Off Hand Longbows


Rules Questions

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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Yes, I am referring to things like:

1) Retaining the Buckler Shield Bonus to AC.

2) Ability to make an off hand attack.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Yes, I am referring to things like:

1) Retaining the Buckler Shield Bonus to AC.

2) Ability to make an off hand attack.

1. No. You make an attack at any case, that involves an off-hand, you lose that Buckler's Shield AC until your next turn. The only benefit of using a Bow + Buckler over a Melee Weapon + Buckler is not having to deal with the -1 to hit (with attacks involving that hand, though RAW suggests it applies to all attacks you make, barring the exceptions obviously).

2. Since a two-handed weapon requires two hands to use, the same as a Bow, the rules for TWF, in this case, would treat those two subjects as identical requirements. In other words, if you can't TWF with Spikes and a Greatsword via the FAQ, then you can't TWF with Spikes and a Bow (via the FAQ), as both require two hands to use, and you don't have a third 'hand' available to make attacks.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

As far as I know, the Armor Spikes FAQ only covers two-handed melee weapons, and one-handed melee weapons wielded in two hands.

Ranged weapons, don't seem to be covered.

Liberty's Edge

graystone wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:

If, when trying to parse RAW, you reach a conclusion that is clearly nonsensical, like the idea that it doesn't take two hands to use a Bow, you have done it wrong.

There is a difference in using and taking up. For instance using a bow doesn't stop you from using the 'off hand' for other things. If it did, you couldn't use said 'off hand' to draw new ammo for example. So use and wield don't end up being the same thing as a wielded two handed weapons would prevent your 'off hand' for other things.

So my conclusion is that is that you have parsed RAW in a clearly nonsensical way if your answer to BBT's question is the above reply. (or ignoring his actual question)

RedDogMT wrote:
BBT, lets say for arguments sake that after you fire the longbow, you can change your grip as a free action to 'free up' your off hand. What is it that you want to do with that? Give examples.

Your 'off hand' is only used at the moment of firing, so it isn't wielded in two hands. That'd mean it would require no grip change. If there was, you'd need that grip change free action every time you wanted to draw a new arrow, doubling the amount of free actions an archer would need.

This is what brings up the issue. Using and wielding are different in the case of a bow so normal wielding answers don't/shouldn't automatically apply. The bow MAY take up your 'offhand' but we have no way of knowing that since the entire 'hands of effort' written rules are limited to a single FAQ on two handed weapons and two weapon fighting.

Thanks Greystone, but I was looking for BBT's reasoning. Sometimes people ask rules questions without stating the context.

It is odd though, BBT usually posts every other reply once he joins a conversation. He is strangely absent right now.

...he he...ninja'd...there he is...

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I do sleep, eat, and use the restroom.

As far as I know, I am not undead.


Ziere Tole wrote:
Byakko wrote:
Using a bow requires one primary hand attack and consumes one offhand attack.
Other than the Armor Spikes FAQ which only calls out Two-handed weapons (which bows are not), is there any proof of this? Sure, its a logical connection to make, but its still an "extrapolation" as far as I can tell.

While the Armor Spikes FAQ is a good place to start, most of my extrapolations are based on numerous posts by Paizo staff in other threads on similar questions. I wish I had kept links to them all, but they can still be found if you thoroughly search for them. The reason they haven't made an official comprehensive FAQ is probably because this is too complicated a matter to put in a FAQ.

However, the end result is the same when you compare bows and 2-handed weapons. You must employ both hands in order to attack and thus your offhand is not available for other attacks.

Even if you have a 3rd hand (say, from alchemist), you still would be unable combine a bow attack and an offhand attack in the base case. Not because you lack physical hands but because you lack "metaphysical" hands worth of effort.


Byakko wrote:


Even if you have a 3rd hand (say, from alchemist), you still would be unable combine a bow attack and an offhand attack in the base case. Not because you lack physical hands but because you lack "metaphysical" hands worth of effort.

If it took up your 'hand of effort', how do you draw your ammo? You've used up your 'hand' using your bow so now you've got no way to pick up ammo...

As to no FAQ, I'd assume it makes no sense when you look at it all on paper so it's best to leave it an unwritten rule. Kind of when they suggested that 2-3 free actions was a good limit per round. Complicated would be the 'nice' way to put it.


Well, that's easy to answer: drawing ammo doesn't require a hand's worth of effort. The main hand/offhand attack consumption generally only applies when actually making attacks. You can do other things with your hands in the same round, unless otherwise restricted.


Byakko wrote:
Ziere Tole wrote:
Byakko wrote:
Using a bow requires one primary hand attack and consumes one offhand attack.
Other than the Armor Spikes FAQ which only calls out Two-handed weapons (which bows are not), is there any proof of this? Sure, its a logical connection to make, but its still an "extrapolation" as far as I can tell.

