Why does the Quarterstaff 5e not have reach in the edition D&D 2024

Why does the quarterstaff not have reach in the 5th edition D&D

In Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, quarterstaffs don’t have reach because a reach weapon would need to hit at 10 ft away. Holding a 6 ft long weapon would be impractical and any attacks you were able to make at this range couldn’t possibly be effective. 

Additionally, quarterstaffs are evenly weighted from end to end, making them terrible at delivering damage when swung at their maximum possible distance. 

Because it wouldn’t make much sense. Quarterstaffs are simple weapons. Basically, 6ft long wooden sticks with sometimes metal bands on the tips to make it last a bit longer.

quarterstaff in 5E D&D deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage, or 1d8 if wielded in both hands to make a melee attack courtesy of the Versatile property. And that’s the quarterstaff.

The answers to this so far have a lot of argument over game balance and how certain polearms of similar length are classified as having reached.

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No, that’s not the heart of it.

The fundamental reason is that the creators of Dungeons and Dragons either don’t know or don’t care how actual weapons and combat work. Mechanics for how weapons work in D&D are basically based on how they work in movies, TV, and pulp fantasy fiction.

In Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, the absence of the reach property for the quarterstaff is a deliberate design choice by the game’s creators. The design of weapons in D&D 5th Edition is influenced by a combination of game balance, simplicity, and thematic considerations.

The quarterstaff in 5th Edition is categorized as a versatile weapon, meaning it can be wielded with one or two hands. While historical quarterstaffs were often long and could potentially have reach, the decision not to give the quarterstaff the reach property in 5th Edition was likely made to maintain a balance among different weapons and to simplify the rules.

Reach is typically associated with certain polearms and other weapons in the game, and granting reach to the quarterstaff might have implications for game balance and the uniqueness of other weapons with the reach property. By not giving the quarterstaff reach, the designers maintain a clear distinction between weapons with and without that property.

It’s important to note that the design choices made in D&D are often a result of playtesting, feedback, and a desire to create a system that is both accessible to new players and engaging for experienced ones. While the quarterstaff lacks reach in the official rules, Dungeon Masters always have the flexibility to house rule or modify aspects of the game to better suit their campaign and the preferences of their players.

Why does the quarterstaff not have reach in the 5th edition D&D 2024

Now, this isn’t entirely bad. For example, there are reasonable game balance and game complexity concerns in, say, plate armor not making characters nearly immune to “slashing” damage as it does in real life, or armor having a bigger effect on characters’ mobility than it does in real life.

On the other hand, there are also inaccuracies that are just plain silly, such as a “longsword” still being a one-handed weapon that can be used two-handed to hit a little harder (a longsword is big enough to be very awkward if used one-handed, and using “hand-and-a-half sword” or “bastard sword” to describe such a weapon would be more accurate, although historically I’m not sure how often such terms were actually used), or the absurdity of “studded leather” armor.

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Why does the quarterstaff not have reach in the 5th edition D&D 2024

Studded leather is not merely fantasy armor in the sense that there is no historical evidence of it being used in real life, it is fantasy in the sense that people have made it, tested it against fairly accurate weapons and techniques, and found that it does not work.

So, back to quarterstaffs. The quarterstaff as portrayed in D&D is based on what seems to be mostly a martial arts movie portrayal of it as being a weapon that you hold in the center and strike and block (usually statically) with both ends fairly evenly, usually with a lot of flashy and unnecessary spins added on.

Now, gripping staffs nearer the center for better control or to strike with the butt is a legitimate technique, but just as often a quarterstaff would be held with both hands closer to the end, just like any other polearm – and, similarly, any polearm could be held closer to the center.

You could also thrust with a staff just like with a spear or halberd, and while it wouldn’t go through you it would still hurt to get hit by, especially in the face without a helmet (another place D&D follows the movies: helmets don’t really do anything unless they’re magic, because in fantasy movies heroes rarely wear their helmets since the audience needs to see their faces).

