Why does the Gnome Flickmace exist?


Rules Discussion


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I saw the recent thread on this weapon, and couldn't help banging my head against the table, since it was being suggested that all martials should jump through whatever hoops necessary to get maximum proficiency in this weapon because it is objectively the best option available.

[further head to table banging ensues]

Why? Why did Paizo include a one-handed weapon with reach? Especially one with no downside.

And, more importantly, a weapon that, according to its description, is patently absurd. As described, such a weapon would be just as if not more dangerous to the guy wielding it that the guy he's fighting. Short handle + long chain + nasty spiked ball is a recipe for disaster.

Yes, I know, in my home games I can simply pretend that this aberration was never invented.

Am I really the only one who looks askance at this editorial choice of Paizo's?


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I think "gnome warriors should have a quirky and powerful fighting style that reflects their crazy inventiveness and explains how they are able to defend themselves from bigger creatures like orcs and such" is a fun idea on its own.

However, giving non-gnomes relatively easy means to access this weapon is a dubious design decision from the world-building standpoint. Suddenly, every fighter and champion in Golarion abandons their homeland and queues up to get trained by gnomes? Really? Paizo should have known their player base better than to allow this. It's Wayang Spellhunter all over again and I thought the goal of PF2 was to eliminate fishing for such options.

That said, I think it remains to be seen in play whether the 1h reach is really that much better than bigger damage from 2h plus extra ancestry feat. Though on paper it does look quite appealing.


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The gnome flickmace is a one-handed, 1d8 damage, reach weapon. Reach is very good for Attack of Opportunity. It is a flail and therefore knocks prone with its critical specialization, thereby synergizing with Attack of Opportunity, because Standing provokes; as per page 474, the Attack of Opportunity against a creature Standing takes place after the Stand, which means that a critical hit with specialization knocks the target right back prone.

Many champions and one-handed-weapon fighters will want to acquire scaling gnome flickmace proficiency as a first priority, as it is probably the best weapon for them, mechanically speaking.


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I haven't seen it in play, but I don't play with people that optimize at ever stage of the game. I think you hit it home when you said you can pretend this was never invented at your home table. The rarity system does make it a little easier to say to a player, "Look, I feel like this weapon is unbalancing combat at this point."

I say that without knowing what effect the GFM is going to have on the "meta" of PF2 moving forward. Again, I've also never been affected by it since my players have never been at this to make insane DPR monsters.


I imagine humans have a really easy time to get Flickmace proficiency (and Half Elves/Half Orcs by extension), but for the other races (besides gnomes), isn't it rather difficult for them?

Therefore only gnomes and the most adaptable races have it, thats probably still in flavour.


Im just curious what part about the flickmace is egregious to you because there's already a one handed reach weapon its the whip.

Is it the fact that its lethality, or the damage die? whip has the same crit effect, while also adding the option to ranged trip and disarm.

Personally I really like the flickmace its a fun option. Yea people that want to spec into AOO are going to want reach thats obvious, there are better tools for many other builds.


Aashua wrote:
Im just curious what part about the flickmace is egregious to you because there's already a one handed reach weapon its the whip.

I think it's this...

Colette Brunel wrote:
It is a flail and therefore knocks prone with its critical specialization, thereby synergizing with Attack of Opportunity, because Standing provokes; as per page 474, the Attack of Opportunity against a creature Standing takes place after the Stand, which means that a critical hit with specialization knocks the target right back prone.

From a numbers game, a lot of people are saying it's a superior DPR choice. I can understand Wheldrake's feeling because I don't want to return to PF1's days of, "Well if you're going to play as [X] you should obviously have [Y]." I think it remains to be seen, however.


prototype00 wrote:

I imagine humans have a really easy time to get Flickmace proficiency (and Half Elves/Half Orcs by extension), but for the other races (besides gnomes), isn't it rather difficult for them?

Therefore only gnomes and the most adaptable races have it, thats probably still in flavour.

The "Adopted Ancestry" feat has no requirements. So anyone willing to, can pick it up for the cost of 2 feats.


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Ruzza wrote:
Aashua wrote:
Im just curious what part about the flickmace is egregious to you because there's already a one handed reach weapon its the whip.

I think it's this...

Colette Brunel wrote:
It is a flail and therefore knocks prone with its critical specialization, thereby synergizing with Attack of Opportunity, because Standing provokes; as per page 474, the Attack of Opportunity against a creature Standing takes place after the Stand, which means that a critical hit with specialization knocks the target right back prone.
From a numbers game, a lot of people are saying it's a superior DPR choice. I can understand Wheldrake's feeling because I don't want to return to PF1's days of, "Well if you're going to play as [X] you should obviously have [Y]." I think it remains to be seen, however.

Like I mentioned in that post, whip is in the flail subclass, it has the same crit spec effect. The dpr would be much lower though at the higher levels though.

Honestly I really like flickmace its cool its also the only weapon in the Advanced category that I can see very obviously from its description why is so hard to learn their others are two are axes with more abilities and a sword you dual wield with more abilities but nothing that really explains why their so hard to use.

