## Two-Weapon Fighting Idea

I had an idea/question on Two Weapon fighting.  As I see it there are three melee setups, one handed weapon and shield, two handed weapon, and dual wielding.  As far as I understand it we have:

one handed weapon and sheild - overall adds +1 to AC
two handed weapon - generally increases the damage die by one level adding +1 to damage on average

So what about for two-weapon fighting if we have

two-weapon fighting - add +1 to attack roll

My question is this:  From a math point of view this has a lot of symmetry to it.  You can choose if you want a buff to hit, damage or defense and all the buffs are about equal.  However from a role playing point of view  I think the +1 to attack roll misses the point of having two weapons i.e. you should get two attacks somehow.  I mean, you can justify it.  If you are swinging two swords at a guy then there has to be a better chance that one of them will connect.  Its not a very satisfactory explanation though.

So is the symmetry of the math enough to overcome the kind of arbitrary and unintuitive nature of the bonus?
The whole making two strikes actually increases the chance to hit. Comparing a person wielding a longsword vs. a person making two strikes with a longsword (1 in each hand). the chance that the person with two strikes will hit with at least one is around the same chance as if the single strike got between a +1 to a +5 bonus (depends on the difficulty to hit to start with.) This is the same math behind the mechanics of the Advantage/Disadvantage System.
The current rules for two weapon wielding makes all attacks with disadvantage. If you add up the expected damage though, if you need a roll of less than 10 for all strikes, Dual Wielding is more effective. The rules for dual wield also make sense in a RL sense, as a untrained person may be more likely to hit with one of the two strikes, but the weapons will be harder to control, and are less accurate individually.

If looking at current encounters, dual wield is mostly unattractive, as you give up effectiveness against anything you need a 10 or higher to hit. It will probably become more attractive when training removes the disadvantage from 1 or both weapons.
warrl
Joined Dec 1969
I had an idea/question on Two Weapon fighting.  As I see it there are three melee setups, one handed weapon and shield, two handed weapon, and dual wielding.

Five. Weapon and free hand, and unarmed.

As far as I understand it we have:

one handed weapon and sheild - overall adds +1 to AC
two handed weapon - generally increases the damage die by one level adding +1 to damage on average

So what about for two-weapon fighting if we have

two-weapon fighting - add +1 to attack roll

My question is this:  From a math point of view this has a lot of symmetry to it.

Symmetry but not balance.

+1 to damage adds... your chance to hit, to average damage. It will never exceed .95
+1 to defense adds... 5% effective HP, exceeding .95 when you have 20 HP. For a Fighter, that happens at a pretty low level.
+1 to attack adds... 5% to average damage, exceeding .95 when your average damage would otherwise be 20. With expertise dice, that happens at a pretty low level.

Already a two-handed weapon is looking underpowered. Adding another higher-power option won't help.

You can choose if you want a buff to hit, damage or defense and all the buffs are about equal.  However from a role playing point of view  I think the +1 to attack roll misses the point of having two weapons i.e. you should get two attacks somehow.  I mean, you can justify it.  If you are swinging two swords at a guy then there has to be a better chance that one of them will connect.  Its not a very satisfactory explanation though.

So is the symmetry of the math enough to overcome the kind of arbitrary and unintuitive nature of the bonus?

No, particularly not when you consider that symmetry of the math is not desirable in itself. I mean, it's nice, it sometimes makes things mildly easier to understand, but it isn't a justification for imbalance and in this case it gets in the way of balance.

My suggestion (and I am not saying it is perfect but I haven't seen one that I like better) is that the primary attack - which by default is the first unless the player declares otherwise *in advance* - does not get attribute bonus to damage, while the secondary attack gets *only* attribute and enhancement damage, no weapon-dice damage, no expertise dice, and can't crit or fumble. The two-weapon style would give the same benefit to AC as a light shield (since that's actually the primary use of the second weapon).

That in essence makes the two-weapon style statistically almost identical to sword-and-board, with a slightly tighter clumping of the damage distribution (less likely to do max damage, less likely to do no damage). The long-term advantages are in the option of going for two targets on an ordinary attack, and (if you have two melee weapons with pluses) two enhancement bonuses.
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
cvb
Joined Dec 1969
Five. Weapon and free hand, and unarmed.

