Why don't spears get any love?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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While shield brace does allow for spear and shield fighting I don’t think it should require you to be a fighter and spend two feats. As Firewarrior44 says this should be a basic tactic that any martial character can do, not a super specialized style that only a few can perform.


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Mysterious Stranger wrote:
While shield brace does allow for spear and shield fighting I don’t think it should require you to be a fighter and spend two feats. As Firewarrior44 says this should be a basic tactic that any martial character can do, not a super specialized style that only a few can perform.

It is one of the standard answers in Pathfinder: "Why can't I do X?" "Here's the sub-par feat chain/archetype that lets you do X."


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
While shield brace does allow for spear and shield fighting I don’t think it should require you to be a fighter and spend two feats. As Firewarrior44 says this should be a basic tactic that any martial character can do, not a super specialized style that only a few can perform.

Like how you can use Martial Focus feat to bypass the Weapon Training prerequisite for Difficult Swings, you can use the Shield Focus feat to bypass the Armor Training prerequisite for Shield Brace.

So you don't need to be a fighter to use shield brace, it just saves you a feat. Still rough for feat starved classes, but I'm currently plotting an occultist using the "Trappings of the Warrior" panoply with a Fauchard and a Shield. Currently the plan is to take the Panoply at level 5 since that's when I'll have Shield Focus, Shield Brace, and Power Attack which is all I really need featwise since I've already got a bunch of class features to do other stuff.


thejeff wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
While shield brace does allow for spear and shield fighting I don’t think it should require you to be a fighter and spend two feats. As Firewarrior44 says this should be a basic tactic that any martial character can do, not a super specialized style that only a few can perform.
It is one of the standard answers in Pathfinder: "Why can't I do X?" "Here's the sub-par feat chain/archetype that lets you do X."

Yeah, it's rather sad that Shield Brace is one of lesser offenders in this category. After all, it's only two feats with fairly low pre-requisites, little in the way of arbitrary restrictions (1 level of fighter or +3 BAB), and the first feat (Shield Focus) is actually thematically linked to the second and mechanically useful once you have it. I mean, I'd probably just take Shield Brace without Shield Focus if I could, but an extra point of AC isn't the worst thing.


I mean, Shield Focus is a way better prereq to being able to do something than dodge and mobility together are. Unlike Combat expertise, Shield Focus at least is regularly useful.


You could houserule that Shield Brace is actually a part of Shield Focus


Davia D wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:
Some people seem to be comparing the basic "spear" in Pathfinder to basically every weapon from history. If an assault rifle with a bayonet is a "spear," than clearly the "spear" is the most powerful/versatile weapon in Pathfinder because it can apply to every weapon in Pathfinder.
The Bayonet part of the rifle was intended to replicate a spear, is a 'point on a stick,' and uses basic spear techniques. Not every weapon is a spear but bayonets have a better claim to it than most.

So are assault rifles underpowered in Pathfinder?


Knight who says Meh wrote:
Davia D wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:
Some people seem to be comparing the basic "spear" in Pathfinder to basically every weapon from history. If an assault rifle with a bayonet is a "spear," than clearly the "spear" is the most powerful/versatile weapon in Pathfinder because it can apply to every weapon in Pathfinder.
The Bayonet part of the rifle was intended to replicate a spear, is a 'point on a stick,' and uses basic spear techniques. Not every weapon is a spear but bayonets have a better claim to it than most.
So are assault rifles underpowered in Pathfinder?

Yes, but not for that reason. They're underpowered because firearms in general are.


Knight who says Meh wrote:
Davia D wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:
Some people seem to be comparing the basic "spear" in Pathfinder to basically every weapon from history. If an assault rifle with a bayonet is a "spear," than clearly the "spear" is the most powerful/versatile weapon in Pathfinder because it can apply to every weapon in Pathfinder.
The Bayonet part of the rifle was intended to replicate a spear, is a 'point on a stick,' and uses basic spear techniques. Not every weapon is a spear but bayonets have a better claim to it than most.
So are assault rifles underpowered in Pathfinder?

Assault rifles aren't statted out in Pathfinder.


Athaleon wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:
Davia D wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:
Some people seem to be comparing the basic "spear" in Pathfinder to basically every weapon from history. If an assault rifle with a bayonet is a "spear," than clearly the "spear" is the most powerful/versatile weapon in Pathfinder because it can apply to every weapon in Pathfinder.
The Bayonet part of the rifle was intended to replicate a spear, is a 'point on a stick,' and uses basic spear techniques. Not every weapon is a spear but bayonets have a better claim to it than most.
So are assault rifles underpowered in Pathfinder?
Assault rifles aren't statted out in Pathfinder.

