View Full Version : [3.5] Whips and whip ruling...

2010-05-13, 12:38 PM
Hi all, my reason for posting this thread is twofold; suggest an idea for a new type of lethal whip, and suggest alternate rulings for using them (as after much thought i'm not sure the current 3.5 ruling really makes sense).

I should also point out that I have looked at the whip, stingray whip, scorpion whip, scourge, dagger-whip, spiked chain and the Lasher PrC and taken them into consideration while thinking about the stuff below.

Setting out I had the desire for a traditional single-tailed whip that could deal lethal damage and not be subject to an armor limitation (seeing as the spiked chain seems to pull this off so easily while being immune to any drawbacks). Despite this all being available to a character with the 1st level of the Lasher PrC (from Sword and Fist), I feel that a) taking a whole level just to make a whip *almost* as good as a spiked chain seems unfair and b) if it's arbitrarily suggesting this stuff is possible (threatening space, not provoking AoOs while attacking, dealing lethal damage etc.) then why exactly is it apparently not possible anyway? Though "not enough training" may seem the obvious answer, the amount of training necessary to use a whip effectively as a weapon (which is already implied in the Exotic Weapon proficiency feat) would imply that you're at that level of skill.

The idea I had was that of a "steel whip", crafted from tiny interwoven microfibres of metal. Obviously this is reasonably impossible in real life, but making it out of metal in some way was the best I could come up with to overcome the annoying armor limitation associated with whips (see: spiked chain); a whip made from metal in some way would be capable of dealing lethal damage much the same as a sword, I feel. The whip would deal 1d6 lethal damage (see: stingray whip) and not suffer the armor limitation of the standard whip (see: scourge and spiked chain); it would function as a whip in every other way (which I will discuss below). I have no worries that this weapon would imbalance the game, as the spiked chain and other whips are better in many ways; i'm just considering its believability in terms of concept.

Though any opinions on that are welcome, the main thing i'd like some fresh eyes on are my considerations for the whip rulings. Again, this is all moot in the face of the Lasher PrC, but i'm choosing to disregard Sword and Fist in this situation as it gives no explanation as to why you can suddenly do all these previously impossible things.

Currently, a whip has a range of 15ft, doesn't threaten any area, and provokes an attack of opportunity to attack with. First of all, compare this to the spiked chain, which also must be swung, and is reasonably heavier and less nimble than a whip, but oddly provokes no AoO and threatens all of its reach. Before anything else i'd probably say that if one fetches AoOs, so should the other, but that's not really the issue; what baffles me is how a 12-13ft long whip could be effectively used to attack within 5ft, if it's apparently so sluggish that it provokes AoO and doesn't threaten any space. Based on this, I decided to consider the idea that within 5ft you can lash the opponent with the whip partially coiled (seeing as it would probably be impossible to hit an opponent so close with a full-length whip); of course, if the whip is partially coiled for such an attack, it would be quicker to strike with at the cost of its range and snaring capability. This basically considers you using the shortened tail of the whip as a lash, so my initial alternative ruling is as follows (using the core ruling as a base with appropriate alterations):

"The steel whip is treated as a melee weapon with a 15-foot reach, though you don't threaten the area outside of your adjacent squares. In addition, unlike most weapons with reach, you can use it against foes anywhere within your reach (including adjacent foes). Using a steel whip to attack beyond your adjacent squares provokes an attack of opportunity, just as if you had used a ranged weapon. Because a steel whip can wrap around an enemy's leg or other limb, you can make trip attacks with it if attacking outside your adjacent squares. If you are tripped during your trip attempt, you can drop the steel whip to avoid being tripped. When using a whip to attack outside of your adjacent squares, you get a +2 bonus on opposed attack rolls made to disarm an opponent (including the roll to keep from being disarmed if the attack fails). You can use the Weapon Finesse feat to apply your Dex modifier instead of your strength modifier to attack rolls with a whip sized for you, even though it isn't a light weapon for you."

In terms of the speed and effectiveness of the whip, here's a video that provides quite a good reference, and puts forth an excellent case for the whip being able to threaten and not provoke AoOs; if your character is that quick with a whip, you'd be able to out-strike someone with a lumbering greatsword any day. It should be noted however that it is a 6ft whip he's using, which means it doesn't entirely apply to the 12-13ft one proposed in D&D, which presumably would indeed be slower and more tricky to use. It does prove however that were you to coil the whip partially and use it shortened, you could easily threaten space and attack quickly enough to avoid an AoO.


a) Do you think the idea of a metal filament whip is reasonable?
b) What are your thoughts on my alternative ruling for whips?
c) Are there any other alternatives you use/can think of for either lethal-damaging and non-armor-limited whips or...
d) ...the whip rulings (perhaps bearing in mind the Lasher PrC)?

Thanks a lot for reading. :smallsmile: