Combat Patrol and Threaten Range with Reach


Rules Questions


So, I have a playing want to take combat patrol. If he sets up a patrol with a reach weapon, does he start threatening in front of him now, since he can move to make the AoO?

Except, a bandit pulls out a bow directly next to player. Does the bandit promote an AoO for making a ranged attack, or does the player not have the ability to threaten there normally and can't attack the bandit?


The way combat patrol is written it does not seem to allow you to threaten the area directly next to you with a reach weapon. As a DM it seems reasonable to allow the player to spend one of the expanded increments "inward".

For Example. A character with a BAB of +10 is wielding a Bardiche and as a full round action activates combat patrol. The player has two options. They can threaten everything up to 20 feet away, not including the area right around them or they can threaten everything up to 15 feet away including the area around them.

If the bandit is not in an area threatened by the player then they do not provoke an AoO when they make a ranged attack, regardless of the player using combat patrol or not.

So, if in our above example, the player picked option 1 to threaten up to 20 feet away and a bandit standing next to them shoots them with a bow then there is no AoO. However, if the player picked option 2 to threaten up to 15 feet away and a bandit standing next to them shoots them with a bow, then the bandit provokes since they are making a ranged attack from an area now threatened by the character.


Combat Patrol wrote:

Combat Patrol (Combat)

You range across the battlefield, dealing with threats wherever they arise.

Prerequisites: Combat reflexes, Mobility, base attack bonus +5.

Benefit: As a full-round action, you may set up a combat patrol, increasing your threatened area by 5 feet for every 5 points of your base attack bonus. Until the beginning of your next turn, you may make attacks of opportunity against any opponent in this threatened area that provokes attacks of opportunity. You may move as part of these attacks, provided your total movement before your next turn does not exceed your speed. Any movement you make provokes attacks of opportunity as normal.

Attacks of Opportunity wrote:

Attacks of Opportunity

Sometimes a combatant in a melee lets her guard down or takes a reckless action. In this case, combatants near her can take advantage of her lapse in defense to attack her for free. These free attacks are called attacks of opportunity. See the Attacks of Opportunity diagram for an example of how they work.

Threatened Squares

You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn. Generally, that means everything in all squares adjacent to your space (including diagonally). An enemy that takes certain actions while in a threatened square provokes an attack of opportunity from you. If you’re unarmed, you don’t normally threaten any squares and thus can’t make attacks of opportunity.

Reach Weapons

Most creatures of Medium or smaller size have a reach of only 5 feet. This means that they can make melee attacks only against creatures up to 5 feet (1 square) away. However, Small and Medium creatures wielding reach weapons threaten more squares than a typical creature. In addition, most creatures larger than Medium have a natural reach of 10 feet or more.

Attack of Opportunity Discussion

Per RAW, you still threaten all squares within 5 ft even with a reach weapon. So when you set up Combat Patrol, your range to provoke AoO's increases by 5ft per every 5 BAB.

So there shouldn't be a 5ft "dead zone" right next to the Combat Patrol PC, and the enemy who is making a Ranged Attack would indeed provoke an AoO as per normal.

And yes, you can move several times to get in range of the enemies to make the Attack of Opportunities for each individual attack, but as long as your total movement doesn't exceed your movement speed for the round, because even though you Threaten 15-30ft depending on your BAB, your actual weapon range is only 10ft.


Ryze Kuja wrote:

Attack of Opportunity Discussion

Per RAW, you still threaten all squares within 5 ft even with a reach weapon. So when you set up Combat Patrol, your range to provoke AoO's increases by 5ft per every 5 BAB.

So there shouldn't be a 5ft "dead zone" right next to the Combat Patrol PC, and the enemy who is making a Ranged Attack would indeed provoke an AoO as per normal.

I'm not sure where you are reading about reach weapons. But under the weapon property reach it states.

Melee and Ranged Weapons wrote:
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.