Quarterstaff | D&D 5th Edition on Roll20 Compendium

In real combat, someone with any polearm, including a staff, would adjust their grip based on circumstances. If you’re holding your staff in the center and someone is standing 6–10 feet away from you, you adjust your grip to give yourself more reach. If someone steps inside the reach of your long billhook and your weapon’s head are behind them, you move your grip closer to the center.

One other point to mention: yes, a 6 ft long weapon can hit someone “ten feet away.” The battle grid is an abstraction to make the gameplay actually function without real-time computation of hundreds of variables. In real life people are constantly moving around in combat – at least, if they have good footwork and aren’t in a tight formation like a shield wall, and both of those conditions are met by most D&D combatants IME.

If someone’s standing 8–10 feet away (depending on where in their square they are at the moment) and I have a 6 ft long staff, I can take a step or two forward as I attack, adding perhaps 2–4 feet, and my arms will be extended in front of my body, adding perhaps another foot, and then step back out of measure within much less than the six seconds of a combat round (note: I have no training in weapon-based martial arts.

Why does the quarterstaff not have reach in the 5th edition D&D 2024

I’m saying even I could do this). Could I do this with a 4 ft long longsword or rapier, or a 3 ft long arming sword, or a 2-and-a-bit ft long mace or ax? No. Could I do it with an 8 ft long spear? Yes, and I’d have to step or lunge even less. What about with a 12 ft long pike? Well, now I could lunge and stab someone standing fifteen feet away, but having a melee reach of three entire squares is problematic from a game balance perspective.

If we wanted to add further realism we could say that shorter polearms suffer an attack penalty when making a reach attack because it’s easier for the target to just step out of measure, but some simplification is acceptable, and in my opinion, it is quite reasonable for a combat system to just use “polearms have an extra square of reach” as a rule.

Why is the UA Mystic class for D&D 5th edition so broken?

The Mystic is not broken as a class overall, but with the way most people in here seem to play D&D, I could see how they would think so.

Here’s the thing, most people on here seem to only play campaigns up to around level 10–12. Either life happens or the DM gets scared of higher level powers and just ends it. So why does this matter? Well the Mystic only gets up to level 5 spells. So, when everyone quits their campaign you are quitting when the mystic is at its strongest and right before the wizard, bard, sorcerer, etc passes him on.

The Mystic is EXTREMELY versatile. By far the best at solving problems outside of combat. In combat, the mystic can do anything any other class can do…..just not as well. You need a controller? Mystic can do it. Need a damage dealer, mystic can do it. Need a tank, you guessed it…mystic can do it. However, the mystic will never be as good as a wizard or paladin, or barbarian in doing what they do.

Why does the quarterstaff not have reach in the 5th edition D&D 2024

The only real complaint about the mystic that I give any credence to is that the mystic doesn’t Need any components to cast spells like most all other casters do. Now, I never play in campaigns where anyone monitors component usage since most of the components are free or super cheap (exceptions might be made for those that cost thousands). But, if you are in a campaign where the DM is a stickler for components….I could see how that wouldn’t be fair.

Bottom line, the mystic is a Swiss army knife. He can do a lot of things, but not anyone thing the best. And if you ever play in a campaign past level 12….I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me. That said, I’ve only played the mystic once and seen one other player play it, so if you disagree please give me examples.

Why is D&D 4th Edition hated?

Thanks for the A2A.

Clearly everybody didn’t hate it – it was quite popular with a certain group of players, many of whom were brand new to tabletop role-playing games, and it still has a lot of support from that particular group.

I think the general idea that people mention below, that it was “too different” pretty much sums it up succinctly. A few specifics, from my point of view:

Drastic Change from 3E/3.5.

The 3rd Edition of D&D brought a lot of lapsed gamers back into playing D&D, and Wizards of the Coast and other 3rd party publishers did a lot of work to capitalize on that nostalgia and keep those older lapsed gamers interested and invested in the game. Tons of support material, campaign settings, adventures, and most importantly, 3rd party products (more on that below) came out. The group of formerly lapsed gamers, most of whom were in their 30’s, had a lot more discretionary income than a grade school kid or a staving college student, and they bought tons of material for the game. Wizards of the Coast also, for the first time, “pulled back the curtain” on how the mechanics of the game really worked, to make it easier to design your own monsters, spells, classes, and more for the game.

