So I'm running a whip-bard, and I'm wondering whether taking a small whip in my off-hand would be considered a light weapon for two-weapon fighting? If so, that would make for -2/-4 instead of -4/-4 for using two one-handed weapons.

To follow on from that, would there be any material difference (apart from the 1d2 instead of 1d3 non-lethal damage against unarmored opponents that is going to do nothing ever) between the two weapons? I can't see anything else anywhere that would make a difference other than that you can't use Weapon Finesse for an inappropriately sized whip.



Weapon Size states:

The measure of how much effort it takes to use a weapon (whether the weapon is designated as a light, one-handed, or two-handed weapon for a particular wielder) is altered by one step for each size category of difference between the wielder's size and the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed.

That means that a Small Whip is considered a light weapon for a medium sized character (1 step of size difference)

In this case, you could use Two-Weapon Fighting with a -2/-2 penalty, plus the -2 for attacks with an inappropriately sized weapon, making it -2/-4, as you thought.

This topic on the paizo messageboards also addresses this question.

Effect of Weapon and Creature Sizes on Reach

Weapon Size

Nothing in the rules about weapon special qualities (such as reach) or Weapon Size says anything about weapon special qualities not applying for inappropriately sized weapons. This means that the reach quality is not altered at all by weapon size. If you were somehow able to handle a Gargantuan Whip (while remaining less than large yourself), it would still have 15ft. reach.

Creature Size

Reach Weapons states:

[...] Most reach weapons double the wielder's natural reach [...]

to a minimum of 5ft. reach for tiny or smaller creatures (see linked post below).

While this rule mostly works, the whip is different. According to the text, it just grants 15 ft. reach, instead of saying the reach is tripled. There is no text concerning the effect of creature size here.

The most official ruling on this is this post by James Jacobs, Creative Director at Paizo. The whip triples the creatures natural reach indeed, to a minimum of 10ft. for tiny or smaller creatures.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Cool, thanks. That has an interesting impact when you consider large creatures with whips, especially with Improved Whip Mastery - a creature with natural 15' reach would still only have 15' reach, but would threaten 20'. Balor rules seem to imply that that's not the case, though - whip should just increase reach by 10'... \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff May 8 '14 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jeff that is not correct. While the weapon size has no impact on reach, creature size does! Normally, a reach weapon doubles the threat range of a creature. A large creature with a longspear can attack 15 or 20 ft. away, but not 5 or 10 ft. away from itself. With whips, things get kind of weird, however, as they just state a range of 15 ft, instead of saying triple. I dug around on paizo, and found this statement by James Jacobs \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon May 9 '14 at 8:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have added some more information on reach and whips and creature sizes to my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon May 9 '14 at 8:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Awesome :) I wish I could upvote you more than once. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff May 9 '14 at 22:45

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