Last Updated on January 10, 2023
The legion of the damned formed ranks locking their shields together and making a near-impenetrable wall.
The shield wall held for hours blocking the only exit out of the city. Refugees and soldiers had swarmed the line but were repelled time and time again.
From the crowd emerged a cloaked figure carrying a shimmering Glaive. The figure readied the weapon. The curved blade atop the wooden pole shimmered in the light. The figure rushed forward alone dancing among the shield wall.
The Glaive thrust between the shields. The cloaked figure expertly hooked the polearm around the shields and through the small gaps in the line. Within seconds the shield wall was failing as the legion of the damned was unable to hold against the cloaked figure.
The crowd and soldiers rushed forward and broke through.
Where waves of soldiers failed, a single fighter with the right weapon succeeded.
Glaive 5e Attributes
A Glaive is a polearm-type weapon. It looks like a small sword mounted at the end of a staff. They sometimes have a hooked point on the back end of the blade which is used for knocking enemies off horseback or hooking shields to knock opponents off balance.
- Type: Martial, Melee
- Cost: 20 Gp
- Weight: 6lb
- Damage: 1d10
- Properties: Heavy, Reach, Two-Handed
The Glaive in DnD 5e has 3 different weapon properties.
This basically disqualifies small creatures from effectively using the Glaive. Heavy weapons force a disadvantage on all attacks made by small creatures using heavy weapons. Although it would be fun to create a glaive-wielding gnome, you’ll have to have a modified version of the Glaive or ask your DM to house rules a weapon.
This is one of the best standard weapon properties. Reach gives an extra 5ft to their range. This makes it easy to control the battlefield by letting them engage targets from farther away while still being in melee range.
This basically forces the player to use both hands when wielding the weapon. This isn’t too much of an issue with melee fighters, but if you’re planning to use something in the offhand Glaives may not be the weapon of choice.
Best Feats for Glaive 5e
There are a few different Feats that work well specifically with the Glaive. There are some feats that are universally useful, but the ones listed below are specifically geared towards improving the Glaive.
At first glance, the best feat for Glaive users is Polearm Master. It’s the only one that grants explicit bonuses to the Glaive. There are two bonuses that Polearm Master grants.
First players get a bonus attack when they are using a Glaive to attack. They can attack with the butt end of the Glaive and deal 1d4 additional blunt damage.
Second, they get an opportunity attack against any creature that comes into their range. Remember that the Glaive has the Reach property and your range is increased by 5ft.
Of the two features, the most useful is the second. Clever placement of a glaive user with Polearm Master can effectively stop a horde of enemies. A lone Glaive user on a bridge can hold back an entire wall of enemies using this feature.
The additional attack is useful, but the damage is negligible at higher levels. It’s still never bad to deal additional damage though.
Sentinel offers a few different bonuses and even allows the user to learn a new cantrip. The Sentinel Feat also boosts that Cantrip by extending range and makes it more potent.
All of that is completely useless to a Glaive user.
However, the Sentinel Feat does offer one incredible bonus to Glaive users. When you hit a creature with an opportunity attack its movement is reduced to 0 for the rest of the turn.
The Sentinel feat is often paired with Polearm Master to control the battlefield.
The Fighter’s Battle Master Archetype is perfect for a Glaive user. If you happen to choose a different class however you can still gain access to some of this Subclasses features. Martial Adept opens up these abilities to Rangers and Paladins, but to a lesser degree.
The Character will only have one Superiority Die to work with which will make it much lesser effective than simply choosing the Battle Master Archetype Subclass.
We’ll dive deeper into the Battlemaster Archetype in the next section since it adds a ton of features for a Glaive user.
Great Weapon Master
When the Glaive user drops a player to 0 HP or scores a critical hit they can make an additional attack as a bonus action.
In addition, the Great Weapon Master feat gives the Glaive user the opportunity to deal additional damage at the cost of accuracy. The user can take a -5 to the attack roll for +10 damage.
If you’re feeling lucky, the extra +10 damage per hit can be devastating, especially if you can offset the penalty with a high strength.
Best Fighting Styles for Glaive 5e
There is only one fighting style that specifically helps Glaive users and that’s Great Weapon Fighting. The only other Fighting Style that’s helpful is the Defense Fighting Style but that just grants a generic bonus that’s useful to all martial fighters.
Great Weapon Fighting
Any weapon that can be wielded two-handed can be considered a “Great Weapon”. This basically gives the player a mulligan that allows them to reroll one of their damage die if it’s a 1 or a 2. They must use the second roll.
This is an easy way to ensure that your damage output remains high. The ability to reroll a low die is always a nice bonus, especially when it only has 1d10 to roll.
Best Archetypes for Glaive 5e
The Fighter Class is one of the best melee martial classes in the game. The Fighter subclasses are called Archetypes, and there are two that are better suited for building a character around the Glaive.
