5E Which way to go with pole arm build?

houser2112

Explorer
Yeah, nevermind Combat Reflexes or Improved Trip or Spring Attack & WWA....
I'll give you Whirlwind Attack, but the other feats don't buy much for the polearm wielder in particular.

Combat Reflexes - Allows you more flexibility in fighting defensively. Nothing that benefits polearms in particular. Did you include it because it's a prereq for all the other feats you mention, or is there some other nuance I'm missing?
Improved Trip - The best part of this feat is not provoking AOO when attempting a trip, but it's specifically "while you are unarmed". Also, having reach means you can make melee attacks outside the reach of most Medium creatures, obviating the need to be able to attempt trips AOO-free. Attempting to trip a creature with a natural reach > 5' (Large or larger) is probably not a good idea considering the penalties.
Spring Attack - The feat that enables 5E style movement before and after an attack. Having reach means you can make melee attacks outside the reach of most Medium creatures, obviating the need to have a way of attacking them and ending your turn outside their reach.

What am I missing about these feats?
 
You may be thinking PF1, which fixed some of the cheese (OTOH, CMB/CMD was really nice for fighter builds, polearm included, in other ways - especially those annoying acrobats)

I'll give you Whirlwind Attack, but the other feats don't buy much for the polearm wielder in particular.
The WWA was really off the hook with Spiked Chain, of course, but I found polearms more dignified. ;)

What am I missing about these feats?

Combat Reflexes - Allows you more flexibility in fighting defensively. Nothing that benefits polearms in particular. Did you include it because it's a prereq for all the other feats you mention, or is there some other nuance I'm missing?
Multiple AoOs. Not just one Reaction (and, really, that's the thing holding back the build in 5e). You may be thinking of (Combat) Expertise, which let you trade BaB for AC, also part of the build, also handy when you're not making iterative attacks. Or you may even be thinking of Uncanny Dodge (Rogue/Barbarian feature), not part of the build unless you go out of your way, but also nice to have.

Improved Trip - The best part of this feat is not provoking AOO when attempting a trip
Free follow-up attack on the vicitim you just tripped, AoO when he gets up. (Some DMs wisely ruled you couldn't trip on the AoO for standing, otherwise, some very ripe cheese, there.)

Spring Attack - The feat that enables 5E style movement before and after an attack.
Without provoking.
Having reach means you can make melee attacks outside the reach of most Medium creatures, obviating the need to have a way of attacking them and ending your turn outside their reach.
Remember that whole can't attack adjacent? When some poor sucker does run the gauntlet and get next to you, you can Spring Attack him and end with him needing to close again.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Get weird with it. Go with a Hexblade warlock, and choose Pact of the Blade. Wield a giant scythe (treat as a glaive) in combat. Take the Polearm Master feat, or Sentinel.
 

houser2112

Explorer
You may be thinking PF1, which fixed some of the cheese (OTOH, CMB/CMD was really nice for fighter builds, polearm included, in other ways - especially those annoying acrobats)
I wasn't, but I only ever played one character in 3.PF that would stoop to engaging in melee (a dwarf cleric), and I guess I was fortunate to never be exposed to the cheese by fellow players either.

Multiple AoOs. Not just one Reaction (and, really, that's the thing holding back the build in 5e). You may be thinking of (Combat) Expertise, which let you trade BaB for AC, also part of the build, also handy when you're not making iterative attacks. Or you may even be thinking of Uncanny Dodge (Rogue/Barbarian feature), not part of the build unless you go out of your way, but also nice to have.
You're right, I was thinking of Combat Expertise. Silly me.

Free follow-up attack on the vicitim you just tripped, AoO when he gets up. (Some DMs wisely ruled you couldn't trip on the AoO for standing, otherwise, some very ripe cheese, there.)
That is lame. Clearly I have a lot to learn about melee optimization in 3.x. The only time I ever saw tripping done in 3.x was by a monk, and he sucked at it (not sure if he was just a bad character builder or if trying to do it on the monk chassis is the reason).
 

MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
If what you care about the most is maximizing polearms I'd lean toward the human fighter to get everything online as fast as possible.

The bugbear seems strong, but I think the extra feat from human is better.

Extra healing and burst damage from smites on paladin are nothing to sneeze at. But there's no real synergy with polearms until level 11 when you get improved smite to add to your bonus action attack. You can kinda get a bit more out of divine favour with PAM but not on the first turn since it casts as a bonus action.
 
You're right, I was thinking of Combat Expertise.
Also nice, though, and y'needed it anyway, and y'know, if I need a 13 INT, I might as well take a 14 and get some skill points...
(Trip Cheese)
That is lame.
No argument. ;) The pole-arm 'battlefield control build' character I actually played the most (through 13th, actually) preferred a Ransuer & Improved Disarm, though we fought a lot of human & humanoid opponents in that campaign, making it more effective than might be typical.
I was still making excuses for not taking thealmightyspikedchain* from level 1 (oh, I want to qualify for Spring attack ASAP, y'know, and then WWA, and, now that I have that, some skills from a few levels of Ranger would be nice... y'know... and, well, I have a magic pole-arm now, and an adamantine spiked chain would be so expensive....)
good times
Clearly I have a lot to learn about melee optimization in 3.x. The only time I ever saw tripping done in 3.x was by a monk, and he sucked at it (not sure if he was just a bad character builder or if trying to do it on the monk chassis is the reason).
You had to optimize for it, and size differentials were significant, yeah.[/QUOTE]







* not that you could get away from Spikes in 3.5, I had a spiked gauntlet for a while, then eventually magical silvered armor spikes.
 

houser2112

Explorer
Not underground where corridors are 10' or less. :ROFLMAO:;)
Not sure what you're getting at.

Assuming Hex Warrior is the reason to go with Hexblade Warlock in the first place...

Hex Warrior
At 1st level, you gain proficiency with medium
armor, shields, and martial weapons. In addition,
when attacking with a melee weapon that you
are proficient with and that lacks the two-
handed property
, you can use your Charisma
modifier, instead of Strength or Dexterity, for the
attack and damage rolls.

...wouldn't that bolded part invalidate the hexblade/glaive build?
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Not sure what you're getting at.

Assuming Hex Warrior is the reason to go with Hexblade Warlock in the first place...

Hex Warrior
At 1st level, you gain proficiency with medium
armor, shields, and martial weapons. In addition,
when attacking with a melee weapon that you
are proficient with and that lacks the two-
handed property
, you can use your Charisma
modifier, instead of Strength or Dexterity, for the
attack and damage rolls.

...wouldn't that bolded part invalidate the hexblade/glaive build?
Seems to be the case. Sorry, Edward...You're gonna have to leave.
391a5de062e0fe491e7a5f7711454dc8.gif
 
Not sure what you're getting at.

Assuming Hex Warrior is the reason to go with Hexblade Warlock in the first place...

Hex Warrior
At 1st level, you gain proficiency with medium
armor, shields, and martial weapons. In addition,
when attacking with a melee weapon that you
are proficient with and that lacks the two-
handed property
, you can use your Charisma
modifier, instead of Strength or Dexterity, for the
attack and damage rolls.

...wouldn't that bolded part invalidate the hexblade/glaive build?
there’s a blade pact invocation that eliminates that issue.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I'd go bugbear + halberd + PAM +battlemaster's lunging attack + GWM = ''what do you mean you poke me with your pike from 20 ft away?''
 
Knowing most campaigns won’t go past level 12 or so, how would you lean?

* bugbear fighter to get the extra 5ft reach on melee attacks (15ft reach with a halberd + polearm mastery at level 4?), but at the cost of being a bugbear in a human centric world (RP issues)

* human fighter to get the trio of feats by level 6?

* human paladin to get feats and smite?

* other.

Optimizing not necessary to get most DPR. But what sounds most appealing if you were to build a polearm based PC?
BattleMaster Fighter is your traditional DPR option - PAM + GWM + Precision/Trip is really nice. I'd lean toward variant human here. Combo loses a lot when you sacrifice accuracy so the lvl 1 bonus feat is amazing.

Paladin is good DPR option with additional support. The nice thing with the Paladin is that GWM is really not necessary. I would lean toward paladin over fighter. I kind of like the bugbear here as it allows you to use the spear as a reach weapon (may find a magic spear long before you find a magic polearm). If DM places magic items for your build then I'd probably go with variant human here.

Bugbear Hunter Ranger. Collosus slayer with the extra attacks from PAM and reach on the spear while using a shield make this work. Spells will mostly be support. Lots of pass without trace + goodberries etc.

However, I think what I would do with this is go Cleric. I would look for more passive spells like aid and animate dead with a few healing and out of combat spells. When possible prebuff bless. Cast spirit guardians in hard fights. I would go bugbear here for the extra range. I would use a polearm instead of spear and shield (assuming domain chosen allows) - the 15ft range of this character helps provide the animated dead some cover. Forge looks really good for this if you wanted to use a spear.
 
Last edited:

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I know the Pact of the Blade doesn't limit the weapon, but doesn't Hexblade limit you to a one-handed weapon?
Hexblade limits you to a one-handed weapon or your Pact of the Blade weapon. So if you take both, you can use Hex Warrior with any weapon. The formatting goes onto another page and it's easy to miss.
 

houser2112

Explorer
Hexblade limits you to a one-handed weapon or your Pact of the Blade weapon. So if you take both, you can use Hex Warrior with any weapon. The formatting goes onto another page and it's easy to miss.
The Hexblade subclass itself lacks any mention of Pact of the Blade and does not place any limits on what weapon you can use, but the Hex Warrior feature does, as I pasted above from UA 20170213. It only allows you to add your Charisma bonus on one-handed weapons, but does not prohibit you from using any weapon, is that what you mean? Is there an errata I'm missing?
 
The Hexblade subclass itself lacks any mention of Pact of the Blade and does not place any limits on what weapon you can use, but the Hex Warrior feature does, as I pasted above from UA 20170213. It only allows you to add your Charisma bonus on one-handed weapons, but does not prohibit you from using any weapon, is that what you mean? Is there an errata I'm missing?
No, just as Blue says, you have missed the bit that goes over onto page 56: "If you later gain the Pact of the Blade feature, this benefit extends to every pact weapon you conjure with that feature, no matter the weapon's type."
 

Advertisement

Top