Why is the bastard sword piercing only?


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


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Can't for the life of me figure out a reason for this change other than to directly nerf a popular weapon. The weapon should be S versatile P like all of the other arming sword variants. It really feels like it was simply an oversight. It's exactly the same as a longsword, except it can be held in two hands like a greatsword.

Edit: If it is a balancing issue, it would fit in more with the arming sword variant if it was 1d8 s/p one handed, 1d10 s/p two handed. This makes the arming sword tree look like this:
Shortsword 9 silver 1d6 p/s finesse agile.
Longsword 10 silver 1d8 s/p
Bastard Sword 35 silver 1d8 s/p one handed, 1d10 s/p two handed
Greatsword 20 silver 1d12 s/p

each damage dice above 1d6 is covered in this tree and each sword feels unique and like it has a certain tactical advantage over the others in certain situations.


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I am hoping that the piercing only bastard sword is a mistake. I honestly cannot picture how that sort of weapon is supposed to work.


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I’ll chime in and say that a big broad-bladed sword that you only stab with doesn’t make much sense in the fiction of the game. Or at least, that’s how I see it.


hmm... the more I look at it the more I think it was a deliberate change to the weapon. why would anyone ever carry a Longsword into battle if the bastard sword is pretty much better in every way? maybe add something like cumbersome/complicated or something which says "This weapon cannot be wielded with a weapon in the off-hand" this gives players who want to dual wield a reason to take the longsword over the bastard sword.


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Balance. Otherwise it would be just superior to the Longsword. Your proposed table has the only advantage of the Longsword be price, which isn't actually a fix.


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They need to find a different way to balance it, then, because poking at people with a hand and a half sword is exceptionally silly. Might as well just be a spear.


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Maybe it should be slashing-only instead of piercing-only? Equally balanced, maybe more sensible.


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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Maybe it should be slashing-only instead of piercing-only? Equally balanced, maybe more sensible.

I think that was the intent.


I have to assume it's a mistake, otherwise its just nonsensical. I can barely imagine how you can use a bastard sword (a long sword in the real world) as only a piercing weapon.

in the real world the bastard sword (long sword) was just better than one handed sword (long and short sword) in the game. hopefully this isn't like the Halfling change, which is just done because of game balance in opposition to logic and common sense.


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They could take inspiration from 5e and just make the bastard sword and the longsword the same weapon.

Or they could make it work like PF1 where it always deals a d10, but you need a feat to use it in one hand.

Or they could beef up the greatsword somehow.

Lost of potential solutions.

I just hate that it takes an action to go from one handing a bastard sword, to two handing it. That's stupid. Nobody wants to burn an action doing something that used to be a free action on their turn.


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Soul wrote:
Can't for the life of me figure out a reason for this change other than to directly nerf a popular weapon. The weapon should be S versatile P like all of the other arming sword variants. It really feels like it was simply an oversight. It's exactly the same as a longsword, except it can be held in two hands like a greatsword.

Good lord.... So these two weapons are now almost exactly the opposite of their actual historical counterparts?

How much more badly can they screw this up? (Make them both daggers, I suppose....)


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Slim Jim wrote:
Soul wrote:
Can't for the life of me figure out a reason for this change other than to directly nerf a popular weapon. The weapon should be S versatile P like all of the other arming sword variants. It really feels like it was simply an oversight. It's exactly the same as a longsword, except it can be held in two hands like a greatsword.

Good lord.... So these two weapons are now almost exactly the opposite of their actual historical counterparts?

How much more badly can they screw this up? (Make them both daggers, I suppose....)

Well, the "longsword" is historically a two handed sword. You CAN use it in one hand, but it's really tiring after a while. You would generally only take a hand off of it if you meant to go for a grapple, or were trying to sneak out a bit of extra reach on a swing.

The "arming sword" is the one handed sword we think of when someone says "longsword". It was usually used with a shield by people who weren't wearing plate armor.

The "bastard sword" is, depending on the source, wither another name for a longsword (the Italians) or a slightly shorter longsword that can be used in one hand more easily (basically everyone else). The idea behind this was that a knight on horseback may want an arming sword to use while he rides the horse, but doesn't want the reach disadvantage of an arming sword of he loses his horse and has to fight other knights with longswords. It's a compromise.

The greatsword is basically an over-sized sword that is used like a polearm. If PF2 wants to be historically accurate, it should have reach. Making the greatsword OP would be historically accurate, as their use in warfare was banned by a few countries (mostly due to the nature of the German mercenaries who were famous for using them).


People claiming it's a mistake, I don't think I agree with you. It may be a bit of flawed design, but I think it was a poorly thought out balance decision. There are 8 creatures in the bestiary where slashing is preferred to piercing, and only 1 (the Rakshasa) where piercing is preferred to slashing. My guess is that they figured, based on that, the relative weakness of piercing was worth the flexibility of being both a longsword and a greatsword.

Personally, given Piercing's relative weakness, I think a better solution would be just to treat Versitile as a non-entity as far as what traits the weapon gets, and give something to Long swords and great swords to help them keep up. Since basically, this edition, a Battle Axe or Great Axe is as good as or better than them, respectively, in all situation that aren't fighting Rakshasas.


thflame wrote:
The "bastard sword" is, depending on the source, wither another name for a longsword (the Italians) or a slightly shorter longsword that can be used in one hand more easily (basically everyone else).

Historical bastardswords and longswords were virtually identical in length.


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Have it's two handed only scale to d10s, and give it versatile. Or slashing only, versatile when two handed


It's weird if the Bastard Sword can only do one damage type, but the heftier Greatsword can do two. But, then if the Bastard Sword can do both, why bother with the Greatsword? The Greatsword needs a trait like forceful, maybe, then, to be worth it.


