Fixing the polearm and taking back its seat as generally best nonprojectile weapon from the sword.

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
There's a part of me that feels the current spear steps a bit too much on the Javelin's territory. The long spears that are 'polearm-like' should not be as effective as Javelin's when thrown.
Doesn't the "Spear" spear have a shorter range than the javelin? Also you can carry a lot more.
In Soviet Russia, Champion Fighter PROTECT YOU!!!!
Meh. Adventurers carry around 10' poles, like, on purpose. And, I should hope they could handle not sticking themselves with sharp bits of metal by accident, too.
In urban areas I can imagine there is still an issue. A staff or sword would not draw too much attention, but a battlefield weapon definitely would.
Even in a place that allows unrestricted access to firearms and for people to be able to carry them legally, its the difference between visibly carrying a pistol, or visibly carrying an assault rifle.

(Though I wouldn't put it past 'em to accidentally poke eachother, now and then.)
Yes. "Accidently." Yes.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Meh. Adventurers carry around 10' poles, like, on purpose. And, I should hope they could handle not sticking themselves with sharp bits of metal by accident, too.
 

Horwath

Explorer
Spears aren't magical. I mean, in D&D you can have a magic spear, but no, they aren't some uberweapon that by design suddenly beats all others.

You know why we know this? Because swords actually got used in the real world, a lot. The real world doesn't use game stats, and has no raise dead. If spears actually won 9 times out of 10 because of the weapon, and not the user's skill, then noboy'd use a sword.

In reality, if you put a single person with a sword and a single person with a spear against each other, then it is all up to skill. Realistically, the guy with the spear has one single chance to hurt his enemy, after which that guy with a sword is inside the spear's reach, and his weapon is useless.

Oh, and the guy with a sword probably has a shield to take that first hit, after which, he's inside the spearman's reach, and the spearman is toast.

This is why spears and pikes are usually used in groups - so that getting inside the spear's reach is hard.

Well, yes and no.

Swords were usually used as a sidearms:

If your spear breaked,
If you got pushed into close quarters, inside of a small room, backed to the wall, etc....
If you need a weapon while walking around town or operating siege engines or just being a bowman.

also, you can shorten the spear just by changing the grip if someone closes the gap. Not as a agile weapon then, but still very deadly.

also, they were a lot cheaper to mass produce.
 
Doesn't the "Spear" spear have a shorter range than the javelin? Also you can carry a lot more.
In urban areas I can imagine there is still an issue. A staff or sword would not draw too much attention, but a battlefield weapon definitely would.
Even in a place that allows unrestricted access to firearms and for people to be able to carry them legally, its the difference between visibly carrying a pistol, or visibly carrying an assault rifle.

Yes. "Accidently." Yes.
i actually had a conversation relevant to this years ago. we came to the conclusion that it was incorrect and that almost any society in a d&d setting would be far more wary of a wizard staff than any martial weapon (not altered by magic or clearly meant to cause pain). its a little like being afraid of a guy carrying a gun but not being afraid of the guy who remote controls a large drone that drops nitro glycerin everywhere. the wizard's staff may not be great for mono a mono stabby fighting by comparison but it can kill far more innocents far more quickly. because chances are it is a staff the wizard uses to augment their magical capabilities in some fashion. it poses a more abstract but also much larger threat.
 
It would seem a 'wall' of pikeman would be difficult to combat but a single one not nearly as effective.

I would have thought if a weapon had say a 10ft reach anyone inside that reach is hard to hit (disadvantage?), they might not be perfect in the rules but I don't think that need to be changed (of course in your campaign if you feel this way go ahead and do this.
 
well unless very specific scenarios are in play, even at close range a polearm weilder will demolish the sword weilder. not just a wall of pikemen. sheilds can complicate that, but it also really depends. these scenarios could involve other equipment, or the space the fighting is being done in, but in most possible scenarios, even at close range, a polearm weilder beats a sword weilder. also i'm not saying that polearms should just be head and shoulders the best ingame type of weapon broadly. but no matter what you do, there will be a general weapon grouping that is slightly better than others. currently its "swords". that is realistically an absurdity. a better choice would be polearms if a group must be slightly better all round. and whether we want that to happen or not it definitely will happen. i just think that since its unavoidable it might as well be the grouping of weapons that's most likely for, and swords aren't even in the running. polearms may not be the best in every scenario, but for reasons other than simplicity and cheapness, they are all round the most successful weapon to use strategically. the second most successful weapon as a primary arm is probably an axe. definitely not a sword though. swords are mostly useful as a secondary. though they were also used as a primary, this is the exception, and not the rule. history bears that out.

ps, spears are a type of polearm for these purposes. but not the only type.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
It would seem a 'wall' of pikeman would be difficult to combat but a single one not nearly as effective.