Incorrect.  There are actually only two melee fighting styles in the world.

Two weapon, and one weapon-two handed.

Weapon and Free Hand is actually a dueling style which is completely useless when on the battlefield, especially because you could be facing multiple foes from multiple directions at once.

Unarmed is usually not viable against most armed targets.

Weapon and Shield is actually the same thing as a lot of Two Weapon styles.  The shield is considered a Defensive WEAPON.  An actual weapon, to use against an opponent.  And it was very effective at this (why else was it so popular?)  Two offensive weapons often used one of them for defensive purposes primarily, only esoteric styles like Escrima and Case of Rapiers did they open up some offensive options.  But again, the off hand/secondary weapon was also used for parries and deflections.

And everyone here can agree that One Weapon-Two hands is pretty self-explanatory, covering everything from long swords, great swords, axes, some maces, staff weapons, spears and polearms, as well as a slew of other lethal implements that I am sure I have forgotten at this time in the morning.

However, in gaming terms, this information is completely useless, because everyone believes that their favourite style (especially you polearm fanatics) is actually viable in all combat situations.
Ramzour
Joined Dec 1969
I had an idea/question on Two Weapon fighting.  As I see it there are three melee setups, one handed weapon and shield, two handed weapon, and dual wielding.  As far as I understand it we have:

one handed weapon and sheild - overall adds +1 to AC
two handed weapon - generally increases the damage die by one level adding +1 to damage on average

So what about for two-weapon fighting if we have

two-weapon fighting - add +1 to attack roll

My question is this:  From a math point of view this has a lot of symmetry to it.  You can choose if you want a buff to hit, damage or defense and all the buffs are about equal.  However from a role playing point of view  I think the +1 to attack roll misses the point of having two weapons i.e. you should get two attacks somehow.  I mean, you can justify it.  If you are swinging two swords at a guy then there has to be a better chance that one of them will connect.  Its not a very satisfactory explanation though.

So is the symmetry of the math enough to overcome the kind of arbitrary and unintuitive nature of the bonus?

hmm, I had never thought about the symmetry that way before. Interesting.

With that in mind, though, the TWF mechanics (make 2 attacks, but half damage to both) actually make sense!

If you are attacking twice, it's almost like having Advantage. You have not one but TWO chances to hit your target. And statistically, having Advantage is considerably better than a +1 to attack (adv can be worth as much as a +5 to hit).

But what about the half damage? Aren't you being penalized? It certainly feels like that from the player's perspective anyway. Turns out, your dps is the same whether you attack once or attack twice and halve your damage. So whatever benefit the extra attack gave you was cancelled by the half damage.

An easy solution would be: when dual weilding, you make a (single) attack with Advantage (but no extra attacks). Having Advantage on one attack translates to a roughly 2 damage per round increase. The implications of ALWAYS having Advantage when dual weilding, however, can have ugly consequences. Also, you still only get one attack, which isn't as fun.

Perhaps a better solution would be: you make two attacks, add +1 to hit for BOTH attacks, but still halve the damage. That ends up giving you a small increase in DPR, and you have the added benefit of attacking multiple foes in a given round. That can also translate to a boost in DPR because you reduce overkill damage. If you drop a foe on the first swing, you can still give another half damage attack to a nearby enemy.

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warrl
Joined Dec 1969
Perhaps a better solution would be: you make two attacks, add +1 to hit for BOTH attacks, but still halve the damage. That ends up giving you a small increase in DPR, and you have the added benefit of attacking multiple foes in a given round. That can also translate to a boost in DPR because you reduce overkill damage. If you drop a foe on the first swing, you can still give another half damage attack to a nearby enemy.

But there's still the issue of expertise dice.

You drop the maximum damage from expertise dice.

You double the chance of applying expertise dice - both for additional damage, and for any other uses (you can't halve an expertise die if spending it doesn't involve rolling it). And you create the possibility of applying expertise dice to two targets.

Try balancing THAT!

Which is why my version only permits expertise dice on the main attack, not the secondary attack. (And doesn't halve them, but then it doesn't halve anything - it uses a different way  of splitting the damage  between the two attacks.)

