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D&D 5E Spear houserule


Limit Break Dancing
Here's my take on it. Ready for playtesting.

Simple Melee Weapon
Cost: 2gp
Damage: 1d6 piercing
Weight: 3 lbs.
Properties: Reach, Thrown (range 20/60), Versatile (1d8), Special
Special: the spear has the Thrown property when it is wielded with one hand, and the Reach property when it is wielded with two hands. While armed with a spear, you may use the Ready action to brace the spear against a charging opponent. If an opponent moves more than 20 feet toward you and enters your threatened area on its turn, your readied melee attack deals double damage (or triple damage on a critical hit).

I realize, and accept, that this house-ruled version of the Spear will make it the most optimal choice of simple, melee weapon in my game. And I'm fine with that, because it fits the culture and technology level of certain regions of my game world. I'd rather invent better spears than invent reasons for everyone to have swords.
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This seems like it should not be the problem but the goal of spears. Letting big lines of untrained people double-up.

However, my personal fix is just upping spears to d8/d10 if the user has Martial weapon proficiency. No problem with it as of yet. Originally we considered a possible issue of it being the only d8 thrown weapon but DEX already had the rapier as their sole d8 finesse weapon and STR can really use any boost it can get.

Huh, I had just made the "battle spear" as a martial weapon, but I think this is a neat idea


Mind Mage
A cool thing about weapons is how modular they are. A DM can easily supply a list of different weapons available for each regional setting. And a DM can easily swap weapons in or out of a list.

How about?

Martial Melee Weapons
Longspear 1d8 piercing (4 lb) Reach, thrown (range 20/60), versatile (1d10), special

Special. A longspear can be thrown when one-handed, and has reach when two-handed.


Mind Mage
If adding a separate weapon, like a "longspear", are there any significant problems with regard to proficiency, feat qualifications, fighting styles, or so on? The special description could be modified to make the intended ease of use clearer.

By the way, a typical spear is about 7 feet (6 to 8), and the longspear is about 9 feet (8 to 10).


Yeah, I think errata’ing Polearm Master to only work when using the weapon 2-handed rather than giving up on spears with reach is the way to go.

Watch the duel between Achilles and Hector in Troy: both start with spears and shields and both clearly have the PAM feat, striking with their spear butts.

After following along with the discussion and put a lot of thought in it, I think I'm going to revise my house rule.

I discovered that there were phalanxes with ranks of one-handed spear and shield wielders, and they did have enough reach to attack from behind the rank in front of them.

That being said, I've decided that the easiest way to deal with that in game is just to say it's a special property of phalanx formation--for mass combat rules. On the standard D&D level it doesn't need to be represented.

That leaves me with just my other issue--wanting the spear to be better--and the way I'm planning on doing that is creating a martial spear with the same stats as a war pick (d8, versatile d10, piercing). I'll treat the simple spear as the basic weapon that's ubiquitous and easy to make, while the martial version ("warspear" for lack of a better term) is the kind that is balanced to be used in a phalanx situation, and just in general balanced better for a weapon that you aren't intending to throw. Tribal warriors and other statblocks with limited military technology will keep the simple spear, while guards and other statblocks demonstrating higher military tech-levels will get upgraded to the warspear.

Hawk Diesel

So I actually was following this thread from the beginning, and I've been thinking about it for a long time. At first I agreed with adjusting the spear as proposed by @CleverNickName.

I think there's a lot of value in creating a simple weapon with the Reach property, particularly one that also lacks the Heavy property. I personally don't think small races should be boxed out from having access to reach weapons. On the one hand it makes sense since obviously they are smaller and thus have shorter reach by definition. But D&D combat is an abstraction that doesn't necessarily need to be supported by what we might find in the real world. A small creature takes up a 5ft square, just like a medium sized creature. They have the same 5ft reach as a medium creature. Thus, if we maintain an abstract perspective in Small versus Medium creatures, and considering that being a Small creature does not come with any inherent benefit that might require a trade-off relative to a Medium sized creature, then it seems like giving a spear Reach without also imposing Heavy would open up options for small characters, especially martial builds.

But then as I thought about it, something did not sit right with me as I looked at the spear in comparison with the other simple weapons. It just seemed too good. As someone mentioned earlier in the thread, why would anyone take a quarterstaff when a spear does all that a quarterstaff does and then some? I like the idea of giving the spear reach, but it needed something taken out to balance it. That's when I realized, why does a spear have to be versatile? Using one versus two hands allows the spear to be used differently, but unlike something like a warhammer, I don't see the additional hand being able to increase the force of the strikes. I fully admit to being a layman with martial weaponry in real life, but the examples I see of a spear being used in media show the spear to be different than how one uses a longsword. A guy that starts using a longsword one-handed in one scene may transition to two hands for more powerful blows in the next (particularly if they are angry or becoming desperate). But you don't see someone change grip on a spear to use it with more physical force. The change in grip is all about spacing and angles rather than creating a force multiplier.

I don't know if my second point has any accuracy, but it demonstrates my thought process. I think a spear that grants reach when used 2-handed, thrown when used 1-handed, and NOT having versatile to increase damage when used in 2-hands is the Goldilocks point. Javelins have better range, quarterstaffs have better damage, and spears have the option to provide reach. Keeping a spear at a d6 damage doesn't bother me all that much. And if others believe a martial should have access to better spears, the creation of a martial version (like a war spear) might be the more appropriate option.
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How about this:

A simple spear is a spear either with a fire-hardened wood tip or a crudely converted agricultural tool. It is a Simple weapon, may be thrown, and does d6 damage. When wielded two-handed it gains the Reach property. The latter example of this spear can be disguised as the original implement.

A war spear is a spear with a properly forged blade. It is a Martial weapon, may be thrown, and does d8 damage. When wielded two-handed it gains the Reach property.


I still run 3.5e. I have a player with a hoplite background who’s primary weapon is a longspear (a standard weapon in 3.5e, 1d8 with Reach). The character has the Feats “Near and Far” (allowing a Reach weapon to be “choked up” and used against an adjacent square), “Shield and Spear” (allowing a longspear to be used as if one-handed while the other hand is holding a shield), and “Rank Fighting” (allowing an attack with a Reach weapon from behind a friendly). The feats simulate Ancient Greek fighting pretty well - some are from Net Book of Feats, rather than WOTC, but I “verified” each by reading an illustrated history book called “Warfare in the Ancient World” - if somebody illustrated the Feat on an Amphora and an Oxford historian thinks it’s real, I’m sold it should be possible. :)

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