I understand usually a quarterstaff is usually treated as a double weapon with 1d6/1d6 - however it seems like regripping it should allow use as a two handed weapon using only one end to get more out of using power-attack with it. However shouldn't that change the base damage too? If so to what?

  1. Do stats for wielding a staff that way exist already?
  2. If not, what's a sensible way to deal with it?

More info for 2:

The blade-weapon damage progression goes from 1d4 dagger to 1d6 short to 1d8 longsword to 1d10 bastard to 2d6 greatsword.

Wood-weapon damage goes from 1d4 stake to 1d6 club to 1d6/1d6 quarterstaff to 1d10 Greatclub.

All other martial 2HW with 1d8 damage have some special properties. Would it be balanced to allow a quarterstaff wielded like a 2H sword 1d8 damage? Probably not as a simple weapon, since most wizards don't use both ends of the Quarterstaff anyways due to lack of TWF, so this would grant them all a +1 to average damage; but it seems fine for characters with martial proficiency, given other options available.

I'm a player in a campaign where we rescued a bunch of guards who were robbed wandering unarmed through the forest. I asked the GM if I could "help" him with designing the guard NPCs. While designing them I grew a little attached so I wanted at least one cool battle with all of them in it. Thus they need weapons.

Most grabbed sticks as clubs, some got quarterstaffs, as those are inexpensive/free and thus can be quickly crafted along the way using the Craft rules - but one of them took power-attack/cleave/pushing-assault and wants to make good use of that. I'm considering letting him grab a greatclub, but at 50 sp value "crafting" one would take actual time/skill - neither of which they have. And 1d10 is considerable damage. So maybe use small tree as improvised version of Greatclub (-4 to hit), but his bonuses are low already, especially with powerattack. Thus 2H non-double quarterstaff seemed like good idea.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ended up making a half-staff with 1d8 dmg. \$\endgroup\$
    – Julix
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 1:27

4 Answers 4


To answer your first question, yes, rules for using a quarterstaff that way is already in the rules. They're under "double weapons" and "Two-handed weapons" in the PRD.

Double Weapons: Dire flails, dwarven urgroshes, gnome hooked hammers, orc double axes, quarterstaves, and two-bladed swords are double weapons. A character can fight with both ends of a double weapon as if fighting with two weapons, but he incurs all the normal attack penalties associated with two-weapon combat, just as though the character were wielding a one-handed weapon and a light weapon.

The character can also choose to use a double weapon two-handed, attacking with only one end of it. A creature wielding a double weapon in one hand can't use it as a double weapon—only one end of the weapon can be used in any given round.


Two-Handed: Two hands are required to use a two-handed melee weapon effectively. Apply 1-1/2 times the character's Strength bonus to damage rolls for melee attacks with such a weapon.

So yes, the core rules already provide for this.

(In fact - and I regret I don't have my rulebook here to check - I'm pretty sure that a wizard using a quartstaff is actually given as an example of this in the Player's Handbook.)

On your point 2, note that the greatsword, greatclub and other two-handed weapons you mention are weapons that require two hands to wield. They require two hands because they are larger and heavier than weapons that do less damage; Their being larger and heavier is also why they do more damage, not he fact that they require multiple hands to wield. Wielding a weapon two-handed does multiply the strength bonus you apply to damage, as mentioned above, but has no effect on a weapon's damage dice.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ This. I was going to call attention to the 1.5X strength on two-handing one-handed weapons (and double-weapons), but you beat me to it! So to paraphrase, there's no need to increase the damage on the weapon, its not getting bigger or any more effective. You're just putting more strength into the blow. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 8:56

This usage of a quarterstaff is historically attested (in fact, it predates the middle grip we're more familiar with from media), and your houserules seem to be well thought out and balanced well enough. As you say, "All other martial 2HW with 1d8 damage have some special properties," so houseruling a "new" 2H 1d8 martial weapon isn't unbalanced.

There are other games that model quarterstaves being used in this way, and although they don't give it any extra extra "oomph" for leverage (the difference is apparently more a matter of style), giving it a single 1d8 of damage without extra benefits in exchange for its usual 1d6/1d6 is consistent with D&D's weapon-modelling idiom.

Don't forget that all weapons used two-handed get one and a half times the Strength modifier as a damage bonus instead of the usual ×1 Strength bonus. If you weren't accounting for that already it might make the damage potential of a 1d8 quarterstaff slightly more than you were intending, but your reasoning still holds: most other martial 2H weapons that deal 1d8 also carry some other special effect, so this isn't overpowered.

That said, since the motivation for this houserule was to ensure a feat remained useful, and since the rules already allow the 2H use that the feat applies to, you might decide to drop the houserule. It's not a bad house rule, but if that's the only reason you were considering it, it's not necessary.


