Character size and inappropriately sized reach weapons


Rules Questions


In another thread there was some discussion as to How inappropriately sized Reach Weapons work.
What is the reach of a Large character wielding a Medium Longspear? 10',15', 20'? Other?
How about a Medium creature with a Large Whip? Still 15'?
What happens when both of these characters have Enlarge Person cast on them?

Also, is the Balor entry correct with a listed 20' reach for his Whip attacks? Are Small and Medium the only sizes that get increased reach with the Whip?


Per RAW, the reach weapon quality only extends the natural reach of the wielder to effectively double, at the cost of his natural reach.

So, a Large creature wielding a Small-sized Bardiche, for example, would have a -4 penalty to hit, and be able to hit enemy creatures within 15 and 20 feet (but not 5 or 10 feet).

Whip has a special clause that says you can make attacks up to 15 feet away, though it isn't natural reach, and therefore doesn't count as such for making attacks of opportunity. There's also the matter of things like Whip Mastery, which gives you a natural reach of 10 feet (and threaten 5 feet as well).

The 20 feet entry in the Balor section would include its standard reach for threatening, assuming he took the respective feats for it. Otherwise, it would actually be able to attack out to 30 feet (based on the size scaling of a Large-sized Balor), but does not otherwise threaten.

Shadow Lodge

^Concur with Darksol


Taking a small longspear (or Bardiche, Glaive, etc.) is about the only option to get reach with a one handed weapon, since the actual size of the weapon does not affect wether or not it has the reach property or not.
Even if you manage to wield a huge weapon (which is quite possible in the Giantslayer AP), your reach doesn't change. The sword may be about 4 meters long, but you can still only attack at a reach of about 1,5 meters with it.
Size rules are quite whacky. Not only in that regard ;)

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies, Representative - D20 Hobbies

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In 3.5 there was language that restricted Reach weapons to only working for your size:

PHB 3.5 wrote:
A typical Large character wielding a reach weapon of the appropriate size can attack a creature 15 or 20 feet away, but not adjacent creatures or creatures up to 10 feet away.

They shorten the core by removing a lot of examples including this one. You could call it an unwritten rule, but the rules are not designed for reach weapons not sized for you to work.


That languages is still there. The problem is that its only there in regards to 'typical large characters' not small or medium ones... who are the ones typically trying to loophole this.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies, Representative - D20 Hobbies

If the language exists for large, it also applies for medium and they thought it would be confusing for large so they clarified.

Liberty's Edge

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EvilMinion wrote:

That languages is still there. The problem is that its only there in regards to 'typical large characters' not small or medium ones... who are the ones typically trying to loophole this.

There is no logical reason that a weapon sized for a small creature which allows them to attack enemies 10' away would NOT also allow a larger (e.g. medium) creature to attack enemies 10' away.

Either the weapon is long enough to hit enemies at that distance or it isn't... putting it into the hands of a LARGER creature does not suddenly REDUCE the effective length of the weapon.


The.Vortex wrote:
Taking a small longspear (or Bardiche, Glaive, etc.) is about the only option to get reach with a one handed weapon

The Monster Codex added the perfect item, Irongrip Gauntlets, for this kind of 'loophole'...

Small reach weapon + Irongrip Gauntlets = 1 handed reach with no penalty. Small elven branched spear + Irongrip Gauntlets = 1 handed finesse reach weapon with no penalty. Pure profit.

Edit: You can also pick up 2 small Sarissa so you can threaten 15' in 2 directions at the same time

CBDunkerson wrote:
There is no logical reason that a weapon sized for a small creature which allows them to attack enemies 10' away would NOT also allow a larger (e.g. medium) creature to attack enemies 10' away.

Yep, have to agree with this. A small weapon doesn't shrink 5' when a medium creature picks it up...

Edit: It's even harder to say a 15' small Sarissa doesn't have reach...

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies, Representative - D20 Hobbies

graystone wrote:

Yep, have to agree with this. A small weapon doesn't shrink 5' when a medium creature picks it up...

Edit: It's even harder to say a 15' small Sarissa doesn't have reach...

It doesn't shrink, but it also doesn't have reach as it isn't appropriately sized for you.


Another artifact of Small creatures having the same natural reach as Medium creatures. And let's not forget about reach weapons for Tiny creatures (I think they should allow the creature to attack into adjacent squares).


