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D&D 1E AD&D two weapon fighting

cbwjm

Hero
No idea about 1e, but since 2e was more or less a tidy up of 1e I'd go with their 2 weapon fighting rules which just adds a single extra attack. Until now, I thought that must have been the 1e rule as well since it seems to show up in other editions like BECMI as well, at least it does in the Rules Cyclopedia
 

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Voadam

Legend
As far as I can tell this is not explicitly stated in 1e.

I can not find a reference to any specific rules on two weapon fighting in the 1e PH.

In the 1e DMG on page 70 it has a section on two-weapon fighting but it only discusses attack penalties and what weapons can be used.

"Attacks With Two Weapons: Characters normally using a single weapon may choose to use one in each hand (possibly discarding the option of using a shield). The second weapon must be either a dagger or hand axe. Employment of a second weapon is always at a penalty. The use of a second weapon causes the character to attack with his or her primary weapon at –2 and the secondary weapon at –4. If the user’s dexterity is below 6, the Reaction/Attacking Adjustment penalties shown in the PLAYERS HANDBOOK are added to EACH weapon attack. If the user’s dexterity is above 15, there is a downward adjustment in the weapon penalties as shown, although this never gives a positive (bonus) rating to such attacks, so that at 16 dexterity the secondary/primary penalty is –3/–1, at 17 –2/0, and at 18 –1/0.
The secondary weapon does not act as a shield or parrying device in any event."

This leaves it ambiguous as to whether the offhand doubles all your weapon attacks, or doubles your base attack from one to two and other attacks double the offhand attack or not depending on their specifics.

I always felt doubling attacks was a natural inference, but doubling the base only is not an unreasonable inference which would mean other things that increase attacks would depend on their wording for whether they doubled the off hand attack or not or possibly more inferences when not explicit. Haste for example doubles attack rates.

Player's Handbook Page 105 says:

"The 1 minute melee round assumes much activity — rushes, retreats, feints, parries, checks, and so on. Once during this period each combatant has the opportunity to get a real blow in. Usually this is indicated by initiative, but sometimes other circumstances will prevail. High level fighters get multiple blows per round, so they will usually strike first and last in a round. Slowed creatures always strike last. Hasted/speeded creatures strike first. A solid formation of creatures with long weapons will strike opponents with shorter weapons first, a rushing opponent will be struck first by a pole arm/spear set in its path. Your DM will adjudicate such matters with common sense. When important single combats occur, then dexterities and weapons factors will be used to determine the order and number of strikes in a round."

I always inferred two weapon fighting is a special circumstance and the blows went off simultaneously, unlike a fighter's staggered multiple attacks. But having the offhand be a normal attack that can be in between a high-level fighter's multiple staggered attacks is not unreasonable.

PH page 105 also says:

"Monster Attack Damage:
Monsters with weapons will generally attack much as characters do. Those with natural weaponry such as claws, talons, teeth, fangs, tusks, horns, etc. will use the matrix for monster attacks. There are exceptions to both cases."

So this brings up drow in G3 and the Fiend Folio.

In the fiend folio the 2 HD drow get 1 or 2 attacks per round, presumably due to their two weapon fighting options.

G3: "They are also both intelligent and highly coordinated, being able to use either or both hands/arms for attack and defense."

FF: "Drow are also both highly intelligent and co-ordinated, being able to use either or both hands/arms for attack and defense."

In both cases they are said to be normally armed with short swords and long daggers, sometimes with maces.

Maximum of 9th level fighter in the Fiend Folio.

2 attacks at 2 HD is compatible either way.

Haste from the PH explicitly doubles attack rates.

"Haste (Alteration)
Level: 3 Components: V, S, M
Range: 6” Casting Time: 3 segments
Duration: 3 rounds + 1 round/level Saving Throw: None
Area of Effect: 4” × 4” area, 1
creature/level
Explanation/Description: When this spell is cast, affected creatures function at double their normal movement and attack rates. Thus, a creature moving at 6” and attacking 1 time per round would move at 12” and attack 2 times per round. Spell casting is not more rapid. The number of creatures which can be affected is equal to the level of experience of the magic-user, those creatures closest to the spell caster being affected in preference to those farther away, and all affected by haste must be in the designated area of effect. Note that this spell negates the effects of a slow spell (see hereafter). Additionally, this spell ages the recipients due to speeded metabolic processes. Its material component is a shaving of licorice root."