"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Ramzour
Joined Dec 1969
Perhaps a better solution would be: you make two attacks, add +1 to hit for BOTH attacks, but still halve the damage. That ends up giving you a small increase in DPR, and you have the added benefit of attacking multiple foes in a given round. That can also translate to a boost in DPR because you reduce overkill damage. If you drop a foe on the first swing, you can still give another half damage attack to a nearby enemy.

But there's still the issue of expertise dice.

You drop the maximum damage from expertise dice.

You double the chance of applying expertise dice - both for additional damage, and for any other uses (you can't halve an expertise die if spending it doesn't involve rolling it). And you create the possibility of applying expertise dice to two targets.

Try balancing THAT!

Which is why my version only permits expertise dice on the main attack, not the secondary attack. (And doesn't halve them, but then it doesn't halve anything - it uses a different way  of splitting the damage  between the two attacks.)

You get 2 attacks
The first (primary) attack deals damage = Weapon + STR/DEX + Expertise Dice (i.e. normal damage for a normal attack)
The second (bonus) attack deals damage = STR/DEX (but can't add expertise dice)
Don't halve any damage rolls
AND you also get a +1 to AC when dual-weilding
Note: I'm ignoring magic items, since they are not standard.

But my problem is if you grant BOTH an extra attack and a bonus to AC, you have just made shields obsolete. Why would a warrior ever get a shield when they can carry around a sharpened pencil in their off-hand to gain a +1 AC...AND a free attack that is independent of the weapon damage.

If you have to declare your primary attack ahead of time, then it kind of puts you at a disadvantage (rules pun not intended). The nice thing about having 2 attacks is that you have 2 chances to apply your ED. Deadly Strike triggers "when you hit a creature with a weapon attack". If you can only apply ED to your primary attack, and you miss, then you've wasted it for the round. You should always be able to apply maneuvers to any attacks you make, assuming you have ED left to spend this round.

So, as a possible fix, do this:
When wielding a weapon or shield in your off-hand, you gain one of the following two benefits:
1) An extra attack. This attack deals damage equal to your Ability Modifier. (You can enhance either attack with any maneuvers you may have available)
2) A +1 Shield bonus to AC.
You can choose which benefit you receive every round. You decide whether your off-hand weapon is being used offensively or defensively.

This essentially groups TWF and Sword+Shield into the category "The Fighting with Stuff in Both Hands Style". A tank fighter can choose to forgo his shield's AC bonus for the round to gain an extra attack (shield bask). A duelist can choose to forgo his extra attack for the round to get some extra defense (parrys).

It's a simple rule and everyone wins.

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Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

warrl
Joined Dec 1969

You got it almost right. I'll make the appropriate correction:

You get 2 attacks
The first (primary) attack deals damage = Weapon + STR/DEX + Expertise Dice (i.e. normal damage for a normal attack)
The second (bonus) attack deals damage = STR/DEX (but can't add expertise dice)
Don't halve any damage rolls
AND you also get a +1 to AC when dual-weilding
Note: I'm ignoring magic items, since they are not standard.

But my problem is if you grant BOTH an extra attack and a bonus to AC, you have just made shields obsolete. Why would a warrior ever get a shield when they can carry around a sharpened pencil in their off-hand to gain a +1 AC...AND a free attack that is independent of the weapon damage.

If you have to declare your primary attack ahead of time, then it kind of puts you at a disadvantage (rules pun not intended).

Reducing the advantage of two attacks. That's why I want you to declare the primary attack ahead of time.

The nice thing about having 2 attacks is that you have 2 chances to apply your ED. Deadly Strike triggers "when you hit a creature with a weapon attack". If you can only apply ED to your primary attack, and you miss, then you've wasted it for the round. You should always be able to apply maneuvers to any attacks you make, assuming you have ED left to spend this round.

What happens if you only have one attack, and you miss? Whatever happens then is what happens when my dual-wielder misses with his primary attack.

So, as a possible fix, do this:
When wielding a weapon or shield in your off-hand, you gain one of the following two benefits:
1) An extra attack. This attack deals damage equal to your Ability Modifier. (You can enhance either attack with any maneuvers you may have available)
2) A +1 Shield bonus to AC.
You can choose which benefit you receive every round. You decide whether your off-hand weapon is being used offensively or defensively.

