I'm about to be starting a campaign as a Warblade, and I've been trying to figure out the answer to this question, but so far I haven't seen it specifically addressed anywhere:

If I'm wearing a spiked gauntlet, which can be used to hold a two-handed weapon, can I make a Full Round attack and then take the hand off my two-handed weapon at the end of my iteratives and make an attack with the spiked gauntlet?

As far as I know, taking your hand off a 2h weapon and putting it back on are both free actions, so I can't see anything that would say I couldn't, I would just take an attack penalty for two-weapon fighting. Nor should I need to drop the weapon (an 8 lb. Falchion with a leather grip isn't much to an 18 Str orc).

Am I thinking along the right lines here or is there something somewhere that says I can't do it that way?


4 Answers 4


Depending on the DM's interpretation, this may be a possible strategy...

Two-weapon fighting relies on the DM's definition of the slippery verb wield:

If you wield a second weapon in your off hand, you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon. (PH 160).

And that's because what wield means in game terms is unclear, and whether wield means worn or used in an otherwise empty hand like most other light weapons is certainly made no clearer by the spiked gauntlet description. Thus...

  1. If the DM rules that wield means worn, then two-weapon fighting with the spiked gauntlet and a two-handed weapon is a valid strategy. In such a campaign, a creature is always wielding its spiked gauntlet while it's worn. That means a creature's full attack looks like you describe in your question: take the full attack action to make an attack with the falchion, take a free action to remove one hand from the falchion, make an off-hand attack with the spiked gauntlet, and take a free action to return that hand to the falchion.

  2. If the DM the rules that wield means used in an otherwise empty hand like most other light weapons, then this isn't a valid strategy. In this case, if a creature's wielding the spiked gauntlet, he's not wielding the two-handed weapon because one hand wields the spiked gauntlet, and if he's wielding the two-handed weapon, he's not wielding the spiked gauntlet because both hands wield the two-handed weapon. He can't ever simultaneously wield both the spiked gauntlet and the two-handed weapon, therefore failing to meet the wield requirements of two-weapon fighting.

...But try to avoid some arguments by using armor spikes/spiked armor

While the DM must rule whether a spiked gauntlet is an appropriate off-hand weapon while also employing a two-handed weapon, a creature wanting to use two-weapon fighting while wielding a two-handed weapon could employ armor spikes/spiked armor, which says specifically

You can also make a regular melee attack (or off-hand attack) with the spikes, and they count as a light weapon in this case. (PH 124).

But, despite that text, the DM may determine that nothing's changed the armor spikes/spiked armor from a light weapon, and to wield this light weapon still requires the weapon to occupy 1 otherwise free hand. This ruling returns the two-handed weapon wielder to the same spot he was in when he attempted to use the spiked gauntlet.

In other words, ask the DM, and hope for the best.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Epiphanis The Dragon #319 Wizards Workshop column "Sage Advice: Tough Questions: Official Answers" says, "If you use the full attack action, you can use armor spikes as either a primary light weapon or as an off-hand light weapon, even if you’re using a shield or using a two-handed weapon" (103). Your ruling is interesting enough to let the answer stand, though. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 20, 2015 at 10:46

You can't use that hand to harm an enemy, because you're already using that hand to harm an enemy.

While wielding a two handed weapon, both of your hands are contributing to your full attack, and you can't attack twice just because you switched weapon. Would attacking with a weapon in your right hand once (because attacks must go in order of BAB), then dropping it and attacking Twice or trhice with your gauntlet (or with a Quick Drawn weapon) starting from Full BAB again be a valid tactic?

No, because you already used that hand to do that attack, even if with a different weapon.

For the same reason you can't use a claw attack with the same hand you used for wielding a two-hander, even if the rules for natural attacks are different than those for two weapon fighting.

This comes even before worrying if the gauntlet has to be considered wielded or going into whether you can two-weapon-fight while holding just one weapon at a time.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You wouldn't allow polearm wielders to threaten adjacent with spiked guantlets? (Outside of TWF) \$\endgroup\$
    – Wyrmwood
    Jul 7, 2016 at 22:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Wyrmwood I would (because the opportunity attack is made outside of your turn and not as a part of the full attack you already did with the two-hander, thus you have to choose which one to use. I wouldn't allow anyone to deal two opp. attacks one with each weapon, but there's nothing like a full opportunity attack, so the rules already prevent it tangentially). \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Jul 8, 2016 at 17:15

You can't do this because once you're done your iteratives with the two-hander, you have no actions left with which to attack with any other weapon, even one that's free to get ready for attacking.

To do this, you would need to start your attack in two-weapon fighting "mode" — which you obviously can't with a two-handed weapon in either just one hand, or occupying both hands, making one or the other unwielded.

So either way you slice it, attacking with a two-hander prevents you from using the spiked gauntlets as part of your on-turn attacks.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You can explicitly use free actions in the middle of a full-attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 15, 2015 at 20:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan True but irrelevant. Once you let go of the two-hander with your off hand, you're no longer wielding it, preventing your spiked gauntlet from satisfying the 'wielding' plus 'second' conditions in "If you wield a second weapon in your off hand" that triggers the extra attack permission. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 15, 2015 at 22:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ A surprisingly legalistic response; was that for my benefit? I assume that you prefer this answer not for the legalese but for verisimilitude? Anyway, my counter would be that you would choose the Two-Weapon Fighting option prior to having to actually make the attack, i.e. while still holding it with both hands. As I said to HeyICanChan, I’d consider the spiked gauntlet wielded in that case, but even if not, your unarmed strike is (since it could be a kick or headbutt), so you wield two weapons even while holding the two-hander with both hands. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 15, 2015 at 23:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Sometimes the rules just seem plainly contrary to online beliefs about RAW and matches my sense of verisimilitude. I wouldn't buy the unarmed thing for the same reason, since (as you say) "wield" is undefined and having an unready hand that's fully occupied doesn't seem to qualify as "wielded" under any circumstances, not allowing the TWF choice to ever be legal with a two-hander. (Barring tri-kreen of course.) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 15, 2015 at 23:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I do agree with your position, but your "2WF not applicable once you let go your main weapon" rationale looks poor to me. Do you think it would be possible to use a one-handed weapon held two-handed and a gauntlet to pull off what Buznik asked? \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Jul 6, 2016 at 18:04

I don't see anything in the rules that specifically prevent you from making one or more primary attacks with a weapon wielded with two hands and attacking with spiked gauntlets as an off hand attack, but there are certainly some reasons why your DM may not allow it.

It's not how monsters work

If you look at the werewolf lord, when in hybrid form, the monster has two primary claw attacks and a secondary bite and there's a bastard sword as well under the attack listing. Under the full attack action, we see when the werewolf lord is using a bastard sword, only the bite attack is listed as a secondary attack. The mechanic here is combining natural weapons with manufactured weapons, not two-weapon fighting, but why doesn't the werewolf lord gain a secondary claw attack when using a bastard sword, since he doesn't need to hold the weapon in two hands when not attacking with it? The same is true of the bearded devil, horned devil and ice devil. Tacitly, each listing is implying the rule; you can't gain a secondary attack while using that limb for a mechanical weapon. Making an attack with a spiked gauntlet after using that limb to make an attack with a two-handed sword would seem to violate this implied rule. Each of these monster listings has the Strength bonus to damage listed as 1.5. Which leads to the next point.

It's the equivalent of x2 Strength bonus

When fighting with two weapons, the primary hand gains x1 Strength bonus to damage and the off hand gains x0.5. When wielding a weapon with two hands, you gain x1.5 Strength bonus to damage. Allowing an off hand weapon with a two handed weapon grants x2 Strength bonus (total). Nothing in the rules cap the Strength bonus, but the DM may. Alternatively, the DM could allow it, but treat the two-handed weapon as the "primary hand", only gaining x1 Strength bonus.

Extra shield benefit

The same sort of over benefit occurs if you fight with a one handed weapon and shield, and make an off hand attack with armor spikes. You are now benefitting from the shield bonus and the off hand attack. If the attack had been made with the shield, retaining the bonus would require Improved Shield Bash. Perhaps again, even though legally acceptable, the DM may choose otherwise, or may allow the two weapon fighter to benefit from the shield with the feat, even though the off hand attack isn't coming from the shield.

Outside of two-weapon fighting, these considerations aren't important.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The ×2 str bonus can be done for sure with armor spikes and a two-hander, or with other weapons that do not occupy a hand. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Jul 6, 2016 at 18:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ You absolutely can use TWF with a light weapon and armor spikes, even if you are using a shield on your (real) offhand. \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Jul 6, 2016 at 19:27

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