Should TWF really require an extra "cost" for melee classes



The Recent Ranger blog post got me thinking about TWF, and its place in previous editions and possible future use.

For the sake of this post,  when I talk about TWF im talking only about the basic normal run of the mill TWF.  That is using a normal one handed weapon in your primary hand, and a small/lighter weapon in your off hand ( for instance daggers, parry dagger, nets, hand axes, and shortswords).    I am NOT talking about TWF with two longswords, or similiar weapons.

In 3.5, TWF was considered so powerful that it reguired the expenditure of a feat to be remotely useful, and even then there still where negatives involved.    The fact that it cost you feat (unless you played a ranger), made it a subpar choice compared to the other two foundamental styles of combat.   Sword and board and two handed weapon fighting both require no extra training (no expenditures of feats) to use, making them that much better of a choice then TWF.

Granted Im basing the following on previous edition knowledge, but in a world where casters can cast wishes, resurrections, miracles, and every other 8th and 9th level spell.  Doing so as part of thier class abilities only, spending zero extra character creation assets.   It seems pretty funny that melee types have to spend extra (feats or other character creation resources) to be able to just TWF with out a penalty.  Again, Im talking about basic run of the mill TWF.....  basic one handed weapon and a lighter/smaller weapon in the off hand.

I also dont by the argument that its impossible to TWF, or that it takes some level of insane master level training to be possible.   Wielding a one handed weapon with a shield in a combat situation isnt exactly easy either.   Wielding a two hander and still being able to defend yourself reasonably well enough, cant be easy either.  In a realm of supernatural creatures and beings of godlike might,  fighting with two weapons isnt that insane.     

All melee classes (barbarians, fighters, rangers, paladins, rogues, monks, and even bards)  should be able to use all three of the basic combat styles, without penalty.   Melee is what they do,  you dont ask casters to spend other character creation resources (feats, themes, etc..) to cast high level spells. So why should melee types have too.   


Lastily,  lets keep all mention of the "Drow" out of this post.   He serves no purpose and adds nothing to the discussion.  
BAsically unlike the sword and board or giant sword the two-weapon allowed for a lot more damage. Giant sword racked up tons of bonuses later on, but initially the highest dmage dealer was a full-attack multi-weapon user, especially rogues with flanking or what have you.

So the devs decided it should cost feats to get extra atacks and that even then you should suffer a penalty to make sure you didn't blow everyone else out of the water. SO the two-weapon user got so bogged down in in feats that he became pretty useless outside of the full attack action. 
Well, it somewhat depends. What exactly do you mean by "basic two-weapon fighting"?

Is this like 3.5, where wielding that second weapon gives you a second attack?

Or is it like 4E, where you can wield two weapons at once all you want, you still only get one attack?


Yes, I think melee characters should be able to wield two weapons at once without getting some kind of penalty, especially if you're attacking with only one weapon at a time any ways.

But getting an extra attack just because you have a second weapon in your hand is a little unbalanced, because if you can make the second attack without any penalties, then why would you ever want to wield just one weapon?

So how about this solution: you can wield two weapons without penalty, but you can only attack with one at a time. If you want  to do anything more complicated than that, you have to take a "Dual-Wielder" theme, or pick up the TWF feats from the theme if you're not playing with themes.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
Twf is not balanced with other fighting styles due to multiple attacks and added damage.

This is the main reason it costs more.

Also attacking with both weapons isn't the main reason for real world dual wielding.

Typically the second weapon is used for defense.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

I've believed for a long time two weapon fighting should be a proficiency, not a feat sink.
Well, it somewhat depends. What exactly do you mean by "basic two-weapon fighting"?

Is this like 3.5, where wielding that second weapon gives you a second attack?

Or is it like 4E, where you can wield two weapons at once all you want, you still only get one attack?


Yes, I think melee characters should be able to wield two weapons at once without getting some kind of penalty, especially if you're attacking with only one weapon at a time any ways.

But getting an extra attack just because you have a second weapon in your hand is a little unbalanced, because if you can make the second attack without any penalties, then why would you ever want to wield just one weapon?

So how about this solution: you can wield two weapons without penalty, but you can only attack with one at a time. If you want  to do anything more complicated than that, you have to take a "Dual-Wielder" theme, or pick up the TWF feats from the theme if you're not playing with themes.



I never played 4E, so all my information is from earlier editions.

Again, Im comparing fighter styles  to high level magic of casters....  and the fact it costs melee types limited character creation assets and casters can break down the laws of physics for free.  Melee characters need all the edge they can get.

I cant think of any reason you would want to wield one weapon and nothing in your other hand to begin with though.... your off hand is always going to be used for something.

Of course fighting with two weapons is going to be superior to fighting with one weapon only.  But really,  who fights with just one weapon and nothing else now?  

Either you take a two hander for the extra damage....  or you take a one hander and a shield.    I cant remember any character in the last few years just using a one handed weapon in primary hand,   and nothing in his off hand.    

Torches in your off hand ends up being a great off handed weapon.   And fighting with a torch in one hand and a sword in the other is something thats very very DnD to me.... hands down iconic.  

With the Themes are Feats thing. TWF should be a theme. It alters how your character works, and the theme supports making twf taking. If you want a TWF fighter, you take the TWF theme.

However with the move away from penalties TWF without the feat to allow it could be disadvantage on the attacks pus -2 die steps for damage. With the first feat no disadvantage, next feat steps up the damage a die, and last step steps it up to full damage, and master TWF steps up the damage dice even further.

It's a thought.
The base version of two weapon fighting should do nothing.

Weilding 2 weapons allows you to attack with either weapon.  You get a disadvantage to attacks if thesecond weapon isn't a light weapon or the other side of a double weapon.

Fighters get some kind of bonus when wheilding an off hand light weapon or double weapon.

Then Themes do the rest.

One theme, Tempest could give you actual attacks with the off hand weapon.
Another theme, Duelist, could give bonuses to accuracy, AC, and damage.

This seems to be EXACTLY what themes should be handling.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Well, it somewhat depends. What exactly do you mean by "basic two-weapon fighting"?

Is this like 3.5, where wielding that second weapon gives you a second attack?

Or is it like 4E, where you can wield two weapons at once all you want, you still only get one attack?


Yes, I think melee characters should be able to wield two weapons at once without getting some kind of penalty, especially if you're attacking with only one weapon at a time any ways.

But getting an extra attack just because you have a second weapon in your hand is a little unbalanced, because if you can make the second attack without any penalties, then why would you ever want to wield just one weapon?

So how about this solution: you can wield two weapons without penalty, but you can only attack with one at a time. If you want  to do anything more complicated than that, you have to take a "Dual-Wielder" theme, or pick up the TWF feats from the theme if you're not playing with themes.



I never played 4E, so all my information is from earlier editions.

Again, Im comparing fighter styles  to high level magic of casters....  and the fact it costs melee types limited character creation assets and casters can break down the laws of physics for free.  Melee characters need all the edge they can get.

I cant think of any reason you would want to wield one weapon and nothing in your other hand to begin with though.... your off hand is always going to be used for something.

Of course fighting with two weapons is going to be superior to fighting with one weapon only.  But really,  who fights with just one weapon and nothing else now?  

Either you take a two hander for the extra damage....  or you take a one hander and a shield.    I cant remember any character in the last few years just using a one handed weapon in primary hand,   and nothing in his off hand.    

Torches in your off hand ends up being a great off handed weapon.   And fighting with a torch in one hand and a sword in the other is something thats very very DnD to me.... hands down iconic.  




Look at it this way:

Two-handed weapons do sightly more damage than one-handed weapons, at the cost of not being able to use a shield. 
Using a one-handed weapon with a shield improves your AC, at the cost of not doing as much damage as a two-handed weapon.
And wielding a one handed-weapon and leaving your other hand open....well, it potentially gives you greater versatility, but it's really not going to be a choice unless your character is built around the concept.

So how do we balance two-weapon fighting with that?
If the two-weapon warrior just gets an extra attack with his off hand weapon, that's extra damage, just like the two-handed weapon. Except.....it's potentially a lot more damage than what the two-hander will ever give you. So why would you ever want to wield a two-handed weapon? And for some people, the extra damage is far preferable to the relatively minor boost to AC you get from a shield. After all, if something is dead it can't hurt you, so why would you ever want to go sword-and-board?