This essentially groups TWF and Sword+Shield into the category "The Fighting with Stuff in Both Hands Style". A tank fighter can choose to forgo his shield's AC bonus for the round to gain an extra attack (shield bask). A duelist can choose to forgo his extra attack for the round to get some extra defense (parrys).

Hm. I had overlooked that fighter ability. I might go with your version then.
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Ramzour
Joined Dec 1969
In terms of balance issues, I see why you want to only add your Ability Modifier to one of your attacks (the bonus attack). However, I think you'd have a hard time justifying the logic of only adding your Ability Modifer to ONE attack but not the OTHER.

It's difficult to walk the line between mechanical balance and logical rules sometimes. The mechanics need to be robust enough to do their job and simple enough to be easy to use and somewhat intuitive. That's what makes the Adv/Disadv system so brillaint. That's also why they are updating the Turn Undead ability in the next packet. It makes me happy that the devs are trying their hardest to get it right and not settling for anything less than awesome.

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

Lost Mine of Phandelver: || Problems and Ideas with the adventure ||  Finding the Ghost of Neverwinter Wood ||

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

defcon_1
Joined Dec 1969
How about we give off-hand weapons and shields their own personal Expertise Die to spend instead, rather than set damage, attack rolls or bonuses to AC?

Off-hand weapons can be used to cause damage or occasionally parry incoming attacks.  Shields can be used to block incoming attacks or occasionally cause damage via a shield bash.

Every turn the off-hand weapon/shield gains an Expertise Die.  The PC can spend the Die like the Parry maneuver over the course of the round to lower a bit of incoming damage, or spend it during his turn as extra damage if he hits with his primary attack.

If the PC uses a shield, the Expertise Die is a d6 to Parry, or a d4 to damage (to symbolize that shields are mainly damage reducers and not damage causers) and if the PC uses an off-hand weapon, the Expertise Die is a d6 to damage, or a d4 to Parry (to symbolize the reverse.)  And in both cases, you could even make it a bit better by saying that the target of the Expertise Die damage doesn't have to be the same one from the primary attack.  So you could use your main weapon to attack one target, and if you hit, then bashed or hit a secondary target within reach (a la the 4E Cleave exploit.)  This would be really useful for getting rid of multiple small HP targets that are surrounding the martial warrior.

Thus, sword 'n board and dual-wielding use the exact same mechanics, and neither one is better or worse than the other.  I suppose if you wanted to keep the +1 AC bonus on top of that you could... but for my money, I wouldn't bother.  Turn shields from AC bonuses to Damage Reduction via the Parry maneuver.

cvb
Joined Dec 1969
Actually, DEFCON_1, technically, you can't parry arrows with a weapon, but you can with a shield.

The only advantage there would by the weapons portability, damage die and versatility in providing a secondary mode of attack, in this case.

Two offensive weapons are great in a mass melee (assuming you're bad ass enough to be that skilled, and the Fighter should be) because you have two weapons to defend OR attack with.  A shield is usually relegated to defense, so enemies will likely strike at the offensive side, rather than the defensive, tying you up and keeping you from attacking them.  It's predictable, to a certain extent.

Thing is, D&D doesn't ever bother with simulating that, neither should it because it brings all sort of wrinkles out of the even short 6 second combat cycle.

If anything, 2 offensive weapons should give your enemies a -1 (or whatever, depending on the bonuses in the system) to attack you to reflect that they won't know which side you'll use as a parry or attack.  With a shield they'll attack your 'weak' side, your sword arm, but if you're holding two swords (or whatever) they have to worry about which weapon is going to strike out at them.
I like the notion of +1 attack, +X damage, and +1 AC as the attack styles. Two-Handed weapon's damage bonuses need to grow as characters gain levels, which was one advantage of the X[W] mechanic in 4E.

Maybe, after the expertice system is refined more, each fighting style will modify your expertice dice size for specific actions. Two-Handers could get more damage to damage dealing maneuvers, shield users could get bonuses with parry, and twfing could be in the middle.

Poe's Law is alive and well.