any medium humanoid can use a one handed or light large weapon, but not a two handed large weapon. Nothing in the trait says you can equip large weapons as if you are a large creature. You are a medium creature that can use large weapons without a penalty. It is quite clear that it does not give you extra abilities to use extra types that you can not normally use.

Except for the part where it says that your oversize limbs allow you to use large weapons, I would agree with you.


Mummified Familiar wrote:

Tiefling

Variant Abilities table (1-100)

#16: "You have over-sized limbs, allowing you to use Large weapons without penalty."

Source: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/other-races/featured-races/arg-tiefling

It does not say you can use large weapons. It says you can use large weapons without a penalty. If it said something along the lines of "You can use any large weapon without incurring a penalty" or "For the sake of your weapon, you are treated as a large creature" or "Allows you to use large weapons without the restrictions of size" or anything to these effects, then yes. However, it says "allowing you to use Large weapons without penalty." This takes the penalty away from having a large weapon, and only has an effect on the penalty. There is no penalty for using a two handed large weapon because you can not innately equip one.


The problem is that "penalty" is a game term, and we don't know if they used the game definition or the real life alternate definition. Also, IIRC, it is in a book that does not get FAQ's and devs don't like to make rules comments on the forum. I guess someone to ask Mark to ask Jason. The answer would not be 100% official, but I think it would be good enough for most of us.


Dave Justus wrote:
Kaiin Retsu wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:

The ability says you can use oversize weapons, and clarifies that you have no penalty when doing so. It is fairly clear that you can use large weapons.

It is fairly clear that you can use large weapons with no penalty. However, it never says you can use oversized weapons. Any medium humanoid can use a one handed or light large weapon, but not a two handed large weapon. Nothing in the trait says you can equip large weapons as if you are a large creature. You are a medium creature that can use large weapons without a penalty. It is quite clear that it does not give you extra abilities to use extra types that you can not normally use.
Except for the part where it says that your oversize limbs allow you to use large weapons, I would agree with you.

Remember that without any feats or abilities whatsoever, ANY medium humanoid can pick up a large dagger, a large mace, a large longsword, a large rapier, etc., and use it in combat. There are penalties to the attack roll when doing this. No medium humanoid can wield a large greatsword, large great axe, large longspear, large longbow, etc., all 2H weapons. at all. Period. Because of the following rule:

Pathfinder SRD, Equipment, Weapons wrote:
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.

So a medium human can wield a medium greatsword or longbow with 2H. For that same medium human, a large version of those 2H weapons must increase the effort to one step above two-handed and therefore cannot wield the weapon at all.

The tiefling ability removes the penalties for using a large light weapon (which becomes a one-handed weapon for the tiefling), and removes the penalties for using a large one-handed weapon (which becomes a 2H weapon for the tielfing), but they still cannot wield large 2H weapons because of the quoted rule. There are no penalties to be removed for the medium tiefling trying to wield a large 2H weapon because he just cannot do it.


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Look at the Ash Giant

It is clearly wielding its huge club in one hand and the text is identical to the tiefling abiltiy:

Oversized Weapon (Ex) An ash giant can wield Huge weapons without penalty.


Nice try.

That's a club (a one-handed weapon), not a great club. It's doing damage for a a huge, regular one-handed club. Because it is one size larger than him, it moves up one step on the effort progression and becomes a 2H weapon for this large giant who obviously wields it with both hands because the rules require him to.

Any artist rendering of him holding it in one hand is just that; art. Sure, maybe he carries it around with one hand. Anyone can carry a 2H weapon in one hand; they just cannot wield it with one hand.

The stat block does not have him using a shield or a second weapon or anything else in his hands - just this 2H club. So it's pretty obvious that his huge club is a 2H weapon for him.


"Melee Huge club +20/+15 (2d6+11 plus disease), slam +15 (1d8+5 plus disease) or 2 slams +20 (1d8+11 plus disease)"

Two weapon fightings with club and slam or two slams.

Read again.

Also note the str bonus he is getting on club damage. Not using 2 hands.


Well then you better FAQ the giant and request an errata since he breaks the game's core rules with no explanation for why.

Along with countless other monster and NPC stat blocks where the creature in question breaks core rules with no explanation other than DEV error.

Or request an FAQ on oversized weapon effort with abilities like the one in question.

Either way, it's all clearly out of sync.

For me, I go with a clear, solid rule and an erroneous stat block. With bajillions of rules to remember, and hundreds of contributors to stat blocks, it's easy enough to expect that somewhere, sometime, some errors slip into stat blocks. We have countless instances of proof for this all over Paizo's materials.

Errors in stat blocks don't prove rules. Not until someone officially says the stat block is correct and the rule is wrong.

Edit: you're assuming this guy is fighting with a club in one hand and a slam with the other? Where are his TWF penalties? He doesn't have the TWF feat, which would not stop him from fighting with two weapons, but the penalties must be applied.

They aren't.

Either way, his attack bonus is also wrong. BAB +10, STR +11, why is he only getting +20 with his club? Not from TWF penalties which would be much bigger. So his attack bonus should be +21.

He's also apparently getting 3 attacks, two with his club and one with slam, which argues for TWF but there are no penalties. Or he can do just two slams, both at +20 (wrong value) which must either be iterative (where's the second one at -5) or must apply TWF penalties (not applied).

So this guy's stat block is messed up. A lot. Hardly a basis for proving or disproving any core rule.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Or perhaps our interpretation is correct, and you don't want to admit it. :P


Ravingdork wrote:
Or perhaps our interpretation is correct, and you don't want to admit it. :P

See my edit to the previous post.