Why does the quarterstaff not have reach in the 5th edition D&D 2024

And then, when 4th Edition came out, rather than just fix the problems with 3.5, Wizards told consumers, “4th Edition is different enough that we recommend you wrap up your 3.5 campaigns before switching to 4th Edition. The changes are big enough that it will be nearly impossible to transition a game.”

That attitude really ticked a lot of people off, who had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into a game only to be told, “All that stuff that you bought will be useless in a 4E game.” It was bad marketing on the part of Wizards of the Coast, and a complete misreading of the marketplace and the consumers playing their games. There was no incentive for players of 3.5 who were still heavily invested in their current campaigns to switch to 4E. Basically, WotC had essentially told them, “Don’t bother.”

No Open Game License

One of the things that made 3E/3.5 so popular was the Open Game License, which allowed third party companies to create support material for the game. The idea was that they would make the stuff that Wizards of the Coast didn’t want to make (adventures, mostly) or couldn’t make due to having “more adult” content.

It didn’t quite work out that way, as basically all 3rd party companies created player “splatbooks” for various classes and races, that competed with Wizards of the Coast’s own offerings. But, a lot of unique and creative stuff was also developed. Some companies created content that appealed to niche old-school gamers.

Others pushed the boundaries into different genres, broke apart the components to create new styles of magic systems, or even used the license to recreate older versions of the game. When 4th Edition game out, Wizards of the Coast pulled back this style of Open Game License to make it much more restrictive, to the point that most third party companies opted to just avoid it all together and instead begin producing content for Paizo’s Pathfinder game (3.5’s successor, using the Open Game License) or to just create their own new games.

This, again, ticked off a lot of fans of D&D, as well as publishers, and basically forced those two groups to move instead to Pathfinder or to just keep playing 3.5. There was no incentive for them to switch to playing or supporting a game with a nerfed game license.

Complete Change in Play – Quarterstaff 5e

This was a big part, but as a few people mentioned, 4E tried to replicate playing a MMORPG, but as a tabletop experience. If you’ve only ever played an online RPG and then switched to 4E to try a tabletop game, it was probably pretty cool. If you were used to tabletop RPGs, particularly D&D and how various classes and powers worked, it was such a huge change as to almost not be recognizable as D&D any more. Yes, the class names are basically the same, but the way those classes operate was so very different. The game created new classifications of the types of characters you had to have in your party (Controller, Defender, Leader, Striker) and the rules made it pretty clear that if your party didn’t include at least one of each type, you were going to be in a world of hurt.

While earlier editions of D&D worked best with a variety of different class types in a party, 4E was the first edition to tell you straight up that you better build your party that way. And then within these classifications, there was very little differentiation between the classes in each of those categories (see below). Groups that preferred to focus on player skill, versus character skill, or who preferred non-traditional party compositions and prefer to focus on role-playing instead of combat, had little to no incentive to switch to 4E.

Classes Too Similar

In earlier editions, a fighter was very different from a wizard or a thief/rogue. In 4E, wizard spells were turned into “powers” and fighters also got “powers” and basically all powers, when you boil them down to their most basic, seems to all do the same thing – WEAPON (or 2x Weapon or 3x Weapon) or 1d6 (or 2d6 or 3d6) plus Ability Score Bonus plus “push a character back one square.” That’s a bit of an over-simplification, but it’s not too far off the mark. Fighter “powers” started to just feel like spells, given the way they were described in the Player’s Handbook, and also how they were presented. They were identical to Wizard spells. So, at that point, all of the classes started to just feel the same, with only minor differences in how they operated in the game, mechanically. Players who wanted much more differentiation in how different classes operate in the game had little incentive to switch to 4E.