Also, if reach weapons didn't create this "dead zone" then feats like bladed brush wouldn't allow you to treat a weapon as if it didn't have the reach property. There would be no point.

Bladed Brush wrote:
As a move action, you can shorten your grip on the glaive, treating it as though it lacked the reach weapon property. You can adjust your grip to grant the weapon the reach property as a move action.

as for the discussion you linked. That's a different situation. That is talking about what happens when a creature moves such that it leaves a square threatened by the weapon entering a square not threatened by it. In that case it provokes an AoO because it only matters that the enemy is leaving a square threatened by the character it doesn't matter if the square they are entering is threatened or not.


LordKailas wrote:
Ryze Kuja wrote:

Attack of Opportunity Discussion

Per RAW, you still threaten all squares within 5 ft even with a reach weapon. So when you set up Combat Patrol, your range to provoke AoO's increases by 5ft per every 5 BAB.

So there shouldn't be a 5ft "dead zone" right next to the Combat Patrol PC, and the enemy who is making a Ranged Attack would indeed provoke an AoO as per normal.

I'm not sure where you are reading about reach weapons. But under the weapon property reach it states.

Melee and Ranged Weapons wrote:
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.

Also, if reach weapons didn't create this "dead zone" then feats like bladed brush wouldn't allow you to treat a weapon as if it didn't have the reach property. There would be no point.

Bladed Brush wrote:
As a move action, you can shorten your grip on the glaive, treating it as though it lacked the reach weapon property. You can adjust your grip to grant the weapon the reach property as a move action.

lol wow, major brain fart. I know that and said something stupid anyway. I was thinking about creatures with 10ft reach and reach weapons at the same time. I’ll make sure I have coffee first before I post.


Ryze Kuja wrote:


lol wow, major brain fart. I know that and said something stupid anyway. I was thinking about creatures with 10ft reach and reach weapons at the same time. I’ll make sure I have coffee first before I post.

heh, no worries. :)


Does no one use Cestus/spiked gauntlets or armor spikes anymore?

Silver Crusade

RAWmonger wrote:
Does no one use Cestus/spiked gauntlets or armor spikes anymore?

Per the devs, Cestus/Spiked gauntlets do not threaten while you hold a two handed weapon in both hands. Armor spikes work at the cost of about 15 pounds extra weight. Improved Unarmed Attack works at the cost of a feat. Those relatively feeble attacks typically inflict less than half the damage per hit of a good polearm whack.


True, but sometimes it's more about the threat than the damage.

If you force a concentration check that can stop the spell.

If you whack someone for 5 damage as they try to grapple you that's a -5 to their grapple check. 5 damage is pretty meaningless pretty quickly, but -5 to hit is never meaningless.


Magda Luckbender wrote:
RAWmonger wrote:
Does no one use Cestus/spiked gauntlets or armor spikes anymore?
Per the devs, Cestus/Spiked gauntlets do not threaten while you hold a two handed weapon in both hands. Armor spikes work at the cost of about 15 pounds extra weight. Improved Unarmed Attack works at the cost of a feat. Those relatively feeble attacks typically inflict less than half the damage per hit of a good polearm whack.

Nice to know that a caster can turn someone to dust but a martial fighter can’t release his grip on his weapon to punch someone while they stand there defenseless. Dev word would matter more to me if they were as strict with magic use as they are with what a martial fighter can do, but why would us Martials ever get something cool. Let’s introduce more kineticists and mesmerists


RAWmonger wrote:
Magda Luckbender wrote:
RAWmonger wrote:
Does no one use Cestus/spiked gauntlets or armor spikes anymore?
Per the devs, Cestus/Spiked gauntlets do not threaten while you hold a two handed weapon in both hands. Armor spikes work at the cost of about 15 pounds extra weight. Improved Unarmed Attack works at the cost of a feat. Those relatively feeble attacks typically inflict less than half the damage per hit of a good polearm whack.
Nice to know that a caster can turn someone to dust but a martial fighter can’t release his grip on his weapon to punch someone while they stand there defenseless. Dev word would matter more to me if they were as strict with magic use as they are with what a martial fighter can do, but why would us Martials ever get something cool. Let’s introduce more kineticists and mesmerists

A fighter can't take his hand off of his weapon top punch someone, but a wizard can take a hand off of his quarter staff in order to use a hand to cast a spell.

Clearly the fighter needs more strength to hold, not wield, his weapon one handed for less than 6 seconds.


SorrySleeping wrote:

A fighter can't take his hand off of his weapon top punch someone, but a wizard can take a hand off of his quarter staff in order to use a hand to cast a spell.

Clearly the fighter needs more strength to hold, not wield, his weapon one handed for less than 6 seconds.

Incorrect, the fighter can take their hand off their 2h weapon to punch during their turn, before grabbing their 2h weapon again. As can a wizard release one hand from their staff, cast a spell, and grab it again.

A fighter that's holding a 2h weapon cannot let go and punch off round. Similarly a wizard cannot let go of a staff off-round to cast an immediate action spell.


Oh yes, that. Free actions not allowed off your turn. Couldn't you just kick?


Oh yes, that. Free actions not allowed off your turn. Couldn't you just kick? Or do you have to be a monk/actually have unarmed strike in order to use anything other than fists?


You have to have Improved Unarmed Strike to threaten AoOs with unarmed attacks. You can make unarmed strikes woth any part of your body, you just can't do it off-turn without a feat/class/etc dedicated to it.


Without improved unarmed strike (which monk gives) you're not considered armed for unarmed strikes, which means you can't make attacks of opportunity with them.


willuwontu wrote:
SorrySleeping wrote:

A fighter can't take his hand off of his weapon top punch someone, but a wizard can take a hand off of his quarter staff in order to use a hand to cast a spell.

Clearly the fighter needs more strength to hold, not wield, his weapon one handed for less than 6 seconds.

Incorrect, the fighter can take their hand off their 2h weapon to punch during their turn, before grabbing their 2h weapon again. As can a wizard release one hand from their staff, cast a spell, and grab it again.

A fighter that's holding a 2h weapon cannot let go and punch off round. Similarly a wizard cannot let go of a staff off-round to cast an immediate action spell.

Find the rule that says a caster cannot use an immediate action spell if they attacked in their previous turn with a 2H weapon. I highly doubt it exists.


MrCharisma wrote:

True, but sometimes it's more about the threat than the damage.

If you force a concentration check that can stop the spell.

If you whack someone for 5 damage as they try to grapple you that's a -5 to their grapple check. 5 damage is pretty meaningless pretty quickly, but -5 to hit is never meaningless.

And in some cases you can use the attack to disarm, trip, or sunder as a better response than simply bopping the bowyer in the face. Tripping the bandit about to loose an arrow basically wastes their turn.


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RAWmonger wrote:
willuwontu wrote:
SorrySleeping wrote:

A fighter can't take his hand off of his weapon top punch someone, but a wizard can take a hand off of his quarter staff in order to use a hand to cast a spell.

Clearly the fighter needs more strength to hold, not wield, his weapon one handed for less than 6 seconds.

Incorrect, the fighter can take their hand off their 2h weapon to punch during their turn, before grabbing their 2h weapon again. As can a wizard release one hand from their staff, cast a spell, and grab it again.

A fighter that's holding a 2h weapon cannot let go and punch off round. Similarly a wizard cannot let go of a staff off-round to cast an immediate action spell.

Find the rule that says a caster cannot use an immediate action spell if they attacked in their previous turn with a 2H weapon. I highly doubt it exists.

They can, if they remembered to release their grip on their weapon as a free action after attacking (thereby no longer threatening with the staff), or if the spell has no somatic, material, or focus components.


