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Using Reach Weapons

by Jae
reach weapons

Reach weapons, like the glaive, are a fun melee weapon type for DnD. However, they can often be misused and sometimes new players have questions about their rules. In this DnD Quick Tip we’re going to talk about reach weapons and how they work.

Reach Weapons Let you Reach Further

As the name implies, a reach weapon lets you target and attack things that are further away. Reach weapons for medium sized creatures add 5 feet to their range for melee attacks. This means you now can target and hit 20-24 squares around you instead of your normal 8. This is a massive improvement to what you can hit. All of these squares are now ones that you threaten and anyone in that range can be targeted.

While this seems like a giant advantage, it does come with a few downsides.

normal vs reach weapons

The Drawback and Real Advantage of Reach Weapons

Often new players will think that having reach will allow them to get extra attacks of opportunity since they have all this extra reach. But there is an important caveat here that actually reverses this. Attacks of opportunity only happen when a target leaves your threatened area.

Because you now threaten and control so much more space, enemies almost never leave your range in close combat scenarios. This may actually lead to a lower overall damage output from having sacrificed those extra attacks you might have gotten in.

This drawback highlights the real advantage or reach weapons, which is in their defensive use. Being able to hit an enemy without being in their threatened squares allows you to hit and run without invoking an attack of opportunity from your opponent.

Which Weapons are Reach Weapons?

While you now know the basics of reach weapons, we’ll conclude this quick tip with list of the available options for your game.

The available reach weapons out of the box are as follows:

  • Glaive
  • Halberd
  • Lance
  • Pike
  • Longspear
  • Whip

Of course, other weapons can have reach, such as magic weapons, but these are the only default common weapons with reach. All of these, with the exception of the longspear (exotic), happen to be martial weapons as well, so the characters that can take full advantage of them are limited. If you feel like you need some space, try out a reach weapon. If you’re looking for more on weapons, checkout our Complete Guide to DnD Weapons here.

Happy DMing!

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