# Reach Weapons, AOOs, and Combat

#### slaughterj

##### Mongoose
If a PC has a reach weapon which can attack a foe 10' away, e.g., a War Spear, then if a foe approaches from 15' away (or further) to the adjacent square to the PC, the PC gets an AOO against the foe (for entering and then passing through the threatened square), correct?

On the PC's next turn, the PC can take a 5' step back and stab the foe, without drawing an AOO, correct?

The foe can then 5' step up to the PC and attack, without drawing an AOO, correct?

But if a PC has a longer reach weapon which can attack a foe 15'-20' away, e.g., a Pike, they can't play this retreating combat game without triggering an AOO, correct? I.e., the foe approaches from 25' away (or further) to the adjacent square to the PC, the PC gets an AOO against the foe, but then the PC can't retreat 10' to have an attack against the foe, can they?

slaughterj said:
If a PC has a reach weapon which can attack a foe 10' away, e.g., a War Spear, then if a foe approaches from 15' away (or further) to the adjacent square to the PC, the PC gets an AOO against the foe (for entering and then passing through the threatened square), correct?

Yes.

slaughter said:
On the PC's next turn, the PC can take a 5' step back and stab the foe, without drawing an AOO, correct?

Yes again.

slaughter said:
The foe can then 5' step up to the PC and attack, without drawing an AOO, correct?

Yes.

slaughter said:
But if a PC has a longer reach weapon which can attack a foe 15'-20' away, e.g., a Pike, they can't play this retreating combat game without triggering an AOO, correct? I.e., the foe approaches from 25' away (or further) to the adjacent square to the PC, the PC gets an AOO against the foe, but then the PC can't retreat 10' to have an attack against the foe, can they?

If the PC moves more than a 5 foot step and then attacks then they'll trigger an AoO. The only way to avoid the AoO is to do a withdraw, which is a full round action and would stop him attacking.

So a long reach weapon is great for keeping people away, especially if you've got lots of AoO's but is a real problem once the enemy gets close.

Oly said:
So a long reach weapon is great for keeping people away, especially if you've got lots of AoO's but is a real problem once the enemy gets close.

If you have only 1 AOO, and several guys are approaching, a pike doesn't seem very good, compared with a shorter reach weapon like a war spear...

slaughterj said:
If you have only 1 AOO, and several guys are approaching, a pike doesn't seem very good, compared with a shorter reach weapon like a war spear...

Well one tactic that would help would be to stand in a narrow space with the pike and then multiple people can't get around you, it would be one at a time. Or a line of pikemen which kind of causes the same effect.

However it is kinda rough.

One thing in the Stormbringer system that I particularly liked was that if anyone wanted to close in on an opponent that was armed with a reach weapon then they had to dodge an attack from them first. Kind of like unlimited AoO's with no choice of parrying.

Oly said:
slaughterj said:
If you have only 1 AOO, and several guys are approaching, a pike doesn't seem very good, compared with a shorter reach weapon like a war spear...

Well one tactic that would help would be to stand in a narrow space with the pike and then multiple people can't get around you, it would be one at a time.

But even then, the one person who takes the AOO and closes with the pike-wielder is still a problem - the pike-wielder can't fight that person without (1) retreating and triggering an AOO, or (2) dropping the pike in lieu of another weapon.

slaughterj said:
But even then, the one person who takes the AOO and closes with the pike-wielder is still a problem - the pike-wielder can't fight that person without (1) retreating and triggering an AOO, or (2) dropping the pike in lieu of another weapon.

Yes pikes are kind of awkward. Let's you get in the first hit or two but then just seem to be a real problem.

Stocking up your pikemen with combat reflexes would seem to be a good idea, they then might be able to make short work of weaker opponents while stronger heroes will just batter through their attacks.

The pike seems to be a good way to keep people at bay, if they are risk-adverse (often not when you are talking goons in an RPG), and maybe against really big creatures with a lot of reach (you can stay equivalent distance and not get AOO'd trying to fight them).

slaughterj said:
If a PC has a reach weapon which can attack a foe 10' away, e.g., a War Spear, then if a foe approaches from 15' away (or further) to the adjacent square to the PC, the PC gets an AOO against the foe (for entering and then passing through the threatened square), correct?
Not quite, you provoke an AoO for leaving a threatened square, not for entering. Otherwise you would provoke an AoO every time you approach somone with a boradsword. So the foe does nor provoke when he moves from 15' to 10'. When he moves from 10' to 5' he provokes but the AoO is resolved before the movement is resolved.

Now a fellow with a reach weapon who is playing to his strenghts will on his turn ready an action to attack the first opponent who enters his reach. Now he gets two attacks on the foe who closes from 15' away: 1 ready attack and 1 AoO.

Also don't forget that some reach weapons can be "set" against a charge, if the foe charges then the ready action attack deals double damage.

A unit of pikemen can be quite deadly under the right circumstances.

On the PC's next turn, the PC can take a 5' step back and stab the foe, without drawing an AOO, correct?
yes

The foe can then 5' step up to the PC and attack, without drawing an AOO, correct?
yes

But if a PC has a longer reach weapon which can attack a foe 15'-20' away, e.g., a Pike, they can't play this retreating combat game without triggering an AOO, correct? I.e., the foe approaches from 25' away (or further) to the adjacent square to the PC, the PC gets an AOO against the foe, but then the PC can't retreat 10' to have an attack against the foe, can they?
Thats right, if you are a unit of pikemen then you depend on readied actions, AoO's and overlaping threatened spaces (from multiple ranks of pikemen) to impale your foe before he can close to you on the first round. If the foe does breach the line then the front ranks either have to drop their weapons and fight (quick draw is usefull) or try to withdraw and trust the rear ranks to cover them.

