One Handed Spears

Was running some theory builds, and liked the idea of a spear and shield warrior. This (whilst seeming quite cool IMHO) represents a large points investment, although does grant the reach of a short 2 hander (max length 84" held 6" below center, for a total of 48" reach), with the protection of a shield. I was wondering what people’s mileage/views are on the combo.

Dreadful.

The great advantage of a shield is that you can close through longer range weapons - ending up close in with 7’ of thrust-only spear to manage is a nightmare.

Meanwhile if you try to stand off, people with pole-arms have a reach advantage, and a significant versatility advantage. Pike users slaughter you on reach, and two hands means they can retarget much faster to bypass the shield anyway.

I don’t rate it as worthwhile at all, and would never advise taking it at Empire.

(The above is, clearly, personal opinion)

Unfortunately, that was the feeling I got (add the fact I’ve never so much as seen them discussed). 'Tis a shame, because it’s a cool concept.

By yourself, not particularly effective. Not sure I’d say it’s quite as bad a Tea makes it to be, but, on your own, a 1-handed weapon, and quite possibly quite a short one like a gladius, is quite effective.

Things change though if there is more than one of you. 1 person with a spear and sheild is meh, 5 in a phallanx is amazing. The thrusting weapons allow you to keep a tight closed wall and stab over / under your own wall whilst presenting very little the enemy. Anyone closing in will be getting struck by 3 / 4 spears at once (more if you have a rank of pole-arms in the back.)

I am bringing along ten uni mates and this the tactic we are going for. Though we are brining swords as well for backup and scout formations, that sort of formation is a Shatter magnet.

The thing is that just a wall of two-handed spears (backed up with a wall of pikes), has more reach and just the same density of attacks. It can also slice and dice with the front rank, instead of being stuck with thrusting only.

Shields are much less critical for a unit in heavy armour, and the spare 2xp each is great - at least an extra hit per person.

Having had this build for the last 3 events I have to agree with Celesti on this.

One-on-one with someone else carrying sword/shield- you’re going to have a tough time of it unless you keep mobile, small unit or line fighting things become a bit more fun. Your attack rate won’t be as high as when wielding a 1-H sword, but it’s pretty easy to catch people out with a good stab to the ribs.
Bag yourself the resources for a “Winternight Lifestealer” (profounddecisions.co.uk/empi … ifestealer), some kind soul to make it for you, and some Hero Points and pity the poor barbarian fools that don’t have heavy armour.

If you have heavy then yeah shields aren’t as critical as you don’t have to worry about being insta-gibbed by arrows. But shields are usefull as they then make you practically immune to arrows entirely, if you see them coming. Even if you are in heavy armour an arrow volley can still take you out.

Plus the defensive buffs from shields are nice, +1 en +1 fort for not that much at all.

And pike blocks are good, but not quite as ressilient or tactically flexible as a sheild and spear. A guy with a 1handed spear is at a disadvantage in fight with a sword, someone with a pike is boned if they are by themselves.

There is a whole group in wintermark that have that build.

If you pick your targets well you’ve got the right tools for something similar to cavalry runs.

Just don’t approach people with longer poles!!!

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They’re not so bad one on one, depends on the person. I quite like it on my Barbarian General~

Really you want two handed spear/pike, and for shield use it is flail all the way. All the way.

[quote=“Celesti”]If you have heavy then yeah shields aren’t as critical as you don’t have to worry about being insta-gibbed by arrows. But shields are usefull as they then make you practically immune to arrows entirely, if you see them coming. Even if you are in heavy armour an arrow volley can still take you out.

Plus the defensive buffs from shields are nice, +1 en +1 fort for not that much at all.

And pike blocks are good, but not quite as ressilient or tactically flexible as a sheild and spear. A guy with a 1handed spear is at a disadvantage in fight with a sword, someone with a pike is boned if they are by themselves.[/quote]

Versus single sword, or sword and board?

I would prefer a pike to a one-handed spear (under Empire rules) and a shield, versus a sword and board fighter, one on one. Ditto for versus single sword, actually.

And yes, the shield defensive buffs are nice. But if you don’t spend the XP on shield as well, you can buy your +1 end directly for the XP you would have spent.

Note the “Under Empire rules” proviso up there. I love stabspear and shield at Odyssey, where the rules are slightly different and it becomes an excellent skirmishing and line fighting tool. But at Empire, I feel the crowns on the battlefield go to pole-arms (for line fighting - mincing machine of death at excellent distance and with excellent power) and to shields (for aggressive heavy skirmishing). Pikes probably a hair behind pole-arms, and a sprinkling of pikes is a great feature in nearly any formation.

Also for a Winternight Lolshanker it is possible to use the spear two-handed for a linefight then swap to a one-handed grip for “fuck those three Thule in particular”

Given the fact that the only real difference between a 1handed spear & a 2handed spear is how you are holding it at any given time I tend to agree with Jim…

Though note that a Polearm-class magic item cannot* be used in one hand; it’s only 1h-spears that can switch.

*unless I am wrong but I don’t think I am

I’ve never really been sure on this one myself. I tend to assume that a weapons magical power (or indedd hero calls) can only be used in the grip it is designed for so a 1 handed spear only uses it magic when used one handed while a pole arm that is phys repped as a spear only gets it’s power if used 2 handed. Does cause problems with 1 handed weapons being used in 2 hands though…

My reading of the rules was that it is a “what flavour is your physrep” question, not a Game Term one. They say “two handed bill or halberd” in the second bit, specifically not “spear”. Indicating if you have a two-handed spear, you can use it as either weapon class. It would have been redundant, clunky writing to say “A one-handed spear can be used as a two-handed pole-arm and a two-handed spear can be used as a one-handed spear”.

