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View Full Version : Hitting adjacent enemies with a reach weapon [3.5]



Myrmex
2009-08-16, 07:24 PM
You could just take a -4 penalty to attack and use it as an improvised weapon, right?

sofawall
2009-08-16, 07:32 PM
And do damage as an improvised weapon?

Actually, you aren't allowed, but it's a neat idea.

Myrmex
2009-08-16, 07:59 PM
And do damage as an improvised weapon?

And have a critical range as an improvised weapon.


Actually, you aren't allowed, but it's a neat idea.

Why not? You aren't using it as glaive-the-weapon but an improvised weapon-that-happens-to-be-a-glaive.

Flickerdart
2009-08-16, 08:01 PM
You flip the glaive and use its butt instead of the tip. Or hold it horizontally and use the shaft to push. Makes sense.

The Dark Fiddler
2009-08-16, 08:05 PM
I've considered a houserule that would allow reach weapons to attack adjacent squares at a -2 to hit. Because seriously, if I can use a Trident effectively in battle, why the hell can't I hold slightly closer to the points and attack somebody right next to me. Or, as Flickerdart said, us the butt of the weapon?

Frosty
2009-08-16, 08:06 PM
And then allow a Feat to negate the penalties completely.

Claudius Maximus
2009-08-16, 08:13 PM
I've considered a houserule that would allow reach weapons to attack adjacent squares at a -2 to hit. Because seriously, if I can use a Trident effectively in battle, why the hell can't I hold slightly closer to the points and attack somebody right next to me. Or, as Flickerdart said, us the butt of the weapon?

Actually, the Trident doesn't have reach.

peacenlove
2009-08-16, 08:19 PM
And then allow a Feat to negate the penalties completely.

Short haft in players handbook 2 does just that.

RTGoodman
2009-08-16, 08:34 PM
Short haft in players handbook 2 does just that.

But sucks. It requires a Swift Action to change how you use it (to give up reach and use adjacent, and then against to give it reach again), AND it stays that way for the rest of the turn. Congrats, you just nullified the one of two big reason to HAVE a reach weapon. (That is, for hitting enemies with AoOs as they move around on their turns; the other is just attacking through people, which this does nothing for, either.)

The best option is to just take Improved Unarmed Strike or to have armor spikes or something. Or, actually, just use a spiked chain.

olentu
2009-08-16, 08:37 PM
But sucks. It requires a Swift Action to change how you use it (to give up reach and use adjacent, and then against to give it reach again), AND it stays that way for the rest of the turn. Congrats, you just nullified the one of two big reason to HAVE a reach weapon. (That is, for hitting enemies with AoOs as they move around on their turns; the other is just attacking through people, which this does nothing for, either.)

The best option is to just take Improved Unarmed Strike or to have armor spikes or something. Or, actually, just use a spiked chain.

Well there is that one from dragon that lets one hit adjacent at -2 if I am remembering the feat correctly.

RTGoodman
2009-08-16, 08:41 PM
Well there is that one from dragon that lets one hit adjacent at -2 if I am remembering the feat correctly.

Maybe, I don't know anything about Dragon under 3.x except what's mentioned often on the forum

Thinking about it, I would probably rule (if I ever had a 3.x player that wanted to use a reach weapon) that you could attack any square within reach any time. It's not THAT overpowered is it? If so, at least make the feat to let you attack adjacent squares just let you do that with no penalty and no extra fuss.

jmbrown
2009-08-16, 09:00 PM
There's a reason reach weapons can't attack adjacent characters and that's because pole arms are typically 7-10' long. Imagine trying to hit someone with something that has all the weight balanced on one end. If you shift it back like the short haft feat allows you to do, it becomes stupidly unwieldy since all the weight has now shifted behind you.

Tactically reach weapons are set against charging enemies. Once they come in range you're supposed to drop them and draw a more appropriate weapon. I guess you can rule using the haft as an improvised weapon but any warrior that's not completely brain dead and uses a polearm keeps a back up weapon for when he's cornered or out maneuvered.


It's not THAT overpowered is it?

Yes. The appeal of the spiked chain is being able to strike adjacent foes and you have to spend a precious feat to get it. If all polearms could strike adjacent foes then there'd be no reason to get a spiked chain.

Myrmex
2009-08-16, 09:11 PM
I've actually considered all the things you guys mentioned in "ways to hit people next to you and also hit people 10 feet away". I figured the simplest, most elegant solution, was to be able to make attacks at enemies adjacent to you with a penalty. Then I realized there were already rules for that- improvised weapon rules. A -4 penalty to hit somebody (along with 1d6 damage and a bad crit) with a weapon in a way it wasn't meant to be used works mechanically, by RAW, and makes sense for simulationists. Needing a feat to hit someone with a stick seems to be a pretty bad solution, but then, WotC has always enjoyed making non-casters burn their feats on things they should be able to do in the first place.


Yes. The appeal of the spiked chain is being able to strike adjacent foes and you have to spend a precious feat to get it. If all polearms could strike adjacent foes then there'd be no reason to get a spiked chain.