While the Armor Spikes FAQ is a good place to start, most of my extrapolations are based on numerous posts by Paizo staff in other threads on similar questions. I wish I had kept links to them all, but they can still be found if you thoroughly search for them. The reason they haven't made an official comprehensive FAQ is probably because this is too complicated a matter to put in a FAQ.

However, the end result is the same when you compare bows and 2-handed weapons. You must employ both hands in order to attack and thus your offhand is not available for other attacks.

Even if you have a 3rd hand (say, from alchemist), you still would be unable combine a bow attack and an offhand attack in the base case. Not because you lack physical hands but because you lack "metaphysical" hands worth of effort.

Why exactly do you think the "off-hand" effort is consumed? The "off-hand" effort is represented in a very real way in the game, .5 STR bonus on damage. This bonus is absent, which tells us that the "off-hand" isn't consumed. The bow entry is clearly talking about your second physical hand, not your "off-hand."

Do you have any thing you can point to in the mechanics and say, "this is where the 'off-hand' effort is represented?" I would love to see it.


Are we really gonna push the issue till we have a 2 part blog post on metaphysical hands vs hands and how the interact with everything in the game world?


I don't know if this will help or make matters worse.
But assuming your off hand is your non dominant hand and that is where you are wearing the buckler( a right handed person has buckler on left arm) And then you think about the actual mechanics of firing a bow. Bow held in off hand and drawn, loaded etc with main hand. May explain why your off hand is not available for other tasks.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

All PCs are considered Ambidextrous.

Now, if we are going to use the Armor Spikes FAQ, as a jumping point, then we need to know why/how the FAQ works. How does it make the off-hand unavailable? Is it...

1) Weapons in the two-handed category, or weapons in the one-handed category, wielded in two hands, specifically makes the off hand unavailable, but only for the use of an off hand attack.

2) An attack that adds an additional +50% Strength to damage, makes the off hand unavailable, but only for the use of an off hand attack, unless a feat or ability says otherwise(like Dragon Style).

3) Any attack, that utilizes two hands, makes the off hand unavailable, but only for the use of an off hand attack.

4) Weapons in the two-handed category, or weapons in the one-handed category, wielded in two hands, specifically makes the off hand unavailable, for all purposes.

5) An attack that adds an additional +50% Strength to damage, makes the off hand unavailable, for all purposes, unless a feat or ability says otherwise(like Dragon Style).

6) Any attack, that utilizes two hands, makes the off hand unavailable, for all purposes.


Byakko wrote:
Well, that's easy to answer: drawing ammo doesn't require a hand's worth of effort. The main hand/offhand attack consumption generally only applies when actually making attacks. You can do other things with your hands in the same round, unless otherwise restricted.

Where does it say using a bow uses your offhand? I only see a restriction on 2 handed weapons, not on weapons that need two hands. [not all rectangles are squares even though all squares are rectangles...] Even taking into account dev's unofficial comments, 'hands of effort' are to make sure you don't get more than 1.5 your strength bonus in a round so a bow wouldn't be an issue.

blackbloodtroll wrote:

All PCs are considered Ambidextrous.

Now, if we are going to use the Armor Spikes FAQ, as a jumping point, then we need to know why/how the FAQ works. How does it make the off-hand unavailable? Is it...

1) Weapons in the two-handed category, or weapons in the one-handed category, wielded in two hands, specifically makes the off hand unavailable, but only for the use of an off hand attack.

2) An attack that adds an additional +50% Strength to damage, makes the off hand unavailable, but only for the use of an off hand attack, unless a feat or ability says otherwise(like Dragon Style).

3) Any attack, that utilizes two hands, makes the off hand unavailable, but only for the use of an off hand attack.

4) Weapons in the two-handed category, or weapons in the one-handed category, wielded in two hands, specifically makes the off hand unavailable, for all purposes.

5) An attack that adds an additional +50% Strength to damage, makes the off hand unavailable, for all purposes, unless a feat or ability says otherwise(like Dragon Style).

6) Any attack, that utilizes two hands, makes the off hand unavailable, for all purposes.

Myself, I'd rather drop the FAQ in a deep dark hole and forget it was ever made...

However, answering the question I would go with #1. The FAQ's ONLY do what they say and are not to be extrapolated/expanded into other areas. [Mark has said so in replies to my questions about stat bonuses having multiple sources]

If I had to guess on what a new/expanded FAQ would say, I'd guess #3 or #6 as the majority of FAQ's seem to be what nI'd least like to see.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I know not directly related, but do you have links to posts by Mark?


blackbloodtroll wrote:

As far as I know, the Armor Spikes FAQ only covers two-handed melee weapons, and one-handed melee weapons wielded in two hands.

Ranged weapons, don't seem to be covered.

