Reach dnd 5e

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D&D 5th Edition

Your class grants proficiency in certain Weapons, reflecting both the class’s focus and the tools you are most likely to use. Whether you favor a Longswordor a Longbow, your weapon and your ability to wield it effectively can mean the difference between life and death while Adventuring.

The Weaponstable shows the most CommonWeaponsused in the fantasy gaming worlds, their price and weight, the damage they deal when they hit, and any special Propertiesthey possess. Every weapon is classified as either melee or ranged. A melee weaponis used to Attacka target within 5 feet of you, whereas a ranged weaponis used to Attacka target at a distance.

Weapon Proficiency

Your race, class, and feats can grant you proficiency with certain Weaponsor categories of Weapons. The two categories are simpleand martial. Most people can use simple Weaponswith proficiency. These Weaponsinclude clubs, maces, and other Weaponsoften found in the hands of commoners. Martial Weapons, including Swords, axes, and polearms, require more specialized Trainingto use effectively. Most warriors use martial Weaponsbecause these Weaponsput their Fightingstyle and Trainingto best use.

Proficiency with a weapon allows you to add your Proficiency Bonusto the Attackroll for any Attackyou make with that weapon. If you make an Attackroll using a weapon with which you lack proficiency, you do not add your Proficiency Bonusto the Attackroll.

Weapon Properties

Many Weaponshave special Propertiesrelated to their use, as shown in the Weaponstable.


You can use a weapon that has the Ammunition property to make a ranged Attack only if you have Ammunition to fire from the weapon. Each time you Attack with the weapon, you expend one piece of Ammunition. Drawing the Ammunition from a Quiver, case, or other container is part of the Attack (you need a free hand to load a one-handed weapon). At the end of the battle, you can recover half your expended Ammunition by taking a minute to Search the battlefield. If you use a weapon that has the Ammunition property to make a melee Attack, you treat the weapon as an Improvised Weapon (see “Improvised Weapons” later in the section). A sling must be loaded to deal any damage when used in this way.


When making an Attackwith a finesse weapon, you use your choice of your Strengthor Dexteritymodifier for the Attackand Damage Rolls. You must use the same modifier for both rolls.


Small creatures have disadvantage on Attackrolls with heavy Weapons. A heavy weapon’s size and bulk make it too large for a Small creature to use effectively.


A light weapon is small and easy to handle, making it ideal for use when Fightingwith two Weapons.


Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can fire only one piece of Ammunitionfrom it when you use an action, Bonus Action, or Reactionto fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.


A weapon that can be used to make a ranged Attackhas a range in parentheses after the Ammunitionor thrown property. The range lists two numbers. The first is the weapon’s normal range in feet, and the second indicates the weapon’s long range. When attacking a target beyond normal range, you have disadvantage on the Attackroll. You can’t Attacka target beyond the weapon’s long range.


This weapon adds 5 feet to your reach when you Attackwith it, as well as when determining your reach for Opportunity Attackswith it.


A weapon with the special property has unusual rules governing its use, explained in the weapon’s description (see “Special Weapons” later in this section).


If a weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon to make a ranged Attack. If the weapon is a melee weapon, you use the same ability modifier for that Attackroll and damage roll that you would use for a melee Attackwith the weapon. For example, if you throw a Handaxe, you use your Strength, but if you throw a Dagger, you can use either your Strengthor your Dexterity, since the Daggerhas the finesse property.


This weapon requires two hands when you Attackwith it.


This weapon can be used with one or two hands. A damage value in parentheses appears with the property—the damage when the weapon is used with two hands to make a melee Attack.

Improvised Weapons

Sometimes Charactersdon’t have their Weaponsand have to Attackwith whatever is at hand. An Improvised Weaponincludes any object you can wield in one or two hands, such as broken glass, a table leg, a frying pan, a wagon wheel, or a dead Goblin.

Often, an Improvised Weaponis similar to an actual weapon and can be treated as such. For example, a table leg is akin to a club. At the GM’s option, a character proficient with a weapon can use a similar object as if it were that weapon and use his or her Proficiency Bonus.