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James Risner wrote:
graystone wrote:

Yep, have to agree with this. A small weapon doesn't shrink 5' when a medium creature picks it up...

Edit: It's even harder to say a 15' small Sarissa doesn't have reach...

It doesn't shrink, but it also doesn't have reach as it isn't appropriately sized for you.

Only in 3.5.

Pathfinder rules can work differently even when the rules text is exactly the same as 3.5, so citing a 3.5 rule that was removed from the Pathfinder CRB is not a convincing argument.


James Risner wrote:

In 3.5 there was language that restricted Reach weapons to only working for your size:

PHB 3.5 wrote:
A typical Large character wielding a reach weapon of the appropriate size can attack a creature 15 or 20 feet away, but not adjacent creatures or creatures up to 10 feet away.
They shorten the core by removing a lot of examples including this one. You could call it an unwritten rule, but the rules are not designed for reach weapons not sized for you to work.

This so many times. Every time I see someone saying you can use a small(er) version of a reach weapon to have a one-handed reach weapon I kind of want to punch them in their face. Yes it's "RAW" but it's also bending the rules and clearly wasn't intended to work that way.

Liberty's Edge

Claxon wrote:
This so many times. Every time I see someone saying you can use a small(er) version of a reach weapon to have a one-handed reach weapon I kind of want to punch them in their face. Yes it's "RAW" but it's also bending the rules and clearly wasn't intended to work that way.

Hmmm. Nope. Not at all clear to me that a 6' humanoid should be unable to hit someone 10' away with a weapon designed to allow a 3' humanoid to hit someone 10' away.

It is RAW and basic logic (i.e. bigger creatures can swing objects further) that this should work.

Against, we have... what? An unsupported belief that the RAI was to ignore logic and have it NOT work? A belief that one-handed reach should be impossible... despite all the OTHER ways it is specifically allowed?


James Risner wrote:

In 3.5 there was language that restricted Reach weapons to only working for your size:

PHB 3.5 wrote:
A typical Large character wielding a reach weapon of the appropriate size can attack a creature 15 or 20 feet away, but not adjacent creatures or creatures up to 10 feet away.
They shorten the core by removing a lot of examples including this one. You could call it an unwritten rule, but the rules are not designed for reach weapons not sized for you to work.

Full entry regarding Reach Weapons says this:

Reach Weapons wrote:
Glaives, guisarmes, lances, longspears, ranseurs, and whips are reach weapons. A reach weapon is a melee weapon that allows its wielder to strike at targets that aren't adjacent to him. Most reach weapons double the wielder's natural reach, meaning that a typical Small or Medium wielder of such a weapon can attack a creature 10 feet away, but not a creature in an adjacent square. A typical Large character wielding a reach weapon of the appropriate size can attack a creature 15 or 20 feet away, but not adjacent creatures or creatures up to 10 feet away.

So, it appears that appropriate size is relevant for most reach weapons.

Of course, Whips are a special case, so YMMV.


Claxon wrote:
Yes it's "RAW" but it's also bending the rules and clearly wasn't intended to work that way.

It is? I see NO evidence of that. It's 100% silent on inappropriate sized weapons for small/medium and it's logical that a weapon that extends the reach of a small creature with a normal 5' reach would do the same for a medium with a natural 5' reach. It seems to me that it's "bending the rules" to say that it doesn't work because it seems like 'cheese' as the only reason to deny it. They have made several rules and items for inappropriate sized weapons and each time it would have been a perfect time to mention how the rule was 'clearly intended to work' at those times.

Myself, "I kind of want to punch them in their face" when someone tells me a 15' long weapon can't hit something 15' away but can somehow be used normally to attack something right next to me. Do you REALLY think that inappropriate sized weapons where meant to attack adjacent creatures normally? THAT sounds like someone looking for a loophole...

Reach wrote:
A reach weapon is a melee weapon that allows its wielder to strike at targets that aren't adjacent to him. Most reach weapons double the wielder's natural reach, meaning that a typical Small or Medium wielder of such a weapon can attack a creature 10 feet away, but not a creature in an adjacent square.

So small and medium are grouped together...

Reach wrote:
A typical Large character wielding a reach weapon of the appropriate size can attack a creature 15 or 20 feet away, but not adjacent creatures or creatures up to 10 feet away.