Being able to make two attacks in a single turn with no penalties is unbaanced. Simple as that.

And your argument about melee versus casters? Yes....high-level casters can cast powerful spells. This is because they are high-level! They don't get the ability to do the really powerful stuff for free at first level. But under your idea, melee characters should be given access to a really powerful ability for free at first level.


I don't want to see casters that are ridiculously superior to melee characters.....but the solution to that isn't to give melee characters access to overpowered abilities at first level for free.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
The base version of two weapon fighting should do nothing.

Weilding 2 weapons allows you to attack with either weapon.  You get a disadvantage to attacks if thesecond weapon isn't a light weapon or the other side of a double weapon.

Fighters get some kind of bonus when wheilding an off hand light weapon or double weapon.

Then Themes do the rest.

One theme, Tempest could give you actual attacks with the off hand weapon.
Another theme, Duelist, could give bonuses to accuracy, AC, and damage.

This seems to be EXACTLY what themes should be handling.



See, I like this idea. It makes two-weapon fighting a resonable choice for people who don't neccessarily want to specialize in it, but makes it so if you want to get stuff like extra attacks, you need to make choices that will allow these extra attacks.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
The base version of two weapon fighting should do nothing.


Then Themes do the rest.

One theme, Tempest could give you actual attacks with the off hand weapon.
Another theme, Duelist, could give bonuses to accuracy, AC, and damage.

This seems to be EXACTLY what themes should be handling.



So what your saying....   melee types have to spend thier theme carefully to have more options in combat.  And caster types can just use thier themes any way they please.

Thats what it comes down too when Themes equal combat styles....   casters come out on top, and melee characters are limited by thier Theme.    There is no ability to cast the wish spell theme.... or ability so summon planar creature theme....  how about the ability to cast the resurrection spell theme....  Lol....

A theme should not equal a combat style... a theme should equal an improved version of that combat style.

I like the idea of a theme for some one who wants to specialize in TWF.... or pick up an improved version of TWF.   Having too spend a theme slot too do that makes sense too me.  Its Just like someone who wants to specialize in two handers,  archery,  crossbows,  or shields, thats what they would have to do.

But there should be a basic TWF package that all melee types can use.   Again, we are only talking about light and small offhand weapons.... not dual wielding longswords or basterds swords.....

I guess thats what im trying get across....  TWF should have a basic foundational package that all melee characters can get for free.   Then if you want more dmg,  bigger weapons.... etc... then that should be where Themes come along.   

Just weilding two weapons isnt a theme for me.... 
Every character even the wizard should be able to fight with two weapons. Why not what can hinder you to take two weapons in one hand. But without training, represented by feats or themes, you are not good at it. You get a penalty. Because of their usually higher physical abilities, class bonuses (weapon profiencies, bonus to damage...) martial characters will be better in general combat styles.
The wizard is getting his spells while advancing in his class. The fighter is getting more feats, manouvers while gaining levels. As the wizard can choose teleportation for his spell slot, the fighter can choose TWF for his extra feat slot. Nobody is getting something for free.


Look at it this way:

Two-handed weapons do sightly more damage than one-handed weapons, at the cost of not being able to use a shield. 
Using a one-handed weapon with a shield improves your AC, at the cost of not doing as much damage as a two-handed weapon.
And wielding a one handed-weapon and leaving your other hand open....well, it potentially gives you greater versatility, but it's really not going to be a choice unless your character is built around the concept.

So how do we balance two-weapon fighting with that?
If the two-weapon warrior just gets an extra attack with his off hand weapon, that's extra damage, just like the two-handed weapon. Except.....it's potentially a lot more damage than what the two-hander will ever give you. So why would you ever want to wield a two-handed weapon? And for some people, the extra damage is far preferable to the relatively minor boost to AC you get from a shield. After all, if something is dead it can't hurt you, so why would you ever want to go sword-and-board?

Being able to make two attacks in a single turn with no penalties is unbaanced. Simple as that.

And your argument about melee versus casters? Yes....high-level casters can cast powerful spells. This is because they are high-level! They don't get the ability to do the really powerful stuff for free at first level. But under your idea, melee characters should be given access to a really powerful ability for free at first level.