Page 25 of the PH provides the fighter extra attacks information.

FIGHTERS’, PALADINS’, & RANGERS’ ATTACKS PER MELEE ROUND TABLE
Level
Attacks per Melee Round*
Fighter 1-6
Paladin 1-6
Ranger 1-7
1/1 round
1/1 round
1/1 round
Fighter 7-12
Paladin 7-12
Ranger 8-14
3/2 rounds
3/2 rounds
3/2 rounds
Fighter 13 & up
Paladin 13 & up
Ranger 15 & up
2/1 round
2/1 round
2/1 round
*With any thrusting or striking weapon
Note: This excludes melee combat with monsters (q.v.) of less than one hit die (d8) and non-exceptional (0 level) humans and semi-humans, i.e. all creatures with less than one eight-sided hit die. All of these creatures entitle a fighter to attack once for each of his or her experience levels (See COMBAT)."

The combat section references these extra attacks with regard to initiative, but does not specifically provide information applicable to two weapon situations.
 
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ECMO3

Villager
I always played 1 extra attack. Fighters, Rangers and Paladins in 1E were more powerful than other classes in the PHB. Once Unearther Arcana was published weapon specialization increased this gap making fighters and Rangers godlike compared to other classes. The only classes close were Cavaliers (including Paladins) and magic users at very high levels. Giving Fighters and Rangers another boost in terms of multiple attacks with an off-hand weapon would unbalance the game even more than it already is.

Consider a 7th-level Thief or Assasin with an 18 strength can backstab with his longsword and do an average of 19 points of damage .... if he could manage to get in position to backstab. He could do another 5.5 points with a dagger in the offhand for 24.5 and that is on a backstab where he was successfully hidden before he made the first attack and if your DM ruled that strength bonuses tripled on a backstab. He did this with a 19THAC0, 15 if he made the attack from behind.

A fighter level 7 with an 18:01 strength and double specialization can strike twice with his longsword and then with an offhand handaxe for 30.5 every round. In addition to doing more damage even if the thief gets backstab, the fighter also has a 14 THAC0 at level 7 vs 19 for a level 7 thief. Even if the thief gets his core +4 to hit from behind, it is still higher than the fighters. Give the fighter another attack and it just makes it worse.
 

Great post @Voadam
What we went for the haste and two weapon fighting.
The doubling of attack sequence is always taking into consideration only one hand/weapon. A secondary weapon would provide only one more attack and two If hasted.

We came to the conclusion that a hasted two weapon fighter would be too unbalanced at high level. If the attack rating was truly doubled at all times, it would mean that a hasted two weapon fighter would be see his normal attack rating multiplied by four! Or to be precise, double the double, as there was no rules on multipliers being added and not multiplied in 1e.

We took combat examples to the extremes with fighters with dual sun swords or wands of force (dual weilding Jedis!!! Yeah baby!!!) and we saw it was completely unbalanced.

It was also encouraging weird weapon choices and specializations. Hand axes and short swords being the most common ones along with daggers for fighters.

All our simulations were showing that this was highly unbalanced even before the UA. The UA just showed us that we were right in our evaluations.
 

Great post @Voadam
What we went for the haste and two weapon fighting.
The doubling of attack sequence is always taking into consideration only one hand/weapon. A secondary weapon would provide only one more attack and two If hasted.

We came to the conclusion that a hasted two weapon fighter would be too unbalanced at high level. If the attack rating was truly doubled at all times, it would mean that a hasted two weapon fighter would be see his normal attack rating multiplied by four! Or to be precise, double the double, as there was no rules on multipliers being added and not multiplied in 1e.

