Two Weapon Fighting

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Just a request for the people out there working on 4e:
Make two-weapon fighting worthwhile please.
Right now, no matter how you turn it, with the rules for power attack and dividing strength and the penalties, it is never a optimal choice.
Even if you spend a whole lot of feats on it, a two-hander is always better than two weapons. That seems wrong, imo.

improvements might be to include full strength for offhand attacks, and to fold Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
and Greater Two-Weapon Fighting in the standard Two-Weapon Fighting feat.
You know, I was just about to start a thread on this. Someone was complaining about how DR worked over on the class boards and how tough it was on the twf.

If they go the Saga route then the only way to get more than one attack will be through the use of feats like twf. That should go a long way in making two weapon fighters better.
Well, they're changing the attacks/round stuff completely, so twf could go anywhere from rock bottom to perfectly optimal.
You still have to make a full attack (i.e. give up all movement) to hit twice with two weapons in SWS. In many cases, that's a disadvantage because movement is far more frequent and important in SWS than in D&D 3.x or the previous versions of the SWRPG.

That's one area where SWS goofed. They should've added two-weapon defense bonuses to the dual-wielding feats (and have the defense bonuses increase when taking the II and III feats) to justify carrying two weapons into a high-movement battle. In SWS, the only way to get such a bonus is to take the Jar'Kai lightsaber form.
I don't see how more damage for less accuracy is a bad concept, and if you look at it you get alot more damage for (if you take a few feats) a slight dip in accuracy. I've never used it but that's because I'm the greatsword-to-the-face type of fighter player, and if you're a ranger you're always expected to be the ranged attacker so you can't take TWFing.
I don't see how more damage for less accuracy is a bad concept, and if you look at it you get alot more damage for (if you take a few feats) a slight dip in accuracy.

It's not more damage for less accuracy. It's less damage for less accuracy at the cost of a feat.
In real life, two-weapons are usually used for the following reasons:
  • It's harder for an opponent to defend against two weapons.
  • It's better than leaving a hand empty (using a shield or using your weapon two-handed isn't empty)
  • The off-hand is used for opportunity (you can force a defense of your first attack and attack defenseless with your second)
  • Fighting multiple opponents.
  • I'm sure there's others I'm missing.


It's a difficult style; I'm only familiar with it historically in the Florentine style of rapier/dagger fighting, Escrima's sticks/swords/knifes/unarmed attacks from the Philippines, various unarmed styles from around the world, and Musashi's daisho techniques. I see it mostly as a technical style, useful for using more maneuvers. TWFing shouldn't be more defensive than using a shield, though, but it should be more defensive than using a single weapon.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Jesus, these 4E boards seriously need more CO influence.

In 3.5E, TWF is used when you have fixed damage modifiers on attacks. Traditional example is sneak attack. A fighter2/rogue 7, for example, gets 3d6 sneak attack, and has a BAB of +7. That means two iterative attacks. Say he's got ITWF--now he makes two attacks with each hand. Four attacks total, if they all hit, he does +12d6 sneak attack in addition to weapon/STR damage. If he was wielding a greatsword, he'd only get +6d6 (that is, 3d6 per swing).

Or take the Swashbuckler's Insightful strike ability (add INT to damage). Say your Smart Fighter Dude has 16 INT; he TWFs, and gets +3 damage on all of his attacks. The more attacks your character has total, the more times you get to apply these sorts of passive bonuses.

In other words, 3.5E TWF is a conscious decision that ought to be made at the beginning of a character's career. You need to put a lot into it to get benefits out of it. And yes, it does pigeonhole you into DEX rather than STR, which people have legitimate complaints about. But if you do it right, TWF is killer, and easily outstrips THF for a particular character type.
Have you ever done the math? I did when I was writing up a new dwarven fighter ... and I ended up going with 2 weapon fighting.

At lower levels, the guy with 2 weapon does more damage. At higher levels, the 2-weapon fighter does slightly more damage at lower ACs and slightly less at higher ... but we're talking of the differece between the 2 is less than 10% on average (with the 2 weapon fighter doing slightly better overall).

Add in the fact that the 2 weapon fighter will generally have a better AC.

Of course, this all depends on character build. I happened to do a dwarven fighter, with oversized 2-weapon, specialization, no bbn levels (didn't fit my character concept), etc. Your mileage may vary.

My point is, it is pretty balanced as it stands, but it may not be obvious until you crunch the numbers.

Allen.
Jesus, these 4E boards seriously need more CO influence.

