I'm building a whip character, and one of the class features I get allows me to pick one exotic light or one-handed melee weapon that has the disarm or trip special feature and become proficient with it. I get this from the Magus archetype Spire Defender. I like the fact that the scorpion whip allows me to deal lethal damage, regardless of natural armor and armor, but its description confuses me.

A whip is a exotic light weapon, and a scorpion whip is a exotic one-handed weapon.


A whip deals no damage to any creature with an armor bonus of +1 or higher or a natural armor bonus of +3 or higher. The whip is treated as a melee weapon with 15-foot reach, though you don't threaten the area into which you can make an attack. In addition, unlike most other weapons with reach, you can use it against foes anywhere within your reach (including adjacent foes).

Using a whip provokes an attack of opportunity, just as if you had used a ranged weapon.

You can use the Weapon Finesse feat to apply your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier to attack rolls with a whip sized for you, even though it isn't a light weapon.

Weapon Feature(s): finesse, reach.

Scorpion Whip

Benefit: It deals lethal damage, even to creatures with armor bonuses. If you are proficient with both scorpion whips and whips, you can use a scorpion whip in either the normal way, as a typical light performance weapon, or as a whip.

If you are proficient with both the scorpion whip and whip, you can use a scorpion whip in either the normal way (as a light performance weapon) or as a whip. When you use a scorpion whip as a whip, it is equivalent to a whip, but deals lethal damage and can harm creatures regardless of their armor bonus.

Weapon Feature(s): performance (plus disarm, reach, and trip if you are proficient with whip.)


When wielding this weapon, if an attack or combat maneuver made with this weapon prompts a combat performance check, you gain a +2 bonus on that check. See Gladiator Weapons below for more information.

So what is the normal way of a light performance weapon, and how exactly does that differ from a whip?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Related. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 5, 2017 at 5:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why yes it is, I dont remember that showing up when I created the question title \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Jan 5, 2017 at 14:07

1 Answer 1


One, this is vague and really ought to be spelled out more, but anyway, my understanding of the text is:

The scorpion whip has a statblock, something like this:

Exotic Light
Melee Weapon
Cost Dmg (M) Critical Range Weight Type Special
Whip, scorpion 5 gp 1d4 ×2 3 lbs. S Performance

This is the “normal” way of using a scorpion whip. If you are also proficient with a regular whip, you can treat the scorpion whip as having the whip’s statblock, instead:

Exotic One-handed
Melee Weapon
Cost Dmg (M) Critical Range Weight Type Special
Whip, scorpion 1 gp 1d3 ×2 2 lbs. S Disarm, reach, nonlethal, trip

Now, one assumes, the weapon’s weight and gold value don’t actually change when you use it this way, but otherwise, these are the stats you use, along with the special rules for whip found in its entry minus the bits about nonlethal damage and inability to damage armored foes (i.e. the reach is out to 15 feet and is continuous out to that distance, it cannot threaten).

Basically, they’re saying that the thing can be used as a light weapon that has no reach, does not have the reach or trip properties, but does have the performance property and can threaten, or else can be used as a one-handed weapon that doesn’t have the performance property and cannot threaten, but does have that extra-good reach property and the disarm property.

Now, to me, the real confusion lies in how one “uses” the scorpion whip in each of these modes. Do you just pick for any given attack? Do you have to switch back and forth, and if so does switching take an action or is it limited in how often it can be done? The rules give no answer. I suggest that just picking for any given attack makes the most sense (and thus the scorpion whip always threatens at your regular reach, but when you take those attacks of opportunity you are required to “use” it the “normal way” ⌐.⌐).

Or just ignore all this nonsense and let the scorpion whip just gain the whip’s 15-foot continuous reach and disarm properties (alongside the performance property) when you have proficiency in both, and allow both whips and scorpion whips to threaten normally. The result would be that these weapons would almost-kinda-sorta be worth the feat(s) you need to use them (which as-is they very, very much are not), and it’d be more “realistic” for whatever that’s worth, at least for the whip (the scorpion whip plainly isn’t a real weapon to begin with).

  • \$\begingroup\$ But if you use the scorpion whip as a whip, all you lose is 0.5 damage and performance, and you actually remove some of the drawbacks of the whip. From what i understand, using a scorpion whip while not being proficient with a whip is not much different than using a dagger with a leather cord attached on it that serves very little purpose. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Jan 5, 2017 at 11:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ This may also help: paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1g1#v5748eaic9t9r \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Jan 5, 2017 at 11:50

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