So, assuming I have a thrust-safe spear physrep, this is my interpretation.
If I have it in a two handed grip:

  • If has a magic Polearm ribbon on, I can use the magic ability.
    -If I’m bound to a Yeoman’s Flag, I may now use its 1/day STRIKEDOWN regardless of what the item ribbon is, because it is a Polearm at the moment.
  • If under the effect of an Empower, I may call STRIKEDOWN with it. It is not currently a 1H spear so I don’t get to call CLEAVE if I am Empowered.

If I am using it in one hand:

  • If it has a magic 1H Spear ribbon on, I can use the magic because now it is a One-Handed Spear.
    -If I’m bound to a Yeoman’s Flag, I can’t use its power even if my spear has a POLEARM ribbon on, because you may not use a Polearm in one hand. It is currently a one-handed spear.
  • If under the effect of an Empower, I may call CLEAVE with it.

I’ll email this in at some point, but I think it’s pretty clear. Spear physreps may be used interchangeably but you can only use powers associated with a Polearm or 1H Spear when you have them in the correct grip.

I’m less sure than you that you can’t use a 1hspear magical power while it’s held in both hands, and that you can use a polearm-ribboned item in one hand at all.

My mental model here has the ribbon defining it as which weapon type it is; nothing stops you holding a 1hspear in two hands (nothing stops you holding a one-handed sword in two hands!), but the rules don’t allow holding polearms in one hand.

Please email - I could easily and consistently see calling both of those either way.

but they very clearly do as a spear (phys rep permitting) is a polearm OR a 1handed spear depending on how you hold it. My halberd on the otherhand is a polearm when held in 2 hands or a very unweildy (non-weapon) stick when held in 1 hand.

EDIT Actually re-reading the rules it is entirely possible to argue that there are no 2handed spears in Empire as the Polearms rules read: *“You can always swing a pole-arm at any enemy but you may also thrust with the weapon if it has a thrust safe tip… The phys-rep for a pole-arm should be any suitable phys-rep for a pole-arm designed for swinging or thrusting at an enemy such as a bardiche, halberd or bill” * As most (all?) Spear Phys Reps are unsafe for swinging you could argue that they cant be used in this way and instead count as 1H spears. This would clearly be silly :frowning: Has anyone e-mailed in about this yet? If not I shll as I am now very curious as to what he official answer/clarification might be.
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A pole arm must be wielded in two hands.

A one-handed spear is wielded in one hand.

A thrust-safe spear physrep may be used to physrep either, but is only a pole arm when wielded in both hands.

I’ve used this configuration with my current character for seven events.

I do get merced quite a lot but I attribute that more to my own flailing skill rather than the actual tools I’m using.

I think the main problem with it is its optimum engagement distance, which confuses a lot of people. It simply can’t fight at close range, shield-to-shield, unless you’re using a short spear. The whole point is to keep an enemy at bay - the shield takes care of longer polearms. You should really be using the shield to create openings to lunge the spear into. Standing behind the shield and prodding things is no way to fight at all, unless your shield is the same height as you.

The setup is ideal for supporting a battleline - carrying a shield you will be in high demand for cover against archers and also in bolstering gaps as they appear. Carrying a spear gives you an advantage over shorter weapons, while the shield actually helps against longer weapons if used correctly. I tend to hold enemy polearms off of me overhead while going low with a spear - in a linefight this is particularly effective as everyone else can get into the opening too.

It isn’t something I would recommend for an assault-type soldier. If you want to get in and gut your enemies and feast on their entrails, take a shorter weapon or two. If you like to be versatile but not typecast (as I do) then its a good combination, but situational awareness is everything (If I could summarise one piece of advice for any combat situation, ever, its Situational Awareness. Mirrors - Signal - Maneouver!)

I find individual combat is rather unwieldy with the setup, as although the shield keeps you fairly safe, you are never fast enough with the spear to take advantage of your enemy’s wasted attempts. If they use two weapons and are quick, you can tire yourself out trying.

I find its an ideal setup for covering someone’s exposed flank. Most often, and most successful I’ve been with it, is following a more coordinated unit who know what they’re doing and then guarding the bits they’re not looking at. The sight of a fresh shield and a long pointy thing is relatively intimidating and most who would be thinking about trying to get around the line will suddenly back up when they see the point coming at them. Its possible to hold off several enemies at a distance and that is where the advantage lies - unlike a polearm which, once committed to an attack presents an opening, the shield and stick combo offers all-round protection unless you’re in deeper than you should be.

This is best illustrated in my personal experience during a fighting withdrawal after a battle’s objectives had been attained. At E3 when we had the smaller skirmishes nation-by-nation(?) myself and a trusty friend who fought sword and board were basically the rearguard for the column. We got all the way back to the road without any injuries, keeping six or seven orcs at bay simply by menacing the right one at the right time so the rest stayed hesitant. Then when all was safe and we dropped our guard, we both got hit by arrows >:(

It is essential to carry a backup, however. In the battle of Ikka’s Tears, we were fighting so closely and back-to-back that my spear got trapped, in fact.

It’s definitely not a setup I’d recommend to anyone who wants to do great damage and get lots of kills. It is, however, something I’d recommend to anyone who’s uncertain about their abilities and wants to be useful regardless.