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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    goken04's Avatar

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    Default [4E] Two-Handed Weapon question

    I'm planning on playing a Swordmage in a campaign starting tomorrow. I chose a bastard sword as my weapon and have the proficiency feat. Now, rules-wise, if you strike an opponent with a weapon you are wielding two-handed, you get an extra point of damage. However, as a Swordmage, if you have nothing in at least one of your hands, you get a +3 (rather than a +1) AC bonus. Now, since the Bastard sword is Versatile, and I can't imagine dropping one hand (particularly when dropping an entire item is a free action) from a weapon is anything other than a free action, can I attack with two-hands and then drop one hand immediately to gain the bonus? I can't find a rule on this. Rules-wise, I can't imagine this working. But logically, it makes a whole lot of sense.

    And, if it doesn't work, what's the real benefit of the Versatile property? It just seems that the ability would be super conditional and not as powerful as other weapon properties.
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    Default Re: [4E] Two-Handed Weapon question

    This question is not, to my knowledge, addressed in the rules.

    If I were your DM, I would houserule that you can change from two hands to one hand once per turn as a free action, but not back again in the same turn.

    Eg. You could start 1H, change to 2H and attack, but would then be stuck in that "mode" (with only a +1 AC from your Warding but +1 damage on OAs) until your next turn.

    That ruling would still make a bastard sword an attractive weapon for a swordmage, because it allows you to change between AC and damage.

    P.S Although, really, anyone who chooses +1 damage over +2 AC isn't very good at math. Either that or they're "roleplaying"...

    And, if it doesn't work, what's the real benefit of the Versatile property? It just seems that the ability would be super conditional and not as powerful as other weapon properties.
    The Versatile property isn't meant to be a "benefit". It is meant to represent weapons that are "big, but not really big". It also serves to give small characters (such as halflings and gnomes) halfway-decent choices for weapons.
    Last edited by Colmarr; 2009-01-22 at 11:15 PM.
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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: [4E] Two-Handed Weapon question

    There is an official answer to this, in the PHB FAQ:

    20. I wield a longsword. When I change from one hand to two (or vice versa), what type of action is that?

    Changing the number of hands you are using to hold a weapon can be done as a free action."

    So, you can hold the weapon in one-hand, switch to two hands as a free action, attack, then switch back to one hand as a free action.

    The intent of versatile was explained by Mike Mearls:

    "This is not an official answer, but let me give some insight into how versatile is intended to work.

    As a rule of thumb when using a versatile weapon, default to giving the player the most beneficial reading of a rule or situation regarding one or two handed use.

    So, the fighter would still get his weapon talent, and he could also gain the benefits of reaping strike.

    Versatile is intended to let you have your cake and eat it too."
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    Default Re: [4E] Two-Handed Weapon question

    Quote Originally Posted by clericwithnogod View Post
    There is an official answer to this, in the PHB FAQ:

    20. I wield a longsword. When I change from one hand to two (or vice versa), what type of action is that?

    Changing the number of hands you are using to hold a weapon can be done as a free action."
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    Thanks for that.
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    Default Re: [4E] Two-Handed Weapon question

    I'm not a huge fan of that ruling(despite being mandated by the word of god), I simple tell my player that they choose if they are holding their weapon in one or two hands each round, if they attack with both hands, they are holding their weapon with both hands until next round when they must choose again. Similarly, if they, for example, provoke an opportunity attack and decide to take the extra AC bonus, they do not get the damage bonus on a later attack.
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: [4E] Two-Handed Weapon question

    Quote Originally Posted by goken04 View Post
    And, if it doesn't work, what's the real benefit of the Versatile property? It just seems that the ability would be super conditional and not as powerful as other weapon properties.
    A medium sized character can wield a versatile weapon one-handed and use a shield. There are various reasons the character may need to ditch the shield, or just not have it (need to climb, throwing a heavy shield across a crevice before jumping after it to avoid the -2 to athletics checks, awakened in the night by wandering monster and doesn't want to waste a minor action to pick it up and a standard action to equip it, monster attacks exclusively target Fort or Will, etc). In those cases where the character ditches the shield for some other benefit, or is just caught without it, they can do slightly more damage to compensate for the absence of their normal protection. The deal with swordmages is basically the same, except they have a "magic shield" that they can wield simply be virtue of having a free hand.
    Last edited by Izmir Stinger; 2009-01-23 at 07:40 AM.

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