I don't want to see casters that are ridiculously superior to melee characters.....but the solution to that isn't to give melee characters access to overpowered abilities at first level for free.




Some very good points....  but i still see things differently....

Two handers are 1d10 and 2d6 based off the top of my head  (going by older editions), plus strength and a half.    Typical  one handers range from 1d6 too 1d8 damage, plus str.  Off hand weapons from 3.5 where  1d4 and 1d6, plus half str.

The strength bonuses cancel out...  so taking the worst 2hander and the best combo,  thats a difference of roughly what 2-4 (2.5 on average) pts of damage.   Granted awesome at low levels,  meaningless at higher levels.   Casters will always have better spell options at every level compared to this bonus.

Two handers will be always hold a slight superiourity for situations where dealing damage is key,  cause they do it all at once.  Things like resistance and DR can only effect it once.   Two weapon fighting is always inferior in these instances due to smaller damage dice and the fact things like DR will get to tick for each attack.     Also You only have to roll one attack roll,  so on reduced chance of critical failures every single turn.... DMs love critical failures....

Two handers also are a single weapon choice for any feats, and themes,  traits, or other weapon specific bonuses.  So you benefit there, and  theres always the equipment bonuse of only need one magic weapon to accomplish everything you want.... saving money for other magical equipment....

Sword and board is another story.... but sword and board in 3.5 almost always came out to be an inferior choice and lost hands down.  Trying to balance TWF with that model of sword and board is only going to lead too 2handers coming out superior again.    If anything Sword and board should upgraded to be more on par with TWF, then vice versa.

When you start breaking it down,  compared to casters of equal levels....   melee types getting an extra attack isnt that big of deal.   Melee characters should be able to melee like gods....    

 

As combat, and HP are abstract, just make two weapon fighting be similar to fighting with a two handed weapon. Roll 2d6 for damage maybe. If you want to be realistic about things though, extra attacks were not why people used two weapons. Two weapon fighting was primarily for defense.
The base version of two weapon fighting should do nothing.

Weilding 2 weapons allows you to attack with either weapon.  You get a disadvantage to attacks if thesecond weapon isn't a light weapon or the other side of a double weapon.

Fighters get some kind of bonus when wheilding an off hand light weapon or double weapon.

Then Themes do the rest.

One theme, Tempest could give you actual attacks with the off hand weapon.
Another theme, Duelist, could give bonuses to accuracy, AC, and damage.

This seems to be EXACTLY what themes should be handling.



This could work, although I'm a little skeptical that starting out as a TWF wouldn't be the hands down best way to deal damage out of the gate. I don't mean with sword and board, as they get higher AC. But with 2 handed fighting.

With a greatsword we have 1d12 damage (or 2d6 with race), we can have a 1d8 + 1d6. At 50% hit rate the greatsword does 3.25 ave, while the TWF has 2.25 + 1.75 = 4. It is hands down the best choice for damage this doesn't even get into damage bonus like the +2 the fighter gets that only applies once with a Two Hander, but can apply twice with two weapon.

TWF needs to balance itself with THF, or else anyone that wants to make a melee damager will always go with 2 weapons.



Why not just follow the 4e model for TWF: 2 attacks, but no ability modifier to damage?
The wizard uses his theme for extra minor spells so how is TWF theme not a valid option?

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Why not just follow the 4e model for TWF: 2 attacks, but no ability modifier to damage?



In 3.5 it was always half damage for off hand weapons, rounded down.  I could defently see a maximum str bonus too offhand weapons being something that would be part of 5E.

The base version of two weapon fighting should do nothing.


Then Themes do the rest.

One theme, Tempest could give you actual attacks with the off hand weapon.
Another theme, Duelist, could give bonuses to accuracy, AC, and damage.

This seems to be EXACTLY what themes should be handling.



So what your saying....   melee types have to spend thier theme carefully to have more options in combat.  And caster types can just use thier themes any way they please.

Thats what it comes down too when Themes equal combat styles....   casters come out on top, and melee characters are limited by thier Theme.    There is no ability to cast the wish spell theme.... or ability so summon planar creature theme....  how about the ability to cast the resurrection spell theme....  Lol....

