After a fiery dispute with another player about why you shouldn't be able to cheese a magus to both use spell combat and 2-handed attack with only 2 arms, I came up with an equivalent for non-magic user:

  1. Wield a one-handed weapon in primary hand and a spiked gauntlet in the offhand.
  2. Use full-round action for two-weapon fighting.
  3. Change grip to wield the weapon two-handed with offhand as well.
  4. Attack with the weapon, using 1.5 strength modifier.
  5. Drop it as a free action.
  6. Use Quick-draw to draw another one-handed weapon with offhand, as a free action.
  7. Change grip with primary hand to wield it two-handed, as a free action.
  8. Make another 2-handed attack with 1.5 strength modifier.
  9. Repeat on every turn until you run out of weapons.
  10. Spend an hour collecting your weapons after every encounter.

By common sense, it shouldn't be allowed, but I want to know which exact rules forbid doing this.

Is this sequence of events allowed by the game's rules?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Why does it matter if the offhand or primary hand is the one drawing the new weapon? \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Apr 20, 2019 at 5:05
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you do step 8 on the same turn, or on later turns? I'm trying to figure out whether you're looking at an exploit for infinite attacks in a turn, or just using two-handed weapons and two-weapon fighting simultaneously. \$\endgroup\$
    – BBeast
    Apr 20, 2019 at 5:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ What's the goal here? I'm not seeing how this is any better than just attacking normally. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Apr 20, 2019 at 19:11
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think—if I can make a very bold assumption—that the difficulty folks are having with this question is that nowhere does the question say that A) the warrior is taking a full-round action to B) use two-weapon fighting. Could the question confirm whether or not these two conditions also apply? (I mean, if the warrior is not taking a full-round action, he stops after completing step 6, but if he is and also two-weapon fighting, then this becomes an interesting question!) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 21, 2019 at 1:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why is the spiked gauntlet relevant here? Just so you begin your turn with two weapons? If you can draw a weapon as a free action, just begin your full turn drawing a dagger, drop, then make your 2handed attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Apr 22, 2019 at 12:17

5 Answers 5


The Hands of Effort FAQ is what ultimately forbids this.

Armor Spikes: Can I use two-weapon fighting to make an "off-hand" attack with my armor spikes in the same round I use a two-handed weapon?

Likewise, you couldn't use an armored gauntlet to do so, as you are using both of your hands to wield your two-handed weapon, therefore your off-hand is unavailable to make any attacks.

When you wield a weapon in 2 hands, you are considered to have both hands occupied for fighting. Therefore, you cannot use two-weapon fighting by releasing one hand and drawing another weapon or using an armor spike (or some other method).


There are two main issues with this strategy.

Free action switching

First, the rules on free actions mention that

there may be limits to the number of free actions you can perform in a turn

That means there's no hard rule on how many weapon switches you can do, but it does mean the rules allow a DM to place limits on unreasonable weapon switches, without resorting to houserules.

You are allowed to use free actions while performing another action, as explained in this question's answer.

Multiple attacks

Second, and most importantly, attacking requires a standard or full-round action.

The "Attack" standard action allows you to make an attack only, as your standard action for the round.

If you want to make more attacks, you'll have to use the Full Attack full-round action. That still doesn't allow you to attack as many times as you want - it only allows you to use more attacks that you get

because your base attack bonus is high enough (see Base Attack Bonus in Chapter 3), because you fight with two weapons or a double weapon, or for some special reason, you must use a full-round action to get your additional attacks.

If your base attack bonus is high enough, nothing (besides the first point) prevents you from switching weapons and using your second attack with the new one - but you don't really gain anything, either, compared to just attacking with the one weapon.

Two-weapon fighting doesn't apply here, since you're not (simultaneously) wielding a second weapon in your off-hand, which is what two-weapon fighting requires.

While natural weapons have a rule that allow you to attack once with each of them, regular weapons have no such rule. Unless there's something that lets them attack multiple times, you only get to attack the one time, and none of the regular methods described above allow you to gain more attacks than usual.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does a free action allow you to interrupt a fullround action? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 20, 2019 at 19:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ According to the answer to this question, yes. I'll add it to the answer. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 20, 2019 at 21:17

Regardless of your example, Magi cannot use a 2-handed weapon with Spell Combat.