The Technology Guide has some automatic weapons, and one of the adventure paths does as well.


If you are going to house rule things why not simply house rule that spears (Not long spears) use the rules for Doru Spear? That means would mean that someone with proficiency in martial weapons can use the spear as a one handed weapon, but the critical modifier drops to x2 when doing so.

Fighting with a spear and shield should be a lot simpler. Requiring multiple feats and an obscure book is a little too much. This should be a base part of the rules.


Jeraa wrote:
Athaleon wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:
Davia D wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:
Some people seem to be comparing the basic "spear" in Pathfinder to basically every weapon from history. If an assault rifle with a bayonet is a "spear," than clearly the "spear" is the most powerful/versatile weapon in Pathfinder because it can apply to every weapon in Pathfinder.
The Bayonet part of the rifle was intended to replicate a spear, is a 'point on a stick,' and uses basic spear techniques. Not every weapon is a spear but bayonets have a better claim to it than most.
So are assault rifles underpowered in Pathfinder?
Assault rifles aren't statted out in Pathfinder.
The Technology Guide has some automatic weapons, and one of the adventure paths does as well.

Some machine guns from WW1 and sci-fi weapons, but not assault rifles. Also the full auto rules are just plain weird.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Fighting with a spear and shield should be a lot simpler.

Isn't this your standard short spear and shield ?

It's only fighting with the larger spear (not the long spear) that requires all that.


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SlimGauge wrote:


Isn't this your standard short spear and shield ?

It's only fighting with the larger spear (not the long spear) that requires all that.

Well yeah, but given that fighting with a (not short) spear and shield is such a historically widespread fighting style it seems strange that most people can't do it until level 3, which seems to pushing well past regular infantryman and into hero territory.


Short spears are about 3’ in length. Look at any artwork from the classic period and most show sperars that are much longer than 3’. The short spear is closer to the spear used by the Zulu instead of those used by the Greek and Romans.

You should be able to have a first level warrior use spear and shield, but unless you use the Doru Spear you cannot do this.


Fighter can do it with a Spear (even Longspear) at 1st level: Fighter Bonus Feat = Shield Focus; level 1 Character Feat = Shield Brace.

Warrior NPC class can't do it until 3rd level, though.

Grand Lodge

It doesn't make sense why a spear cannot be used with 1 hand, I know that is the point of the short spear and really the only difference is the damage on the two and the amount of hands it takes to wield one.

I always picture a spear fighter like Trull Sengar

If you read Midnight Tides he is very proficient with the spear and deadly, I realize it is a work of fiction but everything being a feat in PF has become a bit to much.


A 5 foot spear is actually easy to throw, and to use one handed. The irritation wielding it one handed is that you generally have some of the haft behind your hand, which can bump into things when you are fighting.

EDIT. Actually, with the 5 foot square footprint, this wouldn't be an issue.


So pretend your imaginary shortspear is five feet long instead of three feet.


I think the regular shortspears/longspears don't have a lot of support because they're not terribly iconic/photogenic/cinematic/heroic/etc. weapons used by heroes. Of course you can find heroes in fiction that had spears, but modern tastes have romanticized the sword. Longsword, katana (Kill Bill), claymore, rapier, etc. are all firmly part of modern tastes, although the katana more so than the others (Sorry, Inigo Montoya). Crossbows have had some play in relatively recent media (Call of Duty, Van Helsing), while non-crossbow bows are the iconic sharpshooter weapon (Legolas, Hawkeye, Green Arrow, Robin Hood, etc.) that isn't a sniper rifle, and have been portrayed as ridiculously good in the hands of ridiculously skillful people. It also helps that it is the iconic elven weapon. Similarly, axes and hammers are iconic dwarven weapons. A pair of daggers is the typical rogue armament, although knife-fights aren't unheard-of in modern cinema. (MI:Rogue Nation) Eastern martial arts weapons have their own niche with martial arts movies. Fists are fairly common wherever. Spears are things used by armies and hordes. Perhaps it's because spears aren't terribly interesting cinematically. Most of the weapons listed are swung around. Some are shot, but with shooting, you can show off accuracy. But besides Donnie Yen or Jackie Chan, most actors won't be moving a stabbing polearm in a visually interesting way. Christopher Lee did stage fencing in his various swordfighting roles, which involved twirling and swinging the blade around much more than he would if he were actually fencing. Most of these weapons look distinctive, have a distinctive sound, and are very prominent visually, even before the actor uses it. Spears are basically a pointy stick in cinema, any entertainment value comes from the way the actor swings it around. I'm not sure how good or bad spears were, but even if they should be better, Pathfinder reflects popular fantasy, not reality. It's probably a combination of people not really wanting spears as an aesthetic, along with people not wanting spears because in-game spears are awful.


^Movies set in Antiquity have achieved a bit of popularity, so spears should get some coattails from that.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
nosig wrote:
Even after the invention of fire-arms, the weapons used on the battlefield still included spears.
Pikes, not spears.

Two words:

"FIX BAYONETS"


I never see PCs using longswords. Why don't longswords get any love? It's always greatswords and rapiers and longspears and composite longbows...


Matthew Downie wrote:
I never see PCs using longswords. Why don't longswords get any love? It's always greatswords and rapiers and longspears and composite longbows...

I usually put new players with good ol sword and board


Matthew Downie wrote:
I never see PCs using longswords. Why don't longswords get any love? It's always greatswords and rapiers and longspears and composite longbows...

Longswords fall on the opposite end of the spectrum. They're a good, solid weapon with oodles of weapon specific Feats and effects along with many special magic weapons that are longswords (See: Holy Avenger, Firebrand, etc.).

Most people are sick to death of them.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
I usually put new players with good ol sword and board

I've seen that done... with a scimitar.

Anyway, I prefer the Pathfinder weapon situation to early-edition D&D where it was practically impossible to get any magic weapon that wasn't a sword.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I usually put new players with good ol sword and board
I've seen that done... with a scimitar.

I'll do you one better...my shield is pointy and weird.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Movies set in Antiquity have achieved a bit of popularity, so spears should get some coattails from that.

Yeah, but even then, heroes have swords, maybe bows, but not spears. In Lord of the Rings, the most awesome weapons (in no particular order) were Legolas' bow, Sting (a sword, not the bassist), Anduril (a sword), the Witch-king's mega-flail, and Gandalf's glowstick and sword. Gimli's axe is somewhere as well, then maybe Legolas' ninja-knives and Merry's barrow-blade. In the Hobbit (book), Bard had a bow and arrow, whereas in the movie, he had a giant crossbow (but no spear). Bilbo had a sword (Sting, which was unfortunately not a bilbo), Thorin and a sword and bow, while the other dwarves had some combination of axes, hammers, and insanity. In Gladiator, the weapon of choice was the gladius (although spears did make a showing). In 300, you have a decent number of spears, but when push comes to shove, the Spartans die with swords in hand. Brad Pitt's Achilles is a sword guy. Conan had a big, big sword. Even Harry Potter had a sword. Spears would have to be riding on the coattails of their greatest competitors.

Grand Lodge Contributor

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I've designed a few player options that (hopefully) make spears more interesting, but alas, they haven't been published yet. As a fan a Troy, 300, and other movies where spears are prominently featured, I would also appreciate more feats, archetypes, etc. intended for spear users.

Grand Lodge

There are a few spear feats but they either involve TWF, or perform dance to use effectively. It might also be because spears involve movement when using? Or that is how I see it at least.

Most of PF doesn't involve movement fights, it is stationary, I swing and hit. I picture it more like Rockem' sockem' robots, where they just trade blows to the dodging and dance of combat like in Books and cinema.


Raltus wrote:


Most of PF doesn't involve movement fights, it is stationary.

This isn't actually true; it's just a result of the combat abstraction -- your movement is encompassed in your Dexterity modifier and the free five-foot step you can take while still attacking at your full potential.

Similarly, the various techniques are abstracted away. Boxing recognizes four types of punches: jab, cross, hook, and uppercut. Fencing recognizes eight parries: prime, seconde, tierce, quarte, et cetera. Pathfinder just recognizes "okay, roll to hit"; you are assumed to recognize the appropriate type of maneuver to use -- or maybe not, which is why you missed, but as you gain skill, you presumably get better at not using prime when quinte would have been better. (One of the weaknesses of the PF abstraction is that you get better at hitting things as you gain experience, but you generally don't get better at not-being-hit unless you start burning feats and using maneuvers like fighting defensively.)