In 3.5E, TWF is used when you have fixed damage modifiers on attacks. Traditional example is sneak attack. A fighter2/rogue 7, for example, gets 3d6 sneak attack, and has a BAB of +7. That means two iterative attacks. Say he's got ITWF--now he makes two attacks with each hand. Four attacks total, if they all hit, he does +12d6 sneak attack in addition to weapon/STR damage. If he was wielding a greatsword, he'd only get +6d6 (that is, 3d6 per swing).

Yeah, there are ways to optimize TWF. But it's pretty stupid that you can't make Drizz't and be effective (at least not without a lot of gimmicks). TWF is only a rogue style, and that's it.

I'd like to see TWF be modified so that fighters can use it too.
I would like to see wizard's make the three main combat choices for a fighter (two-handed weapon, TWF, sword and board) all equally viable. AS it stands 2 handers do have a slight damage advantage over twf (not to mention the cost saving benefits of only having one weapon to enchant) And the defense bonus granted by a shield doesn't mitigate the damage loss. (throw dancing shield into the mix and it becomes completely obsolete. Wizards has said that they want to make the fighters choice of what weapon he puts into his hand more important that in 3.X, this should apply to both hands. Yes I understand there are already differences between the options, and there are a few ways to improve a shields usefulness outside of magic, but for shields they just don't seem like quite enough, and with TWF you need to invest quite a few feats to maybe match the damage output of a 2-hander.
Well, the changes to two handed fighting in Star Wars saga boils down to the following:

  • You never get more than one attack per round without two weapon fighting or other feats (Double Attack and Triple Attack).
  • You get a fixed bonus to damage of half your character level to each successful attack.
  • The penalty for two weapon fighting starts at -10 for no feats, then to -5, -2, and 0 depending on how many of the Dual Weapon Mastery feats you take.
  • Double Attack and Triple Attack both carry penalties when used, -5 and -10 respectively, to all attacks. Some classes have talents to lessen that.
  • There's the same BAB pre-requisite for those three feats as for the current Two-Weapon Fighting tree, but a lower dexterity pre-requisite.
  • Whether you wield a light or medium weapon in your off hand has no effect.
  • You get a x1 strength bonus to damage for each hand (a x2 bonus for wielding a weapon two handed).
  • There are no five-foot steps.
  • Making a full attack uses up all other actions, including swift actions.

I think this method of two-weapon fighting is better than the current one, but there are some problems, most important the lack of the 5' step. In melee, that makes it hard to make multiple attacks, especially if combat is supposed to be more mobile. I'm all for decreasing the action of multiple attacks, maybe making it a standard+swift action, so that you can still move.
I would like to see wizard's make the three main combat choices for a fighter (two-handed weapon, TWF, sword and board) all equally viable.

To be fair, 2HFing and sword+shield are pretty much synonymous, when you consider the existence of animated shields...:P

Throw in armour spikes, and hey - you are 2HFing, 2WFing and using a shield all at the same time...:D
I like TWF. My best such character was a Rogue/Swashbuckler. My Ranger/Rouge didn't do as well. I like the Tempest PRC, but it doesn't really look very optimal, does it?

I like the style and flair of TWF, I just don't think that it works very well in the 3E rules. There could be so much more to it, and I hate seeing it watered down into nothing but extra attacks at -5, -10, etc.

I hope that the Fighter in 4E will be able to do really well with TWF. I love that sketch of the Dwarf Fighter with an axe in one hand and a hammer in the other. I hope that Rogues can do well with two daggers or dagger/short sword. I hope that Rangers can still TWF. Shields seem less practical for them than axes.

Xeviat is right, with two weapons you can do things that other styles can't. I'd like to see that reflected in the rules, especially with the new Fighter.

A Fighter in 4E could use TWF to make use of maneuvers for two different specific weapons, and there could be maneuvers that are usable only with TWF in general, as well as maneuvers or tactical feats that depend on specific combinations of weapons.
To be fair, 2HFing and sword+shield are pretty much synonymous, when you consider the existence of animated shields...:P

Throw in armour spikes, and hey - you are 2HFing, 2WFing and using a shield all at the same time...:D

Well the basic rules shouldn't consider the rules for equipment options shouldn't consider animated shields. Personally I think they're broken and shouldn't exist in 4E, but if they do return they are a magic item and shouldn't be the default choice for every fighter out there. A fighter who holds his shield in his had should be able to put it to far greater use than one who gets his animated. And armor spike seem too much like an optimization choice.
In real life, two-weapons are usually used for the following reasons:
  • It's harder for an opponent to defend against two weapons.
  • It's better than leaving a hand empty (using a shield or using your weapon two-handed isn't empty)
  • The off-hand is used for opportunity (you can force a defense of your first attack and attack defenseless with your second)
  • Fighting multiple opponents.
  • I'm sure there's others I'm missing.