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Slim Jim wrote:
thflame wrote:
The "bastard sword" is, depending on the source, wither another name for a longsword (the Italians) or a slightly shorter longsword that can be used in one hand more easily (basically everyone else).
Historical bastardswords and longswords were virtually identical in length.

The HEMA community isn't unanimously in agreement on this topic, hence why I provided both schools of thought.

Although, I did mis-attribute the group that called the longsword a bastard sword. That would be the French, not the Italians.

The French called the two handed sword "epee batarde" (sword bastard)

The Italians called it "spada a due mani" (sword of two hands) as opposed to "spadone" (big/great sword)

The Germans called is "langschwert" (longsword) as opposed to Bidenhander (double hander) or Zweihander (two hander).

Perhaps the idea that the bastard sword is a shorter version of the longsword comes from the short jokes attributed to the French or the fact that French longswords were shorter than German ones?

Needless to say, there are swords that are obviously mis-proportioned to be classified as a longsword or arming sword, and they were common enough to deserve a classification, hence why I side with the school of thought that a "bastard sword" is a shorter longsword designed for the purpose of being more easily used in one hand.

Regardless, this is no more than a history lesson in a thread about how a sword should work in a fantasy game.


Mbertorch wrote:
It's weird if the Bastard Sword can only do one damage type, but the heftier Greatsword can do two. But, then if the Bastard Sword can do both, why bother with the Greatsword? The Greatsword needs a trait like forceful, maybe, then, to be worth it.

D10s vs d12s good enough? D8 when one handed like a longsword, more expensive for versatility.


Its a disguise! It is really a spear. They type you can use two different grips with. I actually think this is a good idea for a spear.

(I am not in any way a weapon expert so I do not know what the official name is).


After reading the responses I feel like my solution is the most elegant thusfar (naturally, it is mine after all xD) Give it versatile s/p, restrict it to only single-weapon+shield fighting, reduce the d12 to a d10. It is not a longsword (arming sword), so you cant use it with a weapon in your off-hand effectively, and yet it does not have the mass and raw power of a greatsword. If you want to two weapon fight with a d8 weapon, the longsword is better. if you want to fight with sword and non-tower shield, they are virtually the same. if you want to fight with a two handed weapon, the greatsword is better. if you want the flexibility of a sword and shield but also the ability to two hand the weapon, the bastard sword is better. This matches thematically, is sound mechanically, and honestly... it just makes sense.


Longsword, 1d8 S/P
Bastard sword 1d8 S, 1d6P, twohanded 1d10 S/1d8 P


Igor Horvat wrote:

Longsword, 1d8 S/P

Bastard sword 1d8 S, 1d6P, twohanded 1d10 S/1d8 P

that would be far too complicated honestly, and theres no reason a thrust would deal less damage than a slash. in fact it is likely quite the opposite, thrusts are more likely to be deadly than slashes unless you cut off the head/limbs with your slashes.

After much deliberation with my other playtest buddies we feel that the best course of action is adding a negative modifier like "bulky" or "cumbersome" restricting its use with other weapons, in order to have a niche for every weapon.


Soul wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:

Longsword, 1d8 S/P

Bastard sword 1d8 S, 1d6P, twohanded 1d10 S/1d8 P

that would be far too complicated honestly, and theres no reason a thrust would deal less damage than a slash. in fact it is likely quite the opposite, thrusts are more likely to be deadly than slashes unless you cut off the head/limbs with your slashes.

After much deliberation with my other playtest buddies we feel that the best course of action is adding a negative modifier like "bulky" or "cumbersome" restricting its use with other weapons, in order to have a niche for every weapon.

What is so complicated about reducing damage die by one step?

Also bastard swords are on the edge of what is usable in one hand.
You can simply describe that is more suited for slashing.
I.E. point is not tapered as much as a longsword. Or balance point is too much to the tip so you cannot be precise with the point.

Off topic,
bastard sword is a one-and-a-half sword and longsword is a two handed sword, but you know: sacred cows and stuff...


This is what I would replace the current Bastard Sword with:
• Bastard Sword (35 sp | 1d8 S | 1 Bulk | 1 Hand | Sword | Versatile P, Two-Hand d10)
Katana should also have the exact same characteristics except be Uncommon.


I've simply added Versatile S to the weapon and have moved on.


Cantriped wrote:

This is what I would replace the current Bastard Sword with:

• Bastard Sword (35 sp | 1d8 S | 1 Bulk | 1 Hand | Sword | Versatile P, Two-Hand d10)
Katana should also have the exact same characteristics except be Uncommon.

To resurrect my thread:

This is very close, but the problem I have here is: What motivation does a player have to choose a Longsword over a Bastard sword with this change? it's simply a better longsword in every situation this way.


Soul wrote:
Cantriped wrote:

This is what I would replace the current Bastard Sword with:

• Bastard Sword (35 sp | 1d8 S | 1 Bulk | 1 Hand | Sword | Versatile P, Two-Hand d10)
Katana should also have the exact same characteristics except be Uncommon.

To resurrect my thread:

This is very close, but the problem I have here is: What motivation does a player have to choose a Longsword over a Bastard sword with this change? it's simply a better longsword in every situation this way.

Same reason you'd use one now!

You are an NPC whose captain was too cheap to buy you a bastard sword, and too stupid to know that a Battleaxe, Trident, or Warhammer would have been better. Versatile P is a worthless trait on a slashing weapon (and vice versa).
Or perhaps because Longsword is the best martial weapon you're proficient with (Elves, Bards, and certain Clerics)

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