An object that bears no resemblance to a weapon deals 1d4 damage (the GM assigns a damage type appropriate to the object). If a character uses a ranged weapon to make a melee Attack, or throws a melee weapon that does not have the thrown property, it also deals 1d4 damage. An improvised thrown weapon has a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet.

Silvered Weapons

Some Monstersthat have immunity or Resistanceto nonmagical Weaponsare susceptible to silver Weapons, so cautious Adventurersinvest extra coin to plate their Weaponswith silver. You can silver a single weapon or ten pieces of Ammunitionfor 100 gp. This cost represents not only the price of the silver, but the time and Expertiseneeded to add silver to the weapon without making it less effective.

Special Weapons

Weaponswith special rules are described here.

Lance: You have disadvantage when you use a lance to Attack a target within 5 feet of you. Also, a lance requires two hands to wield when you aren’t mounted.

Net: A Large or smaller creature hit by a net is Restraineduntil it is freed. A net has no Effecton creatures that are formless, or creatures that are Huge or larger. A creature can use its action to make a DC 10 Strengthcheck, freeing itself or another creature within its reach on a success. Dealing 5 slashing damage to the net (AC 10) also frees the creature without harming it, Endingthe Effectand destroying the net. When you use an action, Bonus Action, or Reactionto Attackwith a net, you can make only one Attackregardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.

Simple Melee Weapons
Club1 sp1d4 bludgeoning2 lb.Light
Dagger2 gp1d4 piercing1 lb.Finesse, light, thrown (range 20/60)
Greatclub2 sp1d8 bludgeoning10 lb.Two-handed
Handaxe5 gp1d6 slashing2 lb.Light, thrown (range 20/60)
Javelin5 sp1d6 piercing2 lb.Thrown (range 30/120)
LightHammer2 gp1d4 bludgeoning2 lb.Light, thrown (range 20/60)
Mace5 gp1d6 bludgeoning4 lb.
Quarterstaff2 sp1d6 bludgeoning4 lb.Versatile (1d8)
Sickle1 gp1d4 slashing2 lb.Light
Spear1 gp1d6 piercing3 lb.Thrown (range 20/60), versatile (1d8)
Simple Ranged Weapons
Crossbow, light
25 gp1d8 piercing5 lb.Ammunition (range 80/320), loading, two-handed
Dart5 cp1d4 piercing1/4 lb.Finesse, thrown (range 20/60)
Shortbow25 gp1d6 piercing2 lb.Ammunition (range 80/320), two-handed
Sling1 sp1d4 bludgeoningAmmunition (range 30/120)
Martial Melee Weapons
Battleaxe10 gp1d8 slashing4 lb.Versatile (1d10)
Flail10 gp1d8 bludgeoning2 lb.
Glaive20 gp1d10 slashing6 lb.Heavy, reach, two-handed
Greataxe30 gp1d12 slashing7 lb.Heavy, two-handed
Greatsword50 gp2d6 slashing6 lb.Heavy, two-handed
Halberd20 gp1d10 slashing6 lb.Heavy, reach, two-handed
Lance10 gp1d12 piercing6 lb.Reach, special
Longsword15 gp1d8 slashing3 lb.Versatile (1d10)
Maul10 gp2d6 bludgeoning10 lb.Heavy, two-handed
Morningstar15 gp1d8 piercing4 lb.
Pike5 gp1d10 piercing18 lb.Heavy, reach, two-handed
Rapier25 gp1d8 piercing2 lb.Finesse
Scimitar25 gp1d6 slashing3 lb.Finesse, light
Shortsword10 gp1d6 piercing2 lb.Finesse, light
Trident5 gp1d6 piercing4 lb.Thrown (range 20/60), versatile (1d8)
War pick5 gp1d8 piercing2 lb.
Warhammer15 gp1d8 bludgeoning2 lb.Versatile (1d10)
Whip2 gp1d4 slashing3 lb.Finesse, reach
Martial Ranged Weapons
Blowgun10 gp1 piercing1 lb.Ammunition (range 25/100), loading
Crossbow, hand75 gp1d6 piercing3 lb.Ammunition (range 30/120), light, loading
Crossbow, heavy50 gp1d10 piercing18 lb.Ammunition (range 100/400), heavy, loading, two-handed
Longbow50 gp1d8 piercing2 lb.Ammunition (range 150/600), heavy, two-handed
Net1 gp3 lb.Special, thrown (range 5/15)

Reach weapons, like the glaive, are a fun melee weapon type for DnD. However, they can often be misused and sometimes new players have questions about their rules. In this DnD Quick Tip we’re going to talk about reach weapons and how they work.

