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

niklinna

Abstraction is a tool that streamlines gameplay.
True story - I played a Halfling Monk that I fluffed as "just a Chef" - everything that was monk about him he did by accident. He once Stunned a T-Rex (might have been an Allosaurus) by hitting it on the nose with his Frying Pan while trying not to get eaten. This was on the Isle of Dread, naturally!
I played a rogue in a larp one time whose weapons and alchemy were his mother's bad cooking...a stale baguette for a sap, various failed dishes for poisons. His back story (me being nearly 6' tall) was, "Kieran love, you keep bumpin' yer head on the rafters, have ye thought about setting out to be an adventurer?"
 

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Mad_Jack

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

Dark Sun 4E Gouge, aka the "war shovel" (center of image)
Fell under both the axe and spear weapon groups. But, technically, by the 4E rules, not a polearm... :(
Not sure how they handled it in previous editions.

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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
If PAM is okay using a spear 1 handed, why isn't it okay if holding a sword or hitting someone with the shield? Whacking some with the pommel or cross guard of the sword was absolutely a thing.

It's not the ability to get the bonus attack that bothers me per se, it's the weirdly narrow application.
Honestly, the core functionality of feats like Great Weapon Master and Polearm Master, which are to trade accuracy for more damage and make an additional attack as a bonus action, should just be part of the core rules for combat.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Honestly, the core functionality of feats like Great Weapon Master and Polearm Master, which are to trade accuracy for more damage and make an additional attack as a bonus action, should just be part of the core rules for combat.
I don't agree. Personally I'd rather have them not be rules at all, but if they are rules I'd rather have them relegated to a subsystem like feats.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
To counter, if they have to be feats, then they should at least not be weapon specific.
I'd say yes and no there.

In my ideal system such 'feats' if they existed would be more or less weapon neutral, both in application and effect. The problem for me is that in 5e the effect of such feats for different weapon configurations is noticeably different.

TWF + -5/+10 is much better than Greatsword + -5/+10. If that gap was somehow lessened then maybe.
 
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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I'd say yes and no there.

In my ideal system such 'feats' if they existed would be more or less weapon neutral, both in application and effect. The problem for me is that in 5e the effect of such feats for different weapon configurations is noticeably different.

TWF + -5/+10 is much better than Greatsword + -5/+10. If that gap was somehow lessened then maybe.
TWF would obviously need to be modified to ensure the opportunity cost to gain a BA attack is the same for all weapon configurations.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
TWF would obviously need to be modified to ensure the opportunity cost to gain a BA attack is the same for all weapon configurations.
Yea, I mean if we are modifying that and other weapon related things then sure. I think often the disagreement in such suggestions has to do with the overall scope of changes we are talking about. Like the only change of making the feats available to all weapons, or modifying weapons and making the feats available to all. The responses to those 2 ideals will often be quite a bit different and it's not always clear which idea is being advocated for when a single change is mentioned.
 

TWF would obviously need to be modified to ensure the opportunity cost to gain a BA attack is the same for all weapon configurations.
You'd need to change two-weapon fighting without feats to something not using the bonus action.

Then you have a "make another attack as a bonus action" feat, but it's only 1d4. You need to be holding at least one weapon (improvised or purpose-built. Shields absolutely count, as do magic rods.) Then you have another "reduce to-hit for extra damage", so long as you're making a melee attack. (The ranged version should cost extra somehow) Ideally, they shouldn't multiply each other - maybe the bonus damage can only proc once per turn? I dunno.

Of course, this akes weapon choice even less impactful, which is either a bug or a feature depending on personal taste.

(Also if you're not careful a vhuman fighter could have three attacks per turn at level one - that could be an issue.)
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Of course, this akes weapon choice even less impactful, which is either a bug or a feature depending on personal taste.
Feature, to my mind. The generic martial type in D&D should be comfortable switching between multiple weapons in order to accommodate new magical weaponry. Choosing to focus on a specific weapon should be an aesthetic choice without a mechanical bonus grant, to my mind.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Feature, to my mind. The generic martial type in D&D should be comfortable switching between multiple weapons in order to accommodate new magical weaponry. Choosing to focus on a specific weapon should be an aesthetic choice without a mechanical bonus grant, to my mind.
Or at least a very limited mechanical bonus. Two handed weapons do a little more damage. 1 handed and shield gives a little more ac. 1 handed and free hand gives opportunity to grapple. Etc.
 
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Oofta

Legend
To counter, if they have to be feats, then they should at least not be weapon specific.
That I can agree with. There should be a set of feats for 1 handed weapons, weapons being used 2 handed, dual wielding which would include the option to use a shield as a weapon, perhaps 1 for weapons that have greater than 5 foot reach. Same thing if you're attacking something at range, it shouldn't matter if you use a bow or threw a dagger the same feats should apply.

Come up with categories of how the weapon is used and have feats based on that not the categorization or label we slap on them.
 

ECMO3

Hero
I like having feats restrict weapon choice. That is the opportunity cost for taking them and I think it works well in play.

GWM is fine, but I think sharpshooter should actually be more restrictive than it is, perhaps limiting to heavy ranged weapons instead of all ranged weapons.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Dark Sun 4E Gouge, aka the "war shovel" (center of image)
Fell under both the axe and spear weapon groups. But, technically, by the 4E rules, not a polearm... :(
Not sure how they handled it in previous editions.

View attachment 262320

This is a bit of a digression from pole-weapons, but the japanese Kunai was adapted from a spade. Looking it up online you get a lot of BS throwing-knives, but I was taught in Japan that the name basically means "no problem" and that it was a multi-tool. First lesson I had with it had my teacher use it to dig under a wall - ie SPADE. Wikipedia also mentions "trowel" which would explain why it's flat, rather than shovel-shaped. Like I said: multi-tool.

Anyway, not a pole. But a shovel. A small shovel.
 




Laurefindel

Legend
I'm of those who think that qualifying a quarterstaff as a polearm is a bit of a stretch.

I mean it's a pole alright, but it's missing the "arm" part. As for quarterstaff being usable with PAM, it makes total sense as a two-handed weapon; the staff's balance and relative light weight makes it a fast and agile weapon, apt for parrying and rapid ripostes, trips, feints, etc. That is well represented in PAM. Heck, if there was one possibility of a 2-handed finesse weapon, the quaterstaff would have been my choice.

But 1-handed quaterstaff loses all these attributes IMO, turning an agile weapon into a rather unwieldy one. So I find staff + shields or dual wielding staffs (staves?) more silly than believable. The spear at least has the benefit of having a pointy bit, and skewing with a spear 1-handed has more flair than swinging an oversized baseball bat in one hand that you can see coming a mile ahead. I guess you can hold it at half-point but then you don't have the velocity, leverage, and body momentum to make it dangerous, or at least, as dangerous as a spearhead lunging your way.

...and I know that Gandalf fights with a sword in one hand and his staff in the other at one point in one of the movies, and while I'm usually the first to bring Tolkien in my arguments, this one i find less palatable and believable.

Otherwise, from a purely mechanical perspective, PAM+shield is comparable to dual wielding at level 4, if only a little superior. Average damage is about the same but PAM+shield is 1 AC ahead.

quaterstaff (1-handed) + dueling + PAM = 1d6+str+2 plus 1d4+str+2 plus +2 AC
Two swords +two-weapon fighting + Dual Wielder = 1d8+str or dex plus 1d8+str or dex plus +1 AC

Dual wielding starts losing to PAM once the second attack at level 5 comes in play however, not to mention that it's easier to get one magical weapon than two. That however, may have more to do with the fact that two-weapon fighting in general starts falling behind at higher levels. Two-weapon fighting has the hidden benefit of being Dex-compatible however so there's that... [edit] But then again, shield+PAM has the hidden benefit of being Shield Master-compatible and work with magical shields too. [/edit]

So PAM+spear+shield makes some logical sense and helps the modest-but-dependable spear finding a niche (for whoever isn't a monk). But PAM+staff+shield... Put me in the camp of "cheese".
 
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