I'm planning on building a Gish for the next game I play in, and I was wondering how to best plan the build. I want power attack so I can do damage in combat, and I want to wield the weapon two-handed to get the most out of it. However, I need a free hand to cast spells.

The plan is to get a Scimitar (love the crit) and wield it in battle. One round, cast a spell (Glitterdust! you're now blind and I shall hit you!), and next, move up and smack him hard across the face with the sword. Again, I just need clarification on how/when I'm able to switch from holding the sword one-handed (so I can cast) to holding it two-handed (so I can kick $%%), so if crazy things like opportunity attack come into play, or immediate/swift spells, I know how to maximize my power attack.

I am looking for RAW (Rules as Written).

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    \$\begingroup\$ You ask a great question in your title but your question body totally loses sight of it. Try to focus more tightly on the single question at hand. \$\endgroup\$ – dlras2 Dec 3 '12 at 7:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! You might want to focus on a specific, answerable question instead of a discussion. Agreed with Dan Rasmussen. Also, check out the FAQ rpg.stackexchange.com/faq here for what to ask and not to ask. \$\endgroup\$ – LitheOhm Dec 3 '12 at 7:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the Bolding to clarify my exact question, and for adding the "looking for RAW" statement, which is EXACTLY what I am looking for! Also, thanks for the welcome! \$\endgroup\$ – twicetested Dec 3 '12 at 20:37

Well, looking at the description of a Not Action from the rules, under combat;

Not an Action: Some activities are so minor that they are not even considered free actions. They literally don't take any time at all to do and are considered an inherent part of doing something else, such as nocking an arrow as part of an attack with a bow.

I would think that it would fall in this category, so it shouldn't be an issue at all. That said, you should probably ask your DM. Different people see it as a different action, and the difference between a No Action and a Swift Action can really kill you, especially if you plan on using Quickened spells, or using the Arcane Armor training feats.

I once played an Eldritch Knight (six levels wizard, one levels fighter, three levels EK) who two-hand wielded an Elven Curve blade. The DM in that campaign said that while I could simply hold the two handed weapon in one hand to cast, switching between 'holding' and 'wielding' would be a swift action. So, I ended up needing to break everything into two turns: one to cast, one to attack. This limited me, since I couldn't do both in the same round, but I was able to work around it. My character was actually a transmutation specialist anyway, so I generally cast all my spells before combat, but before long I found that the Still Spell metamagic feat was quickly becoming my best friend.

EDIT: I found a ruling from James Jacobs, the creative director, on a similar issue: It's for two hand weapons, but I think it would apply.


It is a free action

The reason is well explained in this official FAQ:

Two-Handed Weapons: What kind of action is it to remove your hand from a two-handed weapon or re-grab it with both hands?

Both are free actions. For example, a wizard wielding a quarterstaff can let go of the weapon with one hand as a free action, cast a spell as a standard action, and grasp the weapon again with that hand as a free action; this means the wizard is still able to make attacks of opportunity with the weapon (which requires using two hands).

As with any free action, the GM may decide a reasonable limit to how many times per round you can release and re-grasp the weapon (one release and re-grasp per round is fair).

—Pathfinder Design Team, 03/01/13


RAW from compendium indicates this is a MOVE ACTION

The Rules compendium for 3.5 indicates on p8 Actions in Combat.

switch hands with an item is a move action that do not provoke attack of opportunity.

If dropping an item is free action, then the move action cost of this switch hands with an item is the taking it with the other hand part.

So it is similar to taking a 1H held weapon and adding the second hand to wield it with both hand (without the free action part of removing the first hand).

  • \$\begingroup\$ (The question is for Pathfinder.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 8 '18 at 11:45

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