SO it seems a large creature can't use a weapon that only extends reach 5' [medium-small] to gain a reach of +10'. Seems logical and seems to be no precedent for saying a weapon that extends reach 5' [small] doesn't work for a medium creature that uses reach weapons that extend reach 5'.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
So, it appears that appropriate size is relevant for most reach weapons.

If the size change also changes the reach distance then it's 100% relevant. Small/medium however offer the same reach distance.


CBDunkerson wrote:
Claxon wrote:
This so many times. Every time I see someone saying you can use a small(er) version of a reach weapon to have a one-handed reach weapon I kind of want to punch them in their face. Yes it's "RAW" but it's also bending the rules and clearly wasn't intended to work that way.

Hmmm. Nope. Not at all clear to me that a 6' humanoid should be unable to hit someone 10' away with a weapon designed to allow a 3' humanoid to hit someone 10' away.

It is RAW and basic logic (i.e. bigger creatures can swing objects further) that this should work.

Against, we have... what? An unsupported belief that the RAI was to ignore logic and have it NOT work? A belief that one-handed reach should be impossible... despite all the OTHER ways it is specifically allowed?

Really, my problem is the small creatures have 5ft reach. It's done so that being small size doesn't make being melee impossible. It's the oddity of small size category that's the problem. All other size categories have independent reach sizes (for humanoid creatures, lets ignore the large long/tall issue as that isn't really salient).

A small weapon should have shorter reach, and even a small reach weapon should have shorter reach than a medium reach weapon. But in order not to make small characters suck, Paizo and the system mechanics throw them a bone.

But now people attempt to abuse that system (and to me it is an abuse) to try to justify it. If anything, it only says to me that we need to reduce small size category creature's reach because that's actually the problem.

Or don't try to game the system into having 1 handed reach weapons (besides the whip) and let the small characters keep melee ability.

Damn, all this because Paizo removed one line which they probably thought was common sense.


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Claxon wrote:
Damn, all this because Paizo removed one line which they probably thought was common sense.

What is the "common sense" you are talking about? I have heard rumors about something like that, but never found it anywhere NEAR an RPG Rulebook ;)


To continue on with what I was saying about small size being a problem (because I feel I didn't adequately explain).

A medium size creature with a reach weapon can threaten 10 ft.

A large (tall) size creature has a natural reach of 10ft. A reach weapon would give them an additional 10ft. But if they picked up a medium size reach weapon, it wouldn't make sense for them to get the full effect of reach, since the weapon they're picking up only extends a medium creature's reach by 5ft, it's not long enough to extend the large creature's reach by 10ft. This applies to all size categories except going from medium to small because all other size categories have the own reach sizes.

Liberty's Edge

Claxon wrote:
Or don't try to game the system into having 1 handed reach weapons (besides the whip)

Except, again, that just aint so.

Jotungrip, Phalanx Fighting, Shield Brace, and Quarterstaff Master + Spear Dancing Spiral all allow nearly every reach weapon to be used one handed. Nothing remotely resembling 'gaming the system' required.

Which is why the 'OMG one-handed reach! No way!' reaction never makes any sense to me. It isn't like you can't do it anyway... you just have to take one of the archetypes or feats that allows it... and then, no improper weapon size penalty or reduced damage dice!

Put another way... given the ability for a medium sized creature to use a medium sized reach weapon one-handed, why is a medium sized creature using a SMALL sized reach weapon one-handed inconceivably verboten? They can use any OTHER small sized weapon just fine, but if they try to pick up one which happens to have the 'reach' property then suddenly the laws of physics break down and reality tears itself asunder in a desperate attempt to unmake such an unspeakable horror?

P.S. Heh. A Halfling with Jotungrip can clearly one-hand a small reach weapon... but, according to the 'common sense' presented here, a Titan could not.


Those are special instances of wielding a correctly sized two-handed reach weapon in one hand.

It's clear that those work, because abilities let you wield a two-handed weapon in one hand.

And shield brace doesn't really apply since it lets you wield a shield in a hand that would otherwise be occupied.

The point ultimately is you have to invest character resources into doing it, and that I'm okay with. But it's the forcing of a choice and requiring to invest that is the point.


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PHB 3.5 wrote:
A typical Large character wielding a reach weapon of the appropriate size can attack a creature 15 or 20 feet away, but not adjacent creatures or creatures up to 10 feet away.

I read this more as a suggestion that an inappropriate sized weapon may give a non-standard reach effect. So, a large creature with a medium size reach weapon can attack creatures 15 feet away, but maybe not 20, because the weapon wouldn't be that long.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies, Representative - D20 Hobbies

Funny, I was wrong. The line wasn't removed.

People still ignore it to say they can use inappropriately sized weapons.

Liberty's Edge

James Risner wrote:

Funny, I was wrong. The line wasn't removed.

People still ignore it to say they can use inappropriately sized weapons.

On account of it not saying they can't.

No need to ignore it.

A large creature wielding a large reach weapon would have a reach of 15' to 20'.
A large creature wielding a medium or huge reach weapon would have a different reach range.

Fully consistent with that line... AND the rules in general. Nothing ignored. Just not reading in things that are not there.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies, Representative - D20 Hobbies

So if you think it's ok to use a inappropriately sized reach weapon, then it must be ok for a colossal sized red dragon to wear a tiny sized +5 buckler and still get the +5 ac?

Dark Archive

James Risner wrote:
So if you think it's ok to use a inappropriately sized reach weapon, then it must be ok for a colossal sized red dragon to wear a tiny sized +5 buckler and still get the +5 ac?

Comparing inappropriate sized armor/shields to inappropriate sized weapons is like comparing an apple to an orange. I don't believe PF RAW includes rules to wear inappropriate sized armor/shields.


James Risner wrote:
So if you think it's ok to use a inappropriately sized reach weapon, then it must be ok for a colossal sized red dragon to wear a tiny sized +5 buckler and still get the +5 ac?

Inappropriately Sized Armor does not equate to Inappropriately Sized Weapons. To use a Buckler or Tower Shield, it would have to be appropriately sized for you, otherwise you couldn't use it at all. Same goes for suits of armor.

Even if it were a Huge Heavy Shield, a Colossal Dragon wouldn't be able to use it, simply because its handedness is too small for the Colossal Dragon to implement. Despite that fact, if it were sized enough for a Colossal Dragon to use as a weapon, it doesn't reduce the reach of which the Colossal Dragon can have with that weapon.


graystone wrote:
The.Vortex wrote:
Taking a small longspear (or Bardiche, Glaive, etc.) is about the only option to get reach with a one handed weapon

The Monster Codex added the perfect item, Irongrip Gauntlets, for this kind of 'loophole'...

Small reach weapon + Irongrip Gauntlets = 1 handed reach with no penalty. Small elven branched spear + Irongrip Gauntlets = 1 handed finesse reach weapon with no penalty. Pure profit.

Actually,
Quote:
You can use the Weapon Finesse feat to apply your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier on attack rolls with an elven branched spear sized for you, even though it isn’t a light weapon.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies, Representative - D20 Hobbies

How is Shield brace feat relevant? Is it your idea that it is "so you don't pay -2 and 1 die size smaller"?


in PFS they ruled it is wielding the weapon in one hand is where the issue comes up.
So rather than the shield arm being used to hold the two handed, they rule that the shield hand is free and the weapon is in one hand. I'm not sure why THIS is the feat that gets altered to be legal, but whatevs.


And PFS can suck it, because that's clearly not what the feats says.

I do understand however, that they didn't want to let people use a shield and wield a two-handed weapon because it is way too good.


I agree, just that's probably when that line of thought originates from


But my original point stands, in general there is not a single feat alone that lets you use a reach weapon in one hand (aside from PFS having one really weird ruling for balance purposes that could have be worded as "you may use a shield while using a polearm, but treat it as a one handed weapon for the purposes of determining strength and power attack" to achieve the same effect without actually making it a one-handed weapon).


Oh god ... it's become another debate about hands in Pathfinder. So does the Shield Brace make the polearm a two-handed weapon that only uses one metaphorical hand of effort, leaving your other metaphorical hand free to use the shield while both literal physical hands are on the polearm? Or is it the other way around?

Liberty's Edge

Claxon wrote:
But my original point stands, in general there is not a single feat alone that lets you use a reach weapon in one hand

Lunge gives any one-handed weapon reach. As does the Long Arm spell, and various class abilities.

Dorn-Dergar Master feat allows one-handed reach (though it has TWF as a pre-req).

Basically, the 'one handed reach is rare and forbidden' view is simply false. There are numerous ways to achieve it. Using a small reach weapon is just one option.

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