A theme should not equal a combat style... a theme should equal an improved version of that combat style.

I like the idea of a theme for some one who wants to specialize in TWF.... or pick up an improved version of TWF.   Having too spend a theme slot too do that makes sense too me.  Its Just like someone who wants to specialize in two handers,  archery,  crossbows,  or shields, thats what they would have to do.

But there should be a basic TWF package that all melee types can use.   Again, we are only talking about light and small offhand weapons.... not dual wielding longswords or basterds swords.....

I guess thats what im trying get across....  TWF should have a basic foundational package that all melee characters can get for free.   Then if you want more dmg,  bigger weapons.... etc... then that should be where Themes come along.   

Just weilding two weapons isnt a theme for me.... 



How about this.

Basic Two Weapon fighting.
Off hand Light Basic weapon: +1 to mele damage rolls with your main hand weapon
Off hand Light Finesse weapon: +2 to melee damage rolls with your main hand weapon
Off hand Light Martial weapon: +3 to melee damage rolls with your main hand weapon
Non-Light weapon: Nothing

Tempest theme
Dual Strike: Make an off hand melee or thrown attack after and attack with your main hand.
Ambidexterity: You may apply your off hand damage bonus to your main hand to your off hand as well

Dualist Theme
Two weapon Accuracy: +1 to attack rolls to your main hand when weilding two weapons
Tow weapon Defense: +1 to Ac when weilding 2 weapons


Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Because the 4e version was horribly broken. TWF should be free or a simple proficiency, and should allow a fighter using two weapons to do the same average damage (though it might be higher accuracy, lower damage, or something) as a fighter wielding a two-handed weapon (and more than a fighter using a one-handed weapon plus a shield).
Why not just follow the 4e model for TWF: 2 attacks, but no ability modifier to damage?



In 3.5 it was always half damage for off hand weapons, rounded down.  I could defently see a maximum str bonus too offhand weapons being something that would be part of 5E.




I really hope they don't follow the 3.5e model for TWF though. It was a trap choice for everyone but rogues.
The root cause of the issue is that shields just aren't meaningful enough.

2HF and 2WF should end up being roughly similar in expected damage ouput over the expect hit rate.
Weapon + Shield needs to be an equally valid choice by trading raw output for something roughly as useful.
In 4e sword-n-board, TWF, and two-handed fighting were fairly well balanced. I think shields were pretty meaningful.
I think shields were pretty meaningful.

Care to elaborate, or do I have to go look it up?

The base version of two weapon fighting should do nothing.


Then Themes do the rest.

One theme, Tempest could give you actual attacks with the off hand weapon.
Another theme, Duelist, could give bonuses to accuracy, AC, and damage.

This seems to be EXACTLY what themes should be handling.



So what your saying....   melee types have to spend thier theme carefully to have more options in combat.  And caster types can just use thier themes any way they please.

Thats what it comes down too when Themes equal combat styles....   casters come out on top, and melee characters are limited by thier Theme.    There is no ability to cast the wish spell theme.... or ability so summon planar creature theme....  how about the ability to cast the resurrection spell theme....  Lol....

A theme should not equal a combat style... a theme should equal an improved version of that combat style.

I like the idea of a theme for some one who wants to specialize in TWF.... or pick up an improved version of TWF.   Having too spend a theme slot too do that makes sense too me.  Its Just like someone who wants to specialize in two handers,  archery,  crossbows,  or shields, thats what they would have to do.

But there should be a basic TWF package that all melee types can use.   Again, we are only talking about light and small offhand weapons.... not dual wielding longswords or basterds swords.....

I guess thats what im trying get across....  TWF should have a basic foundational package that all melee characters can get for free.   Then if you want more dmg,  bigger weapons.... etc... then that should be where Themes come along.   

Just weilding two weapons isnt a theme for me.... 



How about this.