RAWmonger wrote:
willuwontu wrote:

Incorrect, the fighter can take their hand off their 2h weapon to punch during their turn, before grabbing their 2h weapon again. As can a wizard release one hand from their staff, cast a spell, and grab it again.

A fighter that's holding a 2h weapon cannot let go and punch off round. Similarly a wizard cannot let go of a staff off-round to cast an immediate action spell.

Find the rule that says a caster cannot use an immediate action spell if they attacked in their previous turn with a 2H weapon. I highly doubt it exists.

As long as it doesn't require a S/F/M component they can cast it. Unless you can show a rule that allows a wizard to cast a spell with one of those components while both hands are occupied.


Why would both their hands be occupied?? Why is it harder to raise your hand from resting at your waist to do somatic components than it is to take it off your weapon to do somatic components?? Answer: it’s not.

You’re reading in rules that don’t exist to make the game clunkier than it already is. There is *ZERO* reason you cannot release your grip to perform an immediate action/attack of opportunity other than those you all have already read into the rules in an attempt to further dumb down the game until all we can do each round falls into a card game of choices and we remove all role play and creativity and we all just roll dice once per round like monkeys without a single iota of rational thought


I can't find the rule stating one cannot take free actions outside of his turn. I've found a specific one, pertaining to speaking that mentions it is doable out of turn. We also know of other specific free actions that can't be done out of turn, such as the barbaric rage.

From there, I conclude that some free actions are doable out of turn and some aren't. Which are which, we don't know/ask your G.M./decide yourself according to what makes sense to you.

It is not harder to release the hilt to jab with a gauntlet than it is to swing with the same two-handed weapon and I haven't found rules contradicting this.


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It's easy to prove that you can't take free actions outside of your turn, unless like talking they state you can.

A swift action consumes a very small amount of time, but represents a larger expenditure of effort than a free action. You can perform one swift action per turn without affecting your ability to perform other actions. In that regard, a swift action is like a free action. You can, however, perform only one single swift action per turn, regardless of what other actions you take. You can take a swift action anytime you would normally be allowed to take a free action. Swift actions usually involve spellcasting, activating a feat, or the activation of magic items.

If you can normally take free actions off turn, then you can also use swift actions off turn as well. It is also shown that you cannot use swift actions off turn.

Much like a swift action, an immediate action consumes a very small amount of time but represents a larger expenditure of effort and energy than a free action. However, unlike a swift action, an immediate action can be performed at any time—even if it’s not your turn. Casting feather fall is an immediate action, since the spell can be cast at any time.

Using an immediate action on your turn is the same as using a swift action and counts as your swift action for that turn. You cannot use another immediate action or a swift action until after your next turn if you have used an immediate action when it is not currently your turn (effectively, using an immediate action before your turn is equivalent to using your swift action for the coming turn). You also cannot use an immediate action if you are flat-footed.

This is why speaking specifically says it can be performed off turn

In general, speaking is a free action that you can perform even when it isn’t your turn. Speaking more than a few sentences is generally beyond the limit of a free action.


- @willuwontu, what you call easy is not, it is circumvoluted and involves a few inferences that aren't straightforward or necessarily true -

I can reach the opposite conclusion, that it is not true that one can't take free actions outside of his turn, using the same articles with as much robustness in several ways:

- Given that for several kinds of actions, the author has deemed it necessary to indicate whether these actions can be performed in or out of turn and that no such provision has been made for the free action which is stated to consume no time and almost no effort hence less of each resource than a type of action - Immediate - that can be performed in or out of turn, it stands to reason that at least in some cases, a free action can be performed out of turn.

- If one can take a swift action any time one can normally take a free action and speaking is a normal free action - it is the most normal of them all - then one can take a swift action any time. We know this isn't true ergo the rules of when such or such action can be undertaken are poorly written. From there, deciding on whether a free action can be taken out of turn is to be adjudicated case by case, using "ask your G.M./decide yourself according to what makes sense to you".

Also, just like grabbing an arrow from the quiver and nocking it isn't an action as it is integral to the attack, why isn't changing one's grip part of the attack? Especially with two-handed weapons, the grip on melee weapons is not static, not during a swing, not during a parry, not during anything.

- I feel there is a lot lost in narration if one sees things statically. For example, an attack roll that doesn't meet the target A.C. doesn't necessarily mean a swing that doesn't connect/connects but on the armour, it can mean there was no realistic opportunity to swing altogether, that the defender didn't offer any opening to start with, through superior footwork or whatnot. By the same token, a successful attack that deals damage, removing a chunk of H.P., can also be narrated as a powerful blow that misses by a hair, forcing the defender in a very disadvantageous position, out of breath and with his guard open, from where he won't be able to prevent the next blow, that will effectively send him ad patres, putting him below 0 H.P. There are layers of abstractions that aren't taken into account when one reads the rules without imagining what they narrate which in turns leads to misinterpreting the rules. -


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Agénor wrote:
... it stands to reason that at least in some cases, a free action can be performed out of turn.

This is true, in some cases you can. Those cases are presented specifically in the rules.

General Rule: You can't take actions when it's not your turn.

Specific Rule: You can take an immediate action when it's not your turn.

Specific Rule: You can take a free action to speak when it's not your turn.

Specific trumps General.

For the same reason someone with Quick Draw and Combat Reflexes isn't considered threatening all the time, you can't threaten with a spiked gauntlet on the same hand you're using to hold a pike.


Agénor wrote:

- @willuwontu, what you call easy is not, it is circumvoluted and involves a few inferences that aren't straightforward or necessarily true -

There are also FAQs (here is another - and there are 1 or 2 more as well) which show the norm is that you can't take free actions outside of your turn - if that were not the case then the response to these FAQs would have had a different answer.

So no, you cannot take free actions outside of your turn without a specific exception.

Does this result in some clunky rules sometimes? Yes.
But that doesn't mean it isn't the rule. It just means that if you want to change it for personal playstyle, better narrative story telling, or any other reason, feel free to house rule it. But again that does not mean it's not the official rule.


I recall seeing it stated somewhere before that you still threaten adjacent spaces while wielding a reach weapon. However, threatening the space does not mean you can attack it. The reason this was the case is that a character using a reach weapon should still be counted as threatening a target for the purposes of effects such as flanking.

So, to answer the OP, the ranger does provoke still, however the player must move to take the attack.


I'd be interested to see that statement, as it contradicts the Combat chapter's definition of "threaten":

Core Rulebook wrote:

Threatened Squares

You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn. Generally, that means everything in all squares adjacent to your space (including diagonally). An enemy that takes certain actions while in a threatened square provokes an attack of opportunity from you. If you’re unarmed, you don’t normally threaten any squares and thus can’t make attacks of opportunity.

If you are unable to make a melee attack against an adjacent square, you do not threaten that square (special abilities aside).


Chell Raighn wrote:
I recall seeing it stated somewhere before that you still threaten adjacent spaces while wielding a reach weapon.

Can you find the source?

That'd clear this up nicely.


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bbangerter wrote:

So no, you cannot take free actions outside of your turn without a specific exception.

Does this result in some clunky rules sometimes? Yes.
But that doesn't mean it isn't the rule. It just means that if you want to change it for personal playstyle, better narrative story telling, or any other reason, feel free to house rule it. But again that does not mean it's not the official rule.

We are derailing the thread. I propose we stop about whether free actions cannot be taken out of turn or not here. I'd be glad to discuss this in another thread if you open it^^


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Agénor wrote:
bbangerter wrote:

So no, you cannot take free actions outside of your turn without a specific exception.

Does this result in some clunky rules sometimes? Yes.
But that doesn't mean it isn't the rule. It just means that if you want to change it for personal playstyle, better narrative story telling, or any other reason, feel free to house rule it. But again that does not mean it's not the official rule.