Reach Weapons Let you Reach Further

As the name implies, a reach weapon lets you target and attack things that are further away. Reach weapons for medium sized creatures add 5 feet to their range for melee attacks. This means you now can target and hit 20-24 squares around you instead of your normal 8. This is a massive improvement to what you can hit. All of these squares are now ones that you threaten and anyone in that range can be targeted.

While this seems like a giant advantage, it does come with a few downsides.

normal vs reach weapons

The Drawback and Real Advantage of Reach Weapons

Often new players will think that having reach will allow them to get extra attacks of opportunity since they have all this extra reach. But there is an important caveat here that actually reverses this. Attacks of opportunity only happen when a target leaves your threatened area.

Because you now threaten and control so much more space, enemies almost never leave your range in close combat scenarios. This may actually lead to a lower overall damage output from having sacrificed those extra attacks you might have gotten in.

This drawback highlights the real advantage or reach weapons, which is in their defensive use. Being able to hit an enemy without being in their threatened squares allows you to hit and run without invoking an attack of opportunity from your opponent.

Which Weapons are Reach Weapons?

While you now know the basics of reach weapons, we’ll conclude this quick tip with list of the available options for your game.

The available reach weapons out of the box are as follows:

  • Glaive
  • Halberd
  • Lance
  • Pike
  • Longspear
  • Whip

Of course, other weapons can have reach, such as magic weapons, but these are the only default common weapons with reach. All of these, with the exception of the longspear (exotic), happen to be martial weapons as well, so the characters that can take full advantage of them are limited. If you feel like you need some space, try out a reach weapon. If you’re looking for more on weapons, checkout our Complete Guide to DnD Weapons here.

Happy DMing!

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D&D 5E Reach weapons: what's the drawback?

Minsc said:

It seems to me, in my admittedly extremely limited experience, that a weapon with Reach is extremely powerful. They keep many enemies at a distance they can't hurt you, and if an enemy without Reach wants to hit you, they provoke an Opportunity Attack.

Is that right?

Click to expand...

Realistically, that's probably all right. Weapons with greater reach, all other things being equal, do tend to dominate melee combat. In general, in a system, if an optimized pole arm user beats melee combatants of all other styles head to head, I'm generally not upset with that. Your millage may very here depending on what you like in a system, but that would be an example of acceptable imbalance to me.

So, what's the trade off? Why weren't all armies wielding pole arms? Well, aside from the fact that the spear wielder was the core of most armies, and the sword often the equivalent of a side arm or backup weapon, there are some advantages to a sword:

a) It's very difficult to properly employ a shield if you are using a pole arm. Generally, such techniques are confined to spears and perhaps pikes, which D&D generally models as not having the advantages in damage and flexibility of other pole arms. Without a shield, you are greatly disadvantaged against and vulnerable to missile fire.
b) It's a lot more unwieldy. A pole arm is generally about 7-9' long. This is a lot of weapon to be lugging around all the time and you can't ever really put it away or put it down. A sword can simply be sheathed and hang from your side until needed, freeing your hands to do other stuff. A pole arm is much more encumbering.
c) Similarly, it's significantly disadvantaged in tight quarters. Much of the advantage of a polearm assumes you either have another rank of pole arm wielders behind you, or else you have room to back up. If you don't have room to back up in, you can't easily maximize your advantage. If your pole arm is meant to be swung and you don't have room to swing, that can be a problem. If your enemy is pressed up to you chest to chest, the time to start thinking about dropping the pole arm and going for another weapon was a couple seconds ago. In ancient combat, this was typically a problem in mass combats where lines became crushed together. In D&D you add to that problem the fact you are fighting in caves or small rooms and similarly cramped areas.

I wouldn't be too surprised if 5e D&D models this to one extent or another. Typically, D&D has loosely modeled this. Polearms have always been quite powerful if properly used.



DnD 5e – How to Play 4.5 – Space and Reach

Last Updated: September 26, 2021

A creature’s space and reach determine the area that they take up during combat and what they can reach to interact with or to attack.

Each creature occupies a physical space, and this space can’t be shared for any extended period of time, though creatures can move through it (see Movement and Position, earlier in this guide) under some circumstances. In addition, creatures have a Reach which extends a specific distance in every direction around them.

Creature Size

Creature’s sizes are broken into 6 “size categories”. Creatures within a single size category can vary widely in size and shape, but size categories provide a reasonable approximation of the space they occupy in combat. Objects sometimes use the same size categories, especially for items larger than a person could typically carry.

Tiny2.5 by 2.5 ft.House cats, pixies, homunculi
Small5 by 5 ft.Halflings, goblins, jackals
Medium5 by 5 ft.Humans, dwarfs, ponies
Large10 by 10 ft.Horses, Ogres, Lions
HugeCyclops, Elephant, Adult True Dragons
GargantuanAncient True Dragons, Rocs, the Tarrasque


A creatur’s space is the area it occupies in combat. A creature typically isn’t a perfect square or cube (with the exception of Gellatinous Cubes), but a creature needs enough space to move about to attack enemies and to defend itself.

Unfortunately, the official Space rules don’t discuss creatures’ height. If vertical dimensions matter (common when flight is involved), I recommend treating all creatures’ spaces as cubes. This means that even massively tall humans still somehow need just 5 feet of vertical space to fight effectively. This doesn’t make a lot of real-world sense, but this is a game and sometimes realism needs to be sacrificed to make the rules usable. I remember 3rd edition’s attempt to differentiate between “long” and “tall” creatures, and it added nothing of value to the game.

Squeezing Into a Smaller Space

Sometimes a creature doesn’t have as much room as they would like. Squeezing into narrow hallways, crawling through chutes, or being squeezed into a room with too many occupants all happen from time to time.

In these cases, a creature is “squeezing”. A creature can squeeze into a space that is large enough for a creature one size smaller than it. For example, a large creature could squeeze through a passage that’s 5 feet wide, which is enough for the space of a medium creature.

While squeezing, movement costs 1 extra foot of movement for each foot traveled. This additional cost stacks with others, such as difficult terrain. In addition, creatures that are squeezing suffer Disadvantage on attack rolls and on Dexterity saving throws. Attacks rolls made against creatures that are squeezing have Advantage.


Most creatures have the ability to reach beyond the space they occupy. This allows creatures to interact with items, attack, etc. With some rare exceptions, playable races have 5 foot reach, meaning that they can reach and attack anything within 5 feet of them.

Reach is always measured in 5-foot increments, and varies wildly between creatures. Creatures that can reach far away from their bodies will have long reach, while even gargantuan creatures might have short reach because their limbs are short.

Reach Weapons

Some weapons, such as glaives, have the “Reach” property. This allows the wielder to use the weapon as though their reach were 5 ft. longer than normal. This benefit applies as long as the wielder continues to wield the weapon, so they reach remains extended during other creature’s turns.

Reach on a Grid

While playing on a grid, measure reach the same way that you measure movement. 5 feet of reach allows a creature to to attack enemies one square away, while 10 feet of reach allows 2 squares, and so on.

If you use the “Diagonals” optional rule on page 252 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, you’ll notice a peculiar issue with reach weapons. When measuring a creature’s reach diagonally, you’ll find that a medium creature with 10-foot reach can only reach one square diagonally because the second square counts as 10 feet. This means that the easiest way to get into/around/through the reach of such a creature is through the corners of the area that they can reach. If this proves to be a problem in your game, you can address it by agreeing to round up when measuring reach instead of down as you normally would.

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Dnd 5e reach

Reach is a generic term for the distance from which a character can make a melee attack. It can also refer to a weapon property that gives increased reach. The basic reach is 1, meaning the attack can only target adjacent creatures. Monsters and some player characters have a natural reach beyond 1. The right weapon or power can extend one's melee reach as well.

Increasing your reach does not necessarily increase your threat range for various effects. For example, you still can make opportunity attacks only against enemies adjacent to you and can flank only enemies adjacent to you, unless another effect says otherwise. Some feats such as Polearm Flanker can address this issue to some degree.

However large a creature's reach may be, a reach melee attack is still a melee attack, not a ranged attack. Thus reach attacks do not provoke opportunity attacks any more than do normal melee attacks.

Increasing Reach

Reach Weapons

Weapons with the Reach property have a melee reach of 2 instead of 1. Therefore you can make melee attacks against enemies that are 2 squares away from you as well as against adjacent enemies. As stated above, this alone does not increase the range at which you may make opportunity attacks (see threatening reach below) or flank. However, the added reach can be very tactically valuable, making reach weapons frequent favorites.

Examples of reach weapons include the Glave, Spiked Chain and Great Spear, among many others.

Other Increases to Reach

A player's weapon is not the only way he can increase his reach. For example, some class attack powers offer increased reach for their attack, such as the Assassin's Inescapable Blade power. The Polearm Master paragon path offers +1 reach after spending an action point, while the Stoneblessed path gives the character a permanent bonus to reach (even to unarmed attacks). TheEternal Defender epic destiny can also increase reach permanently.

Such bonuses typically stack with each other, potentially creating a character that can make melee attacks approaching some thrown weapon ranges.

Threatening Reach

Some particularly nasty monsters have threatening reach. This ability says that the monster can make opportunity attacks against any enemy within its reach (not just adjacent targets). This can make it difficult to simply get within melee range of a monster because it can take opportunity attacks against you as you approach.

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Does a reach weapon allow you to threaten squares 10 feet away or not?

The Following is an analysis based on a strict reading of the rules, and ignoring designer intent and their use of language. The lead designer for 5e, Jeremy Crawford, had this to say about Reach weapons:

Yan ᵔ.ᵔ‏ @Plaguescarred · 21 Aug 2014

@JeremyECrawford I notice people have different interpretation, does polearm increase reach always or only when attacking with it?

Jeremy Crawford‏ @JeremyECrawford · 21 Aug 2014

@Plaguescarred The reach property applies only when you attack with a weapon. Any use beyond that is up to the DM.

Rules for Opportunity attacks and Reach weapons don't make (narrative?) sense, but they are consistent. Reach is always 5 feet when not actively making an attack, and not the weapon being used.

  • As you will see from the rules of the polearm master, the purpose of opportunity attacks is mainly to prevent people from running past you, and not to punish people who flee your engagement with them.

To understand how/why this is the case, we must first work with the assumption that it's possible and logical that a person with a 10 foot reach weapon when they attack, is going to have a reach of 10 feet for the purpose of opportunity attacks.

Let's first be clear about what an opportunity attack in 5e is. Normally, an opportunity attack is an attack you are able to make when a creature leaves the area you can reach. It's a penalty for a creature leaving combat without first disengaging. It is not an attack which demonstrates what area you threaten. That is, if somebody enters your reach, or moves about within your reach, you do not threaten them. Opportunity attacks seem to serve two purposes:

  1. It creates a cost by way of the "disengage" action to leave melee combat with someone once it has been initiated. (This is based the application of the rules with 5 foot reach weapons, but not directly stated in the rules)
  2. It prevents enemies running right past you to engage with someone else you are defending/blocking. (Page 195 of the players handbook)

    You can rarely move heedlessly past your foes without putting your self in danger; doin g so provokes an opportunity attack.

However, when using reach weapons, this seemingly falls apart, no matter which way you interpret the rules.

Diagram showing 5-foot and 10-foot reach areas relative to an enemy 5 feet away and an ally 10 feet away

The blue square with an x is you. The purple square with an x is an ally, and the green square with an x is a medium creature with speed 30. The red square is your 5foot reach, the Orange square is your 10 foot reach.

Scenario 1: Reach for opportunity attacks is 5 feet.
In this scenario, you have just finished attacking the green monster. It is now the monster's turn. You engaged them in melee combat, but he can now step away from you and go off and do something else without any penalty. Purpose 1 of opportunity attacks has been subverted. It's arguable that this isn't really the purpose of opportunity attacks, but I think it's the basic assumption for most people, and it's consistent with the rules for 5 foot reach weapons.

Scenario 2: Reach for opportunity attacks is 10 feet.
In this scenario, you have just finished attacking the green monster. The green monster now wants to go and attack the purple ally since he is an easier target than you to hit. The monster can smoothly walk right past you, without ever leaving your 10 foot reach. This means you can never do an opportunity attack against them. Purpose 2 of the opportunity attacks has been subverted, as directly stated by the rules.

That is the situation with your run of the mill opportunity attack. But now let's include the polearm master feat. (Page 168 of the Players Handbook)

Polearm Master
You can keep your enemies at bay with reach weapons. You gain the following benefits:
• When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. The weapon's damage die for this attack is a d4, and the attack deals bludgeoning damage.
• While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, or quarterstaff, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.

And now looks more closely at the wording of the opportunity attack rule.

Page 195 of the Players handbook
The attack interrupts the provoking creature’s movement, occurring right before the creature leaves your reach.

If we edit the rule with polearm master in mind it would read as follows:

The attack interrupts the provoking creature’s movement, occurring right before the creature leaves or enters your reach.

So now, with this wording, if your reach with the polearm is 10 feet, you can never actually reach the target which you are stopping. The creature will be 15 feet away from you when you interrupt it's movement before it enters your reach. However, if your reach is 5 feet, then before it enters your reach the creature is 10 feet away from you. When you attack the creature, your reach now extends to 10 feet, and you and you can hit it. This would seem to strongly suggest that two important things.

  1. Reach for opportunity attacks is always 5 feet, and not your weapon or attack.
  2. The purpose of opportunity attacks is ONLY to prevent people from running past you, and not to prevent people from running away from you after being attacked.

The alternative is assuming that the rules are wrong and lots of errata is needed all over the place to "fix it".

Something else to notice, is that none of the monsters in the DM Basic rules are listed as having a reach of 10, or anything other number. However, many attacks are listed as having a reach of 10. Such as the Adult dragons' bite. (Though the claw attack is listed as having a reach of 5). In many cases, you can see one attack having a reach of X, while another attack has a reach of y. The section in the rules which discusses the reach of a creature extending beyond 5 feet is specifically in the "Melee Attacks" section, and not in the other sections which mention reach.

Most creatures have a 5-foot reach and can thus attack targets within 5 feet of them wh en making a melee attack. Certain creatures (typically those larger than Medium ) have melee attacks with a greater reach than 5 feet, as noted in their descriptions.

Of course, if your table decides to play things out differently, you may do so, but be consistent if you do.

All that being said, in the end, the intention of the rules is that an Opportunity Attack is an attack and so the reach property applies to the conditions that allow you to attack as well. As can be seen from this conversation on Twitter:

Yan ᵔ.ᵔ‏ @Plaguescarred · 22 Aug 2014

@JeremyECrawford Why distance discrepency OA provoke base on weapon? You said earlier reach weapon dont increase if not attacking? #Confuse

Jeremy Crawford‏ @JeremyECrawford · 22 Aug 2014

@Plaguescarred Yes, OA (an attack) is based on your reach with the weapon you're using.

For creatures, you will see that different attacks have different reaches, and so an Ancient Red Dragon for example will have one reach domain for it's claws and another for it's bite, giving it a greater "threat area".

Michael Amygdalidis‏ @maplealmond · 25 Aug 2014

@mikemearls So an Adult Red has claws (5ft) and bite (10ft) and tail (15ft.) If I run from adjacent, when does he get to OA?

Mike Mearls‏ @mikemearls · 25 Aug 2014

@maplealmond none - only if you move away, dragon picks which one to use. claws make most sense.


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