D&D 5E Why is the pike 18 lbs?!?!?

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
The original D&D encumbrance system deliberately didn't give real weights for items - instead, it also took into account how cumbersome items were. Pikes are a good example of that: they're heavy-ish, but they're even more cumbersome to move around, thus they "weigh" more.

Cheers!
 

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Yeah, the camera adds 18lbs. She weighs hardly anything.
 

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Redthistle

Explorer
Supporter
I don't know, doesn't this thing look about 18 pounds? And I'm not even sure it's really a reach weapon.

The rulebooks keep missing the true property of the pike in that it is a Large weapon that can only be used as a polearm if it is frozen first. In its natural, unfrozen state, it is more properly considered as a Greatsap (1d10 bludgeoning damage).

On a very hot day, it has additional properties. On a successful hit, the target must make a Constitution saving throw against DC 15. On a failed save, the target is nauseated and will be harassed by biting flies until the stink of the pike has been washed off. Also, the pike is perhaps unique in that it can provide nourishment for up to five medium creatures for one day.
 


Scorpio616

First Post
I'm pretty sure the 1 at the front is a typo.
I thought that too, until Crawford mentioned this...

Why is a pike (a polearm) excluded from the Polearm Master feat, but a Quarterstaff (not a polearm) included in it?

Jeremy Crawford
Pike: Too unwieldy, in our eyes, for the feat's benefits. Quarterstaff: Fits the benefits of the feat well
.

So for some reason they view the pike as unwieldy, even though there's no special rules for that, like there is for the Lance. That's why I believe there was supposed to be more to the pike, but it got clipped late in the play-test.
 

aramis erak

Legend
A pike is, properly, between 8 and 20 feet long, and typically 2" diameter. about 301 to 753 cubic inches of wood. Plus a 1 or 2 pound head, possibly a metal buttcap (3 oz) or butt-spike (1lb), plus possibly side straps (add about 4lbs) to prevent zweihanders cutting it in twain. Red Oak is 0.03 lbs a CI for a range of 10-25 lbs.

The original D&D encumbrance system deliberately didn't give real weights for items - instead, it also took into account how cumbersome items were. Pikes are a good example of that: they're heavy-ish, but they're even more cumbersome to move around, thus they "weigh" more.

Cheers!

In the case of the pike, not really. They really do run that massive. A pike really should have a 15' reach and a 5' point blank...
 

One of my players' characters is a pike-wielding fighter, and I've been assuming that his weapon is not a 20-plus-foot war pike but rather a big nasty spear in the 8-to-10-foot range. Even as such I'm sort of handwaving certain geometric concerns when he ventures indoors or underground; with a full-length pike it would just be ridiculous.

With that in mind, a weight more in line with the halberd makes sense to me.
 

psychophipps

Explorer
What frustrates me about the quarterstaff decision with that feat is how they left out the most common war weapon of all time, the spear. Apparently sticking a poky bit at the end of a quarterstaff somehow makes it not valid for such feat-based awesomeness.
 

aramis erak

Legend
One of my players' characters is a pike-wielding fighter, and I've been assuming that his weapon is not a 20-plus-foot war pike but rather a big nasty spear in the 8-to-10-foot range. Even as such I'm sort of handwaving certain geometric concerns when he ventures indoors or underground; with a full-length pike it would just be ridiculous.

With that in mind, a weight more in line with the halberd makes sense to me.

if you up the diameter to 2.5", a 10' pike can be 17 lbs of wood (justifying the extra damage over a spear by mass) and a 1 lb head.

To be truly historic, pedantic, and mathy they typically were the last 10-20' of a 20 to 60' cone - slightly more math intensive, with an average section of about 2".
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
NONE of the other reach weapons are built like that. All the others have reasonable weights and the pike doesn't have anything beyond it's weight to indicate there is anything unusual about it compared to the other lighter reach weapons.