It's not. Overpowered is being able to fly all day or end most encounters with a standard action, or turning into a grizzly bear to fight alongside your pet dinosaur. Hitting someone next to you and being able to hit someone a little farther away is small potatoes.

Eldariel
2009-08-16, 09:27 PM
It's not. Overpowered is being able to fly all day or end most encounters with a standard action, or turning into a grizzly bear to fight alongside your pet dinosaur. Hitting someone next to you and being able to hit someone a little farther away is small potatoes.

It's overpowered in the sense that it makes choosing a non-reach weapon a really dumb idea (as if the game rules didn't do that enough already; stupid 5' steps, inability to full attack after moving and inability to intercept opponents out of turn order *grumble*).

It's not overpowered compared to other classes and their abilities, but it does further the gap between the different equipment where the weaker bunch already needed a bone (like getting rid of those fcking 5' steps out of your reach and somehow negating peoples' ability to just move past fighters 'cause they can't move out of turn order; reach guys have no trouble doing it, but just try it as a melee'er).

The Dark Fiddler
2009-08-16, 09:38 PM
Actually, the Trident doesn't have reach.

Sorry about that, I'm working off memory at the moment.

Curmudgeon
2009-08-16, 09:49 PM
Improvised Weapons

Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat. Because such objects are not designed for this use, any creature that uses one in combat is considered to be nonproficient with it and takes a -4 penalty on attack rolls made with that object. To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match. An improvised weapon scores a threat on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a critical hit. An improvised thrown weapon has a range increment of 10 feet. So you start off with an argument, because a glaive clearly doesn't qualify as "an object not crafted to be a weapon". Then you add on " ... against adjacent foes" and proceed.

Next you've got to figure the "size category and appropriate damage". You're using the weapon haft as an ungainly bludgeoning tool at that point, so I think the best bet would be a club of one size larger than is appropriate for you. If you're Medium size that makes it a Large club, with 1d8 damage -- but additional penalties.
Inappropriately Sized Weapons

A creature canít make optimum use of a weapon that isnít properly sized for it. A cumulative -2 penalty applies on attack rolls for each size category of difference between the size of its intended wielder and the size of its actual wielder. If the creature isnít proficient with the weapon a -4 nonproficiency penalty also applies. So -6 to hit, d8 damage, critical on natural 20 only.

Opinions?

Mongoose87
2009-08-16, 09:56 PM
Next you've got to figure the "size category and appropriate damage". You're using the weapon haft as an ungainly bludgeoning tool at that point, so I think the best bet would be a club of one size larger than is appropriate for you. If you're Medium size that makes it a Large club, with 1d8 damage -- but additional penalties. So -6 to hit, d8 damage, critical on natural 20 only.

Opinions?

Would the enchantments on the weapon effect it?

Curmudgeon
2009-08-16, 10:00 PM
Would the enchantments on the weapon effect it? As a glaive, yes. As an improvised bludgeon? No, not at all.

Myrmex
2009-08-16, 10:08 PM
So you start off with an argument, because a glaive clearly doesn't qualify as "an object not crafted to be a weapon". Then you add on " ... against adjacent foes" and proceed.

Next you've got to figure the "size category and appropriate damage". You're using the weapon haft as an ungainly bludgeoning tool at that point, so I think the best bet would be a club of one size larger than is appropriate for you. If you're Medium size that makes it a Large club, with 1d8 damage -- but additional penalties. So -6 to hit, d8 damage, critical on natural 20 only.

Opinions?

But it's a club wielded in two hands- essentially a greatclub. For that reason, I don't think you'd take anything more than the -4 non-proficiency penalty.

Curmudgeon
2009-08-16, 10:28 PM
But it's a club wielded in two hands- essentially a greatclub. For that reason, I don't think you'd take anything more than the -4 non-proficiency penalty.
You're wrong. A greatclub doesn't have this heavy sharp protrusion sticking out well past the part you're trying to hit someone with, messing up the balance, and keeping you from being able to reverse the weapon (because you'd slice yourself trying to grab that sharp end). That protrusion makes it really awkward, unlike a purpose-built bludgeon.

Myrmex
2009-08-16, 10:32 PM
You're wrong. A greatclub doesn't have this heavy sharp protrusion sticking out well past the part you're trying to hit someone with, messing up the balance, and keeping you from being able to reverse the weapon (because you'd slice yourself trying to grab that sharp end). That protrusion makes it really awkward, unlike a purpose-built bludgeon.

That's why it's -4. There isn't any -2 additional penalty for the weapon being inappropriately sized, because you are two-handing a large weapon. If it was a spear for an ogre, and you tried to use it as an improvised weapon, then it would be a -2 penalty.

Curmudgeon
2009-08-16, 10:40 PM
There isn't any -2 additional penalty for the weapon being inappropriately sized
As a glaive, it's appropriately a 2-handed reach weapon. If you're purposely trying to ignore the sharp end and just enough of the shaft that it's no longer a reach weapon, then the "appropriately sized" description no longer fits.