Grand Lodge

Get rid of Rings of protection and amulets of natural armor and give a scaling + defense buff? gives to both touch and regular defense?


Raltus wrote:
Get rid of Rings of protection and amulets of natural armor and give a scaling + defense buff? gives to both touch and regular defense?

Yeah, you can house rule a fix to the standard ruleset. From a game design perspective, it's not an issue. Even from a playability perspective, it's not an issue, because defensive magic toys exist.

The point is not to confuse the abstraction with the underlying reality. A spear that is short enough to use one-handed without special training is a "short spear," and has certain other properties associated with it. A spear that is long enough to have reach is a "long spear." Technically, a five-foot long spear does not exist in Pathfinder, but that's an abstraction (like the lack of movement when you do a full attack). What you should be looking at instead is how you use this particular five-foot long spear, and whether it better fits the long spear or short spear abstraction.


A 5 Foot spear does exist in Pathfinder. They are just called Spears


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Spear too light to be wielded in two hands but easily thrown (a light weapon) = Javelin
Spear short enough to be used in one hand, but could be wielded in two (a one-handed weapon) = Short Spear
Spear to be used in two hands = Spear
Spear long enough to have reach = Long Spear.

So are we really arguing that the short spear should do more damage ?
Are we really arguing that the spear should have reach ?
Are we really arguing that there should be a special shield that can be worn while wielding a regular two-hand (no reach) spear ? (Hoplon and Dory ?)

Maybe it's just that there should be more spear(any) feats ?

Grand Lodge

I think we are yes, More general feats that encompass damage types would be better than weapon specific types, or if they fit weapon groups like the Fighter bonus' happen too would also make sense.

If there were Axe feats and sword feats instead of "battle Axe" that doesn't apply to a hand axe since really they do they same style of slashing damage.


I think ultimately people want a one-handed spear with reach, even though it breaks some basic principles of the game. Namely that reach weapons are two-handed except for the whip (and I think one other I'm forgetting).


Wouldn't a Long spear (or any 2 handed reach weapon) sized for a creature 1 category smaller than you give reach as a 1 handed weapon with -2 penalty?

Dark Archive

Yes but people get salty about that and call it cheese.


Halek wrote:
Yes but people get salty about that and call it cheese.

It is cheese and I'm salty AF about it.


Of course it is cheese.
It is an exploit of basic fallacies in the rules.
It's only a problem if you are in a situation where RAW defeats Reason.

Dark Archive

Daw wrote:

Of course it is cheese.

It is an exploit of basic fallacies in the rules.
It's only a problem if you are in a situation where RAW defeats Reason.

I am not sure what you are saying here. What do you mean the rules have fallacies? What makes it unreasonable?

Dark Archive

UnArcaneElection wrote:
^Movies set in Antiquity have achieved a bit of popularity, so spears should get some coattails from that.

The fight between Obyron and the Mountain in Game of Thrones certainly made the spear look like a cool choice of weapon.

The spear was a popular choice in GURPS, as I recall, but the mechanics for that game are quite different...


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
While shield brace does allow for spear and shield fighting I don’t think it should require you to be a fighter and spend two feats. As Firewarrior44 says this should be a basic tactic that any martial character can do, not a super specialized style that only a few can perform.

It takes TWO feats to use the single most common combination of weapon and shield in all of human history? O_o


Arbane the Terrible wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
While shield brace does allow for spear and shield fighting I don’t think it should require you to be a fighter and spend two feats. As Firewarrior44 says this should be a basic tactic that any martial character can do, not a super specialized style that only a few can perform.

It takes TWO feats to use the single most common combination of weapon and shield in all of human history? O_o

Only if you ignore the shortspear.

Silver Crusade

Because they're too pointy and ladies like clubs better

*flees*

Grand Lodge

A fighter should be allowed to pick a style for free despite having an archetype, it is LITERALLY what they do and in the class name.

1st level they pick a fighting style and get certain relevant feats for free in it.


Claxon wrote:
I think ultimately people want a one-handed spear with reach, even though it breaks some basic principles of the game. Namely that reach weapons are two-handed except for the whip (and I think one other I'm forgetting).

The Scorpion Whip, when used in one-handed mode, is the only other one-handed reach weapon that I can think of.

Dark Archive

Why not just use a small sized long spear?

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