The Battle Master is an expert in different styles of combat. Their Archetype Feature lets them perform Maneuvers on the battlefield powered by their Superiority Dice. They learn new maneuvers at levels 3, 7, 10, and 15.
The Best Battle Master Maneuvers for Glaive Users:
- Lunging Attack
- Feinting Attack
- Precision Attack
- Pushing Attack
- Sweeping Attack
Increases the range of the attack by 5ft and add the superiority die to the attack.
Glaives have Reach which grants a 5ft range, Polearm Master adds another 5ft range, and Lunging Attack increases the range by another 5ft.
If you combine all 3 of these this grants the Glaive a range of 15ft. There aren’t many melee weapons that can hit from 15ft.
Feinting Attack is one of the more generic abilities. It gives the user advantage when attacking a creature within 5 ft. It’s useful when enemies get a little too close and you need to ensure a hit before they can do too much damage to you. It’s not the best Maneuver, but it’s not bad to have.
The Precision attack adds the superiority dice to the attack roll. This by itself doesn’t add any additional damage, but adds to the attack roll, improving your accuracy. This is especially useful if you’re using Great Weapon Master.
Precision Attack can offset the -5 penalty from Great Weapon Master and ensure you hit more often with the extra damage.
Pushing attack forces the target to make a Strength Saving Throw. If the target fails, then they’re knocked back up to 15ft away. In order to activate this ability you must expend a superiority die, but the roll is added to the damage roll.
This is a very handy ability that pulls double duty. It adds to the damage which is always a bonus, but with a Glaive you can simply knock enemies out of melee range. When the enemies recover and come back the Glaive user can use Polearm Master & Sentinel to use opportunity attacks and stop them dead in their tracks.
Combined with these two feats, the Glaive user can knock enemies back and then hit them again when they come close again. Because of the increased range of the Glaive, enemies won’t be able to attack back with standard melee weapons.
Sweeping Attack is another nice-to-have ability from the Battle Master. If you hit a target you can sweep the weapon and hit another target within 5ft of the original target.
They don’t take full damage as if you were targeting them, but instead only take damage equal to the roll on the superiority dice. It’s not a ton of damage, but it’s worth having when surrounded by low HP enemies.
The Champion Archetype is your standard fighter subclass. Their Improved Critical and Superior Critical eventually lets fighters make critical hits on rolls of 18-20 which is always useful for any martial class.
This isn’t specific to Glaive users, but it’s a nice generic bonus. Finally, they also gain an additional Fighting Style. If you’re creating a Glaive user you should pick Great Weapon Fighting as your first Fighting Style, but Defense is a good second choice that adds to your AC.
Rune Knight doesn’t add anything specific to a Glaive user, but it’s not a bad choice. Players will be able to enhance their equipment with Runes and deal extra damage depending upon the Runes inscribed. Other than extra damage there are no specific bonuses for the Glaive.
The Cavalier’s abilities although not specifically geared towards polearms and Glaives have a lot of synergies that make the pairing work well.
The Cavalier’s Hold the Line ability is similar to the Sentinel ability. Their Vigilant Defender ability and Ferocious Charger ability also are great for getting into position and for gaining multiple opportunity attacks. All of the Cavalier’s abilities can benefit from the increased range of the Glaive and can help control the battlefield.
Glaive 5e Character Optimization
If you want to Min-Max your Glaive character then the Fighter Class is going to be your best bet.
They are the most skilled when it comes to martial weapons and have the most benefits when it comes to specializing in a single weapon.
The Battle Master and Cavalier subclasses work best with the Glaive. The Battle Master’s Maneuvers can potentially give it one of the longest ranges for a melee weapon making it almost ranged while still using melee skills.
For optimization, the combination of Polearm Master and Sentinel is an absolute must. With these two abilities, players will be able to stop the movement of any character that comes into range.
This will stop enemies before they even get to you, and then with the Fighter’s extra attacks and abilities, you’ll be able to safely dispatch enemies.
Glaives and other Polearms
Glaives fall under the Polearm category, but not all polearms are equal. Well maybe one or two, but when you’re creating a DnD character to specialize in a Glaive it’s important to look at all your options. In this section, we’re going to be looking at the differences between the Glaive vs. the other polearms.
Glaive Vs. Quarterstaff
The Quarterstaff is more versatile than the Glaive but doesn’t add as much utility or damage as the Glaive.
Quarterstaves are one of the few weapons that literally any class can use, and since it’s basically a long stick, they’re relatively cheap and can be found anywhere. They also have the Versatile weapon property that allows them to be used one-handed or two-handed for more damage.
Quaterstaves however deal less damage than a Glaive. Even when used two-handed the Quarterstaff has a 1d8 damage die while the Glaive has a 1d10.
They also don’t have the Reach property so they only have the standard melee range.
When comparing the two directly Quarterstaves are easier to use without any special feats or properties, but the Glaive has a better range and is much more useful for stopping enemies in their tracks, crowd control, and damage.