Hope that helps.

argo said:
Now a fellow with a reach weapon who is playing to his strenghts will on his turn ready an action to attack the first opponent who enters his reach. Now he gets two attacks on the foe who closes from 15' away: 1 ready attack and 1 AoO.

Also don't forget that some reach weapons can be "set" against a charge, if the foe charges then the ready action attack deals double damage.
Very good points. This is definitely what makes a pike formation dangerous.

argo said:
...overlaping threatened spaces (from multiple ranks of pikemen)...
Question: Is it possible to make attacks through spaces occupied by your allies (so you could have multiple ranks attacking as you say)? We used to play D&D that way, but I'm not sure if it was something we houseruled or in the rules.

Good stuff!

Trodax said:
argo said:
...overlaping threatened spaces (from multiple ranks of pikemen)...
Question: Is it possible to make attacks through spaces occupied by your allies (so you could have multiple ranks attacking as you say)? We used to play D&D that way, but I'm not sure if it was something we houseruled or in the rules.

Good question.

Trodax said:
argo said:
Now a fellow with a reach weapon who is playing to his strenghts will on his turn ready an action to attack the first opponent who enters his reach. Now he gets two attacks on the foe who closes from 15' away: 1 ready attack and 1 AoO.

Also don't forget that some reach weapons can be "set" against a charge, if the foe charges then the ready action attack deals double damage.
Very good points. This is definitely what makes a pike formation dangerous.

argo said:
...overlaping threatened spaces (from multiple ranks of pikemen)...
Question: Is it possible to make attacks through spaces occupied by your allies (so you could have multiple ranks attacking as you say)? We used to play D&D that way, but I'm not sure if it was something we houseruled or in the rules.

I'll try to find something official on this, but the way we play is that if your attacking through a occupied square then the person your attacking has cover, but we still allow the attack.

On the pike thing... while the pike user can't take the 5 foot step and attack they can withdraw and force the person to provoke another AoO by moving to attack the pike user. Which basiclly turns it into a normal combat of I attack/you attack.

here we go...

SRD said:
When making a melee attack against an adjacent target, your target has cover if any line from your square to the target’s square goes through a wall (including a low wall). When making a melee attack against a target that isn’t adjacent to you (such as with a reach weapon), use the rules for determining cover from ranged attacks.

Ok so this means that Reach attacks follow the cover rules.

SRD said:
To determine whether your target has cover from your ranged attack, choose a corner of your square. If any line from this corner to any corner of the target’s square passes through a square or border that blocks line of effect or provides cover, or through a square occupied by a creature, the target has cover (+4 to AC).

That's the ranged attack rules

SRD said:
Soft Cover

Creatures, even your enemies, can provide you with cover against ranged attacks, giving you a +4 bonus to AC. However, such soft cover provides no bonus on Reflex saves, nor does soft cover allow you to make a Hide check.

So enemies are cover so you can attack pass the square they are in. So you can attack through an occupied square with a reach weapon by the RAW.

Hope that helps.

argo said:
...overlaping threatened spaces (from multiple ranks of pikemen)...
Question: Is it possible to make attacks through spaces occupied by your allies (so you could have multiple ranks attacking as you say)? We used to play D&D that way, but I'm not sure if it was something we houseruled or in the rules.[/quote]

I'd say definitely since Dodge defense is sorta a reflection of the ol' "bob and weave". In other words, everybody's moving around and there's plenty of space for something like a spear or pike to stick through.

Not only that, but historically, that's the way pole arms were used: your pointy bit over the guy in front of you, and so on.

I'd tend to thing the "cover rules" would only apply if you weren't adjactent to you friend. But then again, there's feats for coordinating attacks and all that, so maybe it's too much to jsut allow it out of hand...

Trodax said:
argo said:
...overlaping threatened spaces (from multiple ranks of pikemen)...
Question: Is it possible to make attacks through spaces occupied by your allies (so you could have multiple ranks attacking as you say)? We used to play D&D that way, but I'm not sure if it was something we houseruled or in the rules.
Yes, but as Foxworthy correctly pointed out the enemy gets +4 DV for soft cover. Though in Conan the multiple attacker bonus can offset this somewhat.

Later.

Thanks guys!

BTW, this means that someone who tries to engage a two-row pike formation that have readied attacks will have to face four attacks; AoO and readied attack from front rank as well as AoO and readied attack from the second rank (these two are at -4 however).

Actually, if it's possible to attack through two occupied spaces (-8 penalty perhaps?) then a third rank could also contribute with an AoO and a readied attack.

Ouch.

(As an aside, the pike is not designated as weapon that can be set against a charge to deal double damage. You think that is as it should be, or missed information? I would have thought the pike was the most classical 'set against charge'-weapon.)

Trodax said:
BTW, this means that someone who tries to engage a two-row pike formation that have readied attacks will have to face four attacks; AoO and readied attack from front rank as well as AoO and readied attack from the second rank (these two are at -4 however).

Actually, if it's possible to attack through two occupied spaces (-8 penalty perhaps?) then a third rank could also contribute with an AoO and a readied attack.

Ouch.

well -8 would be for a target that's almost completely covered... I think it would still be a -4 since a ranged weapon would still be a -4 but -8 makes more sense.

Trodax said:
(As an aside, the pike is not designated as weapon that can be set against a charge to deal double damage. You think that is as it should be, or missed information? I would have thought the pike was the most classical 'set against charge'-weapon.)

If you look at the weapons table even spears aren't made for a charge. This seems to be missing footnotes. Another reason that we need errata or rulesmaster to answer Conan questions.

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