Basic Two Weapon fighting.
Off hand Light Basic weapon: +1 to mele damage rolls with your main hand weapon
Off hand Light Finesse weapon: +2 to melee damage rolls with your main hand weapon
Off hand Light Martial weapon: +3 to melee damage rolls with your main hand weapon
Non-Light weapon: Nothing

Tempest theme
Dual Strike: Make an off hand melee or thrown attack after and attack with your main hand.
Ambidexterity: You may apply your off hand damage bonus to your main hand to your off hand as well

Dualist Theme
Two weapon Accuracy: +1 to attack rolls to your main hand when weilding two weapons
Tow weapon Defense: +1 to Ac when weilding 2 weapons





Its interesting I will admit.... but it doesnt feel like your fighting with two weapons to me (the basic package only).   

Its defently good to see someone else getting the idea though,  that TWF needs a foundation that all melee characters can use at level one (with out spending thier theme choice to get it).   The act of TWF shouldnt require a theme,   the act of specializing in TWF should require a theme. 

Your Basic two weapon fighting gives bonuses and has no negatives.... not too powerful...  my only complaint is it feels less like TWF and more like something else i cant put a word too.... Lol....  but other then that its something I could live with....

 
The root cause of the issue is that shields just aren't meaningful enough.

2HF and 2WF should end up being roughly similar in expected damage ouput over the expect hit rate.
Weapon + Shield needs to be an equally valid choice by trading raw output for something roughly as useful.




I agree,  shields in 3.5 nearly always turned out to be the worst choice to take.   That defently will have to be another topic for another day though... lol.....

I always wanted some kind of DR effect on shields.... higher defense to range attacks... 
I think shields were pretty meaningful.

Care to elaborate, or do I have to go look it up?




Well if you haven't played 4e, heavy shields gave +2 AC/Reflex, and opened up some very nice feats, especially for fighters.

If you check out the  character optimization forums, a lot of the top fighter/paladin/warden builds are shield-users.
Okay guys, here's an idea out of nowhere:
2HF steps the damage die up on the one attack.
2WF steps the damage die down on each of the two attacks.
A shield does whatever a shield does.

That's it.  That's the only differences between the three basic styles.
So a Dwarf wielding a greataxe does 3d6 damage while the TWF gets 1d6 + 1d4?

At 50%  5.25 to 1.75 + 1.25 or 3; or not a dwarf is 3.5 to 3. Closer, possibly as close as one can get.
So a Dwarf wielding a greataxe does 3d6 damage while the TWF gets 1d6 + 1d4?

At 50%  5.25 to 1.75 + 1.25 or 3; or not a dwarf is 3.5 to 3. Closer, possibly as close as one can get.

By "that's it" I also meant no more codified "smaller weapon in off-hand".

Someone using a longsword and shield attacks for 1d8.
Someone using a longsword two-handed attacks for 1d10.
Someone using two longswords attacks for 1d6 and 1d6.
Adding an extra attack multiplies your potential damage.  All other damage bonuses (in previous editions and that we've seen so far in Next) are additive.  This means multiple attacks are out--there is no way to reconcile this such that multiplication will ever be balanced against addition.

So what else can we do?  Since there's two weapons, why don't we play with rolling two d20s?

What if your attacks had advantage (representing both weapons attacking) and if the attack succeeds, you deal damage with one of them?  No, that's problematic because Rogues would get sneak attack just by dual wielding.

What if your attacks had disadvantage but if you hit, you land the attack with both weapons?  Hmm, no, then it just ends up like a two-hander with disadvantage (two short swords vs. a greatsword is basically the same damage).

What if you roll the attack normally and the damage had advantage?  Roll both weapons' damage die and take the higher one?  Will that add enough to be competitive with a two-hander?  Probably not.

I don't know--I'm not even a fan of dual wielding aesthetically.  Maybe just have the main hand weapon die increase a step (or is it 2?), thus making it basically a refluffed two-handed weapon?  Then the only thing actually different would be improvisations?  This is tricky...

What if your attacks had disadvantage but if you hit, you land the attack with both weapons?  Hmm, no, then it just ends up like a two-hander with disadvantage (two short swords vs. a greatsword is basically the same damage).

Is there any reason why (dis)advantage needs to apply to only a d20?

THF getting the better of two damage rolls, and TWF getting the worse of two damage rolls twice seems another idea.
Weapon damage rolls are chump change. It's the modifiers to successful attacks that matter.

Weapon damage rolls are chump change. It's the modifiers to successful attacks that matter.