Cieyrin
2009-08-16, 10:52 PM
You got imappropriately sized items and improvised weaponry rules confused. The Ogre spear for a medium critter doesn't receive the penalty b/c he doesn't know how to use it, he does b/c it's freakin' big and unwieldy.

Curmudgeon
2009-08-16, 11:30 PM
You got imappropriately sized items and improvised weaponry rules confused.
I've confused nothing. It's either completely impossible, or an improvised weapon for this application; we can agree on that.

Once you've decided something's an improvised weapon, the next step is to "determine the size category and appropriate damage" for it. Determining the size category can include deciding that the size is inappropriate for the wielder. That's independent of deciding that the weapon is improvised. If inappropriate size weren't a possibility here, everybody would use a fallen tree as an improvised weapon, with mammoth damage.

Now, a glaive is a reach weapon. That's way too long for a greatclub. But you're trying to use the haft as an improvised bludgeon without reach. Most improvised weapons are simple, and a greatclub is martial. So a +1 size simple club seems to me to be the best fit.

Kallisti
2009-08-16, 11:41 PM
Shorten Grip, originally from Dragon Magazine #331, then later added to the Dragon Compendium.


When wielding a polearm with reach that you are proficient with, you may treat the weapon as if it did not have reach. The weapon is unwieldly when used in this fashion and you take a -2 penalty on attack rolls when attacking an opponent within your reach with this feat.

Or, if you're spending a feat anyway, get Weapon Proficiency (Spiked Chain)...

Myrmex
2009-08-16, 11:54 PM
I've confused nothing. It's either completely impossible, or an improvised weapon for this application; we can agree on that.

Once you've decided something's an improvised weapon, the next step is to "determine the size category and appropriate damage" for it. Determining the size category can include deciding that the size is inappropriate for the wielder. That's independent of deciding that the weapon is improvised. If inappropriate size weren't a possibility here, everybody would use a fallen tree as an improvised weapon, with mammoth damage.

Now, a glaive is a reach weapon. That's way too long for a greatclub. But you're trying to use the haft as an improvised bludgeon without reach. Most improvised weapons are simple, and a greatclub is martial. So a +1 size simple club seems to me to be the best fit.

But you aren't using it like a simple club. You are using both your hands, and wielding it more like a quarterstaff.

Curmudgeon
2009-08-17, 12:09 AM
But you aren't using it like a simple club. You are using both your hands, and wielding it more like a quarterstaff.
Actually, you can't use it like a quarterstaff, which is a double weapon. Because you've got to avoid the sharp end, it's just got one striking surface -- like a club. And a +1 size club is wielded with both hands, as required by the rules.

Myrmex
2009-08-17, 12:16 AM
Actually, you can't use it like a quarterstaff, which is a double weapon. Because you've got to avoid the sharp end, it's just got one striking surface -- like a club. And a +1 size club is wielded with both hands, as required by the rules.

But you literally are not using it as you would a club- you are using the butt to strike at the lower portion of the body or the middle section to make blows at the face and torso. You are NOT gripping it with two hands and making over hand swings with it, like in a cartoon.

I agree- if you tried to use it as a club, you could tack on a bunch more penalties. But this isn't a discussion of how to use a weapon in the least feasible way possible.

jmbrown
2009-08-17, 12:35 AM
But you literally are not using it as you would a club- you are using the butt to strike at the lower portion of the body or the middle section to make blows at the face and torso. You are NOT gripping it with two hands and making over hand swings with it, like in a cartoon.

I agree- if you tried to use it as a club, you could tack on a bunch more penalties. But this isn't a discussion of how to use a weapon in the least feasible way possible.

But you are swinging it like a club. You're trying to strike someone with the shaft itself not the butt. A polearm is 7-10' long and typically with a 6-8" long blade. If you tried to level the shaft to strike someone with the butt only the strongest people in the world would keep their wrists from breaking not to mention you'd need tons of room to actually navigate the blade like that.

A polearm isn't fought in the same way a short hafted weapon like a spear. You strike people with the shaft between your left hand (for right handed fighters) and the blade itself. Even then a true polearm is so huge and unwieldy that doing so will throw you off balance.

http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/2131/glaive.png

Curmudgeon
2009-08-17, 12:57 AM
Thanks, jmbrown, for the helpful graphic and explanation. Very nice!

sofawall
2009-08-17, 01:46 AM
Dammit, now I want to play Soul Calibur... Damn you, Seung Mi-na!

oxinabox
2009-08-17, 03:53 AM
Curmudgeon's right, Curmudgeon always right. When will people learn this?

isn't there a PrC somewhere for exotic weopon wiledrers that lets them hit at under the weapon's reach?

Curmudgeon
2009-08-17, 05:24 AM
Curmudgeon's right, Curmudgeon always right. When will people learn this?
Sorry to correct you, but (as of course you know) I like to get things right. :smallwink:

I'm not always right -- but I do have that as my goal. :smallsmile: