D&D 5E Have we misunderstood the shield and sword fighter (or warrior)?


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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
As an casual medeval fighter, I do indeed know the difference between a pike and a spear.
Yeah? Well I watch my two young sons duke it out with foam weapons all the time. And let me tell you, dual-wielding is a thing.

But the real takeaway is that a nine-year-old will beat a six-year-old every time, so I tack 3 years onto the starting age of all my characters.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Help yourself to a quick wiki search. There are no staves, cudgels, or any other far-fetched wooden poles except for weapons with heads attached. All shown are two handed wooden shafts with all kinds of shapes of weapon heads.

Ok I did that search.

From arms and armor online:
"Prior to the introduction of firearms, spears and other polearms....."

From Medieval collectables:
"We have a full line pole weapons that consist of single headed battle axes, maces, flails, spears, war hammers, double headed battle axes and halberds."

From Weapons of the World:
"The polearm, in particular the spear, is one of the oldest weapons in existence....."

From Les Arisans Azure:
"Spears, halberds, war scythes, and other polearms ...."

And finally since you mentioned wiki
"A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood with a pointed head."

"A quarterstaff (plural quarterstaffs or quarterstaves), also short staff or simply staff is a traditional European pole weapon"
 


Digdude@1970

Just a dude with a shovel, looking for the past.
From the internets (wilki)...A pole-arm is differentiated from a spear in that the penetrating 'edge' is parallel to the pole, rather than in-line, although many pole-arms also incorporate a spear point. So semantics maybe, but seems like apples and oranges.
 

W'rkncacnter

Adventurer
From the internets (wilki)...A pole-arm is differentiated from a spear in that the penetrating 'edge' is parallel to the pole, rather than in-line, although many pole-arms also incorporate a spear point. So semantics maybe, but seems like apples and oranges.
i have literally never seen anyone use this definition of a polearm in my entire life, and it makes no sense, especially considering one of the main uses for a polearm is for...thrusting.

edit: also, this definition excludes pikes, so why are you even using it when you've already admitted pikes are polearms?
 

niklinna

Abstraction is a tool that streamlines gameplay.
Not to mention, it still doesn't alter the definition of the feat. That is to say, the definition of the feat remains the same, regardless of your definiton of "polearm". That is to say, what constitutes a polearm is irrelevant to this discussion.

But for some reason I'm wondering now whether a shovel counts as a polearm.... 😉
 


Digdude@1970

Just a dude with a shovel, looking for the past.
i have literally never seen anyone use this definition of a polearm in my entire life, and it makes no sense, especially considering one of the main uses for a polearm is for...thrusting.

edit: also, this definition excludes pikes, so why are you even using it when you've already admitted pikes are polearms?
You really like to reach with my words. I never admitted pikes were pole arms. I said i could accept pikes as pole arms. I see the pole arm as three components. One, does it require two hands, does it have reach, and does it have a weapon head attached to it that primarily cuts, smashes, or punctures.
 

James Gasik

Legend
You really like to reach with my words. I never admitted pikes were pole arms. I said i could accept pikes as pole arms. I see the pole arm as three components. One, does it require two hands, does it have reach, and does it have a weapon head attached to it that primarily cuts, smashes, or punctures.
So a spiked chain is a polearm? :)
 


FitzTheRuke

Legend
But for some reason I'm wondering now whether a shovel counts as a polearm.... 😉
Sure, why not? I mean, there's a reason why pitchforks are used by commoner mobs. They work just like the pole-weapons that are the most basic form of weapon.(*)

Combat trainer: "Here, take this stick with a pointy bit on the end and stick it in the other guy before he can get to you".

(*) (After the club, of course - I mean for organized battles, not just thumping each other.)
 
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The last hill I would die on would be classification of medieval weapons and especially swords.

At the same time, quarterstaff fighting uses two hands. Is it ever grasped with one hand? Sure. But are there any examples of people historically using a staff and shield?

Did people really use a spear and shield and routinely strike with the blunt and end of the spear? Without a shield sure you could bludgeon a close in ally if you are using two hands.

I like one of the ideas put forth earlier—-the d4 is a shield bash.

Why does any of it matter at all? I guess it all depends on how much grounding you like in your game of magic and elves. I like some. When there is none and option are taken that seem to betray the fiction in favor of a mechanical advantage, that is where I see cheese.

It’s just what you are into and willing to accept. In no way does it break the game to have people get polearm master benefits with a shield in use.

All of that said, the default game is without feats. In that context, sword and shield are mechanically superior to a two handed weapon much of the time. Especially with dueling style…
 

niklinna

Abstraction is a tool that streamlines gameplay.
The last hill I would die on would be classification of medieval weapons and especially swords.
I also wouldn't want to die on a hill from medieval weapons, but if I had to, there are worse ways to go than a sword! 😬

At the same time, quarterstaff fighting uses two hands. Is it ever grasped with one hand? Sure. But are there any examples of people historically using a staff and shield?

Did people really use a spear and shield and routinely strike with the blunt and end of the spear? Without a shield sure you could bludgeon a close in ally if you are using two hands.

I like one of the ideas put forth earlier—-the d4 is a shield bash.

Why does any of it matter at all? I guess it all depends on how much grounding you like in your game of magic and elves. I like some. When there is none and option are taken that seem to betray the fiction in favor of a mechanical advantage, that is where I see cheese.

It’s just what you are into and willing to accept. In no way does it break the game to have people get polearm master benefits with a shield in use.

All of that said, the default game is without feats. In that context, sword and shield are mechanically superior to a two handed weapon much of the time. Especially with dueling style…
Yeah I'm not inclined to argue that Polearm Master makes any sense at all; it's just one thing in a loooong list of things in 5e that don't make any sense at all. Just like in many other fantastic (and even not-so-fantastic) games. The crunchy bits state that when using this or that specific weapon, you get to make a bonus action attack for d4 bludgeoning damage. Heck, take a cue from Tasha's and say you have a chicken strapped on the pole and it pecks at your enemy. But you get that d4 attack regardless. Oh wait, a chicken peck is probably piercing damage.... The rules on that are incomplete.
 

niklinna

Abstraction is a tool that streamlines gameplay.
Sure, why not? I mean, there's a reason why pitchforks are used by commoner mobs. They work just like the pole-weapons that are the most basic form of weapon.

Combat trainer: "Here, take this stick with a pointy bit on the end and stick it in the other guy before he can get to you".
Too bad pitchforks aren't even on the weapon list. How is a person supposed to play an ex-farmer (or current farmer, I'm sure you can multiclass) when the weapon list doesn't even cover the basics? The closest thing is classified as a martial weapon!

One of these might count as a proper long polearm. The other one, well....
 

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J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Too bad pitchforks aren't even on the weapon list. How is a person supposed to play an ex-farmer (or current farmer, I'm sure you can multiclass) when the weapon list doesn't even cover the basics? The closest thing is classified as a martial weapon!

One of these might count as a proper long polearm. The other one, well....
Whoah! Looks like a siege engine for attacking well-armored bales of hay.
 



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