The sawtooth saber annoys me far more then the flickmace as there are no arguments to be made that it isn't the best weapon to utilize for dual wielding, at least you can make a argument for whip that you can use combat maneuvers at range.

I dont really even mind Sawtooth that much but it sticks out way more to me then flickmace, its just better cause its serrated I guess.


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The issue doesn't seem to be the weapon but with the ease that certain people can get it

If I read correctly a non human needs to be at least level 5 (3 for general feat and 5 for ancestry). But humans can get it at 1?

There is clearly an awkward point on not wanting to limit options in general - hence all the floating stat options to open up dwarf sorcerers and bards. But perhaps racial specific weapons should have been an exception or harder to do

I guess it comes down to whether you think the damage boost and reach is worth an ancestry feat. Current consensus is yes

I had a player who tried to bend the rules to get one handed reach in 1E and came up with an Aasimar using the wrong sized longspear in one hand (I am still not sure if that worked). All it meant was everyone mercilessly made fun of him for his small spear and how he was the "biggest person in the halfling village".

I am immensely reluctant to get the banhammer out for anything in core so early. This is the only case I have seen so far where I would be tempted

It was seemingly meant to give Gnome fighters a way to offset strength penalty and slow speed


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Azurespark wrote:
prototype00 wrote:

I imagine humans have a really easy time to get Flickmace proficiency (and Half Elves/Half Orcs by extension), but for the other races (besides gnomes), isn't it rather difficult for them?

Therefore only gnomes and the most adaptable races have it, thats probably still in flavour.

The "Adopted Ancestry" feat has no requirements. So anyone willing to, can pick it up for the cost of 2 feats.

Well, I mean, 2 feats is a lot of investment to put in to a yo-yo, and apparently you can only get it by lvl 5, sure if you want to use the most Exotic weapon ever, that seems like a good enough point to be picking it up by, given how much training you would need.


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People say yoyo or paddle all, but isn’t it brigitte’s weapon from overwatch ?

Grand Lodge

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A versatile human can indeed get Gnome Weapon Familiarity at 1st level, all other ancestries can get it at level 5. At the cost of a general feat and an ancestry feat, which are quite limited resources.

But that means every ancestry must spend two feats to get access to the weapon, except Gnomes who only need one. That's a fairly hefty feat tax for access to a single weapon that isn't SO powerful every fighter needs to get it.

Keep in mind a ton of the 1h fighter feats require the enemy to be within reach of your open hand, not just within reach of whatever weapon you wield. And in any case you only get one AoO per round; if you crit someone and knock them down when they provoke, they can still just stand up again with impunity.


Syries wrote:

A versatile human can indeed get Gnome Weapon Familiarity at 1st level, all other ancestries can get it at level 5. At the cost of a general feat and an ancestry feat, which are quite limited resources.

But that means every ancestry must spend two feats to get access to the weapon, except Gnomes who only need one. That's a fairly hefty feat tax for access to a single weapon that isn't SO powerful every fighter needs to get it.

Keep in mind a ton of the 1h fighter feats require the enemy to be within reach of your open hand, not just within reach of whatever weapon you wield. And in any case you only get one AoO per round; if you crit someone and knock them down when they provoke, they can still just stand up again with impunity.

Until they get a second AoO reaction at 10th. Then there's Boundless Reprisals at 20th. Both of which I'd get even without the cheese build.


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Whips exist too. You can get 1-handed reach without burning your ancestry feats. Not ideal, it does less damage and takes a -2 on attacks v. some enemies, but it works and you save feats.


rayous brightblade wrote:
People say yoyo or paddle all, but isn’t it brigitte’s weapon from overwatch ?

I think brigittes weapon probably is pretty close to the flick mace melee weapon that can turn to flail quickly for bursts of unexpected range ability.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmmm. I think if it comes up, I'll tell my players they don't know any gnomes and there weren't any where they grew up. If they decide to play a gnome, OK. Otherwise, it is absurd that every (optimizing) fighter grew up adopted by weird gnomes.

I'm having flashbacks to Wayang Spellhunter. <Agh!>

Liberty's Edge

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A single weapon that requires 1 or 2 Feats to get access to that is only marginally better than a whip.... I'm not seeing the problem here.

Is the issue that the DPR hounds are going to love it? I'm not sure that's much of a problem, it would have simply been some other weapon, in in the past the ideal DPR weapons didn't even require exotic weapon prof or the eq to get access to.

Sovereign Court

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Well it's good because it's one of the few ways to have Reach and a shield at the same time.


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All a human has to do to take a gnome flickmace is select Unconventional Weaponry. There is no need to fuss around with acquiring Gnome Weapon Familiarity.

That is it. Just the one ancestry feat.

I have no idea why people keep missing that a human has very easy access to the gnome flickmace. They keep on assuming things like, "Oh, I suppose you have to be a gnome to use that," or "A human has to take Adopted Ancestry to pick up Gnome Weapon Familiarity," when really, it is just a matter of selecting Unconventional Weaponry, right from the human ancestry feat list.

