Reach weapons versus prone targets


Rules Questions


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I a trying to determine how to handle reach weapons versus prone enemies in my campaign as 1 player loves to trip enemies and another loves to use reach weapons.

I know melee gets +4 to attack prone enemy and enemy gets +4 AC from ranged attacks.

Reach weapons treat cover using range rules and this does not change the attack from melee to range.

My take is if adjacent give the attacker the +4 to hit as it is an easier target. But from non-adjacent I see it being harder to hit the prone target and would give the enemy the +4 AC.

There is nothing to specifically state this one way or the other. There is implied rules for this, but looking for clarification.


A reach weapon is still a melee weapon, and treated as such unless explicitly stated.
Being 10 feet apart shouldn't be problematic for hitting a prone enemy. The unrealistic part is that ranged weapons get the penalty at all ranges.


Derklord wrote:

A reach weapon is still a melee weapon, and treated as such unless explicitly stated.

Being 10 feet apart shouldn't be problematic for hitting a prone enemy. The unrealistic part is that ranged weapons get the penalty at all ranges.

That's my take on it, too.


SMOKE wrote:
Reach weapons treat cover using range rules and this does not change the attack from melee to range.

This isn't specific to reach weapons, you can get cover vs an opponent who's standing right next to you (attacking through a window, etc).

The rule for prone characters getting +4AC vs ranged attacks is a general rule, and while it does a pretty good job of simulating reality it's not perfect.

The idea is that a Prone character presents a smaller profile, and is therefore harder to hit ... but imagine a longbowman standing 10 feet away shooting at a prone character. A longbow takes only a -2 ranged penalty for the shooting at an enemy 220 feet away, so why would a prone character 10 feet away be harder to hit than that?

The answer is that it wouldn't, but the rules are simplified because that level of realism just isn't worth it - it would slow down the game too much and require a mind-bogglingly huge set of rules.

If you're having trouble visulaising reach weapons getting a bonus for attacking prone enemies, imagine someone bringing a Halberd down on you. Think how much harder it would be to block while lying on your back than it would be if you were upright. Gravity aids heavy weapons, and most reach weapons are heavy.

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