Presentation Was Boring

This is something that affects most modern games, but I particularly noticed it with 4E. In the 3.5 Player’s Handbook, the Fighter entry takes up fewer than two pages, and most of that is background stuff, talking about why they adventure, what races tend to be fighters, how they get along with other classes, and typical alignments. In the 4E Player’s Handbook, the Fighter entry is FOURTEEN pages long and almost all of that is page after page of different Powers, all presented in the same type of stat block that just makes your eyes tired because the basic set-up for each power is repeated over and over again. It’s boring, and more than anything, is what turned me off to reading the book. I want to sit down and start playing. I don’t want to spend hours trying to figure out the best combination of fourteen pages of powers. Players who preferred more flavor text instead of powers-based character builds had little incentive to switch to 4E.

Again, this is something that has become far too common – Pathfinder does it, too, with their backgrounds and various options to choose from at every level, but I first noticed it with the 4E Player’s Handbook.

Full disclosure: I only played 4E twice, and I was in the middle of a 3.5 campaign I was running (and which is still continuing now), and after learning that converting from 3.5 to 4E would not be as simple as converting from 3E to 3.5, I chose not to make the switch. I have the books for 4E but they’ve never really seen use at my gaming table.

In D&D 5th, what is a good time (level or otherwise) to let player characters acquire magic items (specifically weapons and armor)? Is there a table in the DM Guide for this?

The mechanics of D&D 5E are such that magical items are effectively optional. You can run an entire campaign with no magic items and still manage to get through. However, if you want to consider what effects magic items have on the party, then listen and loin!


Be generous with single use magic items like potions and scrolls. It will let your party go longer between rests and, if their lucky, maybe even let them take on greater challenges.

A Note on Tiers – Quarterstaff 5e

This is a mechanic of D&D 5E that is often overlooked. There are four tiers of play between level 1 and level 20. Basically, as you adventure, you rise up your tier but the challenges in your tier remain the same. That way, players get the feeling like they are becoming more powerful. When they advance to the next tier, they experience that feeling of being a small fish in a big pond again.

Advantage to Roll

Advantage has the biggest impact if you have a natural 50% chance of success on the roll, and amounts to to a +5 bonus. However, that bonus tappers off quickly as you get better or worse at making the roll. Therefore, the effect of magic items that grant advantage to rolls quickly lose their effect as the character moves up the tier, until they advance to the next tier.

Boots of Elvenind, Necklace of Adaptation, and Rope of Climbing are examples of these magic items.

Bonus to Roll – Quarterstaff 5e

Magic items that offer a bonus to rolls have longer reaching effects. They allow a character to punch above their weight class, allowing them to take on greater challenges. For instance, giving a +1 weapon to a tier 1 character lets them roll attacks and damage as if their were a tier higher.

Again, lower bonuses have a greater impact at the beginning of a tier while higher bonuses tend to be noticeable for longer.

Wand +1, Gauntlets of Ogre Power, and Gloves of Thievery are examples of magic items that grant a bonus to a roll.

Bonus to Hit Points – Quarterstaff 5e

This is a bit of a broad category since it covers all manner of armour, amulet, and protective device. Combat in D&D can be described as a race to 0 hit points. Therefore, the more hit points you have, the longer you can stay in the race.

Magic items that either increase your AC (Armor +1), increase your hit points (Amulet of Health), or reduces the amount of damage you take (Ring of Evasion) fall into this category.

Being able to hang on to hit points longer does two things. First, it lets the party go longer between rests, and, second, it lets the party take on greater challenges.

Magic Items That Reproduce an Ability

These are pretty common, as far as magic items go. The obvious examples are scrolls and potions but can also include staves, and wands. Any item that mentions a spell by names, such as Cape of the Mountebank or Ring of Featherfall, also fall into this category.

As mentioned, these magic items are going to be the ones you give out the most frequently. They have the effect of extending the party’s time between rests. I like to think of these as the DM’s Little Helpers. If you are generous with these magic items, and keep the players from finding resting places too often, you can really speed up your game.

Finally, Everything Else – Quarterstaff 5e

Let me tell you a story about Daern’s Instant Fortress. This is a 1-inch cube that turns into a 20′x 20′ x 30′ tower. I gave this to my party while I was running a 5E conversion of the classic Against the Giants. So what does the party do with this fortification? They place it on an alter dedicated to some eldrich horror then activate it, thus eliminating the alter and the source of power for all evil priests in the area!

A lot of magic items can be used in novel ways to overcome otherwise challenging obstacles. Bag of Tricks, Sovereign Glue, Alchemy Jug and Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments all have 101 uses if you can figure them out.

Don’t be too generous with these magic items, though. Having a lot of options at hand can lead to analysis paralysis for your party.

What is the most useful class in D&D Quarterstaff 5e edition?

If I had to pick the one class I think every group really, really needs, as in I as the DM would play a character of this class for a small party (1–3 people)

I’d say the Cleric.

A cleric can cast spells so they can do ranged magic damage. They can fight and tank, and they can heal. Of course, they can’t do the kind of damage a Wizard or Sorcerer can, nor can they fight and tank-like a Fighter or Paladin can.

But they can heal better than anyone else and other than expendables like potions there aren’t many other sources of healing in D&D, and every party will need healing during a fight from time to time. The party can get by without a Rogue especially if the DM doesn’t put a lot of traps into the game. But I think just about every party needs a cleric or at least a paladin.

Does that mean someone should be forced to play a cleric? Hell no! everyone needs to be free to pick what they want, and if a group of 4+ players doesn’t have a cleric then that can still work. But if I was going to play an NPC to help bolster the party, due to a small group and no one else played one, it would be a cleric.

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What was some good thing about 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons?

4th Edition knew what it was and knew it unabashedly. For the first time in D&D’s long history since Chainmail[1], D&D had a laser-like focus on combat.

This allowed the designers to create an exceptionally well-tuned system for making fights fun and exciting. Have you ever tried to run a fight in TSR-era D&D of any flavor? Unless the players are trying to do something clever, it usually sounds like this:

  • Miss.
  • Miss.
  • Hit. Eight damage.
  • Miss.
  • Miss…

There is nothing exciting about TSR-era combat that the players don’t bring to the table themselves. (This is largely because combat in TSR-era D&D is a failure state[2]. But that’s an entirely different topic.)

Why does the quarterstaff not have reach in the 5th edition D&D 2024

4e combat, by contrast, is where the fun is, and they really made it fun. Not only do you have interesting decisions to make about what your character is doing, a finely tuned group will be able to create synergies between the decisions of the individual players, creating something akin to the attack combos of an arcade fighting game. You didn’t just need to break out the minis, you wanted to. You could talk with the other players between games to set up how you were going to support each other in combat.

The fighter became the most complex class in the game and of equal importance (if not killing power; the fighter was your defensive line after all) to the wizard. If your favorite part of D&D is the fights, then 4e should be your D&D.

How should I play a rogue in D&D?

I’ve played and DMed for a few rogues in my time. There are two big things you should keep in mind when playing a rogue. And after that, I’ll talk roleplay.

Don’t forget sneak attack.

It is so important to know the way your ace in the hole works, you should know how, when and where sneak attack should apply.

You are in a party.

It is very easy as a rouge to what to go off on your own and sneak off to save the day, grab some gold and get off scot-free. After all, if you leave that clunky fighter behind you could kill those bandits without ever sounding the alarm. But you’re part of a group, rogues work well on their own, but D&D is a group game and if you want to play a game where you are the star of the show then you should play a video game.

Roleplay: Quarterstaff 5e

There is a lot to unpack in your rogue character, but the main thing is that they are very skilled and very deadly. Now how did you learn how to sneak so well? Were you trained in an elite spy academy, or forced to hide to avoid beatings from your drunken father?

Maybe you’re not a stealthy rogue, maybe you’re a magician who has mastered the art of misdirection, and confuses his foes with a sudden bouquet of flowers before stabbing them with a hidden knife.

The rogue class leaves a lot of room for creativity and versatility. From assassins to treasure hunters there are thousands of ways to bring your character to life.


about six feet because a quarterstaff is only about six feet long, whereas any weapon with reach can hit ten feet away. Staff is basically a long stick, possibly shod in the metal of some kind, but to have reach you have to actually, you know, reach that far.

Can you use Dex for a quarterstaff?