If you're trying to make a point regarding ranged weapons, then let's use something different and has a lot less ambiguity than a Bow; Shurikens, for example, only require 1 hand to use. I can certainly TWF with them, because each hand is used to throw the item in question.

You can't TWF with a Bow and Armor Spikes the same way you can't TWF with a THW and Armor Spikes because you're using 2 hands for the Bow, leaving you no hands available for Armor Spikes, as per the FAQ. The point of that FAQ is to symbolize that you're using both main-hand and off-hand weapons simultaneously, and not swapping between the two like many thought would occur, and was only reinforced by the rule that you rolled all your Main-hand Attacks first followed by your Off-hand Attacks; in other words, the action taken requires that you're firing a bow while also throwing Shuriken or melee-attacking with Armor Spikes.

The biggest problem people had with that FAQ was because weapons that didn't actually require hands to use without TWF were taking up hands available to attack with, when, without TWF, I could switch iterative attacks between a THW and Armor Spikes for as many normal attacks as I was allowed, without having to release or regrip my Two-Handed Weapon.

Granted, I too share the sentiments of TWF with a THW and Armor Spikes, in that the FAQ is stupid and causes more problems than it solves, but it does set an important precedent for TWF, in that you are attacking with a Main-Hand and Off-Hand weapon simultaneously, meaning for the 'duration' of the action taken, you must be able to properly use both weapons with each other, and if you can't, then you are unable to TWF through those means.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

As far as I know, the Armor Spikes FAQ only covers two-handed melee weapons, and one-handed melee weapons wielded in two hands.

Ranged weapons, don't seem to be covered.

If you're trying to make a point regarding ranged weapons, then let's use something different and has a lot less ambiguity than a Bow; Shurikens, for example, only require 1 hand to use. I can certainly TWF with them, because each hand is used to throw the item in question.

You can't TWF with a Bow and Armor Spikes the same way you can't TWF with a THW and Armor Spikes because you're using 2 hands for the Bow, leaving you no hands available for Armor Spikes, as per the FAQ. The point of that FAQ is to symbolize that you're using both main-hand and off-hand weapons simultaneously, and not swapping between the two like many thought would occur, and was only reinforced by the rule that you rolled all your Main-hand Attacks first followed by your Off-hand Attacks; in other words, the action taken requires that you're firing a bow while also throwing Shuriken or melee-attacking with Armor Spikes.

The biggest problem people had with that FAQ was because weapons that didn't actually require hands to use without TWF were taking up hands available to attack with, when, without TWF, I could switch iterative attacks between a THW and Armor Spikes for as many normal attacks as I was allowed, without having to release or regrip my Two-Handed Weapon.

Granted, I too share the sentiments of TWF with a THW and Armor Spikes, in that the FAQ is stupid and causes more problems than it solves, but it does set an important precedent for TWF, in that you are attacking with a Main-Hand and Off-Hand weapon simultaneously, meaning for the 'duration' of the action taken, you must be able to properly use both weapons with each other, and if you can't, then you are unable to TWF through those means.

I still maintain that the bow merely uses your physical hand, not your "hand of effort." And the FAQ states that the "hand of effort" is the currency in play, not your physical hand.


Except in the case of TWF, your "hands of effort" and your physical hands are treated as the same exact things. Do you need 2 hands to use a Bow? Yes. Do you need 2 hands to use a Greatsword? Yes. Therefore, for the purposes of TWF, they're treated exactly the same, and thusly you have 0 hands, both physical and effort-wise, available for a second weapon for TWF, meaning no Shuriken, no Armor Spikes, no Longsword, nothing.

Quite frankly, it's a major misnomer that was only spawned because apparently Greatswords + Armor Spikes + TWF = OP, even though it's a lot more Feat intensive, and is still inferior to using just a Greatsword with iteratives; it also defeats the benefit of actually having items like Armor Spikes or Bladed Boots, weapons that don't actually require hands to utilize. At least as far as TWF is concerned.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So, your stance is #3, or #6?


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Except in the case of TWF, your "hands of effort" and your physical hands are treated as the same exact things. Do you need 2 hands to use a Bow? Yes. Do you need 2 hands to use a Greatsword? Yes. Therefore, for the purposes of TWF, they're treated exactly the same, and thusly you have 0 hands, both physical and effort-wise, available for a second weapon for TWF, meaning no Shuriken, no Armor Spikes, no Longsword, nothing.

Quite frankly, it's a major misnomer that was only spawned because apparently Greatswords + Armor Spikes + TWF = OP, even though it's a lot more Feat intensive, and is still inferior to using just a Greatsword with iteratives; it also defeats the benefit of actually having items like Armor Spikes or Bladed Boots, weapons that don't actually require hands to utilize. At least as far as TWF is concerned.

No they aren't. They are discrete entities. For example, if a one armed human fighter attacked with a dagger, they could still use TWF to kick. They couldn't use a bow however. The bow requires only a physical hand, not a "hand of effort."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

"It uses two hands!" is not a sufficient reason.

It requires an explanation.

Let us say someone told you, that you cannot eat black apples.

You ask "Are they poisonous?", the reply is "They're Black Apples!"

You ask "Is it illegal to eat them?", the reply is "They're Black Apples!"

You ask "Do they all belong to someone?", the reply is "They're Black Apples!"

You ask "Is it a cultural taboo?", the reply is "They're Black Apples!"

You ask "Are they really tough, making them inedible?", the reply is "They're Black Apples!"

Am I making myself clear, about this?


Talonhawke wrote:
Are we really gonna push the issue till we have a 2 part blog post on metaphysical hands vs hands and how the interact with everything in the game world?

I am going to somewhat parrot Talonhawke. It has been stated that at least one blog post is in the works on the subject, which means that there are probably more situations/rules affected by 'hands of effort' than the single one we currently know about. When that blog post does come out a lot of us are gonna look foolish (almost certainly I will), a number of us (not sure just how many) will ignore the existence of said blog post, and probably none of us will have accurately guessed the entire new/modified rules.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Where was this supposed future Blog post spoken about?

Please, provide links!


I know this is gonna sound crazy, but I don't bookmark and add notes on every single thread post I read here, especially when its not even a rule but a reference to a vague upcoming future rule. I'll try to find the original, but I only have so much time before I have to get back to work. Plenty of other people have mentioned it all over the forum, so if any of them can pop in with it and save me the time that would be great.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
I know not directly related, but do you have links to posts by Mark?

Hmmm... Not offhand, no. it's been a while. I'll take a look and see if I can dig them up.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Where was this supposed future Blog post spoken about?

Please, provide links!

I spend a fair bit of time around here and I have t heard about an upcoming blog post either...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Is it something misremembered?

I believe most of us occasionally do that.


BigDTBone wrote:

Why exactly do you think the "off-hand" effort is consumed? The "off-hand" effort is represented in a very real way in the game, .5 STR bonus on damage. This bonus is absent, which tells us that the "off-hand" isn't consumed. The bow entry is clearly talking about your second physical hand, not your "off-hand."

Do you have any thing you can point to in the mechanics and say, "this is where the 'off-hand' effort is represented?" I would love to see it.

graystone wrote:
Where does it say using a bow uses your offhand? I only see a restriction on 2 handed weapons, not on weapons that need two hands. [not all rectangles are squares even though all squares are rectangles...] Even taking into account dev's unofficial comments, 'hands of effort' are to make sure you don't get more than 1.5 your strength bonus in a round so a bow wouldn't be an issue.

You require two hands to attack with a bow, therefore it consumes your main hand and off hand to attack with it. That's basically what it boils down to.

While I admit it never specifically uses the term "two handed weapon" in reference to bows, it does say a bow requires two hands to attack with. Do you really think it was the dev's intent to allow characters to full attack with a bow and then use the TWF chain to tack on several extra offhand attacks? Yes, there is room for multiple readings here, but I tend to side with the conservative option.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, there is the Bow Nomad archetype, which is specifically designed to two-weapon fight with two Bows.

So, does it require two hands to wield a Bow, or just to use a Bow?


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Well, there is the Bow Nomad archetype, which is specifically designed to two-weapon fight with two Bows.

So, does it require two hands to wield a Bow, or just to use a Bow?

That is a Kasathas racial archetype, and they have 4 arms :)

Even that archetype needs 2 hands per bow.


The arguements about drawing ammo are moot. The act of using the bow includes drawing ammo and aiming the weapon. Given that a round is 6 seconds, the time you would normally take using the buckler to defend is taken up in the act of aiming the bow. The hand simply isn't free to move and defend against a blow coming at the archer. The reason a crossbow has a different need to draw ammo isn't because of the accessibility of the ammo, but the need to "crank" or cock the crossbow, which normally took either a winch system, or stepping through the loop at the face of the crossbow and pulling the string back. After which you slotted a bolt.

In the meantime, hasn't anyone realized we're all feeding the TROLL?


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Kelarith wrote:
In the meantime, hasn't anyone realized we're all feeding the TROLL?

He's not that kind of troll :P


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Is it something misremembered?

I believe most of us occasionally do that.

Its certainly not impossible. As best as I can remember, the blog post mention was in one of the "Ask <developer/designer/etc> All your Questions" threads, so...I might be better off assuming I misremembered in order to avoid having to read (or even skim) through a few hundred pages between all the possible relevant people. Even the Search Thread tool was either returning dozens of pages of results per thread or no results, depending on how narrow I tried to make the terms.


BigDTBone wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Except in the case of TWF, your "hands of effort" and your physical hands are treated as the same exact things. Do you need 2 hands to use a Bow? Yes. Do you need 2 hands to use a Greatsword? Yes. Therefore, for the purposes of TWF, they're treated exactly the same, and thusly you have 0 hands, both physical and effort-wise, available for a second weapon for TWF, meaning no Shuriken, no Armor Spikes, no Longsword, nothing.

