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D&D 1E AD&D two weapon fighting

dmhelp

Explorer
If a fighter gets two attacks per round in 1st edition are they supposed to get 3 or 4 attacks if using a hand axe or dagger in their off hand?
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Can't speak to anything official here but I've always had it that the off hand never gets more than one attack per round no matter what the primary hand can do.
 





Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Where did you get that? Always thought it was only one additional attack.

1. It's in G3 (1978).

2. It's in the DMG (1979).

3. It's in Deities and Demigods (1980).

4. It's in Fiend Folio (1981)

5. It's in the 1982 Dragon Magazine article, published by TSR, written by Roger Moore. Also reprinted in Best of Dragon. (This has full tables for higher level fighters).

6. It's in OA, UA, and Lankhmar (City of Adventure) in 1985.

The one additional attack thing is a later rule. It never existed in 1e; moreover, because of the explicit weapon restriction, it makes little sense for it to be a +1 (the later 3e rule).
 

I don't have my books with me as I am at work. But if I remember correctly, it is only one additional attack. In G3, drows were a special case and the same could be argues with the Mouser and those in the D&DG where some heroes would have way more than PCs...

But as soon as I can check, I'll get back. Either to challenge you or to grovel at your feet asking for forgiveness for daring to doubt your words...
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I've been looking for an answer to this in the "Sage Advice" column in old Dragon magazines for a little while now, and can't find any clarification there. :(
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I don't have my books with me as I am at work. But if I remember correctly, it is only one additional attack. In G3, drows were a special case and the same could be argues with the Mouser and those in the D&DG where some heroes would have way more than PCs...

But as soon as I can check, I'll get back. Either to challenge you or to grovel at your feet asking for forgiveness for daring to doubt your words...

Start with the Roger Moore article. While it (slightly) expands the list of weapons to include, for example, a few the cleric can use, it takes as a given the natural reading of the DMG that it you attack with each weapon. Given that it was a 1982 article and was reprinted in Best Of, it’s as authoritative as you can get.
 


Start with the Roger Moore article. While it (slightly) expands the list of weapons to include, for example, a few the cleric can use, it takes as a given the natural reading of the DMG that it you attack with each weapon. Given that it was a 1982 article and was reprinted in Best Of, it’s as authoritative as you can get.
I know about that article but never have considered it valid as I take only the core books and official material. What was in Dragon was often way over balanced and open to heated debate if it was a good thing to add or not.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I know about that article but never have considered it valid as I take only the core books and official material. What was in Dragon was often way over balanced and open to heated debate if it was a good thing to add or not.
The article (also reprinted in Best of Dragon, Vol. IV) does two things-

It expands the rules (providing additional weapons that might be used); and
it interprets the rules for edge cases (for example, when you get three attacks in one round, what weapons get used?).

Notably, and this is really the important part .... it takes as the baseline assumption what the actual rule is. In other words, it is additional best evidence as to the extant rule as it existed at the time, especially given that it was published in the TSR house organ.

(Finally, the whole "you only get one additional attack" is something that I only heard of years later- while I am sure there will be people that say they have always played that way, as there always are, I never encountered that until later rule sets that allowed more expansive weapons choices, and it was more of a way to counter the increasing power creep introduced from 1985 on ... more often than not, people tend to read back rules into the text. After all, this is 40 years we are discussing now!).
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Given this has now come up multiple times recently, I think I'm going to write a more detailed post on it. IMO, it really does raise some interesting questions about game design, how people interpret rules, and the differences (required!) between 1e and 2e.

EDIT- I will post a link here when I am done.
 

The article (also reprinted in Best of Dragon, Vol. IV) does two things-

It expands the rules (providing additional weapons that might be used); and
it interprets the rules for edge cases (for example, when you get three attacks in one round, what weapons get used?).

Notably, and this is really the important part .... it takes as the baseline assumption what the actual rule is. In other words, it is additional best evidence as to the extant rule as it existed at the time, especially given that it was published in the TSR house organ.

(Finally, the whole "you only get one additional attack" is something that I only heard of years later- while I am sure there will be people that say they have always played that way, as there always are, I never encountered that until later rule sets that allowed more expansive weapons choices, and it was more of a way to counter the increasing power creep introduced from 1985 on ... more often than not, people tend to read back rules into the text. After all, this is 40 years we are discussing now!).
Really? Always played with only one additional attack save for the "exceptions" like the drows. Encounters with drows were scary as encounters with them almost always had a priestess and a wizard. A 5th level wizard with a 5rh level priestess could boost their cohort. Bless, Prayer and chant with haste was quite a deadly combo with the drows' two weapon fighting capacity. Mid to high level drows were especially dangerous as some potions of growth could also be used. With drows having a minimum of +1 weapons and gears, they were able to push way over their levels when properly boosted. With their magic resistance, a dispel to remove their magical boosting powers was not a sure thing either...