Glaive Vs. Spear
Spears are pretty much the same as Quarterstaves but with one extra benefit. They’re versatile and have 1d8 damage, but they have the added bonus of being throwable. This gives it a leg up over the Quarterstaff.
When comparing the Glaive vs. Spears, Spears don’t gain the benefit of Reach, but they instead can be used as a ranged throwable weapon.
It’s a fun choice but doesn’t have the crowd-control abilities of the Glaive.
Glaive Vs. Halberd
Glaives and Halberds are completely identical in DnD 5e. They are completely interchangeable. The only difference is their physical looks.
Glaive Vs. Pike
Glaives and Pikes are pretty similar when comparing damage. However, Glaives deal slashing damage and Pikes deal Piercing Damage.
Pikes are also cheaper than Glaives, but they’re heavier. Because they are heavier and more unwieldy they are not eligible for the bonus attack that comes with Polearm Master.
History of the Glaive
Glaives all have a longer blade mounted on a staff, but different cultures have called them different names in the past.
Glaives are also known as:
There are many different variations of the weapon historically, but the name Glaive is actually from the European version of the weapon.
The term Glaive had various meanings throughout its history and once referred to small swords or gladius. The meaning has since changed and now refers to the polearm with a small blade at the end.
Glaives often had other blades and hooks on them that were used to catch either shields or enemies on horseback to knock them down. The English swordsman George Silver highly rated the Glaive and considered it one of the most effective hand-to-hand weapons of the time.
Character Inspiration For DnD 5e Glaive Users
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next DnD 5e Glaive user, pop culture is always a good place to look.
Here are a few of our favorite Glaive users from pop culture to help give you some ideas for your next character. Each of these characters uses a Glaive, are really cool, and are some of my favorite characters.
Matrim Cauthon is one of my favorite characters in the book series the Wheel of Time. He receives the Glaive called the Ashandarei which in the Old Tongue means “Sword Spear”.
He receives his Glaive from the Eelfinn, otherworldly humanoid people. He uses it skillfully along with the memories of the ages past generals making him one of the most deadly fighters and brilliant strategists of his time.
If you’re a fan of One Piece, one of the longest-running anime series, then you’ll know of the legendary pirate White Beard. He was known as the strongest man in the world up until his death at Marineford island.
His weapon is the naginata/glaive Murakumogiri, one of the 12 Supreme Grade Swords in the world of One Piece. He was known to wield his glaive one or two-handed. While fighting, his glaive was able to repel the attacks of the Admirals at Marineford.
While fighting, he was known to never turn his back on his enemies. He faced every fight head-on and although his body was covered in scars he died without a single scar on his back.
Guan Yu was a real historical person, but his exploits have been glorified to the point where he is sometimes considered a deity.
He wielded a guandao named the Green Dragon Crescent Blade also known as the Frost Fair Blade. According to the legends, the Glaive weighed approximately 100 lbs and he was one of the only people in the world capable of wielding it properly.
The blade got its nickname during a battle in which Guan Yu cut down so many enemies in the snow that his Glaive was always covered in blood. By the end of the battle, the blood coating the blade ended up freezing, giving the edge a frozen and bloody sheen.
If you want to base your next DnD character on a beast-type creature and are a fan of Final Fantasy, the series Kimahri Ronso could be a good source of inspiration.
Kimahri was a member of the Ronso tribe that valued strength and unfortunately, Kimahri was smaller than most of the other Ronso. While in a fight with his rival Biran, he was beaten down and Biran snapped off his horn to shame him.
Kimahri later became a guardian known for his strength and quiet demeanor. He later faced down Biran and beat him in one on one combat before becoming one of the heroes that defeated SIN the monster that threatened the world.
His weapon of choice was the polearm which he used to launch himself into the air and fall from the sky striking anything below him with devastating force.
For you Lord of the Rings fans, look no further than the Rohirrim. The Rohirrim are the horse lords and known for their prowess on the battlefield. They sit atop their horses and use polearms to ride down their enemies.
Their horse charges shake the earth and strike fear into their enemies.
If you’re looking to create a DnD character based on the Riders of Rohan, a Cavalier that specializes in a glaive would be able to control the battlefield from atop a mount with ease.
Glaive 5e FAQ
What is the difference between glaive and halberd 5e?
Mechanically there is no difference between a Glaive and Halberd in DnD 5e.
The only differences are cosmetic. The Glaive has a blade similar to a shortsword and the Halberd has a blade, a hook, and a point.
How far does a glaive reach 5e?
The Glaive has a range of 5 ft.
With the Polearm Master Feat, the Glaive has a range of 10ft.
With the Polearm Master Feat and using the Maneuver Lunging Attack the Glaive has a range of 15ft.
Can you wield a glaive and a shield 5e?
You cannot wield a shield and Glaive at the same time. The Glaive requires two hands which disqualifies a shield. You can use the Shield Spell and a Glaive at the same time.
How much damage does a glaive do in 5e?
The Glaive deals 1d10 damage.