Quite frankly, it's a major misnomer that was only spawned because apparently Greatswords + Armor Spikes + TWF = OP, even though it's a lot more Feat intensive, and is still inferior to using just a Greatsword with iteratives; it also defeats the benefit of actually having items like Armor Spikes or Bladed Boots, weapons that don't actually require hands to utilize. At least as far as TWF is concerned.

No they aren't. They are discrete entities. For example, if a one armed human fighter attacked with a dagger, they could still use TWF to kick. They couldn't use a bow however. The bow requires only a physical hand, not a "hand of effort."

I'm not saying they're not separate entities, I'm saying they're treated functionally the same way. And if you follow your interpretation, you basically take the Armor Spike TWF FAQ and throw it out the window, which, while I disagree with the FAQ, doesn't make it any less incorrect. Time for a mirror trick.

I can sit there and hold a Bow in one hand all day, any day. But when I decide to make attacks with it, I need another hand to use it. Correct?

I can sit there and hold a Greatsword in one hand all day, any day. But when I decide to make attacks with it, I need another hand to use it. Correct?

So why should a Bow be treated any different than any other weapon that requires two hands to use? Because it's listed in a different category? Would you feel more comfortable if I made a character that decided to invest in Throwing Feats and decided to go with Throwing Greatswords as his weapon of choice, just to put these two weapons on the same scale as each other, AKA they're both ranged weapons?


Kelarith wrote:

The arguements about drawing ammo are moot. The act of using the bow includes drawing ammo and aiming the weapon. Given that a round is 6 seconds, the time you would normally take using the buckler to defend is taken up in the act of aiming the bow. The hand simply isn't free to move and defend against a blow coming at the archer. The reason a crossbow has a different need to draw ammo isn't because of the accessibility of the ammo, but the need to "crank" or cock the crossbow, which normally took either a winch system, or stepping through the loop at the face of the crossbow and pulling the string back. After which you slotted a bolt.

In the meantime, hasn't anyone realized we're all feeding the TROLL?

It's quite relevant as it highlights the differences between a two handed weapon and a weapon that requires two hands. Can you draw another item while wielding a greatsword? You can with bow or crossbow so they aren't identical categories. It shows that wielding that kind of weapon doesn't have the same restrictions as a two handed weapon.

Byakko wrote:

You require two hands to attack with a bow, therefore it consumes your main hand and off hand to attack with it. That's basically what it boils down to.

While I admit it never specifically uses the term "two handed weapon" in reference to bows, it does say a bow requires two hands to attack with. Do you really think it was the dev's intent to allow characters to full attack with a bow and then use the TWF chain to tack on several extra offhand attacks? Yes, there is room for multiple readings here, but I tend to side with the conservative option.

The weapon allows for things that you can't do with a two handed weapon, so I can't assume that things that refer to two handed weapons automatically it applies with a bow.

Look at the crossbow. "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." it's a weapon that required two hands to operate (use) but can be fired with one hand. It seems clear to me that a light crossbow doesn't take up two hands. Just because the bow lacks a way to leave it's projectile loaded shouldn't alter the amount of 'hands' it uses.

Uses two hands doesn't equal two handed weapon. As far as RAI, reading the crossbow seems to make it clear the original intent of uses two hands doesn't take up a 'hand'. Now who knows what the current dev's intent is because I never would have expected the 'hands of effort' FAQ...

BBT: I can't find that quote with a quick search, just a less general one about the FAQ we where talking about. I'm sure There was another one but it eludes me.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Except in the case of TWF, your "hands of effort" and your physical hands are treated as the same exact things. Do you need 2 hands to use a Bow? Yes. Do you need 2 hands to use a Greatsword? Yes. Therefore, for the purposes of TWF, they're treated exactly the same, and thusly you have 0 hands, both physical and effort-wise, available for a second weapon for TWF, meaning no Shuriken, no Armor Spikes, no Longsword, nothing.

Quite frankly, it's a major misnomer that was only spawned because apparently Greatswords + Armor Spikes + TWF = OP, even though it's a lot more Feat intensive, and is still inferior to using just a Greatsword with iteratives; it also defeats the benefit of actually having items like Armor Spikes or Bladed Boots, weapons that don't actually require hands to utilize. At least as far as TWF is concerned.

No they aren't. They are discrete entities. For example, if a one armed human fighter attacked with a dagger, they could still use TWF to kick. They couldn't use a bow however. The bow requires only a physical hand, not a "hand of effort."

I'm not saying they're not separate entities, I'm saying they're treated functionally the same way. And if you follow your interpretation, you basically take the Armor Spike TWF FAQ and throw it out the window, which, while I disagree with the FAQ, doesn't make it any less incorrect. Time for a mirror trick.