To put it this way, giving that kind of power to players was, to say the least, a straight lead to a very very unbalanced game.

The lowest drow warrior was, once boosted and if my memory is correct 2nd level, would have thaco 19, +4 to hit and damage and would get 4 attacks per round. So a single drow would remove the shield benefit to AC of a fighter with a large magical shield leaving him with only a +3 plate mail (in average and to be generous with the PC) for an AC of 0. Add two more drows and this meant that our fighter would be hit at least once per attacking drow loosing again on average 9hp per connecting attacks or a total if 18hp per round. That is only for three boosted drows. The wizard would boost two more, maybe even himself and this one would have even better chances to hit.

So giving that kind of power to the players was out of the question in my head as it would have been very unbalanced. For me and a few others, that article was not to be used. Too unbalanced, especially since a lot of people were ignoring , willingly or not, the aging effect of haste...
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
So giving that kind of power to the players was out of the question in my head as it would have been very unbalanced. For me and a few others, that article was not to be used. Too unbalanced, especially since a lot of people were ignoring , willingly or not, the aging effect of haste...

I'm going to write a full post on this, but that's not accurate. It's backwards-looking. When the DMG was first written, and in the application of this rule at the time, it was completely balanced (for reasons I will get into in a longer post).

In fact, it would be unfair and unbalanced in terms of design to have applied it in any other way.

There is a good reason that 2e changed the rule, but it's not because of the way that the rule worked when it was written.
 

Mannahnin

Adventurer
So giving that kind of power to the players was out of the question in my head as it would have been very unbalanced. For me and a few others, that article was not to be used. Too unbalanced, especially since a lot of people were ignoring , willingly or not, the aging effect of haste...
Giving what kind of power? An additional attack with a dagger or hand axe only, with to-hit penalties on your off hand and almost certainly also a hit penalty on your primary hand?

The 1E two weapon fighting rules are restrictive enough that there's nothing unbalanced about it.

It's only once the rules start being less restrictive in later editions, or, arguably, once weapon specialization in UA adds more bonuses to offset the penalties, that TWF starts to look in any way busted.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
There is nothing in the rules that limits the number of attacks with the off hand compared to primary in 1e, at least not that I can find. So the implication would be that the off hand gets the same attack rate as the primary.
 

Neither the PH nor the DMG (nor the DDG insofar as I see) provide ANY clarification on this whatsoever. It is just not addressed how the two rules combine. The Roger Moore article is eminently clear that it is not BTB rules, but an expansion of the rules as-written. And it isn't written as a Sage Advice column, which was at some point made the stamp of official rules changes.

His changes aren't necessarily BAD ideas. He expands the usable secondary weapons from 2 to 6 - but also limits primary weapons to a specific list of 14, and has separate, reduced lists of permitted weapons for short races. He also thinks to clarify how his changes work with multiple attacks by level against creatures with less than a full HD. But the basic change he's making IS that having a secondary weapon DOES double the number of attacks. The actual rule he's basing that change on then is that having a secondary weapon only grants ONE additional attack (with associated penalties), and which doesn't compound with multiple primary weapon attacks due to level.

I think Moore's article actually confirms what the original rule was, which WASN'T just a doubling of the number of attacks.
 

Giving what kind of power? An additional attack with a dagger or hand axe only, with to-hit penalties on your off hand and almost certainly also a hit penalty on your primary hand?

The 1E two weapon fighting rules are restrictive enough that there's nothing unbalanced about it.

It's only once the rules start being less restrictive in later editions, or, arguably, once weapon specialization in UA adds more bonuses to offset the penalties, that TWF starts to look in any way busted.
Take a dual weilding fighter with 2 attacks per rounds. Now dual weilding will bring him to four. But if you fighter is 5/2 it becomes with dual weilding 8 attacks one round, 10 the other round. With a 3/round, it becomes 12 attacks per rounds. Give that to a fighter with gauntlets of ogre power and +3 weapons.... you get a walking blender. For the sake of simplicity, let us assume short swords... 4pts average + 6 damage, +3 from the weapon and +3 from specialization we get 16 damage on average per attacks, or 192 damage per round. At this level of damage, some demon lords will not last three whole rounds against that fighter. All he needs is a potion of haste, which in 1ed isn't that hard to get...
 

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