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I am playing a Warblade weilding a Spiked Chain.

I have one head of the chain enchanted with +1 Sweeping, and the other head with +2.

My question is, if I have the +2 end as my main attack, and the +1 as offhand, can I still choose to make a Trip attack with the +1 end anytime I choose? How easy is it to switch the ends of a double weapon?

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Spiked chain is not a double weapon. It's a continuous reach finesse weapon with disarming and tripping properties. –  KRyan Apr 10 at 22:04
    
Also, you do not "have" one end as main and the other as offhand. The terms main and offhand are not used, and have no meaning, except during Two-Weapon Fighting. If you are not using Two-Weapon Fighting, it's just an attack, not main or offhand or anything else. Two-Weapon Fighting and the main/offhand designations apply only during the full-attack in which you use Two-Weapon Fighting; as soon as that full-attack completes, both ends become equal again (including for AoOs). –  KRyan Apr 10 at 22:24

1 Answer 1

tl;dr: Yes, you may attack freely with either end of a double weapon, except when using Two-Weapon Fighting, where the offhand attack cannot be made with the same end as the main attack.

You may use any weapon you are wielding for any attack. You may choose which wielded weapon you use independently of the choice you made for any previous attacks; that is, you are never “locked in” to any particular weapon (or “locked out” for that matter, with one major exception explained below).

Choosing a weapon for an attack is not even a free action; it is a non-action component of the attack itself. There is not actually any point where you “change” which weapon you are using; each attack simply lets you choose a weapon, independently of any prior attacks you may have made.

Thus you may use a different weapon for each attack, or the same weapon over and over, or whatever. For double weapons, this means that both ends are available for any given attack. It does not matter if the previous attack was in the last round, or was an attack of opportunity just before your turn, or was a previous attack in a full-attack: the weapon you choose to use for this attack is completely independent of the weapon you chose to use for any previous attacks.

Note that choosing to use different weapons for each attack in a full-attack does not constitute using Two-Weapon Fighting. If you have multiple attacks for iteratives, haste, or whatever else, you may choose the weapon you use for each attack independently, and you take no penalty for choosing a different weapon than the last attack. You only take a penalty when you explicitly use Two-Weapon Fighting to get a bonus attack. This bonus attack is also the aforementioned big exception.

Big Exception: Two-Weapon Fighting

There is one major exception to the general case where you may use any wielded weapon: Two-Weapon Fighting (or Multiweapon Fighting). These combat options give a bonus attack, known as an offhand attack, but this offhand attack must be made with a different weapon than the main attack that it is paired with (and in the case of Multiweapon Fighting, a weapon different from any prior offhand attacks in the same set).

In other words, you are not free to choose a weapon you have already used when taking the bonus attacks offered by Two-Weapon or Multiweapon Fighting.

Double weapons explain that, as a special exception to the Two-Weapon Fighting rules, you may use the same double weapon for both attacks when using Two-Weapon Fighting, but they must be made with separate ends of the double weapon, and you take attack penalties as if you were wielding a one-handed weapon and a light weapon.

This is the only time where one end of the double weapon would not be available as an option for an attack: if you used an end as the main attack when Two-Weapon Fighting, the bonus attack must be made with the other end.

Also, note that you do not “have” one end as main and the other as offhand. The terms main and offhand are not used, and have no meaning, except during Two-Weapon Fighting. If you are not using Two-Weapon Fighting, it’s just an attack, not main or offhand or anything else. Two-Weapon Fighting and the main/offhand designations apply only during the full-attack in which you use Two-Weapon Fighting; as soon as that full-attack completes, both ends become equal again (including for attacks of opportunity during that round).

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I'd also add that although you're restricted to the off hand weapon for your bonus Two-Weapon Fighting attacks, nothing in the rules stops you from using the off hand weapon during the non-bonus attacks. Granted, you'd still make those attacks with the off hand's penalties. –  Doval Apr 10 at 23:06
    
So a Spiked Chain cannot be used in conjunctiion with Two Weapon Fightiing? I could have sworn it was a double weapon, but rereadiing it's description I guess I was wrong. –  EisenKreutzer Apr 10 at 23:06
    
@Doval Actually, “offhand” and “main” don’t actually mean anything at all except when you’re making those paired attacks that TWF grants. When you aren’t doing that, the weapon isn’t your offhand weapon at all – it’s just a weapon that you’re wielding. –  KRyan Apr 11 at 0:10
    
@EisenKreutzer Correct. The spiked chain is actually a far superior weapon to any double weapon; the continuous-reach property is extremely desirable, as is the ability to trip. A very good weapon for a warblade, though some Tiger Claw maneuvers (like wolf fang strike) won’t benefit from it. –  KRyan Apr 11 at 0:11
    
If you're interested in dual wielding reach weapons, in the DMG there is the Kusari-Gama, a one-handed Exotic reach weapon used as an example for an 'oriental' setting. You can dual wield those puppies, and having seen someone do it in real life, you look hella awesome too. –  Jack Lesnie Apr 11 at 1:29

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