The Spell Combat ability establishes this quite succinctly:

This functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast. ... To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components)

Your off-hand is busy casting the spell, grabbing material components, or otherwise for the entire duration of your attack. You do not somehow get the hand back to perform your attack after the spell is cast. You cannot also use it to assist with your weapon swing.

Your example nearly mirrors this; you could not gain Two-Weapon Fighting benefits by repeatedly drawing Greatswords. You could, technically, do so to chain attacks (with GM Free Action allowance) using BAB of 6 or higher.

The pertinent text from Two-Weapon Fighting:

If you wield a second weapon in your off hand, you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon.

While you only have one weapon out, you do not have an "off hand"; all characters in Pathfinder are presumed to always be using their primary hand (even if you decide to swap which hand your weapon is in, you would be "ambidextrous"). Particularly, while wielding a weapon two-handed, both hands are doing what they need to do to use that weapon.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the question is about a cheese for martial class, and not magi (that was the point of Momonga previous question): "I came up with an equivalent for non-magic user:" \$\endgroup\$
    – Nyakouai
    Apr 23, 2019 at 8:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ OP suggests that it's the source of this question, so I address it directly. I also answer the question as a whole \$\endgroup\$ Apr 23, 2019 at 15:28

I can see four ways of dealing with this:

  1. DM is rule zero, but sometimes this is a cop-out like it seems here
  2. There is a DM arbitrated number of free actions that can be performed. As the hand(s) are performing at least four (1 - change to two-handed, 2 - drop, 3 - draw, 4 - change to two-handed), it could easily be seen as too many related free actions.
  3. Not RAW but RAI: the hand(s) has been used in an attack; without high BAB it cant be used in another attack
  4. feat flavor text - "You can fight with a weapon wielded in each of your hands" and this could be taken as the weapons must be wielded at the same time.

I looked in equipment weapons (requires some searching), two weapon fighting feat, and combat.


What you described is valid, if the GM permits it

You described a full attack sequence using free actions to switch grip and quick draw more weapons for two-weapon fighting. And all written rules on those mechanics will permit your character to do that.

According to this FAQ on iterative attacks during two-weapon fighting, you are allowed to continue your attacks after dropping a weapon and draw another:

If you have Quick Draw, you could even start the round wielding only one weapon, make your main attack with it, draw the second weapon as a free action after your first attack, and use that second weapon to make your iterative attack. As long as you're properly using the BAB values for your iterative attacks, and as long as you're not exceeding the number of attacks per round granted by your BAB, you are not considered to be using two-weapon fighting, and therefore do not take any of the penalties for two-weapon fighting.

And there is no FAQ or developer commentary on that specific situation described. All we got is specifically talking either about armor spikes or spiked gauntlets, which are only relevant in their own context. Not only that, we got a FAQ saying that a wizard may begin his turn wielding a staff two-handed, free a hand to cast a spell and switch his grip to wield it two-handed again. If anything, the developers intent is unclear.

In other words, you can freely change weapons between attacks as long as the GM allows you to do that many free actions during your full-round action. But the GM has the final word on that (see this FAQ).

Personally, I would not allow that. Just like when using Spell Combat (see bellow), and based on the spiked gauntlet FAQ, you are no longer fighting with two weapons once you switch your grip to wield one of those weapons two-handed, in my opinion.

The situation for Spell Combat is different

You said:

why you shouldn't be able to cheese a magus to both use spell combat and 2-handed attack with only 2 arms

But Spell Combat has a different wording, and more restrictions in play. This has a lenghty answer here, but I will try to keep this short and only quote James Jacobs (Creative Director at Paizo) saying that this cannot be done for Spell Combat:

James, a PC of mine wanted to know if the weapon limitations of a Bladebound Magus were for fluff or game balance? (Context : He wanted to have a greatsword as his Black Blade)

That's a Jason question... but overall, magi do not use two-handed weapons. They need to keep a hand free for spellcasting—they're not "fighter/wizards" as much as they are two weapon fighters who just happen to use spells as their off-hand weapon. So two-handed weapons are nonsensical in most cases—the staff magus is the only one I know of that breaks that rule.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You missed the crucial point of making all of those attacks two-handed \$\endgroup\$ Apr 23, 2019 at 8:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Now its crystal clear of what Im talking about when I said "what you described". \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Apr 23, 2019 at 10:55

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