[RPG] Does a weapon become an Improvised Weapon when used incorrectly


Example: You are armed with a longsword. You are facing a monster with DR 5/bludgeoning. Clearly a weapon that deals slashing damage is not the best choice against such a monster. But there is hope.

In historical swordsmanship there is a technique called the Mordhau, the murder strike. It involves flipping your sword around and holding it in such a way that won't cut your fingers off when you hit someone with your pommel or crossguard, effectively turning your slashing weapon into a bludgeoning weapon. But would such an attack make your weapon an improvised weapon, and hence suffer the -4 penalty on an attack roll, or will it not suffer this penalty and allow you to attack normally?

I would prefer a RAW answer if it exists.

Best Answer

It would be an improvised weapon.

A special attack such as that would exist in a feat, whether it be core, supplemental, or third party (or a class feature). An example of a feat would be:

Haft Strike

Prerequisite: Two-Weapon Fighting.

Benefit: When wielding a polearm two-handed you may choose to attack with the haft of the weapon. You may only perform this attack as part of a full-attack action. This additional attack is at your highest attack bonus and deals damage like a club of the same size as the pole arm. Although the haft does not possess any of the bonuses associated with the weapon (such as flaming), it does count as magic for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction if the weapon is enchanted. When using this feat, each attack you make in that round (the extra one and the normal ones) suffers a -2 penalty. You only receive half your Strength bonus on damage rolls with this attack. This feat cannot be used with a double weapon.

Normal: The haft of a non-double weapon is considered an improvised weapon and cannot be used as part of a full-attack action.

What you have done, is essentially turned your sword into a metallic club, and would deal damage as a club of its size as an improvised weapon. You are indeed, improvising, in using your sword in such a manner. If a sword was literally designed for such an attack, it would have a pommel on the end of the blade.

DM Ruling

Speak with your DM. He may be agree to lessen the penalty by half or so depending on the role-playing aspects, weapon focus style feats, and etc. Paizo also has Improvised Weapon Feats that can remove the penalty altogether no matter what you want to use as what kind of weapon. He may allow those feats into his campaign.

Key Point

The sword was not designed for such an attack. Just because the wielder improvises, adapts, and overcomes is merely a testament to his knowledge as a martial artist. Doing the best with what you have and making more with less is the improvisational and technological mantras that helped make us who and what we are.