I can sit there and hold a Bow in one hand all day, any day. But when I decide to make attacks with it, I need another hand to use it. Correct?

I can sit there and hold a Greatsword in one hand all day, any day. But when I decide to make attacks with it, I need another hand to use it. Correct?

So why should a Bow be treated any different than any other weapon that requires two hands to use? Because it's listed in a different category? Would you feel more comfortable if I made a character that decided to invest in Throwing Feats and decided to go with Throwing...

No, because the THW does consume your "off hand effort" and we can see that clearly because of the added .5 STR damage. Damage which is not added when using a bow.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Thing is, "hands of effort" exist only within the rules, in the context of melee weapons, and are only referred to when speaking inappropriately sized weapons.

Also, "hands of effort" is never mentioned in the Armor Spikes FAQ.

It is also only noted that using two hands to "wield" a two-handed weapon, makes your off-hand unavailable, for an attack.

So, now, you need to ask, how many hands are required to "wield" a Bow?

To go further, you need to ask what about using two hands to "wield" a two-handed weapon, causes the off-hand to be unavailable, for an attack?

Then, you need to ask, if the off-hand becomes only unavailable for an attack, or for all other purposes?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

How many hands are required to "wield" a Crossbow?


Normally it takes two hands to wield a crossbow, but by taking a penalty of -2 on attack rolls you can wield it in one. Almost like taking a -2 for an inappropriately sized weapon.

Crossbow, Light wrote:
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.

Of course, that is assuming "operate" is the same as "wield", since they are used in roughly the same context. "Shoot" is yet another different word, but lets assume in context that it is synonymous with "wield for a single attack". Of course, this assuming that similar words mean the same thing when used in the same context, which tends to have no value in a rules discussion. Why they didn't just use the word wield, I don't understand (well, my guess is that they thought "operate" sounded cooler for a crossbow).

EDIT:....yes, the wording is inconsistent and annoys me as well, but making contextual assumptions has to be okay in at least some circumstances, otherwise a whole lot of other rules fall apart too.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There is a lot of extrapolation from a single FAQ.

A lot.

I feel it should be considered, that no one can truly say with absolute certainty the extent of what the one FAQ covers, and how it is implemented in all cases.

Not even I.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Thing is, "hands of effort" exist only within the rules, in the context of melee weapons, and are only referred to when speaking inappropriately sized weapons.

Also, "hands of effort" is never mentioned in the Armor Spikes FAQ.

"hands of effort", or similarly phrased statements, also come up in various Paizo forum posts. While these are by no means official, I think they're reasonable to go with, especially from a perspective of balance.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
It is also only noted that using two hands to "wield" a two-handed weapon, makes your off-hand unavailable, for an attack.

Despite the phrasing, the act of "wielding" a two-handed weapon actually doesn't affect your attack option expenditures. It is the act of ATTACKING that expends your main and offhand attacks. Naturally, you must also be wielding a weapon properly in order to use it, but that's a different prerequisite. For example, you could wield a two-handed weapon and perform main hand and offhand unarmed strikes with kicks.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
So, now, you need to ask, how many hands are required to "wield" a Bow?

It doesn't matter how many hands are required to wield a bow. As long as you are holding and operating it properly, you can perform your attacks. Your main hand and offhand attacks are consumed during the act of attacking with the bow, and because the bow requires two hands to attack with, one of each is consumed for each arrow fired.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
To go further, you need to ask what about using two hands to "wield" a two-handed weapon, causes the off-hand to be unavailable, for an attack?

As above, it's not wielding the weapon that causes your offhand attacks to become unavailable, but the act of attacking with it.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Then, you need to ask, if the off-hand becomes only unavailable for an attack, or for all other purposes?

Your "offhand" never becomes unavailable. It is your "offhand attack" which becomes unavailable. Thus, you can use your offhand for other things, such as drawing ammo or picking up an object, but if you've expended all your offhand attacks, you can no longer perform an attack with it.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
There is a lot of extrapolation from a single FAQ.

I mean, its not just the one FAQ, its also things like Vestigial Arm and Tentacle that don't give you extra off-hand attacks even though they give you extra physical 'hands', so that also establishes the idea that metaphysical hands and physical hands are treated as separate things, which is where we run into so much trouble.


Byakko wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Thing is, "hands of effort" exist only within the rules, in the context of melee weapons, and are only referred to when speaking inappropriately sized weapons.

Also, "hands of effort" is never mentioned in the Armor Spikes FAQ.

"hands of effort", or similarly phrased statements, also come up in various Paizo forum posts. While these are by no means official, I think they're reasonable to go with, especially from a perspective of balance.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
It is also only noted that using two hands to "wield" a two-handed weapon, makes your off-hand unavailable, for an attack.

