In Pathfinder, is it possible to use a ranged weapon with feats and abilities like Diva Strike which normally require a melee weapon, if the weapon is fired at melee range? It's fairly easy (albeit feat intensive) to make a ranged weapon threaten (Snap Shot) and not provoke attacks of opportunity for firing (Point Blank Master) or reloading (Deft Shootist, or use a bow), but qualifying for other abilities seems more difficult. I'm not talking about thrown weapons here, but projectile ranged weapons (preferably firearms).

Solutions from reputable third party sources and 3.5 are also acceptable.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I edited your title to talk about counting as melee attacks, rather than as melee weapons, as Bloody Assault requires melee attacks. It is plausible for these to be separate things—I know of 3.5e options where a bow counts as a melee weapon, but its ranged attacks are still ranged attacks, not melee attacks—so I wanted to make that clearer. Since Bloody Assault is just an example you chose, though, you might want to review if you are also interested in any feats that require a melee weapon, rather than a melee attack—there may be more options. Might be a separate question though. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 28, 2020 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, also, for that matter, are D&D 3.5e materials acceptable here? It’s not quite the same thing as a third-party Pathfinder source, but as far as reputation I’m not aware of any third-party publishers that have as good a reputation as Wizards of the Coast :P \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 28, 2020 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair point - I misread Bloody Assault as requiring a "melee weapon attack" rather than a "weapon melee attack". The actual motivation for this question is the Mixed Assault talent from Spheres of Might, which calls for you to be wielding a "melee weapon" - I decided it would be better to stick to paizo materials in phrasing the question. Spheres isn't exactly great at using rules language carefully, though, so they might have meant "melee attack". And yes, 3.5 content is also acceptable. \$\endgroup\$
    – pi4t
    Feb 28, 2020 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don’t think terribly highly of Spheres, myself, but in fairness to them, neither Wizards of the Coast nor Paizo was ever all that careful about “attack with a melee weapon” versus “melee attack,” either, even though they are different things. With any of this content, there’s not much to do aside from take them at their word that they meant what they said, or double-check with the GM. Anyway, if that’s the case, you should probably edit the question to either just say that, or else find a Paizo option that calls for a melee weapon rather than a melee attack. They’re definitely out there. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 28, 2020 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Adjusted the question to refer to Diva Strike instead of Bloody Assault. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – pi4t
    Feb 28, 2020 at 16:46

2 Answers 2


Elvencraft Bows

The 3.5e supplement Races of the Wild includes “elvencraft bows,” which are described as

An elvencraft bow is thicker and heavier than a normal bow. An elvencraft shortbow functions as a club when wielded as a melee weapon. An elvencraft longbow functions as a quarterstaff when wielded as a melee weapon.

So an elvencraft shortbow, on some level, is a club as well as it is a shortbow, and since a club is a melee weapon, so is the elvencraft shortbow. Likewise with the elvencraft longbow with respect to being a quarterstaff.

One can, however, make an argument that the bow only “functions as a club when wielded as a melee weapon,” and that when taking ranged attacks, you aren’t wielding it as a ranged weapon, so it doesn’t function as a club, and therefore those ranged attacks aren’t attacks with a melee weapon. However, the counterargument to this is that of course it only “functions” as a club when used as a club—but regardless of how it’s used, it still is a club, since it has the ability to be used as one. This gets to be an almost-philosophical argument about whether a thing’s function is enough to define what that thing is, and ultimately you’ll have to ask with the GM on it.

Going beyond the rules themselves, this makes these projectile weapons rather like thrown weapons, being both melee and ranged. Thrown weapons, for what it’s worth, don’t have any of this “functions as when” nonsense, and are pretty conclusively both melee and ranged weapons regardless of how they are currently used. This can get messy, but having there also be projectile weapons with this property doesn’t especially make things messier.

Bloodstorm Blade

The 3.5e supplement Tome of Battle includes a “bloodstorm blade” prestige class, which gains the following feature at 2nd:

Thunderous Throw (Ex): [...] As a swift action, you can choose to treat your ranged attack rolls with thrown weapons as melee attacks for the rest of your turn. You use your melee attack bonus, including Strength bonus, feats, and so forth, to determine your attack bonus for each attack as normal, but you apply the standard modifiers for range penalties. Attacking into melee, through cover, and so forth incurs the standard penalties.

This only applies to thrown weapons, but explicitly allows them to be used for “melee attacks,” and not just as “melee weapons.” Maybe this is relevant to you, maybe not, but it seemed worth mentioning.


Empty Quiver Style

Benefit: While using this style, you can make melee attacks with the chosen weapon as if it were a heavy mace (or a light mace for melee attack made with a hand crossbow or one-handed firearm), though you don’t automatically threaten the area around you as if you were wielding a melee weapon.

An argument could be made about whether this works, so ask your GM. (I don't know if it would be good enough for PFS.) This feat also makes reference to Stabbing Shot, but Stabbing Shot definitely won't work for this-- it lets you "make a melee attack" but does not reference any melee weapons.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .