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Polearm Master 5E Feat [Maximize Your Reach In DnD Battles]

Polearm Master 5E Feat
  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 10/27/2023
Est. Reading: 8 minutes

Ready to become the ultimate defender of your team by mastering the polearm weapon? With Polearm Master 5E at your disposal.

You’re undoubtedly set to the game in a realm where poker-faced anticipation and lightning-fast reflexes merge into offensive and defensive harmony.

It’s like playing chess against an invisible adversary, only exponentially more rewarding. Stepping into this unique niche brings your Dungeons & Dragons combat strategy up a notch or maybe three.

This captivatingly elaborate game mechanic enables you to create a fortress around you, forming an almost impenetrable guard between your foes and your crew.

Believe it or not, there’s much more to this feat than merely swinging a long weapon with lethal intent. Unraveling the ins and outs will enhance both your gameplay experience and results. Ready to find out how? Hang tight as we delve deeper into it.

What is Polearm Master 5E?

Polearm Master 5E refers to a prized feat within Dungeons & Dragons, specifically in its 5th Edition. It enables your character to fully leverage the impressive range and offensive capacity of polearm-type weapons, traditionally long-reaching and powerful implements such as the glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff.

By choosing this feat, you can make an extra attack using the back end of your weapon, augmenting your damage output. Even more intriguing, you turn your reach into a form of defense by swinging at adversaries who dare enter your radius.

What’s the Top Use for Polearm Master 5E?

The real impact of the Polearm Master feat in 5E becomes apparent when we look at its applicability across different character classes.

What's the Top Use for Polearm Master 5E?

While it can be a game-changer for most classes, three tend to stand out: Barbarians, Fighters, and Paladins. Let’s peel back the layers on each of these.

Barbarians

Barbarians paired with Polearm master level up their battlefield tactics significantly. As a class known for its impressive hit points and hard-hitting attacks, Barbarians typically play as the party’s main damage absorbers and dealers.

The advantage of using Polearm Master is that it keeps enemies at a distance, reducing direct harm. When combined with the Barbarian’s Reckless Attack feature, which gives an advantage on melee weapon attack rolls, you can genuinely maximize damage output while maintaining a defensive perimeter.

Fighters

Fighters gain substantial benefits from the Polearm Master feat as well. Known as versatile warriors, Fighters excel in using different types of weapons and armor effectively.

Their Fighting Style feature allows them to choose from various combat styles to specialize in, one being Great Weapon Fighting, which pairs nicely with polearms.

Adding Polearm Master to this mix introduces an element of control to their usual brute force strategy. They can control the battlefield by maintaining an area denial perimeter that adversaries cannot ignore.

Paladins

When you conjure up images of this holy knight safeguarding their allies against evil creatures, imagine them leveraging a polearm’s extended reach to define a sacred boundary for their allies, demarcating where safety ends and danger begins.

When combined with the aura abilities that emanate from them up to 10 feet (which bizarrely enough coincides perfectly with polearms), they can buff allies while warding off enemies.

The extra attack from Polearm Master allows them to use more smites per round, thus significantly increasing their overall damage output.

Also Read: Feats 5E Guide [How To Choose And Leverage Feats Effectively]

Who Benefits Least from Polearm Master 5E?

With all of the strengths and benefits discussed so far, one might think Polearm Master is a universal boon. Yet, the exact advantages it offers do not align well with certain classes that are more reliant on subtle, focused strategies rather than full-on, conflict-heavy action. Some of our favorite characters unfortunately fall into this downside pit: Monks, Rangers, and Rogues.

Monks

Monks living in the heart of 5E may find less use in Polearm Master than in other classes. Monks generally focus on skill and speed rather than strength, always favoring an up-close contest that highlights agility more than reach.

Their unique martial arts style doesn’t include polearms – sightly against their way of life – which makes them unable to exploit the best features this feat has to offer.

Martial arts can be deployed using only monk weapons to which polearms don’t belong. The Monk’s Bonus Action could be used for Ki abilities like a flurry of blows or patient defense instead – thus bringing into question whether or not it’s beneficial to waste precious attacks with a D4 polearm.

Rangers

For Rangers prowling in 5E wilderness, Polearm Master often falls short in the benefits offered. They’re typical ‘bowmen’ – making long-range shots using their bows and arrows more than rushing headfirst into melee combat zones. So yes! The habitual equipment set of a ranger doesn’t seem compatible with wielding a heavy polearm weapon.

Many of their class features revolve around versatile interactions with nature and their surroundings instead of direct combat.

Though they can hold ground in the frontline as archers or guards at critical positions, polearms still fail to prop up their key strengths – versatility and ranged physical/magical attacks.

Rogues

Dashing rogues need skill more than weapon power – which makes them rank lowest among those who can extract maximum perks from the Polearm Master feat.

Rogues, as most role-playing gamers would know, are built for sneak attacks and cunning strategies that require lightweight weapons such as daggers or swords.

The long, unwieldy polearm doesn’t fit into this framework, turning the potential benefits of Polearm Master tragically moot. Also, the Sneak Attack ability necessitates a finesse or ranged weapon (which a polearm is not) to inflict extra damage.

The polearm’s reach might also preclude possibilities of hiding or sneaking away effectively after a stab, arguably a rogue’s biggest trump card.

Also Read: Rogue 5E Guide D&D 2024 [Uncover Strategies, Tips, & Tricks]

How Do I Use Polearm Master in 5E?

The true value of the Polearm Master feat lies not just within its benefits but also in its powerful synergy with other aspects of Dungeons and Dragons 5E.

How Do I Use Polearm Master in 5E?

By combining it with various strategies and other feats, you can unlock even greater battle potential. Let’s walk through how to maximize the strength of this promising addition to your arsenal.

Pair it with Sentinel

The Sentinel feat stands as one of the perfect partners for Polearm Master due to their similar mechanics. Its benefit is clear: your enemies cannot easily escape you.

When wielding a polearm, an enemy that provokes an opportunity attack from you gets their speed reduced to zero for the rest of their turn.

This means once they enter your polearm’s reach, they’re essentially stuck there unless they opt for disengagement, which many monsters do not do.

By preventing foes from escaping or closing in on you, Sentinel essentially converts your extended reach into a fortified barricade.

Pair with Great Weapon Master

Combine the prowess of Polearm Master with another feat called Great Weapon Master (GWM) for a truly devastating effect.

GWM allows you to take a -5 penalty on attack rolls to add 10 extra points to damage rolls – a hefty trade-off that can be transformative when used right.

With Polearm Master allowing an opportunity attack when enemies come within your weapons’ range and GWM boosting damage output tremendously, this combo can yield massive dividends by dealing heavy blows before enemies even get a chance to strike.

Play defensively and kite

“Polearms” refers not only to hefty melee equipment but also to long-ranged weapons like spears or quarterstaffs that allow you to keep opponents at bay while dealing damage from afar.

With Polearm Master 5E added into the mix, you establish an effective safety zone around yourself that opponents will think twice before breaching.

By playing defensively and applying the tactic known as “kiting,” wherein you strike while maintaining distance, you can create a rhythm where attacks are met with immediate counterattacks. This method reduces risk while maintaining a high damage output, forming a defense strategy likened to an iron fortress.

Read More: Monk 5E In D&D [Class Features, Subclasses, And Strategies]

Is Polearm Master 5E a Worthy Feat?

From a tactical standpoint, Polearm Master is absolutely worth considering. For starters, it significantly boosts your opportunity to dish out extra damage.

The bonus attack from the rear end of your polearm can be a game-changer in heated battles, especially when enemies surround you.

This feat enhances your character’s defensive capabilities. By enabling opportunity attacks when opponents enter your reach, you essentially create an anticipatory counterattack zone around you. This may likely deter foes from closing in and provide some well-needed breathing room during combat.

Be mindful, though: Polearm Master isn’t for just anyone or any class. Your character needs to be one who frequently engages in melee fights and benefits from wielding polearms. If that’s not the case for you, this feat might not hold much value.

So yes, if you aim to create a defensive bastion capable of fending off enemies while scoring pressure points with calculated blows, then Polearm Master makes a compelling option for you.

Making full use of it requires strategy and an understanding of its nuances in ranged combat mechanics. Make sure to master these before stepping onto the battlefield.

The Ground Rules for a Polearm Master

Understanding the specifics of Polearm Master 5E allows you to maximize its potential and speed up your gameplay.

The Ground Rules for a Polearm Master

So, let’s delve right into the nitty-gritty of this feature, explaining how it works and when it doesn’t.

  • Opportunity attacks are unaffected by cover: Be it half or three-quarter cover, nothing prevents you from making an opportunity attack, leveraging this powerful feat. Your polearm’s long reach allows you to strike at your foes, irrespective of any shielding.
  • Two-hand or one-hand wield doesn’t matter: One of the best aspects of the Polearm Master perk is its consistency. Regardless of whether your weapon-handling style is two-handed or one-handed, your feat functions seamlessly.
  • No-go for Pikes: As fantastic as this feat is, unfortunately, pikes don’t work with it. That being said, you still have a plethora of other polearms to master, like halberds and glaives.
  • The d4 weapon damage cannot be modified: Your additional attack using the back-end of your weapon deals a straight-up d4 bludgeoning damage. You won’t be able to apply any modifiers to this number, meaning what rolls is what counts.
  • Incompatibility with War Caster: Yes, Polearm Master expands the tactical aspects of wielding long-reaching weapons; however, it does not work in conjunction with the War Caster feat. Sometimes, even in a D&D fantasy world, rules and compatibility issues persist!
  • Add proficiency bonus to butt-end attack: Here’s a silver lining – though you can’t modify your back-end attacks’ damage rolls with stat modifiers (like Strength), remember that your proficiency bonus applies. This means every successful posterior hit gives more damage as you level up.
  • Opportunity attack doesn’t include a d4 bonus: When an enemy walks willingly into striking range, you get an opportunity attack. However, note that the extra back-end attack granted by this feat doesn’t apply here: only the polearm’s front-end damage is considered.

It’s also useful to take into account your character’s class and build when deciding on using this feat. Remember, the effectiveness of Polearm Master can vary depending on your character’s archetype and fighting style. Plan accordingly and unleash your newfound power wisely.

Bear in mind that Dungeons & Dragons is a dynamic, evolving game system. While this guide speaks to current guidelines at writing time, amendments to rules may occur periodically. For the most up-to-date information, always refer back to the official Player’s Handbook or other authorized sources.

Explore More: Feats 5E Guide [How To Choose And Leverage Feats Effectively]

FAQs about Polearm Master 5E

What benefits does Polearm Master 5E offer in Dungeons & Dragons?

The Polearm Master feat allows you to make an extra butt-end attack and perform opportunity attacks when enemies enter your range.

Can I increase the damage of a butt-end attack in Polearm Master 5E with some modifier?

No, the back-end attack’s d4 bludgeoning damage cannot be modified; what rolls is what you get.

Is the Polearm Master 5E feat a good choice for all classes in D&D?

While it can be useful for all, this feat is especially beneficial for characters like Barbarians, Fighters, and Paladins who excel in physical combat and appreciate opportunities to dish out more damage.

Can I use the pike weapon with the Polearm Master 5E feat?

No, pikes don’t work with these particular feet, but you can use weapons like glaive or halberd.

Does the War Caster feat work well with Polearm Master 5E?

The War Caster and Polearm Master feats are not compatible and cannot be used together.

Author

  • Ashish Arya

    I'm a tech enthusiast and lifelong gamer, hailing from the beautiful city of Chandigarh. My passions range from immersing myself in worlds like GTA V, COD, SIMS, Roblox and Minecraft to exploring the latest innovations in laptops and technology. Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Application, I love sharing my insights through writing and engaging with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on my journey through the ever-evolving realms of gaming and tech!

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