We are derailing the thread. I propose we stop about whether free actions cannot be taken out of turn or not here. I'd be glad to discuss this in another thread if you open it^^

I'd be happy to discuss it another thread if you feel inclined - feel free to create a new thread and drop a link in this one to it if you want. I'm not sure there is much to discuss though as multiple FAQs make it pretty clear what the dev team thinks about the default case of when free actions can be taken is.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
RAWmonger wrote:
Magda Luckbender wrote:
RAWmonger wrote:
Does no one use Cestus/spiked gauntlets or armor spikes anymore?
Per the devs, Cestus/Spiked gauntlets do not threaten while you hold a two handed weapon in both hands. Armor spikes work at the cost of about 15 pounds extra weight. Improved Unarmed Attack works at the cost of a feat. Those relatively feeble attacks typically inflict less than half the damage per hit of a good polearm whack.
Nice to know that a caster can turn someone to dust but a martial fighter can’t release his grip on his weapon to punch someone while they stand there defenseless. Dev word would matter more to me if they were as strict with magic use as they are with what a martial fighter can do, but why would us Martials ever get something cool. Let’s introduce more kineticists and mesmerists

If a melee combatant (any kind) decides to threaten with a 2-handed weapon he can't say "but I am threatening with my one-handed weapon too." Similarly, a spellcaster can't threaten with spells. AFAIK there are very few spells that are immediate actions (and those are all defensive or utility spells, never offensive) and none that can be cast while threatening a square.

During their turn, both can remove a hand from their two-handed weapon and use it to do whatever they want to do.

So your argument has no basis, as you are comparing oranges and rocks.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Chell Raighn wrote:

I recall seeing it stated somewhere before that you still threaten adjacent spaces while wielding a reach weapon. However, threatening the space does not mean you can attack it. The reason this was the case is that a character using a reach weapon should still be counted as threatening a target for the purposes of effects such as flanking.

So, to answer the OP, the ranger does provoke still, however, the player must move to take the attack.

He was later proved he erred, the poster recognized he had a brain fart.

This same thread, 5th post


LordKailas wrote:
Ryze Kuja wrote:

Attack of Opportunity Discussion

Per RAW, you still threaten all squares within 5 ft even with a reach weapon. So when you set up Combat Patrol, your range to provoke AoO's increases by 5ft per every 5 BAB.

So there shouldn't be a 5ft "dead zone" right next to the Combat Patrol PC, and the enemy who is making a Ranged Attack would indeed provoke an AoO as per normal.

I'm not sure where you are reading about reach weapons. But under the weapon property reach it states.

Melee and Ranged Weapons wrote:
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.

Also, if reach weapons didn't create this "dead zone" then feats like bladed brush wouldn't allow you to treat a weapon as if it didn't have the reach property. There would be no point.

Bladed Brush wrote:
As a move action, you can shorten your grip on the glaive, treating it as though it lacked the reach weapon property. You can adjust your grip to grant the weapon the reach property as a move action.
as for the discussion you linked. That's a different situation. That is talking about what happens when a creature moves such that it leaves a square threatened by the weapon entering a square not threatened by it. In that case it provokes an AoO because it only matters that the enemy is leaving a square threatened by the character it doesn't matter if the square they are entering is threatened or not.

Should we list the ways for a character with a reach weapon to threaten an adjacent square, or should we just accept that anyone can threaten with a Dwarven Boulder Helmet, even if not proficient (not that there are not more effective options).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Should we list the ways for a character with a reach weapon to threaten an adjacent square, or should we just accept that anyone can threaten with a Dwarven Boulder Helmet, even if not proficient (not that there are not more effective options).

Sure, there are several ways to threaten an adjacent square while you are wielding a two-handed, reach weapon. The weapons that don't require hands to be used are one, having 3+ arms is another, improved unarmed combat is still another.

It isn't the same thing as being able to use one of your two hands to threaten adjacent squares while wielding a two-handed reach weapon.

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