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How do you deal with reach with respect to height?

Dross

Explorer
The question of how far can you reach vertically has come up twice in our group. How do others rule it by RAW, or as house rules?

I can remember a similar question came up a couple of months ago, but can’t seem to find it anymore.

How would you rule in these examples?

A medium creature fighting a foe 10 feet up on higher ground, rooftop, etc or in hilly terrain. (As a side note, the group ruled that to make things easier, the height changes in terrain were set at the lines that marked the various heights effectively making steps). Could someone with a 5 foot reach hit someone that is 10 feet higher? Would it make a difference if the lower person was riding a mount, say a horse which normally gives +1 for being higher against medium foes? What happens with a reach weapon in both cases? Did the on the spot ruling of where the height changes occur affect things?

A medium creature is fighting a beholder. Assuming a 5 foot reach, how high would the beholder have to be before being out of reach, remembering that you could stand directly beneath the beholder at the time?

One player believes that:
Well I’m medium sized, about 6 feet tall, have a weapon, and can jump if need be, so I can easily reach both the person on higher ground and the beholder 15 feet up with my longsword. If I’m on a horse, then it is more, 20 feet even.

Our DM and I (who also DM’s another campaign) think differently.
Our approach is that a creature occupies a cube and can reach the same distance vertically as horizontally. Thus a medium creature occupies a 5 foot cube and reaches into the adjoining squares, a large creature (horse) occupies a 10 foot cube but reaches only the normal 5 feet. A medium size horse rider with a lance occupies a 10 foot cube and can hit anything within 10 feet.

Thanks in advance
 

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sukael

First Post
Dross said:
Our approach is that a creature occupies a cube and can reach the same distance vertically as horizontally. Thus a medium creature occupies a 5 foot cube and reaches into the adjoining squares, a large creature (horse) occupies a 10 foot cube but reaches only the normal 5 feet. A medium size horse rider with a lance occupies a 10 foot cube and can hit anything within 10 feet.

That's how it operates by the RAW, I believe. Not sure where the appropriate quote is, though.
 


Blood Jester

First Post
Dross said:
...One player believes that:
Well I’m medium sized, about 6 feet tall, have a weapon, and can jump if need be, so I can easily reach both the person on higher ground and the beholder 15 feet up with my longsword. If I’m on a horse, then it is more, 20 feet even.

Our DM and I (who also DM’s another campaign) think differently.
Our approach is that a creature occupies a cube and can reach the same distance vertically as horizontally. Thus a medium creature occupies a 5 foot cube and reaches into the adjoining squares, a large creature (horse) occupies a 10 foot cube but reaches only the normal 5 feet. A medium size horse rider with a lance occupies a 10 foot cube and can hit anything within 10 feet.

Thanks in advance

15' is pushing it, even with a longsword, and the 20' on a mount doesn't even make sense.

That said, the idea that a 6' tall creature 'attacks' up to 5' in height is just silly.

So I can't brush my own hair out of my eyes? (need to reach 5'10")

I would rule that medium creatures can reach *up to* but not past 10' unless they had a polearm. Of course horizontal reach is still unchanged.
 

sukael

First Post
Blood Jester said:
That said, the idea that a 6' tall creature 'attacks' up to 5' in height is just silly.

So I can't brush my own hair out of my eyes? (need to reach 5'10")

Well, no... they occupy a 5-foot cube, and can attack up to five feet above that.
 

Dross

Explorer
orbitalfreak said:
Vertical reach is covered in the Jump skill, IIRC.

Given the above examples, how would you rule, Orbitalfreak?
Assume that the character in question is below average, average, above average (if that makes a difference).
 

EH,, cant find it in the SRD right now.. its in the DMG section on aerial combat.

IIRC, it states:

Assume a creature's height is the same as its face, and it can threaten squares {should read cubes} above and below its position.

Hence, a Human can strike upwards to a height of 10' {5' face + 5' reach} 2 cubes
A mounted rider can strike upwards to a height of 15' {10' face + 5' reach} 3 cubes
A mounted rider with a polearm can strike upwards to a height of 25' {10' face + 15' reach} 5 cubes

The jump skill rules cover whether that branch/ledge up there can be grabbed and hung onto.. not whether you can make an attack.

Your beholder would be relatively safe in the 5th cube, 20' above the ground.

If he was 15' above ground, occupying the 3rd cube, a sultry 5' Jump {DC 25} would get a sword swinging character high enough to strike.

As aside, mounted rider's gain the +1 elevation bonus when it applies. It is called out in the mounted combat section as a reminder. If your enemy is at a higher elevation than you are, the bonus may not apply.
 

orbitalfreak

First Post
Primitive Screwhead said:
Assume a creature's height is the same as its face, and it can threaten squares {should read cubes} above and below its position.

Hence, a Human can strike upwards to a height of 10' {5' face + 5' reach} 2 cubes
A mounted rider can strike upwards to a height of 15' {10' face + 5' reach} 3 cubes
A mounted rider with a polearm can strike upwards to a height of 25' {10' face + 15' reach} 5 cubes

I don't know that I would rule face = height here, even accounting for a rearing horse.

In the 2nd example, I would say that the horse occupies 10'x10' on the ground, threatening those squares around him (20x20 total area), and the human occupies the 10'x10' directly above the horse, and threatens squares adjacent to that box. So, ground level (horse) 20x20, five feet up (human riding) 20x20, and the five feet above that (human overhead) 20x20.

For reach weapon, have the human occupy the 10x10 block, 5' above the ground. He threatens that 10x10, and 10' more to each side, and 5' on the diagonals. He can reach the 10' out from his horse's face, except only one square on the diagonals, can reach the 10x10 above him, and an additional 10' wide (neglecting diagonals again), and the 10x10 square directly above him by 10'. Picture below:

Code:
[ ][O][O][O][O][ ]
[O][X][X][X][X][O]
[O][X][H][H][X][O] Ground level (0')
[O][X][H][H][X][O]
[O][X][X][X][X][O]
[ ][O][O][O][O][ ]

[ ][O][O][O][O][ ]
[O][X][X][X][X][O]
[O][X][R][R][X][O]  Rider's level (5')
[O][X][R][R][X][O]
[O][X][X][X][X][O]
[ ][O][O][O][O][ ]

[ ][O][O][O][O][ ]
[O][X][X][X][X][O]
[O][X][X][X][X][O] Above rider  (10')
[O][X][X][X][X][O]
[O][X][X][X][X][O]
[ ][O][O][O][O][ ]

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][O][O][ ][ ]
[ ][O][O][O][O][ ]
[ ][O][O][O][O][ ] Far above rider (15')
[ ][ ][O][O][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

R=Rider
H=Horse
X=Threatened
O=Threatened with 10' reach.

As far as jumping is concerned. I would allow, as a full-round action, making a jump check* and attack roll all in one. If you jump up five feet, then you threaten upwards as if you were five feet off the ground (so, you, the 8 squares around you, the nine below, and the nine above). Teen feet up, you would still threaten that 27-cube box, at the 5, 10, and 15 foot levels, but not ground level (you're too high up to attack that far down). Increase the size of the threatened sphere for reach weapons, taking into account moving diagonally in a vertical sense. So, a 10' reach is up two squares, or up one and up-and-over one more. Think a vertically-oriented chessboard with a knight moving across it.

*Or a ride check to have your mount Rear up, effectively raising your threatened sphere by five feet (or 10 or 15, for exceptionally large mounts).
 

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