Despite the phrasing, the act of "wielding" a two-handed weapon actually doesn't affect your attack option expenditures. It is the act of ATTACKING that expends your main and offhand attacks. Naturally, you must also be wielding a weapon properly in order to use it, but that's a different prerequisite. For example, you could wield a two-handed weapon and perform main hand and offhand unarmed strikes with kicks.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
So, now, you need to ask, how many hands are required to "wield" a Bow?

It doesn't matter how many hands are required to wield a bow. As long as you are holding and operating it properly, you can perform your attacks. Your main hand and offhand attacks are consumed during the act of attacking with the bow, and because the bow requires two hands to attack with, one of each is consumed for each arrow fired.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
To go further, you need to ask what about using two hands to "wield" a two-handed weapon, causes the off-hand to be unavailable, for an attack?

As above, it's not wielding the weapon that causes your offhand attacks to become unavailable, but the act of attacking with it.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Then, you need to ask, if the off-hand becomes only unavailable for an attack, or for all other purposes?
Your "offhand" never becomes unavailable. It is your "offhand...

It come up a lot because that how the designer who posted the FAQ explained the reasoning in the related thread at the time. It also has nothing to do with balance, as has been demonstrated time and time again mathematically. THW/THF is the second worst combat style in the game.


BigDTBone wrote:
It come up a lot because that how the designer who posted the FAQ explained the reasoning in the related thread at the time. It also has nothing to do with balance, as has been demonstrated time and time again mathematically. THW/THF is the second worst combat style in the game.

Regardless of how you feel about THF vs TWF, the ability to tag on extra offhand attacks to full attacks with bows seems rather unintended, and is definitely a power creep for these types of builds if allowed.


BigDTBone wrote:
It also has nothing to do with balance, as has been demonstrated time and time again mathematically. THW/THF is the second worst combat style in the game.

I've seen some of the math but I don't remember it being that significant (mostly because the ones I saw assumed perfect optimization at level 20 and being able to full attack every turn). However, more importantly, what I do want to be reminded of is: what was the list of combat styles that were compared? Second worst out of three or four isn't nearly as big a deal as second worst out of 10.

EDIT: It doesn't really contribute to the conversation so perhaps you should just PM it to me.


BigDTBone wrote:
No, because the THW does consume your "off hand effort" and we can see that clearly because of the added .5 STR damage. Damage which is not added when using a bow.

What does "off-hand effort" have to do with both items requiring two hands to use properly? Nothing. "Off-hand effort" (which, by the way, isn't a game term, nor is it properly defined in the PRD or any PF book) is what you're using for calculating the modifier applied to your Off-hand Attack. It has zero relevance to being able to properly use (read: wield) a weapon, which means it's just a strawman argument making up some backwoods crap, the same kind that BBT listed above with the Black Apples.


Byakko wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
It come up a lot because that how the designer who posted the FAQ explained the reasoning in the related thread at the time. It also has nothing to do with balance, as has been demonstrated time and time again mathematically. THW/THF is the second worst combat style in the game.
Regardless of how you feel about THF vs TWF, the ability to tag on extra offhand attacks to full attacks with bows seems rather unintended, and is definitely a power creep for these types of builds if allowed.

It actually was intended by the 3.5 designers and the EXACT TEXT from that game appears in the CRB. 3.5 had an FAQ that specifically allowed the interaction.

Pathfinder changed the way the rule worked without changing the text.

It is also definately NOT power creep as TWF/THW is worse than THW or TWF separately.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
No, because the THW does consume your "off hand effort" and we can see that clearly because of the added .5 STR damage. Damage which is not added when using a bow.
What does "off-hand effort" have to do with both items requiring two hands to use properly? Nothing. "Off-hand effort" (which, by the way, isn't a game term, nor is it properly defined in the PRD or any PF book) is what you're using for calculating the modifier applied to your Off-hand Attack. It has zero relevance to being able to properly use (read: wield) a weapon, which means it's just a strawman argument making up some backwoods crap, the same kind that BBT listed above with the Black Apples.

It has everything to do with it because the designer who posted the THW/armor spikes FAQ specifically called it out as the reason they ruled that way in the thread discussing it.

Also, WE KNOW it isn't a game term, why do you think BBT takes every single possible opportunity to say "unwritten RAW" when talking about this topic.

EDIT: So, it most certainly isn't a strawman because I didn't concoct that argument just to prove you wrong. THAT IS THE AGRUGEMENT PROVIDED BY YOUR SIDE. I'm just poking holes in the logic.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
No, because the THW does consume your "off hand effort" and we can see that clearly because of the added .5 STR damage. Damage which is not added when using a bow.
What does "off-hand effort" have to do with both items requiring two hands to use properly? Nothing. "Off-hand effort" (which, by the way, isn't a game term, nor is it properly defined in the PRD or any PF book) is what you're using for calculating the modifier applied to your Off-hand Attack. It has zero relevance to being able to properly use (read: wield) a weapon, which means it's just a strawman argument making up some backwoods crap, the same kind that BBT listed above with the Black Apples.

It was the DEV's that came up with ""Off-hand effort", not BBT or BigDTBone. If you find it a "strawman argument" it's the DEV's strawman for that FAQ not BBT's or BigDTBone's.


BigDTBone wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
No, because the THW does consume your "off hand effort" and we can see that clearly because of the added .5 STR damage. Damage which is not added when using a bow.
What does "off-hand effort" have to do with both items requiring two hands to use properly? Nothing. "Off-hand effort" (which, by the way, isn't a game term, nor is it properly defined in the PRD or any PF book) is what you're using for calculating the modifier applied to your Off-hand Attack. It has zero relevance to being able to properly use (read: wield) a weapon, which means it's just a strawman argument making up some backwoods crap, the same kind that BBT listed above with the Black Apples.

It has everything to do with it because the designer who posted the THW/armor spikes FAQ specifically called it out as the reason they ruled that way in the thread discussing it.

Also, WE KNOW it isn't a game term, why do you think BBT takes every single possible opportunity to say "unwritten RAW" when talking about this topic.

EDIT: So, it most certainly isn't a strawman because I didn't concoct that argument just to prove you wrong. THAT IS THE AGRUGEMENT PROVIDED BY YOUR SIDE. I'm just poking holes in the logic.

It is a strawman (for this case), because "off-hand effort" is irrelevant to the fact that you need two hands to use a Bow, which is what the crux of your issue falls under.

Last I checked, "using" a weapon (regardless of if it's a ranged or two-handed or one-handed weapon), as provided by the Defending property FAQ, means you're making attacks with it. If you aren't making attacks with it, you aren't using it, and is doubly the case regarding Bows, which specifically cites you need two hands to use.

Quite frankly, changing (or simply removing) the type of weapon involved in the Armor Spikes FAQ really only further supports the theory I postulate.

Armor Spikes FAQ (Changed) wrote:
Likewise, you couldn't use an armored gauntlet to do so, as you are using both of your hands to wield your two-handed weapon, therefore your off-hand is unavailable to make any attacks.

The point provided by the FAQ as seen above is that if you're using more than one hand for a given weapon when you're TWFing (and you're a humuanoid with 2 hands), you have no hand left over when attacking for your other weapon; period. It don't matter if it's a two-handed weapon, a one-handed weapon used with two hands, a ranged weapon used with two hands, etc. If the amount of hands required to wield a weapon places your remaining available hand total equal to or less than 0, then it's not a legal means of TWFing.

There's also the "weapons not normally requiring hands to use suddenly require (a) hand(s) to use" silliness that the FAQ gives, but that's a completely different beast that we know won't change or be fixed except in home games.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
No, because the THW does consume your "off hand effort" and we can see that clearly because of the added .5 STR damage. Damage which is not added when using a bow.
What does "off-hand effort" have to do with both items requiring two hands to use properly? Nothing. "Off-hand effort" (which, by the way, isn't a game term, nor is it properly defined in the PRD or any PF book) is what you're using for calculating the modifier applied to your Off-hand Attack. It has zero relevance to being able to properly use (read: wield) a weapon, which means it's just a strawman argument making up some backwoods crap, the same kind that BBT listed above with the Black Apples.

It has everything to do with it because the designer who posted the THW/armor spikes FAQ specifically called it out as the reason they ruled that way in the thread discussing it.

Also, WE KNOW it isn't a game term, why do you think BBT takes every single possible opportunity to say "unwritten RAW" when talking about this topic.

EDIT: So, it most certainly isn't a strawman because I didn't concoct that argument just to prove you wrong. THAT IS THE AGRUGEMENT PROVIDED BY YOUR SIDE. I'm just poking holes in the logic.

It is a strawman, because "off-hand effort" is irrelevant to the fact that you need two hands to use a Bow, which is what the crux of your issue falls under.

Last I checked, "using" a weapon (regardless of if it's a ranged or two-handed or one-handed weapon), as provided by the Defending property FAQ, means you're making attacks with it. If you aren't making attacks with it, you aren't using it, and is doubly the case regarding Bows, which specifically cites you need two hands to use.

Quite frankly, changing (or simply removing) the type of weapon involved in the Armor Spikes FAQ really only further supports the theory I postulate.

Armor Spikes FAQ (Changed) wrote:
Likewise, you couldn't use an armored gauntlet
...

The hand in the FAQ is your "hand of effort" not your physical hand. The bow uses only your physical hand, leaving you an available "hand of effort." AKA, the ability to TWF.

Also, I agree that if you remove a specific defined game term from an FAQ and replace it with a generic term that it does change the meaning. But rewriting FAQs to match your view is actually constructing a strawman.

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