Polearm Master (page 168, Player's Handbook) says

You can keep your enemies at bay with reach weapons. You gain the following benefits:

• When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. The weapon’s damage die for this attack is a d4, and the attack deals bludgeoning damage.

• While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, or quarterstaff, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.

It seems to me it should just be a typo, but I checked the Wizards of the Coast Errata and couldn't find any mention of the pike being added erroneously or left out. Is there a designer's reason for pikes not getting a bonus action to attack? All of these weapons save the quarterstaff seem unreasonable to wield the butt ends, at least to me.


Pikes are very cumbersome

Jeremy Crawford confirms in this tweet that pikes are not meant to be included as they are too unwieldy. It makes sense: pikes were often twice or thrice as long as their wielder, and as such it would be impossible to swing it around as a part of a chain of attacks.

It should be noted that pikes were, in historical warfare, reserved for rather defensive purposes. Their main use was holding a formation, not running at targets alone to impale them like DnD pikemen often do - that's where spears were usually better.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Likely the same reason that a Lance isn't included, either. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 11 '17 at 14:15

According to Jeremy Crawford, lead designer of D&D 5e, it's too unwieldy:

Pike: Too unwieldy, in our eyes, for the feat's benefits.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Huh. So there's no mechanical reason to exclude the pike; the designers just thought that whipping it around and smacking a dude with the butt end was unrealistic. (Insert It's a fantasy game! rant here.) Would the game's balance be upset were the asker to make a house rule that included pikes in the first list? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 10 '17 at 11:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Only if piercing vs slashing is a really important distinction in your game. The pike is mechanically identical to the halberd and the glaive other than damage type. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Dec 10 '17 at 11:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wanted to use a pike because it seems like our GM throws every monster in the book with slashing resistance at us. On that note could I reverse the glaive and do two butt end attacks (I'm a 5th level Barbarian) and one normal attack? \$\endgroup\$ – Voromir Kadien Dec 10 '17 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could a wield a quarterstaff (versatile) in 2 hands for 1d8 bludgeoning damage on the front end, and then 1d4 with your bonus. Thematically, it wouldn't make sense to use the same end of the weapon both times. \$\endgroup\$ – M C Jan 18 '18 at 20:51

Pikes are typically 12' to 18' long, and are not wieldy enough to do that with. Yes, it's a fantasy game, but part of the idea is to make a plausible world for the characters to interact with.

Of course, if this rankles you too much, the DM at the table is free to decide that you can whip around a 12' pike like nun-chucks.

Personally, I missed charging as a common battle tactic, added rules for the property of "charging", similar to the old 1st ed., to weapons that you can charge with, and added that property at my table to javelins, spears, pikes, and lances. There was a discussion here recently about the right stats for using machetes as melee weapons. Customize as you like, just be aware that other tables will not work the same way.


Look at the damage type.

A pike is different than the other polearms in that its damage type is piercing. The others all do slashing or bludgeoning. Glaives, halberds, and quarterstaffs are swung (rotated) by the wielder, making a back end bludgeoning feasible by a master between swings. A pike is a thrusting weapon, so I really can't imagine hitting a target with the back end between thrusts.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ unless ofcourse its the guy behind you when you pull back from the thrust... but, that is more comedic (Stoogey even) than effective \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Gorman Dec 13 '17 at 21:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like it -- bonus attack with blunt end of pike must target a different creature, like T Rex bite and tail attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – pteranodon Dec 21 '17 at 12:51

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.