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Are characters suppose to be carrying their weapons at the ready all the time? It came up in a game that one was always carrying around their weapon in their locked gauntlet which renders the time to put a weapon in or take it out a moot point. It lessens the value of being able to draw a weapon as part of a move action when your BAB is greater than zero, and also the feat quick draw. Just by those options and the fact that the locked gauntlet requires time suggests to me that its not meant to be a full time at the ready carry.

As part of their defense they mentioned that shields are rarely taken the time to be donned and are always considered to being readied. Which is a valid point for their case as I do treat shields that way because their strapped to the body.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Small grammar change, the term is 'moot point' \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jun 3, 2018 at 8:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ No, I don't know why that term was made \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jun 3, 2018 at 8:42

4 Answers 4

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There are no rules preventing someone wielding weapon and shield all the time. By raw they can even sleep with a shield on, however silly that may sound. You could, if you are the DM, introduce role-playing reasons for them to sheath their weapons.

But first ask yourself, do you REALLY care about this detail? Some game put real focus on the societal part and laws of the land, is your game like that? If the party are just hacking skeletons and raiding old ruins, I personally don't think it's worth bothering.

That being said, towns people wouldn't look too kindly at people with weapon drawn, caravan guards and state patrols on the road may react preemptively and violently at a group of people approaching with bloody weapons. Think about how someone may react to a random person coming at them with a blade, in a setting where danger may lurk in every corner.

If you want extra realism. Historically, so called “battle-field weapons” such as most two handers are, as the name suggest only used on battle fields. No one will be hauling a halberd or great sword around, not even maces, those are put on the luggage train. Someone with a great axe can mean only one thing, they intend to use it, in the immediate future, beside looking like an idiot that is. Plus there's no realistic way of carrying them on the person (besides magic) other than holding them in your hand. Depend on the how much "savagery" is around, it may be unjustified and should put alarm bells ringing in the head of everyone they meet.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think "how would you react" is a valid point when referencing fantasy material... having weapons is borderline common in most of the setting, where peasants may have to defend their farm from invading monsters. Otherwise a solid answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jun 3, 2018 at 8:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ That came out wrong, I reworded it, thanks :). \$\endgroup\$
    – agodlikeme
    Jun 3, 2018 at 8:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not true. Shields are armor, so any armor wearing penalty applies to shields. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jun 3, 2018 at 8:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ not sleeping penalty for armor for pf, i stand that what i wrote for the first part is accurate. \$\endgroup\$
    – agodlikeme
    Jun 3, 2018 at 8:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think @thedarkwanderer has a point. There are ways to carry even great weapon on your person. Although going through a door might be problematic in town. Not that this invalidates the point about some weapons being seen as battlefield weapons, especially if said weapon is drawn. \$\endgroup\$
    – 3C273
    Jun 3, 2018 at 15:41
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Sure, they can do this

There's nothing to prevent you wielding a weapon at all times if you want to, besides the obvious and tractable restrictions around sleeping and eating and defecating and such.

However, wielding e.g. a trident in a locked gauntlet and a tower shield whilst refusing to put either down even for a moment makes many otherwise trivial tasks nigh impossible. You can't open doors with knobs. You can't drink a potion. You can't shake someone's hand. etc.

So, yes, PCs can carry weapons at the ready for long periods of time. But doing so indefinitely is rather difficult, even if you don't mind looking extremely uncool.

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The only real rules issues arise when the character A. attempts anything that requires a "free-hand" because they don't have one if they're wearing locked gauntlets or B. tries to sleep with shields, or armour without the proper enchantment(s). There are however some logical consequences around closing off opportunities for diplomacy, having to draw a weapon means that you aren't waving edged steel at someone you've only just met and don't know the intentions of. Waving a sword at someone by way of greeting, especially a sword you can't quickly drop, tends to end badly, or it should.

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Do the rules prohibit the characters to always carry a weapon ready?

No, they don't. At least I didn't see anything like that in the rule book.

Is it physically possible to always carry your weapon ready?

Yes, it is. But it is very tiring. As a person who plays LARP (Live-Action Role Play), I can tell you that even the foam weapons that most western countries seem to use nowadays can be rather cumbersome to carry. People usually try to free their hands: they sheathe their one-handed weapons, they hand their large weapons to a weapon bearer if they have one, they put their weapons aside when not in an immediate danger.

A typical fantasy LARP that I have played was very, very dangerous for the characters (and in some cases also for the players), so those who valued their in-game lives would usually constantly be ready for combat or have a bodyguard nearby who would protect their lives if they were attacked. And even then people don't roam around with a two-handed sword always ready for action.

Not only it is tiring, it also makes it impossible to e.g. eat, sleep, shake hands with someone, etc. So, your characters, unless they are super unhumans, likely cannot constantly carry a weapon ready for an immediate strike, but, granted that they live in the dangerous world of Forgotten Realms, can ready their weapon rather quickly when needed. This likely wouldn't require a full round, but rather a move action for a capable character, and a bit longer for someone untrained -- just as the rules say about unsheathing a weapon. Your 2-meters-long halberd isn't necessarily sheathed in a scabbard, but from my experience, it takes around the same time to pick it up if it stands near you as it takes to unsheathe a sword.

Should it be OK from a role playing perspective to always roam around armed?

It depends on the way you and your group imagine the society of your setting. I can tell you what is assumed at most fantasy LARP games: this knowledge might be useful because you cannot "forget" about this question at LARP.

Because the world is very dangerous, it is usually not considered strange to roam with a weapon. Moreover, it would be considered strange if you encountered someone without a weapon on your way outside of a completely safe settlement (and even there it is rare). Roaming the roads unarmed can even make someone want to interrogate you.

Because everyone usually carries weapons on person when possible, it is usually considered OK to enter settlements with a weapon. However, a settlement might make a rule that weapons are to be left at the entrance. Or that weapons are allowed on the streets, but not in the king's palace, etc. It really depends!

Bearing arms was usually way more common in our real-life past than it is now in most countries. Assault and robbery were a lot more probable events, as was an encounter with wild animals, and it required an adequate response. If you want to make a reasonable and "realistic" policy about arms in a given settlement, you could research the topic and copy a policy of e.g. an existing historical city of a similar background. Weapon regulations were sometimes very interesting, and, of course, produced people who tried to "game" the system... There is so much to discover and include in your games! Of course, your players probably shouldn't know that your copied policy was originally found in a real-life city.

Take note, again: it would be unreasonable to apply an arms bearing law of a completely peaceful place to a city where it is common to see the undead besieging its walls.

In any case, someone roaming the city with a two-handed sword readied to strike would attract attention no matter the situation. Is that someone going to strike an innocent being, if nothing happened and things are peaceful? Or are those undead already under the walls and that someone is ready to crush some skeleton skulls, and you should probably join?

So, overall, I would say that it is not reasonable to automatically assume that the player characters are always ready for combat, but they could opt to be, facing the social and practical consequences such as being unable to drink water (because their hands are occupied) or having problems entering someone's home because they are holding an unsheathed sword. In some areas it wouldn't even be reasonable to assume that your PCs are allowed to carry their +5 Adamantine Halberds on person. Use your common sense to find an answer for your exact situation.

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