-1 Attack for being large, no TWF penalties for natural weapons


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I think it is possible that when a special ability says you can wield large weapons, it means that you can wield large weapons.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Durngrun is correct. You are ovelrooking the -1 size penalty to hit. Also, any rules that stated two-weapon fighting penalties affected natural attacks were errata'd out of existence years ago.


Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
-1 Attack for being large, no TWF penalties for natural weapons

Good catch, I did forget that.

Ravingdork wrote:
Durngrun is correct. You are ovelrooking the -1 size penalty to hit. Also, any rules that stated two-weapon fighting penalties affected natural attacks were errata'd out of existence years ago.

Nice. so my level 1 humanoid fighter can wield a one-handed weapon and can punch with his off-hand. I'll get two attacks per round and suffer no penalties. When I'm 10th level, my attack sequence will be Sword +10, Sword +5, PUnch +5, with no penalties.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

A friend of mine wants to make a medium character who wields a large bow. Inspired by anime I guess.

Is there any way to pull this off without resorting to actually being large?

No there isn't, for the exact same reason a medium character can't wield a large greatsword. The bow is a two handed weapon. A medium character doesn't have the arm length to pull the bow string back far enough to fire the large arrows required. I won't even go through the idiocy of trying to wield a 12 foot longbow.


DM_Blake wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
-1 Attack for being large, no TWF penalties for natural weapons

Good catch, I did forget that.

Ravingdork wrote:
Durngrun is correct. You are ovelrooking the -1 size penalty to hit. Also, any rules that stated two-weapon fighting penalties affected natural attacks were errata'd out of existence years ago.
Nice. so my level 1 humanoid fighter can wield a one-handed weapon and can punch with his off-hand. I'll get two attacks per round and suffer no penalties. When I'm 10th level, my attack sequence will be Sword +10, Sword +5, PUnch +5, with no penalties.

Is his punch a slam attack? Then yes. If it's an unarmed strike, then no.

Edit: Also, your slam attack would have a -5 to attack when using it in conjunction with a manufactured weapon and you would only add 0.5 STR instead of full strength but again, no TWF penalties.


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Dave Justus wrote:
I think it is possible that when a special ability says you can wield large weapons, it means that you can wield large weapons.

Or when an ability says you can do something that everyone else can do too, but you can do it without penalties, then maybe that ability is just removing the penalties.

I have a fishing license that says I can catch fish without penalty. So it appears I have an ability to catch fish. But wait, everybody else on the planet can go catch fish too, but they will be fined (penalized) for fishing without a license.

So it appears that my ability to fish without penalties grants me an ability that is the same as what everyone else can do, but I can do it without penalty while they can do it but penalties may apply.

This is no different than the wording of this ability: The ash giant can wield huge weapons without penalty. So can everyone else who happens to be a large humanoid but penalties will apply. Nothing in the ability says he can break the other rule about the amount of effort needed to wield a huge 2h weapon (impossible amount of effort).

Maybe we can infer it from his stat block, or maybe we cannot, but the fact that the stat block is inconsistent with the core rule only tells us that there is an inconsistency, it doesn't tell us where the error lies.

But, when a rule contrasts with an example of breaking the rule, it's always safest to assume the rule is valid and the example is not.

e.g.: The rule says I cannot drive faster than 75 mph on the freeway or I will get a speeding ticket. I just talked to a guy who drove on the freeway at 100 mph and didn't get a speeding ticket. So should I assume the rule is now invalid, or should I assume that the guy's example is invalid?


Dave Justus wrote:
I think it is possible that when a special ability says you can wield large weapons, it means that you can wield large weapons.

Why are you still warping what the ability says? It never says that you can wield large weapons. The rules say that. Not the Tiefling's trait. The trait simply states that it takes away the penalties for doing something that incurs a penalty that already exists in the rules. If you had a more solid argument other than saying something repeatedly that twists the words of the trait, then maybe I would lean your direction.

Hell, at first I was leaning on the side you are leaning towards. However, I then actually read the trait, word for word, and word for word never does it solely say you can wield large weapons. If the ability was supposed to let you wield large weapons as if you were a large creature, it would say that. There would be no need for the added "without penalty" due to the fact that if you could just wield a large weapon as if there was no size difference because of your arms, you would not have a penalty to begin with.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The trait in question only allows you to do what Amiri does with her large bastard sword (which is a one handed blade) with less of a penalty than her usual -2.


LazarX wrote:
The trait in question only allows you to do what Amiri does with her large bastard sword (which is a one handed blade) with less of a penalty than her usual -2.

If that is the intent then it is written rather poorly. It should use the language, "when using," instead of, "you can."


Well it says you can as in you do not have to? ... I will admit it is written poorly. However, it is not written poorly enough to have it possibly mean that you can use any large weapon. "You can use large weapons without penalty" means the same thing as "When you use large weapons, you do not incur a penalty." They never breach the rule about whether or not you can use the weapons themselves, just whether or not you get a penalty using them. I do not see how it can be seen any other way honestly.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

As I said, look to the Titan Mauler.

He can eventually wield Large weapons, without penalty.

He still can't wield a Large Greatsword.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

You are forgetting the change in handedness.

For a medium creature, a large one-handed weapon, is a two-handed weapon. For a medium creature, a large two-handed weapon, is unwieldable.

You're right -- I went back and looked again, but this time reading past the break in formatting on the d20pfsrd.com Weapons page that caused me to stop reading the first time.

I still like the technological solution developed on Earth, in Japan. Too bad this didn't make it into the Ranged Tactics Toolbox.


A bow isn't listed as a two handed weapon. It's a ranged weapon that says you need a minimal of two hands to use.

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