We took combat examples to the extremes with fighters with dual sun swords or wands of force (dual weilding Jedis!!! Yeah baby!!!) and we saw it was completely unbalanced.

It was also encouraging weird weapon choices and specializations. Hand axes and short swords being the most common ones along with daggers for fighters.

All our simulations were showing that this was highly unbalanced even before the UA. The UA just showed us that we were right in our evaluations.
Now, see, we never really thought it was CRAZY or anything like that. Even at high levels a reasonable ability score fighter would be attacking at -2/-4, which is kind of a lot. I've also ALMOST never seen Haste actually used in practice. While it can be pretty nasty, how many players want to age their (most likely human) high level PCs even more? Especially if the GM is a 'nice guy' and is likely to apply the aging rules! (which are pretty harsh). I mean, sure, if you got hasted once every 5 levels, no biggy, but it starts to add up! Also, you should definitely plan your missions so that you don't need things like that. Then they are really only for an extreme "Plan C" sort of situation. In other words, we didn't really consider it to be that likely to affect your power level enough to matter.

Ultimately, I think we would have been OK with the doubling interpretation. It is STRONG, but aside from a corner case of something like a fighter with 18/NN% STR AND an 18 DEX it isn't that wacky. Had there been something like 'gauntlets of dexterity' I might have changed my mind a bit, but nothing like that exists in AD&D. We just played it as one extra attack because that seemed LOGICAL, at least to me. UA certainly made that a wise decision though! But then, honestly, I think we were so biased against UA that we didn't really even use Specialization until 2e.
 

@AbdulAlhazred
We did find some common solutions, but our experience differs. Haste was a considered strategy and quests to find potions of longevity /youth were often undertaken. 1 potion, 10 years off or extended for your age categories. Of course, most campaigns would not see characters beyond level 9 but those that did would use haste on a more common ground. Be it on summoned monsters, elementals or whatever and, on last resort, on human high level martial characters.

But that last resort was not that rare. And a lot of characters would quest for youth potions. We estimated that a character could try 4 potions before risks of reversal would become too great. I/we have had the chance to play more than a few high level campaign, and haste was quite a viable strategy. Was it used all the time? Of course not. But it was used and more than a few times. Much more.

Edit:" At some point, a simple -2/-4 would not that detrimental to a high (16+) martial character. Especially if gauntlets of ogres' strength were found and/or strength spells were used. Although characteristic augmentation was rare at low.levels, it was much more common at high level as wishes would become quests rewards. At these levels, you are dealings with very high patrons and even gods.
 
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Hussar

Legend
Yeah, we came to the same conclusion that, at fairly low levels (say 5+) that -2/-4 didn't actually matter that much. By that point, you probably had magic weapons, and an 18/percentile strength fighter was hardly rare. Considering that most of the things you fought at those levels were around AC:5 (ish), taking the to hit penalty was worth practically doubling your damage.

By 2e, 2 weapon fighting became the default in every group I saw. It was just head and shoulders better than any other option.
 

Yep, and do not forget bless, prayer and chant spells. They were used to alleviate the penalties.

As for %strength...
These were not that common but the strength spell was there exactly for that as well as the enlarge spell. Various items could also raise strength and I have seen players going out of their ways for mere rumors of a belt of giant strength or simple gauntlets of ogres' power. Now? The gauntlets are a joke in 5ed and the girdles are not that much either...
 

Hussar

Legend
Oh, now, those gauntlets are a boon. But, probably not to fighters. I've found they've become more of a cleric or rogue thing. Classes that probably don't have terribly high strengths.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
The combat section references these extra attacks with regard to initiative, but does not specifically provide information applicable to two weapon situations.

I know that you just quotes most of the primary sources I used in the other post, but saying that the "attack routines" on p. 63 of the DMG does not refer to an attack with multiple weapons ... is an interesting reading.

When one or more creatures involved in combat are permitted to use their attack routines twice or more often during the round, then the following initiative determinants are employed. When the attack routine may be used twice, then allow the side with this advantage to attack FIRST and LAST with those members of its group who have this advantage. If it is possessed by both parties, the initiative roll determines which group strikes FIRST and THIRD, which group strikes SECOND and LAST. If one or both groups have members allowed only one attack routine, it will always fall in the middle of the other attacks, the order determined by dicing for initiative, when necessary. If one party has the ability to employ its attack routines thrice, then the other party dices for initiative to see if it, or the multi-routine group, strikes first in the mid-point of the round. Extrapolate for routines which occur four or more times in a round by following the method above. Note that a routine is the attack or attacks usual to the creature concerned, i.e. a weapon (or weapons) for a character, a claw/claw/bite routine for a bear (with incidental; damage assessed as it occurs - the hug, for exomple). A 12th level fighter is allowed attack routines twice in every odd numbered melee round, for example, and this moves up to three per round if a haste spell is cast upon the fighter. Damage from successful attacks is assessed when the "to hit" score is made and damage determined, the creature so taking damage having to survive it in order to follow its attack routine.

I am not sure how much more clear that section can be (for Gygax, at least). An attack routine is the ATTACK OR ATTACKS consisting of the WEAPON OR WEAPONS for a character; and (for example) a 12th level fighter get 2 ATTACK ROUTINES in every odd numbered melee round.

Therefore, to the extent anything else was unclear, a twelfth level fighter that wielded two weapons (one of which was a hand-axe or dagger) would get two attack routines in every odd round, and each attack routine would consist of the attacks with the weapons.

Again, this doesn't seem like that interesting of a point to me; the base rules repeatedly allow that multiple attacks are not a big deal; cf. weapon speed factors allowing up to two bonus attacks for free per round.

What is interesting is how (as I have seen repeatedly) people remember the evolved rule from 2e. It's quite similar to the -10 rule.
 



Voadam

Legend
I know that you just quotes most of the primary sources I used in the other post, but saying that the "attack routines" on p. 63 of the DMG does not refer to an attack with multiple weapons ... is an interesting reading.
Well since I had not been thinking to look under the DMG initiative section for relevant two-weapon attack information it was not a reading at all. :)

You quoted me discussing the PH page 25 chart saying see the combat section and the PH combat section had nothing more that was relevant for two weapon fighting.

When one or more creatures involved in combat are permitted to use their attack routines twice or more often during the round, then the following initiative determinants are employed. When the attack routine may be used twice, then allow the side with this advantage to attack FIRST and LAST with those members of its group who have this advantage. If it is possessed by both parties, the initiative roll determines which group strikes FIRST and THIRD, which group strikes SECOND and LAST. If one or both groups have members allowed only one attack routine, it will always fall in the middle of the other attacks, the order determined by dicing for initiative, when necessary. If one party has the ability to employ its attack routines thrice, then the other party dices for initiative to see if it, or the multi-routine group, strikes first in the mid-point of the round. Extrapolate for routines which occur four or more times in a round by following the method above. Note that a routine is the attack or attacks usual to the creature concerned, i.e. a weapon (or weapons) for a character, a claw/claw/bite routine for a bear (with incidental; damage assessed as it occurs - the hug, for exomple). A 12th level fighter is allowed attack routines twice in every odd numbered melee round, for example, and this moves up to three per round if a haste spell is cast upon the fighter. Damage from successful attacks is assessed when the "to hit" score is made and damage determined, the creature so taking damage having to survive it in order to follow its attack routine.
The combo of the "attack routines" including weapons plural for a character combined with the 12th level fighter gets 3/2 "attack routines" specific statement, seems to me to be an unambiguous reference to fighter attacks with both weapons for each of the attacks per melee round chart from page 25 of the PH (which does not call them attack routines).

I can imagine some people missing this one unambiguous reference though and reasonably interpreting things the other way.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I can imagine some people missing this one unambiguous reference though and reasonably interpreting things the other way.

What? Are you saying that it was possible for someone to miss the explicit, clear, and easy-to-understand rules as laid out in the 1e DMG?