I would have thought if a weapon had say a 10ft reach anyone inside that reach is hard to hit (disadvantage?), they might not be perfect in the rules but I don't think that need to be changed (of course in your campaign if you feel this way go ahead and do this.
Pretty much. Even shorter polearms without "reach" (and weapons like greataxes which are effectively similar) have an optimal range and in a duel-type situation, if someone has a shield or other method of closing the distance, a fight will often turn into a shoving match, the polearm user will pull a dagger, or it ends with the polearm user desperately backing away trying to regain distance.
- That is one of the reasons that swords were used as civilian, skirmish, or secondary battlefield weapons: They are dangerous throughout their length. Polearms (and greataxes - there isn't much distinction between many) are awkward to use against an opponent crowding you. This is also why more knights or other armoured individuals (for which poleaxes, halberds and similar weapons were designed to fight) were probably killed with daggers than the long, armour-cracking polearms.

Of course, with a whole line of polearms or other long weapons, its really hard to get your people to run into close with it because humans fear the pointy. If the entire line doesn't go in at once, the attackers just get spiked from the sides. Once you do get close, the front line will probably have to resort to swords, but the rank behind can probably bring their weapons to bear, so its still not an ideal situation to be in. :)

5e gives a bit of a penalty to reach-weapon users against opponents that are in their reach by making it harder to gain attacks of opportunity, but the combat system just isn't granular to cover individual differences in weapons like that. - Its like daggers being able to fight at the same range as longswords. D&D combat is imaginary combat in several senses and designed to appeal, and to leave most of the detail to, the imagination of its participants.
 

Quartz

Explorer
Polearms (and greataxes - there isn't much distinction between many) are awkward to use against an opponent crowding you.
I'm not sure this is correct for polearms as the wielder can move their hands up and down the shaft as required. Now, if someone has grappled you, yes, it's time to draw the dagger.
 
Really depends on the weapon - a pike is very different from a poll axe.
...or a pole-axe.

Poll Axe: "Hey! Can I axe you some questions?"
"They abolished the Poll Tacks, I'm the replacement."
"If there's any voter tampering on my watch heads will roll"
"Well, I'm sure you all appreciated by cutting remarks and sharp whit, but I have to get back to the chop…."
 
Pretty much. Even shorter polearms without "reach" (and weapons like greataxes which are effectively similar) have an optimal range and in a duel-type situation, if someone has a shield or other method of closing the distance, a fight will often turn into a shoving match, the polearm user will pull a dagger, or it ends with the polearm user desperately backing away trying to regain distance.
- That is one of the reasons that swords were used as civilian, skirmish, or secondary battlefield weapons: They are dangerous throughout their length. Polearms (and greataxes - there isn't much distinction between many) are awkward to use against an opponent crowding you. This is also why more knights or other armoured individuals (for which poleaxes, halberds and similar weapons were designed to fight) were probably killed with daggers than the long, armour-cracking polearms.

Of course, with a whole line of polearms or other long weapons, its really hard to get your people to run into close with it because humans fear the pointy. If the entire line doesn't go in at once, the attackers just get spiked from the sides. Once you do get close, the front line will probably have to resort to swords, but the rank behind can probably bring their weapons to bear, so its still not an ideal situation to be in. :)

5e gives a bit of a penalty to reach-weapon users against opponents that are in their reach by making it harder to gain attacks of opportunity, but the combat system just isn't granular to cover individual differences in weapons like that. - Its like daggers being able to fight at the same range as longswords. D&D combat is imaginary combat in several senses and designed to appeal, and to leave most of the detail to, the imagination of its participants.
Pretty much what I was trying to say just not very well, the system being simplified does not cover all the advantages or the disadvantages of the various weapons. To me what the OP is trying to do is give polearms the advantages seen as missing but not looking at the weaknesses these weapons also have. I have no problems if he wishes to this of course but I would not like it as change in the core rules or then I do believe it could become unbalanced.
 

S'mon

Legend
...or a pole-axe.

Poll Axe: "Hey! Can I axe you some questions?"
"They abolished the Poll Tacks, I'm the replacement."
"If there's any voter tampering on my watch heads will roll"
"Well, I'm sure you all appreciated by cutting remarks and sharp whit, but I have to get back to the chop…."

It's called a poll axe. You hit people on the head with it. Afaik 'pole axe' started as a mistake.
 

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