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The Pathfinder FAQ states that:

Power Attack: If I am using a two-handed weapon with one hand (such as a lance while mounted), do still I get the +50% damage for using a two-handed weapon?

Yes.

—Pathfinder Design Team, 05/24/13

and that

Weapons, Two-Handed in One Hand: When a feat or other special ability says to treat a weapon that is normally wielded in two hands as a one handed weapon, does it get treated as one or two handed weapon for the purposes of how to apply the Strength modifier or the Power Attack feat?

If you're wielding it in one hand (even if it is normally a two-handed weapon), treat it as a one-handed weapon for the purpose of how much Strength to apply, the Power Attack damage bonus, and so on.

—Pathfinder Design Team, 07/19/13

Is this completely contradictory or am I reading this wrong? Has the team addressed this elsewhere?

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That sounds like a contradiction, yeah. (I wonder if the first was intended but not said to be specific to lances, which are designed to be used one-handed when mounted.) –  SevenSidedDie Oct 3 '13 at 19:14
    
It could apply only to cases where a feat or special ability says to treat it as a one handed weapon specifically, rather than a more general "you're using that weapon in one hand" case. Or it's a contradiction. It's hard to tell. –  Tridus Oct 3 '13 at 19:20

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I’m not a huge fan of using the FAQ or developer posts on the forum as a rules-source; on numerous occasions the statements made have made little sense, contradicted the rules or previous statements, and so on. And ultimately, I don’t really care what Paizo thinks the correct answer is so much as I care what’s best for my game. For the purposes of improving my game, I also care about what the rules actually say, so I know when I have to let players know that things are working differently.

So, with that in mind, I’m going to just stick to the wording of Power Attack itself:

This bonus to damage is increased by half (+50%) if you are making an attack with a two-handed weapon, a one handed weapon using two hands, or a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls.

Emphasis mine. A two-handed weapon, even wielded in one hand, gets this benefit from Power Attack. Maybe that’s a good ruling, may it’s not, but it’s what the rule says; if I wanted to change it, I’d explicitly note it as a houserule.

Now, when you wield a two-handed weapon in one hand, there are two possibilities. Either the rules say “you may wield a two-handed weapon using one hand“ or “you may wield a weapon that’s normally two-handed as a one-handed weapon.” In the first case, it is still a two-handed weapon: it gets the 50% extra damage from Power Attack. In the second case, it is now no longer treated as a two-handed weapon, and thus does not receive that bonus.

In my own game, I’d happily houserule that anything that lets you wield a two-handed weapon “ as a one-handed weapon” still lets you apply the damage bonus, and furthermore that this situation lets you use two-weapon fighting normally even though it might still be treated as a two-handed weapon, because these sorts of abilities are very minor, and are often outrageously overpriced. The classes that receive them, or care enough about them to take them as feats, are grossly underpowered. Since I find that such power disparities make my game less enjoyable for all involved, I’d change it in a heartbeat.

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So for example, a bastard sword wielded one-handed would not get the 50% bonus since it begins life as an exotic one-handed weapon. However, it would receive that bonus if wielded two-handed as a martial weapon. Correct? –  Ellesedil Oct 3 '13 at 20:57
    
@Ellesedil Correct. Note that even a regular one-handed weapon (rather than a hand-and-a-half weapon like the bastard sword) gets the bonus damage from Power Attack when wielded with both hands. That’s because of the separate entry (“, a one handed weapon using two hands,”) in the feat for those weapons. –  KRyan Oct 4 '13 at 0:12

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