I get the distinct feeling that people will keep overlooking flickmaces simply because they leap to the wrong conclusions about how easy it is for a human to wield a gnome flickmace.


Colette Brunel wrote:

All a human has to do to take a gnome flickmace is select Unconventional Weaponry. There is no need to fuss around with acquiring Gnome Weapon Familiarity.

That is it. Just the one ancestry feat.

I have no idea why people keep missing that a human has very easy access to the gnome flickmace. They keep on assuming things like, "Oh, I suppose you have to be a gnome to use that," or "A human has to take Adopted Ancestry to pick up Gnome Weapon Familiarity," when really, it is just a matter of selecting Unconventional Weaponry, right from the human ancestry feat list.

I get the distinct feeling that people will keep overlooking flickmaces simply because they leap to the wrong conclusions about how easy it is for a human to wield a gnome flickmace.

Fair, it either costs 2 feats or your ancestry choice and a feat. Both are rather inconvenient.

Liberty's Edge

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Not to mention by taking UW you're essentially giving up the best Ancestry Feat in the whole book - Natural Ambition, all for a weapon that does more damage than a whip but has far fewer Weapon Traits.

Still not seeing how this is unbalanced but maybe I'm missing something here...

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It's not unbalanced, people are just putting too much value on this weapon.

Considering how few feats are, if someone wants to invest 1 or more feats just to use a gnome flickmace...sure go for it.


Natural Ambition is nice only for some builds. A fair few champions and fighters, those classes for which the flickmace is best, do not benefit so much from Natural Ambition.


As for the whip comparison, it's dice is twice as big which matters a lot more in this edition. 2 hits from the same weapons with striking is 4d4 Vs 4d8 and the difference.


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Advanced weapons require not insignificant resources to invest in and are supposed to be better than martial weapons. So it's good that there is an advanced weapon people want. Particularly one that encourages people to consider gnome martials, a thing that was vanishingly rare in PF1.

Also reach is less powerful now, since AoOs are rarer.


Reach allows attacking enemies out to 1 square, or to 2 squares. The flickmace works best with fighters, who can pack a whallop with Attacks of Opportunity, but it also works well with champions, Ranged Retribution paladins especially.

Grand Lodge

RAW it’s Uncommon rarity. So a player can pick up whatever feat they want to munchkin, but it doesn’t mean they can start with one without GM permission. So likely will be restricted in PFS and if you don’t want one at your table because it feels cheesy, say No.


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Peat wrote:
RAW it’s Uncommon rarity. So a player can pick up whatever feat they want to munchkin, but it doesn’t mean they can start with one without GM permission. So likely will be restricted in PFS and if you don’t want one at your table because it feels cheesy, say No.

The feats specifically give access to it, as the way players get to access the item without GM oversight.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Comparing it to Brigitte's weapon makes me like it a whole lot more.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:
which means that a critical hit with specialization knocks the target right back prone.

Seriously?!?!? I mean, there was a reason that this wasn't a thing in 1E. >.<


I'm fine with wacky gnome weapons, and I'm fine with high-tier weapons, but I don't like that this is both. I wish it were just called a "Chain Whip".


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I think the problem is less that this weapon exists and more on the mindset of people who think you need to hyper-optimize everything you do in a pen-and-paper RPG played with a group of other humans. Yes, I understand that some people enjoy doing this, which is fine. What I don't understand is people that think you MUST do this.

A character doesn't need to be perfectly optimized to be useful to the party and fun to play.


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magnuskn wrote:
Colette Brunel wrote:
which means that a critical hit with specialization knocks the target right back prone.
Seriously?!?!? I mean, there was a reason that this wasn't a thing in 1E. >.<

I don't think it's as bad. This is only on a critical hit (though the attack is made without MAP). It's not as bad as people thinking they could do it with trip in 1E.


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Saldiven wrote:

I think the problem is less that this weapon exists and more on the mindset of people who think you need to hyper-optimize everything you do in a pen-and-paper RPG played with a group of other humans. Yes, I understand that some people enjoy doing this, which is fine. What I don't understand is people that think you MUST do this.

A character doesn't need to be perfectly optimized to be useful to the party and fun to play.

It's a lot more fun to be able to hit your retributive strikes, and not lose out on them because you're too far away.


This seems like a lot of hand wringing over something that's not really that big of a deal.


swoosh wrote:
This seems like a lot of hand wringing over something that's not really that big of a deal.

I think it is just that the first guide anyone has written (as far as I know) for 2E is on ancestries and starting feats and it put as number 1 absolute highest , gold tier rating “anything that gives access to gnome flickmace”

That alarmed me and alarmed others because it seemed odd and unexpected. Also the idea of limited specific feats and different weapon abilities means people can use any weapon they pick up if proficient . I don’t think the design intent was “nah I will stick with this one thing the whole way”

(I am aware transferable runes run counter to this but I guess that is more for your general weapon grouping e.g. finesse , two handed , bow , than one specific weapon - in my view)

The more I read the less concerned I am
And as I think I said before - i will just have NPCs tease non gnomes :-P

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