Next thing you know, you'll be goin' on about how it was difficult to work the whole surprise/initiative/weapon speed/segment system ... when combined with the grappling rules. ;)
 

Voadam

Legend
I thought I had things pretty much down with the eight 1e rules sections I thought most likely relevant to look in. :)

All that's left is for someone else to possibly find a contradictory unambiguous reference in an obscure corner of the PH or DMG to tangle things up again.
 

ECMO3

Villager
What? Are you saying that it was possible for someone to miss the explicit, clear, and easy-to-understand rules as laid out in the 1e DMG?

Next thing you know, you'll be goin' on about how it was difficult to work the whole surprise/initiative/weapon speed/segment system ... when combined with the grappling rules. ;)
1E was full of contradictions. The DM really had to make it up as you go.

My favorite was the Bard - The bard could be a half-elf or a human. To be a bard you first had to dual class in fighter and Thief, then you could take your third class in Bard ..... but half-elves were not allowed to dual class ..... so they could be Bards, but they could not earn the class prerequisites to be a Bard!
 

the Jester

Legend
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.
I'm not sure how you get most of these numbers. With 5/2 attacks dual wielding, you get 6 attacks half the time and 4 the rest. With 3 attacks dual wielding, you get 6 per round. Unless I am missing something...?
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
1E was full of contradictions. The DM really had to make it up as you go.

My favorite was the Bard - The bard could be a half-elf or a human. To be a bard you first had to dual class in fighter and Thief, then you could take your third class in Bard ..... but half-elves were not allowed to dual class ..... so they could be Bards, but they could not earn the class prerequisites to be a Bard!

Ugh, that one. That's right up there with elves can't be resurrected, except with a rod ... except less understandable.

Why are there percentiles to lift a gate, but d6 (or sometimes d20) to bust a lock? Why did you stop gaining hit points (and the con bonus) at a certain level- and why that particular level? Why do fighters and paladins keep getting 3hp, but rangers (the TOUGH ones) only get 2?

Psionics? Psionics!
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
I certainly won't dispute that 1e has a mess of contradictory and murky rules (I still love it though!), but I don't see the bard rule as a contradiction. A bard has a special progression, which is similar to dual class, but is not the same.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I certainly won't dispute that 1e has a mess of contradictory and murky rules (I still love it though!), but I don't see the bard rule as a contradiction. A bard has a special progression, which is similar to dual class, but is not the same.

But is it? Or is this an example of an accident ... something thrown in?

A bard must be human or half-elven. ...Bards begin play as fighters, and they must remain exclusively fighters until they have achieved at least the 5th level of experience. Anytime thereafter, and in any event prior to attaining the 8th level, they must change their class to that of thieves. Again, sometime between 5th and 9th level of ability, bards must leave off thieving and begin clerical studies as druids; but at this time they are actually bards and under druidical tutelage. Bards must fulfill the requirements in all the above classes before progressing to Bards Table 1.
(PHB 117)

So what is described here is not multiclassing (which is what demi-humans, such as half-elves, do), but dual-classing- which is available only to humans. Notably, in the half-elf description, it doesn't even state that the optional Bard is a permitted class (which is neither here nor there, as other races also do not mention, for example, that they aren't allowed to have psionics).

Pages 32-33 have the multi-class character combination along with the human-only character with two classes. This is the only way to "remain exclusively {a} fighter" and then switch to thief.

Which brings three different possibilities that come to my mind:

1. The bard exists as both a class and a "pre-class," which is to say that a person isn't dual-classing, but instead goes through all the prerequisites of the bard class (fighter, thief) in a quantum state of pre-bardness. As such, the racial restriction on multi-classing and dual-classing do not apply, since the character is never a fighter or a thief, but only a pre-bard. This works great, unless something happens (like an item that changes alignment, or a reincarnation that changes the race, or the player realizing that BARDS ARE THE BANE OF ALL THE IS GOOD and abandoning the path of perfidy) that somehow converts the character from pre-bard to never-can-be-bard, thus necessitating an emergency ruling from the DM.

2. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of the small minds that read AD&D, not the great mind that wrote it. ;)

3. Bard are all bad, half-elves are half-bad, so it seemed a good fit?
 

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