Base Damage Should Remain Unchanged

The quarterstaff's advantages--as a double weapon, as a two-handed weapon, as a simple weapon, as a monk weapon (okay, not much of an advantage there), and, most importantly for your situation, as a free weapon--are sufficient for a stick. The guard with the feat Power Attack can totally use his feat to the hilt already with the quarterstaff; it's a two-handed weapon despite being a double weapon. If you want these quarterstaffs to inflict more damage, I suggest...

  • a unique kind wood found in the area that's heavier or spikier or whatever.
  • the quarterstaffs being naturally occurring magical quarterstaffs yanked off a magic tree. Gygaxian DMs will have these quarterstaffs' magic fade a day or two after yanking.
  • replacing one of one guard's class features with a homebrew class feature that permits quick-and-easy superior weapon crafting in natural settings.

Changing how the quarterstaff works sends ripples throughout the game system and can have unintended consequences later.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ To be fair, I see a homebrewed class feature creating far more ripples than an upgraded damage die. But +1 for creative thinking; Love the Gygaxian DM bit. As for "a unique wood" try the Special Materials entry, specifically materials like darkwood. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 9:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o Quarterstaffs will far outnumber folks who'd consider such a class feature. Further, any alternative solution means not worrying about the quarterstaff house rules for every published foe armed with a quarterstaff. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 9:44

There are already rules for using double weapons as regular two-handed weapons

The weapon’s base damage di(c)e don’t change, but you get the 1½ Str to damage and the increased returns from Power Attack.

Between those advantages, and the very high number of feats necessary for TWF, the consensus is actually that this is the optimal way to use double weapons (which, effectively, means that you should never use an exotic double weapon since you shouldn’t be using its double status anyway, which means you should save yourself the feat).

Thus, the weapons do not need a base-damage bonus for this use. Double weapons as a pair of weapons are weak enough as it is.

Strict RAW, though... you actually get those benefits while using both ends

Double: You can use a double weapon to fight as if fighting with two weapons, but if you do, you incur all the normal attack penalties associated with fighting with two weapons, just as if you were using a one-handed weapon and a light weapon.

(emphasis mine)

Double weapons may be used as with two weapons, and when you do so you get the attack penalties of fighting with a one-handed and light weapon. It doesn’t make the double weapon, or either end of it, one-handed or light for any other purpose – including damage. And the double weapon is, after all, still being wielded with both hands. Thus, strict-RAW, you get 1½ Str to damage and increased returns on Power Attack even while using both ends.

This ultimately doesn’t usually matter that much; the TWF feats require a ton of Dexterity so it’s hard to pump your Strength enough to overcome, say, Sneak Attack damage. The one case where it makes a big difference is the TWF ranger, who gets the feats without needing to meet the requirements: thus the ranger can actually take advantage of this bonus by pumping his strength.

It’s still a very feat-intensive tactic with less than stellar results, though. It’s almost certainly unintended, I’ve never met a DM who played it that way (excepting those to whom I specifically brought this up, several of whom were willing to allow it), and it runs counter to most people’s intuition. In D&D 3.5 (which actually had different text but it worked out the same), there was even a prestige class that gave this effect as its capstone benefit, giving pretty strong suggestion that it wasn’t intended as the default.

But it does, finally, give an actual purpose to double weapons: it’s not a great use-case but at least there is some situation where someone optimization-conscious might actually want to use Exotic Weapon Proficiency for a double weapon

Easier houserule: just make up a new free weapon

Give it the stats you want, call it a separate weapon. Far fewer side-effects than changing how every double weapon ever works.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ There's a difference between two-weapon fighting and two-handing. If you two-hand a quarterstaff in order to attack with only one end you lose the extra attack granted by the "off-hand" end of the weapon and two-weapon fighting, but gain the ability to strike once with 1.5X Str; two-weapon fighting no longer applies. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 15:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o I wasn't merely asserting here; I laid out exactly why the rules work the way I claim in my answer. If you want to argue that point, A. this isn't a great place for it, and B. you have to address my actual argument, not merely assert that I'm wrong. The long and short of it is, while you get the extra attack as if using Two-Weapon Fighting, and take attack penalties as if using Two-Weapon Fighting, you don't actually have two weapons, and the one weapon you have is wielded in two hands. Nothing says it deals damage as anything other than a two-handed weapon. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 15:55
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ You do not get the 1.5xSTR when two-weapon fighting with a double weapon, you get 1x and .5x "just as though the character were wielding a one-handed weapon and a light weapon." Proof is every monster stat block that uses a quarterstaff, e.g. d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/monstrous-humanoids/… \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 16:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Grammatically, the "just as though the character were wielding a one-handed weapon and a light weapon," line refers to attack penalties only. So that is what the rules actually say. I absolutely agree that your interpretation is the intended one, and it doesn't surprise me that they used it for monsters. That's fine, but also not relevant to the answer I submitted. The statement made is that it's not what the rules say, regardless of intent, and that the rules work better this way. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 16:38
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ A Double weapon is considered two weapons, but only when TwF. They do explain what that means. "Just as if..." means you treat it as two weapons. Its not meaningless on its own because that is the ruling. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 17:16

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