With the exception of the lance, the other reach weapons (the halberd and the glaive) are SLASHING weapons. They are balanced for swinging, with more weight toward the blade and a relatively shorter counterbalance below the grip. They would be held somewhat vertically and back, brought down on the opponent in a sweeping motion, and then pulled back and held aloft again.

The pike, on the other hand is a PIERCING weapon. The attack is made in a thrusting motion. Therefore the pike must be held horizontally and needs a heavier counterbalancing weight to achieve the same reach.
 

But this one has only 10' reach. And is 18lbs. So which is it?
Both.
It is 18 feet long but is too heavy to hold by the very end, so the head of the weapon is only 10 feet in front of you while the butt is five feet behind you, perhaps grounded.

That said, 18 lb seems way too much, especially when a maul is only 10lb. I suspect a pike should be 8lb.
 

MG.0

First Post
The "weights" in D&D were originally intended to be a combination of both weight and bulk. In D&D a 10 pound bag of feathers would have a much higher "weight" than 10 pounds because it would be enormous and difficult to carry.

In the early days this was made clear, but unless you've played D&D for a very long time, it is not obvious.
 

Okay so I just realized an NPC in my party is encumbered because their pike, which is a maximum of 10 feet long, weighs 18 lbs.

Googling says an actual pike at maximum length (25 ft) weighs 13.5 lbs. Doing the math, the D&D pike should be...33 feet long!?!?

What's the deal? And what does this 10 foot, 18 lb pike look like?

The default D&D setting takes place in 130% of Earth gravity. That's why dragons can fly, because the heavy gravity builds up their muscles enough to make flying easy.
 

Andor

First Post
The "weights" in D&D were originally intended to be a combination of both weight and bulk. In D&D a 10 pound bag of feathers would have a much higher "weight" than 10 pounds because it would be enormous and difficult to carry.

In the early days this was made clear, but unless you've played D&D for a very long time, it is not obvious.

While that's true, it was always a stupid idea. It works fine when you're dealing with actual encumberence, but then some guy always has to load the cart, or use Tensers floating wheelbarrow, or jury rig a balance scale out of two pikes, some twine, and an unfortunate goblin. And then the whole things collapses into discussions about real weights, density calculations (See this thread for example), and in the pre-internet days arguments about half-remembered trips to the museum vs some guys uncle who used a movie prop once....
 

Azurewraith

Explorer
Im fine with an 18lbs pike maybe its just heavy. Is what really bugs me is that a medieval level of tech society has managed to create a wrist mounted flamethrower that has a gas tank so small it isn't mentioned anywhere and how the flames don't singe the wielders hand even just a little bit, never mind how they managed to get the same launcher to shoot sleeping gas and laughing gas where the hell is the tanks for all this stuff kept.

Sorry its early in the morning or what my son would call morning needed a good giggle on a serious note weight in DnD is a encumbrance value.
 


I encounter this problem in dozens of other role playing systems as well. I recently made a big list of real world weapons, for a modern day zombie campaign. And none of the weights listed (in OGL Horror or Call of Cthulhu) for existing modern weapons matched up (their range didn't match up either, but that was obviously for the sake of ranged combat rules). All it took was a few Google searches to get the correct weight for an AK47 or an MP5 (and many others). Their clip sizes were also incorrect.
 

delericho

Legend
The "weights" in D&D were originally intended to be a combination of both weight and bulk.

This. Indeed, they probably shouldn't be using "lb" at all - in fact, old editions used to measure things in "coins" for exactly this reason.

Plus, modern designers are even as obsessive about history as Gygax was... and anyway Gygax was known to make mistakes.
 


jodyjohnson

Adventurer
Regarding the original conundrum. Just assume pikes in use (being wielded) are braced or butted against the ground reducing their carried weight by half and alleviating Encumbrance issues. For purposes of moving them use the book weight.

Drop your packs, put that monkey down, and brace those pikes and tower shields.
 

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