It's a difficult style; I'm only familiar with it historically in the Florentine style of rapier/dagger fighting, Escrima's sticks/swords/knifes/unarmed attacks from the Philippines, various unarmed styles from around the world, and Musashi's daisho techniques. I see it mostly as a technical style, useful for using more maneuvers. TWFing shouldn't be more defensive than using a shield, though, but it should be more defensive than using a single weapon.

I agree completely. Just to add something Krabi Kabong which is the ancient battle field version of Muay Thai used the same movements for fighting with weapons as they did for fighting without weapons. The unarmed strikes of Muay Thai have historical correlations to weapon specific attacks. The 2 hands punching are the same movements as when weilding 2 swords. The thai kick and thrust kick are the same as swinging with a polearm/spear (hence why a push kick is called "tip"). The elbow resembles the blow from an axe.

The same principle exists in ninjitsu. You fight with weapons in the same way that fight without weapons. How many martial artists have you seen where their style revolves around a single attack? More attacks mean that an opponent has to defend against a greater arsenal which slows their reaction time. A slower reacting opponent is more likely to be hit. I would rather fight with 2 short swords than 1 long sword. But in D&D the mechanics make this a silly choice.
Just a side, I didn't mention it in my previous post because I assumed it was some lame 3.5 thing, but after reading the SRD section on two weapon fighting, I don't see where you're getting the idea that you add half your modifier to damage on your off hand.
This is the enire section in the SRD on two weapon fighting, minus the table:
TWO-WEAPON FIGHTING
If you wield a second weapon in your off hand, you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon. You suffer a –6 penalty with your regular attack or attacks with your primary hand and a –10 penalty to the attack with your off hand when you fight this way. You can reduce these penalties in two ways:
•If your off-hand weapon is light, the penalties are reduced by 2 each. (An unarmed strike is always considered light.)
•The Two-Weapon Fighting feat lessens the primary hand penalty by 2, and the off-hand penalty by 6.
Table: Two-Weapon Fighting Penalties summarizes the interaction of all these factors.

I see nothing about damage mods anywhere. Anyone? Please?
I would rather fight with 2 short swords than 1 long sword.

I wouldn't. The one historical master who left a hierarchy of weapons gave the advantage to the longsword over the sword & dagger and even the sword & shield.

While that's perhaps debatable, wielding two swords certainly shouldn't be as good as having a polearm.
Just a side, I didn't mention it in my previous post because I assumed it was some lame 3.5 thing, but after reading the SRD section on two weapon fighting, I don't see where you're getting the idea that you add half your modifier to damage on your off hand.


I see nothing about damage mods anywhere. Anyone? Please?

SRD, under the description of Strength:
Damage rolls when using a melee weapon or a thrown weapon (including a sling). (Exceptions: Off-hand attacks receive only one-half the character’s Strength bonus, while two-handed attacks receive one and a half times the Strength bonus.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
While that's perhaps debatable, wielding two swords certainly shouldn't be as good as having a polearm.

But that's exactly where D&D should draw the line between verissimilitude and fun. If I think that a 2-w-fighter is cool, I shouldn't have to play a weaker character just because it is that way historically (and realistically).
But that's exactly where D&D should draw the line between verissimilitude and fun.

I couldn't disagree more.

If I think that a 2-w-fighter is cool, I shouldn't have to play a weaker character just because it is that way historically (and realistically).

Actually, the more realistic system is surprisingly balanced. If a dagger's just as good as a halberd, no one will both with the larger and heavier weapon. In a realistic system, the halberd beats the dagger in the open, but the dagger beats the halberd in a closet and while grappling. Each weapon has it's place.
Actually, the more realistic system is surprisingly balanced. If a dagger's just as good as a halberd, no one will both with the larger and heavier weapon. In a realistic system, the halberd beats the dagger in the open, but the dagger beats the halberd in a closet and while grappling. Each weapon has it's place.

Exactly. The thing is, every weapon should have it's place. Just as the dagger should be superior in closed combat, wielding two swords should have it's advantage.

In 3.5, that advantage was precision damage*, but it just wasn't enough compared to Strength/Power attack, which made it in all ways inferior to a great-sword. And that's wrong. Even if, historically, there were cultures that used greatswords while not a single culture dual wielded swords (I'm not stating that).

I'm not saying two swords should always be as strong as a greatsword, only that each style should have it's chance to shine. The guy with the great sword might be dealing more damage, while the guy with the 2 swords gets hit less often... or something like that.