Quarterstaff qualifies for the Polearm Master feat. This means that you‘d be giving Dex-based character access to a pretty high powered feat.

Is a quarterstaff a simple weapon?

4 lb. A quarterstaff is a simple two-handed melee weapon in the staff weapon group. … Other classes do not have proficiency with the quarterstaff as a class trait, but any character can become proficient by taking a Weapon Proficiency feat.

What is a quarterstaff DND?

Description. A quarterstaff is a double weapon. You can fight with it as if fighting with two weapons, but if you do, you incur all the normal attack penalties associated with fighting with two weapons, just as if you were using a one-handed weapon and a light weapon. … The quarterstaff is a special monk weapon.

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How big is a quarterstaff?

6 to 9 feetQuarterstaff, a staff of wood from 6 to 9 feet (about 2 to 3 m) long, used for attack and defense. It is probably the cudgel or sapling with which many legendary heroes are described as being armed.

How is HP 5e calculated? Quarterstaff 5e

At the first level, you calculate your hit points by adding your constitution modifier to the highest possible total of your class’s assigned hit die. (E.g. if you’re a level, one cleric, with a constitution modifier of +3, then your hit point maximum with being 11.)

5E D&D Quarterstaff Not So Simple After All

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists, Dave and Ted examine what it means to fight with a quarterstaff in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Our theory-crafting videos like this one differ from our Character Build Guides in terms of specifics. We’ve been talking about roleplaying games with our friends for decades and turning on the camera invites other nerds into the conversation without tying down ideas to technical details.

This video topic emerged while we were talking about the shillelagh spell and expanded into quarterstaves including wielding one in each hand or a quarterstaff in one hand and a longsword in the other like Gandalf is seen doing in the Lord of the Rings films.

Making the most of the quarterstaff in 5E D&D

A quarterstaff in 5E D&D is a versatile weapon, and I don’t mean only because of the Versatile weapon property. A quarterstaff is a simple melee weapon any character can use and even if an adventurer can’t muster 2 silver pieces, finding a suitably stout length of wood might serve the same purpose. The Basic Rules make a clear case for substituting a wide variety of objects as true weapon analogs.

A quarterstaff magic item for everyone Quarterstaff 5e

Now we’re getting to the good stuff and discovering quarterstaff magic items. While nearly every official 5E D&D quarterstaff magic item requires attunement, many of them have no other requirements meaning a character of any class can put them to good use. The next time you create a character, perhaps for a one-shot or starting at a higher level with the option to choose magic items, here’s a list of quarterstaves in 5E D&D anyone can use. And if you’re a real quarterstaff aficionado there’s a nifty magic item you can use to store all your quarterstaves for easy access:

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Do quarterstaffs have reach?

As mog pointed out, the quarterstaff and spear only have a reach of 5ft, the others have a reach of 10ft

What are the rules for the quarterstaff in 5E?

A quarterstaff in 5E D&D deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage, or 1d8 if wielded in both hands to make a melee attack courtesy of the Versatile property. And that’s the quarterstaff. Pretty simple but talking about it while planning for the video really piqued our curiosity.

Does quarterstaff use STR or DEX?

It does not count as a finesse weapon. Monks get their DEX to attack and damage whenever they wield a monk weapon or go unarmed – if it is higher than their STR. So yes, you get DEX for the quarterstaff, but it is still not a finesse weapon for any other purpose.

Does quarterstaff use STR or DEX?

Is quarterstaff 1d6 or 1d8?


Quarterstaff2 sp1d6 bludgeoning

Because it wouldn’t make much sense.

Quarterstaffs are simple weapons. Basically, 6ft long wooden sticks with sometimes metal bands on the tips to make it last a bit longer.

A reach weapon would have to hit at 10ft away, which holding a 6ft long weapon would be extremely impractical and any attacks you were able to make at this range couldn’t possibly be effective.

Beyond that, on top of it being a simple weapon in the sense it’s easy to make, it’s also a Simple Weapon, as opposed to a Martial Weapon. It’s supposed to be weaker and with less special qualities than other similar weapons ( as in it’s suposed to be a weaker polearm-type weapon )

In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, why don’t longswords have reach like greatswords do?

Greatswords don’t have reach.

Both weapons have a normal range of 5 ft, enough to hit the adjacent 5 ft square.

Reach is defined as adding 5 ft. to your normal attack range with that weapon.

This is a 5 ft. square. The standard combat area for a medium creature in D&D.

Now the assumption is that you can reach comfortably into the adjacent 5 ft squares and attack what is in them with both longswords and greatswords.

What you CANNOT do, is reach beyond to a square 10 ft. away with the 2 weapons noted, as should be obvious from the picture. Because a quarterstaff is only about six feet long, whereas any weapon with reach can hit ten feet away. A staff is basically a long stick, possibly shod in metal of some kind, but to have reach you have to actually, you know, reach that far.

What’s the longest possible reach for a melee attack in 5E D&D?

35 Feet.

  1. Be a bugbear, this gives you a reach of 10 feet.
  2. Take 14 levels in Barbarian. At level 3 pick Path of the Giant, while raging your reach increases by 5. Reach of 15 feet.
  3. At 4th level, take the martial adept feat and pick lunging attack. Reach of 20 feet.
  4. At 14th level while raging your reach increases by 10 feet. Reach of 25 feet
  5. Get the Living Shadow dark gift, you can increase your melee attack range by 10 feet a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus per long rest. 35 feet.
  6. Use any weapon with the reach property. Reach of 40 feet.
  7. You are done with your build! You can now hit someone from 40 feet away!

If I were to be a tank in D&D 5e with some combination of Sentinel, Shield Master, and/or Polearm Master, would it be more beneficial to use a shield or a weapon with reach?

If I were to be a tank in D&D 5e with some combination of Sentinel, Shield Master, and/or Polearm Master, would it be more beneficial to use a shield or a weapon with reach?


You have mastered techniques to take advantage of every drop in any enemy’s guard, gaining the following benefits.

  • When you hit a creature with an opportunity attack, the creature’s speed becomes 0 for the rest of the turn.
  • Creatures provoke opportunity attacks from you even if they take the Disengage action before leaving your reach.
  • When a creature within 5 feet of you makes an attack against a target other than you (and that target doesn’t have this feat), you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against the attacking creature.

Polearm Master

You gain the following benefits:

  • When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, quarterstaff, or spear, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. This attack uses the same ability modifier as the primary attack. The weapon’s damage die for this attack is a d4, and it deals bludgeoning damage.
  • While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, quarterstaff, or spear, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter the reach you have with that weapon.

Shield Master

You use shields not just for protection but also for offense. You gain the following benefits while you are wielding a shield:

  • If you take the Attack action on your turn, you can use a bonus action to try to shove a creature within 5 feet of you with your shield.
  • If you aren’t incapacitated, you can add your shield’s AC bonus to any Dexterity saving throw you make against a spell or other harmful effect that targets only you.
  • If you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you can use your reaction to take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, interposing your shield between yourself and the source of the effect.

Sentinel is the baseline common to all three, and allows the character to exercise great battlefield control within your reach. Thus, as all polearms offer reach, a polearm allows you to lockdown considerably more possible foes. And if you tack this a bugbear PC, thanks to the racial trait long-limbed, your reach becomes + on top of that. Thanks Nate Kordik without whose periodic mentions of it I wouldn’t have recalled.

Of the combinations under consideration:

  • Sentinel + Polearm Master. Reach of 10′, immobilizes foes if they provoke and you hit. And when you take the Attack action you can club them for the additional d4 bludgeoning damage. Philosophically I like it, but as a friend always liked to say in BattleTech, some weapons are just for insult purposes.
  • Sentinel + Shield Master. The big advantage this offers is the bonus action to shove, which could knock the enemy prone. If successful, the grant advantage to melee attackers. This is less about direct battlefield control and more about working with other party members like the rogue.
  • All three. I’m not sure you can wield a shield simultaneously while using a polearm that offers reach, unless it’s the quarterstaff, so provided you aren’t interested in dishing out damage, this is your choice.

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