This is true in 4E, and was also true in 3.5.  It wasn't really true in 2E (unless you were playing Thor, with 18/00 strength and a +5 weapon).

We don't know whether or not it will be true in Next.


edit to be actually on topic

If TWF gives you an advantage, it should cost resources.  Simple as that.  If it is balanced with the other styles, then it shouldn't cost resources.

That said, TWF in actual combat is about 900% less effective than movies have trained people to believe.  So I don't particularly want to see people DWing a pair of bastard swords ever, much less with no penalties.  I recognize that this is an unpopular stance to take on these forums and I don't really care.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
I agree with the OP.  The key is to make the various options balanced against each other.  For example, something like this:
- 2-Handed weapon does the most damage (+2 Dam)
- 1-Handed weapon has the best offence (+2 to hit)
- Sword & Board has the best defence (+2 Def)
- TWF is the most versatile (+1 Dam or +1 Def or +1 to Hit) 
As others have said..the issue with TWF is that it doubles any sort of base damage you may have.  If you get to attack with both..and in general gives a strong increase to your chance to hit if you're attack rating is already anything even close to respectable.

So it can't be just a base ability without penalty.  Otherwise it'll be the 'duh' choice that everyone uses.  It must have some sort of inherent disadvantage, or somehow work different than just 'you make two attacks...at the same bonus you make a single attack'.

Part of why it's always been relegated to a specific build, or takes up a lot of character building resources.  Because it is just that powerful overall.  Heck even in 3.5..the right build of it kicked butt and could kill anything and then some if it got up on you.  Trust me I've seen the 'chainsaw' as we called him..in action.  It's a nasty build when done right and more powerful than a 2 weapon fighter.


So yeah...you will need to figure out some way to penalize the TWF that is agreeable..and will outweigh the stack of bonuses it gets...just by virtue of rolling twice to hit..and doing static damage twice (mind you this also increases chances to crit).
Personally, I'm a fan of (the idea of) two-weapon fighting, but it hasn't really ever been implemented terribly well in D&D in my opinion.  In 2nd, it was way too good.  You spent the proficiencies and essentially doubled your damage (it was a flat extra attack, like haste in 3.x).  In 3.x it was really subpar, having a rediculously high feat cost, which required a very high dexterity as well, that only payed off in rare situations (rogues with sneak attack, for example).  Even then, it meant missing more often.  In 4e, TWF was kind of lame for anyone who didn't have class features that specifically incorporated it.

It would be nice if they could balance TWF in 5e, but I kind of doubt it will happen.  Thus far, we've seen a lot of flat + damage class abilities which would over power it compared to using a two-hander if they just added extra attacks (essentially giving the 2e problem all over again), but if they monkey with it too much then it's once again a useless option relegated to gimick builds. 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/10.jpg)

The real problem is that, for whatever reason, people think that having two weapons should increase your number of attacks. If you get rid of that assumption, the problem goes away.
@Ankiyavon

Well, right from the Playtest, we already have a decent view on where they're going with damage modifiers, at least with Fighters and Rogues. The Weapon Focus bonus seems to increase ever 2 or 3 levels, and Sneak Attack scales every level-up. An extra off-hand attack using these damage modifiers alone will definitely make TWF the most damaging form of fighting with these classes.

 As to RL dual wielding, you're pretty much right. The only times it was at all useful was in situations where the battlefield was too cramped to allow the proper space for shields or big weapons, such as in colonial-era naval warships. Not that anyone should want this.

Just pointing this out: 2WF in 4e was not broken at all. Twin Strike is what makes the ranger a viable character; without it, he has some good multiattack powers, but nothing else. 
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TD, I agree, but I think killing that assumption just... isn't going to happen.



Just throwing things out:

What about relating it to Advantage?

2-Hand w/Advantage: roll twice, take highest.
2-Wep w/Advantage: roll twice, take highest for main, and lowest for off-hand.

Or tie it to crits?

2-Hand Crit: +X dice of damage
2-Wep Crit: +off-hand damage

Or... really, no idea.  I'm partial to the approach some of 4e's options took for "multiple attacks" - Roll X Dice; You can hit with any die (essentially take highest), and each additional die that would hit gets +X damage.
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