*Look at that, 4e is not even out yet and I'm already referring to 3.5 in the past tense.
Well, two swords (or sword & dagger, which was more common) could have the advantage in confined spaces. This actually should come up a lot in Dungeons & Dragons, but it doesn't. Low ceilings, especially, hinder longer weapons. In a tunnel, you don't want a greatsword. The rules the Underdark book reflect this.

Another major disadvantage of long weapons that you have to carry them if want them readily accessible. The D&D rules ignore this, and allow you to draw staff weapons in an instant.
Well, two swords (or sword & dagger, which was more common) could have the advantage in confined spaces. This actually should come up a lot in Dungeons & Dragons, but it doesn't. Low ceilings, especially, hinder longer weapons. In a tunnel, you don't want a greatsword. The rules the Underdark book reflect this.

Another major disadvantage of long weapons that you have to carry them if want them readily accessible. The D&D rules ignore this, and allow you to draw staff weapons in an instant.

Generally staff weapons are easy to 'draw'...you're usually marching with it. I know that when I'm marching as halberd or pike at RenFaire, I carry my weapon in my hands.

Axes, maces, and other weapons of that nature, no, those are harder to draw (for reasons from how they're slung to if the head is up or not), but my halberd, spear, glaive, poleax, etc, is always in my hands.
That's point I was trying to make. You have to carry a long weapon in your hands if you think you're going to need it quickly.

In D&D, you can began the battle shooting a bow and then effortlessly put out a glaive.
That's point I was trying to make. You have to carry a long weapon in your hands if you think you're going to need it quickly.

In D&D, you can began the battle shooting a bow and then effortlessly put out a glaive.

The problem I'm having understanding your position is you don't "pull out" a glaive.

If I'm, say, a halberder, and I've got a skirmish where I'm supposed to fire a pistol or a musket, generally the ranged weapon is slung and the other weapon is either sunk haft-end into dirt or mud or it's leaned against my shoulder, blade behind my head.

I've never 'pulled out' a hafted weapon, I've only put away a ranged weapon and readied a hafted weapon that was already at hand.

I just can't concieve a good, logical way of carrying a hafted weapon any other way.
Nothing in the D&D rules prevent characters from carrying around a pile of polearms and drawing or sheathing them as easily as any other weapon.

Longsword and single-haded swords should be a lot easier to have ready than halberds and glaives.
Getting back on topic, to reflect the reasons for TWF better in the rules, shouldn't someone being attacked by somebody with two weapons lose part of their bonus to AC as if they're being flanked? I mean, really, if the point of going long-sword dagger is to occupy your opponent with you heavy attack so that you can sneak in a close-up jab with the dagger, then why shouldn't the rules reflect that.

The problem with the TWF attacks and the multiple attacks per round is that it assumes you are trying to add faster, less accurate attacks, and while this can be the case it doesn't keep in mind how difficult it is for a defender to defend against all these attacks.
TWF is viable enough during the lower levels my group plays at (<6). Play an Elf, take W. Finesse and dual shortswording becomes a powerful fighter option. Around third or fourth level Flaming, Shock, and mithril armor come online; mix in a little Rogue for stealth, tumbling/flanking, and SA damage, and it's a high AC, decent damage alternative to Bruno the Basher.

Couldn't care less about the relative strength of TWF at higher levels.
But when my 15th level half-elf/elf/human/halfling/whatevs ranger/rogue/samurai/whatevs wants to throw down with his signature longsword "Slasher" and signature shortsword "stabby" in the confines of a dungeon and he's being one-upped by Bruno the Basher even though they're fighting in a tiny 5'/5'/5' tunnel it gets frustrating. I really do hope that the rules for TWF in 4E reflect the actual benefit of using two weapons which is not damage as much as it is opportunity to attack. A rogue dual-wielding doesn't do it because both her daggers together do umpteen thousand damage, she does it because it's harder to block two attacks.

I think perhaps another good idea would be to add in feats or style-trees or something that emphasize what, exactly, you're trying to accomplish. If I'm rolling double axes I mean to tear through armor - sundering. If I'm going traditional longsword shortsword/dagger I'm hoping to get an opening - sneak attacks or attacks of opportunity, maybe disarming. If I'm using a quarter staff then, yes, I'm trying to increase my attacks per round, but maybe I'm just trying to keep my attacker at a distance (which, if you experiment just a little bit with using a staff in combat, you realize that an inch-thick pole hurts when it hits your shins) - AC?

3.x gave us TWF as a option to add extra attacks that were, more or less, weaker than what we would have already and made us pathetic against damage reduction.
From what I'm hearing here, people want TWF to be a viable option to sword & board and two-handed weapons. I want to see all of these styles be different enough that if you choose one style over the other two, it would be interesting and different, but as effective in general. Each style needs to be able to so something that the other styles cannot and that advantage balances out the disadvantage. This would make the fighting style an interesting choice for anyone.
<\ \>tuntman
I wouldn't. The one historical master who left a hierarchy of weapons gave the advantage to the longsword over the sword & dagger and even the sword & shield.

QUOTE]

I am just wondering who the one historical master you are referring to was? Musashi seemed to do ok with twin swords.
I think he's refering to George Silver, the English master of defense. His basic premis was that in a real fight, and he didn't consider formal duels a 'real fight', the reach and power of a properly weilded polearm was more than what could be handled by someone with a sword. He advocated the cut&thrust sword, with buckler usualy, over the rapier as well.

Without the rull attack option, I'm hoping that two weapon fighting doesn't over whelm other options by giving and easy path to extra attacks and thereby damage. In 2e a two weapon fighter was hands down better than a two hander or a sword and board man. The extra attack meant more damage that just couldn't be matched.

Like most others, I want it to balance out with other styles. I fear that once again sword and board will be the forgotten style.


Kail
This is slightly off-topic, but I've seen a lot of people reference the Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting feat, which sounds great for a character concept I have. What book is this feat in? On a more related note, in 3.5e, if you spend the extra feat to get proficiency with a double weapon, the viability of two-weapon fighting increases even further. This works better with a) human fighters who get the bonus feat anyway and b) races that get automatic proficiency with a racial double weapon. My friend in my current campaign is playing a human fighter with a two-bladed sword, and doing great. 3 1d8 attacks in a full attack at first level? Sign me up! Also, two-weapon fighting makes better use of weapon enchantments such as flaming, where the TWFer gets an extra 3d6 (one for each weapon and one for the extra attack) while the 2her gets only an extra 1d6.
My friend in my current campaign is playing a human fighter with a two-bladed sword, and doing great. 3 1d8 attacks in a full attack at first level? Sign me up!

How do you figure three attacks at first level? Two blades make two attacks. Where did the third one come from?

Also, two-weapon fighting makes better use of weapon enchantments such as flaming, where the TWFer gets an extra 3d6 (one for each weapon and one for the extra attack) while the 2her gets only an extra 1d6.

Don't forget that the TWFer have to pay for that enhancement twice - once for each end of his weapon.
The Two-Weapon Fighting feat grants an extra attack with the offhand weapon, or in the example case, the offhand end of the double weapon. It is true that the TWFer also has to pay for the enchantment twice, but he gets the benefit potentially three or more times in a single full-round attack, depending on whether he has basic, Improved, or Greater Two-Weapon Fighting. Also, after a while, the gold needed for enchantments isn't that much of a problem because of all the cash you'll be getting as loot. Also, if you've got a nice dm, he might give you an enchanted weapon as loot .
I, too, am wondering how a first level character of any class gets three attacks. I don't have my books on hand, but I'm fairly certain that you'd need haste to get that extra attack. TWF doesn't give you an additional attack with your off-hand weapon in addition to the one you'd already get. Doesn't TWF just reduce the penalty and the ITWF and GTWF allow you to make the additional past the first?
The Two-Weapon Fighting feat grants an extra attack with the offhand weapon, or in the example case, the offhand end of the double weapon.

No, it does not.
Benefit: Your penalties on attack rolls for fighting with two weapons are reduced. The penalty for your primary hand lessens by 2 and the one for your off hand lessens by 6.

At first level you can get two attacks with two weapons, not three.
You have to read the whole feat:
Quote: (I don't know how to do the little box thing)
TWO-WEAPON FIGHTING [GENERAL]
You can fight with a weapon in each hand. You can make one extra attack each round with the second weapon.
The fastest way to get three attacks (that I know of) with a Two-bladed Sword is this:

You have to human, and 2nd level in an Eberron Campaign.

You have to have taken your first level as monk and taken Whirling steel strike and Monastic training, the next level you take Fighter and with it two-weapon fighting which lets you flurry with a Two-Bladed sword,

Letting you use -8/-8/-8 attacks as a full round action.

This sucks a lot less when you reach 3rd level and can take Proficiency(two-bladed sword)

But ya, somebody is miss-reading rules...
You have to read the whole feat:
Quote: (I don't know how to do the little box thing)
TWO-WEAPON FIGHTING [GENERAL]
You can fight with a weapon in each hand. You can make one extra attack each round with the second weapon.

Your normal attack with the first weapon plus the extra attack with the second weapon = 2 attacks.
<\ \>tuntman
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